Ask Sam letter


To Sam

all my fault?

My mum and dad split up a year ago and I feel that it is all my fault and I feel everyone blames me. Also I think they use me as an excuse to be angry by blaming me for things.
Ask Sam


Hi there,

When parents feel they can no longer live together, this can be for all kinds of reasons that have nothing to do with the child or children in the family. Adults make choices about starting a relationship and they make choices about ending relationships. Those decisions are their responsibility alone. 

I know sometimes a child can be left feeling maybe they could have done something to make things better for their parents and family. For example, you might think “If only I’d been good, then they wouldn’t have argued as much” - but it is never your fault. 

From your letter, it’s not clear if one of your parents has said that it's your fault or if it's just something you just feel yourself. If you are around angry adults who aren’t giving you praise, support and understanding, I can see why you’d feel that way.

It isn’t easy to get through to adults who are feeling angry and in the habit of blaming other people, but I wonder if you’ve tried to tell your parents how you’re feeling. It might be difficult to think about, but I’m asking because I know sometimes parents don’t truly know how their child feels. It’s impossible to say, but maybe if they knew more about how you feel they might change their behaviour a bit.

If you’d like ideas for how you might do that you could talk to one of our counsellors, either by phone or with an online chat. Or you could tell us more in an email. We could help you think about things like what you’d want to say, which parent you might speak to first and how/when that kind of conversation might happen.

I also hope you can look at our pages about Divorce and separation and Family relationships.  You could also check out our message boards on Separation and divorce, where young people post messages to support one another. You may find that other young people are struggling with the same feelings. I’m hoping reading some of their comments, or asking for support yourself, might help you feel a bit less alone right now.

You’ve taken such a good step in writing to me. You’ve been very honest and I’m hoping you’ll continue to let us know how things are going. It’s always your choice as to how and when you contact us and we’ll always do our best to listen and help.

Take care,

Need help straight away?

You can talk privately to a counsellor online or call 0800 1111 for free.

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