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Parents hate each other; anniversity

Hi Sam,

I just found this site and I don't really know how this goes, but I'll just wing it.  So to cut the chase tomorrow is my parents 21st wedding anniversity and they hate each other. I don't know what to do, it is always the most awkward day of the year (second to valentines day). They are basically just roomates and don't even sleep in the same bedroom. It all started when my father got in a car accident which setted off his bipolar. He quit his job because he believes he can't work (even though nothing is wrong with him). PS this happened 10 years ago. My mother tries to deal with it the best she can, but he does nothing all day, just sits and watches tv and complain to everyone about his back (which gets really embarrassing when he does it to your friends and random  people, they then think he's crazy.) He has no friends and people don't like to talk to him, including me sometimes. Sorry about me venting by the way. So my mom and dad barely talk to each other, never show affection, and fight a lot. I just don't know what to do for their anniversity because we all know it's a joke anyway. Ergg, thank you Sam for read this bye the way (PS I'm a 16 year old girl)


Ask Sam


Hi there,

Thanks for your letter. You don’t ever need to be sorry for writing to me, or because it feels like you’re venting. From what you’ve said, it sounds like things have been building for a long time.

You mention how your parents' anniversary is the most awkward day of the year, second only to Valentine’s Day. It sounds like it’s a reminder for everyone just how difficult things have been at home. I can imagine that when your dad has struggled with his mental health, and with your parents acting almost as roommates, it has been hard for you to think about your place in all of that.

It can feel like a lot of pressure to try and make your parents' anniversary “work" even though it feels like it’s all a joke. It’s important to remember that your parents' feelings towards each other should never be put on your shoulders. Outside of the embarrassment and awkwardness, it worries me how much focus there is on your parents here and not on you.

You don’t ever deserve to feel stuck in the middle of your parents. When your parents aren’t getting on, it can be hard to know how to feel, and the relationship your family has can have a big effect on you. How your parents feel towards each other is never your fault.

Some days, like anniversaries, can feel a lot harder than others. It might help to think through a plan for yourself about how you would like to get through days like that. Sometimes it's useful having a plan of things you can do to help distract yourself if things start to bother you, like reading, listening to music or using the internet. You could even think about safe places you could go if you needed to for a while, like other members of the family or a friend’s house.

You said how embarrassed you feel when your dad starts to talk about his back to your friends or strangers. Sometimes when you’ve had that kind of embarrassment it can be hard to share how much has been going on at home.

Sometimes it can feel embarrassing being seen with your dad, but having a family member with mental illness is something you should always have a space to be able to talk about. Mind is an organisation that might be able to give you and your mum support and information.

There is nothing wrong with wanting to talk to people outside of the family about how all this makes you feel. Sometimes, asking an adult you trust for support can help you think about ways you can cope. It can also help you think about the future. Your mum could even contact The Samaritans herself, to make sure you are not her only support when things are getting too much.

You might find it helpful to talk to a counsellor at ChildLine. We are here for you. ChildLine can help you to think about the future, and can give you a space to vent about how you have been feeling. You can contact our counsellors online or by calling for free on 0800 11 11.

Take care,

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