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Jen and Heidi
I was talking to a teen we call "Jen" (recently who feels responsible for making her mother happy, stopping her mother from being depressed, etc. The mother recently told the teen she is so upset with the teen that she has thought of committing suicide.
To make sure there is no confusion, I will clarify that it is the mother who was talking about killing herself. By doing this she is laying a huge, huge, huge guilt trip on her teen daughter who already felt overly responsible for her mother's feelings and happiness or lack thereof.
Take just a moment and think about that, please. Think how you would feel if you started to believe you could be the cause of your mother killing herself...
This teen already told me once she wants to make good grades because "that brings smiles in the family where there aren't many smiles."
I would call this emotional abuse on the part of the mother, but the teen doesn't agree and won't report her mother. And in my experience, the authorities wouldn't do much anyhow. They would probably just recommend counseling for the teen (not the mother), then talk to the mother briefly and see the teen once a week for a few months without putting much effort into really changing anything, especially not the mother. Even though this mother, in my view, is quite clearly the source of the teen's depression and extremely low self-image, the social workers would most likely not confront the mother or try to remove the teen and put her in a more emotionally supportive environment.
There are probably a lot of reasons for this. I wrote a little about this on another page. The link is below. Now I will return to my rather long introduction to the Heidi story...
As I talked to Jen she told me her mother had been complaining because she had not been doing much to help the mother in the morning. Jen then felt guilty, as the mother wanted her to, so she felt a need to "make it up to her." This reminds me of that the characteristics of adult children of alcoholics that Janet Geringer Woititz wrote about. (link below)
Knowing how responsible Jen feels for her mother's feelings, and how easily she falls into the guilt traps her mother sets, I said "Do u think she forgot that she's the one who got pregnant?"
Then later I said, "Just for laughs, ask her sometime who got her pregnant...then say 'Well then don't u think he should be helping u now?"
Then I remembered Heidi and her mother. And I thought "At least Jen's mom is not trying to do what Heidi's mom did....
So here is the story of Heidi and her mother so you'll know what I mean.
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