Imagine being a teenager and feeling like you don’t have a home. Your parents leave and go on vacation without you, leaving you in the care of random people you know. You basically feel like you’re having to raise yourself. Now add to that the fact that you’re dealing with something so traumatizing that happened to you during your childhood that you are considering doing drugs just so you can have a break from it replaying over and over in your head. This is the situation someone very, very dear to me is in, and I’m torn by what to do about it.
This young lady is a survivor…but that’s all she’s able to do right now – survive. She’s constantly exhausted, she can’t focus at school, and I’m terrified that the dam is finally going to break. She knows that I am here for her. I told her yesterday that I didn’t care what time or day it was. If she needs me, everything else in my world stops. I could see the tears welling up in her eyes, so I just held her while she cried. I’m not her mom, but in that moment, I couldn’t have felt more motherly.
I’m having to explain to her that what she is dealing with and how she is feeling is not normal. I say this to her because this is all she knows. She doesn’t know that feeling depressed and experiencing strong anxiety attacks isn’t something everyone goes through regularly. She doesn’t know that having her dad and stepmom leave multiple times on long vacations and not inviting her, especially when she so desperately needs their help at home is not a usual occurrence.
I have known her since she was 10 years old. We are very close, and she feels very comfortable confiding in me. She always has. In all honesty, I would adopt her if I could. As a woman who tried for years to have a child, it is beyond frustrating to me to see a girl in her situation with parents who, from my observation, are neglecting their daughter. I’m considering contacting her dad and finding a time for us to talk, but the last thing I want to do is make her home life more difficult.
Her mother is not in her life anymore for reasons I won’t go into. I will say, however, that her mom made a choice about who was really important in her life, and it was obvious it wasn’t her daughter. I feel nothing but disgust for her now even though at one point felt we were very close. Because of this maternal disconnect, this sweet girl is now living with a stepmom who didn’t want her to be there in the first place. There seems to be a lack of understanding and empathy on her parents’ part, and she feels like she’s in quicksand. The harder she tries to pull herself out, the deeper she sinks.
I tell her often that I love her, as I’m not really sure that’s something she’s used to hearing. I really do believe that sometimes it just helps to hear it. Plus, she’s just so easy to love. She has such a sweet heart, and I can feel her desperately trying to ask for help with no answer. I’m definitely keeping closer tabs on her by reaching out more often and making a point to spend more time with her. I will fight for her. I will have the necessary conversation with her dad if things get any worse. No one should have to go through what she’s been through. She’s been strong long enough. Now it’s my turn to be strong for her.