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Friday, January 18 , 2019, 5:05 pm | Fair 62º

 
 
 
 
Teenagers

Louise Palanker: Protecting Family from Alcoholic and Abusive Father, Social Anxiety, Finding Love

Question from Josie

Hey, Weezy, I spoke with you two years ago about my alcoholic father. Honestly, I didn’t get help when you told me to ... I have three younger siblings. The youngest is 1 and I’m turning 17 in March.

My mother is being abused by my dad. I don’t know if you know how it feels like to help your mother clean the blood from her face and put honey on her face for the swelling to go down.

I can’t do this anymore. I just can’t. I want to report it to the police, but if I do my sisters are going to grow up without a dad. And my mom only speaks Spanish, which makes it difficult for her to find a job.

I just don't know what to do. Every solution I try to think of is leading to a dead end. If I keep going with this. I fear he’s going to kill her. I don’t know what to do. I’m tired of it and I just don’t want to be here anymore.

I can’t see my mother suffer any more or watch my younger siblings cry. I need your help. I know I should tell someone, but where would we live? What would happen if my mom can’t support us and has us taken away? I just can’t do this any more, Weezy. I just can’t. I need your help.

Weezy

I am so sorry to hear your story. I truly hate that you are having to endure so much pain and hurt. You do not deserve any of this.

The reason why every solution you try to think of leads to a dead end is that you are only 17. You are not a trained professional, and you are not capable of envisioning what could happen if your family received the kind of help it needs.

When you report this crime you will not be taking a father away from your siblings. Through his behavior, he has already taken himself away. He is not capable of being the father they need. He is sick and he needs help. Your entire family needs help. Get that help.

Call Child Protective Services in your area. There will be people there who speak Spanish. They are very familiar with abused spouses who do not always tell the entire truth. There are all kinds of solutions out there for your family. There are shelters and services that help abuse victims find jobs and receive educations.

You want your siblings to remember a childhood where, yes, bad things happened, but then a hero stepped in and changed their lives for the better. When life asks you to be that hero, you need to answer that call. This is that moment. Be that hero.

Also, contact Alateen in your area:

(Al-Anon Family Group Headquarters Inc. video)

                                                                 •        •        •

Question from Jacob

Hi, Weezy! I have this problem and I cannot define it properly, but whenever a teacher asks a question in class (mostly I know the answers), I am not able to speak. It’s like my tongue and voice are stuck in my mouth. My heart beats fast and strong, and I feel sweaty and my face turns hot and red.

It’s like an adrenaline shy mode or something. I have tried to speak as much as I can to answer the questions but it’s just ... I can’t. I will stammer. I am thinking to consult a psychologist but before I go I want you to help with some counseling and methods to improve myself.

It usually happens when I am in class or when I am around girls. It’s been happening for the last two years. Before I was not like that. This adrenaline is eating at me and causing me too much social stress.

Weezy

What you are describing is fairly typical for someone your age. During adolescence, you suddenly become hyper-aware of yourself and of every potentially catastrophic outcome. This is fueled by hormonal changes mixed with your rising intellectual capacity to foresee all of what could possibly go wrong.

Know that you are not alone. This is happening to everyone. Each person has different ways of manifesting their insecurities.

Some kids may appear to become more outgoing even though they may feel like they are blathering maniacally. Some, like yourself, may retreat. But no one is immune from puberty.

Is there a debate team at your school? Which clubs and activities can you join where everyone is learning to become a better public speaker?

It sounds like you are a thoughtful, intelligent person but that you are just at a point in your life when you need to beat back some nerves and reclaim the reins of your confidence. You will be able to do this best by taking part in an activity that demands this of you.

Beyond debating I can also recommend theater, mock trial and chorus or band. Go see the psychologist and explain what is going on with you. He or she will be very familiar with your situation. I am confident that you will get through this and get back to being your authentic self.

It’s also possible that you are experiencing social anxiety disorder, which typically presents itself around the age of 13. Proper diagnosis and treatment will help you tremendously:

Click here for a related video.

                                                                 •        •        •

Question from Jennifer

Hi! What does it mean if your ex tells you that he FEELS like he’s moved on and that he’s dated two girls after you (but only lasts two weeks with both of them) EVEN though they already know that you know that he has and says he currently likes someone else but after I did have him blocked on social media and he told me to UNBLOCK him right away and when I was going to I was immediately already unblocked from him.

How did he find my account so fast when we both blocked each other after I told him I was going to let the others who wanted to date me have a chance and when I did he wasn’t supportive at all and after he said “​tbh the single life is great” EVEN WHEN HE SAID HE CURRENTLY LIKED SOMEONE.

Weezy

Breathe. You have journeyed long and far without punctuation.

It means that the two of you are still emotionally entangled. I do not know exactly what it was that led to your breaking up, but based on your post relationship involvement I can guess that it was probably a lot of fighting, mistrust and co-dependency.

It appears that ending your relationship did not end that unhealthy involvement. You both still appear to be attempting to manipulate each other’s emotions. Stop.

Pull away from him. Let it all go. The ONLY way for you to find yourself is to stop looking at him. Learn to appreciate and trust yourself. Learn that you have a place in this world that is not contingent upon how this particular person relates to you.

You are more than enough. Go figure out who you would like to become. Create something. Share some beauty. Make a friend smile. Write a poem. Sing. Dance. Have a meaningful conversation with your mom.

Find YOU. Love you. Only then will you be ready to give love away.

                                                                 •        •        •

Got a question for Weezy? Email her at [email protected] and it may be answered in a subsequent column.

Louise Palanker is a co-founder of Premiere Radio Networks, the author of a semi-autobiographical coming-of-age novel called Journals, a comedian, a filmmaker (click here to view her documentary, Family Band: The Cowsills Story), a teacher and a mentor. She has a teen social network/IOS app and weekly video podcast called Journals, built around a philosophy of cyber kindness. She also teaches a free stand-up comedy class for teens at the Jewish Federation of Greater Santa Barbara​. Click here to read previous columns. The opinions expressed are her own.

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