They’re short; they’re long. Some are poems. They’re all sad. Teens living through serious adversity because of interactions with their own troubled parents, and young adults struggling with memories as they live out the consequences of a troubled childhood. It’s a window into the lives of families that need or needed help. These are stories that are all too familiar to teachers, counselors, and social workers.
The letters are among hundreds sent over 10 years from teens and young adults around the world to two sites: EQI.org (“a place where you can find useful, practical and important information about emotions and life”) and WhatDepresses.Me. Steve Hein, who runs EQI.org, says that he and the woman who manages WhatDepresses.Me (and who prefers to not be named in this post — here’s her story) obtained permissions when they could. If the email addresses weren’t valid when they tried to contact the authors and the letters were from people under 18 years old, they changed details to protect the identities of the authors.
Here are excerpts from a few of the letters:
Things my mother has said to me…
- I wish I’d never given birth to you
- You’re not my daughter, no daughter of mine acts like this
- I’m everything, you’r (sic) nothing
- Anyone that cuts themselves should be locked up in a mental institution
- Piss off and never come back
Is cutting really a bad thing?
It doesn’t seem like it to me. You’re not killing yourself, only marking up your body. I’m careful that I don’t bleed to death even. But it feels good. Like it’s some release that helps me through the day.
I was sexually abused by an uncle
I’m no teenager anymore, I’m 21, but I cut myself (do
lots of self-harm) since I’m 12 or 13. My scars, I can’t tell you how many I have so far… But my wrists, my chest and the top of my legs are all very very taken by them.
I was sexually abused by an uncle when I was 10 or 11… maybe this was the very beginning of all this… My parents didn’t believed (sic) me and… forced me to live together with my uncle (who sexually abused me) since then. I felt guilty of what happened, I thought it was my fault. That he would never had done that if I were “normal”.
I wanted my mom to die so I can be free
…I’m 16 years old….when I was five years old, my mom punched me in the stomach. I don’t remember all the reasons why but I began to dislike my mom a lot after that…She had beat me during my 7th grade year…once again the school called Child services on her. But Child services never did anything…and the abuse continued so I stopped talking.
My mom is a single mother with four kids. She’s a nurse and highly stressed all the time. And I understand that but she deals with it the wrong ways. By calling us bitches, ungrateful motherfuckers, stupid, assholes, we’re all mistakes, we don’t deserve shit etc etc.
Now I’m 16 soon to be a mother because I felt that it would be the only sure way I could leave this place. I also believed it would help me focus better. I would no longer have to be responsible for my siblings or anything having to do with my mom. Four weeks ago, I left home because mom put me out.
…My mom believes I got pregnant to hurt her. To her, hurting her is my main goal in life. Honestly now, I don’t give a shit about her….I don’t wanna become like her. She’s not happy and doesn’t want anyone else to be.
You can download a PDF of the 79-page book at eqi.org or from WhatDepresses.Me for a donation, or order a print copy from lulu.com. Hein says if someone cannot afford a donation, then he’ll email that person a PDF.