Ever since an abusive relationship, I’ve blamed myself for what he did.
Though I’m not with him now, I still feel trapped.
When I’m stressed, I harm myself by cutting, and then I regret it.
I’ve never told anyone this because I’m scared they’ll judge me.
I’m starting university but I’m worried people won’t like me, or that I’ll be under more stress and self-harming again.
In a Sad Place
A university can be a good place to get help. Go to the student services department, immediately.
The counsellors there have experience helping students with serious problems.
You did not cause the abuse, and need to talk about it with a counsellor in order to get past it.
Do NOT let the ignorant cruelty of this former abuser limit your life. Self-harm only keeps you in pain.
If you’re not able to get to a student services counsellor, call the Distress Line in your area.
The person who answers won’t judge you, and will refer you to specific help. The call is anonymous and confidential, and is on a freely accessible hotline.
My older sister has always been socially awkward, the family “oddball.” I’ve suspected something un-diagnosed like Asperger’s, but my father refuses to acknowledge a problem.
She’s early 30s and struggling to get a job after her second college degree. She has average intelligence but has only had part-time, minimum-wage jobs.
She lives with my retired father who still pays her bills.
Recently, I tried to help her get an interview with an inside contact, but learned that they found she’d “embellished” her formal certification on her resume, resulting in a scolding email from my contact.
She could’ve been fired from any future position.
I was upset and tried to talk to her about it, and get my father to talk to her, but she just gets defensive about the “miscommunication.”
My dad just shrugs. Her days are filled with shopping with her unemployed friends, and playing on her computer where she says she's applying for jobs.
I'm worried that she'll never try harder to find employment. My boyfriend thinks that we'll eventually have to end up taking her in when we're older because she'll eventually give up.
I don't know how to help her any further, or that she'll even listen because I'm younger than her, or if she may have something else that's holding her back.
How do I help her before it's too late?
Take a different approach entirely.
Find a professional employment counsellor and present the idea of her seeing one (on her own, without you) as a step towards her own achievement of finding a job.
Having received two college degrees shows that she can progress. But she needs experienced guidance which career counselling can provide.
Having a younger sister on her case may be emphasizing her lack of success, rather than encouraging her. It may’ve sparked the insecurity that caused her to “embellish” her resume.
And your boyfriend’s thinking that you two will end up responsible for her later, should never arise in conversation with her. (The label “oddball” should also be erased, period).
By the way, if she were found to have a condition like Asperger’s Syndrome, which is often accompanied by a range of difficulties with socializing skills, she would likely have normal intelligence.
But she’d need a diagnosis, in order to understand herself better, and to not have family making layman’s assumptions, or in denial either.
FEEDBACK Regarding the woman, 27 who doesn’t get horny (August 15):
Reader – “She could be asexual or "grey a" - someone who feels sexual arousal only in specific situations or relationships.
“There are many shades under the asexual umbrella.
“Though often considered as having an unhealthily low libido or scarred from abuse, asexuals just don't feel the need to have sex.
“Other outsiders often seem to take issue with the lack of sexual desire in an asexual and suggest therapy.
“Sometimes asexuals are in relationships and have consensual sex to please their partner, though they may not feel aroused.
“Sometimes they manage to find a partner who accepts that there’s no sex.
“There’s pressure to assume that everyone wants to have sex. And if you don't want to, something’s the matter. It can lead an asexual to feel unhealthy or shamed because they are not "normal."
“The woman should check out the asexuality visibility network.”
Tip of the day:
Self-harm perpetuates the pain, which others caused. Get help immediately.