Your questions answered by GF’s resident adolescent psychologist, Dr Suzanne Barrett
Advice from our resident clinical psychologist
I’m 14 and recently came out as bisexual. A few of my friends are a part of the LGBT+ community but are pansexual or bi-curious. I don’t know how to talk about my feeling with anyone as my boyfriend doesn’t really understand it and I feel pressure to be normal.
What do I do? Grace*
You are certainly not alone in not knowing how to talk about your feelings, feeling misunderstood, and feeling pressure to fit in to an unrealistic idea of “normal”. It is your choice who you talk to about this personal part of your life, and it’s OK if you don’t know what to say. It would be great if you had someone supportive that you could go to about this, maybe a trusted family member or older friend, or school counsellor. You might find it helpful to connect with the LGBTIQA+ community for support. Qlife.org.au is a great place to start, with options of web chat, email or phone and heaps of online resources. Eheadspace.org. au also have regular Qheadspace peer group chats. Remember, there’s no right or wrong way to talk about your feelings and you do not need to be anyone or anything other than exactly who you are.
I have this friend who is becoming obsessed with me. She thinks we are besties and it has got to a point that she gets angry and anxious whenever I spend more time with other people. Help! Alicia*
Sounds like a tricky friendship! It sounds like she worries about those other people taking her place. What do you value about your friendship with her and how would you like your friendship to be? It might reassure her to hear what you like and that you care about her. At the same time, it’s important to let her know how you’d like the friendship to change so you can have time for other friends without her becoming upset with you. Some people like really intense friendships and others prefer to spend more time apart. Hopefully you guys can talk openly about this so you can figure out how to be friends in a way that works for you both.
My parents are divorced and I stay week-on week-off with them. But my dad gets really angry at me even when I’ve done nothing wrong. I’ve tried telling people and psychologists but they just say it’s him “getting angry” but he’s worse when he drinks. My parents broke up because he mentally and verbally abused Mum and I feel like it’s happening to me. I’m really worried. What do I do? Sarah*
This sounds really tough. It’s really important that you’re able to feel safe emotionally when you are at home with your dad – in fact, you have the right to feel safe. I think it’s terrific that you’re talking to people about this, as the adults in your life have a responsibility to address this if you are being emotionally or verbally abused. It sounds like they didn’t really understand your perspective though. Try talking to your mum or another trusted adult about this. Or maybe try your psychologist again, as she/he would be able to help you come up with a plan for ensuring your safety and may be able to support you in talking to your parents about this. If you believe you are being abused, please don’t tolerate it or face it alone – keep speaking up and get some help.