Your questions an­swered by GF’s res­i­dent ado­les­cent psy­chol­o­gist, Dr Suzanne Bar­rett

Girlfriend - - CONTENTS -

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.

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