Beginning to give up

Every time I go to Confession, it seems as though I recieve grace only to lose it. I lack practically any spiritual support, and seem to go downhill whenever I try to do something right.

I’m a 17 year old male who just wants thicker hair on top of my head and curls because it would match my face structure better, but my mother constantly nags about it and says that unless I get it cut she will deprive me of everything (my license, my right to go places, my right to go to Confession, ect.). She is willing to take what is most precious to me in order to “win” the argument. Now I’m sure about some of the responses will be something like “Accept getting a haircut and looking odd as a cross in your life.” That seems like an ok response, but here’s how I view it; If someone was born with a physical deformity, yes, that would be a necessary cross to carry…but if people would think I’m nuts (because of the look of my haircut) and it was something I could help, then that is unfair. If people think that I’m an idiot and it’s not my own fault but my parents’ fault (for making me get the unattractive looking haircut), that is completely unjust.

I find myself more unwilling to put forth effort to avoid sin, as my mind seems to mainly contain confusion. I was willing to get my life back on the right path, but it turns out that Confession is not available today and was not available yesterday in the Churches in my area (during Christmas of all days)! I did not take Communion during Christmas Mass. It appears that one or more Churches had it available practically the entire week…and I do not believe I had any knowledge of this beforehand. It’s not fair! I’m sure this may seem blasphemous, but I’m getting the feeling that God has turned against me.

Life is becoming to seem more meaningless and clouded with confusion. I’m not even sure about what it means to go to confession “as soon as possible” after making an Act of Perfect Contrition, so even attempting to make that commitment seems useless.

My mother is destroying me spiritually and mentally, and I know she is trying to make my outer appearence look horrible. And if I don’t obey her about making my outer appearence look awful, she threatens to take what is most precious to me. She even threatened that if my dad drove me to Confession she would follow us there and tell the priest that I’m not really sorry and she claims that I’m making a mockery of Confession by going there and then disobeying her (I urge to obey her, just not her demands which make me look completely unattractive). Counceling it not an answer because she refuses to go. If there is any such thing as justice, there must be some kind of line to be drawn with the law concerning mental abuse. She won’t even let me visit relatives today.

More and more I feel myself being drawn away from the Catholic faith. I don’t have anyone else to talk to about this. This could go under the family help forum, but I think this is a spiritual problem as well, or possibly even more. I’m sure that some of you will say “pray”, but what is the use of praying when I obviously don’t even have God’s friendship? When a person is in mortal sin, he does not have grace, so why pray if it probably means nothing?

What could I possibly do about this? It seems like an impossible situation, but there has to be an answer, and its not giving up who I am either.

Hi, I remember what it was like to be your age. I’m 38 now. I had dyed hair and went to all the in places. God is not your enemy. Talk the whole thing over with God and leave it in his hands. I’m sure your mother loves you otherwise you would not be living there. I went through a very rebellious stage when I was your age and now I see others going through similiar stages. It doesn’t matter how you look to God, so long as it’s respectable.

I read a little from the mystics about our Lady’s childhood. She was so holy that when others unjustly treated her she would not complain but rather asked how she could change so as to no displease them.
As a sinner I cannot imitate her here. But I try. I recommend Christian perfection to you. Don’t be a walkover but try to imitate Mary’s virtues. And God loves you more than you will ever understand. Don’t worry. Theres heaven at the end of this journey.

[quote=John Russell Jr]Hi, I remember what it was like to be your age. I’m 38 now. I had dyed hair and went to all the in places. God is not your enemy. Talk the whole thing over with God and leave it in his hands. I’m sure your mother loves you otherwise you would not be living there. I went through a very rebellious stage when I was your age and now I see others going through similiar stages. It doesn’t matter how you look to God, so long as it’s respectable.

I read a little from the mystics about our Lady’s childhood. She was so holy that when others unjustly treated her she would not complain but rather asked how she could change so as to no displease them.
As a sinner I cannot imitate her here. But I try. I recommend Christian perfection to you. Don’t be a walkover but try to imitate Mary’s virtues. And God loves you more than you will ever understand. Don’t worry. Theres heaven at the end of this journey.
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Hi John,

Imagine if your parents said something like “It does not matter how unattractive you would look; you will not have your hair dyed because we’re your parents and we said so.” If people would think you look weird because of your own parents’ voluntary actions, that is an illegitimate cross to carry. I recall reading that when you are in mortal sin, you are in open revolt against God. If I try to talk the whole thing over with God, and leave it in His hands, it’s probably not going to matter because I do not have grace. Although a parent may “love” their son or daughter, that does not give the parent the excuse to emotionally abuse them. Yes, I have a lot to be thankful for concerning my necesities being taken care of, but the awful inner pain I am going through living here does not seem to be worth it. I’d probably rather live in a poorer area being treated with respect then the conditions I am living in right now. Also, what do you mean by my “look” to God, as long as it’s respectful"?

I don’t really our Lady’s childhood pertains to my situation because in order to change my appearence for my mom’s wishes I would be disgusting many other people, so either way I cannot please everybody.

Christian perfection is something that I’ve thought about many times…in the past. It’s hard to imitate Mary’s goodwill when I don’t even have a starting point, as it seems impossible for me to get one until Saturday. Also, how am I supposed to respond to God’s love when I do not even understand what one of His most important laws are?

People your age (and yes I was you age once, too!) take little things too much to heart and have a hard time seeing things in terms of longer than the day ahead or until the next “big” event in their lives such as the next football game or dance or exam, which is why you guys fuss too much about the little things–it’s biological.

First of all, learn to laugh at yourself. If other people think your hair looks stupid just laugh and say something like, “Yeah, it does, but my mom wants it like this for now, but when I turn 18 I’ll wear it the way I like.” IOW, try to be mature about it and just blow off what others think. I know at your age peer approval means just about everything (that too is biological, dealing with the whole mating thing you are now considered too young to bother about, but your body doesn’t agree that you are too young).

If you can’t relate to the Virgin, then relate to Joseph. Here he was all set to marry Mary, even if he was only going to be her guardian, and she seems to blow the whole deal by getting pregnant. He doesn’t know what to do, but God steps in and tells him it will be all right if he just has faith. And, it was all right. Not that Joseph didn’t have some very hard times and situations to deal with, but he just let things be as they had to be and in the end everything came about just as God had promised him.

So, look farther into the future than the opinions of your current friends and realize that in a couple years time, when you are out of that circle and into another one at college that their opinions won’t mean anything more to you than those of your 6th grade class does to you now. :wink:

[quote=Della]People your age (and yes I was you age once, too!) take little things too much to heart and have a hard time seeing things in terms of longer than the day ahead or until the next “big” event in their lives such as the next football game or dance or exam, which is why you guys fuss too much about the little things–it’s biological.

First of all, learn to laugh at yourself. If other people think your hair looks stupid just laugh and say something like, “Yeah, it does, but my mom wants it like this for now, but when I turn 18 I’ll wear it the way I like.” IOW, try to be mature about it and just blow off what others think. I know at your age peer approval means just about everything (that too is biological, dealing with the whole mating thing you are now considered too young to bother about, but your body doesn’t agree that you are too young).

If you can’t relate to the Virgin, then relate to Joseph. Here he was all set to marry Mary, even if he was only going to be her guardian, and she seems to blow the whole deal by getting pregnant. He doesn’t know what to do, but God steps in and tells him it will be all right if he just has faith. And, it was all right. Not that Joseph didn’t have some very hard times and situations to deal with, but he just let things be as they had to be and in the end everything came about just as God had promised him.

So, look farther into the future than the opinions of your current friends and realize that in a couple years time, when you are out of that circle and into another one at college that their opinions won’t mean anything more to you than those of your 6th grade class does to you now. :wink:
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What my mother wants me to look like is not one of those “little things” you mention. Listening to her would cause me to look uncivilized, dirty and careless. As far as I’m concerned completely ruining my outer appearence is not to be compared to a minor problem.

I do have a sense of humor to laugh at myself, but to a certain extent. If I would just laugh and not make a big deal of it, and mention that it’s because my mom wants it that way and explain it in the quote you said…still I will feel insecure about myself and everyone who I did not explain it to, including people I simply pass by, would probably look at me in a disgusted way or indicate somehow how stupid I look. It is a severe injustice to be put to shame because of someone else’s, especially your parents’, voluntary actions. I think I look descent with more hair, but with less I look abnormal. Also, even if I do forget what others think when I look in the mirror I would be ashamed of myself that I gave up who I am to please my mother’s obsession with control. So even if I didn’t care what others think, it kills me not to be who I *am.

*By letting things be the way they are, I am sitting back while in open revolt against God. It appears that you stating it’s ok if I don’t concern myself with the rules as long as I have faith in God. Things will probably not be alright if I said back and say “If I have faith, God will forgive me” because in order for me to be forgiven I must go to Confession (which was not available to me this Christmas) or I must make an Act of Perfect Contrition (which I don’t even understand about getting to Confession as soon as possible).

You have to understand that I think it’s fair that I have a stabalized head. It’s not all about what others think, but how I view myself. Sorry if I seemed harsh with this. Not only are things not making sense to me, but I feel like I’m becoming farther and farther away from God.

I’m sorry, PMV, but I’m having a very hard time taking you seriously when you state that your own mother wants you to look “uncivilized, dirty and careless?” C’mon. That’s unbelievable.

And so what if others don’t like your appearance. Are you a baby? I hate to say it but you certainly sound like one.

If all you have to worry about is your hairstyle in a world of horrors and unimaginable sufferings, then honey you are swimming in cream, living high and mighty, and ought to be on your knees thanking God every minute of your day!

You are coming across as very self-centered and ridiculous, and on Christmas Day, no less. My advise to you is to grow up.

Is just your hair or there are other issues that she also has control issues with? Not that have a nice hair style insn’t important I’m just wondering if there is a pattern of unhealthy control.

PMV I grew up with a mentally disturbed mother. I know what it’s like to feel trapped and suffecated. In this life we all have free will, even mentally disturbed mothers. Crosses by nature are unfair. Jesus’ cross was the most unfair of all. He did nothing to deserve the torture and cruel death that he received.

I know the time between 17 and 18 seems like an eternity but it really is not. Spend this year figuring out a way to be financially independant enough to move out from under your mother’s control so you can feel free to be your ownself.

Instead of turning away from God, this is a perfect opportunity to turn toward him. Just because he doesn’t magically fix this situation for you doesn’t mean he loves you anyless. The suffering I went through as a teen has shaped me into a very strong resiliant person, something that have gotten me through later trials in life.

It’s hard to see the bigger picture when you feel so trapped in your situation. It’s hard to even see straight sometimes when you feel so controlled and powerless. But set your focus on the goal of gertting out from under that control into a more healthy enviroment. At 17 to make such a huge deal out of a young man’s haircut does seem pretty off to me. It sounds like your mom knows your growing up and she’s afraid of losing control. Some parents have a very difficult time letting their children grow into adults. Life is full of less then ideal situations. We’d all like our parents to be perfect but most are not.

Do not be down hearted. God loves you, he knows your struggle. Even if doesn’t seem like a big deal to many he knows it’s a big deal to you. But we aren’t in heaven, we will suffer on this earth. But we will also have great joy, there is always light at the end of the darkness. You will make it through this. Don’t let satan use this situation to pull you away from God. Freedom is not far off but you must focus on the way to make it happen. But if your mom really does have major control issues the closer you get to adulthood the more she will try to make you dependant on her. So don’t lose your focus.

I will pray for you. God Bless.

[quote=Della]I’m sorry, PMV, but I’m having a very hard time taking you seriously when you state that your own mother wants you to look “uncivilized, dirty and careless?” C’mon. That’s unbelievable.

And so what if others don’t like your appearance. Are you a baby? I hate to say it but you certainly sound like one.

If all you have to worry about is your hairstyle in a world of horrors and unimaginable sufferings, then honey you are swimming in cream, living high and mighty, and ought to be on your knees thanking God every minute of your day!

You are coming across as very self-centered and ridiculous, and on Christmas Day, no less. My advise to you is to grow up.
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forums.catholic.com/showthread.php?p=1091061#post1091061

You might want to look back at this thread to jog your memory of the OP’s situation. It definately sounds like a mental illness issue.Telling your child not to brush their teeth does sound “uncivililized, dirty and careless” to me.

Yes there is all kinds of suffering in this world. To me the OP sounds like a young man who is feeling depressed and powerless to deal with a mother who has mental issues. I don’t think calling him a baby, self-centered and rediculous is very kind and on Christmas Day, no less.

PMV,

I would, if I were you, go to Confession at your first opportunity and tell the priest what you have told us. You deserve to have an ally in the Church who can help you maintain your rights when your mother violates them. If there is a college in your area that has a Catholic Student Center, see if you can see someone there for Confession.

You need support in maintaining your personal integrity, and I know that you can find it.

Do not give up! Stand firm, but get one or more allies.

[quote=Della]I’m sorry, PMV, but I’m having a very hard time taking you seriously when you state that your own mother wants you to look “uncivilized, dirty and careless?” C’mon. That’s unbelievable.
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Well welcome to planet earth; there’s many things that are hard to believe but are still true. I have to secretly shave because my mother doesn’t want me to, and she has often tried to stop me from wearing an undershirt (when I was trying to be modest). She has done various things that obviously make my hair look dirty, and I believe she did it out of anger towards me. Also, cutting my hair makes my entire head look out of shape but she won’t admit it. I don’t think I need to provide any more examples.

[quote=Della]And so what if others don’t like your appearance. Are you a baby? I hate to say it but you certainly sound like one.

is truly unjust. The fact that everyone would get the impression that I don’t take care of myself when in reality it’s my parents who cause me to look that way deliberately is truly sad. And your expression of immaturity by calling me a “baby” is only sad on your part.

[quote=Della] If all you have to worry about is your hairstyle in a world of horrors and unimaginable sufferings, then honey you are swimming in cream, living high and mighty, and ought to be on your knees thanking God every minute of your day!

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If I were as self-centered as you claim I think I would have taken your advice on sitting back and letting God “handle things” (ignoring the rules). For you to say I’m coming across as rediculous only proves your ignorance, as I am tryng to find a solution to this problem I am having. And yes, on Christmas Day it’d be nice if I had God’s friendship, but apparently that seemed too much to be asked for yesterday and today. You haven’t even answered one of my main concerns and you stoop so low as to call me rediculous. My advise to you is to try to think outside your dreamworld full of ignorance.
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[quote=rayne89]Is just your hair or there are other issues that she also has control issues with? Not that have a nice hair style insn’t important I’m just wondering if there is a pattern of unhealthy control.
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There are other issues as well. She won’t allow me to have my license, she openly humiliates me in public, she doesn’t want me to shave often, and the list goes on and on.

[quote=rayne89]PMV I grew up with a mentally disturbed mother. I know what it’s like to feel trapped and suffecated. In this life we all have free will, even mentally disturbed mothers. Crosses by nature are unfair. Jesus’ cross was the most unfair of all. He did nothing to deserve the torture and cruel death that he received.
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My parents are trying to control who I am, and that’s beginning to include Confession as well. A parent is not to have 100% control over their teenager; there has to be room for independance. We couldn’t just say that it’s right for parents to treat their kids unfairly, and to large degrees.

[quote=rayne89]I know the time between 17 and 18 seems like an eternity but it really is not. Spend this year figuring out a way to be financially independant enough to move out from under your mother’s control so you can feel free to be your ownself.
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Sounds good.

[quote=rayne89]Instead of turning away from God, this is a perfect opportunity to turn toward him. Just because he doesn’t magically fix this situation for you doesn’t mean he loves you anyless. The suffering I went through as a teen has shaped me into a very strong resiliant person, something that have gotten me through later trials in life.
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Turning toward God is an issue itself, as I’ve adresses earlier about an Act of Perfect Contrition.

[quote=rayne89]It’s hard to see the bigger picture when you feel so trapped in your situation. It’s hard to even see straight sometimes when you feel so controlled and powerless. But set your focus on the goal of gertting out from under that control into a more healthy enviroment. At 17 to make such a huge deal out of a young man’s haircut does seem pretty off to me. It sounds like your mom knows your growing up and she’s afraid of losing control. Some parents have a very difficult time letting their children grow into adults. Life is full of less then ideal situations. We’d all like our parents to be perfect but most are not.
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That’s a good idea; planning to work towards being in a more healthy enviornment. And the whole “big deal” was not just about the haircut, but my lack of spirituality and control that I’m under overall. Also, my mother seems to love control more then she “loves” me, and pretty much proved it many times.

[quote=rayne89]Do not be down hearted. God loves you, he knows your struggle. Even if doesn’t seem like a big deal to many he knows it’s a big deal to you. But we aren’t in heaven, we will suffer on this earth. But we will also have great joy, there is always light at the end of the darkness. You will make it through this. Don’t let satan use this situation to pull you away from God. Freedom is not far off but you must focus on the way to make it happen. But if your mom really does have major control issues the closer you get to adulthood the more she will try to make you dependant on her. So don’t lose your focus.

I will pray for you. God Bless.
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Probably my biggest problem here is having grace. The only way someone can truly be happy is through grace; but I do not have it. I already adressed this issue when mentioning an Act of Perfect Contrition. There has to be an answer to that. However, your advice sounds good, and I could really use it if only I had grace.

When I was going through my stuff at home I wasn’t going to church. My family had pretty much stopped going. I hadn’t been to confession since my first one. God knows your heart, he knows what your going through. He will help you. He is not a pharisee so stuck on the rules that the meaning for them is forgotten. Confession gives us grace to make us strong, yes. But if you truly are unable to get there to but you desire his grace he knows that. You are not without hope. God is a merciful God. Pour out your heart to him, he will hear you even if sometimes we don’t always get the answer that we want.

My mom used to tell me things like “a lot of kids runaway why don’t you”. When I was 14 she told me she wished I would have died instead of sister. When I was older(16-17) she used the car to try to control every move I made. She would insult me, berate me for hours and then expect me do all things for her “because it was my duty.” I had to share a car with my mom and anytime she felt like I wasn’t jumping through hoops for her she would take it away from me. She truly was mentally ill. It’s hard not to take it personally especially when it’s your parents. It was easier to see when you’re more removed from the insanity that it really isn’t about you, it’s about mental illness.

My husband’s father was a massive control freak as well. His situation was even worse then mine. We met in highschool and I got married and moved away shortly after I graduated. Having a plan, a goal, gives you hope. It helps to keep you from thinking things are hopeless. Maybe joining the military is an option for you? My husband was a long haired, heavy metal head banger but when the rubber hit the road getting away was the most important thing so he joined the Navy. It truly was the best decision he could have made at the time.

God Bless.

There are several posibilities to cosider.

Mom might be going through menopause and having a real tough time and not be aware of how it is affecting you.

My mom went through several years of bad depression and disturbing behavior. She refused to see a doctor about it. She “offered up” her suffering, at the families expense. She would fly into dangerous rages and make insane accusations, much like the things you speak of.

Also possible, given your age, is that she fears losing you as she inevitably will soon. She is having a hard, perhaps impossible time dealing with you growing up and becoming your own person. Maybe she is afraid to lose you, or feeling that she didn’t do an adequate job as a mom. Sometimes fear manifests in odd ways.

My son, (18) was horrible to deal with the three months before he left for college. I think it was his way of dealing with and preparing for moving out. Part fear, part cutting ties, no fun for any of us.

She could also just be disturbed.

Anyway, no matter the cause, you are still stuck with the difficulty. I am sorry. I know what that is like. I moved out, and married early in no small part to get away from a crazy mom.

After several years kid free, she became much saner. She is a much happier, reasonable person.

Those last few years at home. I tried to stay out of her hair as much as possible and lie low. Work, school ( I stayed after every day to lessen the hours spent at home) church…I tried to keep busy in positive activities and not to stir up much trouble with her.

My dad, didn’t cross her because he knew I would leave, but he would be there with her, so it made sense for him to stay on her good side.

Life is unfair. Don’t confuse you mother, or other life situations with God. This is the time that you will be asking questions of your faith, totally appropriate. A strong faith built on truth can stand up to questions. But be honest, and don’t take out your frustrations and lay blame where it is not merited. Don’t blame God for everything that goes wrong. Don’t confuse “nice” behavior with faith. Even when you aren’t acting nice, or feeling very Christian doesn’t mean you are far from God or that He is far from you.

God does not run from hard situations, or from us when we are in a cranky resentful place. Sometimes all you can do is hide in your room and say “God, this really sucks” and He’ll be there nodding " I know."

I feel for you,

cheddar

PMV,
I just wanted to make clear that your first obedience has to be to God. He has commanded us to confess our sins. If your father drives you to church and your mother follows and tries to tell the priest that you are not really sorry for your sins because you are disobeying her by going to Confession, then the priest should not keep you from going to Confession.

Is there any way that you can contact a priest you like this week? You could make an appointment for Confession, or you could go after daily Mass and ask him to hear your Confession.

The problems with your mother are separate. Some of the things you are having trouble with are real problems, some are temporary, for example, your hair being too short is something that in less than a year will not be a problem. Unless she is forbidding you to shower after you have showered a couple of times that day already, then she is being unreasonable. You have to maintain normal hygiene.

Is there any way you could get a job? At your age, you do not need their permission, and perhaps your father could help you. Also, in a lot of states, 17 year olds are allowed to move out of their parents’ homes without their permission, or perhaps you could get your father’s permission.

I think that the best thing that you could do is to discuss all this with a priest, in which case, you might want to see him outside the Confession times, so as to be considerate of others who want to receive the sacrament. Some of these problems could be discussed over the phone. Just be sure and ask if he has a few minutes to discuss it with you.

Good luck, and Happy New Year

I’m no longer a Catholic, but I’m going to respond to your thread anyway. I cannot agree with the advice some have given you. nor can I endorse it by remaining silent. You in no way should have to withstand the cruelty of others simply because your mother has issues she hasn’t dealt with, apparently with control. And in the spirit of a true non-Christian, this is the advice I would first propose: If you don’t want to get your haircut, refuse. Unless she intends to drag you to the barber, I don’t see where there’s a lot she can do to you. (And if she does in fact intend to physically drag you, I would resist to the fullest extent of my power). If she threatens, and does, take away your religion, go anyway. Go behind her back. Because if you really believe in something, you should pursue it with a passion that no one can stand in the way of. Why? because to use a phrase a friend of mine has stated, “to do anything without meaning is the only true evil.” And this is, afterall, your life. But then again, this is coming from a non-Catholic standpoint, whereas the Catholic view teaches your life belongs to God…In the end, however, it has to be your choice, not your mother’s. Whatever that choice may be.

Perhaps you should talk to a priest. Noone can deny your right to confession. And a good doctor etc might be able to advise you on dealing with this situation. I’ll pray for you.

The act of perfect contrition does not permit you to receive holy communion but does restore sanctifying grace.
For detailed info on the act of perfect contrition go to this link-
truecatholic.org/contrition.htm

I’ve came to the conclusion that I will attempt to make an Act of Perfect Contrition, and I apologize for my blasphemous statements and for allowing my frustration to get out of hand. My main concern right now is after having made an Act of Perfect Contrition whether one must make an extraordinary effort to go to Confession or patiently wait for the opportunity. The situation is discussed more in this thread;

forums.catholic.com/showthread.php?t=88109

I am asking for an answer from a priest or any kind of proof from Church authority. Thank you to everyone who gave me advice on this thread.

PMV,

If you are looking for an authoritative answer to your question, you can post your question in the Ask An Apologist section. Perhaps you can request that Father Serpa respond.

PMV , I think i can relate to you the most considering i am 17 ( in 9 days ) as well and I have long hair in which my father isnt crazy about, he does not force me to cut it but he sometimes get angry at me for how long it is. This is what I do and might possibly work for you as well, whenever he brings up my hair and wanting it cut I simply humour him , I tell him I eventually will and i explain to him that becoming angry will not benefit anyone only make you more agitated, anger will not help the situation. As long as i eventually get my hair cut I am technically not disobeying my father. What you could do is find a middle ground with your mother tell her you’ll get it trimmed persay ( just not alot lol ) and maybe she will be content with that , than you could even go to say that she should allow you to fall for yourself, if you are wrong with your decision you will learn from it. The greatest thing about falling down is picking urself back up. Lastly , God will always be with you regardless of anything, He is always present in our lifes the hard part is realising it, you must not allow anything to come in between you and God , do not allow that relationship to be severed. For all you know it could be God testing you to see if you do the right thing and will stand by Him regardless of anyone. It may also do you some good to tell her how she is making you feel and how you feel that her actions are not allowing you to practice you faith. Hope this is of some help.

[quote=Lrning]PMV,

If you are looking for an authoritative answer to your question, you can post your question in the Ask An Apologist section. Perhaps you can request that Father Serpa respond.
[/quote]

I did that a number of times, but the question was still not answered.

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