‘Don’t suffer alone’


Irene was devastated. Throughout her 25 years, she had committed herself to how her father had planned her life to be.

She was never trained to make her own decisions, right down to the smallest things, like the colour of her shoes.

At first, she thought that maybe her father didn’t have much confidence in her when she was younger.

But the situation continued, even after she had transitioned into adulthood.

Her father’s parenting style caused Irene to always question herself. When she scored 99 per cent in her test, she wished that her father would be proud.

Every time she showed her exam paper, her father looked annoyed and asked her, “Where is the wrong answer that prevented you from getting a perfect score?”

Instead of praising her, her father chose to be critical towards his daughter.

And because of that, Irene chose to make sure that everything was perfect in her life. There was no room for her to make mistakes.

She had no one with whom she was comfortable sharing her feelings with. She missed having conversations with her late mother who passed away at the height of the Covid-19 pandemic.

Her little brother is too young to understand her predicament.

It hurt a lot when she first hurt herself. But it became easier, over time.

It soon became her darkest secret. She felt ashamed, yet didn’t know how else to express her feelings.

Her heart wanted to explode every time she got into conflict with her father, but she knew she couldn’t fight back.

She often thought that despite how complicated her relationship with her father was, he was the only parent that she had now. And she needed to obey her father’s orders, regardless of how difficult it was for her.


Everyone copes differently with conflicts or issues they are struggling with.

Good coping skills help us feel better without hurting ourselves or anyone else, while poor coping skills might make us feel good when we use them, but end up hurting ourselves or other people.

Some examples of good coping skills include positive self-talk, deep breathing, exercising, talking to a friend, taking a time out, or going for meditation.

Meanwhile, poor coping skills include name-calling or insulting, becoming violent, hurting ourselves, shutting down, or pretending we don’t care.
There is no problem in life that is too small and can be easily dismissed.

Everything and everyone matters; it is just that the impact and the mental capacities are different from one individual to another. If we are aware of the struggles we face or realise our loved ones are suffering, empowering ourselves and others with good coping skills may provide the much-needed early intervention.

No one should be left to suffer alone. No one is unimportant enough for their issues not to be addressed.

There are hands waiting to comfort us, to pull us out when we are drowning emotionally. To make us feel that this life is worth living.

This is the personal opinion of the writer and does not necessarily represent the views of Twentytwo13.

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