When they’re just looking for the dirt, I don’t know how to talk about the pain.

I was in this web of secrecy that I didn’t know how to get myself out of. There was a lot of stuff going on that was unhealthy for me, and that I shouldn’t have been involved in.Then my parents took my phone while I was sleeping.

Looking back, I still don’t think that was the appropriate course of action, and they recognize that it felt like a huge betrayal on their part. It was like they didn’t want me to tell them what was going on, they wanted to take it from me. I already felt so deeply wounded from everything else. I was in a lot of pain that I didn’t know how to communicate and I was ashamed. That is what really shut me down. That was when I was like “you don’t want to know why the dirt is there, you just want to decide what the story is for yourself”.

I just had to wait until they saw everything. I felt this immense feeling of shame constantly. I remember one time sitting in the living room just having them both looking at me. It was one of the worst feelings because it felt like their eyes were burning into me. I know, looking back, those were just concerned eyes, but when you’re ashamed of yourself and the things you got wrapped up in, concerned eyes can look like judgmental eyes.

We can’t change what happened, and in some ways, it will always hurt, but at the same time we can look back and have more understanding so it doesn’t feel like an attack anymore, it just feels like a mistake.

If good intentions have gone sour with the kids you love, you are not alone. Many parents fail to communicate their love and care when helping hurting kids.

The Strangest Thing Conference is more than just a seminar; it is a chance to better equip men and women to help kids navigate through the pain of this life through understanding and better strategies for healing.