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Life seems a bit pointless for me.


alpacadog
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I'll give a large infodump and then tell why the topic statement is true.

My dad was an abusive alcoholic (he stopped it a few years ago) and beleives in corporal punishment. Both of my parents have punished me for the wrong reasons. When they do that is uncommon; but still too common, if you know what I mean. This has led me to come to fear them.

My parents have always told me how smart and talented I am. They have always pressured me to get better grades. They have always told me that they knew I could do better when the grades I got were unsatisfactory. This has caused a number of problems. One of them is that I feel inadequate when I do not acheive perfection. I feel as if I have failed even when everyone is congratulating me. When I know that I could have done something better. I feel lazy and slothful for not doing it better. I also feel as though my life is meaningless without performing some great acheivement or becoming known throughout history.

I feel as if I have no motivation, or a lack of one. I feel terrible for half-assing things or not doing things, but I cannot get myself to do better. I just cannot.

I have two noteworthy physical conditions, both genetic and thus uncurable.

I suffer from pancreatitis(too long to explain, google it) and a bicuspid aortic valve(a valve has two cuts in it instead of three, which reduces blood flow efficiency).

I was recently thinking about exactly why I should choose life over death. My life is bound to be more troublesome than most considering that my pancreatitis could send me to the hospital at any time (it is relatively uncommon that it is hospital worthy but it is still common enough to be a problem) and I have already decided not to have children because of my genetic defects. I just thought, is it really worth it to go threw the ups and downs of life? Wouldn't I just prefer a nice, blissful, uninterrupted, eternal sleep? Whatever I do is meaningless here. Sure, if I kill myself other people will care and suffer, but they will eventually die. Dead people don't care about anything. They don't care about how much pain or happiness was in their life. They don't care about their loved ones and neither would I if I offed myself. No matter what I do and no matter who remembers me it will eventually be gone. Eventually the Earth's magnetic field will dwindle away. Eventually the Sun will increase in size and cook the Earth. Eventually, heat death will occur and all life in the universe will perish and be forgotten.

I fully realise I should seek actual help in the real world, but I fear my parents and that they might punish me if I talk to them. However, I also fear talking about this to someone I know. I realise I should but I can't get myself to.

I know it seems contradictary of me to seem so dead set on death and then turn around and act like this is a problem. However, I only get the chance of life once and I really want to see a reason to choose life over death.

To clarify, I know people care, I know people will be affected by my death; and I do care that people will be affected. I will NOT care when I am dead.

I also know that life has its rewards, but It just seems like they aren't worth the difficulties to get them.

I also am not in some giant rut. From an outside perspective I am doing pretty well for someone my age. I have about a 3.6 GPA, I am in my school's drama, boardgames, and herpatalogy clubs. I am also going to be an extra in a movie and have recently received an offer to be an extra for another movie.

I say these last few things to clarify my situation, not to brag about it. So tell me, why should I continue on with my life? Please note: I dont plan to take my life soon. I know this is a big decision and I know I shouldn't be rash about it.

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You should continue with your life because you have so much to live for! You sound like an intelligent person and you could achieve a lot, you are capable of doing whatever you wish with YOUR life, I stress the fact that it is YOUR life, not your parent's. Not anybody else's. It's yours. You are only young, it's a difficult age and if you asked around, a lot of people your age may be feeling the same as you. Life isn't easy, and being a teenager is hard, but you might just find that life is worth it.

You are right, you only get one chance at life, so don't you think it's worth trying to work out your issues? Every day is different, life is constantly changing and you have the power to change it, too. Suicide is a permanent solution to a temporary problem. I suggest seeking some councelling, even if you are not comfortable talking to your parents, there will be services available to you that are confidential and your parents do not need to know, a place to start would be asking a school nurse.

I understand that your pancreatitis may hold a few complications for you, but don't assume that life isn't worth living because you could end up in hospital, there is no garantee of that, is there? Everyone experiences difficulties in their life, but you can show your strength, don't let this stop you.

Unfortunately, your parents sound difficult to deal with, and while they mean well, that's not going to offer you much consolation, you will just have to ride it out, it's only a few more years before you can leave! Just remember, this is your life. I am somewhat concerned about the punishment you mention, would you mind sharing a little more?

Take care.

Olivia.

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You should continue with your life because you have so much to live for! You sound like an intelligent person and you could achieve a lot, you are capable of doing whatever you wish with YOUR life, I stress the fact that it is YOUR life, not your parent's. Not anybody else's. It's yours. You are only young, it's a difficult age and if you asked around, a lot of people your age may be feeling the same as you. Life isn't easy, and being a teenager is hard, but you might just find that life is worth it.

You are right, you only get one chance at life, so don't you think it's worth trying to work out your issues? Every day is different, life is constantly changing and you have the power to change it, too. Suicide is a permanent solution to a temporary problem. I suggest seeking some councelling, even if you are not comfortable talking to your parents, there will be services available to you that are confidential and your parents do not need to know, a place to start would be asking a school nurse.

I understand that your pancreatitis may hold a few complications for you, but don't assume that life isn't worth living because you could end up in hospital, there is no garantee of that, is there? Everyone experiences difficulties in their life, but you can show your strength, don't let this stop you.

Unfortunately, your parents sound difficult to deal with, and while they mean well, that's not going to offer you much consolation, you will just have to ride it out, it's only a few more years before you can leave! Just remember, this is your life. I am somewhat concerned about the punishment you mention, would you mind sharing a little more?

Take care.

Olivia.

I realise that it would be best to talk to a councellor. However, because of the time of the year and for obvious reasons my high school councellor is out of the question. I have tried to discuss my problems with one previously but I couldn't bring myself to do it.

Also pancreatitis is (almost) guranteed to send me to the hospital at some point in time. Probably within 6-12 months . It already has on many many occasions.

As to my parents' punishments. I remember a few types of ones. For instance, I remember multiple occasions where I would mess up or maybe my parents would punish me. The reason isn't very relavent. When I cried though my dad would threatan to punish me if I didn't stop. This usually just led to a failed attempt at hiding my tears and it would make the crying worse. I also remember my parents giving me a choice on something. If I picked the choice they didn't agree with then I got punished. I think this needs an example to fully explain.

Example: My mother asked me if I wanted to go with her and my dad to get a christmas tree. I know they wanted me to come but I also did not want to go there. When they got back both of them were very angry with me and if I remember correctly my father threatened to spank me( I dont think he did it because I could outrun him) . I do not remember if it was with a belt or not (he sometimes threatens to spank me with a belt when he punishes me)

I don't really know what I have to live for. Thats about it, death seems like a decent alternative to life.

I also thought about that suicide quote. In the end, suicide is just speeding up what happens naturally. We spend around 75 years alive but an infinite amount of time dead. Does it really matter if you cut those 75 years short?

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Hello, alpacadog, welcome to our community! :)

I'm 30 y.o. now and quite happy (mainly thanks to two years of psychotherapy and my husband) but I remember very well my awful suicidal periods when I was a teenager and also a grad student. Your life seems to have more pains than mine (mainly; my family has been OK, yours is a constant source of suffering :(...), but in ohter ways, you remind me of myself a lot... I also used to think a lot about these questions about life and death and suicide. After all these years, I can tell you that (as some wise people (including e.g. Spinoza, Yalom, ...) noticed, too ;) ) eveyone has to find his/her own answers and his/her way of coping... However, this doesn't mind at all that we couldn't profit from insights, inspiration, and help of others!!

I agree with everything that Olivia has written already. But I'll try to add some more thoughts:

The main source of your current and chronical problems are your parents. You'll probably have to live with them for some more years, so this seems as very unpleasant and demotivating prospects :(. But... I see at least two positive points here:

1) You're an intelligent, successful, and contemplative person and this all in spite of the influence of your parents! You have already analyzed your situation and their influence and also thanks to this, you can look at it "from a distance" which can be useful to avoid the worst damage which they could do to you in case if you'd only "bend" due to their efforts to form you in the shape they'd like to have you. This all gives you a good background to good perspectives in getting better, in finding your own way in life, your own dreams and happiness. I suppose this sounds too optimistic / idealistic to you, but believe me, that's just because of your bad moods and negative thinking induced by the current distress (which, as you say, won't last all your life - there are almost always bad and good times)...

2) You can "extract" an aim out of this situation - a provisory reason to live which could motivate you to live until you'll find some stronger reasons: The answer to your "why to live?" could be now: To show yourself (and your parents and everybody you'd like to) that you can cope with this hard conditions and that you'll reach the point when you'll be able to tell "what's the meaning of your life" and - most importantly - that you're "very glad that you've decided to live, not to kill yourself"!

I suppose such an aim seems "too weak" to you, because it still implies (/doesn't remove) lots of problems and suffering :(. However, this is commun to everybody and doesn't make you special, despite your unique situation and your unique problems (-we are all unique, even though many of us are very similar in some / many ways - I like this quote very much: "Always remember you are unique - just like everyone else." :)) I think you could profit from reading some books written by people struggling with the philosophical questions about meaning of life and suffering. I'd like to recommend you some of the plenty of them, but I'm not sure which would be fine for your age (._.') ... Maybe you could add this other aim to your "temporarily life-sustaining aims": To educate yourself about the ways some philosophers approached the questions you're asking. Because... as I said: we all need to find our own answers adn ways, but there are many people who have already found their ways out of very similar if not the same problems and they can be our inspiration...

Keeping yourself busy by this work on yourself, on your personal (out-of-school) education and growth (something you would do just because of yourself, not your parents), might also help you to better sustain the difficulties of every-day life. I also hope very much that you have some friends who can make your days sunnier, at least sometimes...

What do you think?

L.

P.S.: I'm sorry my English is not good :wacko: ... I'd probably write this quite better in my mother tongue ^_^:rolleyes: ...

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In the meantime, maybe you could like to read for instance this:

Hope is the thing that feels false when we have no other reason to live.

But there's no reason to believe despair, either. That could be an alternate definition of depression: starting to believe in despair. But yeah, either way it's belief.

Truth's a different thing entirely. The truth is that when things seem really bad, they're likely to get better, but they still might not. But then, after they get a little worse, again they're likely to get better but might not. And so on.

The point is that while you're alive, there's a mathematical possibility that things might get better. That goes away if you're dead.

For me, that's more hopeful than the feeling of hope itself: the knowledge that no matter how painful life is, the only way to guarantee that things will never get better is to choose death. Though I admit that both the feeling of hope and the thought are helpful. Sometimes neither one alone is enough.

But that's what has worked for me.

and this: http://www.mentalsup...3537-worthless/

(I mean mainly the post by David...)

L.

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I will admit that the suicidal thoughts are episodic. I don't have an urge to think about suicide now nor most of the time, but it happens occasionally*. (mostly at night when the other members of my family are asleep) The other problems, however, are constant. I also very much appreciate the things said by the both of you. I am also sorry for not saying this sooner (the suicidal thoughts ended the morning after the post) and wasting LaLa's time writing a post targeted at an issue not as major as it seems. I just find it difficult to check the thread and I guess I just procrastinated. No I don't know why I find it difficult but I do. Its the same reason I find it difficult to talk to someone in real life about it.

*I feel like I should be more worried about this than I am. Is this a serious issue?

Doubting thoughts are running through my mind about making this thread. "Did I create this thread because I am secretly seeking attention?" "Are these problems actually serious?" "You don't have the spine to actually use any support or advise they give you"

Its frustrating because I am fighting the urge just to forget about this thread, but I know that I need someone to talk to and I want to change these problems I have. I also know I need to work up the courage to talk to a proffesional (which would be my school councellor, who is obviously not available until August)

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Hello, A., I'm glad to see you here again :).

I am also sorry for not saying this sooner and wasting LaLa's time writing a post targeted at an issue not as major as it seems

You're kind, but don't worry about this; for me, it's not a "wasted time" ;).

the suicidal thoughts ended the morning after the post

I'm sure many people, not only 'finding my way' (I imagine mostly my ex-therapist now :P ), would suggest that this in not just a coincidence... Maybe it is, but... what about trying to find out by continuing this thread ;) ? This kind of communication gives you more "space and freedom", anonymity related to a feeling of being safe, ... and could be a good way to prepare yourself to the meeting with the counselor. You might become more "ahead / advanced" in your awareness of your problems and their importance.

I'm pleased to see that your doubting thoughts didn't prevent you from comming here!

"Did I create this thread because I am secretly seeking attention?"

I understand why you feel uneasy about this, mostly because I know this "embarrassing feeling" as well (many do, you can be sure...). But I'd like you to know that there's nothing bad in (this kind of) seeking attention and it's even better to do it "consciously", not just secretely and with beating yourself because of the suspicion. You're in a kind of distress and looking for someone to talk to is a good natural way of carring about yourself - and it's good that all your doubts about the meaning of existence don't forbid you to do it - to care... :)

"Are these problems actually serious?"

This was one of the main questions in my past and my constant denial of the "seriousness" of my problems (similar to yours) prevented me from seeking help and then, when I finally decided to enter therapy (after feeling suicidal "now and then" (but with no attempt to try to end my life) for about 12 years!), I was very frustrated that I hadn't done that much sooner. I don't say this would be your case. But I'd like to share this experience...

The problem with evaluation of "seriuosness of one's problems" is "relativity": We always compare ourselves to others and we can always find many people who have much worse problems than ours, so we are prone to conclude "we're quite fine, we don't have the right to ask for help, care, support, as there are so many others who need it more". But then we live with a kind of constant discontentment, unhappiness, or even suffering - which can cause even physical (psychosomatic) problems, or/and turn into depression or another disorder after even a minor trigger (and life is full of such triggers...). When you're in the state that you can't yet genuinely care about your own wellbeing, then you could "at least" look at it from another side: If you become more or less OK, then you will be able more easily do something good for the others, those who have worse problems and whom you see now as "the reason why your problems are relatively unimportant, so not worth to solve with a help of somebody / a professional".

"You don't have the spine to actually use any support or advise they give you"

Who knows? ^_^ This uncertainty is not a reason to give up reading and posting! Maybe before deciding if to continue, you could tell us what would you loose by this communication or if you feel here somehow unsafe, uneasy, ... and why.

Take care! :)

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Who knows? ^_^ This uncertainty is not a reason to give up reading and posting! Maybe before deciding if to continue, you could tell us what would you loose by this communication or if you feel here somehow unsafe, uneasy, ... and why.

Take care! :)

I won't discontinue/ignore/whatever the thread. I was just saying its an urge I have to fight. I don't know why I fear posting or reading here. I know I have nothing to lose but I don't know why I feel uneasy. It makes no sense.

However, I won't let that stop me from seeking help.

Speaking of seeking help, one issue has been particularly on my mind. My mom and I have been spending more time together because she has been taking me to movie extra auditions. I find her very irritating. to cut straight to the issue, she seems to want to take the wheel or controller away from me and pilot my body herself (metaphorically) but can't find either. So she decides to instead use verbal commands and questions. For example, she needs around five questions to confirm that yes, I am content while standing in a line. She also feels the need to attempt to instruct me on how to use a bus door from the inside. (the door swings outward) That is the tip of the iceberg

I have lashed out at her alot because of this. Despite my obvious anger and irritation, I feel bad for doing it. I don't know if what I am doing is wrong and if it is then I want to change it. The only thing I can think of is to just pretend I am not irritated. Which is a viable option, but not one that sounds particularly good and it doesn't fix the actual issue.

It might be relevant to know I have had anger issues in the past which has led me to doing things I regret.

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alpacadog said:

One of them is that I feel inadequate when I do not acheive perfection. I feel as if I have failed even when everyone is congratulating me. When I know that I could have done something better. I feel lazy and slothful for not doing it better. I also feel as though my life is meaningless without performing some great acheivement or becoming known throughout history.

alpacadog, I have felt this way and sometimes still do. I am 40 years old and I have people in my circle who are it their late fifties and older who seem to expect me to have all the answers. Even when they know that I won't have the answers, they ask me because they know I will find out. It's just in my nature to do so. And if I say it is so than it is so. The way they treat me is the way I act much of the time and that doesn't win me many new friends. However, it does keep the ones I've got. It also puts a lot of pressure on me sometimes to maintain the level and quality of my advice. I get tired and want to tell them to figure their own crap out, I have a life I am trying to live too. In the end, I know they come to me because they trust me. They trust me to help them take care of themselves, to love them despite their problems and to tell them when it is too much for me. They trust me to tell them that I have too much going on in my own life to help them. In those times they trust me to come to them for help.

My point is that the mere fact that you feel the need and have the drive to keep pushing yourself shows that you ARE (that is you have achieved), greatness. Who knows what keeps any of us going? Just the fact that we can get out of bed in the morning knowing we are going back to bed at the end of the day or instinctively keep ourselves from harm even when we wish it upon ourselves. We live because we can. We live because even the smallest part of us believes that eventually tomorrow will be better or at least that today was better than yesterday. Maybe, we live out of nothing but a morbid curiosity to see just how bad it can get or out of rebellion in that we refuse to let life and our feelings about it to beat us in such a way as to dictate what we are going to do. Whatever your reason, you live because you are alive. And you are alive because of your greatness in the face of your tribulations even if it is difficult or better yet, because it is difficult.

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I have lashed out at her alot because of this. Despite my obvious anger and irritation, I feel bad for doing it. I don't know if what I am doing is wrong and if it is then I want to change it. The only thing I can think of is to just pretend I am not irritated. Which is a viable option, but not one that sounds particularly good and it doesn't fix the actual issue.

It might be relevant to know I have had anger issues in the past which has led me to doing things I regret.

We (almost) all have done things we regret... :( It somehow comes with being human...

You're a teenager and that's a diffucult time even without any of those additional problems you have (as irritating, badly punishing, and perfection-wanting parents). You have obvious reasons to be angry and your parents should understand at least that... you have the right to express your anger. There is always (?) the chance to tell them later "I'm sorry, I didn't want to be so much rude" or something silmilar.

Did something help you with the anger issues in past?

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We (almost) all have done things we regret... :( It somehow comes with being human...

You're a teenager and that's a diffucult time even without any of those additional problems you have (as irritating, badly punishing, and perfection-wanting parents). You have obvious reasons to be angry and your parents should understand at least that... you have the right to express your anger. There is always (?) the chance to tell them later "I'm sorry, I didn't want to be so much rude" or something silmilar.

Did something help you with the anger issues in past?

I never did anything to try and control my anger in the past. It has been only recently that I have tried to control it and I have been having some success , but this one incident brought it out again.

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Not to take away from what it means to us to do our best and the pain we feel when things don’t work out, but I’m wondering if it is essential that life have a point? Maybe that’s just a myth we have???

Here’s a video that suggests that we may have ways already to be happy with whatever we have (as long as we’re not in pain, I guess):

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I absolutely hate that I feel as if I have to ask permission or something to write about my problems on here. I know that the entire point of this forum is for people to talk about their problems yet I feel as if I constantly have to tread on light ground. I fear someone is going to go "Okay this is getting rediculous you don't have THAT many problems" or "I am losing my patience. Why don't you just solve your problems if you already know how to solve them?" That is a nice segway to the next problem I want to talk about.

I was finally able to admit to myself that the reason I really don't want to talk about my problems unless it is anonymously is because I am absolutely terrified of criticism from people I admire, people I love, and total strangers. I have no problem with criticism or scolding from people I merely like or people that I dislike (it is against my "philosophy", you might call it, to hate. No I am not saying I never get angry nor am I saying that I never do bad things to other people. I just make it a goal not to.) The reason I come to that conclusion is because I was thinking of the correlation between the people I fear will hate me if I say the wrong sentence or mess up in front of them etc. They are my parents, my school councellor, two people that I have only met in passing, my friends, and every single stranger I have a direct confrontation with. The reason I am listing them is incase someone else can find a correlation between them that makes sense. The more I know about why I have these feelings then maybe I can gather myself enough to seek help.

I have started really distrusting my parents. Infact, if they weren't my parents I doubt I would like them. Considering this is the summer, I have had alot of time to think (free time is something that I have alot of because of them) and it seems like my parents have always taken the easy way in parenting. I was placed infront of videogames before I could even read. So many of my other interests were shot down for one excuse or another. I joined the cub scouts but after one year they didn't feel like taking me to the meetings anymore. I tried to get into baseball but I was discouraged from it. I tried to get into arts and crafts (or whatever you call making things out of various kits full of materials and instructions.) but after one store trip they gave up. My parents, annoyed that I was spending all of my time on the computer, suggested I do some community work. I agreed and then after a week of nothing happening I ask about it again. Yet another excuse is given. After all of this they wonder why I spend all day on my computer and they scold me for it.

Writing all of this and thinking about it puts all of my parents actions into a new perspective. Why do they encourage me to join the drama* club after I express interest in becoming an actor? Is it because they want me to become some sort of rich famous actor in some twisted up attempt to elavate themselves in their own eyes? Why did my father quit drinking? I wonder if my well-being had anything to do with it at all considering it took him a few years to quit. Why do they punish me for certain actions? Is it so they can feel good about themselves in being a "good parent" because "good parents" punish their kids when they do bad things? Or is it because they genuinely are trying to teach me how to act and think properly? Why does my mother interrogate me about almost every event she wasn't personally part of? Is it curiosity or a desire for control?

There is a certain relief with telling someone all of that and getting it off my chest. However, writing it has brought up alot of memories and emotions I have buried.

edit: edited out unneccesary information

*the official name is phililectic society, but I am not sure if most people would recognize such a word

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"... people I admire, people I love, and total strangers."

Could there be two factors to the fear of criticism? To me, "risk" of something is made up of two components: probability of it happening, and importance of it happening.

For those you care about more, at least importance is larger, and you may also believe that criticism is more probable.

With strangers, the uncertainty increases the probability that you would estimate, even though the importance is presumably lower.

With people you've had some interaction with, without them criticizing you, the probability and importance are both low.

Towards the end, you ask a number of questions. Unfortunately, from "out here", there's no way for us to know the answers. Certainly, both alternatives seem possible, and it's valuable to seek out the answers that are true in your own situation. Do allow the possibility that both options might be true, to some extent. Most parents do care about their children, and many don't really know how. Parents are human too, which means they are just as often as clueless about their own problems as the rest of us are about ours. The difficulty, for children of such parents, is finding an objective enough viewpoint from which to make a judgment for themselves.

And you definitely don't have to ask permission to have problems, or to tell people about them. You said you already know that; I'm just reinforcing the point. :-)

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... yet I feel as if I constantly have to tread on light ground. I fear someone is going to go "Okay this is getting rediculous you don't have THAT many problems" or "I am losing my patience. Why don't you just solve your problems if you already know how to solve them?"

Can this be also a product of the influence of your parents? Do they have this attitude towards you? From what you said so far, it can't be deduced, but it seems to me that maybe they don't say this kind of things, but they give you this implicit message by their behavior, actions: You feel like if they don't care about your problems ("if they were, wouldn't they help, wouldn't they change???") and so you presume (at least emotionally) that it's up to you to struggle all alone with everything and that also other people think so.

In any case, it’s very good that you can look at it "from the distance": You aren’t stuck in this feeling, you can describe it and overcome it with your reason.

I was finally able to admit to myself that the reason I really don't want to talk about my problems unless it is anonymously is because I am absolutely terrified of criticism

I see it as another step in the right direction ;) : You admitted a problem which had been unidentified. An example of a positive consequence of overcoming the fear of posting here.

I like what ‘malign’ has written about this (and also the rest of his post, btw ;) ).

It’s natural that we don’t like being criticized. But it’s important to distinguish a "healthy" kind of "fear" (or rather unpleasant feeling) and an "inappropriate"-one. People with a too low self-esteem are often very dependent on what others think and say about them and their relationship towards themselves is based on the other people’s opinions, which is usually harmful to their lives and causes too much incertitude, fear, and distress. They are preoccupied by trying to please the others and forget to please themselves, for instance.

I wonder how you imagine the impact of the criticism (of people you love and of those you don’t know) on you. In other words: what exactly are you terrified of? Imagine that we would react in the way you were afraid we would. How would this influence, change your life? (I have other questions in this direction, but I can’t pose them before you answer these-ones. But don’t press yourself to answer quickly. You can just wait for the moment you realize the answers. This reminds me something generally valid: Mark (with the nick ‘malign’ here) once wrote me something like: "Don’t think too intensively/much, LaLa. Sometimes the answers come when we stop thinking." )

I have started really distrusting my parents.

I’d like to say: It’s OK. It’s a sad and difficult period of life, but this happens to ... I can’t say "every normal person", because there are surely exceptions to everything and, mostly, it has many different forms and manifestations in different cases, but... I’d like you to know that this isn’t anything special about you and/or them. In general, a little child is convinced that everything the parents do is right and when they hurt him/her, it’s because he/she deserves it. As the child is growing up, there has to come a phase when he/she begins to realize that the parents are not ideal and it can fill him/her with anger, distrust etc. I think it’s always a long process "to embrace the truth", to find the right way of seeing the parents and feeling about them. It’s important to find your own way of reconciliation and understanding. It may last years, but this doesn’t mean "years of suffering". Let’s see it rather like "years of growing" ;) .

There is a certain relief with telling someone all of that and getting it off my chest. However, writing it has brought up alot of memories and emotions I have buried.

BTW, this is a feeling / state of mind typical also for psychotherapy.

And one remark in the end of this post: In future, you’ll be more and more independent from your parents and I hope very much that you’ll be able to profit from this independence to pursue your own interests and hobbies without letting them to limit you!! By that time, you can try to find the activities you can enjoy without being limited by them. Reading (and searching for new books which could interest you) is surely a good candidate ;) !!!

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"... people I admire, people I love, and total strangers."

Could there be two factors to the fear of criticism? To me, "risk" of something is made up of two components: probability of it happening, and importance of it happening.

For those you care about more, at least importance is larger, and you may also believe that criticism is more probable.

With strangers, the uncertainty increases the probability that you would estimate, even though the importance is presumably lower.

With people you've had some interaction with, without them criticizing you, the probability and importance are both low.

Towards the end, you ask a number of questions. Unfortunately, from "out here", there's no way for us to know the answers. Certainly, both alternatives seem possible, and it's valuable to seek out the answers that are true in your own situation. Do allow the possibility that both options might be true, to some extent. Most parents do care about their children, and many don't really know how. Parents are human too, which means they are just as often as clueless about their own problems as the rest of us are about ours. The difficulty, for children of such parents, is finding an objective enough viewpoint from which to make a judgment for themselves.

And you definitely don't have to ask permission to have problems, or to tell people about them. You said you already know that; I'm just reinforcing the point. :-)

I didn't really expect anyone to be able to answer the questions. I put them out there to demonstrate just how distrustful of my parents I have become. I know they do love me, but to what extent and are there alternate reasons? Is the question I have. I don't know and I don't suppose it really matters.

Can this be also a product of the influence of your parents? Do they have this attitude towards you? From what you said so far, it can't be deduced, but it seems to me that maybe they don't say this kind of things, but they give you this implicit message by their behavior, actions: You feel like if they don't care about your problems ("if they were, wouldn't they help, wouldn't they change???") and so you presume (at least emotionally) that it's up to you to struggle all alone with everything and that also other people think so.

In any case, it’s very good that you can look at it "from the distance": You aren’t stuck in this feeling, you can describe it and overcome it with your reason.

I would say it is a product of the influence of my parents. I have many less than pleasant memories of anger and punishment from my parents for what other people apparently consider minor things. (ex: spilling a plate of food, forgetting to turn of a light, etc.) So I guess you were right. They did give me an implicit message by their actions.

I see it as another step in the right direction ;) : You admitted a problem which had been unidentified. An example of a positive consequence of overcoming the fear of posting here.

I like what ‘malign’ has written about this (and also the rest of his post, btw ;) ).

It’s natural that we don’t like being criticized. But it’s important to distinguish a "healthy" kind of "fear" (or rather unpleasant feeling) and an "inappropriate"-one. People with a too low self-esteem are often very dependent on what others think and say about them and their relationship towards themselves is based on the other people’s opinions, which is usually harmful to their lives and causes too much incertitude, fear, and distress. They are preoccupied by trying to please the others and forget to please themselves, for instance.

I wonder how you imagine the impact of the criticism (of people you love and of those you don’t know) on you. In other words: what exactly are you terrified of? Imagine that we would react in the way you were afraid we would. How would this influence, change your life? (I have other questions in this direction, but I can’t pose them before you answer these-ones. But don’t press yourself to answer quickly. You can just wait for the moment you realize the answers. This reminds me something generally valid: Mark (with the nick ‘malign’ here) once wrote me something like: "Don’t think too intensively/much, LaLa. Sometimes the answers come when we stop thinking." )

I am terrified that I will say/do something that will sour my relationship with that person forever. Yes, I know this is preposterous. Irrational problems are the most difficult, atleast for me. You deal with a rational fear of something usually by learning more about it and slowly familiarizing yourself with it. How do you deal with an irrational fear?

Also, if you reacted in a way I feared you might. Then the legitimacy of my problem would be put into question and the fear of it happening would be reinforced with solid evidence. I imagine it might change my life by making me less social and less willing to talk and interact with new people. Or maybe it wouldn't change anything, considering I have talked to and talk to many people. Not one has reacted the way I fear they will act. Still doesn't make this type of thing easier :( *. There is one exception to this. When I am around my friends, sometimes I lose this fear. Not all of the time, but usually if I am doing something with them. I have been trying to remedy this fear by talking to people more and I think it is helping. Honestly, the extreme fear I have of talking about this is probably due to the subject matter more than the talking itself.

* for clarification, I think not having people get angry at me does nothing. Actively trying to talk to people does.

I’d like to say: It’s OK. It’s a sad and difficult period of life, but this happens to ... I can’t say "every normal person", because there are surely exceptions to everything and, mostly, it has many different forms and manifestations in different cases, but... I’d like you to know that this isn’t anything special about you and/or them. In general, a little child is convinced that everything the parents do is right and when they hurt him/her, it’s because he/she deserves it. As the child is growing up, there has to come a phase when he/she begins to realize that the parents are not ideal and it can fill him/her with anger, distrust etc. I think it’s always a long process "to embrace the truth", to find the right way of seeing the parents and feeling about them. It’s important to find your own way of reconciliation and understanding. It may last years, but this doesn’t mean "years of suffering". Let’s see it rather like "years of growing" ;) .

I suppose I shouldn't be mad at my parents. Even though they have done things they shouldn't do they still are my parents and I doubt they realise that what they have done has had such an effect on me.

It doesn't excuse all of the things they have done, but it is the how things are and I will just have to adapt to the situation.

BTW, this is a feeling / state of mind typical also for psychotherapy.

And one remark in the end of this post: In future, you’ll be more and more independent from your parents and I hope very much that you’ll be able to profit from this independence to pursue your own interests and hobbies without letting them to limit you!! By that time, you can try to find the activities you can enjoy without being limited by them. Reading (and searching for new books which could interest you) is surely a good candidate ;) !!!

I do enjoy reading and it is one of the things readily available to me. I guess the problem is they restricted me to mostly sedentary hobbies and then got angry when that resulted in me having sedentary hobbies.

I have a few technical questions to ask.

What is the general quality of school councellors compared to a phsycologist? I am pretty convinced that a proffesional would help. However, for rather obvious reasons I am reluctant to go through my parents to get it.

Are school councellors and/or phsycologists required to not tell others about someone they are helping, outside of the case of suicide? I want to know if this is law or just my school's policy. For obvious reasons, I do not want my parents to know what would be talked about. My mother is rather inquisitive, that is to say, like an actual spanish iquisitor about my mandatory quarterly sessions with the school councellor. In those instances I was not seeing him for any particular reason, every student has to do it.

Is there anything else I should know?

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Firstly, I have to say that I see a lot of intelligent insights and clear understanding in your thinking. On one hand, with this aptitude, you're "well prepared", so to say, to "handle" and work out your problems, on the other hand, you might be/become prone to so-called "over-thinking" which sometimes causes additional problems, but which also could lead to a deeper "level" of ... "understanding life". (Sorry for this maybe confusing (?) / useless or even awkward intro...)

You deal with a rational fear of something usually by learning more about it and slowly familiarizing yourself with it. How do you deal with an irrational fear?

Good question... There are techniques of cognitive-behavioral therapy for overcoming irrational fears. I'm not very familiar with them, so I'm not going into this here :(. However, the principle you described for the "rational fears" is very similar, if not the same. I hope others can tell you more about it (?)...

I imagine it might change my life by making me less social and less willing to talk and interact with new people.

Yes, this is logical; it happens this way. People are discouraged, intimidated by rejections. But the rejections may have weaker effect if one is "well prepared" and has understood that being rejected by somebody doesn't mean "much" and often doesn't mean anything about the rejected person and his/her problems; it just means that the one who rejects / don't want to listen / deny the problems / ... is not the right person to talk to about these particular topics. Making general conclusions from it is natural to many of us, but can be harmful and prevents us from searching for what we really need.

I am terrified that I will say/do something that will sour my relationship with that person forever.

I suppose that if it's a friend or a family member, then there's quite a lot of other things that might uphold the relationship - even though I know that the feeling "(s)he couldn't do for me what I needed and may think that I'm weak and ... (?)" (= when (s)he rejects your call for help with some problems) can be unpleasant. But even friendships pose us some problems sometimes and I think this one isn't "so bad"... In other case, if the rejection (the reaction to your "opening-up") is "too dramatic", too painful (because of the way how the friend did it), it might even mean that... "that person is not somebody with whom the relationship would be worth to care so much about"...

Then the legitimacy of my problem would be put into question and the fear of it happening would be reinforced with solid evidence.

I'm glad to see you wrote "put into question", not "denied" or something like that! :) However, I think that... there is still a little problem in the assumption that you need "a legitimacy" for your problem; that others are here do decide if it's a problem or not. Well, to some extent, it can be true - if you had some irrational problem and everybody convinced you that it's not a problem... but - there still would be a problem, yet another-one: that you see a problem where it is not - so... still something that needs a solution, a work on yourself. (Sorry, I may seem make things too confused :(. )

It's good to have a feed-back from others, to "put your subjective world in a context", but it's also good to remember that the feed-back depends very much on the person (his/her experiences, character), not only on you and the "legitimacy" of your problem. You know you can get several very different reactions to the same problem. So... the "ultimate referee" about the relevance of your problem and your feelings for you ... are you :). It's not easy to be such a "referee" :(. And it helps to get some support :).

Oh, I'm in a too wordy mood today :(; I'm sorry...

The take home message: When you run into somebody rejecting you and denying your problems, than it's good to know it's not worth to make big conclusions about you and your problem and that people's reactions depend mainly on them, so there's not much to fear because it does not "do something to you", it just tells you something about the kind of things that are better to avoid with that particular person.

I have been trying to remedy this fear by talking to people more and I think it is helping.

I hope it will stay mostly as positive as it is ... and even go better ;).

Even though they have done things they shouldn't do they still are my parents and I doubt they realise that what they have done has had such an effect on me.

It doesn't excuse all of the things they have done, but it is the how things are and I will just have to adapt to the situation.

It seems to me you already have "a mature attitude". :)

But understanding is one thing and feelings another:

I suppose I shouldn't be mad at my parents.

I would say: You "shouldn't " be mad at them to an exaggerated extent that would destroy completely all your interactions and would made you only suffering. But being mad in some situations, sometimes - during some thinking/considerations, ... that's just normal, natural. Trying to suppress the anger can be dangerous... It may come out in other, hurtful ways... But, of course, it's good to learn to manage the anger, to express it in an "appropriate" way. This could be one of the topics for the therapy/counseling.

I'm sorry I have nothing to say to your technical questions (just that those are good questions and I hope you'll get the answers); I'm from Central Europe...

It seems to me that I only put into too many words the things you already know :(. But I hope that maybe there is something that could be a little useful...

Edited by LaLa3
I made some changes...
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Hello again... I hope I'm not bothering with my long posts... :o

But I have thinking about it more and would like to add something that I'd like also some other people to read, maybe they'll find it here...

One of the probably frequent problems with therapists and counselors is the expectation of the client. Some people say "(s)he doesn't care about me" and/or "(s)he's got nothing useful for me", ... and I wonder how much and how often this is due to inappropriate expectations. If you expect the therapist/counselor to tell you things like "oh, you poor thing, you've had such a hard life, your family is so bad to you, don't worry, I'll help you" or giving you practical advises that will soon lead to big changes, then disappointment is very probable. From my experience and from what I've read, it's useful to see the therapist mostly as a source of support, recourse (but not pity!!!) who's "standing with you" no matter what yo do and feel and say, and who can be "used by you" (in your mind) for what you need - for me, he was for instance a source of motivation and of the feeling that it's worth trying to change, to understand, ... (and he was also a source of belief that I'm lovable even by somebody who knows everything about me - and slowly I realized that believing this means also believing that it's possible to feel "lovable by myself", ...)

What about your expectations from the counselor / psychologist / ...?

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I'm not looking for someone to pity me. I am looking for someone to help me overcome the problems I don't know how to overcome. My expectation is that he will help me help myself. I have always thought of them as doctors for the mind. They help you diagnose what's wrong and tell you what you can do to fix it. Obviously the nature of the treatment would be different but I think the point is clear.

Also, don't worry about making the long posts I don't mind.

edit: No offense, but I would rather hear from a therapist or someone who has worked with multiple therapists for different reasons because single anecdotes aren't terribly reliable. Although it is good to know what expectations not to have.

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I have a few technical questions to ask.

What is the general quality of school councellors compared to a phsycologist? I am pretty convinced that a proffesional would help. However, for rather obvious reasons I am reluctant to go through my parents to get it.

Are school councellors and/or phsycologists required to not tell others about someone they are helping, outside of the case of suicide? I want to know if this is law or just my school's policy. For obvious reasons, I do not want my parents to know what would be talked about. My mother is rather inquisitive, that is to say, like an actual spanish iquisitor about my mandatory quarterly sessions with the school councellor. In those instances I was not seeing him for any particular reason, every student has to do it.

Is there anything else I should know?

Psychologists whom I have seen always give me a statement about their confidentiality policies.

I would guess that a school counselor COULD and should provide their policies to a student. I don't know if they always do as a matter of course. But, alpacadog, you could definitely ASK, maybe, before you started the counseling.

School counselors probably have less intensive training in deep psychological problems than psychologists -- but if you like and trust the counselor, and the confidentiality policies, then it might be worth trying it.

I've seen a bunch of mental health people since I was a teenager and had an eating disorder. I got over the eating disorder but have had some other issues from time to time. The most important thing I have learned is that I have to be my own advocate -- when the counseling isn't helping or I don't understand something, then I have to ask and try to find out what the problem is. It may be the therapist's problem -- and I may have to find another one. Or maybe the therapist can explain what I don't understand -- that's good, because then I'll know!!

Hopefully, with (or without) good counseling, a point to life will become apparent to you in time. :)

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Lately I have been pretty bored and frustrated. Bored because there is very little that I am able to do currently. Frustrated because my parents blame me for not coming up with something to do out of thin air. I don't have access to a car, there is nothing interesting in walking or bike distance, all of my friends live decently far away, and doing the only non-sedentary activity (bowling) in the area that I live in gets old fast.

Things should normalise when I go back to school. Then I can also get some councelling and hopefully that will help.

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