When I was younger everyone thought I was a happy kid even if I didnt talk too much, I never really worried about things until about 8th grade. My grandmother has been raising me since I was 2 years old, and I never thought much of it. Sophmore year of highschool, my father who had been in prison showered up at our house, and my mother who I hadnt spoken to started calling begging for money, I assume we were the only ones left to call. I’m not sure why but ever since they both came into my life I have been feeling as tjough im becoming emotionless, i just dont care. I find myself getting into trouble a lot and not able to keep relationships ( I’m “cold-hearted” according to past girlfriends). No matter how much I tell myself to do things differently I can’t change, ad I was wondering if you had any advice?
A. You are experiencing a difficult situation. For various reasons, your parents are unable to raise you. Thankfully you have your grandmother.
The situation with your parents is likely causing a great deal of psychological distress. Psychological distress is anxiety-producing and unpleasant. As a way to protect yourself psychologically, you may have unconsciously “shut off” all of the emotions associated with your parents and it is now affecting other areas of your life. Shutting off yourself emotionally means that you are less vulnerable to being hurt again.
The flip side of emotional numbness is the risk of not caring about yourself or those around you. This defense mechanism can protect you but can also harm you. That may be what is happening.
It is important that you do not ignore what has been happening. As you have noted, it is leading to a great deal of trouble in your life. Without treatment, the risk is that this problem will continue to degrade the quality of your life.
Psychotherapy could effectively resolve this problem. A mental health professional can help you develop the skills necessary to properly deal with your emotions. Report this problem to your grandmother and ask if she will assist you in accessing mental health treatment. Please take care.
Last reviewed: By John M. Grohol, Psy.D. on 9 Dec 2012
Randle, K. (2012). I Feel Like I’m Losing My Mind. Psych Central. Retrieved on March 8, 2014, from http://psychcentral.com/ask-the-therapist/2012/12/09/i-feel-like-im-losing-my-mind-2/