Confusing Feelings

By Daniel J. Tomasulo, PhD, TEP, MFA, MAPP

I don’t know how I feel; my feelings and actions are confusing to me. Okay. So this is probably going to be long and confusing for everyone reading this. I have a hard time expressing my feelings, and maybe it’s genetic because apparently my mother is the same way. My family has never been terribly close, and I have lived out if home with my boyfriend for a year or so before (I like to he independent), although I’m back home now. Here are some characteristics that I know about myself, I’m kind of a tom boy, I’ve always gotten along better with boys than girls, I feel I have to be the strong one, and don’t want to show my feelings in front of other people, I also do not like being the center of attention. I have very poor concentration and memory (possibly due to ADD but the symptoms only appeared a few years back); I have little memory before the age of 7. And up until junior high I don’t have very clear memories but I can remember things if people say something that reminds me, very different from memories of when I was younger where I don’t recall major things. I don’t think I had a bad childhood that could have affected me, even when I think about the worst parts I don’t really care, (divorced parents, little money, unhealthy father, abusive mother, sexually abused by brother(s)? not sure if more than one, I even watched my friends father die (heart attack) and it didn’t phase me. kind of sounds like bragging huh.). Every once in a while, it seems things just build up, although I’m not sure what things, and I have a bit of a breakdown. I used to cut (more of for something to do and attention, although I didn’t let anyone find out) and feel suicidal just because I didn’t feel that there was anything for me to do in this world, I felt what was the point of growing up if you’re just going to work for so many years doing the same thing over and over, and then die. Sometimes I still feel this way, like life is pointless. I do enjoy drinking and prescription pills just because it is something to do that makes me happy, and makes my day less dull. I have an extremely hard time interpreting my feelings, I don’t know if I’m happy or depressed or confused, I know I have a bit of anxiety I inherited from my father, I have been on pills for it, and I liked that they made me feel numb which made me happier but I drank almost everyday. I didn’t want to stop the pills because it was a different kind of drunk but I had to because you aren’t supposed to mix them and I ended up in the hospital after a while. Sometimes I get into this sort of numb mood where I can just zoom through my days and not remember much without someone reminding me or thinking really hard about it, it’s usually when I’m down. Sometimes I don’t want to talk to anyone, and other times I want to be around everyone. I feel like I’m masking my happiness whenever I’m around people, maybe part of staying strong. Also, I’ve been to a therapist before I got anxiety pills, and I really wanted to talk but I couldn’t get myself to speak truthfully because I don’t like the idea of talking to someone who is paid for it and really doesn’t care about you as a person, it’s just their job. I have never talked to any of my close friends about these things because they come to me with their problems looking for advice, and I don’t want to burden them with my problems. The situation is the same for this one teacher who always looked out for me, and kind of knows how my life really is, and I always wanted to open to him about everything, but I can’t bring myself to make my problem his problem too. Anyways, I don’t even know what my problem is yet. I really hope people don’t just ignore this question, I don’t know what is wrong, but I can never seem to think as clearly as everyone else can, every one seems to he able to do things so much easier than I can. One last thing, hopefully I don’t remember anything else, I’ve noticed in my relationships at the beginning everything is wonderful, I want to be with them and be affectionate, but then suddenly, not gradually, my feelings change, and everything about them bothers me, and I turn into a bitch and pick them apart constantly. I don’t want them to touch me or kiss me anymore; I don’t want to be around them at all. And then the relationship usually ends. One last thing, I have constant migraines or headaches everyday that the doctor said are tension headaches? That(s everything I can remember for now that I’m confused about. I’ll add more if I think of it. I just want to understand my own feelings.

A: Whew! It sounds like you have been doing a lot of thinking! I wouldn’t pretend to be able to respond adequately to all of what you are putting forward—but I do see a place where I think we could make some progress. That is your comment about the therapist who “really doesn’t care about you as a person, it’s just their job.”

Therapists choose their profession because they do care about people and know how to help. You saying that you don’t want to go because you believe the therapist doesn’t care about people probably comes from the fact that in your family the people who were supposed to care for you properly failed at their job. You think the therapist won’t care enough either.

My very strong suggestion is to give therapy another chance. Just do it for you—help yourself feel better by talking to someone who is trained to help. He or she is likely to do a far better job caring for you than you have said your family has done.

Wishing you patience and peace,
Dr. Dan
Proof Positive Blog @ PsychCentral

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Last reviewed: By John M. Grohol, Psy.D. on 16 Jan 2013

APA Reference
Tomasulo, D. (2013). Confusing Feelings. Psych Central. Retrieved on October 23, 2014, from http://psychcentral.com/ask-the-therapist/2013/01/16/confusing-feelings/