Rapidly Shifting Feelings

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

One second I feel okay and then I feel really upset and angry the next. Either way, no matter what I’m doing, I am never happy. If I am alone, I don’t want to be alone. If I am with people, I want to be alone. I try to handle situations with my parents maturely, but when arguments surface I always act like a child. I scream and cry and get really angry and I don’t know why! I punch holes in walls even though I am a small girl. I’m going off to college, but I still feel like a failure in my parent’s eyes. Everything I do is wrong, even though I do almost everything they ask of me. One second I am happy with my life to an extent, but the next week I hate everyone and everything and I want to just cry all of the time. I know I am rambling, but I don’t even know how to talk about my emotions because they are all over the place. I have no idea why I cant just be content with anything. Like, if I wanted to be alone, why is it when I’m alone that I’m still unhappy? Why if I want to be around my friends, when I get there, I hate them all and want to be alone? It’s not some stupid reason like college or education because I am very excited to pursue a career and expand my knowledge in college. I just want to know why I am always angry and sad or not happy. I am on this constant emotional roller coaster and I am sick of it.

A: It sounds like you are on the cusp of becoming independent from your parents. When parents have been dissatisfied with us on a regular basis there is a disconnect between who we are and what is acceptable to them. While this is natural in many ways as part of normal development the intensity of this experience can create the feeling that “no matter what I want or do it won’t be right.” The resulting frustration with this ongoing dissatisfaction generates anger.

My guess is that as you are launched into college life your feelings of independence and acceptance by others will change and self-acceptance will follow. When you get to the university I would encourage you to take advantage of the university counseling center if you do not feel a positive shift during the first semester. The counselors there will be very used to helping freshmen navigate these new experiences.

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

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Last reviewed: By John M. Grohol, Psy.D. on 5 Jul 2013

APA Reference
Tomasulo, D. (2013). Rapidly Shifting Feelings. Psych Central. Retrieved on November 23, 2014, from http://psychcentral.com/ask-the-therapist/2013/07/05/rapidly-shifting-feelings/

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