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I Have a Problem with My Voice and I Can’t Be a Normal Person

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From a 16 year old in the U.S.: I try to be social sometimes, but I seem to have a speech impairment that makes the tone of my voice seem rude, and hostile. I also have a lisp, stutter quite often, my voice cracks, and my voice is either too loud or too soft (To be honest, I’ve probably spoken more this year than I have my entire life, so I am just realizing these things now).

Sometimes I say things, but don’t even understand what I’m saying. The other day, I was at a gift shop, and when I purchased my item, the cashier gave me 10 cents too much in change. I politely pointed out that I had received too much, and the lady started yelling at me saying things such as, “I don’t understand what’s wrong! I gave you MORE change!” and, “Why are you complaining!” and “I’m too busy to care” (which she wasn’t at all.) and then, I didn’t know how to respond, and I repeatedly said, “I was just worried.” and not even I know what I mean’t by saying that.

I just don’t seem to know how to respond to what people say, and when I respond, I sometimes sound rude and hostile, as though I’m annoyed. I don’t even try to sound rude! In fact, sometimes I try to make my voice sound as peppy as possible and it ends up making me seem fake, and sarcastic.

I have social anxiety, and I have been slowly opening up, but as of this month, it seems like I’m closing myself again. My social anxiety arose during my childhood, when I was constantly bullied and beaten up for being the only minority in an all white school. My parents were never home, so I pretty much raised myself on a strict diet of solitude and discipline. My sister was a drug abuser so she’d sometimes pull at my hair and call me crude names. I had no one to talk to, so I lived most of my life not speaking at all, and when I did, it always sounded rehearsed, as though I were giving a presentation. (I can speak perfectly If I am given a script)

Also, sometimes I just want to shoot everyone who makes my life more complicated than it should be, like that stupid old lady in the gift shop. I don’t care how terrible of a day she was having, she doesn’t know what I’ve been through. And even though I’ve been through so much, I still try to be nice to people, I donate, I volunteer, people just think I’m mean because of my voice and/or my poor formation of conversation.

I’ve always thought about going to a counselor, but my parents always get disappointed in me when I even mention the idea. My school counselor told them about my visit and my parents were so angry with me. My school counselor can’t even do anything for me. She pretends to understand, but she doesn’t care.

I don’t see a future for me, I don’t even know what I want. Another thing that happens to me is I always seem to go off topic when I’m talking, usually about the most random things. Sometimes I do impulsive things that damage my reputation.

ex. I once wrote a story about two boys and tried to make it as random as possible(I don’t even know why, I can’t remember much about my past), and my creative writing teacher called me out in the middle of class saying it was “inappropriate” and a “satire against gays” (when it really wasn’t it was just super random) and I started crying. Then my teacher came to me during class, when everyone was working, and kept saying, “-but you do realize why it was inappropriate, right?” (like 50 times) and making me say, “i’m sorry, i didn’t mean it.”

Another recent event was when I mentioned my dog died this week for no apparent reason during class, when everyone was happy. Although, my dog really did die, so I was pretty depressed.

Another recent event was when the girls at my table in class were talking about wanting to be at some celebrities “level”, and I, for some reason, impulsively said, “Don’t worry, you’re on their level. We all die eventually, so we all have the same fate. No one can escape death, so no one is better than you.” And they all moved tables…
Internally I was screaming because I don’t know why I said that.

People always tell me, “It’s your negative attitude.” and “no one’s gonna love you if you don’t love yourself.” but I wasn’t raised to be happy and I’m fat and ugly, so what do I do if I’m a natural pessimist who no one wants to hang out with?

I don’t know what to do. How am I supposed to be optimistic? and how am I supposed to make my voice sound better? and how do I lose weight when I have PCOS? How do I be normal?

I Have a Problem with My Voice and I Can’t Be a Normal Person

Answered by on -


Let’s take these problems one at a time.
1) The speech issue. You didn’t grow up with a lot of conversation so you didn’t learn how to modulate your speech. Most school systems have a speech therapist available. Check with your guidance department or your school nurse to see if you can have some sessions with the speech therapist.

2) Inappropriate social interactions: This isn’t a matter of speech. It’s a matter of reading social cues and knowing social rules. As with the speech, the isolation you experienced in your family plus the isolation that comes with being bullied means that you didn’t get enough exposure to those cues while growing up. Talk to your guidance counselor about whether there is a social skills coach available to you. The good news is that social skills can be learned and practiced. You are not doomed to be conversationally challenged for your whole life — as long as you make the effort to learn.

3) Polycystic ovary syndrome: You are not alone. 5 – 10% of women have this condition. The symptoms often include the changes in mood you described as well as weight issues. You need to see an endocrinologist for testing and for recommendations for treatment. With proper treatment, you will have the same ability to lose weight as anyone else.

4) Beauty is as beauty does. Not everyone looks like a super-model. But anyone can be an agreeable person that other people want to be around. It does take effort. It does take being willing to get involved at school with activities where you can be with other people to practice those social skills. If there is a service organization at your school, please consider joining up. Look for other opportunities to be helpful.

I’m sorry your parents don’t support the idea that seeing a counselor might be helpful. They may be more receptive to speech therapy, social skills coaching and an appointment with an endocrinologist. Take charge of your life and find the support you need by taking care of 1 – 4. It’s sad you didn’t get the past you needed. But the present and future are now up to you.

I wish you well.
Dr. Marie

I Have a Problem with My Voice and I Can’t Be a Normal Person

Therapists live, online right now, from BetterHelp:

Dr. Marie Hartwell-Walker

Dr. Marie is licensed as both a psychologist and marriage and family counselor. She specializes in couples and family therapy and parent education. Follow her on Facebook or Twitter.

APA Reference
Hartwell-Walker, D. (2018). I Have a Problem with My Voice and I Can’t Be a Normal Person. Psych Central. Retrieved on November 28, 2020, from
Scientifically Reviewed
Last updated: 8 May 2018 (Originally: 21 Dec 2015)
Last reviewed: By a member of our scientific advisory board on 8 May 2018
Published on Psych All rights reserved.