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Childhood Trauma? (I Don’t Know What’s Wrong with Me)

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I don’t know what’s wrong with me. My parents are divorced. I moved to this country. My brother moved back to England to be with my dad. My mum and step-dad were alcoholics and my step-brothers were mean. I think I might have abandonment PTSD, but I have no abandonment issues. I was technically abused but it was neglect mostly and doesn’t feel worthy of being called abuse. My mother is kind of a child, I’ve spent most of my life since I was 10 or 13 looking after her, especially after her second divorce. In which I sometimes had to put her to bed. I was often a mediator between her and my stepfather. The pair cried to me rather often. When they divorced, my step dad told me he’d still be here for me if I needed him, but I recently tried to reconnect with him to no avail. I understand that “I’m here for you” is never a sentence for the recipient but rather the speaker, to make them feel good. I understand that people are self-centered and small-minded. I had a history of instigating chaos by constantly breaking the law, trespassing, stealing, vandalism. I’m well behaved now, but I still have memories and old pains of my youth. All of the times people said they’d be there for me. My attempted suicide. My mother’s attempted suicide. The time when I was dragged up the stairs by my hair. The rumors in middle school that lead to people fearing me for no reason, and the times that I let the rumors change me, and I hurt people. The boyfriend who gunned me down with a bb gun, almost blinding me, and on a separate occasion (after breaking up) the time that he threw a chair at me. My best friend who left me because I’m “childish, spend too much time with my boyfriend, and disrespect my mother”. My mother who actually assaulted my boyfriend once. Man, she would get so out of her face sometimes that she… A couple of times back at my stepdads, she would barge into my room (she did that a lot) and throw suitcases on the floor, demanding that I pack so that we’d leave, but I, a 13-year-old, knew better than to get in the car with a drunk. On many occasions, I barricaded myself in my room, hid in my closet, or on the roof. I sometimes went without food because my step brothers ate everything. I had my own secret pantry of snacks and I was still underweight. I don’t know, I’m just throwing out all the information I think could use some help.

Childhood Trauma? (I Don’t Know What’s Wrong with Me)

Answered by on -


It is time to become more self-sufficient by getting a job and planning on moving out. At 20 years old you need to have some plans and a direction for your life that doesn’t involve your highly dysfunctional family. I would also highly recommend some therapy as you sort through your options and pull these plans together.

It might take you a while — even a year or so — but you need to have a plan to become more independent.

Childhood Trauma? (I Don’t Know What’s Wrong with Me)

Therapists live, online right now, from BetterHelp:

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

Dan Tomasulo Ph.D., TEP, MFA, MAPP teaches Positive Psychology in the graduate program of Counseling and Clinical Psychology at Columbia University, Teachers College and works with Martin Seligman, the Father of Positive Psychology in the Masters of Applied Positive Psychology (MAPP) program at the University of Pennsylvania. He is Director of the New York Certification in Positive Psychology for the Open Center in New York City and on faculty at New Jersey City University. Sharecare has honored him as one of the top 10 online influencers on the topic of depression. For more information go to: He also writes for Psych Central's Ask the Therapist column and the Proof Positive blog.

APA Reference
Tomasulo, D. (2018). Childhood Trauma? (I Don’t Know What’s Wrong with Me). Psych Central. Retrieved on November 30, 2020, from
Scientifically Reviewed
Last updated: 8 May 2018 (Originally: 7 Dec 2016)
Last reviewed: By a member of our scientific advisory board on 8 May 2018
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