I am a woman with an interest in discovering what is “wrong” with me. While I personally believe myself to be a relatively pleasant individual, the years of being accused of being strange have rendered me curious regarding the state of my mental health.

For example, I lack the capability to feel a wide range of emotions like the rest of those I know. This has led to a loss of friendships, since I often grow frustrated with the emotional dependency and drama that comes with maintaining a relationship. Family wise, my relatives continuously remind me that I am callous and emotionally unavailable. Of course, I respond to their proclamations of love toward me since it is socially required. It validates their feelings and makes them feel the giddiness of affection, something which I have yet to truly understand.

I am quite amiable for the most part. It is beneficial in the long run, since it allows me to go through life with few problems. Amiability with classmates = the ability to request notes and glean information from missed classes. Amiability in the workplace = no drama, help when you require it, and positive references when you leave. And yes, the Golden Rule does play a part here. I do realize that people should be treated with respect. However, I can readily admit that I don’t feel this human connection that everyone talks about. I don’t feel anything toward any of these random people I interact with on a daily basis, and their attempts at befriending me do little more than make me question their true intentions.

Also, I have yet to be in a relationship with a member of the opposite sex considering they often misunderstand me. I have considered marriage since a second source of income would provide increased comfort. But as far as romance goes, I have no interest whatsoever. The problem is, most men desire that interest.

I could continue, but I assume that these few paragraphs provide an ample amount of data. Are these qualities indicative of a potential problem, or would you consider this a matter of personality?

Thank you for your time. (From the USA)

A:  I appreciate your capacity for reflection and concern about your own thoughts, feelings and behavior. This is important because the concern itself is coming from a very good place: the part of you that wants to feel better.

Whether or not we call this “personality” or something else I think is immaterial. What is more important is for you to take your insights and awareness to a place where they can be discussed, understood, and changes made. The perfect venue for this is group therapy. I’d find someone in your area (the find help tab at the top of the page should help you find someone qualified close by.) Group therapy will allow you to work with others on understanding where your reactions come from, while you learn what new interactions might work better.

You’ve made a good start here by identifying the issues — now I encourage you to continue your search for understanding and change.

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