From a teen in the U.S.: My mom thinks that there is something wrong with me. Something that stops me from being nice to everyone that is close to me, like my sibling. She thinks that I WANT to cut off all the joy in my life.

I don’t really know why. When I was really young my dad had died, and because I was so young, it didn’t really have an impact on my life. I really don’t know if there was a void in my life my mom could never fill. My mom would and still gives us the occasional slap on the face. It’s okay though, it’s not like “actual abuse”. It’s just discipline. But either way, I know deep down inside, I am scared of her, because I was always afraid that she would hurt me.

I’m one of those people who doesn’t like to share their feelings. I keep everything bottled up inside, so much so, that sometimes I don’t know what I am feeling. I don’t want to people to know that I am vulnerable, and having feelings, to me conveys that you are weak and vulnerable. I stop myself from crying in front of other people. When my mom talks about my “issues” to me, I want to cry, but I never do, I just blink them away really fast.

School has always been an issue as well. My mom wants me to do very well, but I am not capable of that stuff. I’m in all honors and stuff, but she turns into a monster, trying to make me learn math for the quiz that is tomorrow, making me stay up until one or two am. School was just always miserable, but an escape from home.

My mom thinks I truly want to hurt my sister and herself. Me and my sibling fight A LOT. We wrestle, punch, kick each other, and annoy the heck out of each other as well. I love to annoy my sister, but I don’t think I hurt her. My mom feels like I also do the opposite of what she wants me to do. But when I’m not hungry, I’m not going to eat, and I will put up a tantrum if I have to dress up, because I hate dresses. I’m not trying to hurt her, but I am going to do what I want to do.

She thinks it’s so weird that I have no friends, well no close friends. I have a couple of friends but I don’t feel comfortable enough to invite them to my house to just hangout or come to a birthday party. I am a proud antisocial. There is a lot of stuff wrong with me, but my mom thinks I have some sort of mental problem. She thinks that I want to be a mean person, but I am the way I am, I don’t go out of my way to try to be mean to people. I don’t like people and shut them out. But is there something wrong with me and do you know the cause of all of that? Thanks alot.

A: This will be hard for you to hear, but I’m with your mom. She doesn’t have the best way of saying so, but I think she is right to be concerned about you. Being “mean” is not “just the way you are”. No baby is born into the world to be a mean person. No one comes into the world ready to fight, punch and kick a sibling. No one comes into the world antisocial, proud or otherwise.

I don’t know what is wrong. I only know something certainly is. I hope you will see a counselor who can get to know you and who can help you become the person you are meant to be.

And, please. Don’t refuse services just because it will look like your mother is winning. Real freedom, real independence, means that you do what’s good for you — even if your mother would like it. Take care of yourself.

I wish you well.
Dr. Marie