I think I might have something wrong with me, but I don’t think anyone will believe me because i’m young and a girl.

I’ll start with my family. My parents are always yelling at me nowadays, mostly over really stupid things like me “talking in the wrong way”, or “having an attitude”. They criticize me for everything and i’m starting to feel that in their eyes I don’t exist in the right way. My father constantly invalidates me and my mother. He says that I don’t own anything and when I say something’s mine he’ll laugh and say “no, you bought it with my money”. He says that I live in his house and everything in his house is his, since he paid for it. He doesn’t let my mom make any decisions relating to money because she doesn’t have a job, and by extension he ends up discarding her decisions.

My mom isn’t a saint though, she compares me to my dad when she’s mad at me even though she constantly says bad things about him. When she’s mad she teats me like i’m my dad; she’ll give me the silent treatment and withhold affection, say that I never listen or do anything, she blackmails me by talking about how mean I was to her when I was little and how bad I made her feel and how crappy I was to everyone as a preteen.

Anyway, when my parents say things that hurt my feelings, I just sorta blank out. Like I stare into space and become really numb to my surroundings. I’ll get into these moods sometimes, where I feel like i’m a stranger in my own body. Lately i’ve had this feeling almost everyday and it scares me because I don’t know if it’s normal or not. It’s Like, I look at my hands and I just don’t recognize them, or I look in the mirror and don’t know if it’s supposed to be me there, because that person isn’t me. Other times I worry that i’m taking on the traits of someone else, like I’m being taken over by someone else. Sorry for talking so much, I just had to get this out. Thank you for listening. (From the USA)

A:  Such a shame your parents don’t treat you well and that you are made to feel so bad in their presence. The disconnection feelings of not recognizing your own body is a way you are trying to cope with the situation. Sometimes when there is too much negativity happening people zone out, depersonalize and dissociate from the situation. What is important here is that you are aware you are doing it and know that something not okay is happening.

I’d recommend you talk to your guidance counselor about what you are feeling. He or she is in a good position to help you and make recommendation about what can be done to help your family understand your needs. You’ve taken a great first step by emailing us here. I’d take the next step and bring this response back to your counselor to begin the conversation.

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