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I Hurt Myself for Attention, Lie a Lot, and Have Anxiety

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I don’t know what’s wrong with me. I’ve cut, burned, and bruised myself more times than I can count for attention from others. I also made up a stalker who anonymously sends me hateful messages. It’s really just me sending them to myself. I try to stop doing it because it pushes people away when they can’t deal with it anymore, but I’ve been doing it for years. I love when people tell me what my “;stalker” says isn’t true. It makes me feel better about myself. I lie a lot. Sometimes, it’s over stuff that doesn’t even matter. I don’t even know why I lie sometimes. It just happens. I’m not sure if I have an actual anxiety disorder or if I’m just a naturally anxious person, but when I try to go to sleep, all I can focus on is the feeling in my stomach. I toss and turn for hours. I get anxious about stuff that logically makes no sense. I am extremely shy and awful at making friends. I constantly need reassurance in every friendship. I have never been in a relationship. I can’t even imagine trusting someone that much. I will probably be single the rest of my life. I have awful trust issues that stem from some pretty serious issues with my father who betrayed my trust when I was ten years old. I never got counseling for what happened and I definitely needed it because it completely destroyed me. I had a rough childhood. I need constant reassurance in my friendships to make sure I’m not a bad friend, but most of the time, the reassurance does not even help. I feel like a worthless friend, and I honestly am because there is not a single person I haven’t lied to. In order to make up for me being such a terrible friend, I try to help everyone with all of their problems. I can’t say no and that increases my anxiety. I try to solve everyone’s problems even when I can’t. I want to be there for everyone, even if we aren’t close friends. A lot of people confide in me. My anxiety keeps getting worse. Honestly, I’m terrified I’m crazy. What is wrong with me? I should be happy. I’m on a full ride to my first choice college. I have friends and family who cares about me.

I Hurt Myself for Attention, Lie a Lot, and Have Anxiety

Answered by on -


I think it is very brave of you to be vulnerable enough to write this email. Since you are at a university it is time for you to get the counseling that you need for coping with and surviving a rough childhood. Now is the time to sort through the need for so much attention, the lying, and making up the stalker.

When people we should have been able to trust betray us it causes us to challenge our way of being. Much of what you are coping with is likely to have come from the difficulties in childhood. The university typically has very good therapists on staff who can help you sort all of this through.

You’ve taken a big step here by writing the email. I encourage you to take the next step and talk to a counselor at your school.

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

I Hurt Myself for Attention, Lie a Lot, and Have Anxiety

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). I Hurt Myself for Attention, Lie a Lot, and Have Anxiety. Psych Central. Retrieved on November 26, 2020, from
Scientifically Reviewed
Last updated: 8 May 2018 (Originally: 28 Jan 2018)
Last reviewed: By a member of our scientific advisory board on 8 May 2018
Published on Psych All rights reserved.