From a 13 year old in the U.S.: The other day, my dad was cracking down on me for having 3 late assignments and made me stay up until midnight to finish them. After I completed them, I packed up my school things and went to my bedroom, passing through the kitchen. I did my usual nightly routine of grabbing a granola bar when I noticed that the knife set looked extremely friendly. I grabbed one and held it to my wrist, ready to add to my cut collection when Dad WOKE UP and CAME INTO THE KITCHEN! He grabbed the knife in anger, not in a concerned parent way, and yelled at me for being a stupid failure and that he wished that I could be like my younger sister. (My sister is an All-Star Basketball player for our school and has all As)
I ran up to my room and sought the comfort of my best friends, my stuffed dolphin and a 12 year old boy named Clover who watches over me. The three of us had a nice conversation when my sister walked in and asked, “Who are you talking to?”I realized that she couldn’t see Clover…
The next day, I went to school like usual, when I suddenly had the urge to stab the kid in front of me who was pushing my friend around and calling him a nerd. Later, I felt dead and done with life.
I can’t answer that question. I can tell you that most teens go through times when they feel overwhelmed and unsure about how to handle life. Sadly, you have fallen on ways to manage your feelings that are dangerous or limiting. A “cut collection” tells me you have been self-harming for awhile. Your imaginary friend “Clover” does provide you with some comfort but does not help you learn how to find comfort with real people.
Unfortunately, your dad doesn’t know how to handle his worry about you. When parents yell like that, it’s usually because they are feeling scared and helpless. Believe it or not, his yelling is an indication that he cares. It makes a kind of sense that he wants you to be like your sister. He doesn’t think he has to worry about her. (Though that may not be true.) But that is no comfort to you and it doesn’t help your relationship for him to say so.
Your dad needs to learn productive and loving ways to help you. You need to learn ways to handle stress that aren’t so dangerous to your physical and mental health.
My best suggestion is that you talk to your school guidance counselor or doctor about how to go about getting a family therapist for you and your dad. This isn’t about blaming anyone. It’s not about figuring out who is “crazy”. It’s about finding new ways to be together that keep you safe and feeling loved by the dad who loves you. When that happens, it’s possible that you will be able to drop your desire to cut or to keep up an imaginary companion. If not, your therapist will help you take the next steps to do so.
I wish you well.
Am I Insane or Am I Just Weird?
Dr. Marie Hartwell-Walker
Dr. Marie is licensed as both a psychologist and marriage and family counselor. She specializes in couples and family therapy and parent education. Follow her on Facebook or Twitter.
Hartwell-Walker, D. (2018). Am I Insane or Am I Just Weird?. Psych Central.
Retrieved on October 21, 2020, from https://psychcentral.com/ask-the-therapist/2018/07/04/am-i-insane-or-am-i-just-weird/
Last updated: 2 Jul 2018 (Originally: 4 Jul 2018)
Last reviewed: By a member of our scientific advisory board on 2 Jul 2018 Published on Psych Central.com. All rights reserved.