I have always been considered strange by my peers, even in kindergarten. It never bothered what people thought of me, until now. My parents consider me “unsympathetic” “selfish and self centered” and tell me that my actions are hurtful and disrespectful, but I don’t always know why they should have been offended. I need to be alone nearly constantly, and when someone invades my privacy I lash out in anger and feel violated. I remember one time about a year ago my little sister was swimming with me in our pool and she brushed up against my arm and I grabbed her by the neck and was about to put her head underwater when my mom came out and stopped me. She violated my space and I was so overcome with anger that I tried to drown her. I don’t usually have these kinds of terrible urges, and this has only ever happened once. I was and still am scared that I will feel that kind of intense anger again. I get angry over any kind of physical contact, and am prone to extreme verbal outbursts where I will either scream profanity or cry depending on the day. This includes any kind of physical contact (hugs etc…). I have never suffered any kind of abuse, and my family has always been kind to me. they accuse me of not wanting to be a part of the family, but I really do. It’s just… I need my space more than I need them. I don’t have any close friends and only a few friends that I talk to during school. I would consider myself a compulsive liar, and I have pretended to be different people to try and impress others. I even went so far as to write a 43 page PDF file about how I had all these diseases and how terrible of a person I was. I then proceeded to tell my best friend all about how terrible these diseases were in extreme detail. I lost my only close friend after I told her that all of this was a lie. The lies started getting bigger and bigger and I started to believe them to be true. I am also a big supporter of morality and equality, and am also an atheist. I have never shown any signs of magical thinking, nor do I have an inflated ego. Sometimes it feels like my emotions are muted, or that I am not of the human species. I have days where I look at myself in the mirror and I don’t even see a person. I see imperfections and a very ugly personality hidden from society under layers of skin. I can’t remember the last time I was truly happy. I have extremely high levels of anxiety, although I have never been diagnosed with an anxiety disorder. Although, I have never been checked for an anxiety disorder either. Whenever I ask someone to describe me it always is alone the lines of cold, emotionless, and dishonest, and I would have to agree with them. I feel empty most of the time, and i can’t really remember a day in my life that I wasn’t like this. I constantly feel like I’m missing something everyone else has, like my ability to connect with the rest of the human species is flawed or imperfect. I want to have a connection with somebody, but the demands are just too strong and I have to break away from them for days or even weeks before I can go back to being engaged in the friendship. I have never been in a relationship, and I have absolutely no interest in sex or even romantic relationships. I barely ever enjoy anything I do and when praised on my abilities I either react by degrading myself or not reacting at all. The same goes for criticism. In short I am a liar, a social recluse, and an outcast by choice. No one trusts me anymore, and my family just doesn’t understand that I need space. I feel like it’s not my fault for needing space, but they seem to think it is and it’s so frustrating. I found an article on schizoid personality disorder today and when I read it, it was as if someone wrote an article about my life. 1. Do I sound like I need professional help/ do I seem to be suffering from schizoid personality disorder from what I have written here? And 2. How should I go about getting my parents to understand my needs for space? Thanks for reading. (age 13, from US)
Thank you for writing in with this very interesting question. I of course cannot offer a diagnostic impression without meeting with you, but regardless of what diagnosis you may or may not have, it is very clear to me that you could benefit from professional help. Personality disorders are not typically given to someone your age because you are still in the stage of developing a consistent personality. However, it does sound like you have some of the traits, as you mention. You also mention some qualities one might find in someone on the autistic spectrum, someone with clinical depression and so on. Your need for space is only one piece of this puzzle you describe, but your need for it has now escalated to the point of violence and rage. This makes it even more important for you to get help soon. You have done such a good job describing your issues here that I think it would be helpful for you to print this out and take it with you to the appointment. When seeking help I would suggest that you and your parents seek a highly trained professional, such as a psychologist who can administer psychological assessments in additional to providing psychotherapy.
Finally, I think the best way to communicate your needs to someone else (such as your need for space to your parents) is to come from a place of ownership rather than blame. In other words, use “I” statements about your own feelings rather than pointing fingers at the other person’s behavior. Once you have a therapist in place, he or she can help you express your needs more assertively, but also to develop more empathy for the other person’s point of view. Writing us with your question took courage and I hope you can use this same courage to get help. You are still young enough to make lasting changes now that will help throughout your life.
All the best,
Dr. Holly Counts