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I Think I Have A Mental Disorder?

Question:

Recently, my parents and I have gotten into a brutal fight. I had told one small lie and my mother believes I’ve done things I could never imagine doing. I totally admit it was my fault and I’ve apologized many times but nothing’s working. My mother also claimed that I’m a mental stress on her and nothing can be done about me. I personally think I’m not that bad of a person. I have a 3.8 GPA, I love helping people and giving advice, and I’ve always listened to my parents except for this one lie.

I am only a teenager and I feel as if I’m losing a mother. I’ve also begun cutting myself and I can’t control my emotions any longer. The reason I cut myself is that I feel my mother is getting a stress relief every time I hurt myself. Is there anything that can be done? I have become very depressed and it has been affecting my grades. My mother and I haven’t talked in weeks.

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Answer:

It is said that every story has three sides: your’s, mine and the truth. It is not that anyone is telling a lie. Rather, each person sees the story from a different perspective or point of view. That is why the truth lies somewhere in between.

I do not know you, your mother or your father and, therefore, I have to respond to your E.Mail in terms that are very general and that apply to most families.

My guess is that this “brutal” fight you and parents got into was not the first or only argument the three of you ever had. From your mother’s perspective, one argument would not constitute “mental stress” on her. Of course, it can be said that teenagers are always a mental stress on their parents because they are teenagers. I am joking, of course, but, the teenage years are often a source of friction between children and their parents. In other words, your mother is probably spending a lot of time worrying about you. Based on that, it is possible that it is not the one lie that is important to her but what she sees as you being difficult at this point in your life. Some parents are better able to cope with teenage children than others and your mother may be one of those who has difficulty coping. My best guess is that you and your mom are giving each other a hard time. That is not unusual, especially between moms and daughters.

It is also my guess that your mother is more upset about the brutal nature of the argument than the lie or anything else. Because you use the word, brutal, with regard to this fight, I must suppose that there was loudness, cursing and tons of disrespect, or, what your mother views as disrespect. I am sure that she does not view her behavior towards you as disrespectful because that is not what moms do. In any case, it is possible that your mom wants an apology for the loud argument and not only the lie. Perhaps Dad could bring all of you together so that all could quietly discuss recent problems, find solutions and exchange apologies. Remember, it is not only that you apologize for the lie but for the loudness as well. Will she apologize to you? I do not know but it should make no difference. Remember, you want to re establish your relationship with mom and interact in better ways with each other.

Your mother is not getting stress relief from you cutting yourself. All you are doing is hurting yourself and it is not a healthy way to relieve your stress or to solve problems. I believe you when you say you are depressed and that is why I am suggesting that you speak to the school counselor about getting help for yourself and your family.

Even better would be to have that meeting with your parents during which you not only work on ways to solve problems but to discuss you talking to a psychotherapist. Even better than that would be if all of you could go for family therapy. Most therapists who would talk to you would also want to work with you and the family together.

You cannot handle these problems alone and really do need help. When you see a therapist, and I hope you will, it is important that you talk about the self cutting.

Again, speak to your dad or the school counselor or the school psychologist or the family doctor in order to begin to get some help.

Best of Luck…and, please, please, stop self cutting.

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