Overlooked, under-appreciated student struggles to fit in
DEAR ABBY: I’m having trouble with my daily life. I have become more reserved and rarely even look at people. All I do is my schoolwork. I have lost trust in quite a few people over the years, including most of my family members. My parents have taught me to trust almost no one and to always be afraid of strangers.
I recently started high school, and I have only talked with two or three people at the most. I have really bad social anxiety, and I’m treated different from my siblings. I’m feeling like my whole life is just a lie and that I’m nothing. I feel like people can’t see me — that I’m invisible to everyone.
My family controls my life as if they are dictators. I’ve lost control over any decisions I make and anything I do. I don’t know what to do anymore. I’m so lost. Please help me! — LOST IN EL PASO, TEXAS
DEAR LOST: I agree you need help, because I’m sure there’s more to your situation — and possibly your family’s — than you have shared. However, for you to overcome your distrust of others and the feeling that you are “invisible,” you will need to confide in a trusted teacher or counselor at school.
You need more help than I can provide in a letter or my column. Licensed mental health providers routinely help individuals who suffer from social anxiety disorder, but in order to get that help, you will have to find the courage to reach out and ask for it.
DEAR ABBY: Last year I started a relationship with a woman. At first everything seemed to flow smoothly, but after a few months we started arguing. We both had issues with irritability and expressing ourselves.
“Nancy” and I broke up seven times in a four-month period. For reasons I have yet to understand, after each breakup and once we had time to cool off, we both wanted to get back together.
We recently went our separate ways again and I thought this was the last time. She has now contacted me and casually proposed getting together to “hang out” for a while. Without batting an eye, I agreed.
I don’t know if I’m hung up on her because I’m truly in love with her, or because I’m just unable to move on. As a couple, we work together well — as long as we aren’t together every day. As friends, there’s always an undertone of romantic interest.
I can’t make heads or tails of my emotions concerning her, or hers for me. Any advice? — UNABLE TO MOVE ON
DEAR UNABLE TO MOVE ON: Have you discussed this with Nancy? If you haven’t, you should. If you both would like more from your relationship than you have been getting, it might benefit the two of you to have some couples counseling.
Sometimes people can be attracted to each other and care about each other, but something prevents the relationship from jelling. Because this push-pull has been going on for so long, it’s time to find out the cause.
Dear Abby is written by Abigail Van Buren, also known as Jeanne Phillips, and was founded by her mother, Pauline Phillips. Contact Dear Abby at www.DearAbby.com or P.O. Box 69440, Los Angeles, CA 90069.
Good advice for everyone — teens to seniors — is in “The Anger in All of Us and How to Deal With It.” To order, send your name and mailing address, plus check or money order for $7 (U.S. funds) to: Dear Abby, Anger Booklet, P.O. Box 447, Mount Morris, IL 61054-0447. (Shipping and handling are included in the price.)