Psychiatry & Psychology--General/Help me...


QUESTION: I feel like I have a little kid inside of me and an older more experienced person inside of me. For example, if I think someone is attractive, I start to think 'Oh that person is cute' but then another part of me cuts in and yells 'EEW that's gross you can't like people! People are gross and mean and nasty' and then I start thinking that people can read my mind and hear what I'm thinking, and I know it's stupid but I really can't stop thinking about that so then I try to focus on something really boring or uninteresting like a wall or a song so that people won't know what's really going on inside my head. What's wrong with me?

ANSWER: Hello Skye,

You have given me some important things to consider. It would be helpful to know your age, when this started, and if this behavior has prevented you from having any close relationships. I am also wondering if there are people around you that you can confide in with thoughts such as you have shared with me.

Relying on what you have told me, I would like to first begin with the notion that we all have aspects of ourselves that identify with different life stages. Sometimes we can feel childlike, with some of the emotions we associate with childhood. Sometimes we feel insecure or angry or fearful. We may experience the cynicism or harsh reprimand of a more adult-like aspect in other situations. But under healthy circumstances, these aspects are much more integrated and fluid and feel more like different opinions or conflicting feelings but that are specifically our own. You describe a much more separated and distinct set of voices that actually interfere with your life.

I am wondering when this started for you. I am also wondering what kinds of relationships you have experienced with parents/siblings in your early childhood. Whose voices are these? Have you had experiences in your life where you have been dramatically disappointed or experienced trauma or loss that would create a sense in you that you cannot trust people or trust your own instincts? Has someone been cruel or untrustworthy? When did you start experiencing the worry that people might be able to read your mind, such that you have to employ diversion techniques? These answers could help me better understand the situation.

I will once again get back to the question of whether you have close friends or family that you can confide in. If so, I might talk to that person or persons, get them to help you understand why you, with your particular relational history, might feel this way. If there is no one you might talk to, then I would definitely seek out the help of a recommended psychotherapist. That person will be able to confidentially hear your stories and help you get to know yourself better, to trust and feel safer within yourself, to integrate the aspects that are in conflict inside you, and to help you feel like you are not in opposition to internal disconnected voices.

I hope this is helpful. If you have further questions or more information, do not hesitate to connect with me or another professional on this site. I wish you well.

---------- FOLLOW-UP ----------

QUESTION: First off, I'd like to thank you for taking the time to answer my question. It means a lot. I am 15 years old, and no, I've never told anybody else because I'm afraid they'll tell me that it's nothing and that I shouldn't worry about it and then I'll feel stupid. Also, I don't really have anyone that I could trust to tell. Also, I kno that it's just my imagination making up the voices, but it's just so hard to ignore and just seems so real. They both sound like me, but they're different versions of me. One sounds like a little kid and one sounds around my age but maybe a little older. I feel like I'm both of them combined sometimes. Like I'm in the middle. It's sort of like in movies when you see an angel on one shoulder and a devil on the other shoulder, except instead of good and evil, its innocent and not so innocent. I don't really remember when it started. It didn't just suddenly start happening one day,though. It was more of a gradual thing. I guess I don't really trust people because I know how bad people can be. Some, I learned first hand, but its not all from personal experience though, a lot of it is from watching it happen to other people. I was probably about 8 or 9 when I first started realizing just how bad the world is, how mean people really are.

Hello again, Skye,

8 or 9 is a very young age for you to be realizing how mean and untrustworthy people are. This age should still be the era of childhood where you feel relatively protected by parents and family from the "mean people" in the world. It makes me wonder if you experienced the feeling of being protected or if members of your family may have actually been the source of that "meanness." On the other hand, it also makes me curious if you witnessed your parents being the victims of people who are mean. From my perspective, SOMEONE had to demonstrate to you the meanness in the world. Children who are not introduced in some fashion to the harshness of the world do not grow up with the amount of distrust and fear I perceive from you in your writings.

I understand these voices are in your "imagination" but they still have to have developed for a reason. You are at a very good age where some psychotherapy intervention would be very helpful. I do not believe that this "is nothing and you shouldn't worry about it." I am concerned for you and still highly recommend therapy. Perhaps you might talk to a school that is recommended or that you feel has helped other students. Tell the counselor what you have told me and they may be able to guide you to the right place. You could share this post if you feel it might be useful.

Also you might consider sharing my opinion with your parents. If they try to minimize the situation, please do not let that make you "feel stupid." That may be their way of managing their own anxieties by not attending to yours. Perhaps you can show THEM this post. I feel you are in some significant conflict and see the world through very dark glasses. It would be important for you and your parents to help you understand this before it affects the rest of your life in a big and very negative way.

Thank you for your post. I hope this has been og some help to you.

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Jacquelynn Cunliffe


I would like to answer under the category of Psychiatry and Psychology. However, I would like to see a separate category for Psychotherapy/Psychoanalysis. I do not answer questions about medications as I do not prescribe. My expertise is in psychotherapeutic treatment.


I am a psychotherapist and psychoanalyst who specializes in the treatment of mental health issues caused by childhood trauma, domestic abuse, eating disorders, relationship difficulties, and a wide variety of psychological disorders. The kind of therapy I do is often referred to as deep therapy, talk therapy, or psychoanalytic therapy. Please note that I am not against medications and when managed well, medication can be an adjunct to psychotherapy intervention. I think it is important for the public to realize that psychodynamic or psychoanalytic psychotherapy DOESmake changes not only in people's minds but those changes can also be detected in their brain structure. Psychotherapy and psychoanalysis are powerful interventions to help people change their lives from the inside out.

American Psychoanalytic Association American Psychiatric Nurse Association Member of Psychoanalytic Center of Philadelphia Member of National Eating Disorder Association

Ph.D.-University of Pennsylvania, Psychology and Education, Division of Human Development M.S.N. and R.N.-B.C. Board Certified Nurse in Psychiatric and Mental Health Nursing. 2-Year Adult Psychotherapy Program graduate 2-Year Child Psychotherapy Graduate Current: Candidate in Psychoanalytic Training at the Psychoanalytic Center of Philadelphia

Past/Present Clients
I have worked with clients who have experienced significant childhood traumas. These patients come with a variety of mental health issues, including anxiety, depression, suicidal ideations, relationship difficulties and diagnoses such as Personality Disorders, Adjustment Disorders, and, though rarely, Dissociative Identity Disorder (formerly multiple Personality Disorder)

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