Don't like people


Don't like people


your avatar   D.S., 17-year-old woman

I'm a 17-year-old girl who needs someone to listen. Ever since Grade 7, I have hated myself - even more than I do now. A boy called me a slut even though he was kidding (or not). Classmates that I wanted to hang out with were not nice because they talked about me behind my back. Other people who I wanted to be friends with were "busy." My locker was broken into a few times after school. I would always get a new one and never tell the vice-principal who did it. When I got into trouble for not returning a musical instrument, people laughed in my face. Someone told me," You should have put it in your agenda," in the meanest tone I've ever heard. I should have stood up for myself. I've defended myself before by getting even, but doing it too much would ruin my reputation even more. My relationship with my parents also suffered because of this situation. When they would ask questions in an annoying tone, I would get mad right away.

So I moved on from that bad experience in Grade 7 but I feel like it has haunted the rest of my teenage years. Right now, I'm in a situation where I hate my home life, but mostly I hate myself. I don't want to fix my relationship with my parents because I'm not as affectionate and loving as I used to be. I would rather push people away because they have no idea who I am. I'm afraid of what they'll do to me. I can't trust anyone anymore. I'm obsessed with being perfect so I that never get trampled on. I feel if I fail at it, I might as well not be here. I hate my life. I'm just useless, broken, and damaged, and want to kill myself. And I have a plan of how to commit suicide.


    Bob Rich, Ph.D.

My dear,

The details of your life are different, but the feelings are the same. When I was your age, I felt exactly like you have described. And yet, in time I built a great life for myself. In fact, my early suffering is what makes me so good at being a helper and healer. This is because I am not some expert who is going to fix you up, but a fellow traveler who happens to be further along the same road.

I have worked with many hundreds of people who started feeling the way you do now, and then parted company with them when we both knew they could carry on the work of growing and healing unaided. If we could do it, you can do it. Let's start on how to.

You write, "I'm just useless, broken, damaged." You are none of those things. The following is true of every person, including you:

  • You are perfect.
  • Some of the things you do are excellent.
  • Most of the things you do are OK.

The rest is an opportunity for you to grow. Remember:

  • There is no such thing as a fault, defect or mistake.
  • Your body is only a space suit for surviving on this planet.
  • You are not your thoughts - you think them.
  • You are not your urges - you are invited by them (NOT commanded).
  • You are not your moods or emotions - you feel them.
  • You are not even your personality - it's a network of long-standing habits you DO.

Early on in your life, you developed habits that now serve you poorly. This includes thinking, "I'm just useless, broken, damaged." This kind of thought then leads to you feeling that way --but only if you believe it to be true. Until you believe a thought, it is only noise.

You are feeling suicidal because you are without hope. That's the case because you believe yourself to be damaged, faulty. But when you realize that you, the person wearing your body, is fine, you just have to do some things differently - then there is hope. Then maybe, later in your life, you can turn bad into good like I have, and help others who are suffering.

A second point: those of us who think we are damaged send out a certain energy. I had "kick me" written on my forehead until I was about 23. During the two years from 21 to 23, I did a lot of work on myself, and "kick me" got changed into "respect me." While you feel the way you have described, bad things are going to happen in your life. When you gain self-respect, as you can, you will attract good events. When bad stuff happens (it does to everyone from time to time), you'll be able to deal with it just fine.

I did this work for myself. You can do it more efficiently and better by engaging a helper. Have a few sessions with a good psychologist. It won't change your life, but it will kick-start the change, and then you can keep going unaided.


This question was answered by Dr. Bob Rich. Dr. Rich has 30+ years of experience as a psychotherapist. Dr. Rich is also a writer and a "mudsmith". Bob is now retired from psychological practice, but still works with people as a counselor.For more information visit:


Determination is admirable, struggling isn't.
"In three words I can sum up everything I've learned about life: it goes on."
Robert Frost
You will feel much happier when you do a kind act for others than when you do something nice for yourself. Test it out!