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Having Real Problems With Authority

Published: May 14, 2012
Dear TeenHealthFX,
I've been having real problems with "authority" lately. I consider myself an Anarchist (though not maybe 100%) I just don't believe in authority, government, etc. But people like my parents are giving me a hard time, and telling me otherwise. I just want to do what I want but I'm being told no- even if it's no big deal, and it's really starting to annoy me. Of course no matter what people tell me, I'm sticking with my beliefs but I'm just frustrated living in a world full of authority when I don't believe it's needed and I'm just wondering if I should continue doing what I want, even when told no, or stop so I won't get in "trouble"
Signed: Having Real Problems With Authority

Dear Having Real Problems With Authority,


The problem here, as you may be discovering, is that whether you believe in authority or not, the reality is that it’s there and you cannot do whatever you want without having to face certain consequences, and you may be told “no” at times when you don’t want to hear it. The world is full of people in authority positions and it’s hard to get around dealing with them – parents make rules for their homes, teachers and administrative staff members make rules for their schools, employers make rules for their companies, state and federal government make rules for the citizens living in their jurisdiction, and so on.


While you may have a lot of issues with authority and do not think it is necessary, it also sounds like you do not want to have to deal with the many possible negative consequences that can come from crossing authority and breaking various rules and laws. And TeenHealthFX can appreciate that this creates a real dilemma for you in terms of holding onto your beliefs, but also making decisions that will not be self-destructive for you in some way.


Many people who have serious issues with authority figures do so out of anger. Problematic experiences with authority figures from an early age end up painting a negative picture of anyone who is in a power position. FX wonders if you have had personal experiences with authority figures in your life where those authority figures have felt too rigid, controlling, mean, self-serving, or hurtful towards you. If you have, you may have developed anger towards all authority figures and may have grown to see rules and laws in a negative way rather than a positive. That said, FX thinks that if you want to find a balance between what you believe in and what you want for yourself, you need to talk to someone, such as a therapist, about the anger you have for authority and where your personal beliefs about authority figures stem from. What might help you to not feel so rebellious and on the brink of getting yourself in trouble is to come to terms and find some peace with the strong feelings you have about people and institutions of power.


FX also thinks it would be helpful for you to find positive and constructive ways to direct the passionate feelings you have about these issues. Maybe find a positive way to fight for those who need help, but who don’t have as much of a voice in our society, such as children, animals, or people living in poverty. Talk to a trusted adult to come up with positive ways where you can fight for the rights of others or fight against laws you believe to be unjust.  


If you live in northern New Jersey and need help finding a therapist you can call the Access Center from Atlantic Behavioral Health at 973-247-1400. Outside of this area you can log onto the US Department of Health and Human Services Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration website for referrals in your area. You can also contact your insurance company to get a list of in-network mental health providers.

Signed: TeenHealthFX