Does this sound like a phobia of failure?

Okay, I'll try to be concise here.

I'm almost thirteen. This year, I've really been struggling with handing homework in on time, or even doing it at all. It's not that I don't care, because I actually really do. I'm afraid of my work being wrong; I'm afraid of it failing, and I'm embarrassed to hand it in. When I get frustrated if I don't understand something, I'm too embarrassed to ask a teacher for help so I sit there and look at it. I take it home, attempt it again, don't understand, so I leave it and don't do anything because I'm afraid of my answers being wrong if I try.

For projects, it's basically the same. I'm afraid of doing my projects and having them be a fail, having accidentally missed the point or something. Also I'm afraid to simply do things if there's a potential chance I could fail or do it wrong. If I understand something then I do it, and I do a good job. If I don't, I'm afraid of failing it, therefore I don't even try and I don't set my standards high.

There's a lot of "brains" in my family; my mom was a great student, aunt was on the honor roll and was a valedictorian, uncle was the same, other uncle skipped two grades (yes, two...) so I feel so pressured. My brother wasn't exactly a start student but the thing that sucks is that my mom doesn't seem to care, she pressures me, she never pressured him like she pressures me.

I miss a lot of school due to migraines. So now I've started to take advantage of my mom's belief to my migraines, because I'm afraid of going to school because there's so much to catch up on. I want to catch up, and now as of yesterday I am, but I don't know. It's getting out of control; I'm starting counselling for my phobia of vomiting soon (emetophobia) and I'm hopefully going to receive help for whatever this is, too.


You have a classic case of fear of failure. Brought on by your feelings of inadequacy because your family is full of overachievers. Start by confiding in your parent or school guidance counselor, priest, doctor, etc. (someone you can talk to). You should really explain to your parents that the pressure is making you physically sick and explain that you want them to be proud of you but you may fall short of their expectations. They should reassure you and explain what their expectations are. Do NOT assume that they expect you to measure up to all the other family members. Your assumptions and imagination are fueling your feelings of inadequacy. Talk about it and you'll see that you are beating yourself up needlessly. Good luck!