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It’s often quite a wonder that the girls on ABC Family’s now cult-classic show, Pretty Little Liars, haven’t succumbed to the pressures of being a teenager, dealing with boys (sometimes men, Aria) on top of having their lives completely terrorized by an anonymous source, but as it would turn out the cast lived a much more realistic adolescence.

While teenage years are nearly a decade in the past for 28 year old Troian Bellisario, the actress who plays overachiever Spencer Hastings on the hit show was able to tap back into her memories of being a teen who battled with self-punishment on the quest to attempting to be a perfectionist.

The actress was tapped to be the cover star of the latest issue of Seventeen magazine, and in the interview she reveals her troubled past on the quest to adulthood. Check out some excerpts below.

On the development of her self-destructive behavior:

“I was the youngest daughter, the perfect little girl. My school was a very intense college prep school. So it was about wanting to please my father and mother and wanting to be perfect to everybody. I just thought if I ever expressed to [my parents] any sadness or anger or anything that’s going on with me, they would disown me. I kept a lot of it bottled up inside, and it turned into self-destructive behavior.”

On the pressures she faced as a teenager:

“I started self-harming when I was a junior. I would withhold food or withhold going out with my friends, based on how well I did that day in school.…I didn’t know what was right and what was wrong, so I think I created this bizarre system of checks and balances to create order in my world. But it really backfired.”

On how her friends outed her to her family:

“They got a hold of my journal and basically said, ‘We don’t trust you, and we’re gonna tell your parents.’ That was when my world kind of exploded. It was kind of like an intervention,” she says. “It made me ask myself, ‘What do I really want to be doing? What would make me happy?'”

On how she differs from her character Spencer on the ABC Family show, Pretty Little Liars: 

“Honestly, it’s an ongoing struggle. Especially for a woman on a show that has the word ‘pretty’ in it! Sometimes I feel like I’m trying too hard, like I don’t belong. I just look around at Lucy, Shay and Ashley and I’m just like, ‘Why am I on this show?’ Sometimes I’ve felt like a fraud. Like, I’m not like these other girls—I don’t dress like that and I don’t know how to do my hair. The minute I’m off that stage, I try to get as ‘me’ as possible. I do that by piling on my black eyeliner, and I put on my ripped tights. Dressing like myself again helps.”

Be sure to head over to Seventeen magazine for more.

SOURCE: Seventeen 

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