Conor wanted people to see him so desperately because it seemed like people would underestimate him or just see him as ‘another kid’ and nothing else. He wanted people recognize that he was much more than just some poor kid. He did seem to push away Lily, but maybe because he already knew Lily had always seen him and it didn’t make a difference. It would make Conor feel better to be punished probably because it was normal for him before, and he wanted to try and relive something of that, especially with all the craziness. That, or he just felt bad overall. The Monster is telling him these stories and also teaching small lessons that he finds out about, and that these sometimes help distract from his mother. Being seen is good, it let’s people know you aren’t what they would think you were. If you’re feeling unseen try doing something to be seen. Not like what Conor did obviously, but talk to people and get out there.