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My Separation from the Family

Abuse can create a hugely entangled relationship between a child and their parents (for me, it was mostly with my father).  My parents convinced me that this world was a horrible place and that I should stay home at all costs. I believed them. Though it appeared on the outside that they couldn’t wait to be rid of me, I think my parents wanted me to stay with them forever. But at some point children have to leave their childhood homes; I went off to college but found myself so terrified of the world that I went crawling back to mommy and daddy again.

The rules out there in your world were very different from the rules at home and I soon found that I didn’t know how to cope. I came back home from school suffering from a deep catatonic depression of intense fear. Home was intolerable, but the world seemed to be intolerable as well. I did not belong any place and I knew it. I was terrified because I didn’t know what to do or what would happen to me.

After a while, the catatonic depression began to lift to become just severe depression. I grabbed out for help (in the form of a therapist) because I didn’t know what else to do. It took many months and some concentrated therapy to separate me physically from my childhood home so that I was able to go out into the world once more. But even the physical separation (I moved to California, 3000 miles away) did not untie me completely from the apron strings of my parents… and the abuse. It took eight more years for me to become separated from my parents emotionally… and for good.

During the final phase of the emotional separation, I again found myself moving towards catatonic depression. At first I stopped eating; then drinking (water); then my body began to become numb so that my feet could  not feel the ground and my hands could not feel anything I touched. Every morning I was waking up to an inner voice shouting at me to… “Go get a gun and shoot yourself in the head!”   With no other option than death, I reached out for help once more. It took very, very intense, twice-a-week therapy for nine months before I began to feel the ground under my feet again and to stop wanting to commit suicide. In the process of this separation, I became to all intents and purposes…an orphan… but it was worth it. After the dust settled, I became free to live my very own life. And to my surprise I discovered that the world outside my home was not at all the way my parents had described it. It was not the horrific place I had been told it was. In fact, the world turned out to be a pretty nice place. Not perfect, but a pretty nice place indeed. Surprise, surprise, it turned out that my childhood home had been the horror all along.

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