How to escape from being a prisoner?

Growing up, I’ve always desired to withdraw my existence. I suppose it all started when I was about 6 years old and realised that my parents didn’t really like me or want me. They fought a lot. It was apparent that my mother could not take care of herself, let alone a child, as she consistently clung to my father. He wasn’t around much. He wasn’t kind either. But unlike her, he showed that he could take care of himself... and when my mother started talking about divorce, I started following him instead of her. She didn’t like it.


I knew that he’d force me to stay with her if they were to ever get divorced... and I was scared – he was my lifeline. So, every birthday I wished for my parents to stay “together forever”. As I grew older, I realised how naïve that was. A few years have passed since the last time I wished for such a thing. Now all I can do is contemplate about how much happier each of us could have been if we had never met... if we had ended up being surrounded by different people. Even though not all of us admit it, I know that we are all severely depressed and that we are all killing each other on the inside.

My parents don’t know me that well. My mother envisions me as everything bad, and everything she hates. My father... well he turned a blind eye to all of the abuse my mother put me through and gave me a second more violent helping of it. Neither of them really even look at me (literally).

All my childhood was spent trying to get my parents to love me, to try and make them proud. I wasn’t very likeable among my peers and was often forgotten or shunned for my behavior. But what was it? “Children learn by example”? When I begged both of my parents to be good role models for me at the early age of six, they replied saying that they’ll demonstrate how “not to be”. Naturally, as I grew older each of my parents saw things in me that they despised in each other. I even hate myself for hating them because at the end of the day, they’re still better people than I am.

They taught me about death, and about life not being fair when I was far too young. They preached it like a religion, and I forced these harsh realities on my friends who were hostile in return. I endured everything on my own without a shoulder to cry on... and I grew depressed, even suicidal at times.

I’ve tried letting go of all of the hurt and hate, but I am still so depressed and unhappy. Last year, I decided that I wouldn’t kill myself and decided to instead let myself “waste away”. I ended in the year thinking about how foolish that was to wish for that and not have it end in death. To put it in short, the consequences of my actions were not what I desired.
Perhaps if I had faith in a religion. Perhaps if I found a purpose in life. Perhaps if I found something I really liked. Perhaps if I cut all of my ties to my family and extended family and escaped to a different country. Perhaps... Perhaps... Perhaps...

I don’t know who I am anymore. I could barely leave my bed when I first realised it. So many of my emotions have been so suppressed under the weight of depression and I don’t think that I have the capacity to be happy or to admire or feel inspired anymore. Is my life even worth anything? Is any of this even real? I don’t know... I don’t even know if it matters.

But I do know that I want to escape.

I don’t like myself and despite my best efforts to be a better person, I always resort to old habits especially when dealing with my parents. I desire to live in a country which suits my lifestyle and philosophy to finally feel free, but am unable to leave without my parents scorn or physical presence following me wherever I go (as I am the only child, and the only one left to look after them when they grow old). I am stuck doing a degree I don’t like but promised to finish because I know that I can’t find something that I like (even though I am unlikely to find a job after I graduate). I am stuck wishing for life to end because despite my best efforts I can never seem to win any of life’s battles or find any hope which is strong enough to last me the year.

I want to feel light. I want to feel happy, inspired even. I want to feel that life is truly worthwhile living. I want to be able to admire things again... Yet these things never seem to change... So how do I take a step back and really turn it around for good? These feelings always seem to linger even during the brightest of times. How do I find something I truly enjoy? How do I reconnect with people and society?

Ben's Answer:

The journey begins with one step. If you grew up in a household with parents that did not show you love, affection and support, then you do not owe them anything. You can still love them without sacrificing your freedom. It was their chosen job to bring you into the world and raise you and it is your job to be free and live the life you want to live. In spite of your depression and your struggles and these old feelings that follow you, I hear a lot of hope. You would not be yearning to find your purpose or to feel happy or light or inspired or have a desire to connect with people if your parents had completely beaten that out of you. You wouldn't be writing this entry. So thank God for that! Thank your inner Self for that. That's your heart talking. Everyone has to take the "Hero's Journey" to find themselves, and that means leaving the world you know and stepping into the unknown with nothing but your inner guidance and your desire to experience something deeper.
All change begins with action. Movement. You wont get there by sitting in your parents house. You can't run from yourself, but you can find new opportunities, new people, new ideas and new inspiration. The power to change is in You. Just remember it's a journey, not a race. Learning who you really are is a lifelong process. And it's worth it.

On another note, if you are feeling isolated and trapped and can't see a way to find the path forward, finding a group - a therapy group or any kind group - meditation group - common interest group (meetup) - can be a great way to find some inspiration and connection. Individual therapy or coaching could also be a very helpful thing. Nobody figures it all out alone.

Best Wishes,
Ben

Click here to post comments

Join in and write your own page! It's easy to do. How? Simply click here to return to Ask a Therapist.