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Benefits and consequences of short term absconding

Loca_SHJ
Community Member

Hi,

I was hoping i could find someone on here with personal experiences in running away from their lives so i can pick their brain in terms of what they gained and lost from the experience. Someone that has for a short period of time driven off from their life without a holiday/vacation plan but with the primary intention to stop being everything they feel they have to be for the people around them and to just exist for themselves.

I have been wanting to do this since I was 15 (perhaps earlier). I'm now a few days from being 24 but I haven't lived a day away from family, friends or other person that put a requirement on me to be a particular way. I have been going through intensive therapy including schema therapy so i'm aware that the reason for this intense and decade long persistance to run away from my life is because of my subjugation schema leaving me feeling choked and controlled by other peoples requirements on me. Through therapy I understand those feelings may not be founded in reality 100% of the time.

But i still can't shake the feeling this is something I have to do for myself and that I can't be happy without having experienced it. For the last decade I told myself the reason i didn't go was because i couldn't afford to. I have since been working and have enough money saved up to comfortably be able to leave my life for a few months without financial hardship (I will likely only go a few weeks). I also work casually which means I can leave without being a huge burden on my employer. There has never been and may likes never be a more convenient time to run from my life than now. And yet I am so afraid of the impact this act will have on the same people that make me feel suffocated. I know it will be huge because these people never let me stay overnight anywhere, get angry and disappointed in me if I am more than half an hr late in getting home and rarely ever let me be out after 10pm.

I want a chance to stop being a daughter, sister, friend, mother, employee, law grad, legal assistant, student and instead to just be me. I want two weeks in my life where I can exist because I want to and not because all these people need me to do something or be someone specific. I wan't to feel like I own my life for once. But perhaps I am idealising this and in the end it will turn into a horrible disappointment where i shatter my own dream and hurt other people too.

I don't know what to do.

What did you gained or lost from your experience?

Sam

13 Replies 13

blondguy
Champion Alumni
Champion Alumni

Hi Loca_SHJ

Thankyou so much for your post and being back on the forums too!

You have been through so much in your life it reminds me of my own background years ago

I understand that wishing to have a good break from our problems can be wonderful and a positive step to help us clear our mind of the 'clutter' that exists and find some peace in our lives

I understand what you are going through as I have been dealing with chronic anxiety which did go away but was followed by depression for the last 35 years and its a tough place to be in Loca

Doing something for yourself is a great self healing mindset and good on you

The consequences are always there and should also be taken into account (as you have mentioned)

Absconding and having a break is fine as long as you are comfortable with coming back and dealing with your responsibilities.....planning for a break and then going will leave you with greater peace of mind Loca

I know I see a true achiever that has a lot on their plate at the moment which is understandable as you have so much happening in your life at the moment

You are a very proactive and self aware person. You have also created a great thread too!

Can I ask if you have thought about taking 2-3 days off for yourself to lessen the impact of absconding?

You are not on your own here Loca

My Kind thoughts

Paul

Peppermintbach
Valued Contributor
Valued Contributor

Hi Loca,

Your post really hit a nerve with me. I’m glad to see Paul has responded with such compassion as well as practical advice. So I hope it’s okay if respond more from an “emotional” perspective...

I noticed you said:

Someone that has for a short period of time driven off from their life without a holiday/vacation plan but with the primary intention to stop being everything they feel they have to be for the people around them and to just exist for themselves.

I want a chance to stop being a daughter, sister, friend, mother, employee, law grad, legal assistant, student and instead to just be me. I want two weeks in my life where I can exist because I want to and not because all these people need me to do something or be someone specific.

You seem as though you’re feeling very trapped, frustrated and exhausted. I hear you; I feel as though maybe you just want to feel like “you” again.

Sometimes, I feel we can get caught up in the roles we play in other people’s lives, and even if they are enriching and fulfilling, it can still erode at one’s sense of “self.”

I can relate to your feelings of wanting to run away. While I haven’t exactly abandoned my life (so to speak), the temptation and fantasy is always there.

I can empathise with your desire to break free and break the ties that “bind”, for example, even if it’s a temporary break. I’m not saying you’re the same as me but I feel I have a general understanding of where you’re coming from.

Maybe tell your loved ones you need a “break” then stand your ground (and I realise it won’t be easy) and go off and do your own thing...whatever that may be. I’m aware you fear the aftermath but if they get upset at you for wanting to be away even for one overnight or not being home by 10pm each night, I can definitely see why you feel “suffocated” and need time to yourself.

My personal thoughts is perhaps it’s better to take a break (or call it what you will) now rather than 10 years down the track and have a full blown meltdown. I’m not saying that will necessarily be the case but I’m I’m trying to suggest maybe it’s better to something now before you feel even more suffocated.

I hope you feel comfortable to write as often as you like. You’re always welcome here 🙂

caring thoughts,

Pepper

HeatherW14
Community Member
I ran away from my whole life. My friends, job, family( except my mother) society as a whole in fact. I think my story is a little different from the answer you're seeking though. I left my world because I simply couldn't hack it anymore, I was going through depression and addiction and finally my mind and body just broke , I was hospitalized and I couldn't go back. The people in my old life kept ringing, trying to find me and I just changed my number and moved, I had to stay in contact with my mother because she would have thought I was dead otherwise and she relayed messages to the rest of the family that I was alive . Do I regret it ? Of course but strangely not the disconnection from my extended family , they were/ are toxic and judgmental so it's a relief to not have their pressure or constant expectations. That said, Christmas and birthdays are a tricky time .

Elizabeth CP
Blue Voices Member
Blue Voices Member

I have not been in the same situation as you so escaping from family was not essential but at 18 I needed to prove to myself that I could manage on my own so I moved in to a shared house with friends for a year. I travelled OS on my own at 19 to fulfil a childhood dream. An essential part of being an adult is making your own choices & learning to do things on your own even if sometimes that means making mistakes. I was lucky that my family never tried to stop me & welcomed me back.

If I was you I would change the term absconding to going on holiday as it is less emotive & more acceptable to others. You are 24 have your own money so you are perfectly capable of going on holiday on your own. Stick with that term when talking to others. Once you are away you are free to choose where you go & what to do. Years ago I was seeing a psychologist re MH issues & relationship difficulties. Her recommendation was going on holiday for a week. This was huge with all the financial & other pressures but having a complete break from normal life made a massive difference. Recently my husband & I went on a short cruise at the last moment. I was going through a difficult time & was struggling with multiple urgent demands on my time. I didn't even tell all my children & it didn't fix all my problems but it gave me a break so I felt better after & was therefore more effective.

In summary go away whereever you want. Tell your family etc you are going on holiday so they don't worry. If they do try to stop you or check up on you just stick to your guns. Good luck

White_Rose
Champion Alumni
Champion Alumni

Hello Sam

We have not spoken before and I would like to say hello and welcome. You have started a topic that I am sure many people will relate to. I think the majority of people here have entertained thoughts of running away and starting afresh.

I'm not a very brave person and although I have wondered what it would be like I have found the reality daunting. I did take off one day but returned the next day. To be on my own with no one to answer to, so to speak, and do what I like I went on a silent retreat. What I did with my day was up to me. No one spoke to me, meals were prepared but I could eat or not etc.

Probably sounds a little tame to your ambitions but for me it was liberating. Phone off, no contact details with my family, simply a place to be, to let my body and mind rest and heal. I did not want to go home and it felt as though I was being forced back into my old life with all its responsibilities and restrictions. I know I am not a pioneer of any sort and I admire, and envy to a small extent, those who are able to strike out anew.

It seems to me you are in this position of need to let go of your current life and find your own sanctuary. To stay there while you get well again and build up your strength ready to face the world again. Then return (or not) with a knowledge of yourself and your strengths, but importantly to decide your place in the world.

I gather you are restricted at the moment and finding the these deterrents hard to bear. Perhaps one of your needs is to be able to return and be able to set your own boundaries. This will free you in a way you may not expect and will let you lead your own life and grow without having your growth stunted.

One suggestion I have. Heather said she keeps in contact with her mother for practical reasons. I think you need to let someone know you are going, even if it's just before you leave. I imagine you do not want to be the subject of a national search because people think you have been harmed. Think about this and choose a way to get around it.

Oh and one more thing. No matter how far you go or how hard you run, you will still take your past with you. The memories may fade, even in a few weeks if you are happy, but they will always be there. Going away may be the way to resolve some of these but you will still find your old life impacting on your new life for while.

Love to know how you are preparing and how you fare.

Mary

Thank you for getting back to me. Your understanding and compassion left me in tears.

Paul. Your advice makes a lot of sense and I agree that I can take a break from my life and still have some kind of a plan for where I'm going. Having said that I don't want to over plan because part of what I'm evading is the over planned rigid and systematic lifestyle that I have always lived. Still I have to be practical so I think as someone that has never driven more than 100km nor spent a day alone it would be better to handle 1 first at a time. I think I will fly to Melbourne (I live in Sydney), hire a car and book a hotel for the first few nights at least. Then if I am comfortable being alone I can take the car further out and plan accomodation and such a few days ahead at a time. What do you think of the idea? I want to be safe and logical but also satisfy the purpose of why I'm leaving. I'd like to say I'll be ready to resume responsibility but I don't know what the answer to that is until I get some time away to decide.

Pepper. From what you've expressed about yourself we do sound like we've had similar experiences and feelings. I intend to let them know that I need a break but standing my ground is difficult for me. I'm hoping to do it in writing because I struggle to communicate my position maturely and powerfully to those people that make me feel suppressed owed to the years of being treated like an incompetent child. Do you think writing would still cary the same weight?

Heather that was a brave decision you made inspite of your feeling of regrets. I believe we all know what is right for us somewhere inside but it takes a lot to face up to that voice and do it and it sounds like in your circumstances you did.

Elizabeth your holiday idea sounds more stable but I don't like the word holiday. I have been on holidays before and they don't make me feel any less suffocated - even when the people on it with me called it a 'retreat'. I think calling it a 'break' like Paul suggested encapsulates what I'm trying to convey without seeming impulsive and immature about it like the word 'absconding' insinuated.

Mary I haven't spoken directly to you but i have read many of your comments on other peoples threads and have taken a lot from your words so thank you for responding. What you explained is exactly what I'm looking for in this escape. And the knowledge that I cant run from my past is also one of my fears - that getting away won't make a difference.

Sam

Sam,

Hi. I am finding this thread brings up lots of emotions and ideas.

You have received lots of interesting ideas and am impressed the way you have considered them all.

I am not sure I can add anything new, but I remember when my children were small and I wanted to get away from people only seeing me as a mother. I loved being a mother and loved my children but felt weighed down by everyone's expectations. I would dream about getting away, and then I started writing a story and I realised I did not want to get a way as much as just knowing I could if I needed to.

My escape plan- I always seems to need an escape plan even if I never use it. I find just knowing I have one helps..

This probably won't help but was a thought I had reading these great posts.

I am interested in how your break goes.

Quirky

Hi Sam, The ideas you wrote to Paul of flying interstate & hiring a car & exploring as you feel comfortable sounds good. If holiday is a term which has negative connotations use the term 'break'. The important thing is to have some time away from your current pressures & gain confidence to manage on your own. If you can do this in a way which avoids burning bridges so you can return & hopefully have a more mature relationship with family & friends. Good luck with your break. I really hope you can enjoy yourself & return feeling happier & better able to manage your life without feeling suffocated. At the very least the break will be a useful learning experience

Hi Sam,

Thanks for writing back to each of us 🙂 It’s great to hear from you again.

Yes, I can most definitely empathise with your plight (even if our circumstances aren’t the same); it was what prompted me to reply.

To answer your question:

I'm hoping to do it in writing because I struggle to communicate my position maturely and powerfully to those people that make me feel suppressed owed to the years of being treated like an incompetent child. Do you think writing would still cary the same weight?

Obviously, I don’t know for sure but I think it potentially could hold the same weight. Personally, i feel the important thing right now is to convey your message in a way that you feel most comfortable. So if you’re most comfortable putting it in written form then perhaps go with that.

I suppose the important part is then following through and even if there are any protests, etc, I would suggest still following through with your break and standing your ground. You sound extremely on edge and emotionally stifled, and I say it out of an ability to relate to those feelings.

Do this for yourself...

Caring thoughts,

Pepper xoxo