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Childhood woundings linger

Community Member

I am a 31 year old male and am depressed, feel alone and dependent on others.

I was raised by a mildly abusive father. I have an older brother and younger sister who have also suffered depression from a fear of our father.

My father is an emotionally distant person who suffers depression himslef. He has always had a leave me alone and mind your own business attitude. He gave up on work, became an alchoholic and would dictate to us how life should be properly lived. He never set an example. In fact he never left the house.

My mum was pretty much a people pleaser who agreed with everyone especially my father.

Growing up, my brother and sister were highly praised for their responsibile natures. My dad was extremely strict on them. He swore and threw things at them and only gave them praise when they listened to his ways lessons on living. Me on the other hand he insulted, told me that im worthless and untrusted. Yep, there was no way in hell I was going to be as good as by brother and sister. The only way I got love from him was by stroking his ego. 

I am sitting here at my parents house as ive recently split up with my wife I was with for 15 years. Her personality was just like my fathers in the sense that she was always right and everyone had to listen to her or she would loose it.

Breaking up with her has made me realise that I am quite the dependent person. What bothers me most is that I always agree with people to avoid dispute with them and the possibilty of them leaving me. Ive studied being assertive and am learning how to set boudaries for myself. But I feel I am naturally attracted to the same self centered people.

I have no friends at the moment as I invested the past 15 years of my life in my wifes friends and interests.

 Ive had several psychology sessions, been on antidepressents.

 I feel really alone and worthless and don't want to lean on anyone close to me as I don't think it will help my situation.

12 Replies 12

Community Member

Hello, I grew up in a similar situation to yours, except I was also abused physically by an older brother.  He later became an alcoholic.  Okay, onto healing.  You have taken the first step by posting here.  Have you tried explaining to your wife how like your father she is?  If you have and she hasn't/doesn't listen, then keeping away from her, sad, but necessary.  Narcissistic parents tend to make their kids feel worthless so they feel better about their own short comings.  You said he threw things at your siblings, how did they respond?  You may never know the reason he treated you the way he did.  He probably doesn't know himself, maybe you argued back and your siblings didn't.  Whatever the reason, it won't change anything by knowing, now.  You don't have to be aggressive to disagree with people.  If someone says something hurtful, try telling them gently that what they've said/done has hurt you.  Not everyone is out to 'get' you.  You've probably hurt people too without meaning to.  Human nature tends to be a bit cruel at times.  You don't have to 'lean' on people to make friends, be pleasant, kind.  A smile costs nothing and goes far.  If you treat everyone as a potential friend, you'll get friendship in return.  If you are hostile, they will be too.  I know it's hard, but remembering the way you were treated, may help you soften.  You don't want to be hard, when you act hard, people walk away.

Regards Pipsy.

Champion Alumni
Champion Alumni

Hi James,

Welcome to the community here at Beyond Blue. I am sorry to read your story. If you don't mind, I have a few questions for you, do you and your wife have any children if so will you still be seeing them?

Are you staying with your parents until you find somewhere else to live or are you hoping to return to your wife but under different circumstances?

How does your father treat you now that you are an adult? Is it possible for you to stand up to him respectfully? It is very hard to change the habits and traits of another person, it is how we react to others that is the main issue.

You mentioned you are receiving help or have done in the past, did you and your wife ever attend counselling sessions together?

Do you know where you want to go from here?

Do you have hobbies and interests you would like to pursue so you can meet new people that way?

Is it possible for you to catch up with old friends?

Are you good mates with any of the males in your wife's friends, could you still catch up with some of them?

What about your brother and sister, do they still live close by? Do you see them at all?

Are you working, if so do you have friends there you could ask to join you on an outing somewhere?

So many questions I know! Just wondered how much you had thought things through and where you want to now head.

Cheers for now from Mrs. Dools



Community Member

Hi James,

I'm sorry you are feeling the way you are right now, through no fault of your own.

Growing up in a highly dysfunctional family affects your whole life as you are never  taught boundaries and the right life lessons that should have been taught ,so when problems arise you don't have the skills to deal with it.

Then you also don't have that family support to rely on , to ask advise ,to confide in, and you avoid conflict to stop people leaving or having an argument .

But you must remember your parents acted that way because they had their own issues which then reflected back on you, they didn't nuture you because they were to busy caught up in their own conflict.

Your relationship must have started when you were very young, and I guess she is all you have known, and that is very difficult, your first love.

Going to counselling to talk to someone completely outside the family is the best thing, you will feel safe and not judged, to let out all those childhood  problems and move forward.

You are not worthless, you are  a good person who has been let down by parents who didn't know any better, and now is your time to shine and grow, you are a young man with his whole life ahead of him to enjoy, there are many great things in life for you to experience so take your chance and run. 

I wish you all the best and let us know how you are going.


Community Member

Hi July

thank you for your very kind words. mischief appreciated 🙂

Community Member
*very much appreciated 

Hi Dools

No luckily we don't have children.

Im living with my brother at the moment and looking for share accommodation. 

Yes I have only recently been Standing up to my father respectfully. One thing I noticed though in a counselling session is that I am protective of my father still.

I am friends with her best friends husband. He has been quite close to me over the years, however, he disliked by most people he meets as he is very selfish, rude and disrespectful. For example he helped organise my bucks party, gathered money from my guests and kept some of the money for himself. I found out weeks later through amother guest at my bucks. And I didn't confront him. He also said to me very insultingly  that he is only my friend due to our wife's being friends. And ...yep, I just laughed and nodded!

My wife hated him as did many others and for fair reason. I did too but overlooked it as he was for some reason one of the only persons I could fully open up to. When in group situations he would stand up for me and kind of take me under his wing for the benefit of showing others he has a follower. And yep, i am very protective of him. I still see him now but I really am not a fan of him.

Also I asked a friend who I hadn't seen for many years to be in my bridal party. He agreed, we married two years ago and I havnt contacted him because im afraid to be vulnerable, weak and not fit in with the group he hangs out with. The group he hangs out with I was also once friends with. We all played football. But I really don't get along with him or them anymore. Ive hanged out with them 3 times and they are highly competetive amongst each other and throw joking insults around regularily. I am not mentally stable for this. However, I need to contact him and face it as he is really starting to give up on me. I feel so bad for putting him in my bridal party and then just forgetting him. This issue has caused much of my past depression.  I want to have friends and be able to joke without feeling sensitive but, gee im afraid. its just not me. But I know I really think I havnt tried hard enough yet, to learn my strengths and weaknesses around groups of people outside of my wife's friends. 

I have people at work I talk to but only on an aquatance level. I really fear getting close to people

I struggle to take things lightly. I analyze the simpliest things people say. Growing up i dealt with my fathers put downs by numbing my self from reality. I daydream constantly and struggle to focus at work. When people speak to me I get anxiety, struggle to focus on what they say and therefore struggle to keep friendships. Sigh...Im focusing on living in the present, feeling rather than thinking and keeping busy with studying music composition and excersing.

Thanks for the support and reading my post . Appreciate it 🙂

Hi James,

Thanks for sharing more of your life and the issues you are facing.

If you don't mind more questions, have you been to see a Dr about how you are feeling? Here on this site they have  a list of Drs that are able to help and assist with mental health issues. You could check it out and see if there is someone close to you.

You may need to chat to a Dr about this and maybe a counsellor, or phone the Beyond Blue help line or use their web chat so someone with a greater understanding of how you are feeling can help.

It does sound like you have been overwhelmed and almost over powered by people during your life's journey.

Somehow you need to build up your self esteem and sense of self. Maybe you could think of something you have always wanted to do and aim to fulfil that dream or at least work towards it.

If you catch up with old friends may be try to do it one on one and not with them in a group, that might make it easier. People can feed off each other and sometimes the situation deteriates because of it.

You used to play footy, is there a club near you where you could help to coach the young players if you are still interested in footy.

Regarding the people you had in your bridal party, there may be a lot of people out there who don't stay in contact with those people anymore for lots of reasons.

Friendships in general can just end, sometimes we have no ide why, it just happens, people move on.

So you enjoy music composition and exercising. Is there someone at your work place that might like to join you for a jog some time? Is there a hotel or venue near you that has live music you could go and listen to?

Is your brother in a relationship? Do the two of you hang out together and do stuff?

Does he have mates you can chat with to help regain your confidence in speaking with people?

Another thing I do is to have a chat with the people I meet during the day. You go to a café to buy a coffee, have a brief chat to the person serving you. Chat to the check out person, nothing personal, just hi how has your day been or gee the price of milk has gone up hasn't it.

Hope some of this helps! Small changes over time make a huge difference. Think about where you want to go and what you can do to change your life. You are in control. You are at the wheel. You can turn off the auto pilot now and take control.

Would love to hear how you are getting on.

Cheers for now from Dools



Hi dools, thanks again.

im seeing a therapist who ive seen in the past this week. 

I really really am not doing well at the moment. I have no control over my thoughts and they are all negative. Ive studied nlp to death. Seen a therapist, hypnotist and yet my overly active negative mind winds on. 

as a result, I have really stuggled to live in the present moment. People at work and my family have speoken to me over the past two weeks and i don't comprehend what they say. they look at me strangely and say are you alright mate !!!? Ive told my family and work friends and boss about my situation and whilst they understand and have been supportive I feel like ive now given my self a reason to continue to dwell on my sorrows. I feel like a martyr.