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TherapistMarryAnn, Therapist
Category: Mental Health
Satisfied Customers: 5838
Experience:  Over 20 years experience specializing in anxiety, depression, drug and alcohol, and relationship issues.
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I was brought up in a family that had split values. On my

Customer Question

I was brought up in a family that had split values. On my father's side, hard work and effort were praised along with humility. On my mother's side, humility was a non-issue. On my mother's side, she would scorn and criticise anyone and everyone behind their backs. And she always and still does maintain a air of superiority with little to lay claim to.
At one stage of my life when I was about 10 years old, I suffered from what I'd call a breakdown. I thought I was a complete failure, in fact and that nothing I did could ever satisfy or elicit a loving response from my mother and lesser degree father. Both where so concerned with their own lives that they could see my life was falling apart.
The break down was actually causes by 4 things. My sister bullying me. My mother having an affair with a close family friend. This family friend's children beating the @#$#@ out of me (literally, to the point of torture) and finally a girlfriend leaving me on the playground (also involved getting her friends to kick the #@#@ out of me to take back a promise a tried to make her make).
So, the breakdown, caused me to die emotionally. I became like a robot. No feelings. I'd didn't wan't them any more. It actually went deeper than this, and to this day I struggle to come to terms with what actually happenned. But needless to say, I buried the breakdown so deep in my memory that for years I went through life with it hanging around me as a secret.
15 years later I went to varsity. Ended up doing drugs and then it all came out again. The memories of everything that had happened. First it started in images and flashes, and then the pieces started fitting together. I has taken me 10 years since then to get a clear picture of the events. Even today, I a confused as to why this episode happened to me.
Today I have ex-communicated my sister as she is still the same person. My mother is suffering from high blood pressure from a reckless lifestyle. but I am now a very successful individual, I have 3 degrees, a beautiful wife and 2 lovely child.
Why did this happen to me? It cost me my youth. And today I'm not fully recovered. What can I expect going forward.
Submitted: 6 years ago.
Category: Mental Health
Expert:  TherapistMarryAnn replied 6 years ago.

Hi, I'd like to help you with your question.

It sounds like the mixed messages from your parents, the bullying, and the self centered behavior of everyone around you in childhood may have caused you to develop PTSD. Post Traumatic Stress Syndrome happens when someone is exposed to trauma such as personal injury (like the bullying) and neglect and cannot find ways to cope. The overwhelming feeling of having no safety and feeling of helplessness caused you to shut down. You can also have symptoms such as feeling numb and avoidance of the situation that caused you distress. Here is a link to help you understand PTSD better and see if you feel you fit the symptoms:

It is also possible you became very depressed and shut down your feelings. With the stress you were under and the lack of support from your family, being depressed would be a natural response.

The best way to deal with how you feel is to first find out if you experienced PTSD or depression (or possibly both). You can do this through self help with information from the internet and books, but the best option is to see a therapist who can do a full evaluation. You can also go to therapy to help you sort out your feelings from your childhood and how you can take what happened to you and see it in a different way. To find a therapist, talk with your doctor about a referral, or you can search on line at

Going forward in your life with this burden is hard, but it seems as you get older, you understand better what you experienced and how it affected you. Facing it helps, talking about it also helps. You can work on this on your own which will allow you to understand it even more. But you may want to consider support either through your wife and trusted family or a therapist. They can help you with insight and emotional support. And more understanding that you have, the less you will be affected by what happened to you.

I hope this has helped you,

TherapistMarryAnn and other Mental Health Specialists are ready to help you
Expert:  TherapistMarryAnn replied 6 years ago.

I hope you found your answer helpful Did you have more questions or want clarification?