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Problems with interacting with family after recovery from depression

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In my life I was brought up in a 'unhealthy' family. My parents were never there for my siblings and me. Long story short, I was raised to keep my mouth shut and not to express myself. You may call it mentally abusing if you like.

This formed my personality. Not in a positive way. At some point, 6 years ago, I was dragged into a deep very deep depression. I am sure my 'keep my mouth shut' personality contributed a lot to this.


But ever since then I gradually learned, with the help of a psychologist, to be more mild to myself. And to set limits for myself. It has been a long process and I am still learning and 'practicing'. I find that's changed me. Now I can express myself easier.


But here lies the problem as well. There are quite a few unsolved issues related to my family and relatives. Now I dare to speak out what's bothering me, including all the pain that I've been through ever since my early youth until now.

This is not something my family is used to. They don't know me this way. The result: they don't respond to me. Cause they don't know how to interact in a mature way I guess.


Some problems I've gone through (including some unsolved issues since my childhood, especially when it comes to my feeling of being mentally ignored by both my parents) now have resulted in huge family problems. How does my family react: they cannot discuss it with me, since they have never learned how to themselves.


So I made the decision to take a step back. No more contact with these family members. To be more precise, two of my siblings (I have 3) my mother and an aunt. My father died a few years ago, he was the biggest problem in my whole life but now he's gone, that problem solved ;-)

In the coarse of time I also lost some so called friends.


It seems as though they make a pack against me. Cause they dont know how to communicate. It's a sick family.


It hurts. But I want to stick to MY feelings and ideas of what makes me happy (or happier).


Does anyone relate to this? Do you have family or friends who don't know how to interact with the 'new you'? How do handle this?


Sure I must admit I am not always the most subtile person, anymore. But I try my best to stay fair and decent and to approach people in a normal way.


Hope the above makes sense, English is not my mother tongue. My apologies.




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Don't worry about your English, you described the situation very well.  Having been there I clearly recognize it.  My solution ended up being to limit my exposure to them by moving to the other end of the country.  Over the past thirty years I have only seen them for about a month or so total.  We use to talk on the phone until I realized that mother was in too much of a rush to end the calls that it wasn't worth it to take the time.  Seeing them in short bursts has been tolerable and has kept me from being sucked back into their dysfunctional lives.  My wife ended up coming from a similar situation and we couldn't be happier.  It is a very tough decision to make but in both of our cases it came down to what we saw as a matter of survival, and we had to look out for number one.  One big lesson was to learn that things in the past are over and done with and can't harm you anymore.  There for they can e dropped and not though about any more.  Takes practice but it really has helped.

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thanks brassmonkey!

Although it's not the most joyful subject, it's a good feeling someone understands.


I am very happy for you that you and your wife have gone though this together, so you can support each other.

Good for you, number one is yourself!



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Hey Sky, Brassmonkey,


I come from a family like this. An entire childhood of emotional neglect/abuse, and never being allowed to express myself has done so much harm. Like you, I have distanced myself from them for the sake of my own psychological health. Unfortunately I'm not quite where you are with healing and repairing the damage. Please tell me how you deal with the feelings of aloneness. Family is the thing most people can always lean on no matter how difficult life is. Having no support network is so difficult. I'm so broken I don't even know how to make friends anymore. The small handful I used to have seemed to be people who reflected my parent's qualities until I had to separate myself from that too. Most days are spend hinking about how much I dislike the person I've grown up to be.


Anyway. Keep up that great personal development you've achieved. It sounds like you've got some good days ahead of you in life :)

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Hi automator,


Sorry to hear your story. Unlike you may be thinking, I am not dealing well.

My story is similar to yours, very very much alike. I try to keep my head up, but every day it is a huge struggle.


The contact with my relatives is nearly completely gone. There is one nephew and one of my brothers who would speak to me. The rest have turned me away and down. And I don't know how to deal with it. I try to let go, but I just can't. Ít's there when I wake up, it's there at work, it's there at nights and it's there in my nightmares. I feel completely lost. I don't have real friends, only a couple of colleagues who I can call 'nice people'.

The hate I feel towards myself grows every day. I don't like the 'me'.


The last few months I approached some old 'friends' from the past via Facebook. When I quit my hobby some 8 years ago, I lost contact with those people. All's fine until I carefully mention the difficult period in my life. Result: they run away, too confronting.


A few weeks ago, in the middle of the night, I had a horrible moment of withdrawal symptoms. Decided to pack my bag cause I was sure I was going to end up in hospital. I then realized there is no one who has a spare key of my house. This realization, more like: there is no one I can turn to, is in my head ever since.

It's a nightmare 24 hours a day. All so called friends left me over the past few years. It must be me, I am not welcome.

There is no support network, none whatever.


So yes, I can relate to your story. Very similar! And like you, I don't know how to cope.


Sorry for my late reply, I haven't been online a lot lately but I will try and follow this site/forum and your contribution.I wish you all the best. If there's something you don't wish to share in the topics, feel free to PM me.



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Sad to hear , but theres one more of you right here. I have not seen a line that would describe my life more aptly "An entire childhood of emotional neglect/abuse, and never being allowed to express myself has done so much harm. 

I dont know if I will ever recover. I tried so hard to win my family's love, but the more I tried , the more I got used and consumed. 

I dont know how to deal with this part of my life. On top of this , God chose me for PSSD , so I couldn't even have a girl in my life. What is his plan, i sometimes wonder. Maybe this is karma from another life or something . IDK . It sucks to be alive sometimes

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I can relate to your messages. I find myself alone. I think this is partly to do with people's lack of understanding, not knowing how to react to me. I also think it is because I push people away, hide how I am feeling. This continues until there is no one there. I don't think it is completely others fault. I am now trying to reach out to family members, I need them. One sister won't be there for me. I am now on 30mg citralopam and off sick from work with anxiety. I can't swim against the tide any longer. I feel for you and understand you saying it sucks to be alive sometimes.  This just highlights how painful life can be. If we broke a leg, likely we would get support, I hate this hidden horrible anxiety. I am not going to fight it anymore, I am going to accept it and adapt my life to what I can hopefully cope with better. I will stop trying so hard, I can't do it anymore. Someone once said to me, when you feel the wind against your face, imagine it is me blowing you kisses, I try to think nice things it helps. Sending you all a warm hug x

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