Explaining Broken Homes: From the Innocence of Youth, to Teenage Depression, pt. II

teenage depressionHow does our past affect us in ways which echo through the entirety of our lives?  How do the smallest of events so long ago become the influences that shape our futures, our Selves?

How does every home become a broken home…?

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If you haven’t yet read Part 1 (lame), click the following:

Explaining Broken Homes: From the Innocence of Youth, to Teenage Depression, pt. I

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Those who might disagree with the premise of this site do so perhaps because – to them – the world seems mostly fine.

Mostly well.

Mostly okay.

They look around and see that most people aren’t that troubled, aren’t that messed up, aren’t that broken.

And they’re right.

Most people aren’t dysfunctional.

Not in the usual sense.  Not in the literal sense.

Most don’t have psychotic episodes, or mental breakdowns.  They aren’t bat-shit crazy or something.  They don’t commit crimes, or create public scenes.  They don’t wake every day in handcuffs, or a straight-jacket, or some crackhouse or something.  They aren’t evil.

They’re just regular people.  They’re average.

But the thing is…just how “well” is average, when you look at those around you, at the world at large?

Just how good is average, when you think of those you know and see?

How strong?  How confident?  How caring, and loving, and true?

Is integrity average – to their ideals, to their better hopes, to their better Selves?

Is the average person someone to be proud of, someone to look up to, a person led by their belief in themselves above all else, and their trust in themselves before all else; someone incorruptible, fearless, proud?

No.

Just look at the pain people cause – to those they’ve never met, to those they barely know, and worse yet, to those they say they love.

Look at the hurt they cause, the things they do to others, the hateful, awful shit they say – when angry, when cornered, when they just feel like it that day.

Look at how they talk to themselves, at the things they convince themselves – that they’re incapable, unable, undeserving; that they’re a few pounds too fat, a fraction too short, not cool enough, or good enough to be as they’d like to be.

Everyone else.  Everyone ever.  Yourself even, too.

How “well” is average?

When I finally looked at the world around me I was amazed at just how dysfunctional average actually is; how scared and hurtful it is, how hopeless and desperate, how mean and sick.

The cheating.  The lying.  The gossip.

The jealousy.  The back-stabbing.  The deceit.

The weakness in how we conduct our selves – in the company we keep, and the influences we allow; in the beliefs we adopt, and the actions we take.

When you look at the world truly, at our deepest selves – at those depths we hide from others, or ignore in our Self – it’s seems hard not to be shocked; not to be amazed at just how insane we all allow ourselves to be – with no concern at all, with no remorse at all, with no care; at how crazy we have to be before realizing something’s wrong; before saying maybe “I need help”.

Cause when a man throws feces on the street, we call him crazy and send him to a hospital for the help he needs.

But when he throws insults – when he lies, when he hurts, when he does as everyone does – when he spends a lifetime between sinner and saint, between good and bad, as we all do – we give him nothing.

Because it’s “average”.

Because it’s humanity as it is.

Because it’s people as they are.

But whether you throw shit in the street, or simply lie to someone you love, neither action is the action of someone well, someone right, someone emotionally and mentally strong.

Yet one has become normal.

One’s become acceptable.

But shit like that is typical of regular people.  As is a general fear of most things: of following one’s dreams, of leaving the spouse they no longer love, of talking to the beautiful girl in the coffee shop, or of acting with your own integrity and values, in the face of all who would have you do otherwise.

That’s normal.

As is the tendency to follow others, to base one’s self-esteem on the size of their clothes, to feel envious of others and somewhat ashamed of ourselves.

That’s regular.

And it’s messed up.

It’s fucked up.

It’s not right.

It’s not the world as it should be.  And it isn’t your life as it once was.

Cause we aren’t born…

…with low self-esteem; with fears and anxieties, with anger or envy.  We aren’t born lying, and hating, and hiding.

We learn these things.

It may have been from a parent, or guardian.  It may have been friends.  It may have been a total stranger.  But however we acquired these habits, they have surely become habits.  They’ve become a part of who we are; of who we believe ourselves to be.

Often, it’s the smallest things that affected us a lifetime: the bully in school who convinces us we are overweight or ugly; the older, achieving sibling whose example convinces us we aren’t good enough or smart enough; the parent whose warnings and stories of doom and crime teach us a mistrust and fear of people generally.

These are small events..  Ones which, on their own, do little to injure our general ability to live and co-exist in the world.

But it’s these things that have, every day – from our earliest days to this very day – harmed our ability to truly live the life of our design; to be confident, to be strong, to be free of all that scares and limits everyone else.

They create the conditions for depression; the low self esteem, the lack of control over ourselves, our minds, and our lives.

That’s a broken home.

That’s your broken home.

And it begins in our childhood – in the homes where we’re raised, and the schools where we’re taught, and the communities we’re made a part of or not.

And our youthful innocence becomes our teenage confusion.  And our teenage confusion becomes our teenage depression.  And our teenage depression becomes our adult depression.  And our adult depression becomes…our average.

Think of a child, then…

…playing at home, waiting for his father to return from work.  He got an A in school today, and all he wants to do is show his father the grade, to show him how smart he is and how hard he’s worked.  He just wants to make his father proud.  So badly.

His father comes home finally, exhausted from a long day at work.  All he wants to do is lie down and nap.  The world is tough for him.  He has too many bills to pay and works several jobs to meet them.  He feels like he’ll never get out from the burden, and life is getting harder and harder.  It’s not easy to smile anymore.  And when his son comes running up, he brushes him off.

“That’s great.  Show me later,” he sighs.

The son looks down disappointingly, mutters “ok,” and goes to his room – sad, disappointed, ashamed maybe, that he thought it so important or exciting at all.

The father didn’t mean anything, of course.  He wasn’t purposely mean.  He was just tired.  Just exhausted.  Just weary from a long that’s become his long life.

But think of what that might teach his son: fear of approaching him, the feeling that his grades and his efforts aren’t good enough, that there’s no one with whom he can share his good days, and therefore certainly no one with whom he can share his bad days.

He thought his actions – studying, getting good grades, sharing his accomplishment – would be met with congratulations, with excitement, with a sense that his parents were proud, that he was good.

After all, life is tough for him too.

He’s picked on at school, feels left out, outside.  Like so many others he doesn’t feel all that cool or smart or good-looking.

He’s lonely.

He thought this grade would make him feel better, not only about life but about himself.

Instead, he somehow feels worse.

And it’s this type of thing that happens to us all, countless times in our youth.

Think of its collective effect on the rest of our lives.

Every shunning like that.  Every spanking.  Every fight.  Every name we’re called.  Every negative thing we let become a part of us.

That’s a broken home.

Think of the girl…

…on the playground, picked on because of her size.

She goes to school to learn, to grow, to get the education which will improve her life.  But instead, all she learns is that she is different, not good enough, too large.

She took the arbitrary opinion of a few stupid kids, who know nothing about themselves, the world, or what they’re doing, and made it her identity.  She’ll carry it the rest of her life, struggling to be the girl in the magazine, buying all the products which promise the image in the photo but do nothing to fix the only real problem she has…her opinion of herself.

But the workout tapes won’t work.  The fitness program won’t work.  The diet won’t work.  All because they don’t fit the image she has of herself.

Cause to herself she’s the fat girl.  And so she thinks it will always be so.  And so it remains.

That’s a broken home.

Think of most any kid…

…in this country, taught from an early age that the most important thing in life is a college degree.

Get the degree and you will get the comfortable job, they thought.  Get the comfortable job and you’ll afford the large house and nice car.

How many millions base their life on this promise.  How many millions chase that dream all their lives – to own a bit more things, to have a bit more shit, to feel a bit more important because of what they’re paid or own.

Many get it.  But most realize it wasn’t what they wanted at all.

Cause they got the degree.  They got the job.  And now they’re stuck in a cubical till age 70.

And they hate their job.  They hate working for others on things they ultimately don’t give a damn about.  And they’d leave today, but for the large house to pay for, and the nice car to pay off.

If only they had learned from the beginning what’s most important to themselves; that to follow one’s passions is far superior in life – whether that leads to a comfortable job or not, whether it leads to college or not.

That’s a broken home.

And it’s the saddest thing of life…

…that we have a lifetime of negative experiences just like these.

And together these negative experiences have had a tremendous effect on us; gradually whittling away all we could and should have been.

And though these and all problems are surmountable, how much easier would life be if we had learned in our youth how to avoid such concerns, rather than shoulder them?  How much healthier and sane would we be had we not been raised in broken homes?

But that’s the effect of youth: that our broken home becomes our broken mind, that our teenage depression becomes our adult depression, that the hope of our lives can so easily be spoiled before it ever truly begins.

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And Now What?

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About Adam Austyn

Adam is the founder of, and principal contributor to, The Last Broken Home, a site dedicated to the journey from teen depression to self esteem, as well as the effect, nature, and problems of our youth. If you're cool too, follow him on TWITTER and FACEBOOK!

5 Responses to Explaining Broken Homes: From the Innocence of Youth, to Teenage Depression, pt. II

  1. David says:

    Thanks for this post, Adam… I think it’s definitely key for us all to remember that our behaviors are LEARNED, and driven by unconscious thought processes, all of which can be brought to the surface and dealt with — ALL negative thought can be controlled, it just takes time to learn how. I just finished reading a free Kindle book that was extremely helpful to me in dealing with these things, highly recommended if you wanna check it out for some new blogging material: http://www.amazon.com/Changing-Behavior-Relationships-Easy-Learn/product-reviews/0983965994/

    • Adam Austyn says:

      Sweet. Thanks for the rec. I’ll add it to the list of about a trillion books I need to read haha. Luckily I obviously find it interesting.

  2. Austin says:

    dude i left a earlier post but this is some good stuff, ill just say- shorten this shit up- ive been a scared lil bitch for like 2 years— and i got it directly from parents because they’re always scared too.. NOW I REALIZE ITS NOT MY PROBLEM — im going to quit my shittty pay job (haha) and go for something way the fuck easier cuz why stain my ass over something that sucks (and not to mention i dont get paid

  3. Austin says:

    ** (good) — MY PARENTS HAVE BEEN KEEPING ME ON A LEASH — damn im only 16 but i cant wait to finally leave,
    like you said i aint got the F*cked “broken home” but its at my standard of retarted haha, im sick of being a tenssed up monkey, im starting to realize that my religion- my values – my EXPECTATIONS of the world——– IS SO FUCKED! now its all about keeping that attitude– well Adam, thanks bro, im going to be lil shit (might not be what you expected haha) but ive been keeping my expectations for others a lil to high…>:D

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