Psych Central

Life Is Too Much

By Kristina Randle, Ph.D., LCSW

I’m going to start from the beginning (I’ll give the short version)My parents were never married. I lived in lower middle class environment. My father married another woman had three kids with her and they lived quite well. He always provided and took really good care of his already over privileged children. Christmas time, I would get 20 bucks (if anything) and his kids would get new game systems, cars, etc. When i turned 10 he and his family moved to Kansas. When i turned 16, I lived with my grandparents (my dads parents because he didnt want me living with him though he had a basement that was the size of my apartment) Due to the fact my mom and I fought all the time. We didnt talk for a whole year and it was obvious she was happy and more at peace now that i was gone. By the end of my senior year her and i started talking again. I decided i wanted to go to an art school to expand. I had won a scholarship that i planned to use for part of my schooling…Then reality set in. I went to Kansas city to apply for a community college (which i wasnt too happy about, but i was going to school so i really didnt care)I had gotten all of my paperwork finished and it was time to find a place to live. I found a place near campus but i needed a co-signer and my mom couldnt do it because she had horrible credit. So i had to ask my dad and he just wouldnt do it he danced around the subject until we dropped it. so my mom and i returned back to my home town as she ask me to pay her back for the money spent on the hotel we stayed at which meant i wouldnt have the money to pay for schooling. When i returned to my grandparents house they had changed the locks on the door and i had to find a place to live with no job and no school. Fast forward to more recent times, I worked some horrible horrible jobs while my dads kids got new cars, help with college, and support. This started to twist my faith in humanity. When i began freelancing, I was getting ripped off all the time when i needed the money. A few years later I took a job in Tulsa where a friend and i got ripped off so we needed to come back and my own father wouldnt help me. My mom’s boyfriend at the time (which i barely knew) gave us the money to come back. When i finally landed a real job in art, I felt the backlash of not having an education or privelages, staff made fun of my work behind my back and to my face this only lessend my faith in humanity and hate my father even more. Now, I still work for the same company even though they’ve screwed me over, stopped me from getting ahead even though i’ve made them tons of money and devoted myself to them like crazy and its because I dont have that peice of paper. And I know what you’re going to say, “Do something else” “Go back to school” I really cant since I just had a kid (which i really didnt want but i had no say so in it and his mother isnt working)I currently live in saint louis and plan on transferring back to my home town soon but if i quit, there isnt anywhere else i can work where i can use my skill adn my son wont have insurance. I’m pretty much tired of life. It’s boring, disapointing,and nothing but a series of let downs. Most of the time I’d rather not exisit at all then get up and work for a bunch of crooks and paying for my dads stupidity (which by the way hes getting rich off of his new invention). I really feel bad because my girlfriend is really optimistic and i’m more of a realist. At this point I have no faith in humanity (beside “literally” a handful of people) People to me are useless and I wish i didnt have to live among them. If it were up to me, I really wouldnt be here anymore. I always get everything I dont want. even when I have a possitive feeling about it. I really dont know what to do anymore. I’ve watched self help tapes, read books and all of that crap but none of it works. people tell me i should forgive my dad for his stupidity but i really feel like i’d feel better if i could watch him die.

A. I sense resentment and anger. Though it is understandable, it is not psychologically healthy to harbor those feelings. Do not let your past dictate your future. You had a difficult life. It is unfair. I realize that it is challenging to put that aside but I think it is what you need to do in order to become a mentally healthy individual.

We have a choice in life. You were not able to choose how you were raised but as an adult you have a choice in how you live your life. I am reminded of the book by Viktor Frankl called Man’s Search for Meaning. I mention it often because it shows clearly the resiliency of each person. If you are not familiar with Dr. Frankl then you may want to consider reading his book. The book is about his experience in a concentration camp. Though he suffered tremendously, both physically and mentally, he found meaning in his suffering. He was tortured by his captors. He watched his friends die of starvation, others being put into gas chambers, families and children being killed. He experienced pure evil. He could have been a bitter and angry man due to that experience but he wasn’t. He could have simply given up on life but he chose not to. He recognized that some people continue fighting for life while others give up. What is the difference between the two? Some found meaning in their suffering, and thus meaning in their lives and the others did not.

It is easier to give up on life but it is the wrong thing to do. It is understandable to be angry with your parents but how does that benefit you?

You may be thinking in terms of revenge, contemplating how you might hurt your father to pay him back for the suffering you have endured. If that is what you are thinking then you are on the wrong path. Nothing can change the past but you have a choice in how it will affect your future. There may be something positive that can come out of suffering. Dr. Frankl referred to this concept as tragic optimism. Essentially, tragic optimism means that even if we had experienced something negative, unpleasant or traumatic, something good can come from that experience. It is an occasion to turn suffering into human achievement.

You have tried many ways to improve your attitude and way of thinking. I commend you on your efforts. Even if it hasn’t worked yet, I would encourage you not to give up. Just because it has not been successful does not mean that it never will. You have not tried therapy. That might be something to consider, if you are open to it. You should also consider reading the book I mentioned earlier. Your girlfriend has the right attitude and I hope you will listen to her as well as consider therapy. Thank you for your question. I wish you the best of luck.

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Last reviewed: By John M. Grohol, Psy.D. on 27 Jan 2010

APA Reference
Randle, K. (2010). Life Is Too Much. Psych Central. Retrieved on April 18, 2014, from http://psychcentral.com/ask-the-therapist/2010/01/27/life-is-too-much/

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