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Why Did I Come Back to My Abusive Home?

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I left for college at the end of August and moved into my dorm. Starting the very first night at college, every single night I would have panic attacks, shake uncontrollably, throw up, and be nauseous. I then began having thoughts of suicide 24/7 and I decided that it was too emotionally dangerous for me to be at college so I decided to move back home and go to community college instead for a couple years. So, I’ve been home about 3 weeks now and I feel better than I did at college. I don’t understand why I have the desire to be at home rather than away from it, considering the verbal and physical abuse?

Why Did I Come Back to My Abusive Home?

Answered by on -


You couldn’t have known when you moved into your dorm that you would have such a powerful reaction to separation. I’m very glad you took care of yourself by recognizing the stress and making adjustments.

However, we are drawn to what is familiar — not necessarily to what is better. The origin of the word familiar and family is the same. When we are used to a way of living it is hard to change. Even if the change we are moving toward is a better one.

I would highly recommend counseling. If the community college has counselors on staff talk to them about your reaction and decision. If you are still near the university I would talk with them about getting onboard with counselors there to prepare for when you do make the transition.

If neither of these options are available to you, then I would look for a private therapist. You’ll want to get yourself ready for when you transition back to the university. The counseling will make that shift easier next time around.

Wishing you patience and peace,
Dr. Dan
Proof Positive Blog @ PsychCentral

Why Did I Come Back to My Abusive Home?

Daniel J. Tomasulo, PhD, TEP, MFA, MAPP

Dan Tomasulo Ph.D., TEP, MFA, MAPP teaches Positive Psychology in the graduate program of Counseling and Clinical Psychology at Columbia University, Teachers College and works with Martin Seligman, the Father of Positive Psychology in the Masters of Applied Positive Psychology (MAPP) program at the University of Pennsylvania. He is Director of the New York Certification in Positive Psychology for the Open Center in New York City and on faculty at New Jersey City University. Sharecare has honored him as one of the top 10 online influencers on the topic of depression. For more information go to: He also writes for Psych Central's Ask the Therapist column and the Proof Positive blog.

APA Reference
Tomasulo, D. (2018). Why Did I Come Back to My Abusive Home?. Psych Central. Retrieved on March 21, 2019, from
Scientifically Reviewed
Last updated: 8 May 2018
Last reviewed: By a member of our scientific advisory board on 8 May 2018
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