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Should I Compensate for My Past Failures?

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From Bangladesh: I am 34, married, have a daughter who is eight years old. I love her a lot. I probably have very low self esteem and also obsessions/compulsions. In the I scored 75 in self-esteem and 56 in obsessions/compulsions. Although, I am sure I didn’t answer a lot of questions correctly.

I graduated in 2006. But for the past 10 years I was employed for only 22 months in 2 different jobs. The second job was worse than the first one and barely covered my expenses. I am currently unemployed and pursuing a Master of Science degree in IT. I have been living off of my father’s house rent for most of my adult life.

I have been abused by my parents since the age of 4. Both my parents used to beat me a lot but my father used to emotionally abuse me more. My mother expressed her love and appreciation for me sometimes but my dad never did so (except for 3 occasions) because ‘that would spoil me’. Constant criticism, name-calling, belittling, ridiculing, verbal threats was a daily routine in the name of education up until 2012. I was thrown out of home twice before the age of 12. When I was 20, I escaped from home for fear of my dad after failing in 2 courses but returned home after 3 days. I was and am very fearful of my dad. I can never speak to him normally and mostly keep silent whenever he is around, I feel like walking on egg-shells. In 2012, at the age of 30, I first came to learn what emotional abuse is. At one occasion in that year, I confronted him and yelled at him for the first and last time. The abuses lessened ever since. But I am still afraid of him and want to move away but I need a decent job first.

I procrastinate a lot. I have no friends since the age of eight. I am afraid of facing job interviews (despite having well qualifications) and making friends for the fear of being judged negatively. I know I need therapy.

I am not legally/financially indebted to anyone. But I feel I should compensate for my past unemployment by earning more in the future. Some people I know are trying to do so to compensate for their ‘forgiven debt’. Should I do it? Everyone in society seems to believe that consuming more than you have earned in life is disgraceful and nobody deserves to live on the food that he hasn’t paid for. But I don’t want to do so. I want to be happy but want to ‘deserve’ it too. But I don’t want to go abroad to earn more. I just want to live away from my parents with my family, learn more of what I love, connect with people, raise my kid and have a good life. I don’t want to pursue more money or burden myself with more responsibilities or pains than that is required to have a healthy self-esteem. What steps should I take?

Should I Compensate for My Past Failures?

Answered by on -


 Thank you for your question. I appreciate the courage it takes to write about the emotional abuse, and understand your desire to compensate. However, unless there was a specific agreement made between you and your father for compensation, I would not invest your time, energy and future in repaying something that your father needed to give. Let the “forgiven debt” be just that. It may be one of the ways your father is trying to atone for his poor parenting. Let this be.

Your university should have a counseling program on campus and it’s likely to be well equipped in helping you with social and professional skills. Make an appointment with one of the counselors. They will help you to envision a future of learning more of what your love, connecting with others, raising your child, and having a good life.

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

Should I Compensate for My Past Failures?

Therapists live, online right now, from BetterHelp:

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). Should I Compensate for My Past Failures?. Psych Central. Retrieved on August 6, 2020, from
Scientifically Reviewed
Last updated: 8 May 2018 (Originally: 4 Jul 2016)
Last reviewed: By a member of our scientific advisory board on 8 May 2018
Published on Psych All rights reserved.