“My parents separated when I was overseas towards the end of 2009. I remember when they called me, I wasn’t feeling overly sad to hear the news. Though after hanging up, being alone in a foreign country, I cried for a while – maybe doing what I thought I was meant to in this kind of situation. Back at home I felt like I had to take on more responsibility. It felt like my parents became my children, constantly seeking my validation for their actions and feelings. It felt like their children became my responsibility too, given their parents were incapable of providing the warmth, compassion and empathy for anything other than themselves. It felt like my feelings were invisible. My frustration levels were high, my fuse was short with my family, I was irritable as fuck, and I would cry every now and then feeling overwhelmed by responsibility. I smoked a lot at the time, perhaps 5-6 cigarettes a day. It provided me with a mental relief; enjoyment in something small that I could turn to for a moment of peace. The experience was one of the best enhancers of my current career path in psychology. I have used it to draw strength and courage for empathising.” Jarrod, 27, Australia

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