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Colclough 1

Imani Colclough
Prof. Intuwiwat
UWRT 1102-091
November 18th, 2015

Running From you Past Problems


So often in lives we are faced with challenges, these challenges come to us in many
different ways when we are young it may occur in school, or on the playground. Later in
life these challenges may occur in work, fellowship of religion or just in the day to day
struggles of being an adult. We often forget about the challenges we face within our own
homes. The things that occur in your home can have a huge impact on your actions when
you leave the home. This is especially true when it comes to our youth who are naturally
very impressionable. Dysfunction in the home is an attributing factor for dysfunctional
behavior outside the home. Teens are especially affected by these environments where
there is a lack of family structure. This dysfunction leads to rebellion, violence, underage
sex, and depression. Depression is the greatest attributing factor for teens to have
thoughts of running away. In the book Into The Wild a biography about the life of
Chris McCandless the main character Chris was in the first stages of adulthood. He
graduated from college and decided to give away all of his possessions, donate his
inheritance, not pursue his career and travel to Alaska. Chris made the decision to do this
without notifying anyone of his plans. Was Chris plans to do this due to the dysfunction
he experienced in his home? Did Chris feel that he couldnt escape his past without
disconnecting himself from everything he knew? Did the problems from his childhood
arise once again and cause a stressor? One can only speculate.
Christopher McCandless was a highly intellectual young man who after
graduating from college decided to forgo career plans and trek to Alaska. Chris
chronicled his journey of two years and the various encounters he experienced along the
way in his journal up until when his body was discovered inside an abandoned bus in
Alaska. Before trekking on this journey Chris decided to cut all ties with his family and
everything he established.
Chris parents tried so hard to keep secrets from him and his sister. One of which
was also an attributing stressor for Chriss disappearance is believed to be discovering
that his dad was previously married and that his dad had other children when his mom
met him. These secrets long with the brooding dysfunctional family dynamics that Chris
experienced in his home proved to be overwhelming for Chris. Chriss bared witness to
his parents fighting routinely in front of his sister and him. So when Chris later learned
that his parents marriage wasnt as ideal as they portrayed it to be he didnt give them an
opportunity to take responsibility by confronting them. He didnt feel comfortable in his
relationship with either of his two parents and he didnt know how to effectively
communicate with them. Chris instead kept his feelings to himself and decided to cut his
family off and run off to Alaska.

Colclough 2
The effect of family dysfunction that begins in the early childhood stages can lead
to long-term effects up until adulthood. Data results indicate that increased signs of
family dysfunction are significantly associated with more callous-unemotional behavior
early as the first grade. Dysfunctional parents or caregivers justify callous-unemotional
behavior by deeming it to be the only alternative to sensitive parenting. Family
dysfunction originates and continues from a variety of attributing factors including:
family pride, vulnerability, emotional distance, tension anger, role reversal, and global
pathology. Growing up in a dysfunctional family environment can increase the chance of
repeat behavior.
Adolescence is a transitional period in which teens experience biological,
emotional, cognitive and social changes. The challenges they encounter during this time
period can increase their risk of developing internalized problems including subthreshold
depression. Attributing factors to running away not only include depression but also
sexual, physical and psychological abuse. Family structure was another major factor
adolescents in single, blended or dysfunctional homes were found to be more at risk to
running away. It is highly important that adolescences feel supported by their parents
because much of their focus is on how they perceive themselves and how their parents
perceive them. Perceived support and healthy family functioning may reduce the risk for
depressive symptoms in teens. Proper communication between parents and adolescents
allows teens to control their emotions, and feel more at ease to confide and seek help and
advice within their family and from friends during times of stress.
Most people dont understand their state of being and how human beings have
the power to overcome their circumstance when they realize their state of possibility.
Chris was able to create a new existence, a new kind of flow that he felt was more
purposeful when he let go of his ties to his family and the life he lived. When dealing
with difficult life circumstance one often wonders how to function in a state of
dysfunction. The course of action may not be as familiar as you are accustom to, and it
may make you feel uncertain but an opportunity to immobilize pain is worth pursuing.
Running from your past problems may not be the answer. Overcoming life circumstances
may require therapy with those individuals that contribute to the dysfunction that creates
the imbalance.
Chris was 22 when he disappeared from home an adult. The factors that led him
to his demise began as early a child. The memories that replay in his mind and in the
minds of many youth that grew up in dysfunctional homes cannot be erased. There is so
much power in accepting responsibility and holding the people in your life accountable
for their actions. There is a sentiment of freedom that you experience when you leave
your problems behind. This sentiment is only short-lived when you run from your
problems and never cope with them. It is imperative that the cycle of dysfunction is
broken to prevent the symptoms from being passed on from generation to generation.