The symptoms of what we call being a Boarding School Survivor, also known as Boarding School Syndrome, are varied and complex. They include difficulties in relationships and parenting, workaholism, inability to relax, isolation, being experienced as a bully, substance abuse, a sense of failure, as well as physical, sleep, and sexual problems.

These and other problems may be due a complicated mix of neglect and privilege, of being exiled from normal family life to an institution with easy exposure to bullying and abuse. Such an education is not a good recipe for normal life and is a disastrous preparation for relationships.

The effects of what children learn under hot-house pressure cannot be reversed without first recognising the symptoms and causes of the problem. This is the first step and is crucial. Reading our literature can help with this.

The next step, attempting to recover, to move—as we say—from Survival into Living is not an easy task and can rarely be effectively done without help. This is because ex-boarders have constructed what we call a Strategic Survival Personality, and will need support to feel safe enough to let their guard down, before re-learning ways of living a normal life outside current institutions, such as the work environment.

However, where there is will there is a way. Once awareness of the suffering and its causes are in place, recovery is possible, and has innumerable benefits.

To find out more about what you can do, please see our counselling and therapy page.