1. Harri 26/03/2017 at 10:10 pm .

    Just want to say, 2 decades of therapy and a whole training as a therapist myself, this article totally, uncannily, hits the mark. Thank you. It affirms the experience and gives some fresh insights too.

  2. MomOfTwoLittleGirls 03/04/2017 at 3:39 pm .

    Just asking – are there any arguments FOR boarding? The brief I’ve read seems to be very one sided.

  3. MD 04/04/2017 at 8:02 am .

    An insightful article which resonates with my own experiences. Certainly boarding school divorced me from making any emotional attachments in general, although there were pre-existing causes for that as well. When I left at 16, I think I over-compensated by making an obsessive attachment to one or two people…

    So what can be done…. just years of therapy?

  4. Sue Davies 04/04/2017 at 10:48 am .

    It certainly hits the mark, I can remember in my early years of boarding school, sitting in our car as it sped towards town, with my tin trunk of clothes in the back and tears flowing down my face. It really did feel like abandonment, and on hindsight it tore my parents to pieces when they saw my tears – there was nothing they could do, we lived to far from town to make the daily school run. My issue was they could only get my eldest brother and myself into school for the first year as there was no space, and only on the second year did my twin sister and brother go as well. It felt as though they were the special ones.

  5. Moses 06/04/2017 at 1:17 pm .

    Very very true. I went to boarding school at 10 and ever since I have been this hard person (feedback from people I interact with) and even when I feel for someone, it is a major task to tell them how I feel. When I lost my dad ten years later, I felt the pain but could not even bring myself to cry. It has been 12 years. I always know that school killed something in me. Something that even makes me just say “sorry” when condoling a bereaved friend and nothing more!

  6. Munano 07/04/2017 at 6:46 am .

    That’s me right there. All of what I’ve been going through in one detailed article. I’m 31 and my life has been a very unpleasant one. I hated boarding school and I’d never have my kids go through my experience as a child. It’s wicked.

  7. Helena Shaw 21/05/2017 at 2:05 pm .

    I am so grateful to find this article. I was sent away at 6 and now in my late 30s I am starting to see how I have a very superficial bond with my mother. I have had several forms of counselling and am still taking medicine for depression after a break down several years ago. Now I just need to find a therapist local to me with experience of treating patients with Boarding School Syndrome.

  8. Cecilia 23/05/2017 at 7:08 pm .

    Yep rings true for me sent away at 10 “for my own good, how lucky was I ?”
    As soon as dependancy or emotional attachment nears I run away.

    The most successful period I had with a partner . . was when I had two men . .both called John as it happened. With one I had a spiritual/intellectual bond and spent hours talking, with the other a purely physical one . . .
    That way I wasn`t dependant on one !
    Not really a satisfactory long term solution though, eh ?

    I feel now only family can validate me, but do you think a therapist can really help you to value yourself ?

  9. Lynn 13/06/2017 at 7:07 am .

    I left for boarding school at 14. In another country and culture. I don’t do relationship follow- through well. For years I was ashamed of myself and knew everyone else was better than me. I cried alot without knowing why which in turn made me feel without value. I was suicidal and even wrote out my funeral service. I longed to just not be here anymore. Years into my adulthood, a friend introduced me to a magazine titled “Among Worlds”. It was writted by and for third culture kids. I cried through every issue, thankful that I was not the only person feeling the difficulty of fitting into and belonging to something or someone.
    I still don’t feel attachments. But I suspose that’s ok. I am a christian and look forward to one day being made whole again.

  10. OrganisedPauper 15/06/2017 at 8:18 pm .

    It doesn’t reflect my experience. I went to boarding school at the age of 8, but it was a free choice. I never had to stay there. I wasn’t made to.go. I was badly bullied & misunderstood in the state system. I got a grant for boarding school. I didn’t experience home sickness like some children did. My issues from boarding school are different from those listed. I liked school, until my teens. There was a lot of sexual pressure from boys in our mixed sex school, at the same time I was considered the ‘weird’ girl. It didn’t make any sense. I still liked the school itself, just not the other children. I’m definitely not emotionally numb.I have a very deep core of low self esteem, although I suspect I would have been even worse off in the state sector.

  11. Rory Holburn 02/08/2017 at 7:38 pm .

    As an ex boarder I certainly recognise some of the influences and pressures, but I would like to state that these are not always negative for all boarders. Some of these experiences, when complimented with a very strong family life in between, can be very positive and affirming. The family love is not missing but is enhanced in the moments when time is shared together and the time apart enables independent growth and development beyond the family alone.
    I had great and horrible times at boarding school, very much like life itself.
    I am always concerned that once something has a label it gets applied to everything. I pray that therapists do not hear “boarding school” and just assume negative. There is enough of that idiocy in day to day life already. Yes, they are not suited to all, but they also do work for many.

  12. Valerie Thomson 18/08/2017 at 2:52 pm .

    my husband went to boarding school at 11 always felt deprived of some home life…I went to boarding school at 14, loved almost every minute, I could be independent and had friends, (was on a farm so lonely at home.) I had resources I never had at home. I think a good boarding school can be a very good experience and a wonderful environment, especially in one’s teens. It is not always a negative experience.

  13. Tony 19/08/2017 at 2:54 pm .

    Boarding School let me down when I most needed the support, I was expelled for a robbery I did not commit, simply the malicious actions of a fee paying boy vs a naive scholarship boy.
    Money certainly talks
    My parents took the school’s side and disowned me
    16 years old and destitute, sleeping on newly made friends floors, hostels and squalid bedsits until I joined the Military
    Abandoned by the military after 12 years of service due to the end of the Cold War
    Issues with depression and a failure by the NHS in recent years to address my mental health issues they suggested I contacted the charity Combat Stress
    I haven’t been able to settle into a normal routine at work and have had numerous jobs since leaving the military in 1996
    I have a small circle of friends and if I feel my trust has been broken then there are no second chances
    My parents are no longer part of my life and neither is my sibling, I tried reconciliation some years ago only to realise that I would never receive their acceptance
    Back in a military environment in KSA at age 52 and very much on the outside here in regards to my coworkers as mental health issues are frowned on as LMF

  14. Cameron 05/11/2017 at 7:44 am .

    I also was sent to one of these appalling places at a young age. Parents mistake boarding schools as ‘ communities’ , which children and young people need as anyone does. But they are institutions, not communities .. just like prisons. One of the horrors is that young children have to form instant attachments , as they are pulled form their natural ones. These being non family authority figures, or other children. Children in these situations often retreat into fantasies or early addictive behavior – things that lead to addiction issues later in life, esp substance abuse. As an exboarding school person, and someone who has been in therapy for years and is now in treatment for substance abuse issues, I have found that so much of my dysfunctional thinking/behavior has its roots in the culture of being a child effectively being brought up in the institution as functioning as a surrogate parent . The only people they benefit are the most conformist type of children, who then go on in later later and repeat the institutional brainwashing, applying it to other institutions in later life.

  15. Ruth wilkinson 06/11/2017 at 3:37 pm .

    I can totally relate to this. I was sent away to boarding school when I was 5 till the age of 10. My parents gave me photographs of them but I couldn’t bear to look at them. I feel I did a life time of grieving in those early years and now have no emotions left.I cannot find anywhere inside me feelings of love nor do I feel sad at losing anyone whether it be death or just leaving. The exception is towards animals I can love them and be upset when I lose them. I do ‘t know if this is common.

  16. Lucy Carr 12/11/2017 at 11:11 am .

    The relief I felt when I read Joy’s book, was quickly replaced with total horror and overwhelming sadness. The relief was that finally I had found something which so eloquently taplkedvof how I felt, plus I briefly experienced a validation of my feelings. The horror and sadness came from the understanding of what I went through, that my feelings had been denied entirely all my life….labelled as an over sensitive/emotional or difficult child. The horror that I can’t have what I missed out on and so desperately crave, that I feel so damaged and different that I don’t feel I will ever find peace and acceptance. I have a wonderful therapist, who has shown me patience and kindness for 2 and a half years now. I can’t think of living without her in my life, yet I despise this neediness in me, and I am scared every day that she may walk away from me either intentionally or unintentionally. It is my own children(I love them fiercely and can never let them down)and my fear of failing that stop me from stepping out of this world. So the journey of life continues, with me keeping everyone and everything just that little bit separate from my being. I am sorry for all others who experience this despair, may you one day find some peace.

  17. sue 13/11/2017 at 7:31 am .

    What is so very sad is that whether we can see it or not, the damage was caused. I was sent away at 9, unable to speak to my parents for 3 months at a time, and unable to tell anyone how very lonely and sad I was. It has taken me over a decade of therapy to come to terms with some of the damage that being away at school caused. Recently, I heard a program about a kid with an attachment disorder and found myself crying – what he described was exactly what I had often felt. Being sent to boarding school was a brutal thing, no matter how often we were told “we’re doing this to give you the very best opportunities” and it is only with the help of an excellent therapist and treatment for depression that I find myself able to live a contented and productive life. If I had to say one thing to anyone having gone through the boarding school system it would be this: find yourself a therapist who can help, because you can become whole. I did, and I believe anyone can.

  18. Joe 90 05/01/2018 at 7:05 pm .

    At 54 years of age, suddenly 45 years of more or less across-the-board cr*p starts to make sense. Too many absolutely spot-on observations to itemise.

  19. Pamela Chedore 08/01/2018 at 2:30 am .

    I think that the article is too one-sided. I went to boarding school at ten, in a community where boarding school was considered normal and a privilege. There were good and bad times and I think it was a good preparation for life in general. I don’t suffer from depression, didn’t feel abandoned, and retained the same personality from before I went. Some children aren’t suited to boarding school – nor for that matter to competitive sports or high academics. I hope that all boarders are not now suspected of having been traumatized – of course the mental health community will only see those who were.

  20. Numbskull 08/03/2018 at 1:31 pm .

    Speaking personally, it seems that there are two possible outcomes from attending a boarding school, and they are not mutually exclusive.

    One is a resilience and determination combined with an understanding of the value of conformity, which can sometimes deliver professional success.

    The second is the development of a numb skull, frozen childish emotional development along with isolated and defensive thinking wrapped in a lifelong expectation of impending abandonment.

    Unfortunately the interplay between these two can cause difficulties not only for the ex-boarder, but also for many people around them.

    At work, issues of trust and authority can cause a mismatch between the boarding school children and the majority have not.

    Closer to home, another challenge is how to be a resourceful parent of children from the age of 10 upwards, having had no real experience of this, apart from prolonged institutionalisation.

    A third challenge comes in relation to caring for parents as they become infirm: love, duty, resentment all fight it out with a force which can be far too strong for such delicate circumstances.

    I’m coming to realise that the boarding school experience has probably damage the people around me more than myself.

  21. Samantha White 31/03/2018 at 10:44 am .

    I went to boarding school aged seven, with my sister who was three years my senior. Our parents had just had a bloody and messy violent divorce. We are both broken. She has bi-polar and has been on Lithium etc for decades. I just, just…. try and keep the tacking that is my dress in tact. Its falling apart at the seams of course.

    I thought my day had come when Dad said he could no longer afford to keep 4 kids in private school, by this time he had remarried and his new wife wanted her kids privately educated. Not at boarding school though, just the best day schools. So we were brought out and put back home, a home we didnt know. My mother had moved house three times by then. We only visited her new home in holidays so were unfamiliar with even the location or geography of the area. And didnt know any of the kids of our own age who had been brought up together.

    We were outsiders.

    I was forced to take an IQ test in Thetford because I hadnt ever sat an Eleven Plus exam. I really wanted to go to the Secondary Modern but my mother insisted I sit this IQ test to enable me to attend the Grammar School.

    I dont know much about public schools/private schools. But as a girl it was clear to me that when I went at age seven it wasnt to be groomed to go then onto a famous school like Eton or Harrow. We as girls were mainly taught embroidery, Latin, maths and gym. Plus of course DS – domestic science.

    It was a third rate boarding school even by the standards of the day. All manner of discarded kids washed up there. Some stayed some were put in there for one term never to return. I stayed at Overstone for about three years. I had been at St Andrews for three years before that. At least that was some stability.

    Boarding Schools at their worst are an excuse for the well off to dump their children. Once dumped in an institution that accepts them that legitimises the act of dumping your children “for their own good” and thus by paying for this you salve your own conscience as a parent.

    For every boy at Eton there are thousands more boys and girls at lesser public schools buying into this crap. When will it ever end? Its systemic abuse.

    Snobbery, my school thought hockey vulgar so we played lacrosse. Result? We had only three schools in the whole of the Uk to play against and all of them were too far away for the school to afford us to go and play against.

    Result? More isolation.


  22. Torn 05/04/2018 at 10:37 pm .

    I’m finding this reading fascinating, as well as the comments of those sharing here. My eleven year-old step daughter is working on achieving a scholarship to a prestigious boarding school around an hour’s drive away. She wants to board – even though day school is an available option. She claims she wants to board to be away from her mother, with whom her relationship is strained. With us, she has two solid parental figures and a younger brother with whom she has an excellent relationship. Transport would definitely be a huge challenge for us if she gets accepted. I’m wondering if allowing her to board with the option of changing to day school at her own choosing would negate negative effects? But we would much rather she live at home to have the security, guidance and support of a loving family. I don’t feel she is mature or equipped enough to bear the challenges of a life without a shoulder to cry on or genuine loving connection. She has grown up with two parents with mental illness, has been sheltered unnecessarily to a large degree I don’t think the distance would be beneficial. Yet the school seems an excellent fit for her and would give her huge academic advantages.

  23. john wright 13/05/2018 at 4:58 pm .

    not sure what you want to hear or not but i was put into a boarding school in Wiltshire from the age of 8 years old until i was almost 16 within a week i was Assulted by a member of staff then later on by another boy i was put into care as i could not read or write it was in the early 70s in all that time i did not learn very much up until i left after leaving the school it was the start of the 80s even then i still could not read or write very good i spoke to some man that said to me that i had dyslexia as it had only just been diagnosed what a long 8 years not having my parents or family to of learnt from im now 54yrs of age and still badly hurt from been placed into the boarding school it has effected me its probably ruined who i could of been.in a strange way i still miss that place i have even had a friend drove me to that ex school just to see it and it was about around 200 plus miles even when i left that school i missed what i had learnt and missed the puples and the teachers it was like my family

  24. Anon 04/06/2018 at 3:38 pm .

    Where do I begin? Since this is anonymous I well try to be as honest as possible. First if all, I hated boarding school with a passion only comparable to my deepest loathes. Which I’m not even sure there is anything I could ever hate as much. The very first day I arrived was a harbinger to what would be the for years I spent in that prison. I arrived a few days after the rest of the class, together with my deskmate then. As the others somewhat already knew each other, they were generally being a noisy bunch. Suddenly I heard a voice boom from outside “class five B, you are making noise. Kneel down everybody.” I was shocked. Everybody started kneeling down. My deskmate started kneeling down too but I told him we would say we have just arrived, I was not about to be punished on my first day.
    The teacher, a beast of a human being called Mr. M came in and beat everyone. When he got to us, we simply said that we had come that day. He passed and continued punishing the rest of the class.
    The sadistic pleasure that punishment was meted out was to become an almost daily thing, for four years. There was a time when the teachers had the cooks boil canes in water and salt(so I heard). The believability was in that the canes were almost similar while previously the teachers had their own different canes. And they stung. So fucking much.
    I suffer from all the symptoms listed-difficulty with relations, amnesia, difficulty with empathy. I feel like I’m stuck, suicide has looked tempting so many times. I feel hopeless so many times, like I can never move from here. I hate you dad for taking me to that school and just underlining the part where I told you I was homesick in my letters in red. I hate the woman he married who has been the biggest tormentor of my life. I hate everything.

  25. Another anon 30/06/2018 at 12:13 pm .

    I was sent to boarding school at 7 and loathed every minute. I’m now in my 60’s and still get butterflies when i see a packed suitcase waiting in the hallway. A few years ago we put the dog into kennels for week and i found myself shaking and sobbing on the trip there. There’s no doubt it seriously messed me up.

  26. s burgess 21/10/2018 at 2:23 am .

    in one way i’m glad i went .its hard for bad situation to break me now.after living through a traditional boarding school in in new zealand.

    morning runs, evil squads 5 to 7 morning runs beaten the whole process.gateings, abuse, neglect ,racism ,cold showers (a fire hose naked in winter). tutors were only present a few hours a day. the control power was firmly with the prefects. the culture shock on leaving took a few years .my brother found jail a easy process compared to boarding.

    the bad parts emotionally were intense. i didn’t see call my parents for 5 years after i left school unplanned by the way. it felt like returning to a trauma. it was not long after having cancer i was sent to boarding.im still not clear why it was so hard to even call them. i think i must of had a sense of neglect . and at that point i felt like a stranger in the family still do.

    the skills you learn are great for some situations. i never give bosses grief. i work as a team and put myself in context not placing my needs above others. but asking for help expressing pain feels unnatural and weak. its hard to seek help ask for favours from friends.and often it feels like supporting others needs feels fake .like this is the correct process.but they don’t know real pain. no real sense caring even tho i give a lot to those in need money emotional support.

    some of what went on i wont get into. abuse was institutional . abusers were the leaders both teachers, students.so much of our identity was formed in such situations it feels like attacking the institution is attacking one’s own identity. student fought to keep the sadistic traditions runs etc.

  27. Eve 07/11/2018 at 12:05 am .

    I was sent to boarding school at 9 ( all girls) was bullied and left when I was 13 due to having a mental break down, which lead to being diagnosed with BPD 13 years later.

  28. Maxina H 09/03/2019 at 4:32 pm .

    I was sent to boarding school at 8 right after we moved from Canada to London. I was teased and bullied for having a Canadian accent and having a Harrod’s label on everything. I had no friends. My mother was a psychopathic nacsassist who was chronically in search of social advancement so her children had to go to British boarding school and her shopping tastes were only expensive. We were not badly off but the excessive spending took its toll as my father retired with nothing and she remarried (without a divorce and before my father’s death…..). I cried days in advance of being driven to the school. Even traveling to London years later would fill me with anxiety and dread.
    I don’t have children; too terrified to do that and no trust in a partner during those years to do so. Numerous inappropriate to abusive relationships. I grind my teeth. I used to bite my nails until they bled. Now I pick at my fingers until they bleed.
    Boarding school may have given me a break from my narc mother while she had a fancy social life in London but bottom line: why have children at all if you’re going to send them to boarding school.

  29. Ellie 25/04/2019 at 8:09 am .

    I relate to this article well. Was sent to a boarding school not far from home at age 13-17. Too many unexplainable rules for convention & “discipline” sake. I was allowed to sleep at home 1 weekend a month. Went to an all girls school at age 7-12 so transitioning to a mixed gender school when I was in my pre-teens was a bit lonely and awkward. I was bullied by idiotic teenagers throughout my years there and my self esteem suffered until my late twenties. Continued living in hostel dormitories from then on for college and university. I still have a very superficial relationship with my family and I can’t keep a healthy relationship. I usually forgot that I grew up in a boarding school. Reading this tells me it could be one of the elements to why I am either detached or overtly attached. Important question is, how do I take it from here?

  30. Anon 07/06/2019 at 8:31 pm .

    It was awful. Period. But at the time it seemed normal. At the age of 8 to enter a place of no love, where rules governed everything you did, where you had to pretend that you were ok ,was unbearable. I put up defences, learned never to let them down. I tried to run away, I faked illness, I self-harmed. My dad died and I was ostracised because nobody could deal with it. I sincerely hope that it is better now.

  31. Anon 02/07/2019 at 11:47 pm .

    I recognise a lot of myself in the article and the comments. Currently the amnesia is the most irritating thing; I cannot remember very much at all about my early life (if anything) and I struggle to retain names or any personal narratives/information about people I meet. Resilient certainly- in a conventional sense and successful at work; yes. But defining personal success through institutional progression and so on feels hollow, and now I have a name for it–boarding school syndrome. I have two wonderful (and happy) children and am approaching 40–I will never send them away. I do not speak to my parents or brothers and sisters at all really, but am grateful every day to my wife and her family who help out and provide me with a model of what family life can be–I follow their lead, and am trying hard to not make the same mistakes my parents did. Boarding schools should be abolished, I cannot really see any proper justification for them in the 21st century even accounting for challenging work schedules and so on–especially with the growth of digital tools for work etc. making work travel less and less necessary etc.

    Thank you for this site.

  32. Amy Evans 21/09/2019 at 2:11 pm .

    I had such a different experience to so many of these people. For me boarding school was a safe place where I could be myself and life was predictable. I didn’t miss my parents at all which I think bothered them when I went to stay with friends on holidays. I grieved when I left school and 15 years later I still miss it terribly. I actually became very depressed the year after I left knowing I would never go back. They are still the best days of my life. I’m glad I read this however as I had planned to send my daughter to be a boarder at 12 and it’s given me a lot to consider. She’s gifted (officially) and very social. On her first day of school she marched straight in and got upset when we said the parents were staying for the morning. Everyday she doesn’t want to go home and has already started asking to be a boarder as it’s both a day and boarding school (she’s six but I would never send her before her teens) I thought she would love it like I did. Are some personalities more suited to boarding or would I be emotionally harming her? I just want her to be happy and have every opportunity I can give her.

  33. MK 14/01/2020 at 10:55 pm .

    I did 5 years from 7-12 years old and my sister attended the same school as a day pupil, I could not attend as a day pupil as there were no places. My sister was collect every day and I could see my mother for 5 minutes as she collected her. On the face of it that sounds fine but the level of rejection I felt was immense. Later my parents moved away and I was left on my own.

    For my future relationships this has caused so much damage, I fear rejection but can finish a loving relationship with little or no thought and can’t even explain to myself why. I separated from the mother of my children as I could not commit all down to those early experiences. I’m overly protective of my children and their interactions with any new partner I have as I don’t wanted them to feel the rejection I felt as a child.

    I always classed boarding school as character building which it is but may be not the characteristics which lead to a happy and complete life.

  34. Stephen Roberts 17/02/2020 at 10:03 pm .

    Shocked to discover this in my 69th year something that has effected my whole life since the age of six being sent locally as a weekly boarder then prep school, still remembering a horrible journey to take me to school and wondering why my mother was doing it if she loved me. She died before I was 10 , and I was sent back to school after a week away , with little or no help,coloured my whole life making relationships difficult. Not easy to be open about feelings, which has made for a long but difficult marriage.perhaps this awareness with a loving family will finally allow me to stop feeling an emotional cripple at times when I get a bit depressed and can’t explain but withdraw

  35. onikishov3 20/02/2020 at 6:32 am .

    Boarding School Syndrome is increasingly recognized as a specific syndrome by psychologists, psychotherapists and counsellors. Many adults are suffering long-term emotional or behavioural difficulties, which stem from having lost normal family life through being sent away to boarding school as children.

  36. Max 01/03/2020 at 11:45 pm .

    Being sent away at 8 to a place of fear, unkindness and brutality has without any doubt left me traumatised and at times behaving horribly and lashing out to vulnerable people. Relationships have been ruined. Self doubts, depression, irrational behaviour.
    I’m 65 and only now realising I need help but not sure who to reach out to.

  37. Misty 09/03/2020 at 10:57 am .

    This is very interesting. My father was sent at age 5 to boarding school (that seems unimaginable). As a child he was by turns kind and gentle to us, then violent and terrifying, unpredictable, cold and often deliberately cruel. It is hard to remember those are all the same person. It is unfortunate he met my mother – a covert narcissist and they were a devastating combination – three of us, all acutely broken. She was sent to boarding school in a foreign country as a teenager. I can see that inside he is a broken child, but I think she encouraged him to be her own personal attack dog, and without the emotional connections that being sent away so young robbed him of, he was unable to really connect or feel the hurt that was being inflicted on us by them. Two of us fully disabled and unable to participate in society, all three of us with severe mental health issues (theirs remain undiagnosed, or perhaps secret from their children). One of us is superficially successful, but she is unable to slow down, or put her own needs ahead of the need to be the successful one, to continually please them. She is constantly exhausted, trapped in a hamster wheel. Boarding school is one part of this story for us ( trauma from the war, alcoholism, gambling, narcissism throughout the family – basically it is all trauma) – I wonder how far the devastation passes on in other families. Now my own son suffering from depression, despite my best attempts not to pass on damage, but so much of it i had not yet identified.

  38. Lesley 25/05/2020 at 12:42 am .

    Omg, (goodness) for anyone who thinks I mean the other. I can’t believe the stories I’ve read here. All ( most) so unbelievably sad and messed up. I’ve just been offered a fantastic opportunity for my 13 yo to board 400 miles away from us . I hate the idea she is quite keen. She has already had a taste of flexi boarding at her prep school which her younger sister goes to. She absolutely loved it. But I’d still see her regularly and have to try prise her home as she had good bunch of friends who would also board with her . She is ready for a new adventure this September ( of fantastic education opportunity and outdoor pursuits which is how these schools sell the ideas- to poor gullible parents mistakenly thinking it’s the best gift you can give your children. I am in torment , torn between great opportunity I never had and chance for her to do well but dreading pulling the family apart and doing irreparable damage as written above . My youngest is not keen on losing her sister, my 13 yo probably doesn’t realise the impact. I’m gonna miss my crazy stroppy teen growing up and after reading this I’ve now changed my mind to thinking about now turning down what I think is an opportunity of a lifetime. I don’t think the school will keep her there if she is not boarding , it was a special award that she got that could fund her education and unless I pay a whole lot more money for her to be a day pupil (which we don’t have) and we could live nearby it would not work. I’d also have to pull my youngest out her school now to relocate. The choice left is for our 13 yo to go to a local non boarding school still independent but less glam and glitzy but she hates this idea and kicks up a fuss if I suggest it. I’m lost and don’t know what to do. I agreed she can try this boarding school which does let her home on weekends if she wants, and if it doesn’t work out she can come straight home and we are thinking possibly that we can travel down and see her on some weekends but it’s still a long time away from home. I read of all the loss here of self identity, splitting of personality, one person at home another at school, forced to grow up to soon, being part of a community and conforming ( my daughter loves not conforming) no chance to be a kid and play up and act out, no one around who really knows you and loves you , the feeling of isolation abandonment , the lack of opportunity to express emotion , feelings and chance to articulate feelings to work out problems. the list goes on it’s heartbreaking and easy to understand why the world is so messed up, if it’s people like this who hold all the top jobs and making the decisions. I pray all the people suffering here seek some kind of healing therapy to get in touch with their neglected spiritual emotional and physical selves . Please get some alternative holistic therapy. There are lots of good things you could try such as counselling, flower essences for mental and emotional states and reiki. I’m truly sad to hear your pain and I hope you get healing and learn to join the broken parts of yourself and learn to love and trust and heal. If you wonder what you should do next I hope you begin your journey of wholeness and healing, to heal the wounded child within and heal and balance your heart chakra. everyone can learn to love and trust again it just takes a lot of time. I Wish you all well and I wish you so much love and light on your journey and long life to experience and enjoy it to the full.

  39. Art 28/05/2020 at 5:28 am .


    I am from the US, a friend from the UK led me here. I would be very curious to what the suicide rates were for these schools?

    The ironic thing that in US, there were cults whose primary goal was to separate children from parents, I’ve seen many of the same techniques used in boarding school vids that those cults used.

  40. Martty bird 19/07/2020 at 8:57 pm .

    I hated. From age 11 to 18. It completely changed me, I used to be outgoing, charming and smart. Right now I’m an introvert who would rather stay in his room the whole day. I’m 23. I hate my parents for taking me to boarding school. I lost all ability to have any meaningful social interactions. To make it worse, it was an all boys boarding school. After school I had no clue how to form relationships with women, or how to interact with them in the first place. I lost all motivation for school work and flunked everything, I was bottom of class throughout high school. Even law school became a drag after a while. I took to substances- weed and alcohol to numb it all. But for years, I have been working on myself, trying to regain the skills I lost and learn those I never learned in my teens. I believe one day I will recover and be completely formed. Just recently I vowed to quit weed and the occassional cigarette. I am going to be once again the champion I was in my early years. I am just glad I caught onto it early enough. As for my sister and brother, my heart breaks for them, they went to boarding for much longer than I did. 12 yrs. My brother has serious anger issues, is cold and distant and alternates btn oppossitte emotions. My siz, although she masks it better, is withdrawn, somehow lost and heartbroken by life. Boarding schools are the monsters of our time.

  41. Ben 03/09/2020 at 9:09 pm .

    Some fascinating stories above. I was betrayed at the age of eight, my parents sent me away because that was what middle-class people did. They didn’t even bother driving me to the school, I was put in a car and driven there. I cried for four days then I told myself: “nobody is going to support you or look after you so you’d better just become self-reliant” and I turned in on myself in a way that has affected me ever since. There was a further betrayal when I mentioned in my weekly letter to my parents that I was cold at night, they telephoned the school and I was hauled in front of the Headmaster and the Matron who bollocked me for going over her head, so then I resolved never to talk to anybody about my feelings or my troubles, making me even lonelier emotionally.

    The school was good and we had fun in the huge grounds but I was beaten several times, which leaves its own psychological scar. Years later I revisited the school and met the Matron. She told me I was one of the children she remembered best but she couldn’t or wouldn’t answer my question as to why she had seen fit to isolate me in sick bay for around a week every term when I don’t remember ever feeling ill.

    Happily I was never abused sexually though I came close to it at the hands of a predatory and sadistic Benedictine monk at the Catholic public school I attended later for a year until my parents took me out. That school closed years ago after an abuse scandal. As far as I know a couple of the most sadistic lay- teachers became members of the community.

    When my own son reached the age of eight I felt shocked that I had been that age when I was betrayed by my parents. Now I’m 64, recently retired, moving house and almost paralysed by generalised anxiety disorder triggered by neighbour noise. My GP tried me on Sertraline but it poisoned me and I stopped after two days so now I’m surviving in damp depressing temporary accommodation while my wife and I wait to sell our house and move, new neighbours who party with extended family every night in the garden having driven us out of our nice comfortable home. The stress is unbearable and I’m sure my boarding school experience is somehow driving it combined with a familial tendency towards anxiety. I sleep barely three hours a night and am so tired that my wife won’t allow me to drive. Beta blockers and Diazepam help at the bad times, sleeping pills have little effect. A beer at 5.15 helps me relax but mornings are absolutely horrible.

    It’s comforting in a way to know that others are suffering boarding school syndrome but I’ve a long way to go yet before I deal with it and the anxiety.

  42. Nona 06/09/2020 at 2:25 am .

    It’s very possible to attend boarding school and feel loved and supported by your parents, if you didn’t feel this, then maybe you wouldn’t have felt this anyway even if you had stayed at home?
    The ‘sibling’ relationships are lifelong and intense, these are people who have seen the best and worst of you and stayed loyal no matter what, maybe the reason that subsequent relationships don’t work out is that by comparison they are superficial and unrewarding?

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