The Last Straw: These Stories Of People Reaching Their Breaking Point Have Us On Edge

February 6, 2020 | Miles Brucker

The Last Straw: These Stories Of People Reaching Their Breaking Point Have Us On Edge

Life is hard. No matter who one is or how good things are, there will always be moments where we feel completely overwhelmed by the harsh realities of living in this difficult world. There may be many different causes and reactions to reaching our breaking points, but one thing is certain—it can even happen to the best of us. With that in mind, here are 50 real-life accounts of what people’s “breaking point” moments were truly like.

1. Time Is Money

One day, my daughter was showing me a picture that she had drawn. She said, “Here is daddy, and puppy, here is little brother, and this one is me!” I asked her where mommy was in her picture. She replied, “At work. Mumma is always at work!” That hit me hard. I had been sacrificing a lot for my job, working 60 hour weeks. She said that with such resignation and sadness that I immediately knew I was missing something vital.

I was missing time with her. I could always work more later, but I could never get that time with her back.

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2. Dancing in the Street

I was very, very drunk one evening when a huge storm came to town. There was rain, thunder, and lightning. The holy trinity. In the middle of all this, I decided to take off all my clothes in the middle of a huge downpour and proceeded to spend several hours dancing around outside. I don't think anyone saw. At least I hope they didn’t!

I ended up falling asleep under my blanket in the middle of the street, listening to Beethoven and watching the animals (i.e. clouds) dance past in the sky. After I woke up and realized how dangerous my behavior had been, I realized that I had to change my ways once and for all.

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3. Have You Heard?

My breaking point came when I realized that my hearing could never be restored. I was devastated.

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4. That’s No Way to Treat Someone!

This lady came into the shelter where I work to see the cats. She asked if she could give them treats and I said yes. It's a shelter where most of the cats are free. So, she gets the bag out and the cats start going wild with anticipation. I couldn’t believe what she did next. She just stood there laughing and tempting them without giving actually them anything.

She looked like she enjoyed their anxiety, and her laugh sounded like a crazy person. I lost it, grabbed the bag out of her hands, gave the treats to the cats, and asked her to leave. Those cats are already stressed out. Don't give them more anxiety!

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5. Unconventional Behavior

My wife was serving as a "senior staff member" for a local science fiction convention. Not only was she an unpaid volunteer, but she actually had to take a vacation day off of work and pay for her hotel room and parking in order to be there. On the morning that the convention started, she was setting up the first of the three rooms that she was responsible for.

This consisted of manual labor, including moving tables, setting up shelves, and loading them up with stuff. While she was working on that, somebody came in, spotted the ID badge that she had put down on a nearby desk, took it off the desk, and brought it to the convention's lost and found. The convention’s lost and found lady then told my wife that lost badges have a $5 fee to get them back.

That was her breaking point. My wife looked at the badge, looked at the lady, and just said "Keep it. I'm going home. Have a nice convention." My wife was about 25 feet down the hall already, when the lost and found lady caught up to her and returned her badge free of charge.

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6. The Clock Is Ticking

My breaking point was when I was late for work one day because a colleague asked me to cover her shift and gave me the wrong start time. It was treated as if it were my fault from the company's perspective. I freaked out and let my bosses know how I felt about the situation.

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7. On Account of What?

My breaking point was when I freaked out at work. I had been working 65+ hour work weeks in public accounting as an auditor. This job consists mostly of getting yelled at by clients for things that aren't your fault, getting chewed out by your manager for being over and/or under-budgeted hours for a client, staying in hotels five days a week during busy season, eating poorly because you never have time to cook, etc.

After a while, I just couldn’t stand it any longer. Let's just say that one of the greatest days of my life was when I got laid off from that place; which opened the door to great opportunities for me featuring none of the issues listed above!

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8. His Other Half

My breaking point was when my wife died from cancer in 2007. She was 50 and we'd been married 29 years. She was the light of my life and, although I have managed to still function, I immediately realized I would never be the same.

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9. Is This a Dagger Which I See Before Me?

When I was about 15 years old, I got into a fight with my friend over something stupid. I went home and was shaking with rage. It was a full-on puberty meltdown. I was stomping up and down the hallway, breathing through my teeth as hard as I could. At one point, I went into the kitchen and got a knife. I then started talking to God, saying things like "PLEASE FORGIVE ME FOR WHATEVER I DO TO HIM!"

I was a pretty big nimrod, and I feel super embarrassed when I remember this…

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10. Pool Shark

I put on a lot of weight one year but didn’t pay any attention to it. Then, when it was time to put on swim trunks for a pool party one day, I was extremely embarrassed when I realized that I was physically incapable of fitting into them. I started a diet the very next day.

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11. Breaking in the First Degree

For some reason or another, my mother always hated me. As a little girl, I could never understand why she treated me so much worse than she treated my three other siblings. I would often go up to my grandmother and ask her "Why doesn't my momma love me?" She never could give me a straight answer, and would usually tell me something like "Your momma loves you in the only way she knows how."

That answer confused me because she loved my siblings just fine. Disclaimer: Her love was extremely toxic, and she did a different type of damage to my other siblings. Now, when I say that my mother treated me badly, it started out with her picking fights with me. She would constantly nitpick at everything I did; chastising me and, at the end of the day, punishing me harshly for things that could have been addressed with just a gentle scolding.

When I got older, she started cussing at me and calling me names. She would often ignore me for days on end; and when she would decide to talk to me, it would only be to make me the butt end of a bad joke, or to tell me that she hated me. Yes, my mother looked me dead in my eyes and told me that she hated me. Disclaimer #2: She was an addict and an alcoholic, and she loves to claim that all the emotional abuse she put me through as a child was merely the effects of the substances and that it "wasn't even that bad."

It was things like that which really began to tear away at me after a while. She did all sorts of terrible things to me growing up. I couldn’t stand the terrible things she said, or the way she ignored me constantly. All of it was so very different than how I saw her treating my other three siblings every day. She was very close with one of my brothers and my sister.

She would spend time with them constantly, take them anywhere they wanted to go, buy them anything that they wanted, etc. After a while, it made me come to resent them. My sister would sometimes rub it in my face that “Mom loved [her] more.” It was her little way of having power over me, and it was one of the things that eventually made my rage start to bubble over onto innocent people.

I just wanted to be loved and accepted. I wanted to be cared for and cherished as a child should be. When I didn't get that, I plotted on how I was going to get her love and affection. In my screwed up mind, I thought that if I got rid of my older brother and younger sister...I would be one of the only people left for her to love.

That thought was the breaking point for me. At that moment, I planned on killing my brother. How screwed up is that? It wasn't just some thought that passed through my head; it was a constant idea, a plan that I was putting into place to end his life so that I could make room in my mother's heart for myself. I feel ashamed of this writing it out.

It was a very dark time in my life, and I was also incredibly mentally ill. My brother was addicted to pain medications, and my parents were trying desperately to get him clean at the time. Ironically, at the same time, he was going on a substance-induced rampage, my sister had just shattered her leg on a trampoline and, as a result, she had brought some pretty heavy pain pills into the house. My mother was doing everything in her power to keep my brother away from the pills.

She would leave my sister (and her pills) in my care. So, one day, while my mother was out somewhere with my brother and my sister was still sleeping, I snatched the rest of her pills. My sister was super afraid of becoming addicted to them after watching what my mother and brother were going through, so there was a ton left.

I then waited patiently for my brother to come back home. When I heard him come through his window (his room was next to mine), I went into the kitchen and made him a glass of juice. Earlier in the day, I had crushed up the pills into a powder, and I mixed them into the juice. I went up to his room, knocked on the door, and offered him the cocktail of various prescriptions.

He took the juice and, right before he was about to drink it, I had a sudden thought. "How could I do this to my own brother??!!" I snatched the drink back and it spilled out all over the carpet. He was confused and super angry, but at least he was alive. I never tried anything like that again. It felt so sick, wrong, and evil. I mean, what type of person thinks about killing their brother?

Besides, my brother dying wouldn't have made my mother start to love me any extra. On the contrary, it would have only made her resent me for living instead of him. So that's my sad, sick story of how I almost executed my brother. I didn't actually carry through with it, obviously, and I guess everyone lived happily ever after.

My brother got clean and now has a happy family. I'm in college and my sister's leg has healed up nicely. Meanwhile, our mom ended up abandoning us after a while...but that's a story for another time.

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12. Mother Doesn’t Always Know Best

The moment that broke me down like none other was when my mother claimed it was my fault that my father had cheated on her. I was 12 years old.

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13. Table Manners

My breaking point was when I was sitting in a meeting at work and my suggestions were getting consistently ignored. I was getting interrupted and talked over repeatedly. As a result, I suddenly got the weirdest urge to prove that I still existed by jumping on the table and busting out the “Queen of the Night” aria.

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14. Early to Bed, Early to Rise

My breaking point was when I found out that my best friend of 20 years slept with my boyfriend of three my bed. I gotta say I kinda lost my chill after that one. It happened a year ago and I’m a lot angrier of a person now than I used to be.

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15. Loss Is Never Easy

After what felt like an eternity of waiting, hearing my mum cry while telling me that the paramedics couldn't revive my two-year-old brother was the moment that broke me down. I'll always remember that day pretty vividly. I was only eight years old and blamed myself.

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16. The Blame Game

I grew up with an incredibly privileged but emotionally abusive family. I never really fit in. They would frequently gaslight me in so many ways, but what finally made me break and feel like I was going crazy was when they all teamed up to attack me for being the cause of all their problems. They all hated each other and treated me like garbage for no reason, yet they had the nerve to act like I was the only one to fight with anyone else??

I’ve moved out now, but there were many nights when I felt like I was going through hell and wanted to burn that house down and never look back. I’m glad I didn’t though. There’s always a better way out.

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17. Working for the Man

When I realized how much I hated my old job, I broke down and quit. A lot of my colleagues also quit after I did. The company will survive, but the atmosphere won’t be nearly as light anymore because all the fun people left except one. Their turnover rate is ridiculously high.

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18. If I’m Going Down, I’m Taking You With Me

I didn't grow up with the best family. There was a long period of time where there was constant fighting, and things often went too far. I didn't feel safe in many different ways. It all culminated to a breaking point when I was 17 years old. My abusive mother wanted to kick me out of the house, but thanks to my vindictive comments she knew that wouldn’t be a good idea.

My mom is not a US citizen. I made sure she clearly understood that if she ever threatened to throw me out of the house, I would alert the authorities and put her residence in jeopardy.

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19. Two Can Play at That Game

My breaking point was the night I finally snapped at my abusive ex in our bedroom and decided to start treating him as badly as he treated me. At that moment, I finally realized that nothing would ever get better in our relationship, that he would keep on refusing to get help, and that no matter what I did, he would never understand the pain he caused me.

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20. Here Today, Gone Tomorrow

I broke down when I found out that my best friend had died by suicide. I was 15 years old. I had to tell my dad and my mom about it. I had known her since kindergarten. Telling them was almost as bad as hearing about it. I'm 29 now and I still miss her every single day.

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21. Brand Spanking New

It has always felt like my parents never wanted me. I was a surprise honeymoon baby, born nine months and a day after their wedding. I was regularly screamed at for anything I did until I just started hiding away. I was called "the practice child" my whole life. My younger siblings got way more love and attention. In my teens, they started taking in "strays."

If any neighborhood kids didn't want to go home at any point, they could just hang out at our house all the time. Effectively, my mother would take my friends away from me to be her friends instead. One such friend of hers was a kid who picked on me constantly from the time I was 11 years old. I guess they had that in common.

This guy had been kicked out of his dad's house and his mom's house when he was 20, so my parents ended up taking him in permanently. That killed me. But I always wanted their approval, so I was always calm and agreeable; always desperately trying to figure out how to get them to love me. For this reason, I went along with it.

Years later, I'm married and have a son. This guy still lives with my parents. They continue to coddle and make excuses for him while criticizing me for whatever they feel like. One day, we're all at my parents’ house and my son is being a goofy two-year-old, which annoys the man-child living there. So, he gets furious, picks up my son by his ankle, and spanks him.

My parents claimed not to have seen it. We went home. I couldn't sleep that night because I was so upset. The next morning, I made sure the guy and my mom would be at home—although, why wouldn't he be there—and I went to confront them with my wife. I dumped everything I had been putting up with onto them for about an hour, including asking how my mom could allow this jerk to hit my son.

Their reaction was utterly disturbing. She maintained that it didn't happen, so I went through the roof. I ended up crying because of all the pent-up emotion, so my fantastic wife took over. She said we wouldn't ever be coming back if the guy still lived there, so he yelled that he would move out. He then stormed off after saying he didn't have to listen to this.

My parents convinced him not to move out shortly after we left. My mother expressed how disappointed she was that I didn't really come "to have a conversation", and only came to "dump" on them. That was her big takeaway from everything I had said. That I wasn't being "fair" to them. We went to counseling with them later. For months.

It validated everything I had felt, but they never stopped lying and being defensive. One counselor said we should be on Dr. Phil. The other counselor said my mom is "incapable of empathy." Both counselors called my parents delusional. But, of course, my parents didn't take any of it seriously. At one point, my dad asked me "Who does he think he is to judge us like that?" as if he had forgotten that THAT'S THEIR JOB!

I haven't spoken to them in almost a year now, and my life is so much better.

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22. No Place Like Home

My breaking point was when my parents "kicked me out" to teach me a lesson after finding out that I was bisexual. I almost killed myself just to make them understand what I was feeling like in that moment.

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23. He Didn’t Start the Fire

My breaking point was the time I was working at a psychiatric hospital and the CEO assumed I smoked just because I had dreadlocks. I worked HARD for those patients and they trusted me. I shielded the hospital from nearly weekly riot attempts by patients. After being unfairly judged and made to look dispensable, I almost set the inmates loose on the asylum.

But then, I realized that it was selfish and that those people I cared so much about would basically have become the firewood for my fire.

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24. The Wrong Thing to Say

The point that broke me down more than any other moment in my life was when I told my mom that I had been abused, and the first words out of her mouth were “Nobody wants to touch you!” I was eight.

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25. A Cult Following

I was raised in a cult. There were 11 kids and four moms in our family, and the leader had really convinced our moms that he was the Archangel Michael. I tried to run away over and over in my late teenage years, hiking across the desert in the dark to get to the highway where I would try to hitch a ride. Every single time, well-intentioned truckers called the police to report a little girl walking along the highway with her thumb out.

I am very short and I had been malnourished throughout my entire childhood, so even after I turned 18 I was underdeveloped and couldn't convince anyone that I was an adult. “Michael” always called me in as a runaway and the cops would take me back. The last time it happened, I was 20 years old. I felt so hopeless when I saw the police lights approaching, that I finally reached my breaking point.

I thought very seriously about trying to attack the officer with my knife that I always brought with me in case I was ever picked up by a crazy person. I knew I was too small and weak to actually hurt the officer, but he would be obliged to arrest me and send me to jail. It was the only way out I could think of so that I wouldn’t have to go back.

In the end, I never actually went through with trying to knife the officer. Although it was the only way out that I could think of, I was afraid that I might accidentally actually hurt him, or that he might hurt me. I couldn't find the courage to do it. I just gave up. I sat in his back seat and cried until I got home, and just quit trying to escape for at least eight or nine months.

The biggest problem with trying to escape was having no ID to prove my age. The next biggest problem was money. I was going to college on a Pell grant and was working at the college as a work-study. “Michael” would have us sign over every check we earned, because "we didn't need the money when he was supporting us." We couldn't cash the checks without photo ID anyway.

And, of course, he wouldn't let us learn to drive, because that would have given us a literal key to independence. Over the course of almost two years from that point on, my boss at my work-study job figured out the truth about my home situation, and she helped me figure out what to do. She told me which documents I would need to find and get ahold of in order to get a photo ID.

Then, when I got my hands on my birth certificate and social security card, she drove me to the DMV to get an ID. She also hired me for a second job there at the college, tutoring; so I was teaching adults to read and teaching Braille to the newly blind during every free hour of my day. “Michael” never knew about that job.

Every two weeks, I'd give Michael my check from the first job, and my amazing boss would take me to cash the other. She also helped me set up a bank account, and taught me to drive. I made friends with two sisters who were willing to take me in as a roommate, and I eventually had enough income to pay my portion of the rent.

One of the sisters drove out to the property to pick me up and “Michael” called me in as a runaway, expecting it to go as it always had. But this time, I had proof of my age and I was nearly 21 years old. There was nothing he could do. I’m glad that I didn’t act on my dark thoughts during my breaking point. Even though I was desperate, my patience worked out for the better in the long run.

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26. Horsing Around

I moved to a new town and started going to a new church when my dad got cancer. I went to the church and privately told the pastor about this issue, hoping to get advice. The pastor then announced my private issue to the convocation and also told everyone that some lady's horse was sick. I watched the entire convocation console this lady about her sick horse.

The convocation was in tears about some sick horse while my dad was dying. No one said a word to my family. I have not been back to that church ever since.

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27. It All Happened So Fast

When I was in Haiti on a relief trip, a baby died in my arms. His family then proceeded to toss the body over the side of a cliff when I went to look for help. That was my breaking point.

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28. Fighting Back

My breaking point was when I had been bullied constantly in seventh grade by three different groups of kids and the school showed little interest in helping me. I was physically bullied, as well as verbally mocked and humiliated in front of the other kids, and not an eye was batted. When I finally took my mom's advice to make a scene the next time someone started throwing things at me, I did it.

We were outside that day for gym class. While we were all sitting in lines at the start of class, a kid in the line next to me started throwing pebbles at me. I ignored it for a moment. Then, when he kept going, I yelled at him to stop. I didn't care that people were staring, I wanted them to. I wanted them to see that this average-height, able-bodied boy was throwing things at me—a very small and disabled girl.

The teacher came over and asked what had happened. The kid told him they were only little pebbles, and that he wasn't really hurting me. The teacher agreed with him and told me if I ever disrupted his class like that again I was getting detention. I don't know what it is about some teachers but the second they get put in charge of more than one child, they become absolutely blind to any kind of bullying.

And when it gets pointed out to them, they think that each particular incident exists in a vacuum and couldn't possibly be a sign of anything worse. I was 11 years old and wanted to die because I felt so incredibly powerless. That teacher only solidified that feeling.

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29. All You Can’t Eat

I’m normally very calm, but I lost my mind and freaked out publicly when someone's kid at Golden Corral decided to put their hands in the public food containers and the parents did nothing about it.

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30. Music to My Ears

I had things all set up to play piano with a string quartet for a wedding ceremony in a church. The grand piano was up front, near the couple, and the organ in the rear to be used later. When I entered the church, I found that the florist had placed a large vase of roses on the grand piano, using the sheet music for the string quartet underneath the vase to absorb water.

Rarely do I lose my cool, but I did that time. Members of the string quartet told him in no uncertain terms where he could stick those roses as they tried to salvage their soaked music scores.

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31. Missing Her Forever

My mom died when I was a senior in high school. It all seemed very surreal and like she had never actually left since everything of hers was still in the house the way she had left it. At her funeral, after hearing my brother and sister speak, make morbid jokes—as our family tends to do—and just generally do the normal funeral stuff, it finally hit me.

It had been several days since she had passed, but it just hit me all at once like a bag of bricks that I would never hear her voice again. She would never be there to nag me when I needed to take out the trash, clean my room, do my homework, or the million other things that she had always needed to constantly remind me to do.

That was the moment when I completely broke down and started sobbing. I hadn't shed a tear up until that point. Maybe it was shock, I don't know. But at that moment, I realized that I now lived in a different world—one where I would have to finish growing up without the aid of my mother.

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32. From Breaking Up to Breaking Down

I moved my entire life to a new state because my boyfriend was transferred for work. He then broke up with me a month later, after eight years of being together. That broke me down completely and I didn’t know what to do with myself.

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33. The Walk of Shame

My brother is ten years younger than me and is a teenager. I regularly drive him around to see his girlfriend and to his classes. Recently, he has become very disrespectful and downright rude towards me. He’s basically only nice to me if I’ve made him food or if he needs a ride from me. In a way, that angers me even more.

Last time, I nearly broke down because of it. I seriously considered pulling over and making him walk the last 10 miles home, but in the end, I held it together and just let it go.

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34. Making a Federal Case Out of It

I think I am at my breaking point with my country right now. My desire to leave and renounce my citizenship is getting stronger and stronger every day because of all the garbage I see in my government doing to the people.

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35. The Customer Is Always Right

I had a coworker at a commission-based retail job repeatedly sabotage my sales efforts. She would overhear my sales pitches and then lie to the customers so that they would not be interested in my offers. I would then have to try and rectify what she said while she hovered over me. She did many other questionable things.

I reported her multiple times, as did my coworkers—and even some customers. Now, one time I got lucky and an 18-year-old kid came in to buy the most expensive desktop we had on display. It cost $2,500. She saw me close this sale, but I needed a manager to approve a tiny discount. There was just one problem. My radio was dead.

My coworker was just standing there watching me the entire time, so I politely asked her if she could call for the manager. She stone cold ignored me. The second I walked away to try and find the manager, she printed out some paperwork and tried to get the customer to buy it from her instead. When I returned, she literally yelled at me in front of the customer and demanded that I give her the sale because she had worked on it too.

I ignored her and didn't give her the sale. When I reported this—as did the customer, who was mortified—I was literally told by my boss to simply "Ignore when she does that. She's a middle child, so she does stuff like that.” That was my breaking point. I was tired of the stupid lack of action, so I filed an HR complaint against her.

I also filed complaints against five of my managers for not addressing the problem properly. They all got busted for it. Only one of them is still in a management position. The rest were eventually either demoted or laid off.

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36. Fighting the Good Fight

I had been dealing with listening to my dad and his ex-girlfriend having constant screaming matches and occasionally dragging me into them for something like a year. They started again one evening and she addressed me, demanding that I answer something or other to fuel her argument against my dad. I was just trying to play a game at the time and mind my own business, but she wouldn’t let up. That was my breaking point.

I lost it and just kinda snapped, I screamed: "I don't know and I don't care, and I'm tired of your fighting!” It wasn't much, but I had never raised my voice to them before and I think it kinda just stunned them both into silence. She immediately walked out of the house.

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37. Shattered Trust

My breaking point was when I found out that my husband was abusing our daughter. I didn't know if I could ever trust someone again after that. It changed me fundamentally. I've been in therapy, and that's helped to some extent. It's been five years, and I'm only now starting to feel like myself again.

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38. Down by the River

When I was a kid, my dad used to beat me pretty often. When he was sober, I usually did something to "deserve" it. When he wasn't, it was just go time. One night, when I was about 14 years old, he got very drunk. When I got home from a girlfriend's place, he cornered me and put a revolver up to my head. He told me how worthless I was and that he would be doing me a big favor by doing what he wanted to do.

I didn't respond. I didn't move. I just waited for him to pull the trigger. He didn't. He eventually left my room and left the revolver on my dresser as he walked out. Seeing it sitting there after that terrible incident finally brought me to my breaking point. I picked up the revolver and stepped outside. I walked around my hometown, sat down by the river, and thought about all the ways that I could get back at him for all the misery he caused my mother, sister, and me over the years.

I even considered doing the ol' Kurt Cobain, but eventually decided not to. I took the weapon apart and threw its pieces into the river. No one has asked me about it ever since. It's probably still there to this day.

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39. Loving and Losing

My breaking point was the moment I found out that my fiancé had cheated on me. I knew right then and there that I could never love anyone the same way again.

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40. It’s the Little Things That Count

I decided that I’d had enough and walked away from a pretty high-paying, very stressful job because I had a moment of epiphany where I realized that I don't care about money and that I do not want to spend the majority of my life thinking and talking about it. From that point on, I learned to let the little things go; what will be will be.

I learned not to worry about the things that I can't control and learned to appreciate how beautiful the natural world is. I take care of myself a lot better than I used to, and I find time to do the things that I enjoy. Work is work, your life is precious, and I'm not spending 50+ hours a week in the office when nothing really matters at all.

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41. Feeling for a Friend

I broke down when the husband of a close friend of mine told me that she had passed on, along with her unborn baby, in a freak accident a week before she had been due to give birth. I felt utter agony for her, for him, and for their baby for a very long time. She had been there for me when my baby was born, and I was supposed to be there for her too.

It's been almost eight years since this happened, but I still want to cry when I think about it.

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42. A Brave New World

The point that broke me down was selling my childhood house. My whole family had perished in a car crash a few months before, and selling it finally made me realize that I had nothing left of my old life. The situation as a whole gave me PTSD, but I've since learned to cope with it.

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43. The Unholy Grail

The church that I grew up in pushed me to my breaking point. When I finally realized how toxic it was, I made the decision to leave it for good. Didn’t go to the right school? Shun. Didn’t send your kids to the Bible summer camp? Shun. Your kid, spouse, or family member “sinned” in a public way? Shun. Not a married 20-something with three kids and actively a “leader”? Shun.

It took me 20 years to see through all the lies and manipulation, and another seven to finally truly feel free. I’d burn that whole place to the ground if I could for what they put every person through.

Crazy funerals factsShutterstock

44. Time for a Change

My breaking point was when I realized how bad my circumstances were and how little help I had shortly after I was dumped on the doorstep of a youth shelter. This was following a period where my mum had been hospitalized and my dad was sent to prison. I wasn't a super bright teenager, but I had enough sense to spend my last $20 on pepper spray and padlocks for my stuff.

Predictably, people's stuff went “missing” all the time around there. I could write an essay on the issues of the public welfare system, ranging from the macro-level (lack of funding) to the micro-level (incompetent or burnt-out staff). There was violence, substance use, and assault in crisis accommodation, but what bothers me most, ten years later, is the sheer stupidity of some adults who are meant to guide at-risk teenagers.

I would ask my social worker questions like “Are there places that can help me with food this week?” or “How do I write a resume?” and that social worker would vaguely shrug and offer relaxation techniques or mindfulness strategies. Look, three people got arrested at this shelter last week, no “relaxation technique” is going to calm me down!

I'm guilty of doing stupid and irresponsible things as a teenager, but I eventually finished high school and then three university degrees. I actually work for the same system that I was and still am disappointed in, and there are so many practical resources available now. They're underutilized because staff doesn't even know they're out there.

If I had just a single adult to help me with simple tasks as a kid, it would have been so much easier. When you're a kid you just don't know how things like university loan applications, taxes, budgeting, or anything else of that nature work. Or at least I didn't. But everybody just assumes that you do, because they do. Like, for example, I had no idea that in my country, the Department of Housing can pay for your rental bond.

I stayed in a homeless shelter for an extra one or two months to save up $900 to pay for the bond of a lousy apartment. Those were extra months of broken sleep, men trying to pick the lock on my door, and fears about some sketchy neighbors. Last year, I saw a 16-year-old girl on the train, having a meltdown and making a public scene.

She was clearly drunk and people were avoiding her. She started screaming that she missed her period and wanted to know if anybody wanted to pay for the termination of her pregnancy. She phrased it as a joke or a way to get money (which I did not give), but I guess she repeated it enough that I wondered if it was true.

We got to talking and I referred her to a social service, downloaded a list of resources onto her phone, and saved links and forms for her about how to arrange for her own healthcare cards since she was over 15. She can now visit a bulk-billing general practitioner on her own and get tested because, in my country, the pee test from a pharmacy is about $15, while a pregnancy blood test ordered by your GP is free.

We discussed different options that her GP might outline and other things that might be helpful. I know as well as anyone else that it's not always that straight-forward, especially with 30 patients in your caseload and juggling them with a million other priorities. Nevertheless, in the biopsychosocial framework of health, where biological, psychological, and social factors are all proposed to impact physical and mental health, we severely underestimate the impact of social circumstances.

We let these kids down all the time, and it's preventable. I hope that someone out there can learn from my breaking point and help prevent other kids from having to experience similar breaking points of their own.

Spoiled Brat Syndrome factsShutterstock

45. Moving Out

My husband and I have three kids, and he lost his job in December. We had just bought a house, and then suddenly we were about to lose it. Then our power got shut off. That was my breaking point. I left with the kids. I was so sick of living like that.

Moving out of the apartment.Getty Images

46. Brother, Can You Spare a Breaking Point?

My friend, who is usually a chill person, heard some girl make fun of her deceased brother. She ended up just losing it and beating the daylights out of her. She smashed her face into the wall and got kicked out of our school for it. I guess it’s safe to say that was her breaking point.

Messed With the Wrong Person factsShutterstock

47. Father Figure

The moment that broke me down was when my stepdad died. After 18 years of my life, he showed up, became the best friend and father figure I could have ever hoped for, then died. Then, to top it off, my job fired me because I didn't come to work the day he died. That was my lowest point.

Private Investigators FactsPixabay

48. More Than Just Smoke and Mirrors

I used to work in fast food, and I was the only person in the store who didn't smoke. Everyone else got to take a break to smoke but, since I didn't smoke, I wasn't allowed to. Eventually, I spoke to the owner about it and was rebuffed. I decided that was the last straw. I went over his head to the company board. He ended up getting his behind chewed out by the board for rebuffing me, and I wound up getting a huge bonus on my next paycheck.

The store got temporarily shut down several months later due to policy violations, and my former boss got fined six figures.

Buffet Workers Horror Stories FactsShutterstock

49. Coping With Loss

My grandfather recently passed away, so I told my boss that I needed to take a couple of days off to be with my family. His response made my blood run cold. He had the nerve to tell me that work was more important than family and then threatened to fire me. I went off on him in the middle of the office for a solid five minutes before quitting and rushing home.

Procrastination factsShutterstock

50. Love Thy Neighbor

My breaking point was when, on the day my son was born, right there at the hospital, my girl dumped me for the rich neighbor she had apparently been having an affair with for a long time.

How Cheaters Got Caught FactsShutterstock

Sources: Reddit, , , ,

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