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Some songs and films are better than others at explaining TAR.  Here we will explore the story behind a quintessential song and uncover the true emotions that led to its creation – Linkin Park’s “Numb.” Released in 2003 and quickly becoming a chart-topper, no one can explain TAR better than Chester Pennington – may he rest in peace.

One of the most successful rock bands of the 2000s, Linkin Park captured the hearts and minds of millions of fans. With their unique blend of alternative rock and rap, they have produced some of the most iconic songs of the decade. 

Mental Health Struggles

Bennington and his bandmates expressed the despair and hopelessness of living with mental health issues through the lyrics of “Numb.” 

I’m tired of being what you want me to be
Feeling so faithless, lost under the surface
Don’t know what you’re expecting of me
Put under the pressure of walking in your shoes

(Caught in the undertow, just caught in the undertow)

Linkin Park rose to fame quickly, and their meteoric success came with a great deal of pressure. The band members were under a constant spotlight, with fans and the media closely scrutinizing their every move. Fame and all of its accompanying expectations can certainly relegate anyone to being “stuck in the undertow,” pulling us out of our own individuality.

Lead vocalist Chester Bennington spoke multiple times about external pressures that he and the rest of the band felt during this time in their lives. 

This feeling of isolation is something that many artists experience as they reach the heights of their success. The pressure of performing at their best, pleasing their fans, and maintaining their public image can all take a significant toll on their mental health.

The Deeper Meaning

In addition to the external pressures of success, the members of Linkin Park struggled with mental health issues. Chester Bennington was open about his past struggles with addiction, depression, and anxiety. He was also a survivor of sexual abuse, which he believed contributed to his mental health struggles.

The bleak messages of the song also touched on the themes of disconnection and loss of identity. These lyrics resonated with people around the world, and launched important conversations about mental health and its surrounding stigma.

A Generation’s Constant Struggle

Linkin Park’s fan base was composed of a generation of young people who struggle with similar issues. Their music spoke to the frustrations, anxieties, and uncertainties many teenagers and young adults were feeling. Their songs helped this generation to be seen, heard, and understood.

The success of “Numb” can be attributed to its relatability with a generation of people looking for validation and acceptance. The song’s message of disconnection and loss of identity resonated with those who felt lost and alone.

As we continue to grapple with the challenges of mental health, songs like “Numb” serve as important reminders that we are not alone in our struggles. We can take comfort in the fact that others have faced similar challenges and have found support, hope, and healing.

In the years since the release of “Numb,” the conversation around mental health has become more open and honest. Artists, athletes, and public figures have spoken out about their struggles, and there have been many efforts to reduce the stigma surrounding mental health issues.

The Legacy of “Numb”

“Numb” remains one of Linkin Park’s most iconic songs. The band’s music continues to inspire and resonate with millions of fans around the world.

In the wake of Chester Bennington’s tragic death in 2017, the song took on a new meaning. Fans turned to “Numb” as an anthem of grief, using its lyrics to express their own sadness and pain. The song became a reminder that mental health issues can affect anyone, regardless of success or fame.

The legacy of “Numb” is a message of hope and healing, a reminder that through honesty, vulnerability, and connection, we can overcome even the most significant challenges. As we navigate the ups and downs of life, we can take comfort in knowing that there is always support, understanding, and perspective that will lead to you reclaiming your life.


TAR Network™ is a 501(c)(3) charity dedicated to bringing worldwide awareness and treatment to those whose emotional reality has been distorted by narcissistic abuse. The mission of TAR Network is to support men, women, the LGBTQ+ community, tweens & teens, families, parents who are alienated from their children, workers, and caregivers going through or emerging from TAR. With subject matter experts, affiliates, organizations with supportive resources, and our individual donor community our programs will help you out of the fog and into the light. TAR Network is currently developing several innovative projects: TAR Tales – a safe place to share your truth TAR Centers – a safe place to get vital CPTSD treatment TAR Anon – a safe and nonjudgmental worldwide support network. There is strength in numbers. We’ve all suffered from trauma and abuse at the hands of someone close. Please join us in this worldwide effort toward recovery.


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