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Advice On How To Gain Independence...


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I'll cut right to the chase I suppose. I'm 17 years old, with 5 months to wait until I turn 18.

 

I can't stand living in my house...I know that most of you will probably just chock this up to psuedo-existential teenage angst, but hear me out please. My father controls everything around here...literally everything. From where I go to school, to who I make friends with, to what websites I can and can't visit (the fact that I spend so much time here shows how well that ended up) to the females I have contact with on a daily basis. Literally everything. I'm not allowed to leave the house, even to acquire the service hours I need to graduate. Up until about a week ago, he refused to consider the possibility that my wisdom teeth are harmful and indeed need to be removed (he said god put them there for a reason. No joke, that's his justification for it) So i've had impacted wisdom teeth for several months. He throws a temper tantrum every time I make any sort of decision without begging for his approval (like making an appointment to speak with my guidance counselor about financial aid) and is just a generally unpleasant person who is probably a hairs breadth away from paranoid schizophrenia. Go ahead and call me on it if you think I'm overreacting, but I don't think it's natural for parents to berate their children when they make positive steps towards self sufficiency.

 

My mother is no better. She's essentially his personal apologist. Everything that hubby does, wifey approves of. Every time hubby says something, guess who's the first to agree!, I care about her of course, but it's sort of sad to see her reduced to a yes-woman. She's a walking stereotype of a subservient Christian wife. I can't count on her to do much of anything without the help of my father, and I know for a fact that they don't like each other in the slightest...so it boggles my mind that they're still together. Christian marriage...gotta love it.

 

Getting to the point. I'd like to escape as soon as possible, and try to reverse some of the damage that's been done to me. By no means am I trying to move out just so that I can party into the wee hours of the morning without worrying about parental scorn. All I want is to be treated like a mature human being. I want a quite place to study and rest, I want to come home from school and not be screamed at for 40 minutes about how big of a failure and a disgrace to the family I am, I don't want to be spoken to in a condescending manner, and I don't want my parent (singular intended) micromanaging every aspect of my life, to the point where I feel depressed and useless. And obviously, I want to be somewhere where I don't have to hide my bisexuality, or my atheism.

 

But I also don't want to end up homeless.

 

So my question is this. How exactly does one go about moving out intelligently, while also paying for school? I can hold out for another year and a half most likely...but I HAVE to leave soon. For my own mental health. I don't have many connections, as my father tries EXTREMELY hard to wipe out any friends I have that he doesn't approve of, but I'm sure if I tried, I could find someone to share an apartment with. Even with the economy the way it is...i'm sure I could find a job eventually. I'm more concerned with paying for school

 

Does anyone else have any experience in this area?

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Crap. Your parents sound like mine were, only with the genders reversed, and less religious insanity. :( They talked to me the same way, wouldn't let me out of the house, either, and beat down every effort I made at self-sufficiency. I escaped by marrying the first person who offered. I wouldn't recommend this.

 

I'm not going to think for a cold minute that you're overreacting. If they treat you like that, it's not you, it's them. And I'm not going to blame you for a cold minute for wanting to get out: I wanted the same damn thing, so badly I could taste it, when I was your age.

 

As to how to get out, that takes a bit of work and planning, but is not impossible. I would imagine that your highly controlling parents are going to be watching you closely, though, so you may have a bit more work to do in leaving than someone with a healthy family situation might have. If they discover you are planning an escape, they may do everything they can think of to make it impossible.

 

I can think of what I would do in a similar circumstance, with no resources and no options. But I don't know what might work for you.

 

If I had to do my life all over again, I would walk out the door the day after my 18th birthday without looking back. I had a few friends then, so I probably would've crashed on couches here and there for a few days. I would've worked my ass off to get a job - two jobs, if I had to, somehow, some way; and I probably would've postponed school until my living situation was relatively stable. I would've gotten a PO box for my mail and an unlisted number so my family couldn't hunt me down and berate me into returning home. I would've scoured every social service agency I could find and used every charitable resource I could get, to put food in my belly and a roof over my head.

 

That's what I would do, if I had to start over again somehow. I can't tell you to do the same, because I'm not really in your shoes. But maybe it will still give you some ideas.

 

As for paying for school, that isn't impossible either. There are scholarships out there, grants, and financial aid. I don't recommend student loans anymore due to a total lack of consumer protections on them, but there are other options - including plain old-fashioned saving up your hard-earned cash. If you have a school in mind you might contact their financial aid office to find out what options are out there, even if you decide to start school later. And it's okay if you do postpone school. Military service or some civil service work (such as the Peace Corps) will also get you out of your house and away from your parents, if you are so inclined - in some cases, far, far away.

 

Most importantly, though: don't let your parents talk you out of your plans for your own life. That was probably the biggest mistake I made: I believed their assessment of me as lazy, irresponsible, and a total failure. You can't stop them from treating you as a failure, but you don't have to believe them - especially because they're probably wrong! I didn't know that at the time, and I didn't figure it out until long after I was away from their influence. If I'd somehow been able to convince myself that I wasn't the total fuckup my family said I was, the past 18 years of my own life would probably look very different.

 

So don't believe them, whatever you do.

 

Hang in there.

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Your father is a complete freakazoid...get out as fast as you can and ANY way that you can. You are young and bright and will not have a problem building your own life even if you leave with absolutely nothing. A job at McDonald's and a roommate or two will be enough to keep you going.

 

You are very smart just knowing that you NEED to get out of there.

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Most importantly, though: don't let your parents talk you out of your plans for your own life. That was probably the biggest mistake I made: I believed their assessment of me as lazy, irresponsible, and a total failure. You can't stop them from treating you as a failure, but you don't have to believe them - especially because they're probably wrong! I didn't know that at the time, and I didn't figure it out until long after I was away from their influence. If I'd somehow been able to convince myself that I wasn't the total fuckup my family said I was, the past 18 years of my own life would probably look very different.

 

So don't believe them, whatever you do.

 

Hang in there.

 

Family--and church--especially if any hell doctrine plays a role, can easily hold you back decades of your life. DON'T BELIEVE THEM!

 

I realize that's not very original or creative. But I support what the others said.

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My father controls everything around here...literally everything. From where I go to school, to who I make friends with, to what websites I can and can't visit (the fact that I spend so much time here shows how well that ended up)

 

Thanks for explaining. I've been wondering why we see so little of you. This says it all.

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My father controls everything around here...literally everything. From where I go to school, to who I make friends with, to what websites I can and can't visit (the fact that I spend so much time here shows how well that ended up)

 

Thanks for explaining. I've been wondering why we see so little of you. This says it all.

 

Yeah, it's pretty hard for me to get away....

 

I've actually discussed the possibility of my dad having some sort of mental illness with my mom....of course that conversation didn't get very far, but I think he would benefit from some sort of counseling. I don't hate the man...but I think he's a little strange.

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What happens if you disobey? I mean, if you were to do what you wanted regardless of what they told you (for example going to get counseling)? On one hand they still have to answer to the authorities for how they treat you, especially if you can show abuse, even if it is just mental (though the lack of medical attention is damn close to physical abuse, since they are responsible for you).

Are you able or even willing to stand up physically against him, or do you have any friends you can go to? I'm just throwing thoughts out as they come. I don't know what I would have done if I had to make it on my own as a teenager.

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I was in the same situation you describe. When I was around your same age, I had an atheist boyfriend who was five years my senior who I eventually moved in with. You probably know this already, but it's a lot easier if you wait until you officially turn 18 if you move out because your parents can't legally do anything to bring you back.

 

As for what you should do, it depends on what you want to do and what your priorities are. You could start looking for a roommate and a job now. You could use the computers at a public library or maybe at your school for that if you think your parents will get suspicious and check everything on your computer. You could get financial aid through the FAFSA, independent scholarships, and sometimes scholarships offered through the university you choose or through your own school. Talking to your counselor about that would be a great idea. Lastly, even though it's been said before, don't listen to what your parents say. That will get you nowhere. If I had listened to my parents and stayed there like a "good girl", my life would suck right now. When I was with them, they treated me like a child, just like your parents do, but now that I've moved away from them, I can finally grow up and be the person I am. It'll be stressful for you to get all of this together at first, but I'll bet it'll be a lot less stressful compared to living with your parents. Good luck in whatever you decide to do.

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Military. Once you sign up your parents can't do anything about it. You will be supported while you learn to be independent.

 

For the first 6 months you will feel like you've jumped from the frying pan into the fire as far as being controlled goes, but it gets better and there is an end date. I suggest the Air Force as the least onerous. You can learn a MOS (military occupation specialty) that will match an interest of yours and get you some money for collage. Just don't sign up for a combat arm and you will be pretty safe.

 

When you turn 18 just go sign up. You won't be free exactly, but you will be on your way.

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Military. Once you sign up your parents can't do anything about it. You will be supported while you learn to be independent.

 

For the first 6 months you will feel like you've jumped from the frying pan into the fire as far as being controlled goes, but it gets better and there is an end date. I suggest the Air Force as the least onerous. You can learn a MOS (military occupation specialty) that will match an interest of yours and get you some money for collage. Just don't sign up for a combat arm and you will be pretty safe.

 

When you turn 18 just go sign up. You won't be free exactly, but you will be on your way.

 

The other thing about it is that you'll be with a bunch of other people who are then all in the same boat. Yes, you'll feel extremely controlled and like your life is "on rails," but it won't seem personal since you'll realize that it's a matter of standard operating procedure - EVERYONE is controlled because it's just how things work there.

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I'm not usually a fan of the military, but in instances where you really have no RATIONAL levels of support from your parents, it really IS the best way to go. I add my vote for you joining the Air Force.

 

Consider, with as much control over your life that your father has held, as much as you LONG for independence and control over your own life, you just do NOT have the life experiences to enable you to do this yet. You said you wanted to avoid homelessness, well the military is truly your best shot. Not only will you learn the skills and responsibility levels required to take care of your own ass, but you will get that dental care you need that your parents should have taken care of.

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Air Force or the Coast Guard. You'd get treated very well in either one, comparatively speaking.

 

Although a piece of advice: confer as much as you can with people who are or who have been "in", and make sure they're people you can trust. Recruiters are full of shit; they'll promise you the world and you won't realize you got burned until it's too late. Go in knowing full well what you're looking at.

 

The other thing about it is that you'll be with a bunch of other people who are then all in the same boat. Yes, you'll feel extremely controlled and like your life is "on rails," but it won't seem personal since you'll realize that it's a matter of standard operating procedure - EVERYONE is controlled because it's just how things work there.

 

My dad once told me: "that's the beautiful thing about the Army. Everyone gets treated equally: like shit."

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Your not suffering from teen angst, you seem to be suffering from the realization that you have absolutely nothing left to learn from your parents and thus need to get out. I felt much the same way 4 years ago. As for your father, what you describe doesn't really sound like schizophrenia, but more along the lines of control freak and ego issues that often come with the package of being the head of a Christian family. Either way, if he is getting pissed off at you for making positive decisions in your life then it means he is getting pissed of for the wrong reasons and you really do need to get out.

 

My advice is this:

 

In terms of school, it depends. You could take a student loan that doesn't have to be payed back until after graduation if you are confident that you could make decent money afterwards to pay it back -OR- go to a community college ( they are cheap ) -OR- Go to a college that your parents approve of and will help you pay for. Now, obviously this last option in your situation is a last resort but the fact is it really doesn't matter where you go to college. What matters is the work you put into it.

 

 

For Moving out. Find friends that you know are RESPONSIBLE and try to form roomates to cut the cost of living. This way you can survive on a part time job and go to school while being able to still pay rent. Responsibility is key. You may have a friend you know that is cool and great fun to hang out with, but are they responsible ? The fact is living with someone is totally different then being their friend. You want someone who you can be sure won't flake out on the rent. Someone who is equally minded towards independence. If at all possible, go to college and find someone who is your senior for a roomate. This is what I did and it turned out very well.

 

For the cost of living ( COL ), do research. Certain areas in your town will likely be significantly more expensive then other areas. This is something I really only started to take serious notice of when I moved out, and thinking about it can lead to a much lower COL if you plan out ahead of time where your going to shop, where you are going to try to find an apartment, ect.

 

For jobs, it really depends on what you can do. But don't expect yourself to be making anything over 12$/hr unless you are very lucky.

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I'm not usually a fan of the military, but in instances where you really have no RATIONAL levels of support from your parents, it really IS the best way to go. I add my vote for you joining the Air Force.

 

Consider, with as much control over your life that your father has held, as much as you LONG for independence and control over your own life, you just do NOT have the life experiences to enable you to do this yet. You said you wanted to avoid homelessness, well the military is truly your best shot. Not only will you learn the skills and responsibility levels required to take care of your own ass, but you will get that dental care you need that your parents should have taken care of.

Agreed. With this and VC's admonition to speak with some of the "rank and file" beforehand, as he's absolutely right about recruiters. The smoothest player in the world can only stare in awe at the ability of a military recruiter.

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The Military is IMO a last resort if you think that for any reason you cannot do the things I described. What I said was the basic method of moving out under pressure.

 

Although it may just be the anti-militarism I have in me from 8 years of Bushit. With Obama, military may not be all that bad ( in terms of being asked to partake in a holy war thay you know is wrong. ).

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I'm not a big fan of the military either, but it really isn't a bad way to go for someone in that situation. You'll notice we advocated joining the air force or coast guard, the two "safest"/most cerebral branches, as opposed to the army, which I wouldn't join at gunpoint.

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We aren't advocating the marines either. That is pure front-line-fucked-up-the-ass-sideways.

 

http://icasualties.org/Iraq/USDeathsByService.aspx

 

Of course, it looks like the Army is getting that special "treatment" in this war.

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What happens if you disobey? I mean, if you were to do what you wanted regardless of what they told you (for example going to get counseling)? On one hand they still have to answer to the authorities for how they treat you, especially if you can show abuse, even if it is just mental (though the lack of medical attention is damn close to physical abuse, since they are responsible for you).

Are you able or even willing to stand up physically against him, or do you have any friends you can go to? I'm just throwing thoughts out as they come. I don't know what I would have done if I had to make it on my own as a teenager.

 

That depends on the occasion. I DID end up going to my counselor without his knowing, but somehow he found out and got into a screaming match with me when I got home from school. Another time, when I refused to go to church (reason being I had had surgery 2 days before) he threatened to kick me out of the house and break all of my belongings. When I went to take my drivers test without telling him first (which I did, the day before) he went into a stupor about how I was spitting in his face and defying his authority.

 

So I really have no idea...I don't have many friends at all, since he's making me go to a christian school and throws a fit when I hang out with people who aren't christian...and he pretty much refuses to be contradicted.

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Does anyone have any experience with the National Guard in terms of military service? I've been looking into them as an option.

 

I've been in the Regular Army and in the Guard. I don't see the Guard as a solution to your problem because it is very part time except for your training. It won't pay you anything like you need to live. The Guard used to be a very boring way to make extra money and get drunk once a month, but IMHO it is fucked up now. My foster kid is in the Guard after 4 years of being a Marine. He hates it.

 

Anyway the Guard will leave you with a lot of home shit to deal with and give you little self sufficiency training.

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ah that would be a problem =/

 

People I know who have been in and out of the guard all say that it's the military for people who lack commitment. I guess that's what they meant XD

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Go AF or CG, do your few years, and take the college money and run. If you're not in good enough shape, start now. You've certainly got the brains. But if you're not too keen on that, go with what Jedah says.

 

Another question: what kind of post high school expectations do your parents have? Have they gone so far as to plan your college years for you? Would you be able to go to college on their dime and enjoy a reasonable amount of freedom and sanity, or would you still be their captive? Or have they even bothered to think that far ahead? This is crucial. The lesser their designs for your post-18 years, the easier it will be for you to weasel your way out from under their thumb.

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My rudimentary plan as of yet is to move out and do community college for two years, while saving money to transfer. The military is an option still, and i'm looking into it.

 

 

Is it true that the Air Force won't accept anyone who doesn't have perfect eyesight? because I'm nearsighted.

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