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Author Topic: Visiting away from home...
Kadkitty
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Ok, your going to think I am immature, or childish...but if you take me seriously, can you give advice?
I live with my parents and have stayed every night at home most of my life. Supposedly, when I was a toddler, I stayed at an aunt's house and wanted to go home. She wouldn't let me. She told me, that she was my mom. I told her she wasn't...well it really upset me and hours later a relative decided to take me home to put me out of my misery. Apparently, ever since then I wouldn't stay at my other aunt's house (the one that I liked) I would get to a certain pole at the end of the road and just start crying...so they would drive me back.
Through school, I've never really been invited to sleep overs. Except for a few. I think I stayed at one friend's house for only one night. I enjoyed myself, there were other friends there with me. I felt fine and knew that if I wanted to leave, my house was close enough and I could go home.
A year or so ago I stayed over with my ex at his house a few times. Each time I had my own car, and knew that I could leave at anytime. In fact, the second time I stayed with him I did leave because we fought and broke up...it was not a good experience, and I drove home.
Now a friend wants me to visit her and stay with her over the summer. She doesn't know any of this because I really don't tell anyone this...but I am so afraid to go visit her. I think it would be great to spend time with her, but I am still afraid. She is in another state, so if I ever want to go back home that would be out of the question.
I am afraid to tell her no though, because I am worried that she will take it that I don't like her. But I am also embarrassed to explain my dislike of staying that far away from home...I think she will think I need to grow up or something... [Frown]

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Heather
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I think we can acknowledge that we need to grow or mature in areas without making it derogatory. In other words, yes, you'll want to try and take steps to outgrow this fear, but that's okay: most of us have some longtime fears we need to keep working on.

Is there a middle ground, here? For instance, can you maybe not visit for a couple of weeks instead of for the whole summer? That way you can do something you'd like to and take some steps to outgrow this, but also be closer within your comfort zone.

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Heather Corinna, Executive Director & Founder, Scarleteen
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Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has. - Margaret Mead

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Kadkitty
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I imagine she expects it to be only a couple of weeks, not the entire summer.
But, I think I am responsible for getting myself there...to a place I have never been to and stay at a place I've never been to...
I keep thinking maybe I could tell her I'll visit another time in the year, or even another summer?

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Heather
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You know, if you really want to see your friend and also work on outgrowing this, I'd just think about if this might not be a great opportunity to do that. In other words, these few weeks might actually be just the thing for you, and after the first day or two of possible discomfort -- especially if you can be honest with her so she can support you -- you might feel just fine and enjoy yourself.

And if you're going to decide not to take this one this time, because it feels like too huge of a step, I'd at least then figure out what smaller steps you are going to work on taking. Therapy, for instance? Or maybe planning to spend a few nights there, a weekend there, each month? How about even seeing if one of your parents might be up to, say, camping for a night or two this summer with you so you can spend a couple nights out of the house, but with the people you're attached to having around when you're in it?

Because if you nix this and don't start earnestly working on this, chances are that every summer will wind up being "another summer," you know? I'd hate to see you wind up not doing things you want to for yourself in your life, and not really being autonomous forever.

[ 05-16-2010, 04:34 PM: Message edited by: Heather ]

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Heather Corinna, Executive Director & Founder, Scarleteen
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Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has. - Margaret Mead

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Kadkitty
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I think I'd be fine in my own house or apartment...is there a life problem with that? It doesn't really affect me, except things like this.
But my mom really won't support me in this, we already talked about it. She doesn't like that I'd be driving myself into a state/city I am not familiar with...what if I get lost? What if I wreck my car? I live in a town with maybe 5 traffic lights and my point points out that there is alot of traffic/lanes/ect where my friend lives.
I guess if my friend lived closer, it would be less of an issue and I'd feel better venturing out like that.
Do you think it would hurt my friend's feelings if I explained that all to her?

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Heather
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I think so long as you're clear that this isn't about your not wanting to see her, but about your having a history of separation anxiety you need to deal with first, her feelings should not be hurt. She might be bummed not to see you, but should understand this is absolutely about you, not her.

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Heather Corinna, Executive Director & Founder, Scarleteen
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Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has. - Margaret Mead

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orca
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Is the trip there one of the bigger obstacles here for you? If so, might there be some ways to get around that, like having someone take you halfway there and then having her meet at that halfway point to go the rest of the way there? Or do you have any friends who might be willing to make the drive with you, maybe stay for a weekend?

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Listen, strange women lyin' in ponds distributin' swords is no basis for a system of government. Supreme executive power derives from a mandate from the masses, not from some farcical aquatic ceremony.--Monty Python and the Holy Grail

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Kadkitty
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Yea, alot of it is the journey. I Google mapped it and it is over 200 miles, or 2 hours and about 30 minutes one way...I've never driven that far, by myself alone...
Plus, I live in a small town and I get lost here!
I don't know if she expects/plans me to go the whole way there or would meet me halfway. There is no one here to drive me there, or go halfway there as you suggested.

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orca
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Have you thought about taking a bus there?

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Listen, strange women lyin' in ponds distributin' swords is no basis for a system of government. Supreme executive power derives from a mandate from the masses, not from some farcical aquatic ceremony.--Monty Python and the Holy Grail

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Kadkitty
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No, I hadn't thought of that!
How would I find out if a bus goes there?

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orca
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You can go to any Bus Services website, such as Greyhound's Website, and look up the location. If you live in a very small town, you may have to go to the closest city to find a station, but maybe someone can at least drive you that far or you can take a cab.

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Listen, strange women lyin' in ponds distributin' swords is no basis for a system of government. Supreme executive power derives from a mandate from the masses, not from some farcical aquatic ceremony.--Monty Python and the Holy Grail

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Heather
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As well, whether it's a ride to the bus or the ride full-stop, if your mother is only concerned about the drive, might you not ask her if she'd be willing to drive you?

If she won't be supportive in something like this at all, given your age you might need to sit down and try to talk about you needing that support. It's really important for parents of teens and young adults to help them take steps to separation and autonomy; to their own adult lives, apart from parents.

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Heather Corinna, Executive Director & Founder, Scarleteen
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Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has. - Margaret Mead

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Kadkitty
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Thanks!
ok so apparently one stops in my area, I am not sure where it goes or when...but there is a Stop. There isn't one in her town, but if she really wants me there then I think she should tell me which stop is closer to her town and I can stop there and she can pick me up....

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Kadkitty
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Heather, my mom doesn't drive. And my dad works shift work, so neither could help me get there at all.
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atm1
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I'm glad to hear that it sound like Greyhound might be a possibility. I'd definitely call your friend and talk about where the bus might go that would be a reasonable drive for her.

Another thing to think of if you can't find an alternative to driving is to pick up a small GPS device. The things aren't cheap, but the prices have significantly come down, so you can buy one for right around, or a bit less than $100 online. You can buy then from Amazon or Walmart for what I'd consider to be a very reasonable price. My parents insisted I get one before I drove across the country last year, and while I was skeptical at first, I absolutely love mine.

Also, I looked through your old posts, and I found this one , where you talked about driving about an hour to see your boyfriend. Really, driving two and a half hours isn't that different. You could even find a town in the middle where you plan to stop and have lunch and take a nice long break. That way, instead of one two and a half hour drive, it feels more like two one hour and fifteen minute drives.

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Kadkitty
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I think GPS would be too expensive...
I drove an hour to see my bf but I had been there before. many of times, so I sort of knew where I was going...not in this situation though.

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atm1
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If the GPS isn't an option, you can also aim to get maps. The downside of maps is that you don't have the detail and it won't tell you exactly what to do, but they do work. You could sit down with them and highlight your route, print out directions from the internet, etc. You can also make sure that you've got someone "on call" in case you get lost. Then, you could call that person and they could look up where you are online and verbally give you directions. You can also ask your friend for landmarks along the way so that you know what to expect.

If driving really isn't the way you want to go, then how is the progress coming on figuring out the Greyhound route?

You can take a look at the list of towns that they go to in your friends' state (if it's not that long of a list) and use an online map to figure out which are close to her city.

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Kadkitty
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Well, that is another part of it. I don't have a cell phone nor do I want one...but if I got lost or anything happened I'd have no way to call home!
I never checked out the Greyhound route, only that I know one has a bus stop in my area. She hasn't brought it up again, but if/when she does I was going to bring up the bus idea and ask if there are any stops near her place.

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atm1
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If you want a temporary cell phone just to have while you're away, there are cheap pay as you go cell phones for sale in a whole lot of places. So, it would be an option to have one with just 30 minutes on it in case of emergencies.

There are lots of options out there to make this doable for you, and I'm just trying to make sure you're aware of as many as possible.

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Heather
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Also, while I want to respect your comfort levels, I do also want to point out that through history, people, including women, have traveled alone without things like cell phones. I crossed the country by myself more than once in my van before they existed at all, as well as traveling to other countries alone without them.

Of course, it's also not that hard to find someone's phone to borrow when traveling, or to ask to use a phone in a gas station, where there often still are pay phones installed.

I'm not saying you have to be me, but I also want to make clear that we can often be no less safe traveling than we are in our own homes or neighborhoods, especially when traveling such a relatively short distance. As well, as can happen with any fear, it may be that these fears of yours have magnified over time expressly because you've avoided doing things like this for so long, if you follow me.

Again, if this is feeling like way too big a step for you, then that's okay, but it is very much sounding like if you don't do this trip, you want to start taking some steps to have some autonomy and be able to get out on your own and to start to work past this fear, which is likely to really limit your life in plenty of ways.

It's also sounding a lot like it's time to have some talks with your parents about taking those steps, because it seems like your Mom may kind of be enabling these fears for you, which really isn't supportive per you being able to in time, have a life of your own, especially given your age.

If you were ten years younger, this'd be one thing, but parents really should be supporting a daughter or son in their twenties in developing independence.

[ 05-18-2010, 12:01 AM: Message edited by: Heather ]

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Heather Corinna, Executive Director & Founder, Scarleteen
About Me • Get our book!
Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has. - Margaret Mead

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Kadkitty
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I realize that in the past, women have safely traveled alone. But I think times are changing and people are more likely to rob and kill people than they did before.
I guess I really don't see it as a big issue. Like I said, it is only in this case that I can't figure out how to get from Point A to Point B. And I don't see how else it can really limit me. I have driven farther than my sister ever did in her life...and she is OLDER than me! Also, she married and turned out pretty normal. They don't go on vacations and they don't live very far, but then again they don't have the money to do those things.
I don't see how it is a big deal and how I won't be able to live an independent and full life. Some people have health problems, worse than this. Some people have fears that keep them from leaving their home at all! I am functional and can and do leave my home. I just have...direction problems and have trouble finding my way around my own town and cannot imagine driving myself to another state or a place I've never been to alone.
I remember that Emily Dickenson actually had a problem that kept her from leaving her home or interacting socially with others. I think I remember that someone interviewed her, went to her home and she talked to them but wouldn't go down the stairs of her home to see them...

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KittenGoddess
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I'm not sure that the idea that people are more likely to rob or kill you than they did before is a well-founded one. Our cultural ideas about "stranger danger" can be pretty overblown. For example, kids are more likely to be abducted by someone known to them than by some random stranger...yet we're hyper-focused on making sure they don't talk to strangers. Sure, bad things can happen...but focusing on that to the exclusion of all else isn't so well founded.

If you're okay with not leaving your immediate area, that's certainly up to you. Depending on your life goals and long-term plans, you may find that choosing not to address this kind of issue may limit you. If you have a job that requires travel or asks you to move to a new place, then that certainly could pose difficulties. As you've found, it is keeping you from being able to be comfortable visiting a friend.

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Sarah Liz

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Kadkitty
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Plus, I think it is smart to outweigh the costs to the benefits and really evaluate the possible problems that may come up. Yes, they might be fears and ungrounded, but I think its better safe than sorry and I think that if more people thought like this....the world might be safer?
I am very reserved, and while the impulsive, fun side of my brain tells me how fun it will be...and yes it might be a step in helping me become comfortable away from home, the other part points out the possible risks to this. And all of those what-ifs.
My dad just bought a new car at the end of April. 2 weeks ago driving out of a Long John Silvers after dinner, he drove out of the LJS exit and there was a huge pot hole in the road. His car dragged since it was low to the ground. When he got home and checked it out in the garage, he realized the front end was all scratched up and there was damage. My mom called Long Johns, but they said that is public road, so it goes to them and I doubt they will pay...
So, I start thinking what-if before I act. I'm not saying that I will have an accident like that, or that I won't get hurt...its just smart to consider what could happen and weigh the costs versus the benefit?

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Kadkitty
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KittenGoddess-I've actually used that same reasoning on my mom before. People who kill us are more likely to already know us rather than be strangers! Also, I told her that it is more likely that I will have a car accident close to home, than not close (like traveling)
But it doesn't work on her...she doesn't like the idea of me venturing out to meet people I barely know...

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KittenGoddess
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Well, again...things can happen near home just as much as they can happen further away. I'm thinking of one specific study that found only 17% of accidents occurred more than 20 miles from a person's home (Strillacci, 2002). Statistically speaking, an accident is no more likely when you're away than when you're near home.

I think most folks do consider costs and benefits when making decisions about going places and take reasonable precautions when making decisions about doing things. I think about what-ifs every time I get in the car. I ensure that my child is safely restrained in his car seat. I make sure that I've got gas and don't have any low tires or warning lights. But beyond that, there is not much I can do to prevent things that may be out of my control, other than choosing not to leave my home. If I were to have an accident...well, cars can be fixed. Someone will call the police, someone will help me if I need it. For my lifestyle, staying at home or near to home is not doable nor is that something I want.

Honestly, it sounds to me like you're overestimating the risk involved with safe, smart travel. Again...if you're okay with the cost of not leaving your home area, then that is obviously your decision. It does sound like this is something that may not be the healthiest for you, however. (Since you're asking about it, this seems like something you were wanting help to address.) Have you considered talking to a professional about this anxiety, given that it seems to be pretty significant and troubling to you?

[ 05-18-2010, 05:12 PM: Message edited by: KittenGoddess ]

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Sarah Liz

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Kadkitty
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I have never discussed this with anyone outside of this discussion here. Like I said, it isn't a big deal and I have never felt like it was a bad thing until you guys think it is...
I think it depends on where you guys grew up. Did you guys grow up in the city? I am in the country...small town. It isn't big like the city, so I don't have much experience driving through a city or large town.
I don't know where all of my classmates are after high school...so I can't speak for all of them. But I know a few who have stayed in this area too. Is there anything wrong with that? My father and his brothers grew up on a farm...except for him they all live on that right now or until they died (one is dead, one still lives there). They inherited the land that they lived on...so they didn't go that far.
Then, another girl who lived on our road still lives there too. She doesn't live in her house, she lives in a house up the road. Do I judge her and think....wow she should have moved X miles away from home? Do I think there is something wrong in her choices? No.
Another one of my friends, that I know of still lives in that area too, if not in the same house. Alternatively, her sister (my best friend when we were kids) moved and now lives up in the northern part of the state.
I don't think it is an issue...

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KittenGoddess
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I think there's a difference between not wanting (or choosing) to do something and not being able to do so. Your original post seemed to indicate that you did not feel that you were ABLE to functionally leave your area and that you would like to be able to do so to go visit your friend.

I grew up in the country. The town very nearest me had about 3 stop lights. There were other, somewhat larger towns within a reasonable driving distance. I didn't have a lot of "big city" driving until I went away to college and moved to Nashville. Sure, I was nervous at first, but I wanted to move away from my hometown and experience different things. I still don't like driving in major metro areas (someplace like Chicago, for instance), but I can do it if I need to or want to for whatever reason. I don't mind driving long distances by myself either.

I don't think there's anything wrong with not wanting to move away or even not wanting to do a lot of traveling. Not everybody wants those things. Nothing wrong with that. However, the problem comes in when someone feels that they CANNOT operate outside a small area. Again, what if you needed to travel for a job? What if you (or a friend/family member/whatever) needed care at a metro hospital? What if you just decided that you wanted to go visit someone? If you feel like you cannot do those things because of anxiety/fear/whatever, then it might be a good idea to explore becoming more comfortable so that you have options if the need arose. If that's the case, then it might be wise to try to address those issues. It sounds like your parents are not really contributing to your ability to function in this sort of situation and that you've got quite a bit of anxiety that might be helped by speaking with a counselor.

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Sarah Liz

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Kadkitty
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Actually, I have stayed away from home several times, as my first post noted.
In high school, I stayed over at a friend's house and had a great time. I didn't sleep well, or maybe not at all that night. However, in my own defense, I was sleeping on the floor...it was Friday the 13th and we had just watched Nightmare on Elm Street and apparently I was sleeping in what my friend thought was a corner of her room that was haunted...not sure if she was serious or it was just part of her Friday the 13th theme...eeerr...but it was ok!
And when I was dating my ex, I stayed over at his house two nights.
The first night we actually went to a movie at midnight-I drove. Had my mom known this, she would have killed us both-slowly! I hate night driving, and I was driving through the city, but as he promised, apparently many people do not drive at night and the roads were pretty clear.
Again, I didn't sleep well that night even though I was in the guest bed...but I was ok otherwise.
The second time I stayed at his house, the first night was similar to the other time. I didn't sleep as well as when I do in my own bed....but the next night we had a fight (it was a rerun of his other ones) and I decided to leave/go home...he tried to stop me.
I was ok...I guess I functioned. I wasn't crumpled up in the corner crying. However, I guess I just don't refer staying away from home. Almost every time I have done it, I am reinforced with bad situations-you cannot go home/leave. Even in adult life with my ex...

If...you or someone else showed me how to get to someplace, drivingwise, I would be ok. I've done that before, with my ex. I knew how to get to his house, and he would point me in the right direction, depending on where we were going (restaurant, theatre, store ect)
However, on my own and having no idea where I am going...I don't want to do that

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Heather
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Obviously, you have internet access, which means you don't ever have to not know where you're going.

quote:
Almost every time I have done it, I am reinforced with bad situations-you cannot go home/leave. Even in adult life with my ex...
It's statements like this that suggest this isn't about choices, it's about fears. What Sarah said about the difference between a person choosing not to leave home or choosing to stay in their hometown all their lives being vastly different than someone not feeling able to or being very afraid to is pretty crucial here.

I'm not sure I'd use Dickinson as an object lesson here. Brilliant woman, but clearly very unhappy and very tortured in a lot of ways, and her choice -- after it was that, her mother was chronically ill for years and required Dickinson's care -- never to leave home for most of her life very well could have been part of why only a few of her hundreds of poems were published before she died, and why no one even had any idea she'd written so much until after her death. It's pretty clear that Dickinson locking herself away like she did DID limit her life and probably also contributed to her longtime depression.

I'm wondering if your reaction to all of this is because rather than asking for help from us with either taking the trip you say you want to take, or help taking some steps to get over this fear, you just wanted us to say you didn't have to do this trip. If so, then for sure: you don't have to take this trip. It's okay if you don't.

I'd just advise that no matter what you do, you make a plan to start working in some way on being able to develop some more autonomy in this regard for yourself, since living in fear always limits us.

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Kadkitty
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I wasn't looking to be told not to do the trip, I was looking for suggestions. I figured many people around here have gone to a slumber party or sleep over, and wondered what tips there would be to get through it easier. I figure not all of you LOVE sleeping in someone else's bed in another person's house?
But the taking a bus is a good idea. I talked it over with my mom but she doesn't think its a good idea because she doesn't know my friend well...

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Heather
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Thing is, you're an adult. And you've been one for some years now.

Can I ask why you're asking your Mom for permission on this at all?

(Do YOU know your friend well?)

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Heather Corinna, Executive Director & Founder, Scarleteen
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Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has. - Margaret Mead

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Kadkitty
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Its not permission, but more advice.
I knew her for about 2 years but never met her...we chat online. That is why my mom doesn't like it...

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Heather
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It IS wisest to first meet someone online in a public place first, where other people are, not in their own home or alone.

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Heather Corinna, Executive Director & Founder, Scarleteen
About Me • Get our book!
Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has. - Margaret Mead

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Kadkitty
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Yeah, but she is older than me...has children, so I wouldn't want to inconvenience her to come to me...
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