So there's a guy...

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jenny01
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Re: So there's a guy...

Unread post by jenny01 »

Ok I'll take it slow.

Well if he was actually my boyfriend, things would be different with my parents. And idk what we would do since he's at work all the time. I want him to take time for himself so that he's happy.
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Re: So there's a guy...

Unread post by Mo »

I think taking it slow is a good plan!
It can be hard to see someone working hard and not taking time for themselves, for sure. It can be a tricky thing to talk about, since some folks don't have the option of cutting down on work or are prioritizing it for a valid reason even if it causes some stress. Taking time for himself is certainly something you could encourage him to do if it comes up in conversation, but depending on his situation it may not feel like an option for him right now.
jenny01
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Re: So there's a guy...

Unread post by jenny01 »

I asked him if he was ok and he said he was good. He also replied at 1am.
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Re: So there's a guy...

Unread post by Sam W »

The very late (or very early, depending on how you look at it) certainly makes sense given what you've shared about his schedule. In addition to reconnecting with him, have you been taking other steps to connect or reconnect with other friends you fell out of touch with (or people you're hoping will move from friends to acquaintances)?
jenny01
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Re: So there's a guy...

Unread post by jenny01 »

I've only texted with a friend who hmu after several years but we only talk occasionally. I've also told a friend that we need to take a break. Relationships are hard.
Mo
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Re: So there's a guy...

Unread post by Mo »

It's so true! Friendships and all kinds of relationships can be really tough, and I know the isolation of the pandemic has made maintaining friendships harder for a lot of people. I think it's worth putting in the effort to connect with people when you can, but it's also good to acknowledge that it can be hard to do.
jenny01
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Re: So there's a guy...

Unread post by jenny01 »

I think he's really stressed rn. I was talking to him about hanging out with me and some of our friends on Halloween. He really wants to work that night so he can make money. He told me he had bills to pay. I was super confused, bc he lives at home. He then told me he has, to pay rent, gas, phone, car insurance, health insurance, and union dues(he's an electrician). His parents make him pay rent and health insurance! The other stuff like ok, but rent and health insurance?! He just turned 18 in July. That's a lot of pressure.

If we were to start dating, he'd have to take time off work, bc rn he doesn't have any free time. And about my parents, they don't even know we're talking. Whenever I bring him up, they always ask me if I'm talking about my other guy friend(who they like) who has the same name. It's like no I've explained this before. If he asked me out, I wouldn't ask them if I could go, I would just say I had a date with him.

My sister is getting her drivers license soon and my mom is worried about us going places. But I think she knows that we're going to start dating and going out with friends more.

With my older siblings, my parents had rules when they lived at our house and they were adults. Like don't come home at 2am or don't come home when ur drunk, stay at a friend's house. Since I can't drive or drink due to my epilepsy, they don't really have rules for me. My freedom was when I turned 18 and I could watch whatever I wanted to or read whatever I wanted. I don't think they're too worried about me staying out too late and getting drunk, since 1. I can't drink(I can but I obviously don't want to have seizures) and 2. They know I like to be in bed at night so I can watch tv.

I haven't really met anyone, so I don't know how they'd react to me dating someone. My mom did say the other day that this is the age where me and my sister are supposed to start dating. So that was kind of confusing.

Do you have any advice about how to transition into this life of dating and hanging out with friends at night?
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Re: So there's a guy...

Unread post by Sam W »

That does sound stressful for him! I do think that his lack of (it sounds like) any free time might take him out of the running as a potential date, at least for the time being.

When it comes to transitioning into a more active dating or social life, some starting places would be to find things you and a friend (or group of friends) like to do together, whether that's getting together at someone's house, going to movies or concerts, game nights, things like that. The more you're able to find things you like to do that involve other people, like meet-ups or group activities, the easier this tends to be as well, because it both gives you a set place you're going and thing you're doing, but also puts you into spaces where you get to meet new people. How do those sound as starting places?
jenny01
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Re: So there's a guy...

Unread post by jenny01 »

I think your right. I don't feel like I'll be able to date him rn.

Those all sound like good options. Me and my sister have different friends(we also have a lot of the same friends) but how do we go our separate ways without our parents freaking out? They literally expect us to do everything together. And especially rn, our friend group is kind of broken up since some of them went off to college and there's been drama. So rn I really only talk to like 3 of my friends and they are not really friends with my sister.
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Re: So there's a guy...

Unread post by Mo »

There isn't a guaranteed way you and your sister can assert your independence from each other (and your parents) without your parents freaking out or having a negative reaction, but I think it's important to assert that anyway, if you can. When they indicate that they expect you to do things together, you can remind them that you enjoy spending time together and having some shared friends but that you also have friends and interests that aren't the same so you won't be together at all times. Even if that isn't what your parents want to hear, hopefully they'll be able to accept it.
Does your sister feel the same way as you about the expectation your parents have that you do things together often?
jenny01
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Re: So there's a guy...

Unread post by jenny01 »

Yeah my sister feels the exact same way. We're joining our church's college group and she doesn't want to be in the same small group as me. She doesn't want us to be the girls. And I get that.

One time my sister's friend asked her to go shopping with her, and when my sister told my mom, my mom was like I'm(as in me) isn't going? My sister knew I wouldn't want to go. Another time, I made plans with a friend and my mom asked me Your sister isn't going? Me and my sister were both like no. We have different friends.

One time, my older sister asked me and my sister to babysit our nephews and my sister didn't want to bc she had homework. I was free, so I said I could. But my mom made my sister come babysit too, bc we had to do it together. It's ridiculous.

We wouldn't be surprised if when one of us got a date, that my parents would make the other one go along. We just wouldn't go on the date, but how do we assert that we don't want to do everything together? We've literally done everything together.
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Re: So there's a guy...

Unread post by Sam W »

That certainly sounds ridiculous (and like it's probably stressful for both of you)!

Since this such a long-running habit of your parent's, I think it would work best to start small. You two are already sort of doing this, by asserting that when one of you goes to hang out with friends, it doesn't make sense for the other to tag along. I think continuing to do that will help them see you as two people instead of unit. Too, in many cases, even if your mom pushes you to do a thing together, since you and your sister are on the same page, you can opt not to do that.

Even in situations where you two ARE doing something together, there are ways to differentiate yourselves. For instance, in the college group, there may be sub groups or activities that you're each interested in; you don't have to experience the group the exact same way.

If you and your sister have somewhat different senses of style, it can also help to play that up; it helps people see you as distinct individuals and can also just help you feel less like you're one half of a matched set.
jenny01
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Re: So there's a guy...

Unread post by jenny01 »

It is kinda stressful.

And with the babysitting thing, we can't really say no. We don't know how. They just expect us to do it.

We are VERY different individuals. Do you have any advice on how to get our parents to recognize that we're not going to be together forever?
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Re: So there's a guy...

Unread post by Marisha »

Hi jenny01,

I'm sorry to hear that you're going through this :( Parents and their ideas about how our lives should be are a pretty big hurdle to clear.

I have a few articles for you with applicable advice about boundaries, communication, and overprotectiveness.
When Worlds Collide: Dating and Dealing With Parents
How do I deal with my overprotective parents?Be Your Own Superhero: Learning How and When to Stand Up for Ourselves
I think you might be able to pull some good nuggets out of each of them even though they aren't responding to the exact same issues that you've described. I especially recommend the third one, which I will quote here:
Stating our needs and boundaries within an already-existing relationship is also important for adjusting the relationship to better suit us -- it's not just a one-off thing that happens at the beginning of a relationship. Aside from creating the framework for the relationship model, standing up for ourselves is actually also a big part of getting to know each other. Letting a person know that we are not okay with /something/, or that we would really like to have /this thing/ be a part of our relationship to feel satisfied, is letting the person know something about you; you are letting them know about something that is important to your sense of happiness and fulfillment. So, standing up for ourselves actually creates closer relationships and more mutual understanding and trust between people.
This may not be clear from the way I approached my response, so let me tell you where I'm coming from: I think your parents, from what you've told us, are more than overprotective because of fear for your well-being. They are overextending a level of control over your life. I think the practice that needs to be developed here will require a kind of bravery and persistence out of you, because this isn't a problem, if you wish to solve it, that will be supported by quietly accepting a failed attempt to communicate your desires. It's unlikely that the change will come about in some grand movie moment. It has to be tended like a garden; you have to think about what you want, communicate it, and try. Over and over again.

I understand that this advice is probably exhausting just to read, and I hope others who are involved in this conversation will be able to provide a perspective that I did not include here.

As always, I wish you luck.
jenny01
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Re: So there's a guy...

Unread post by jenny01 »

Thank you Marisha, I'll read those articles.
jenny01
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Re: So there's a guy...

Unread post by jenny01 »

I've read the second one before and the difference is the girl in it is 16 and I'm going to be 20. That's a difference of 4 years age wise.
jenny01
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Re: So there's a guy...

Unread post by jenny01 »

I read that third article, but there's nothing to do about how to handle ur parents. The people that raised you and provide for you financially. They're in control of everything. Plus they won't listen to me if I told them anything. What should I do?
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Re: So there's a guy...

Unread post by Sam W »

Hi Jenny,

I think the answer is, if you're parents have control of everything, to start finding ways to take some of that control for yourself. That can be extra tricky when you're navigating things like lack finances or a disability, but it's still possible. Sometimes it's long term things, like getting a degree or other training that helps you find employment, or short term things like setting immediate boundaries. Too, sometimes what we implement balance into our relationships with our parents through what we don't do; for instance, not going with your sister when your mom asks her why she isn't taking you somewhere, or not relinquishing a phone or other personal item just because they tell you to. You mentioned previously that your brother has set some boundaries with them. Has he ever told you how he did it?

Something that also helps is to adjust how you think about your parents, including what kind of relationship you want with them. If you could have any relationship you want (let's assume one where you're still getting resources for seizures and such somewhere), what would it look like?
jenny01
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Re: So there's a guy...

Unread post by jenny01 »

I would get in a lot of trouble if I just kept my phone.

My brother didn't really set boundaries, he just moved out. But I can't move out bc I don't have the finances. They just expect me to do everything they tell me to do. I asked them if me and sister had gone to college(like moved into a dorm) what they would do without us. They just say they don't know. And it's infuriating bc we're not always going to be there.

I obviously want a loving, trusting relationship with them. I want them to give me the freedom other people my age have. They don't understand that I'm not a naive child anymore. How do I get them to see me differently? I've tried everything.
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Re: So there's a guy...

Unread post by Siân »

Hi jenny01,

This sounds like an incredibly frustrating situation to be in, because yes there are plenty of things you can try (and it sounds like you have tried a bunch) but at some point you need your parents to give a little too. Wanting a loving, trusting relationship and the same freedoms as other people your age is a completely reasonable thing to ask - it sounds like your parents are being unreasonable and making that less realistic, not you. When you say you'd get in a lot of trouble if you kept your phone, what do you mean by that? What does trouble look like?

Sam talked about both short term things and long term things in her post, and I noticed you mentioned college in a "what if" kinda way in your post. Do you have any hopes or ideas for the long-term that might help you gain more independence?
jenny01
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Re: So there's a guy...

Unread post by jenny01 »

Well they'd obviously take my phone and prolly my tv. They wouldn't trust me either. They prolly wouldn't let me go out with friends either.

I don't know what to do to gain that independence, since my parents aren't really letting me, you know? My parents are going on vacation for a week and me and my sister are babysitting. That is also our first week of online college. So, we have to watch our siblings, do laundry, cook, clean, and do our homework. My older sister is going to be coming over to try to help, but that's not helpful bc she will bring her kids and that just brings more chaos. My aunt is coming and staying at night, but it's basically like babysitting her too.

I asked my mom who was going to do laundry and she said we were. But we already have a lot on our plate. She said that when we moved out, we'd be doing our own laundry and school. It's like yes, but we wouldn't have to watch 3 kids who don't listen to us. She tries to tell us that when we move out we'll have to do all this stuff, but we won't have to babysit kids when we move out.

So I have epilepsy and most of my seizures are startle seizures caused by my brothers. I asked my brothers if when they needed to tell me something and I'm in my room doing school, if they could knock. They usually just bust the door open and startle me into having a seizure. My middle school brother got all defensive and got all mad at me. It's like you cause my seizures when you do that! Please just knock. My 8 yr old brother asked me why I didn't want to have seizures and that irritated my sister bc it's obvious. So my sister was like dude do you want to have a seizure?!

Yesterday, my middle school brother was messing around and getting my 8 yr old brother wound up before we going to leave the house. So I was like why do you always mess around? like can't you just be calm for one second? And my brother was like I don't judge you when you can't control your seizures! It's like I HAVE FREAKIN EPILEPSY! My dad was there and he took my side. But how do I get my middle school brother to not sass me and not use my epilepsy as a comeback?
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Re: So there's a guy...

Unread post by Sam W »

So, with the caveat that you know your parents and their likely reactions to things better than we do, I feel like I should point out that what you describe them doing if you set boundaries or assert independence is more or less what they do already; taking electronics, restricting movement, and demonstrating a lack of trust. So, if the fail state of asserting independence is just the status quo, then it may actually be worth testing the waters to see if you can actually get a little more freedom for yourself.

With your brothers triggering your seizures (which sounds AWFUL by the way), for a really basic solution do you have any way to lock your door so they can't barge in? And when you set boundaries with them, do your parents back you up?

Since finances are an issue when it comes to finding independence, have you ever looked into work, even part time work, that could be done from home?
jenny01
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Re: So there's a guy...

Unread post by jenny01 »

But I don't want to get my stuff taken away since it's really the only way I can talk to my friends you know? I can't drive and I do school online so I don't go anywhere.

I do have a lock on my door but my parents don't want me to lock it in case I have a seizure. My parents just tell me to be nicer to them. They're total jerks to me tho. My mom did see my 8 yr old brother being a jerk last night tho.

I plan on getting a part-time at home job after I graduate in spring. But that's awhiles away.
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Re: So there's a guy...

Unread post by Sam W »

Would you feel comfortable locking your door? From what you're describing it sounds like you're way more likely to have a seizure thanks to someone triggering it by barging in than when it's locked for a little while, but obviously you'll have the best sense of what the safer option is. Too, have you ever accessed any resources designed specifically to help people who deal with seizures build an environment with triggers that are less likely? If not, that's something we can help you find.

This may sound like an odd idea, but do you have any way to get yourself a back-up phone? One your parents don't know about so that if you set boundaries and they retaliate by taking away your phone, you're not cut off from your friends or from information. That might make it easier to practice setting those limits. If money is an issue, I wonder if you might be able to explain it to your brother who's moved out and been able to set limits with your parents to see if he can help you cover the costs.
jenny01
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Re: So there's a guy...

Unread post by jenny01 »

I can't really lock my door, bc I share my room with my sister so she needs to be able to get in and out. My doctor said that startle seizures are the hardest seizures to control.

I don't know how I'd get a backup phone. I just got this phone when I was 18. My oldest brother doesn't want to get involved. And my other older brother doesn't have the money to help me. But he is coming home this weekend, so maybe he'll be able to help. But this weekend is the anniversary of my grandpa's passing, so my mom isn't going to want to talk about that stuff.
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