So there's a guy...

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Re: So there's a guy...

Unread post by Sam W »

Do your parents do anything or say anything to your brother when he barges in (or in the instance where he triggered a seizure)? If they're really apathetic towards the fact that your sibling is putting you at risk, I think you might want to call either the helpline listed here: https://www.epilepsy.com/connect or the people listed herehttps://www.epilepsy.com/local/south-dakota; they would likely be able to talk with you about how to navigate this situation or otherwise reduce the risk of a startle seizure. Do you think you could reach out to them in the next few days?

Did your older brother specifically say he didn't want to be involved in your getting more independence? Or is it more that he made a general statement that he wants to stay out of things going on in your house?

It may be worth looking into some ways you can start earning a little money on your own sooner rather than later; that would not only give you the resources to do things like have a back-up phone, but also would be good practice for when you're done with school, making it easier to transition to working more.
jenny01
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Re: So there's a guy...

Unread post by jenny01 »

My parents don't really say anything when my brother gives me a startle seizure, since my doctor said they're the hardest to control. I'm on multiple meds but they can't control startle seizures. I get really mad at my brother when he causes my seizures bc I have told him multiple times not to do certain things. When I tell my parents, they say I need to try to be more aware of my surroundings. And I'm going to be really busy this weekend and next week so I wont be able to.

I have two older brothers. My oldest brother said he didn't want to get involved. My other older brother tries to help but my parents never listen to him.

When my brother and sister-in-law come this weekend I'm going to ask them with help on my resume. It really sucks rn bc I've had no work experience. Actual jobs aren't going to want to hire me bc I have no job experience. And I don't have a lot of ways I can get a job. Plus my parents don't want me to have one. I want to start the job process in January tho.
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Re: So there's a guy...

Unread post by Sam W »

Okay, when you're not busy I would definitely make time to contact them; they may also be able to help you with some employment stuff down the line.

Can you say a little more about how your other older brother tries to help you out?

I think working on your resume this weekend is an excellent plan! I want to point you towards Ask A Manager; she's a really good resource, and even has some specific content for people who are trying to get a job with no experience: https://www.askamanager.org/2014/05/how ... ience.html, https://www.askamanager.org/2019/02/wha ... ience.html. Too, it can help to remember that your parents don't actually get a vote on whether or not you decide to work; you're an adult, which means that your employment decisions are up to you.
jenny01
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Re: So there's a guy...

Unread post by jenny01 »

Ok so for example, my younger brother wanted to play fortnite but my mom said he couldn't anymore bc she found out that there was shooting in it. So when my older brother was talking to my mom, he tried to get my mom to let my younger brother play it. But she still didn't let him. So he kind tries to help out, but it doesn't really get us anywhere.

And yeah my sister in law really helped me out. I'll check it out.

I want to apply for the job in January since there is a 9 week training period, but I haven't told my parents that yet. And I know I'm an adult, but my parents don't know I am.

We were at a wedding and my dad was like you should get a boyfriend. It's like ahhhhhhhhh. I would if I went places or were able to talk to people. I am going to talk to them soon. Bc I do want more autonomy.
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Re: So there's a guy...

Unread post by Heather »

Hi there, Jenny. I've been away for a bit, so I'm just getting caught up with you and what all's been going on. I agree with you (if I get you right) that saying you should "get a boyfriend" is a pretty mixed message to give someone whose autonomy you don't support. Not to mention that wanting you to get a boyfriend before wanting you to have some independence is also not exactly a great recipe for healthy relationships, yipes.

It sounds like your sister-in-law and brother are remaining good supports and helps for you, even if it's been in baby steps: that's great. <3
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
jenny01
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Re: So there's a guy...

Unread post by jenny01 »

Yeah I am going to talk to my parents when they get back from vacation about giving me more autonomy if they want me to get a boyfriend.

They want me to date the guy I don't like. They approve of him. It's like he's 3 years younger than me and I don't like him like that.

And yeah they are. I wanted to apply for the job in January but i don't know if I want to anymore. Rn I'm attending two schools, so I think I want to wait until i graduate from one of them, which is in May. But that still leaves me with no money.
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Re: So there's a guy...

Unread post by Heather »

You know, I wouldn't personally frame this as "You want me to get a boyfriend, I need more autonomy." Effectively saying they need to give you more independence only to go wind up with interdependence on someone else is problematic in a whole bunch of ways. I can talk about why if you want or need me to.

You need more autonomy because you are a person, period. By just about every modern standard of human development we use and generally have a consensus about right now, the amount of independence you have isn't healthy, nor has the way you have been kept from it adequate to help you transition into becoming an adult person capable of independent living at a level where you can survive, and feel good about yourself as a person.

It's equally problematic for them to be picking out who you date, or only allowing you to go out of the house or have more autonomy, again, *to* date. Again, I can talk about why I think so if you like.

In terms of making a choice about staying financially dependent on them for longer, we can't tell you what to do there, since that's obviously a personal choice, and also is going to be able what you can actually manage when it comes to what you can fit into a day or a week. Is it viable for you to work on top of everything else right now?
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
jenny01
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Re: So there's a guy...

Unread post by jenny01 »

Well yeah I wouldn't phrase it like that. But could you tell me why you think that? And I'm not going to date who that WANT me to date if I don't like him. It's like it's my decision, I'm not just going to date someone bc they like him. I don't know what they would do if I just brought a guy home.

Like I really want to get a job, but I just started my second program rn and idk if i can be in two programs and do the training program for the job. I don't think that I couldn't do the job and do both of my school programs, it's the 9 week training period that I would have to complete before the job starts. I don't know if I could do all of that. That means I would have to wait until after May 20th to start the training program.

Also, I'm talking to that guy again. But I don't think he wants a gf so.
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Re: So there's a guy...

Unread post by Heather »

Sure.

I think that you deserve autonomy for yourself, for whatever you decide you want it for in your life, based on your own wants, needs and agenda, not based on what your parents or anyone else wants or thinks you should want or have. I also know, as someone who works in sex and relationships, that one cornerstone of healthy relationships is people's ability to be independent and to be able to live a life for themselves separate from a partner -- if your autonomy is tied up in a boyfriend, it's pretty hard to have that, you know?

As well, your autonomy shouldn't be conditional on meeting your parents wants for you, like because they want you -- for whatever reason they want this -- to "get" a boyfriend. It should be based on your wants.

Make sense?

I hear you with juggling all those things and a job: that certainly sounds like a lot. How do you feel about waiting until May?

Per talking to that guy, how do you feel about building or continuing a relationship with him that isn't potentially romantic or sexual? Is he someone you'd want to be friends with otherwise or no?
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
jenny01
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Re: So there's a guy...

Unread post by jenny01 »

Yeah all of that makes sense. My best friend knows how my life is and she knows how hard it is to stand up to my parents. She doesn't think my parents will give me more autonomy either. How do I show them that I need it? Whenever I do anything like mature or something, and I tell my parents they always go "Big girl!" in a sarcastic tone. It's like stop! I'm trying to show you I can do things.

I do want a boyfriend. I've wanted a boyfriend for awhile, but my parents have never told me to get one.

I feel like waiting until May is the best option for ME, even though I would rather have one sooner so I could start earning money. I don't know if I could handle it all if I didn't wait.

I'm already friends with the guy I'm talking to. We're not like best friends or anything, but we're friends. I've said before that he works all the time. So I was talking to him yesterday and I was basically like if you work all the time, when do you make time for your girlfriend?(like in a joking tone bc I knew he didn't have one). Then we started talking about relationships, and he said he does want a girlfriend. But his past 2 gfs cheated on him so he's kinda scared too. I then asked him how to get a boyfriend and he gave me a cute/really deep explanation. I asked him what to do if the guy I like is always busy(*cough cough him*). He told me that if the guy is always busy he prolly is ignoring me and he doesn't like me and I should find someone who really cares about me. He really did give me good advice and he told me that I should stand up to my parents(but he doesn't know how scary my parents can be like my best friend does). He told me that if I like a guy, then I should work on being friends with the guy and when the relationship gets closer and I feel like he might have feels too, I should push a little and see if it goes anywhere. Do you think he knows I like him? Also sorry that's a lot to take in(well at least for me it was).
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Re: So there's a guy...

Unread post by Mo »

I don't think you can know if this guy knows you're interested in him or not! A lot of people have a hard time noticing when someone else is expressing their interest in a roundabout way. There really isn't going to be a way to know for sure unless one of you brings it up directly. It can feel safer or easier, sometimes, to hint at that interest or hope someone figures it out on their own, but it's never something you can guarantee unless you explicitly say how you're feeling.
jenny01
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Re: So there's a guy...

Unread post by jenny01 »

I asked him if he wanted to hang out on Halloween and he said he was going to work. I know he's working, but i do feel like he is kinda ignoring me. Bc he could totally take days off.

My parents are back now. How should I talk to them about giving me more autonomy?
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Re: So there's a guy...

Unread post by Heather »

Hey, Jenny.

For any conversations/strategizing like this, I don't really feel like I have a sense of what generally works with them and doesn't in conversations that challenge them. Do you? Can you fill me in some so I can get a better sense to be able to make some suggestions that are likely to be useful?
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
jenny01
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Re: So there's a guy...

Unread post by jenny01 »

Um well when they are against something they are very against it and they don't change their minds easily. I can't really think of a time they actually changed their mind. When I was a kid I always wanted a DS and an iPod touch, but they never got me one bc you were able to message other people with them.

I only just got my first phone when I was 18. And I was homeschooled since 4th grade so I've been lonely and have not had a lot of socialization.

They say they're just trying to keep me safe and that's usually the end of the conversation. They think that social media is dangerous so that's why they hate it. They don't want me to go places by myself or to be left alone at home. I have told them before that it all feels very controlling, but they just bring it back to being for my safety.
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Re: So there's a guy...

Unread post by Sam W »

Hi Jenny,

That all sounds incredibly frustrating! Since it sounds like you've never found ways of approaching conversations that get them to change their perspectives, have you ever noticed your siblings, or family friends, who've been able to get them to change their minds? If so, did you notice anything about the approaches they used? Or, alternatively, do you ever see one parent getting the other to change their mind about something in the course of a conversation?

When it comes to them constantly falling back on "safety" as an excuse for controlling you, you might have some luck using the technique I outline towards the end of this advice column, where you don't let them end the conversation there. You make them explain what they're actually afraid of, which can give you some angles for approaching those conversations in the future (and sometimes gives you openings to point out that they are not gauging the risk of things correctly): https://www.scarleteen.com/article/advi ... ve_parents.
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Re: So there's a guy...

Unread post by jenny01 »

Um I don't really know any time someone has been able to change my parents' mind. Like my older brother tries and fails. Some of my friends' parents have tried to tell them they need to change their parenting tactics, but my parents got all offended and said they didn't know what it's like to raise kids to adulthood. My parents aren't really friends with my friends' parents anymore. Ok so now my younger brother is a 6th grader and he wants to watch super hero shows and stuff. My mom doesn't want him to bc there's shooting in it, but my dad kinda was like he's a middle school boy and there's gonna be shooting in those shows. So my mom let my brother watch the show he wanted but she makes him watch it when there's an adult in the room. Like my mom isn't happy about it but my dad stood up for my brother.

I read ur advice and they do treat me differently from my older brothers. Like my mom wants me and my sister to be in the same small group so that we're not alone at night. My mom didn't have a problem when my brother went places alone. And in ur advice you said I should be doing laundry and making doctor appointments and stuff. I can do laundry now, but my mom doesn't want me to do mine bc it makes it harder for her to do everyone else's. It's easier for her to just do mine too. And I do set up my own doctor appointments. I have my own school schedule and do what I'm supposed to. But apparently that's not enough for them. What do I do?
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Re: So there's a guy...

Unread post by Heather »

Hey there, Jenny.

So, from where I'm sitting, especially given that you are a legal adult now, it sounds to me like the most likely way you're going to get more autonomy, given all you have said here, isn't by getting it FROM your parents, but by giving it to yourself. In other words, it sounds like this might simply be something where, since it sounds like you seem pretty sure you can't change their mind, that the person who has to change here is going to be you, not them.

That gets us back around to where we have been, with getting whatever help and support you can from whoever -- and whatever other systems -- you can to work towards getting out on your own so that you're no longer in this position in the first place.

In the meantime, I wonder if you might have any luck with simply standing your ground on things rather than trying to change their minds or ask for things? For instance, with the laundry as an example, what would happen if you just insisted on doing your own laundry? If you said that you recognize your mother is choosing to do everyone else's (I hear she isn't positioning this as her choice, but it clearly is), and so needs some time for that, but that you insist on doing you own, and if that means there's a certain day or time window she needs you to do it in, okay, can she let you know what that is?

Moving forward in bigger ways, how do you feel about creating a long-term plan to get you to living independently, with steps to get you there? I know that in the past when we have talked about it, you have been reluctant to work with disabiity services to do this, but those are one option as to a kind of person who could help you with that. Another might be a guidance counselor or other counselor through your college.
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
jenny01
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Re: So there's a guy...

Unread post by jenny01 »

Heather,
It is literally the hardest thing to do. I can't just move out bc I don't have the finances. If I did I would find an apartment with my friend who also wants to get away from her parents. The difference between me and my friend tho is that she can drive and her parents want her to move out. I can't drive and my parents don't want me to move out. I can't just stand my ground. I would get in trouble. They have to change. I need them to realize I'm an adult.

With the laundry thing, I understand what my mom means. We have 7 people living in our house so we have a lot of laundry and really big appliances. My laundry wouldn't fill the washer. It's just a waste of a cycle. She did my brothers' laundry too when they were in college for the same reason. But I did offer to do my own laundry. Last week I did all of the laundry when my parents were gone, so my mom knows I can do it.

I do want to live independently but they don't think I can. I would prove it if I had the finances. But I won't get a job until late May. They also don't want me to move out bc of my epilepsy. And about the guidance counselor I would have to drive to campus, but I obviously can't do that. And if I told my parents why I wanted to see a guidance counselor they wouldn't like it. They would say they could help.

Two more things that might be helpful to know:
I got a covid relief fund check from my school and I want to spend $300 on Christmas presents and a trip I'm going on. I want to put the other 200 towards my education. My mom isn't too keen about it, saying that it's for school. I pointed out that it was a covid relief check not a school check. My parents spent their covid relief check on a playset for my siblings. My dad said it wasn't the same(but it is). I told them I don't have the money to do and buy all this stuff. They said they'd talk about it.

The other thing is that I thought my friend might be suicidal so I told his mom and she got all pissed at me. I told my mom and she said that she was proud of me, so that confused me.

Do you think any of those things will lead to giving me more autonomy?
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Re: So there's a guy...

Unread post by Heather »

Hey, Jenny. I’m off today, but I want to keep up with you. I also have more to say here, but can you remind me what “getting in trouble” looks like for you?

In other words, what happens when you get in trouble?
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
jenny01
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Re: So there's a guy...

Unread post by jenny01 »

They'll take my phone away, I won't be able to go out with friends, and they won't trust me any more. And they'll be disappointed in me.
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Re: So there's a guy...

Unread post by Heather »

Thanks for filling me in. For sure, if it can be avoided, and it doesn't seem like the possible benefits outweigh the detriment, we don't want to have you doing anything that could result in you being any MORE isolated or losing any of the agency you do have, like losing the loss of your phone.

Again, I hear that you want them to change. (Me too!)) But I just am not realistically seeing it. Your older siblings could probably tell you more about that. I really do think that ultimately, it's going to have to be for you to create your own autonomy here and not depend on them changing. I'm sorry that's the case, because by all means, I'm on your side here, and on the side of you having the kind of independence that I think is age-appropriate for you, something I don't think you have anywhere near.

I haven't heard about this friend before. I hear that you don't have money that would make moving into a place with this friend work right this minute, but this does sound like a maybe prospect to think more about: can you fill me in some more?

I asked again about possibly connecting you with disability services, and you didn't respond to that: is that something you might be willing to reconsider? (While I'm asking about disability services, do you know if your parents get any disability income from the state on your behalf?) With the guidance counselor, can you check and see if they're offering remote appointments? Since you are attending school online, chances are good that support services like that are also offered online.

One more option that I spaced out but that a visiting friend here mentioned when I was telling her about you and how frustrated I was in our desire to help you and our feeling like we kept having such a hard time finding ways to do that was support services and groups for adoptees. She reminded me that there are actually some good ones out there, whether you're a trans-national adoptee and you connect with those kinds of services or something more broad (here's a page with some of those, to give you an idea: https://www.americanadoptions.com/adopt ... ort-groups). How do you feel about that as another help option?
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
jenny01
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Re: So there's a guy...

Unread post by jenny01 »

I can try to talk to my older brother, but idk if he'll be able to give me any good advice. He doesn't want to talk to my parents directly about me.

I met my friend at a homeschool co-op when we were sophomores. We became really good friends and she is really the only friend I still talk to from our co-op anymore. Her parents are kinda strict like mine but not strict on certain things. Like my friend has a job and social media and stuff. She has a bf but her parents don't approve of them getting married. They want to get married next year, but her parents said they wouldn't let them get married even in 5 years. It's really stupid. But her mom wants her to move out. My friend also wants to move out to get away from her parents. My friend knows how strict my parents are and she is very supportive of me. She wants to get an apartment or something, but rn she'll just live at college. She hasn't moved into her dorm yet, but she will in January. If I had the finances, we would totally find an apartment together. I don't know what my parents think of her. They don't know how we're even friends. She's really quiet and I'm really loud. But we've been friends for like 5 years so we're doing something right.

I don't know exactly but I think my parents turned down the money(I don't know if it's disabilities or if it's just medical money) from the government bc they thought it was a waste of the government's money since we didn't need it. Like they didn't want the free money since my dad has a well paying job. And I can check about the guidance counselor but I'm pretty sure the previous emails said you had to come to her office.

I really wish I would be able to join a group or get counseling, but my parents wouldn't approve. My parents don't even know I'm talking on Scarleteen. It's hard to hide Zoom calls you know? That's why I had so many requirements when we talked about therapy. It had to be online thru a chat box or something and it had to be all free.

Do you know other people who have had a problem like mine and have overcome it? Strict parents who want to control everything you do. Like I love my parents but they're not letting me be me.
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Re: So there's a guy...

Unread post by Heather »

I’m happy to respond to what you’ve posted here, but before I do, can you also do me a favor and respond to my questions about accessing specific or general adoptee resources or disability services? That way I can know what kinds of options and resources you might be willing to engage with/have to work with or not. Thanks.
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
jenny01
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Re: So there's a guy...

Unread post by jenny01 »

I don't know how I would be able to use either the disabilities services or adoptee resources without my parents finding out. They would be very against them. It's very hard for me to be able to hide things. I also have 3 younger siblings who pop up at random times and will tell my parents. The only reason I can use Scarleteen is bc it's online, free, and it's all typing you know? Basically any resources you suggest I won't be able to use bc they would be very hard to hide. I really appreciate your hard work in finding them, but I won't ever be able to actually use them. I'm sorry my situation is so hard to find a solution to.
Heather
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Re: So there's a guy...

Unread post by Heather »

You don’t need to apologize for what your parents are doing, Jenny. It’s not your fault.

I would like to talk with you in some more depth about the dynamics of this level of control, though, and explain more to you about how this is a type of abuse. I feel like it’s this elephant that keeps sitting in the middle of the room, as it were, and one that makes it more difficult for you to perhaps fully understand your situation (and how you react to it), and more difficult for us to talk about it with you sometimes.

Would you be okay with my doing that?
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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