I’m 17 and I recently learned that my mother is emotionally abusive. I’m “moving out” in mid august to go to college, but she doesn’t approve of any of my choices regarding my university, or anything college related. Normally I wouldn’t care because I’m leaving, but she has gotten worse and it is everyday now and it’s terrifying. My father just acts like nothing’s wrong. I don’t know if it’s worth doing anything though because I won’t live here much longer.

I am so sorry, anon. I am not surprised things have gotten worse as you get closer to moving out. What is happening is probably the beginning of what is known as an “extinction burst”. That’s when a behavior temporarily gets worse or more frequent because reinforcement stops, or is going to stop. Your mom knows you are going away and she’s not going to be able to harass you the way that she does now, so she’s getting it in early.

Just hold on, anon. You’ve got 2 more months and then you are free. You will not know how good that feels until you have lived it.

Some advice for you, and anyone else escaping abuse when they’re heading in to college.

1. Number one absolute must: buy a cheap prepaid cellphone at walmart. Not a smart phone, just a basic talk/text cell phone. They cost about $10 to buy and the minutes are dirt cheap. Give this number to friends and people you trust as an emergency number, and absolutely do not give your parents this number. Keep this phone in case your parents cut off your cell phone, or for other emergencies, like if your parents won’t stop calling your phone.

2. Research part time and no-experience jobs in your school’s area, even if you don’t plan on getting a job while you study. This way if your parents cut you off or try to drag you home, you will have a quick way of gaining employment and hopefully supporting yourself if only temporarily. Types of jobs that hire quickly and with little effort don’t just include fast food and cashiering; make sure you check out local call centers and security guard agencies as well. These last two are especially good for students with minor disabilities because call center work can be done sitting down, and security guard work, especially over night requires minimum human interaction.

3. Research cheap housing in your school’s area, even if your housing should be covered. Again in case your parents try to cut you off and/or drag you home, it is good to know what you’re up against in terms of housing. A few hours on craigslist should give you a good idea of what to expect in terms of paying for housing in your schools area. TIP: in urban areas and especially college towns, many people have single rooms for rent in large houses, where you pay for your room and access to the bathroom/kitchen/etc. These are generally very cheap and a WONDERFUL resource if you are low on cash. I can not recommend it enough if you are in a hard place financially.

4. Talk with your school counselors and financial aid department immediately. Tell them that you are coming from a background of abuse, and ask what resources they have if you suddenly have to pay for college yourself. Often they will be able to help you find affordable housing through the summer, and will be able to walk you through taking on loans if your parents refuse to pay for tuition. They can also help you with getting therapy, and other resources to cope with abuse and the effects of it.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *