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I'm a parent myself but my parents are keeping me trapped and treat me like a child

Tagged as: Family, Troubled relationships<< Previous question   Next question >>
Question - (31 July 2015) 4 Answers - (Newest, 1 August 2015)
A female United States age 22-25, anonymous writes:

My parents have always treated me like a child and now that I'm an adult with my own child, they've gotten even worse! When friends (the ones I have left), friends I'm trying to make (doesn't work), or guys I try to talk to see this, they laugh in my face. Either they follow suit and treat me like a little kid or else they make cracks about how "mommy and daddy" won't let me do things.

I went to a small, private elementary school with about 40-some people in my 8th-grade class. In high school, I graduated with a class of 70-some people. I wasn't popular and was pretty much mocked because I didn't know who all these popular bands or actors or TV shows were about. I didn't know certain slang terms and didn't even know what popular clothing items were, etc. My schools had a strict uniform and when I was not in school, my parents put me in a uniform of sorts too: jeans skirts and shapeless t-shirts with sneakers was as "dressed down" as I could get and anything that couldn't be done in a skirt wasn't allowed to be done. I was not allowed makeup, nor was I allowed nail polish or hair-coloring or jewelry other than a watch or a belt. No accessories, all solid-colors. I was not allowed to watch any TV (we had one in the house), I was always given a bedtime of 9:00 and a mandatory wake-up time of 5:00. I was not allowed a cell phone and if I wanted to hang out with the few friends I had, my parents would drop me off and pick me up and make sure the parents were home. Even then, they made it clear that if there was any popular music or TV/movie watching then they would come pick me up. Some parents ignored this so that is how I gleaned some information, but very little. My friends dubbed me "the good girL" and basically they were really close but I was always off to the side, they would make comments like "inside joke, you wouldn't get it" and I just felt out of place. I was told that they really didn't invite me to hang out much because I embarrassed them by being clueless or else they felt they had to babysit me.

I went away to college, which I had been VERY excited about, but almost immediately mom and dad took over. They wanted to be there when I registered for classes and were FURIOUS when my classes all started at noon and demanded that I make them earlier in the day. When I refused, they threatened to pull me out. They came up to visit every other weekend and refused to let me work-study outside of an office job. No paying job was ever allowed even growing up because they had me volunteer at our church. Oh, I was never allowed on the Internet unless it was school-related and definitely NO social networking. All my "networking" for future careers were to come from their church.

When they weren't visiting, they had relatives and people from church come up to "surprise" me with a visit (they had my schedule for work study and classes and pretty much told me that I was not to be in the dorms at all unless I was sleeping or storing my stuff. otherwise, I was to be in the library or computer lab). They found out that I was in a gay-straight student alliance and that I had a cell phone, so they threatened to pull me out of college. They found out about a write-up my roommate and I got because of alcohol in the dorms. (Someone from my high school opened her mouth and I didn't even WANT alcohol in the dorms at all but when I told on my roommate, I was the one who got in trouble because she stored it in my stuff. To punish me) Roommate also used my stuff even though she had her own and locked her own up. I had leftover food in the mini-fridge and she would pull it out or throw it away and once used my salad as an ashtray!

My parents filed a complaint (I didn't know how) and got me my own dorm. My suitemate was all right and didn't bother me. I did really well both first and second semester, but since they wanted a list of my classes, they said absolutely NO to me taking psychology and they wanted me to request a print-out every time I got on a computer with each site I visited. They put me on a strict schedule of when I was studying/researching for certain classes and kept saying that since a lot of them can be done online, I could just move home and go to school that way because I was "getting too wild". They made sure that I didn't miss church (they visited Sundays, remember) and they introduced themselves to the pastor and youth group people and told them to call if they didn't see me.

So I never got to enjoy college! Well, I did get a job outside of that and I did hang out with some people who partied because I was curious. And I ended up having sex even though I really didn't like it and I was so scared I was shaking and crying the first few times. Well, I got pregnant. So I didn't want to tell anyone because my parents would move me back home. I wanted to just move into a shelter or something, but I wasn't going to lie and they wouldn't take you if you have a loving family. I do, but they shame me all the time and baby me all the time. I didn't know I could get birth control at college campus b/c I was on my parents' insurance and they would have found out. I didn't know I could get it for free somewhere because they NEVER TOLD ME anything about accessing birth control and my private school preached nothing but abstinence.

So I ended up back home anyway and they demanded the father's name. I said I didn't know, but I'm a bad liar and they were dead-set on making sure he knew so that he could pay child support and give permission for adoption. I WANTED to put my child up for adoption, but my parents and the guy said NO. My parents can't really force me, but they said they're glad I got pregnant because it would force me to grow up and act responsible. I'm in college now, online, and I'm not allowed to work because I have a child to take care of. I can't really consider my parents abusive, because they are a huge help, but I'm miserable!

I live in the top of their duplex, which is cheaper than anything you'd get on welfare and I'm not on welfare because my parents won't have that for their daughter. Besides, they never let me get a license and I don't have friends who will help me to get one. The only people I am able to associate with agree with my parents! My HS friends won't babysit or come over often because they're "enjoying their life" and when they do come over, my child is such a brat that he makes it impossible for me to have any conversation with anyone. He got kicked out of two daycare for biting and screaming top-volume. NO ONE will babysit for him and if I want to go somewhere, my parents will either go with us and shop FOR me or else they'll just say "too bad, you chose to get pregnant".

I've tried inviting people over after my child is in bed, but my parents either come up and a) kick them out or make so much noise my kid wakes up and then they say, "Oh, did mommy's friend wake you up? Would you feel better if her friend left so you can go back to sleep?" or b) decide to "stick around" until my friend leaves, which they do almost right after that. They keep telling me that they're the landlords and can come up whenever they want and that I have no business having people over after my child is supposed to be asleep.

This is driving me crazy! I can barely pass my classes due to being interrupted all the time and it's taken me forever to type this out because I'm in the library with my kid, who of course, is being loud on purpose so I won't be able to be on the computer. I'm constantly being kicked out of restaurants and libraries and things I want to do because my child screams at top-volume on purpose.

Oh, and the father of my child isn't working, so he's having his parents pay minimal child support and they (his parents and mine) agree that while he comes down to see his child, that I should be there so I don't "just run off" and stick him with the baby. They want him to be able to "live his life" and "put this behind him".

Why is everyone punishing me all the time?

View related questions: cheap, liar, roommate, the internet, trapped

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A female reader, LittleRedd United States +, writes (1 August 2015):

LittleRedd agony auntI agree that there's some exaggerating in your post and to be honest, it's pretty hard to believe. But not entirely. While I realize a lot of this is based on religion, I also realize why parents DO raise their children in such a strict environment: they want to protect you!

They had you dress conservatively as they did because they didn't want you to draw attention to yourself in a way that would make you objectified. They didn't want you to end up in the situation you ended up in. In a way, it's sort of their fault by not letting you know anything about birthcontrol, sex, or "worldly" music etc., they prevented you from knowing how to look for warning signs that you were getting into dangerous situations. Your new "friends" sensed your naivety and took full advantage, just as some people are now.

However, you have some responsibility too. You had your chance to "prove yourself" responsible by continuing to live the way they raised you to and you chose not to do that. I'm confused about the write-up between you and your roommate because I can't tell who told on you: the person from your high school or you.

Either way, next time you end up in a situation where you can get in trouble for being there, speak up!

Tell them, "I am not comfortable with ___ because I don't want to get in trouble. You need to get rid of ____ or else I WILL tell on you." If you can, LEAVE. That's where I disagree on not letting you have a cell phone, sometimes emergencies happen and you need to have an "out". Your parents' only solution seems to be, "Don't get in that situation."

Well, you're in it. And yes, you DO (in most states) need to inform the father of the child and get his agreement to put the child up for adoption.

Or, you can give him full-custody. Sounds like everyone wants YOU to have full-custody, but you can still seek free legal advice (it's called a consultation) and tell them that you're not ready for a child. No one can legally force either one of you into full-custody.

As for your child being a brat, it seems like your child is about 2 or so?

ALL kids are brats at that age. It's the age where they're asserting their independence and they're trying to set boundaries (since you are setting boundaries on him or her).

They imitate what they see and hear.

Also, ALL young kids want all of their parents' attention all of the time, ESPECIALLY if the parent is talking to a friend or using a computer or otherwise ignoring them. Shoot, my kids would be well-behaved until I stopped to chat with a neighbor or friend. Then all bets were off. I'm sure you're starved for adult-adult conversations and maybe want some advice and it makes sense to wait until the child is in bed. But can't you use the phone? Having a guest over IS a distraction for the child.

And while I wouldn't have agreed with your parents some years ago, I DO agree with male friends. To a degree. Your dad is just "sticking around" because he doesn't like the idea of males over at your house. He's maybe afraid you'll have sex again and doesn't want you in that position. It sounds like you really have no interest in sex, just companionship. But I have to give you a head's up: when a woman already has children and she's single, many men just assume, "She's easy." It's sad and unfair, but it's true.

Your child probably senses the resentment you have toward him or her just for being born, for "stealing" your youth. Still, you can ask for a free legal consultation not only on the child-custody issue, but they can probably point you in the right direction when it comes to getting on welfare and getting your OWN place. I'm sure you've got a few dollars to ride the bus to the welfare department if you can get to the library. And while it's not ideal, I'm sure you can put the child in a stroller and WALK to close-by places to apply for work. It's going to be hard to find a sitter, I know, so maybe it's best to just stay in school. If you're going there online, can't you go to the local college and transfer there?

All I can do is give you suggestions, but I guess the bottom line is that your parents are ALWAYS going to "punish" you and treat you like a child as long as you're not living the way they raised you to. And you're never going to get that support or respect from your church. There's no legal way they can stop you from church-shopping at a more low-key church and you can get there because as you know, many churches have bus ministries and childcare anyway

Best of luck to you!

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A male reader, WiseOwlE United States + , writes (1 August 2015):

You sound like the child of a typical evangelistic holier-than-thou religious fanatic family. Their almost cultist, brainwashing-behavior, is what they've themselves have undergone. They've basically made you prisoner to it.

You haven't told us what your religious-affiliation is; I can almost guess without saying.

How are you able to write this extremely lengthy post, if they monitor your computer use and every move?

Unless you're locked away in the basement; you can seek help through organizations that help people who are abused or held against their will. Your parents are only as strong as you have allowed them to be. You are an extremely passive person, and they may be the reason for that. You simply don't have a particle of rebellious assertiveness in you. However; unless you get the spirit and determination to break-free, you're willingly submitting to their authority and control. It takes guts to change and to live free in the world. You submit but blame your parents for not having the courage to live your own life. No one can totally blame them for that. You're now an adult, and your passiveness is somewhat childish. If you hear it all the time, fight back and prove people wrong.

You have to have courage, or you will not survive the world on your own. You cannot properly care for a child; if you yourself live in conditions similar to jail, or a Nazi prison camp.

I sense a great deal of depression and exaggeration in your post. If you can walk out your front door, you can keep walking unless your parents have a leash or a ball and chain around your ankle. Unless you find yourself help from an organization, or just take matters into your own hands; what kind of advice can we offer you that will help? No matter what we suggest, it takes your proactive steps to help yourself. You are totally submissive and you may need your parents, be that the case.

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A female reader, anonymous, writes (31 July 2015):

You've been emotionally abused for most of your life it seems. They've controlled you and manipulated you to the point where you are incapable of doing anything for yourself.

You need to use that number for the refuge, whilst your parents are in your life you are going to have no life. Your story really is sad, it's heartbreaking to hear how no one has listened to you. If you wanted to allow someone to adopt the baby that decision was YOURS and yours alone. Your parents are clearly unhealthy and not right, the way you are treated is horrendous.

It will be frightening to leave your family, but I really cannot see another way out of this. If you go to a refuge contact will have to stop, if they find you they'll just do this all over again. You'll miss them, but you've got to know that what they'be done to you is not how parents should be. They have serious issues themselves and it's ruining your chances in life.

Have you ever tried standing up to them? You're not a child, and you either flee from them or challenge them. You could tell them they you are getting your own place and that the way they treat you is abnormal. Beyond abnormal actually it really is abuse. And the father of your child actually could take custody of the child if you are not coping - if that was an option you'd like to consider. He should also be sharing custody at the least, even if his parents help. He made that child with you, therefore 50/50 responsibility lies with him to raise his child.

I wish you the best of luck, you may need to take time planning what you will do. I wouldn't advise writing anything down that they could find - you just need to make a plan and get out of there once the opportunity arises.

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A female reader, Tisha-1 United States + , writes (31 July 2015):

Tisha-1 agony auntYour parents are abusive, actually.

You don't sound ready to be a parent to a child yet either.

The question should be, "how do I get out as soon as possible and learn to live in the real world?"

I don't know where you live but your situation does sound like you could be helped by a women's shelter.

Get a referral here: http://www.thehotline.org

You can also call here: 1-800-799-7233 from any phone.

The website has a chat feature as well.

If you don't like your situation, you will have to take steps to change it, and it may involve some upheaval and being separated from your parents for a while.

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