iVillage Member
Registered: 10-09-2003
Fri, 10-10-2003 - 10:19am
Hi, I'm Ashley and I'm 17. Things at home are going down hill fast!! Now since you are all parents of teens I though maybe you could give me some advice. I love my mom very much but shes just not doing her job!! She dosent work much, she a house keeper under the table, and her live in boyfriend and her scream at each other constantly, shes also doing things that I dont aprove of!! As of recently our gas and electric has been shut off because she just cant make ends meet. This angers me alot because I work very hard at school , and I also work a full time job. My boyfriend of two years Chad is really the only thing that has kept my head afloat through these hard times at home. Its come to the point that I will work double shifts at work so I dont have to be at home. The thing is, I want to leave my house and get an appt. with my boyfriend. I know that rent and bills would be payed easy (Chad and I both work 35 to 40 hours a week) and my father has even given Chad and I his blessing to move out together. Despite all the things going on at home I really do love my mom very much and I dont want to burn bridges by leaving. Many people I have talked to about this issue have told me to not care what she thinks and leave to make better for myself. I just dont know what to do! Should I stay or leave, and how do I leave home without burning bridges!!???

Thank you so much for your time !

Ashley Rene

Edited 10/10/2003 10:38:13 AM ET by ashley_152


iVillage Member
Registered: 10-07-2003
Fri, 10-10-2003 - 11:07am
Thanks, Ashley, for your reply to my post about a change in my daughter's behavior. I really, really appreciate getting some insight from a teen who thinks so clearly! You sound very conscientious and mature and not one to rush into decisions, and those are great traits to have.

Unfortunately, I don't know if there are legal ramifications to your leaving (usually the age is 18 when you're considered an adult and can make your own choices), so I'll defer this to wiser posters here. I just know as a mom, whether I was messing up or not, I'd want my daughter to sit down and talk with me about what she is thinking and why. I think this is worth a try with your mom, hopefully it can be done without a lot of arguing. Maybe a lunch out together, to get away from the house and the stresses there, where you can sit and talk would be good. At the very least, talk to her at a time when it's just the two of you and no one around to interfere in your conversation....that is, if you feel you can talk with her. Tell her what you told us, that you love her very much and don't want to leave on a bad note (if that's what you decide to do). I think it is possible to be honest without being rude or hurtful, and I think you know how to do this.

I'm curious, are you still in high school? Let us know how things go and what you decide...and remember, sometimes decisions take a long time to make because you want to feel comfortable with them and feel you've looked at it from all angles, so don't rush yourself or let anyone pressure you.

iVillage Member
Registered: 03-26-2003
Sat, 10-11-2003 - 1:58am
Ashley, when I was 17, I did move out because my mom was doing stuff I didn't approve of. Well, that I totally didn't feel I could live with anymore. She was an alcoholic and I didn't even realize that was the problem. I just knew for sure - THEN - that it was me that was the problem. I felt bad for her because my siblings were all 8 - 12 yrs younger than me; she was stuck at home all the time; my dad worked till midnight nearly every night. Our gas and electricity never got cut off ... but there were times when she left in a rage, drunk, and took off in the car leaving me to deal with the little ones, worrying the whole time if she was coming back or not. Or greeted me with wild accusations of things she said I was doing that I wasn't. Or woke me screaming at my dad in a drunken rage. The list is very long. I did move out - alone, not with my boyfriend. I came home from work one day and just announced it, called a taxi, my friend arrived and helped me carry stuff down the steps to the waiting cab and I left. I felt terrible because my mom slammed away from the dinner table and locked herself in the bathroom screaming I would never be allowed home again if I left. I did leave, and I did return home again. A week after I moved out, she was waiting for me on the steps of my new place with a week's worth of groceries ... her way of apologizing as she could never say the words. I didn't move home until the end of the summer though, and only then so I could finish highschool. Also, I loved my mother and she did feel bad. She didn't stop drinking though, for another two years after that - and at the end of gr 12, when I was 18, I moved out again. And when I was 19. She quit drinking when I was 19.5. And each time, I moved back home for a few months until I moved out permanently when I was 20. When I was 20, my dad asked me, concerned, if it was still because of mom, as she had quit and the difference was like night and day, things were so much better. I said no, not at all; it was just time for me to live on my own and that time my parents accepted it; it was done 'right' - my mom had fun helping me pick out odds and ends for my new place and helping me to move into it. The one thing I do wish is that I wouldn't have had to hurt her.

This is way more complex with many more details than I'm writing here right now. I felt like I had no choice but to move out for my own emotional well being. So let me ask you some questions now.

Looking back, - given the same circumstances - I honestly don't know any other way I could have done things. I *could* have sat down and talked to them, but an alcoholic is not in a rational frame of life and the result would have been the same. I COULD have talked to my dad - but he wasn't who had an issue with what I was doing and my mom still would have reacted as she did, because under the problems, she felt awful about her role in this as well. Just as I am certain your mom feels. And when I moved out, I had no thought in my mind at all that I was trying to make my mom see what she needed to change. At the time, i ddin't even KNOW what she needed to change. As I didn't fully understand the problem in the first place, I just *felt* at times it was connected to me but what I really GOT was that *I* needed to move or I was going to lose it.

Think about your reasons for wanting to move out realistically. Your bf - even though you've been together for a long time - may not always be there. You need to stop and think just how difficult it would be to go through a breakup, EVEN IF right *NOW* you can't conceive of EVER breaking up. It CAN happen. Do you want to be in a situation that is as like divorce as you can get without actually being married? Are you ready for the committment that goes with living with a person or are you thinking of this route as a way of escape? If what you are seeking is freedom from your mother's choices of boyfriend and lack of willingness to work then what you are seeking is *independence*. NOT an interdependent relationship with your boyfriend. It is possible to find a small bachelor suite or basement suite (I lived in 3 basement suites, fully furnished; a furnished room where I shared kitchen & bathroom with two other people renting rooms there and finally my own full apartments, and a bachelor suite during the 8 years I lived alone till I got married, and loved every single one of my places because they were *mine*) and you would have the means, working that many hours, to pay for yourself. If you do choose to move out, I would maybe write a letter to your mom, telling her you love her, that you want to spend time with her, that you would ask that the time be spent just the two of you as your relationship with *her* matters to you, but that you do not want to spend time with her and her boyfriend as its hurts you to see her hurting in a very difficult relationship. I'd tell her the things you find good about her. I'd tell her that you have decided this is the best step for you to take for her sake and your own as you don't feel it's your place to tell her how to live her life and that you respect her right to make her choices, just as you're asking her to respect your right to make yours. Stay away from finger pointing, accusing, judging, complaining.

I'm not saying, yes, this is the best solution. I would not move out with my boyfriend then and that's one thing I don't regret at all. There is something very empowering and freeing about being responsible for yourself, and having that opportunity before you do marry one day. I'm a firm believer in the need to learn how to care for yourself before you can care for someone else; to learn how to take care of your responsiblities before you try to blend responsibilities; to learn that you are ABLE to do just these. Your mom is in a relationship that is obviously not something that gives her nurturing and empowerment and joy ... yet she's still there. You think you will never be like that, but how can you be so sure? If all you ever know is living with others and sharing the financial burden of life with someone else, how do you know? My marriage ended up ending, but not once have I feared living alone. Yet I have several friends whose marriages have ended and they stayed in them far too long because they were afraid to be alone or handle financial responsiblities alone - and they either went from their parent's home to a marriage or moved out and lived with boyfriends before marriage. Every one of them.

So just think long and hard about what you TRULY want out of the possibliity of living away from home ... then handle your mother with the same care and love you would want her to handle you with, being careful not to cross the lines and become a role reversal thing with you telling her all of what she has done wrong. That way you won't burn bridges. I didn't burn any bridges even when I didn't handle it right - but even in my circumstances, it would not have crossed my mind to be disrespectful or come across as knowing better than she did - even if I did. It wasn't my place. And it isn't yours either ... and your comment that you disapprove of some thing she's doing kind of has that meaning to it, advertent or inadvertently, altho I understand what you meant.

The other option would be to sit down and seriously talk to your mom about the circumstances at home. If it were just you and your mom, suggesting that you could perhaps help contribute financially might be an option, but I'm guessing you aren't willing since her bf lives there as well. Contributing gives you more of a voice but I think that would complicate this situation in other ways. Then your mom would be caught between you and her bf over her own working status.

It's ok and wise and important to judge the quality of your own life. It's not ok to judge others' lives by making them feel you think you know what they need better than they do, even if you DO know ... your greatest effect will come from showing your mom that it IS possible to live alone and be self sufficient; to work and be responsible and happy through doing it ... through calling her, keeping in touch, spending time with her, finding good things to say to her that are based in truth and taking a stand for your *own* life in the process.

Good luck to you. You have a lot to think about. HUGS.

iVillage Member
Registered: 10-09-2003
Sat, 10-11-2003 - 9:39am
thank you so much for all your in-put!! i do plan on sitting down with her soon so that we can talk about me leaving. As far as accusing her of being a bad mother that is something that i just could never do to her, even though at times she hasnet made the greatest desicions. I have always tried to give her the respect that she deserves being my mother, sometimes it is harder to do (like when the electic and heat is out) becuase im very flustered with the situation she has put our family in. As far as helping with paying the bills in the house, my mom will not even let me get the mail anymore because i want to give her money for the bills, or ill get worried that they wont get payed. I just flusters me that she wont get a real job, but i cant make her do anything, even thought ill tell her job opeings come up that ive herd about shes never once looked into it. lol and i cant even to begin telling you about mine and chads relationship its much too complicated , (in a nutshell *very dependent upon eachother for emotional support* * when it comes to money * whats mine is mine whats yours is yours what we buy together is ours* ) i know that i could pay for my own place but signing a lease is a bit hard when your 17 lol and i really wouldnt mind living with him just beacuse it really wouldent be any different as it is now , were always together ( we work together also). Let me say i appreciate all of your help, thank you so much for your in-put it really makes a difference!!

(((HUGS)))) Ashley Rene

iVillage Member
Registered: 10-16-1999
Sat, 10-11-2003 - 9:59am
Ashley, I'm very impressed, you sound like a very thoughtful, mature young lady. I understand the difficulties you would have on your own where you're just 17. Would your dad co-sign leases, contracts (for utilities) and such with you, with the understanding that once you're 18 they all revert to solely your name? I guess I'm a bit uncomfortable with the idea of you moving in with Chad right away, for many of the reasons that kkiana mentioned. Learn to live independently for awhile, and in the long run you'll be a stronger, wiser woman in the relationship you and Chad eventually have. Also, since you guys also work together, it's very difficult to keep home at home and work at work when you live with someone you also work with. Say once you live together, you discover he has some wierd habit that makes you crazy (my DH leaves his dirty socks on the living room floor, and has for the last 20 yrs! YUCK! LOL). When you get irritated with him at home because of the "dirty socks" will you be able to keep an effective working relationship at work? Or if you do something he doesn't like at work, would the two of you be able to leave that at work? Or would it end up piling on top of all the little crazy things that make couples nuts at home? Couples that are decades older and more experienced than the two of you have trouble keeping the two lives separate, I suspect it could even be more difficult for the two of you.

Also, what happens if the two of you break up? We've been living through the fallout of a breakup at our house for the past 2 months, when our 19 y/o DS's g/f broke up with him after 16 months together (and almost a year as friends before that)...and it's not pretty! His only salvation in life has been going to work where he could forget it for a little bit. Yes, you'd still have to work together if you broke up when you didn't live together, but my experience has been that the breakups that come after living together are a whole lot nastier than when not living together. (and no, DS and g/f weren't living together, but they were *so* interdependent on each other that they pretty much had lost all their other friends while they were going out.)

Best wishes to you, I hope all works out well. Just let your mom know you love her but you think you may have a better relationship if you lived apart for awhile. (((hugs)))
iVillage Member
Registered: 03-26-2003
Sat, 10-11-2003 - 12:54pm
Well, Ashley, I have to tell you, you sound 'familiar' to me ;-)

In one way, you remind me of me at your exact age; on the other you remind me of my 19 yo daughter, who has learned financial wisdom from others' mistakes. Except that you aren't allowing yourself to be torn apart and made indefinitely indecisive over how to handle the situation at home (which was me for a long time). You know you've tried; you have offered to help, you've encouraged your mom to get a job, and loved her in spite of her faults. I have to hand it to you; it's not easy to find that balance and to continue to respect her. And you even care enough for her that you don't want to burn any bridges or hurt her by moving out.

You've learned some tough lessons about responsibility thru the lack of on your mom's side. I just hope that if you go ahead and move in with Chad that you will not come to regret this down the road. bunnierose's last post to you spelled out difficulties that can come with combining all parts of your lives and those are very valid points. However, the one thing I see as maybe being different comes from my dd's own very long term relationship with her bf - I think, because they've basically all but grown up together (4 yrs with a 2 yr split in between) they don't seem to have the same issues with things that adults CAN have. Even with that though, I've encouraged my own dd to not consider living with her bf before they marry because every couple I've known who lived together first have ended up breaking up. One friend of mine lived with her bf for seven YEARS and they were split up 5 months after the wedding. I think it has something to do with the difference in how one views committment, honestly. When living together, the idea that one can just walk out the door and leave is always there, whether people admit it or not.

Anyway. Ashley, I just wanted to commend you on how you've tried in your own home situation. You sound like a warm and caring and giving person :-) I don't think you will burn any bridges at all. Yes, your mom is going to feel upset but under the best of circumstances, moms feel sad when their daughter leaves home. Your mom will have the additional sense of guilt but perhaps it will help her to realize that she needs to do something. If it doesn't, it's not your job to teach that to her, so if she still doesn't do what she needs for her own self, I hope you will never feel responsible for that in any way.

Good luck to you :-) HUGS.

iVillage Member
Registered: 10-09-2003
Sat, 10-11-2003 - 5:22pm
Thank you so much for your in-put. I can imagin how head it would be for your son to break up after so long with his girlfriend. I really just know what i would do to get out of my home if i didnt leave with chad though. As far as mixing our personal and work life chad and i set ground rules before we decided to work together such as.....

* no pda at work , *no discussing our relationship at work , * leave any quarals at the door when at work, strictly professional, * dont bring work issues into conversation while together out side of work ( who wants to think about work anyway when your off lol) , and such other things on the lines of that.

If we do decide to get a place together we have also made a few other ground rules

* we both have seperate bank accounts, * treat it as a roomate living with you, * half and half on all bills, and suppies for the home.

Thank you so much for your concerns i really appreciate them!! ill get back to u on what happens!!

iVillage Member
Registered: 10-09-2003
Sat, 10-11-2003 - 5:31pm
thank you so much for your insight!! i really appreciate it!!


iVillage Member
Registered: 08-07-2003
Mon, 10-13-2003 - 8:27pm
Hi Ashley.

I was looking for help about my son and his girlfriend (both 15) when I saw your posting. Since it was really mature of you to even be seeking help, I just wanted to respond.

No one can give you the right answer. Only you know yourself well enough. But at least do listen to any "older & wisers" who may offer advise. What I can tell you is that your home environment does not sound normal. That's sad.

I can understand that even tho you love your mom, the home situation isn't exactly the Brady Bunch. (u at least heard of them right!!!??) What about moving in with your dad? Would things be better there? Chad is certainly a great friend to you, but you are really still so young to make a romantic commitment. If it's more financial, is there another relative who could take you in for a bit? Have you finished High School? If not,that really needs to be a priority.

In any case, I can tell by your posting that you really are mature for your age. So stop, think, and go with your gut feeling. It may come down to calmly telling your mother that she straightens up, or you leave. Be sure of this tho....have someplace to go. And please know that there is a great world out there, full of opportunity for you. Be educated, work hard, work smart, don't call in sick, and have a dream. Most of all, value yourself enough to make your life better than the one your mother has.

Best of Luck.

iVillage Member
Registered: 10-09-2003
Mon, 10-13-2003 - 10:17pm
i dont think i could fail in life because it is one of my bigest fears. The only reason im not moving in with my dad is because he live too far away and i couldnt continue going to my vocational cosmetology school, which i have invested a pretty penny in. Thank you so much for your insight

Ashley Rene

iVillage Member
Registered: 09-12-2003
Tue, 10-14-2003 - 2:51am

At some point in your wait, At some point in my life, I decided that it was either them or me! I had to decide if I was willing to live under their miserable, hopeless conditions or strike out on my own to find something I could live with. It was scary giving up the seeming securety and comfort of a horrible life with them to go out on my own into the UNKNOWN but I finally had to choose my own peace and happiness rather than stay in their DEATH GRIP life. I can't say anything about burning bridges other than that may be the price we pay for going off to find and have our own hopefully happy life appart from the person or thing we can no longer live with.

good luck,