Not 16- A Call for Help!

Gabby21's picture

Hi. My name isn't Gabby but I am 21. However, my parents insist on treating me like a sixteen year-old (and I suppose I let them). I am not rebellious. I love my parents. I appreciate everything they have done for me (and that's a lot). It's difficult for me to break away. It's kind of like our family is a living organism and each person in the family is a vital organ or vessel. All the organs and vessels are connected and twisted around each other. If one separates from the rest...the organism dies (and I imagine a horrible tortuous death). I don't want to cause this. I don't want to by the catalyst. But I feel like I'm suffocating.

I am 21. Not 16. (However, I believe a good portion of sixteen year-olds are allowed to date and to drive). Did I mention I was 21? I live at home (I do go to college). It's part of the "PLAN". Oh you don't know about the "PLAN"? Well, the "PLAN" is an imaginary document to which my father (and my mother of course) refers to regarding all life decisions however seemingly small. The "PLAN" simply is what my father thinks is "best" for the family. Everything must be done in the cheapest, most efficient way. Everyone must coordinate schedules. They must know where I am at all times. I have never been kissed. I have never had sex. Again, I remind you that I am a 21 year old college student.

Oh and I am gay (which explains why I am ranting on this website). Okay, I may very well be bisexual because I am attracted both guys and girls...but who knows because....I don't date/kiss/or have sex with anyone boy or girl! Also...the whole being gay thing throws a wrench in things. I'm not "out". (How could I be out? I'm not even technically "in"). But....argh I don't know. Madness.

My parents are not awful people. They love me and I love them. They do so much for me! They would move mountains for me! But...they still treat me like I'm sixteen.

Which I'm not.

Now, I realize I have to be the one to change this. I have to develop a backbone and make the change I want in my life. I have to fight for it. Ranting and wallowing in it won't change anything. But I need a sounding board. I need people to keep me honest. Otherwise I'm afraid I'll be sucked back into (or guilted/manipulated) to stay passive and docile within the "PLAN". That's why I'm writing. I have to get all of this embarassing stuff about how overly dependent/scared I am out and start taking strong steps forward. I don't want to graduate and still be in the same place. I can't fathom it. Will you help?



Uncertain's picture

My advice

Sounds like a very loving family. But sometimes you can't let your parents dictate what you want to do in life. I don't suppose they're trying to live through you, but simply making the best decisions they perceive for you as you said. Although too much closeness, too much love can also be a catalyst for problems when individuals become too attached. It sounds like you want to escape, but what you need to know beside this contrast of imprisonment and escape is where you want to escape to. There needs to be clarity in what you want to achieve.

But I'm not telling you to sort your life out this instant and plan your everyday until your retirement. What I mean is to have a sense of direction, and become more independent from them (financially and emotionally). It's going to be hard for you, and just as hard for them to let go - but although it sounds selfish - this is your life, not theirs. Some parents like to be in control and right, it's a complex they have. A young kid might think their parents omnipotent, but as you will know, parents are just as fragile and have their weaknesses and shortcomings just like the rest of us.

Although those are very generic advice, I think the mindset is the first step - then the actions can follow. There will be mishaps and trip ups along the way, but learning comes by taking on responsibility, not having them taken away from you.

On the more practical side of things, you might want to do a cost/benefit analysis. You might still want to live with your parents if your course is too intensive. But make it clear to them that you are not a child anymore, you get to make your own choices in life (although bounded by reasonable conditions set forth by them when living under the same roof).

P.S. Furthermore, the difference between a 16-year-old and a 21-year-old depends on your reactions too. If you're going to be complacent and a doormat about them treating you like a 16-year-old, then effectively you will be a 16-year-old. To be a 21-year-old, you have to react to your parents like one.

Hope that helps.

Gabby21's picture

Thank you!

Thank you for all of your advice! I agree with you regarding my reactions. I realize that I am a huge part of the problem. I do have to start reacting to my parents more like a 21 year old. I also think you are right about having a sense of direction. Thank you again!

lacking_direction's picture

I don't have much advice for

I don't have much advice for you since my family is the exact opposite, so I wouldn't know how to handle parents who care. I might sit down with them and say something about how you need to be able to be your own person and how this is an important stage in a person's growth and that you need some more freedom in order for this development to occur. I can definitely relate to the other topic though, sadly. PM me if you want.

Tophat's picture

Hmm, sounds like my family

Hmm, sounds like my family but less controlling.

Uncertain is right- as per the usual.

Send not to know for whom the bell tolls,

It tolls for thee.

Gabby21's picture

More Thanks!

Thank you everyone for your comments! It certainly gives me a lot to think about (plan). I am definitely feeling more positive this morning :D I will be without a computer for a few days but I will update when I can. Thanks!

Peregrine's picture

okay so you have a loveing

okay so you have a loveing family, but you are 21 right? so i say it is time to buckle down and move out. you can still go back and visit but go date, and live YOUR life not the one they are fashoning for you. my parents tried to do the same to me. so i told them i was gay. threw them for a loop.

Nemo Ante Mortem Beautus--- No man is blessed before he dies.

Gabby21's picture

Baby Steps


Thanks for the comment! I am making plans to move out however it won't be realistic to do so until Fall of 2010. (Money being the supreme issue here). I really don't think coming out fully to my parents will be helpful at this point. (I've already come out slightly...mentioned it but freaked out and retreated back to heterosexuality). When I come out I would like it to be a positive experience (as much as possible). I think coming out in order to "throw them for a loop" as you put it would be in conflict with this. Thank you for the encouragement! I will move forward but in baby steps :D

Peregrine's picture

sounds like a good

sounds like a good as it is my parents think im "gay" because i just want attention/to try and make them not love me anymore. my parental units are funny...

Nemo Ante Mortem Beautus--- No man is blessed before he dies.

Lol-taire's picture

Move out! I'm 20. I come

Move out!

I'm 20. I come from a big, tight knit family- I lived at home until last year. If I went back I might never leave. I stayed living at home a year too long, it was terrible and I suffocated and stagnated and started to go mad. I love the weekends I spend back, I love getting texts from my sisters, my mother calls me often and most of my books are still in my old bedroom. But I don't live there anymore.

You can't start a new life if you're already living your old one.

Unless you're living at home in an adult role- as a carer or an equal paying the rent/ bills, when you move out is when you start adult life. And when you start adult life you embarrass yourself a bit. It's quite embarrassing to act like an 18 year old when you're 19, worse when you're 20, awful if you're 24 and dreadful if you're 30. And if you're 40? There's just no point.

If it doesn't work out, move home- you have one. But as long as you live under your parents rules you're a child.

Gabby21's picture


"But as long as you live under your parents rules you're a child."

I definitely can relate to this statement! :D (However, my parents would argue that I will always be their child, haha). I do feel like a child when I live under my parents rules. Although this is not true. I am mentally and emotionally NOT a child. I think I would have a very difficult time functioning if this (But as long as you live under your parents rules you're a child) was my mantra. This rant posted a few days ago being an example of my frustration and negativity. Thankfully, I don't feel sixteen all the time. I know that I am not a child but merely a young adult with restrictions. Everyone's advice and my own decisions to take action and make definite plans to move out and become less dependent on my parents really helped me to shed that negative thinking. Thanks for commenting!! :D

the ghost's picture

Hi there. I am 23. I live at

Hi there. I am 23. I live at home with my parents, and I am a college student, and, up until a few months ago I was in a situation similar to yours with my parents. Except it is my mother in my family who controls the plans. But everyone seems to have their own little input too. I was in the closet for the most part really, had only ever kissed two people in my entire life, and they were guys(I'm a lesbian). Basically I was just miserable. My family seemed to forget that I had actually grown up and treated me like a child. I had an incredibly strict up-bringing, and my family didn't really let up on that despite the fact I had entered my 20's.

But in the last while something within me has just snapped to make me realise I am infact an adult. I still live at home, because right now I earn €80-100 a week. Not nearly enough to live on independently. But I have started to live my life the way I want to. I have come-out, it has not been the best recieved news for my parents, but I am happy. I have started to mix with other gay people. I go out when I want without informing anybody when I will be home or where I am going. I have basically started to make my own decisions, and it's scary, because honestly I am way behind everyone else. I now may seem like I am ranting here, but my point is, there is someone else in the world who has been in the same situation as you, and you can get out of it. You need to decide what you want for YOU and just go for it. If you ever want to chat or anything feel free to PM me.

No one can make you feel inferior without your consent-Eleanor Roosevelt

Gabby21's picture

Your Story

Thank you for sharing your story with me! I really admire your strength and bravery! I plan on following your example and making my own decisions and going after what I want. I realize it will not be an instant process. (Especially since I want to stay on good terms with my family :D). However, my mind is made up and I feel like this rant I posted earlier was me working up enough anger to make the decision to take charge. I fell like I can get out of it! I know I can actually. I will have to take baby steps but I know I can figure out a way to move out by Fall (maybe late Fall) of 2010. Hopefully early Fall though :D It depends...haha. Until then I am going to take smaller steps to gain more independence. Thanks for all your help! I'm glad that you are happy and taking charge of your life. It is inspirational! :D Thanks again!

P.S. What exactly does PM mean?

the ghost's picture

Hey, glad my response was of

Hey, glad my response was of some help to you. PM means private message. You can send private messages to other members of the site here.

No one can make you feel inferior without your consent-Eleanor Roosevelt

Gabby21's picture


Thanks! Haha..:D