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Who is being unreasonable? Me or my parents?

57 replies

IShouldBeAllowedRight · 02/08/2015 02:27

I'm 18, nearly 19. Today, there was a party for a distant family member who I don't have any sort of relationship with. I only interact with the family member when they come for dinner once every six months. I decided not to go as I wouldn't know anyone at the party (I find it really hard to talk/interact/have fun with people I don't know well. I'm working on it though.) and would have had a terrible time. My parents (particularly my dad, it's his side of the family) were not happy.
Because I refused to go to this party, I will not be allowed to go to a friend's party tomorrow (well today, Sunday). My parents are pretty relaxed when it comes to letting me socialise with friends a I'm responsible but I really don't think it should come with the condition that I have to attend parties where I will be physically on edge because of my troubles socialising. Even if I didn't have this problem though, surely it should be my decision?
I'm pretty annoyed. I go to church every Sunday (despite being an atheist) at their insistence. That issue is really non negotiable though, as I've been trying to make them understand that forcing me to go is not beneficial for anyone (well, their reputations maybe). I feel like giving up every Sunday (I'm usually at church from 11 to 3:30 as they go in early for choir practise and the service itself is long) should be enough? Surely I should decide how I spend my time? I went to another party I didn't want to go to (on my mum's side of the family) two weeks ago. My mum wouldn't let me refuse. (she did end up rewarding me for my attendance)
I'm going to have this discussion with them again tomorrow and try to convince them to let me go regardless of the responses I get but I really want to know whether I am in the wrong here?

OP posts:

IShouldBeAllowedRight · 02/08/2015 02:35

I just realised that it should be 'My parents or I' right? because 'I am being unreasonable' makes sense whereas 'Me is being unreasonable' doesn't?

Anyway, I just wanted to add that this is the last time I'll see all of friends before I go on holiday (to my home country) with my family. After that, everyone leaves for uni.

OP posts:

steff13 · 02/08/2015 02:43

How might they stop you from going to the friend's party?


LadyCuntingtonThe3rd · 02/08/2015 02:44

And I thought that 18 is adult and can make their own choices. Silly me.


Oswin · 02/08/2015 02:47

Bloody hell your an adult. They have no right to be telling you to do anything! Go to your friends party. How will they stop you?
And op, if you don't wanna go to church then stop going. You are an adult they can't control you any more.


IShouldBeAllowedRight · 02/08/2015 02:47

They'll just tell me I can't go. I know I'm 18 so technically an adult but I live in their house and am dependent on them. I was considering just going but the fall out afterwards would not be pleasant. It may get physical or end up with me not being allowed into the house. I really don't know as I've never done something like that before.

OP posts:

2Retts · 02/08/2015 02:52

Hey OP, when you say church do you mean Christian church? I appreciate that may seem irrelevant but I kinda get the folk that spend that sort of time on a Sunday there and it may sway my response...

I have a DD your age and I feel your pain to be can they stop you from attending this party?

Do not misunderstand me, I totally appreciate that you love and respect your parents enough to abide by their wishes and respect their choices (highly commendable), but perhaps you ought to be pointing out to them that you are an adult and you do love and respect them enough to attend church for their sakes alone. Perhaps you ought to be reminding them that you are socially anxious in certain situations and still attempt to abide by their requests. Perhaps you ought to ask them how they intend to prevent you from attending this event with your friends...sorry that's just the teen rebel in me (disclaimer: it has been a very long time since I was actually a teen).

Seriously OP, I truly hope that you can get some amicable resolution for you and your parents without damaging a relationship you have obviously been keen to preserve.


cocobean2805 · 02/08/2015 02:54

You are an adult, you are entitled to make choices. If you are working, save up and learn to drive. If you are as student, get a job, save up and learn to drive. I understand over bearing parents, but you are old enough to make things happen for yourself.

As for the church issue, refuse to go. You are an adult, you have made a conscious and learned decision to be an atheist. And I say that as a Christian who had a vicar parent! You are not at their behest to go, as difficult as it may seem, woman up.

Rewarding you for your attendance at a party? At the risk of repeating myself, you are an adult. You don't need a good behaviour chart!! I'm trying to be as gentle as possible.


2Retts · 02/08/2015 02:55

Took so long to type that, xposted with everyone.

I'm guessing it's your dad you're afraid of. Can you get your mum to cover for you with the prior reasonable conversation?


HirplesWithHaggis · 02/08/2015 02:58

Warning; I am an aged grump with grandchildren. Grin

Are you really saying that at a family gathering you wouldn't know anyone else? Because I call "bullshit" on that notion. That there might not be anyone else you'd like to socialise with is a different story; sometimes we have to suck it up, even as adults.

However, I'm not unsympathetic, I found it very difficult to make family-friendly smalltalk at your age. (And your title is gramatically correct)

It does seem a bit much that, as an adult, your parents are still making you go to church every week, and you could certainly refuse to comply there.

Will you also soon be leaving for uni?


dontevenblink · 02/08/2015 03:01

Physical how? Are they normally physical with you? Do you feel like you could sit down and have a discussion with them, maybe explain to them how you feel?

You say your friends are off to university, will you be going to? I was desperate to leave home when I was your age, for various reasons, and it really gave me the independence I needed, so maybe that could help with your situation.


IShouldBeAllowedRight · 02/08/2015 03:05

Yeah I understand! I too find it ridiculous that I'm in this situation at 18 but that's because I grew up here and have 'western' values and ideals. In my parents' culture, as long as I'm living with them i have to abide by their rules. They (well my mum. I don't think my dad is keen on my socialising) actually 'let me' do a lot compared to my friends' parents. But with this, my dad was really annoyed, and my mum (who usually has my back) seems to have agreed with him that I won't be going. :/

Those were some good points 2Retts. I'll definitely be bringing them up later on today.

It is a Christian church. I know that I don't 'have' to go in theory but like I said, I'm dependent on them and I'm sure they could make my life a little harder if I refused.

OP posts:

highkickindandy · 02/08/2015 03:11

oh dear, I agree you're 18, you're an adult, you make your own choices.........but, if you're living in your parents' home and financially dependent on them, I guess they feel they have a say. So, I suppose the party is not the main issue, the main issue is working on becoming financially independent and thinking about when it's time to move out, and how you will achieve that?

Your friends are going away to uni - are you, or will you stay at home and go to uni, or will you get a job? If you are carrying on in education, how is that being financed? You don't have to answer all those questions here if you don't want to, but the answers to them give some idea of how independent you can be realistically.

I left home for uni at 18 and by and large did my own thing. My eldest is about to start uni locally and at least at first will stay at home - I kind of feel, yes they're adults now, but equally, my house my rules and if they don't like the rules they have the option to get a job in order to pay residence fees or rent elsewhere. I would add that my rules are not on a par with those you are being obliged to follow though.


IShouldBeAllowedRight · 02/08/2015 03:14

HirplesWithHaggis: it was a party for my dad's distant cousin's child so it would have been all of their family and friends (who I don't know).

dontevenblink: Well they always used physical punishment. I don't remember when the last time was though? I was maybe 15? I tried discussing how I felt BEFORE the party. After refusing to go, they don't even want to discuss it.

And I'm not really sure what I want to study so I was considering a gap year. The church issue is a big con though.

OP posts:

2Retts · 02/08/2015 03:17

I really feel for you OP. I'm figuring from your posts that you are of African descent (perhaps totally off but sensing certain themes).

Listen, I understand that your mother totally has your back on most occasions but if he has put his foot down on this one, she kind of has to back him first. Please understand that this is not necessarily disloyalty to you but a stronger sense of loyalty to her husband under her faith.

It's going to take some major negotiating on your part to find the common ground but you come across as a highly intelligent young lady and I'm sure you can do this.

Please tell me that you are going to uni too!


2Retts · 02/08/2015 03:26

Have you thought about starting uni doing something that totally interests you with a view to changing if it doesn't necessarily suit in the first instance?

I seriously think you'd be far better off out of there and if your parents dont earn loads, you can get your first year of halls paid for (this is going to change in the coming year which is why I am suggesting this).

You seriously need to start finding and planning an exit route from this situation to find your true fulfilment IShouldBeAllowedRight.


highkickindandy · 02/08/2015 03:40

I agree with 2Retts, my earlier post tried to give a parent's view of adjusting to coping with a child who's now an adult but still living at home, but your home situation sounds very difficult. I am so sorry you are dealing with this.

Do you have supportive friends? I know people who have temporarily taken in their teenage kids' friends when they've been having difficulties at home, is that a possibility? Are other family members sympathetic? Do you have any money of your own? Again, no need to answer here if you prefer not to, but maybe the questions will help clarify your thinking about your options.


dontevenblink · 02/08/2015 03:49

I would seriously recommend either taking a gap year working or volunteering abroad if you can, or if not going to university this year like 2retts said. Choose something you like the sound of, you can always change if you don't like it. My sister couldn't decide what to study and ended up going through clearing at the last minute and really enjoyed what she chose. I really think you need to leave home and gain that independence you obviously want and need.

With regards to the physical punishments, you're not 15 any more, if they threaten this walk out and go to a friend's house. My parents used to hit us and I distinctly remember the day my mum went to hit me and I stood my ground and told her if she did that I would hit her back. She never did it again. Take control of your life, speak to your parents if you can, if not get some distance between you and hopefully you can have a good relationship then. I have a good relationship with my mum now, but that wouldn't have happened had I stayed at home.


2Retts · 02/08/2015 03:57

Oh that's a great idea highkickindandy...we often take in my DCs strays and it often works out very well.

Is there anybody you could take a 'time out' with that your parents would approve of IShould (acknowledging your desire to preserve the relationship).

PS you sound lovely highkickindandy


2Retts · 02/08/2015 04:01

OMG dontevenblink, I can actually identify...great advice!


AcrossthePond55 · 02/08/2015 04:07

On one hand you are an adult, on the other you are living with and supported by your parents. Something's got to give.

I suggest you start to work towards independence. If you want to study further, do so. If not, get a job.

If your parents lay a hand on you, call the police. It's assault, plain and simple.


Reginamangina · 02/08/2015 04:15

At 40 aside from the religious element I find this very familiar. Growing up it was expected one would attend family parties which to me felt like punishment. I've since found out I'm autistic but despite how bad parties make me feel I'm still guilt tripped into sucking it up to make the family happy. It's never as easy as just leaving especially when you rely on family for support. I despise family parties but having been raised to please my mother, with pressure from everyone else echoing how ungrateful I am if I don't go, I give in. I wish it was as easy as just leaving and refusing but those who say so obviously have families where it would be much easier to do so or who'd forgive such "disrespectful" behaviour. I'm sorry I'm not much help. In the end if you think they'd forgive you quite quickly for not attending then don't but you know them better than anyone else does. The ideas about planning your future are good. You need to get away for a while to experience life outside your family. It's those times I've felt truly happy.


MrsDutchie · 02/08/2015 05:44

I'm 28 now and I had a similar situation to you when I was 18 on the religion-front. My parents were very strict (although they have lightened up since then) and the only way I could live my life how I wanted was to work extremely hard at my Alevels and move to London to study and live independently. I had so much fun and so much learning, found my own path, career and freedom to do what fulfills me, and I appreciate it a lot more coming from the background I did, and know that my parents were doing the best with what they believed. I think about my dd now who is 7mo and it makes me reflect on how to be a parent to her.

Confrontation rarely works in this scenario. A frank discussion might but my advice is not to go to the Sunday party without their agreement as it will cause atmospheric difficulty at home (speaking from experience) and there is an extent to which you will have to suck it up with the family party and compromise. This was my approach all the whilst hatching my escape plan :grin:


ObsidianBlackbirdMcNight · 02/08/2015 05:54

I did a community service volunteer placement in my gap year. I hadn't planned to take one but it was a last minute necessity and I couldn't face living at home all year! (Though my parents were not controlling as yours are)
I had a short placement of 3 months as I applied late and only got placed in April but I think you can do 6 month ones or maybe longer, and it fits well with Christian ideals so they are more likely to let you go.


LadyPlumpington · 02/08/2015 06:33

I do have some sympathy for your situation op, but I suggest that you go to the wretched party and count down the days until you can leave home (for uni/a job/whatever). That's what I did - it made for an easier life as my parents couldn't fixate on me not going. Yes those few hours were crap, but it was only a few hours and meant that no-one could accuse me of being 'difficult'.

It's not much fun living like this, is it.


RedDaisyRed · 02/08/2015 07:35

We all know the feeling. Dull relatives with nothing to say and a total waste of time. I think it depends on how often you have to endure this. Once or twice a year is reasonable for the sake of the family. We all tolerate things we don't like.

The long church sounds like a very religious group not your average 45 minutes at the C of E or RC church.

I went away to university at 17. When I got my A level results (which were good) people said stay at home a year and apply for Oxbridge but I was just so keen to get away and I never regrettted it. I would get a job away or apply to university if you can.

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