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  • Trapped

    I am 17 years old, with one year of High School left. I feel extremely trapped at home by my father. I am looking to get into a university or college far enough from my current home so I may live on campus, instead of living with my parents. However, due to recent losses in the family and being unable to find a medication to treat my depression and anxiety disorder, my grades have not been great... at all. Since I feel afraid that I won't get into a college that I can study what I've always wanted to (illustration) and live away from my dad, I feel like I might just be wasting my time if I wait another year through High School. The temptation of running away is strong for me. I know what I'd do, and where I'd go if I did. I love my family. And I love my dad. But he makes me feel so trapped - to the point where sometimes I feel physically threatened for my life. He has never physically hurt me (god forbid) but he has used an extremely large amount of verbal abuse to me. I can't come home anymore without being expected to get yelled at for every little thing I do. If I drop something on the floor? Screamed at. If I don't point my toes straight when I walk? Screamed at. I want to live and be able to do things without having someone looming over my shoulder all the time.
    I was explaining this to my one close friend and I had used an analogy. All the time, everyone hears teenagers say 'I feel so trapped by my parents, ugh, I just want to run away.' Parents have to set limitations, and I understand that. I'm a teenager. I do stupid things sometimes and make stupid mistakes. I told her, every dog has a crate. But there's a point where that crate gets too small. If the crate is too small, the dog gets anxious. The dog will get angry and hostile. I'm usually a passive and polite girl, but sometimes I get so riled up by my father that I want to punch him across the face. I know I would regret it if I did, so that's why I have never done it - and hopefully never will. I want to run away so I don't have to restrain myself. So I don't feel angry and scared. I know home would be a wonderful place if my dad wasn't so bad. And I know people have it worse. But the thing is, people have it better than me too. And that 'better' is normal. Those people have normal parents. My boyfriend's parents are the normal type, and they treat me like their child. I feel at home with them. I feel happy. I want to feel like that with my parents so bad - but I know I can't have it. I just want to get out. I want to be freed. I'm not sure if there's any way to help this, but it helps me just knowing there's people I can talk to here.
    Thank you.

  • #2

    Thanks so much for reaching out. You’re going through a lot, and we definitely want to be here for you, to listen and help.

    We are sorry that you’re feeling trapped, and that the relationship with your father is so tense. No one deserves to be yelled at or feel scared at home, and it’s understandable that you would want to bolt. However, at 17 you’re still considered a minor, and if you leave he could report you as a missing youth and try to have the Police bring you back.

    The best would be for him to give you permission to stay somewhere else… Do you think that’s a possibility? For example, you could ask him to allow you to stay at a relative or a friend’s house, someone whom he trusts, just for a “break” or a short time, and then you end up extending the stay. Here’s an idea: we could have a conference call with you and your father, where we mediate the conversation to keep things objective and to try to reach an agreement – and maybe even explain to him (using probably other words) that you’re feeling that “the crate is becoming too tight”… If you think this could work, please call us at any time and we would then call him on a separate number.
    But you’re in a very tough spot also because of your recent loss, your depression and anxiety disorder, the school situation… Do you have a support network that can help you get through it in the meantime? Besides your boyfriend, it’s good to have friends or other relatives that you can reach out to often, people who you trust and who respect your side of the story, and help you stay strong.

    You wrote so beautifully, and seem to have such great self-awareness despite your difficult situation. Maybe an extra ongoing support, like a counselor, could be just what you need to get through until you turn 18, and can actually live away on your own terms. We would be happy to provide referrals for that if you like the idea.

    Everyone deserves to be in a safe and supportive environment, where you can also prep for college if you wish with more peace of mind. Feel free to call us at 1-800-RUNAWAY if you’d like to talk through this situation further, or if you want to go ahead and try a conference call. Stay strong!

    Please remember you can reach us directly by calling our 24 hour hotline, 1-800-RUNAWAY (786-2929) or through our Live Chat.

    National Runaway Safeline
    [email protected] (Crisis Email)
    1-800-RUNAWAY (24 Hour Hotline)

    Tell us what you think about your experience!


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