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I'm Supposed to Have a Good Life

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  • I'm Supposed to Have a Good Life

    I'm supposed to have a good life. I am 16, go to a really nice private school and am well provided for financially. I feel guilty for feeling so frustrated with my situation at home and for years I have lived trying to convince myself that my situation is normal and okay.

    My parents do not get along. My father is very dominant and my mother, over the years, has become submissive to him to the point that she has no power over anything in the household. He puts her down all the time and calls her "mentally ill" and a "psycho", which is especially hurtful because he is a psychiatrist by profession and he is her boss at work. Every time I need permission I always have to get it from him, and he has the power to overrule anything and everything she says. Occasionally (around once every couple of weeks) they will fight badly, in which case there is a lot of yelling and it usually ends with him chasing her into the bathroom. Once, they were so loud that the police came. If my sister or I intervene, he threatens to send her away. They should have gotten a divorce but for whatever reason they have not. I think it is because my father is afraid of loosing custody of my little sister (aged 10) and I, and my mother is a coward and talks about the rare good moments we have as a family.

    Financially, we are supposedly well off. My parents make a combined salary that is very high but there have been many situations where, due to bad financial decisions on my father's part, we have had no money at the end of the month. This summer I received a grant for 500 dollars to do a community service project. My father was so short on cash that he ended up borrowing hundreds of dollars into that from me. The main reason for this is because he insists on keeping a second home in another state, where we always vacation for every single long break, without fail. This second home costs as much per month as my sister and I in a private school, combined, but my father always blames our educations for the lack of money. My mother does not trust my father financially, believing that he sends money to his parents who live in Europe. I don't know what to believe about that, but the result is that there is no trust between them. My mother is better at managing money and buys groceries for us, and my father always yells at her if she buys things like cereal or granola bars, because he'd rather she spend her money on things like milk and eggs so he doesn't have to. We live in a beautiful house that is falling into disrepair because there is simply no money left to repair it.

    My father is obsessed with food. His strict control over my life led me to have an eating disorder when I was a freshman in high school. I controlled my food because it was the only thing I truly felt that I could control. I am now recovered mentally and have gained almost all of the weight back. I am thin but not remarkably so for a girl my age and height and feel comfortable in my own body. However, my father wants me to gain even more weight, ten pounds more than I am now. He always forces greasy foods of huge portions on me, and forces me to eat and eat until I am sick and yells at me and tells me that I am ruining my life if I do not. My appetite is all screwed up because of this, and I do not enjoy eating anymore and I am never hungry. I have not been gaining weight for whatever reason and he always accuses me of "cheating" in some way. I think his obsession with food has been around for a long time, however. He has always insisted on pouring large amounts of olive oil onto foods and measuring out portions for all of us.

    I am not allowed to take my cell phone or laptop upstairs. I must do my homework in the dining room, with my sister, and where I can hear everything going on in the house and often times, my father yelling. I cannot do homework at home any more and my grades are suffering for it.

    The worst of it all, however, is the fact that I am not allowed to have fun with friends. My father constantly is reading my texts and then gets angry with me if he sees cussing. However, he doesn't understand that most kids my age cuss, and that the words used were not meant in a vulgar way. I am not allowed to have any contact with boys, and recently after a school dance I was the only person not allowed to go to an after party. I have never done anything wrong in my life and was not planning on drinking, as were several of my friends, but he still would not budge and yelled at me if I tried to bring the subject up or ask why he did not trust me. His best explanation was that he thought that the parents of the boy who was hosting the party were going to enable him to take advantage of girls and "score".

    I am sixteen and have never driven. He won't allow me to drive until I get my black belt in Tae Kwon Do, but the thing is that he refuses to sign me up for classes. He will not allow my friends to drive me and he and my mom are usually so busy that this means that I can seldom do anything on the weekends.

    I have started turning to alcohol to loosen up and forget my troubles. Recently I met a boy at school who is wonderful and who I'd really like to spend time with, just to hang out and get to know. I already have to lie to him about my parent(s) and why I can't drive. I am so sick and tired of putting up a happy face and lying about my life at school. Nobody knows what is going on at home and it is becoming difficult to keep it a secret. I want to run away badly. I am trapped in my own home, afraid and embarrassed about the situation. My friends all live beautiful, easy lives and I want to fit in with them so desperately.

  • #2
    RE: I'm Supposed to Have a Good Life

    Hi there,

    Thank you for contacting us here at the National Runaway Safeline. We’re really glad you reached out and we’ll try to help you out any way that we can.

    It seems like you have been really frustrated about your situation at home for a long time now and are just about fed up with it. We’re sorry that you are stuck in this unfair living situation. That has got to be really tough watching your dad treat your mom that way and be so domineering towards you and your family in general. We want you to know that you should in no way feel guilty for feeling the way you do. It is very understandable that you feel that way and your feelings are always valuable and there’s no need to feel as though you need to justify them.

    We’re sorry that you feel embarrassed about your home situation and that you’ve been keeping it all a secret. That is a lot to deal with on your own! Have you considered talking to a close friend or maybe a guidance counselor at school? We know that can be intimidating, put sometimes it feels good to talk to somebody about it and have someone to go to for the support that you deserve. You also mentioned that your dad is a psychiatrist. Have you ever thought about asking him if he knows any counselors you could talk to? That is another healthy and productive way to express your feelings and get support in a safe, nonjudgmental environment. If you do not think that is something he would approve of, in many areas there are counseling services offered for little to no cost that sometimes do not require parental permission. We could help you find one of those services in your area if you would like.

    Is must be difficult to not be allowed to spend time with your friends and not have much control over your free time in general as well. Do you think that your dad would be willing to sit down and have a conversation about how you feel about this and come up with some sort of compromise or plan for you to have free time with friends? We know this can be intimidating as well, so we would be happy to help you come up with a plan for you to talk to him. Additionally, we offer a conference call service (three-way phone call) that would provide a safe space for you to address your concerns with him. One of our operators would be on the line to help mediate so that the conversation stays kind and productive.

    If any of these options sound like they would be helpful, please do not hesitate to reach out again. We would be more than happy to help you in whatever way is best for you. You definitely do not have to deal with this alone; there are a lot of people who care about you and your wellbeing and want you to be safe. We are more than happy to look up resources for you, help you come up with a plan, or just listen if you need to talk. We can be reached via live chat at or our 24/7 hotline at 1-800-RUNAWAY(786-2929). Thanks again for reaching out, keep your head up, and we hope to hear from you soon!

    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)


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