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I'm 16, and I want to leave my family; what should I know?

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  • I'm 16, and I want to leave my family; what should I know?

    hi there. you can call me M for this.

    im 16, and i dont like my family and its roots. reason? Church.

    the church i go to has been rumored to be a cult, and my friend's aunt who is a United Church Minister says my church has qualities that are cult like (Mandatory offerings, having to ask permission to leave for vacations for more than 3 weeks time etc)
    surely i would just tell my parents that I don't want to go to church anymore, but that would get me disowned, and if not my parents would bring me in to be "renewed"
    i cant ask about why people think my church is a cult, because that counts as a major offense and can result in me and my family being exiled, and if my family gets exiled by me im without a doubt going to be kicked out.

    as for my family, i suffer from ptsd and minor depression symptoms, my parents have been supporting me, but i feel like my mom fakes it. shes told me in the past things like "Since I'll be working in mental health I can get into your head." "You're the reason I'll die early." and "You're not the one who is sick [mentally ill] I am." and she has said this over really small things, like me doing my laundry slow or having my room a bit messy. i also have a history of missing church for mental health days, and my mom thinks that I'm faking it, and doing it so I can slowly stop going all together, and has used stories about how children have left their parents and their religion, and how they are broken by their children and that their parents will be heartbroken and devastated, and she would then say "You wouldnt do that to me would you?". The same kind of thing happened in service when I took off my glasses to clean them and started squinting; the minister who was holding the sermon looked at me and said "You wouldn't sleep in service would you? It would be like sleeping on God."

    so my main goal is to run away so I can leave my family and church.

    and this isnt an impulse thought, ive been thinking of suicide to leave this church (which i then realized i still wouldnt be able to leave even if i die, because i'd be bound to my religion and be resurrected)
    and im pretty sure if church makes me want to die its better off i leave instead of die.

    I plan to run away next year, in febuary.

    I just want to know if i should know anything, my rights, what I should bring.

    thanks, M

  • #2
    Hello M,
    Thanks for reaching out to us here at the National Runaway Safeline. What you’re going through sounds incredibly difficult, and really unfair. No one deserves to be pushed around, much less told what to believe or how to live their life. Despite all of this, it sounds like you have been dealing with this to the best of your abilities, and have been really strong. While we might not be able to answer all of your questions, we will do our best to give you the support you need.
    First of all, if you ever feel threatened or in danger, never hesitate to call 911. Your safety is the most important thing in any situation, and should be the first thing you prioritize. It’s never okay to feel threatened or intimidated, and it sounds like there has been a lot of that in your family as well as church. If you believe that the things you have experienced might qualify as abuse, abuse reporting could be an option to explore if you decide you might not want to leave. If you’re interested in this, what you could do is contacting the police directly, or speak to someone at school that is a mandated reporter. If you aren’t comfortable with either option, you can always call our hotline at 1-800-RUNAWAY (1-800-786-2929) and we can speak to you directly and file a report with you. Secondly, you mentioned a history of mental health illness, as well as your mental health suffering as a result of your interactions with your family and church. It could be a good idea to contact a mental health professional so your mental health does not suffer further. The things you mentioned in your post are not your fault, and you don’t deserve to be treated the way you are being treated. If you call our hotline we would be better able to connect you with mental health professionals in your area, but if you ever have an immediate crisis you can also contact the National Suicide Prevention Hotline at 1-800-273-8255.
    If you were to run away, make sure to prioritize your safety. As previously mentioned, that is the most important aspect of any situation. However, you might also want to be informed in regards to your rights. Running away itself is not considered a crime, but it is a status offense. This means that if your parents were to file a runaway report and the police were to find you, they would be obligated to bring you home. A thing to consider, however, is that if you were to stay with someone as a runaway, there is a chance they can be charged with harboring a runaway. This is usually addressed as a misdemeanor offense against the person taking in a youth that they do not have custody over.
    We hope that our reply was helpful to you. We know that what you’re going through is really difficult, and you have remained strong throughout despite everything that has happened to you. If you ever have any other questions, feel free to call us or write to us again.
    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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