No announcement yet.

Moving out (legally) at 17 - building a life

  • Filter
  • Time
  • Show
Clear All
new posts

  • Moving out (legally) at 17 - building a life

    My parents are emotionally abusive. My dad is borderline schizophrenic and does everything he can to hide it, and my mother is bipolar and refuses to seek treatment. I don't mind them being sick- I'm sick too- but that doesn't give them the right to take it out on me. I'm the youngest of my siblings, but a few years ago when we were all still minors, we had a case with CPS for all of about 2 days before my dad called in a favor and got the agents and the policeman who helped us start it, fired and then evicted. I'm tired of being yelled at constantly, of having to fight for months to get a haircut or a new pair of jeans, of being expected to exist only when benefiting my parents. My parents never wanted kids, not really- they wanted trophies and servants. I've accepted it, but I'm tired of living in it.

    State law in my area considers a minor an adult at 17, meaning that it's perfectly legal for me to move out. I also have my GED, so the only way I need to worry about schooling is getting into college, which I can't do where I am anyway. I need to take the ACT again and raise my score, as well as get some scholarships to pay for it, but being trapped in such a stressful environment makes that next to impossible. (I want to get a bachelor's in Biology and then maybe go on to veterinary med school.)

    Problem #1 is a compound problem. Even though I'm technically an adult, I still can't sign a contract until I turn 18, which means nobody can rent to me.
    (Minor problem, as my birthday is in about 3 months and I don't expect this to be quick.) The second part is that I look young and my parents try to force me to be 12 forever, so no one is going to see me as an adult even once I do turn 18. Either way, what I need is tips on renting and convincing people I'm mature enough to be a good tenant. I know basic cleaning, manners, etc, but how do I convince them to rent to a dumb kid like me in the first place?

    Problem #2 is that I'm pretty sure I'm autistic, and the symptoms that make me think so are debilitating. I had a job this past summer at a little smoothie shop and cafe, but I was fired for having an anxiety reaction much like an autistic shutdown. I accidentally overcharged a regular customer by like $10, and I didn't know how to fix it. Even the worker who was training me commented that my "whole body changed" and I didn't want to touch anything. I got the call that they were letting me go the next Tuesday night, before I even received my third paycheck. The whole time I worked there, I did literally nothing right: I screwed up the smoothies by putting the wrong flavors in the wrong amounts, I charcoaled some food, I gave people the wrong orders, I rang things up incorrectly. I was constantly asking "How do I do [x] on the register?" or "How should I do [x assignment]?" And I was constantly in near pass-out levels of pain from standing up so much, when I only worked 4 hours at a time, 3 days a week. I swear I could feel every single bone from my ankles all the way up to my shoulders. My parents have consistently, vehemently refused to get me a diagnosis for a physical condition, much less a mental one. I think, once I get the chance to get diagnosis, that a psychiatric service dog could help me a lot. But until I do get access to proper healthcare, how on earth do I survive working? I'm good with art, plants, and animals, but there's 0 demand for that here. I've been looking for a job since I hit 14 (legal working age in my state) and I've already repeatedly exhausted all employment opportunities (at least until my birthday, when a few more open up for me due to age). How do I find a job paying enough to support myself? How do I survive working? It seems like I'm doomed no matter what I do, because I need healthcare to work but I need work to get healthcare.

    Problem #3 is driving. I hate driving. It's terrifying. When I went through driver's ed two weeks before my 17th birthday, the school said that if I waited to do anything with the paperwork until after my birthday, that I could test to get my driver's license even though I'd never had my permit. I passed the written test with flying colors, but when the drive time came around, the school refused to test me for my license because I was so bad at driving. I don't want to drive, but I need to drive. (It's also really common for autistics to not be able to drive, so much so that in many places they can refuse to give you a license based on the grounds of being autistic, but I have to learn to drive if I want out of here.) When I say that I can't drive, I mean that every time I get in the driver's seat, I have another shutdown, I go nonverbal, my entire body is screaming at me and I can't see or feel anything. It is not safe for me to drive, at all, ever. Ever. How can I either learn to do it anyway or get around it?

    Problem #4 is college. My state has few regulations on home schooling, so a home school diploma is worth nothing here. When I moved here at the end of my junior year and found that out, I decided to go back to public school for my senior year to try and get an accredited diploma, but the school board would have required me to take something like 36 placement tests to claim all my credits. Which would have meant I'd either have to start highschool over or be held back at least a year because I'd have spent the whole year taking placement tests. Instead they put me in the GED program and I passed with flying colors, but I can't find any colleges teaching biology that would be willing to work with me on the missing year of credits. Even the community colleges are telling me I'd have to jump through hoops to even be considered. A certain amount of hoop-jumping is fine, but in order to get the 40 credits to apply as a transfer student or to make up the missing credits and then apply or yadda yadda yadda, I have to actually get into a college. So how do I find colleges that are genuinely willing to work with me? Or find a better way to do it? Biology is my favorite industry and I know I can earn the degree if I can just get half a decent chance at it.

    So in summary, through a series of small decisions and events, and as the youngest child, my parents have managed to isolate me so totally that I basically have no chance to get out at all. I have absolutely no friends. My siblings can't help me. I don't go to school. I have no clubs or sports. I have no money and spend literally all of my time with my parents. But I need to be out of here. I need healthcare and I need a chance to be happy. I know I can do it if I can just get out of here. If I can solve those four things, then I'll have a better chance than I ever could have dreamed of.


  • #2
    Re: Moving out (legally) at 17 - building a life

    Hello there,

    Thank you for sharing your story on our online forum. It seems like you are very self-aware of the factors that are limiting you from achieving the independence that you desire. You deserve to be cared for and treated with respect at home, not like a servant or a trophy. It’s great that you have such high aspirations for yourself and your education. You seem like a very intelligent and ambitious individual and it’s good that you are reaching out and seeing what your options are.

    You have some valid concerns and it seems like you understand the challenges that may arise when it comes to living independently. Finding a place to live at age 17 or without a source of income might be really difficult. It seems like you are most concerned with renting on your own as well as finding a job to help pay for it. Are there any relatives (grandparent, aunt/uncle, one of your older siblings) who you might be able to stay with or may possibly be able to help you find a place of your own? It’s possible there might be some housing options or transitional living programs for young adults in your area. If you give us a call or chat with us online, we would be able to look into that for you.

    Another resource that might be helpful is Job Corps: 1-800-232-4636 They might be able to help you with both looking for a job, finishing your GED, and helping you with some of the issues you’re having with getting into community college. That sounds like a really frustrating situation that you aren’t able to enroll in college due to credits given how well you’ve done in your classes.

    In regards to what you mentioned about autism and other health concerns. You deserve to be able to see a doctor or a mental health professional. That’s another resource we can look into if you reach out to us directly. Being isolated at home must not be helpful in your situation. In the meantime, the Autism Research Institute has a support hotline for issues related to autism. They might be able to offer you some support or answer questions you have about autism in general: 866-366-3361.

    We thank you for writing to us and hope that these resources can provide you with some guidance. If you want to continue discussing your situation in more detail, we would be happy to speak with you through our 24 hour hotline or through our online chat.

    Best of luck and 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!


    Previously entered content was automatically saved. Restore or Discard.
    Insert: Thumbnail Small Medium Large Fullsize Remove  
    or Allowed Filetypes: jpg, jpeg, png, gif, webp