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I'm 16 and My Parents Have Been Emotionally Abusive

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  • I'm 16 and My Parents Have Been Emotionally Abusive

    I'm 16 and a junior in Early College High School. I make good grades and keep my nose clean- I'm well behaved and respectful as possible at all times. I don't have a boyfriend and I'm not pregnant, that's not the issue. My issue is that my Dad and Stepmom are emotionally abusive and at some points physically abusive to me. I get very depressed when I am at home and disassociate to cope with my situation. I've self-harmed because of them and I consider suicide often, despite my excitement for the future and promising academic aspects. A friend of mine's (we'll call her V) and her mom (we'll call her C) have offered to take me in. C went through the same situation when she was a child and ended up having to run away, so she knows exactly what I've been through. They live almost 10 minutes from my house and V attends the same school as me, so I would not have to transfer schools. I would pay rent to C happily and continue to keep my priorities straight. My biggest fear in this situation is not the legal repercussions, but what my parents would do to me for leaving. I am desperate to escape my situation so I don't do something drastic. I would like to know EXACTLY what can be done about me legally in North Carolina. I know that to be emancipated, you have to live on your own for 6 months before putting your case before a judge, so if I intend to be emancipated, can the law force me home? From what I've gathered, I can't be arrested or charged with a crime for leaving in NC. Also, could C gain custody of me? When my dad and stepmom split up a few months back, DSS investigated the situation and determined that my stepmom was not fit to be around my brother and I. They made my dad sign a document stating that he wouldn't allow her near us anymore. She's living with us now; is this violation severe enough to warrant a transfer of custody to C? Also, my stepmom has a domestic abuse warrant out for her in NC, so does that help at all? Please help. I'm prepared to do a lot to get out of my situation and my only fear is what my parents will do to me.

  • #2
    RE: I'm 16 and My Parents Have Been Emotionally Abusive

    Hello there,

    Thanks for posting on our forum today. We’re really glad you did. It sounds like your situation is really hard right now. You’re really brave for putting up with you dad and stepmom. You don’t deserve to be treated this way.

    It sounds like a good situation at your friend’s house. We’re really happy to hear that you have this type of support in your life when it sounds like you really need it. However, we should let you know that there is a risk involved in going to live with your friend. Although we can’t speak to EXACTLY what would happen, typically the police could return you back to your home if dad or stepmom filed a runaway report to get you home. As we understand it, running away isn’t a crime so no charges would put filed against you. However, taking a runaway minor into your home could be called “harboring a runaway” which is a misdemeanor charge.

    Since we’re not legal experts, we can only speak generally about the legal questions you asked. It sounds like your dad might be in violation if he had to sign something mandated by DSS. Also, if your stepmom has a warrant out for her arrest, she too could be in trouble. You always have the right to call the police if you believe anyone to be breaking the law.

    It might be helpful for you to talk to a lawyer before you decide to do anything. They would be able to tell you the answers to your questions more accurately. We can refer you to one, but we would need to speak to you directly to do that. You could try calling us here at 1-800-RUNAWAY (786-2929) or you could try our Live Chat right here on this website. We’re confidential and available 24/7.

    Also, since you mentioned abuse, you have the right to report what is happening to you. Even if you’ve reported before and nothing happened. Multiple filings can sometimes lead to action being taken. If you’re wondering how to report you can visit If you’d like help reporting, you could give us a call and someone here would be happy to help you.

    Sometimes it also feels good to just open up and vent to someone about your situation. We’re here for that too. Please know you’re not alone and we’ll try to help in any way we can.

    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!


    • #3
      im only 15 and my step mom always yells at me and gets on to me but never my brothers or her son which is my step brother, i don't know what to do


      • ccsmod9
        ccsmod9 commented
        Editing a comment
        Thank you for reaching out NRS! We know that it can be a difficult things to reach out and seek help. We just want you to know that we are here to help and listen in any way we can.
        It sounds like you feel like your mom really has not taken your feeling into consideration into how you feel about her calling you out but she will not call out to anyone of your brothers. Some options you might want to consider are to maybe talk a bit more to your mom about how she makes you feel. If you feel like you might need someone else in the conversation, maybe asking a counselor from school can help mediate a conversation between you and your mom. Another option you might want to consider is to possibly ask your dad to talk with you guys and let them both know how you feel.
        Again we want to commend your bravery for reaching out and more than anything seeking out help which can be the most difficult of all things. We hope that we have helped provide some options for you to look over. If for any reason you feel like you have more questions or concerns please do not hesitate to call us at (1-800-786-2929) or online at (www.1800runaway.rg) on our chat option.
        Best Wishes-NRS

    • #4
      At 16,.living with an emotionally abusive mother; can I leave and go to family who will protect me and support me until I get my GED. MY mother was the reason I dropped out. And she is the reason my 19 year old brother only completed the 8th grade. I do not want to go into the system, I have family who want to help me but they don't want legal/police confrontation with my mother.


      • ccsmod0
        ccsmod0 commented
        Editing a comment
        Hi there,
        Thank you for writing to us here at National Runaway Safeline (NRS). We understand it takes great courage to reach out, and we appreciate you sharing a little bit about what’s going on with your mother. It seems there is a lot that you are faced with right now and you’re feeling like leaving is one of your only options. It seems you want to know some information on runaway laws.
        While we are not experts on the law, 18 is generally the age that an individual may leave home without parent permission. If you are under 18 and leave home, your parent/guardian may file you as a runaway and you may be returned home. Also, those you stay with may run the risk of being charged with harboring a runaway. For more specifics on the law, the local non-emergency police or legal aid may better answer legal questions.
        The easiest way to leave home is with your parents' permission. We understand that might be challenging, however, maybe there’s another family member, relative, or a family friend who could help to communicate how you’re feeling to your parents. The second way is through Child Protective Services if safety is a concern. Lastly, you can also look into emancipation options. In most states you need to be at least 16 to be considered and demonstrate that you can support yourself financially and independently. Emancipation often can be a lengthy process and may even cost some money for court fees. We would be happy to look into legal resources if that’s something you are considering.
        We are here as support to help through this challenging time. We can best help by phone or chat as NRS is unable to respond more than twice by email to assist you. If you would like to talk more in detail please call or chat soon.
        Our contact information is 1-800-RUNAWAY (786-2929); (click on the chat button). If you would like to look into further emotional support options, you can text with a crisis worker at the National Alliance on Mental Illness 24/7 by texting "NAMI" to 741741.
        If you are at risk of any danger or feeling unsafe, we encourage you to reach out to 911 or seek emergency assistance immediately.
        Be safe,
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