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  • Complicated Family Situation

    Hello.

    I am 16, and will be turning 17 in the Summer. I live in a heavily emotionally abusive household, but that abuse seems to only fall upon me. I am degraded by everyone in the household that has the ability, and it's getting very hard to deal with. I've been in this situation since I was 8 years old, and it's seemingly getting worse more so than its getting better. There is no affection of any sort, I am constantly left in tears, and seemingly everything I do is wrong no matter what I try. CPS has been called multiple times in the past, but nothing can be done because it isn't physical and there isn't any solid proof besides what I and others say, and my mental state as a result. My parents say that it's not actually that bad, that I'm just being stubborn ((to put it appropriately)). Emancipation is out of the question, because I do not have the money to afford that. I get good grades in school, I don't have sex, do drugs, drink alcohol, or anything. Despite what my parents would say I'm a generally good kid. I have a place to go when I move out, which is with the family of a best friend, but my parents do not like them for the reason of that family is supportive of me, and has also been the ones in the past to make one of the mentioned CPS calls. My school has been involved, other immediate family, and therapists have called. The only option I've seemed to be told I have is that I just have to tough it out for the next 19 or so months. But that seems so impossible. As a 16 year old, or even 17, what are my options of helping get out of this environment? I plan to graduate high school early for my junior year ((I'm currently in my 10th grade year)), does that contribute in any way? Or do I merely have to wait?

    Please answer as soon as possible, and thank you for your help.

  • #2
    RE: Complicated Family Situation

    Hello there –

    Thank you for reaching to us here at the National Runaway Safeline. We are always here to listen and here to help in any way that we can. We hope that by helping you on our public forum that others that might be in similar situations or the same questions, can read through and find our reply helpful. It sounds like you have been going through a very difficult time right now trying to deal with the negative environment that you have told us about. No one deserves to be treated that way at home. Does not sound like it’s a very supportive place to grow up in.

    The only way that you will be removed from your parents’ custody legally and live somewhere else is if you were to report any abuse that was happening at home and there was an investigation or if you filed for emancipation (every state is different, but you have to be 16 years or older) or if there was a court decision to transfer custody to someone else. Those are the only three ways that you could legally leave home at 16. For transferring custody from one person to another isn’t that easy. They will have to go to family court, petition to be your legal guardian, and your parents would have to be willing to give up their own rights and give them to someone else.

    While we are not legal experts, we can provide you with some general information. It is not illegal to runaway but it is a status offense meaning that if a runaway report is filed for you, the police are able to pick you up but are unable to charge you. From what we know, in your state you are considered a minor until you reach the age of 18 years old. It can be a little tricky at the age of 17, but there are some cases in which a police officer won't take a runaway report for someone that is 17. Especially if there are a little closer to turning 18 years old. This is not the case all the time of course, but it is something that we have heard of happening before. The only way to know for sure of that would be to reach out to your local non-emergency police and asking them hypothetical questions about running away. If you don’t feel comfortable doing so, you can call into this hotline and we can reach out on your behalf with you on hold. Then we would click over and tell you what they said and talk a little further about your plan. So it’s up to you what your next step is going to be from this point on because we wouldn’t tell you what to do one way or the other.

    If you choose to stay at home what you do you think you can do in order for you to feel comfortable and safe being there? One thing that may be helpful for you is to possibly note when the abuse/yelling is happening or any triggers of the abuse/yelling (like after your abuser comes from work or after dinner and/or right when you get home) and to try to find things that can keep yourself away from home during those times (after school programs, sports program, study group at a friend’s house, getting involved in your volunteering, etc.). If you feel that you ever need to go and get out of the house, one resource that you might be able to look into if you’re looking for a safe place to go, would be to visit The National Safeplace website (www.nationalsafeplace.org). Or you can give us a call to look up to see what would be in your local area.

    Hopefully this helps.
    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!
    https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/YourOpinionMattersToUs

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