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You Asked: I Can't Stand My Family

You Asked: I Can't Stand My Family

Dear Sugar,

I'm a 23-year-old, recent college graduate living with my mom and her new husband. My mother and I have had issues with our relationship for years. I've always been her scapegoat whenever she needs to vent, which is almost every day. She seems to love belittling me. Her new husband is extremely difficult to live with — he's very condescending and puts other people down to lift up his spirits.

My mother puts her husband over me and my other siblings. She blatantly states that she doesn't care if what she says or does makes us feel bad. She consistently minimizes my contribution to the household, ignoring the fact that I have over $25,000 in student loans to pay off (with no help from her). I can't take much more, but right now I'm not financially able to move out. I have a job, but when grad school starts in two months, I have no choice but to quit. I don't know what to do or how to cope with this. I feel stuck in a really tight place. Any suggestions?

— Trapped Trina

To see DearSugar's answer,


Dear Trapped Trina,

I'm so sorry that this is the current living situation that you're dealing with. There's no excuse for such treatment especially from your own mother. Both her and your step-father sound incredibly selfish and emotionally abusive, and sadly, I don't think that will ever change. Regardless of your financial constraints and the difficulties facing you, you absolutely must get away from them.

Talk to your college financial-aid department about looking into grants and scholarship programs or seeing if you're eligible for an increase in financial aid. If you absolutely must quit your job, which I'd avoid at all costs even it means dropping to a part-time schedule of classes, look for a new job with extremely flexible hours. On-campus positions are always a good option for full-time students as are babysitting and tutoring jobs. Every hour that you're not in school, doing homework, or sleeping, try to fill with money-making opportunities.

In the meantime, stay with friends if you can and scour the classifieds for cheap room listings. Do what it takes to move out; the stress and exhaustion you may have making ends meet will be far less than the distress, trauma, and emotional heartache you suffer by trying to cope with living at home.


Join The Conversation
Asia84 Asia84 8 years
Suck it up. stay out of their way. "Hi/bye mom", "Hi/bye a*shole stepdad" (leave the a*s out). Go to work. Push a vacuum around every now and then so no one can say sh*t to you. Make arrangements with financial aid. you should be able to delay your payments, especially once grad school starts. get on the phone with them and cry like a baby, make up a story. They can work something out, or at least lower your payments. save your pennies- BIG TIME. I don't know where you live, but here in L.A you can get a small studio and work it out. Eat Ramen Noodles. until you move out, you're gonna have to be very strong. Turn the other cheek, because you don't have a pot to piss in and you don't wanna cause something where you get put out.
TidalWave TidalWave 8 years
I want to add, as well, that your life will get significantly better when you move out. Trust me. I knew that my life at home was bad, but I didn't realize just as awful/terrible it was until I moved out. I could clean and cook how I wanted to without being insulted. I could accidentally spill something on the floor without being berated for my carelessness. Living independently makes a huge difference in your mental well-being!
mcreverie mcreverie 8 years
forgot to mention however, that one thing that I don't agree with is your emphasis on student loans. your student loans has nothing to do with your mom, and you shouldnt expect anyone to help you with them. don't let them be a factor in how you live your life. some people buy houses, buy cars, live very full lives, and still have student loans to pay, and its all ok. i'm sure your mom has loans of her own, but she never burdens u with them, does she? don't worry about it and try to relax!
mcreverie mcreverie 8 years
i cant believe the "harsh" posters. people deal with situations differently, and if you can't be sympathetic to some degree, why even offer "advice." comments like those doesnt help; they hurt. here's my advice: 1) i have very condescending parents too, and i hate my living situation as well. however, i feel ok just sucking it up and staying at home b/c my priority is my finances(i also go to grad school, but i full-time work as well). I don't know just how bad your mom is, but if its REALLY bad, then make it your #1 priority to move out ASAP. 2) have you considered getting a full-time job and then goin to school at night? a lot of grad programs offer this. it's tiring, but it works well for my priorities. 3) also, have you considered just puttin off grad school for a year or so? maybe just work full-time for a while and save money to move out. you can also look for an employer who can cover some or all of your tuition expenses, so you can go to grad school in the future. 4) don't let ANYONE tell you that you're a slacker for staying at home during grad school. SOO many young adults do that; and in this horrible economy, who can blame them. It's not the same world as 10 years ago, and sometimes its just not realistic. As long as you contribute to the bills and food shopping at home, I don't see why that's an issue.
GlowingMoon GlowingMoon 8 years
I understand both sides -- the gentle posters and the harsh posters. Having put myself through expensive private college and post-secondary school, AND having been financially independent since I was 19 years old, I think it's possible for you to do this on your own, and living in your own place. Granted, it won't be easy. You may living lean, but it's possible. If there's a will, there's a way. You received some excellent advice so far. Start there.
bellaressa bellaressa 8 years
You need to go to the finacial aid and redo your acceptance letter and ask for more money. Is it possible to work pt at night. I went to grad school and worked pt and only made 600 a month and I lived off that and loans--alone. You can do it. Get a studio, see if you can possibly get a roommate, does the school have graduate housing. You need to stop thinking your mom will save you, if you do not like this treatment you need to move its her house. I think living in the house with that type of treatment, you will not fair well at school. You do not need that stress and then the stress of school, so just understand you can love your mother but you can't live with her. Good luck, I wish you well.
jen1975 jen1975 8 years
Keep in mind that graduate school is full of fully functioning adults as well. You won't be the only one who owes lots of money in loans. Almost everyone else in your program should be living on their own--working part-time, looking for cheap entertainment, etc. Network and look for roommates and ask around about job leads. You are going to graduate school for yourself, and there are plenty of campus resources to help you figure out how to finance it for yourself. Also, in many disciplines, taking a few years off to work before graduate school is considered a positive, and nothing will show you how truly responsible for your own life you are than working for a living.
mnp mnp 8 years
I'm not sure why there are such "harsh" postings. Ehh...they might as we be your mom with all the negativity. I think the posts that suggest that maybe you should put off grad school is a good suggestion. You need to move out and be on your own and be away from this mess. Then, when you are settled, you can start considering grad'll have your own place and be at a better mindset to take on classes.
TidalWave TidalWave 8 years
I went through this so I feel your pain. However, my first reaction was the same as the more "harsh" posters above. We survived difficult times and we didn't whine about it! You can too!! I grew up in a physically abusive household where my mother turned the other cheek to her husband's disciplinary tactics. Her and her husband did not support me going to college at all. They spent the entire summer before I left telling me that that I was going to fail and meet boys and get pregnant. I moved 800 miles away from my entire family for school. I got my own place (with roomates to reduce the cost), took 16 credits a semester and worked 40 hours a week. I took out federal loans and successfully applied for one grant (since you should be filing to FAFSA as an independent, it will be easier to get grants). I spent four years working my butt off to prove them wrong. And I did just that. Yes, it was hard. Yes, I have spent way a ton of money in living expenses. Sure, it would have been easier to stay at home. But I care about myself and knew that I had to get out of the damaging situation. ALSO.... You need to figure out why you still want your mother and step father in your life. I realized that my mother doesn't care about me. This was extremely difficult to come to terms with because, well, mom's are supposed to love their daughter, not verbally degrade them. Once I figured out that no matter how often I call her or try to ask her for advice - she will never ever stop being selfish; I decided that that is not the type of person I want in my life.
Not everyone thinks it's ok to dance or walk around skantily clad to make money...
BeatBoxANNI BeatBoxANNI 8 years
Seek a financial adviser. Save up as much as you can. Keep your head up, and try to get out of there as fast as you can. I'll be praying for you.
RockAndRepublic RockAndRepublic 8 years
if it's possible for you to delay it a little, do so. In that time, save your money, get your own apartment and then go to grad school. How you feel affects the way you function.
Jammi Jammi 8 years
How old are your siblings? Because if they're seventeen or older I say you find an apartment with them and split the rent that way so you're not on your own in that aspect. Also, I agree about keeping your job, if being in debt is such an issue for you, you definitely need to keep working. If the job you have is a full time position see if you can get it switched to part time, look into getting a job on campus as well. Definitely visit the financial aid office or their website. Think about it this way, you can't work and go to school, I'm assuming because it'll be a lot of stress? Do you think having your mother implying you're worthless and a freeloader is going to be helpful when you have to write those papers? The snarky comments about the internet bill or you eating out their food? And since you mentioned them not thinking you contribute enough does that mean you're paying them some form of rent? Because if so, you could be putting that money towards an apartment. If you honestly think you can't move out, then spend less time at home. Go their to sleep and that's it. Pack your lunch and eat at the school caf. Study in the library. You have no plans and you just want to relax go to a friend's house or try and catch a matinee. Spend as little time as possible at home and try to develop a thicker skin. Good luck.
richandfamous10 richandfamous10 8 years
First, I don't get why your mother and her husband accepted you into their home only to be rude and condescending to you. They should either accept you and be civil or tell you that you are on your own. Second, you really need to move out and be financially stable. You may want to hold off on grad school for a year and work first to earn and save up money. I don't even mean for tuition, you can pay off loans later. You want to save up for your own apartment and have savings for when you enter school. If you have a college degree, I imagine you can get a fairly decent job. If you absolutely must start school soon, take the advice that others have provided - find a part-time job and work weekends. Nannies have pretty good jobs and you can always try to find jobs on campus for those in financial need. Good luck!
popgoestheworld popgoestheworld 8 years
Like the others have said, there are always options. Always. If you're that traumatized by your family, then delay grad school and move out and save up some money. If grad school is THAT important then you just have to learn to live with them until you can afford to leave.
cmd0610 cmd0610 8 years
I think people are being very harsh on you Tina- I do think you need to get out of there and you will have to face what that means i.e working while going to school and having to study- but I'm sure once you gain the financial independence you will feel refreshed from life with your mother and her husband. I do not at all think you mum should be rude to you just because you are living at home now . . .no one deserves that from there own mother (ok ok i know it happens but I think the comment that Tina deserved it was very harsh) . . . so moving out being your only option, do go to the financial aid office- they want to help, it's their job. Also look into grading or TA'ing or being a research assistant to another student . . . you just have to be optimistic and productive, also nannying is a good stable job and you would probably have time to study, all campus jobs are class friendly also- take life in your hands- best of luck- and again it's not your fault for trying to save money and live at home.
Berlin Berlin 8 years
It is very possible, so I don't feel too sorry for you...sorry. I moved out on my own at 17, was in college, had my own apartment, had a job. Now I'm in grad school, I have student loans as well, and I have not only do I have a bartending job, but I also work as a go-go dancer, and do promotions, as well as have an internship for a local psych center. I have a gorgeous car, an amazing apartment, and I do very well in school. It about getting your priorities in line and figuring out what you can handle and what you can't. Sounds like you are well past the point of being on your own and that you need to try a bit harder and stick with your job as well as school. MANY other people do it, but it seems as though you are letting your loans be YOUR own excuse. And your loans shouldn't have to be paid until you stop school, so that shouldn't even be a problem. But if you are having to pay now, then take responsibility and go see your finaid office. But it's time to move out from your mom's place. It's one thing if you are underage and she is belittling you, but you're an adult now! No longer do you get to stick around and try to make her change. Sorry hun but that ship has sailed.
lickety-split lickety-split 8 years
boo-hoo, i have to quit my job and live rent free while i go to grad school. why do you think anyone but YOU should be paying for YOUR education? and you do have choices; you just don't like them. like how about you work for a few years, support yourself and save money for grad school. i find it amusing that you think your mother is in the wrong here. guess what; you're all grown up now! you shouldn't be sucking resources off your younger siblings or your mother. since you are an adult with a college degree i'm sure the last thing your mom expected was for you to come home. the "i don't care if you like this" comments are a clue; get out and let me have a turn to live my life with my new husband. stop being selfish. start pitching in at home or leave and support yourself.
Jessiebanana Jessiebanana 8 years
As someone who is dirt poor and who has come from a really bad home situation to go a extremely expensive private school and did it on her own, I'd say it is possible to live on your own. Like the commenter above said it is all about what is more important to you. My home life was so mentally damaging that I had no option. My loans are relatively small, but they could have been less. You're just going to have to take out more money and make more sacrifices. About $4,000 a year to cover rent. Work part time for food money. Its a hard road, but its worth not feeling so stressed and bad all the time. I'm lucky and my school declared me financially independent. You never know what kind of financial aid opportunities there are until you ask.
Chloe08 Chloe08 8 years
You should definitely talk to the financial aid office. If your financial situation changes, you are allowed to make changes to your FAFSA, which could increase the amount of federal financial aid you are eligible for. Also, since you are a graduate student, you should be eligible for a Grad PLUS loan. (I am currently in law school and am basically living off of these loans!) Even if it means taking on more debt, I think it would be worth it to get away from your family situation. Good luck!
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