A Young Person's Family Dilemma


#1

Hi,
Just wanted to post here because I'm in need of some major advice and I don't know what to do..
I'm 20 years old and I live with my parents. I'm studying at uni (college) at the moment. Note: where I live (Australia) it's very normal for young people to live with their family when they're studying as, unless they live in a country town, there's no need for them to move to another city to study.
I guess that I should explain what my family life is like before I go into anymore details. I am currently a practicing Catholic, and I find it very difficult to talk to my family about my faith. I have never prayed with my family, nor have I engaged in any kind of casual discussion with them about being Catholic. My Mum does not practice any religion, my Dad goes to mass on Sundays, but I don't go with him and my younger brother (once baptised) is agnostic/atheist.I made the decision to get baptised when I was nine years old, as I didn't have the privilege of being brought up in the faith.

My parents consistently put me down, saying things like "you're a failure" ect. Because of this, I have always had low-self esteem, and I don't believe in my own self- worth & God-given dignity.
To them, the most important thing in the world is to get a degree and have some kind of high-paying job. All they want for me in the world is to get a degree, and find a job that pays very well. Actually, that's putting it lightly, they just about treat this idea as an idol, as something that's more important as God..
Their marriage is not the best, they fight all the time and my Dad also disrespects my Mum by putting her down as well. When my Mum says something at the dinner table, he openly criticises her in a negative way and my brother joins in. So I have often been attracted to the religious life, as they haven't shown me what a real Christian marriage is like, and I used to think that there was no chance for me to have a holy and God centered marriage. (But I don't think that way anymore.I have seem friend's Catholic marriages and they are just so beautiful..)
So basically, to get to the nitty-gritty of it, I don't help out at home at all. After dinner, I don't help my parents with the washing up, or anything like that. I distance myself away from my family, and choose to retreat to my room and avoid family outings/meals out ect. I choose to push them away and not speak to them at all. I don't know why it's like this, perhaps because they have hurt me in the past?! I admit that this is quite sinful of me to do this,as I know that it's my duty to respect them (being one of the commandments) & help out around the house but it's currently one of my habitual sins, I just can't seem to stop doing this! frustration
So yesterday, they gave me an ultimatum, to either help out around the house more or move out. If I move out, I can't pay to continue studies and all the money I currently have is AU$100. I don't have a job right now too. I don't know if my parents are actually going to follow through with this, as in the past they have said things like this before and haven't followed it through. I can't see if it's God's will for me to move out, or if it's better for me to stay at home and accept that this is part of my cross to bear. I may have the chance to move out and live with a group of girls who are part of the Emmanuel Community, and I would absolutely love to live with them, but I haven't asked them yet..In the past, I have been advised by a priest to move out as I mentioned to him once in confession that I live in a family where I'm the only practicing Catholic. If I move out, I would have to work in retail or something similar, but I still really want to get a degree and study at uni . But unlike my parents, I believe that there's nothing more important than knowing God and living a life that's pleasing to Him.
So I hope that I haven't gone into too much detail for you. If you need to know anything else, just let me know. So please, tell me what you think the best thing for me to do right now is.
God Bless!
JMJ


#2

My personal opinion, live with them until you are finished school and once you can financially afford it move out.

It is normal for you to not want to be near them if they are as unhealthy as you say they are so don’t feel bad about that. On the other hand, you are 20 soo doing chores is not unreasonable

As for wanting you to get a good job… I hate to break it to you but adult life with no job or a bad job with little pay is no fun. I don’t think you need to become a Bill Gates or Donald Trump but your parents do know the freedom that comes with a comfortable lifestyle.

Your parents may never change so don’t even waste your energy trying to get them to see things your way. Pay for acceptance. This situation is temporary

CM


#3

There are important things you have never heard. Listen carefully and take it to heart!

How To Be A Man Of God

Act with integrity. Search your heart for the meaning of integrity and just do it. Approval of others is not necessary. [FONT=Arial]You got what it takes! [/FONT]

Practice acting like that (you will have to pretend for a while) and then it will slowly become a part of you. The need to learn this is common in men. Masculinity is something you grow into. Preaching to others is not necessary. Changing others is not necessary. Just be a man of integrity.

Every time you walk through a doorway picture a string pulling up your chest. Relax your shoulders and stand tall. Practice a confident smile. Pause when you enter a room and look around like you own it. Do this consciously for a few days. It will feel uncomfortable at first. Body and mind must be congruent, but it doesn't start this way when you try to change yourself. Concentrate on changing your body first and the mind will follow. You will find it makes a HUGE difference in how others see you. This is a transformation and you cannot imagine what a difference it will make. This will teach you to have confidence in yourself!


#4

@CSPB Lol- I'm not a guy. :P


#5

I am going to start by saying that I don’t know how to advise you on your situation except to say that right now you are the only copy of the Gospel your family has to look - live it well and bear witness to His love. Sometimes He calls us to live in situations that are not the best or most comfortable for reasons that at this time are beyond our understanding. Between now and then frequent mass, Eucharist, Penance, and prayer will get you through.

As far as going to the Religious life because you have not had a good model for marriage - BrotherJr said this once on the Vocations forum and I believe it. You must find some married couples to spend some time with and learn from. That will help you make a better decision in the future. You also did not mention if you were confirmed - but you will need to not be a Neophyte. You cannot give something you have not got - meaning if you would not make a good candidate for marriage than what is your gift of celibacy mean if it is only a default option and not a gift?

God bless.


#6

A priest that you speak with in person is more likely to give you good advice than you will get on an internet forum. That said, here is my take:

The first question to ask yourself is: Is living at home with my parents endangering me? By this, I mean physically, mentally and/or spiritually. Does living at home threaten your faith? Are you experiencing abuse?

If the answer to the first question is "yes", then you should move out. If the answer is "no", then I think you need to pull yourself together and start contributing to the household in appropriate ways. This would include helping with the dishes.

It wasn't so long ago that I was in college, and at the time, it can feel like an eternity. In just a few short years, you will look back with surprise at how long it has been since you left that scene. A college education takes 4-6 years, and I expect you have about two years left, right? In that case, focus on your studies, and truly contribute to the household. Soon enough you will be striking out on your own, and you will find that getting the energy up to maintain a household while working full time is more difficult than helping out with the chores in your childhood home.

Have you tried asking your father if you could go together to mass on Sunday? Even if it is only once in a while, it might be good for both of you. Especially if you are both going anyway.

As for the criticism you hear at the dinner table, try to be a positive voice. If your dad criticizes the food, you could remark that you like it, or if you don't you could say that you appreciate the effort it took to prepare. Sometimes, even if you don't feel very kind, forcing yourself to say and do nice things will make a difference. You don't have to discuss topics at all if you don't want to. If your family belittles your faith, refuse to discuss the issue. Just say that you don't want to talk about it, or change the subject.

I will keep you in my prayers.


#7

That is funny, and I’m not laughing at you but at myself. When read something I need to know whether it is from a man or a woman in order to comprehend the message. And the message is different because the needs and fears of women are different than men. I got it wrong.

The way I give advice (or don’t give advice) is different. I tend to use more of the wack on the head for men, but more of an understanding heart for women. Empathy is a critical component with women.

So let me think and I’ll try again. I need to shift mental gears. In the meanwhile I hope you have a good laugh at me!

You posted that you are a " young person", this is subtle but important. You are a “young woman.” Be proud.

“Persons” are boring and nondescript.


#8

If you're going to live with parents, friends, or even rent your own place you're going to be in a situation where you will be forced to either live responsibility, contribute or be forced to move out. Since you're no longer a child, your parents have no obligation to support and house when. When you're a kid, you get the easy punishments of being grounded, losing privledges or dealing with a parent who gives long lectures about why you should be doing this and that and attempting to verbally make you understand without actually following through with real discipline. In frustration (and due to actual inaction) some parents think that just telling someone "You're being lazy." etc will somehow get the kid or really any person to adjust their behavior.

The thing we all fail to see as children is that these things we hate as children and grip about are basically the result of our parents tolerating us, cushioning our fall from natural consequences but still attempting to teach us lessons. That's not to say that parents are perfect and can't become abusive, but the difference is that you get lectured about how you should behave, but they don't throw you out. In fact, the fact that your parents don't seem to be following through on threats in the past, but that their mouth is constantly running seems to point to the fact that their mouth is simply the vent of their frustration. "I'm doing so much for this kid and look what I get? I must make him see" but not by showing you but by telling you, getting angry and then possibly even exagerating.

If you stay living with your parents, start contributing. You'll either have to clean their place or the new place you move into. If you truly feel that you cannot handle living there and that moving out is more tolerable, than you will have to choose to sacrifice something else. It may mean taking a job you don't want to take (which can be found to be easier said than done. Job searches aren't fun) and may have to delay your education. Perhaps being a part time student is an option? But ultimately you have to decide what sacrifice to make for there is no door for you to take that won't involve sacrifice...unless of course your parents don't follow through on their threat to kick you out. However, living off of your parents' lack of spine to follow through with real threats is not a charitable thing to do and it'll likely only result in an increase in hearing them vent about you. Its an issue parents can have where they're simply afraid of letting their children fail and relying more on words rather than actions for the children to learn through, for wouldn't it be just wonderful is a lecture would have the same effect on a child's level of motivation that going through a failure does? And then because its a lecture and not a failure, that child doesn't have to try to unbury themselves for the rest of their adulthood. "They'd have it easier than we did!"

I do think that your best bet is to start contributing to your parents household and to get your education if you can get the motivation to do this. However, I'd say one weakness to this is that sometimes you do need it rougher to motivate yourself. There are things I learned through living on my own (and rather quickly) that I was simply struggling to learn when I lived with my parents because I needed to know definitely that if I didn't do something, there would be real consequences. Motivating myself solely on principle or out of a desire to avoid a lecture just wasn't enough for me.


#9

Elija

I agree with much that is posted here. You have a responsibility to help out in some way around your home. If nothing else, think of it as training for keeping your own place.

You don't have to overly involve yourself in your family if it is really uncomfortable. Do stuff that needs being done without being asked. Do small things with great love.

Pray for ways to show love to your family. God will provide. You may be surprised at what happens all the way around.

Keep the sacraments regularly and if possible, find a good spiritual director.


#10

DISCLAIMER: The views and opinions expressed in these forums do not necessarily reflect those of Catholic Answers. For official apologetics resources please visit www.catholic.com.