I’ve been (and am still being) emotionally abused by my family. The only reason I put up with it is because I have no choice, it’s not like I can go anywhere else or do anything about it seeing that I don’t have a job, I have no money or any friends and am pretty much a shut-in. I can’t even talk to them about how I feel about their treatment towards me cause they’ll just brush my feelings aside or snap at me and it’s because of that fact that I don’t talk much or if I DO talk, it’s awkward and stilted. I’m getting to the point where I’ll most likely do something drastic if this keeps up (not suicide, if you’re asking).

I wish that you had elaborated upon what you meant by doing “something drastic.” That is an ominous statement. You did indicate that you’re not thinking about suicide but there are other possibilities. I would advise against taking “drastic” actions unless you mean you’re planning to get a job, go to college or otherwise attempt to build an independent life for yourself. At 23 years old, independence should be your goal.

The period of early adulthood is a time when people are exploring the development of meaningful interpersonal relationships. It’s also a time when individuals are attempting to establish a path for themselves. They are choosing their career or vocational paths, dating, perhaps establishing residence, and attempting to become autonomous. Often this process involves moving away from their family. It doesn’t mean cutting them off altogether. Rather it means that family may become less influential as you become more independent. It’s considered a normal and healthy psychological process.

It’s not clear what may be happening in your circumstance. Perhaps part of the problem is your family. You mentioned that they are emotionally abusive. It would have been helpful to have had some examples. What you consider emotionally abusive may not be my definition of emotionally abusive. There is no standard definition of emotional abuse and knowing what you meant by the phrase could have given me insight into what the problem may be. It’s a catchall term that sometimes doesn’t necessarily convey the real problem with any accuracy.

There is also the possibility that your current living situation doesn’t allow for you to progress in a way that you would like. Without more information, I can only speculate.

Generally speaking, if you’re stuck living with your parents and they are abusive, then it would be best for you to keep your distance from them. In the meantime, you should be searching for a job. That would help you to begin the process of your gaining autonomy. Having a job would increase your self-confidence, decrease the time you spend with your family and assist you in acquiring the funds you would need to live on your own. If you had money, you’d have more power and would feel less stuck in your situation. Getting a job could improve many things in your life. It could be a great start that may be needed in your situation.

You might also consider counseling to assist you in dealing with your family and jump-starting your future life plans. The latter is particularly important for your psychological health and development. Part of developing self-esteem and feeling good about oneself is having accomplishments in life. The most you accomplish, the better you should feel. I can understand why you feel the way you do but the good news is that change is within your control. Counseling can provide the type of guidance you are searching for. I hope this answer helps you in moving forward. Good luck and please take care.

Dr. Kristina Randle