Me: 'Logic logic logic.' Mom: 'WHARRGARBL'
March 31, 2009 7:18 PM   Subscribe

Mom's acting weird again, currently wrt my independence in various respects. Long story.

Where do I start?

I am a third-year undergrad neurobiology student, currently taking a year off after a disastrous last few semesters. Depression and anxiety, which were the cause of those disastrous last few semesters, were treated, and my grades are tons better (I'm taking two classes right now).

I go to a large public state school half the country away from my folks, and pay about $30000 per year in tuition.

Mom has, for what it's worth, attempted to drive me nuts, and the latest manifestation of her insanity is in the form of not allowing me to go to Europe, in countries that have VASTLY lower crime rates than the United States according to NationMaster, on my own dollar and by myself.

I addressed this in another post, but to make it short, I've actually printed out PAGE AFTER PAGE of NationMaster statistics and she will not budge.

'No!'
'Why?'
'Because I said so.'
'Come on, you've got to have actual REASONING. Besides, I'm 20, not 15; that shit will NOT cut it with me.'
'... You have depression and anxiety!'
'Those were treated.'
'... You can't pay for it! What about your tuition?'
'Provided I contribute, well, most of the money I earn toward tuition, I don't think it's unreasonable to set aside a predetermined amount of money for a trip overseas.'
'*sputter* NO!'
'Unless you give me actual reasoning, I'm going to tell you you're an idiot.'
'NO!'
'You're an idiot. Give me some GOOD reasoning and I'll stop thinking you're an idiot.'

That is essentially how a conversation tonight went. It probably wasn't a good idea to call her an idiot, but 1) I can't unsay it, and 2) I got fed up with the disrespect. I will tell her 'sorry I called you an idiot; at the same time, not having good reasoning is FUCKING IDIOTIC and not telling me the reasoning behind the way you would deal with me in various circumstances is FUCKING IDIOTIC and I feel disrespected.'

Maybe she's trying to tell me to move the fuck out or become completely independent or something (completely non-cognizant of the fact that despite the fact that that would be GREAT, I can't really do that right now because I have to study and a job would detract from my studying).

Moving out is not an option, because of curriculum, tuition, and the fact that I need to get into grad school and want to get into grad school - job will detract from study and I need good grades.

Any suggestions for what I can do, hive mind?
posted by kldickson to Human Relations (67 answers total) 4 users marked this as a favorite
 
I'm confused about who's paying for your tuition. If you are, in effect, still financially dependent on her, then to a certain extent she can tell you what to do. If she's saying that if you go on holiday, she won't cover your tuition any longer, then you more or less have to suck it up. Her reasons may well be completely stupid, but if she's the one holding the money, she gets to make the choices.
posted by different at 7:23 PM on March 31, 2009


I suppose the question here is not totally clear; the question is about 30% about a trip to Europe and 70% about putting up the unbreachable wall of independence (that is transparent and not soundproof, of course, but unbreachable) between me and my mother.
posted by kldickson at 7:26 PM on March 31, 2009


Are you planning on taking classes in Europe or is this a pleasure trip? I think if you have money to go to Europe, you have money to live on your own.

If you're still taking orders from your parents that means they're still supporting you. If you want to go to Europe so badly, move out and figure out a way to do it. Maybe your mother would like to go to Europe too. Maybe she can't because she's still paying your bills.
posted by Fairchild at 7:26 PM on March 31, 2009 [10 favorites]


The last question you asked indicates your parents are paying the tuition, in which case, yeah, they kind of get to call the shots on stuff like this.

On preview I see you want to put an "unbreachable wall of independence" between you and your mother. You live at home and they pay your tuition. Start by moving out and paying your own way. I'm not being snarky, I'm saying you can't have this both ways. Be independent by BEING INDEPENDENT.
posted by kate blank at 7:29 PM on March 31, 2009 [25 favorites]


Your question is really unclear. Is this just a repeat of your previous question on the same topic? The one where the answer you picked as best said this: "But the time to make your stand is when you have two feet to stand on, not when you have one hand out waiting for the money to drop into your palm."

Because that's really still true. If it's your mom's money (and if you don't have a job, where are you getting the money to pay "most of" the tuition?), it's your mom's choice, reasonable or not. You're already pretty lucky that your parents are funding what sounds like a very expensive education. Wait until you graduate to travel. It's not the end of the world.
posted by PhoBWanKenobi at 7:30 PM on March 31, 2009


Parents roof, parents rules. You don't like parents rules, locate new roof.

This is generally how it works and sounds like it describes the situation you're in. Parents are funding school, roof over your head, etc...if you don't like the conditions of that funding you can move out and change your situation is how I read this. This sort of reads as a temper tantrum about not being able to spend the night at a friends house...parents lose the ability to influence this stuff when you're on your own and supporting yourself and aren't dependent on them for stuff.

By the way, parents are wacky and irrational about their kids, get used to it..
posted by iamabot at 7:30 PM on March 31, 2009 [1 favorite]


If you aren't happy with how you and your parents are getting along, you have to move out. If you can't/don't want to move out, you have to suck it up. This has been going on for generations, your situation (trip to Europe/depression and anxiety/irrational mom/plans for grad school/etc) is in no way unique.
posted by phunniemee at 7:31 PM on March 31, 2009


Also, I've got to call bullshit on this: "Moving out is not an option, because of curriculum, tuition, and the fact that I need to get into grad school and want to get into grad school - job will detract from study and I need good grades."

I worked full-time (sometimes much more than full-time) through school and got excellent grades and I know about hundred people who did the same. I'm sorry you feel that's beyond you but, well, tough shit.
posted by kate blank at 7:34 PM on March 31, 2009 [1 favorite]


Fairchild - It's a pleasure trip. WRT moving out, that will happen in graduate school when I will be worried about getting a postdoc and not getting into another level of education, because I need to do well, which means making sure I have enough time to devote to studying and optimizing how I study and making sure I do well.
posted by kldickson at 7:34 PM on March 31, 2009


kate blank, I have a gpa that was pretty much crapped on by depression and anxiety which is thankfully now treated. I need a good gpa.
posted by kldickson at 7:35 PM on March 31, 2009


The best antidote to controlling or constantly-worrying parents is financial independence. Europe will still be there when you're fully self-supporting, but as long as you're receiving financial support from your parents, your best bet is to focus on staying healthy and finishing school. You might think about asking fellow undergrads in your program, or grad students in the program(s) you want to get into how they fit jobs into their schedule.

It might also help to start thinking of your mom's reasoning as "my mom's reasoning, which is different from my own" rather than "FUCKING IDIOTIC." Even though parents of a financially dependent college student should treat their 20-year-old like they're 20, not 15, it's still a parent-child relationship. She doesn't need to explain her reasoning--or even have a logical reason for her position. Once you're financially independent, you can have a conversation that goes like this:

You: I'm going to Europe.
Her: OMG not safe!
You: Actually, it's very safe, here's why...
Her: OMG not safe!
You: OK, well, I'll send you a postcard once a week to prove I'm still alive.
posted by Meg_Murry at 7:36 PM on March 31, 2009 [8 favorites]


Moving out is not an option, because of curriculum, tuition, and the fact that I need to get into grad school and want to get into grad school - job will detract from study and I need good grades.

Then you're going to have to wear the consequences of not paying your way... one of which is a reduced amount of independence.
posted by pompomtom at 7:42 PM on March 31, 2009 [2 favorites]


Your parents are currently like the legislative branch in your family goverment: they control the purse strings. Until you change this, you have to follow their laws.

Your only real option? Change the form of government, that is, make your own independent dictatorship. You can make excuses, but until you decide to take charge you're going to have to abide by the rules they set for you.

Also, the purse string control system is an illusion, you can survive on your own. I worked 30+ hours weekly all through college, and when I put my mind to it I got five terms of 4.0 in a row while doing this. Kids who work ~15 hours per week tend to do better in college than those who don't work.

Once you cut the ties, you'll find that you're the one with the upper hand, your parents will relax, and the conversations will go more like this:

"I'm thinking about Europe for vacation."
"No!"
"Thank you for your opinion, I will take it into consideration."
posted by mullingitover at 7:44 PM on March 31, 2009 [1 favorite]


You want to save up now for a trip when? And when do you intend to graduate? Assuming you get into grad school and will be independent at that point, save now (though since you say you have no current job and don't want to get one to focus on studying, I'm not sure what money you're thinking of) and plan the trip the summer after graduation. You can always call her bluff, of course, assuming that she won't really stop paying tuition, or find a group to travel casually with (meet up now and then for dinner, say), but if you have only recently gotten your depression and anxiety under control, your mother isn't insane for thinking that going off travelling alone on money you do not have is not a good idea at this juncture. (She might be mistaken, but it's not crazy to think that.)
posted by jeather at 7:47 PM on March 31, 2009



Moving out is not an option, because of curriculum, tuition, and the fact that I need to get into grad school and want to get into grad school - job will detract from study and I need good grades.


You can't have an unbreachable wall of independence in your mom's living room. That's just what we call a "pillow fort."
posted by liketitanic at 7:48 PM on March 31, 2009 [44 favorites]


Which is to say, you're smart to say you need to focus on your schoolwork, but you can't have BOTH the time and space provided by your parents' support AND unassailable independence. It just doesn't work that way. And this doesn't qualify as insanity by a long shot.

Were you planning to go to Europe solo? Would you consider a tour group of some kind? Would that assuage her anxiety?
posted by liketitanic at 7:50 PM on March 31, 2009 [1 favorite]


Frankly, your attitude sounds a little childish and smacks of trying to have your cake and eat it too. Your mother is under no obligation to offer you any reasoning at all--she has the cash. Since you've decided that doing well in school by staying at home is better than moving out and getting a job (an easy decision to make), you should also decide that it's better than going to Europe (a harder decision to make). Those are your only two options, and any acting out you do to get your mother to approve of your trip is likely to do nothing but make things difficult between you. This isn't about safety; safety is just a vague, convenient excuse your mother is using to control you. If this control is sufficiently burdensome that it makes living at home no longer as appealing, well, move out. That's the long and short of it.
posted by nasreddin at 7:50 PM on March 31, 2009 [4 favorites]


So to recap, you want your parents to fund a pleasure trip to Europe, your mom says no, and you're mad. Even though it may seem "idiotic," I have to say I don't have much sympathy. Sure, it would be nice if she wanted to fund your holiday, but it's her money, and she can do with it as she wants. Get a job, get some savings, traipse off to Europe on your own dime. If you want to be treated like an adult, well, those are the rules of the adult world.
posted by Bella Sebastian at 7:51 PM on March 31, 2009 [1 favorite]


Yeah, nthing the notion that you need to actually BE independent before you try to claim your "unbreachable wall." If that's what you want to prioritize, move out, pay your own way. This is absolutely an option; if you decide that the benefits of living at home and taking money outweigh your desire for independency, that's a very legitimate choice, but you can't have it both ways.

Not to pile on here, but your conversation with your mom sounds strikingly immature to me. Not just the idiot part, but the whole argument and your proposed "apology." The disrespect is pretty clear, but it's not on your mom's side. I would really, really reconsider the way that you deal with her if you want to establish an adult-type relationship with her.
posted by LittleMissCranky at 7:54 PM on March 31, 2009 [2 favorites]


I recommend you take the money you would have spent on this trip and use it to get your own place. Your parents are spending a significant sum of money on your education, and you are living in their house - because of this you are not going to be fully independent until you aren't relying on them for assistance, but getting your own place will be a huge step in the right direction.
posted by The Light Fantastic at 7:55 PM on March 31, 2009


So to recap, you want your parents to fund a pleasure trip to Europe, your mom says no, and you're mad. Even though it may seem "idiotic," I have to say I don't have much sympathy. Sure, it would be nice if she wanted to fund your holiday, but it's her money, and she can do with it as she wants. Get a job, get some savings, traipse off to Europe on your own dime. If you want to be treated like an adult, well, those are the rules of the adult world.

Read the question. The OP is proposing to pay for it himself.
posted by nasreddin at 7:55 PM on March 31, 2009


Excuse me, herself.
posted by nasreddin at 7:58 PM on March 31, 2009


Arg, independence, not independenc-y. Point stands, however.
posted by LittleMissCranky at 7:58 PM on March 31, 2009


You contribute most of the money you earn toward tuition, but is it even a fraction of the total cost? I'm guessing your parents are the ones paying the bulk of your college expenses.

If you can't afford to go to Europe without help, you probably can't go to Europe. This is how it works for most adult people. If you wanted to study abroad through your university, there are often scholarships and programs to help with that. Since it's for fun, you're probably SOL.

Also, if I ever talked to my mom the way that you did... well, I don't even know what would happen, but it would be bad. If you want to bargain with your parents, acting like you're 20 and not 15 is probably the better route. Calling your parents "idiotic"= something a 15-year-old does.

Your argument about not being able to work while in college is BS, frankly. Many, many students, of all types of majors, are able to work and make good grades (in a full course load, let alone 2 classes), including those who also have things like depression and anxiety.
posted by fructose at 8:01 PM on March 31, 2009 [7 favorites]


You want all the conveniences of having your parents support you without any of the drawbacks of, well, having your parents support you? It doesn't work that way.

You get to do what you want when you can foot the bill for doing so. Until that time, you're going to have to compromise by not doing things your parents clearly do not want you to do.

FWIW, I agree that your mother is being absurd, but she has that right.
posted by crankylex at 8:05 PM on March 31, 2009 [1 favorite]


Oh, you WERE going to go solo.

Here's the thing. You're on the mend, you're not 100% better, and you're still pretty young. Traveling alone when a crisis comes up can REALLY, really test you--and she may not be wrong that you're not ready for it. So much can happen: train gets stopped at a border crossing because of a strike, halfway through your expected ride. Or the bus doesn't end up where you think it will. You get (god forbid) robbed. Or you lose your passport. Or you lose your money. Or you get an infection that needs medical attention in a country where you don't speak the language. Or you run out of crucial medication. Or or or . . .

Point is, maybe your mom's worried that you wouldn't be able to effectively negotiate something like this alone in a strange place. You gotta use every move you have, and if a tendency toward depression and anxiety means you don't do well under that kind of stress, it could be a disaster for you. And you can't prove to her that you could do it til it happened. And she's your mom. And she doesn't want to take that chance.

You dig? Consider that.
posted by liketitanic at 8:05 PM on March 31, 2009 [1 favorite]


*and yes, I know you're proposing to pay yourself, but that's like me saying, "Hey parents, pay my living costs for a few months while I save money to go to Europe." Not gonna work with most of them.
posted by fructose at 8:05 PM on March 31, 2009


nasreddin: If the OP's parents are paying for his $30,000 a year tuition then they are subsidizing his trip by making it possible for him to have money for a trip to Europe rather than incredibly expensive tuition. I certainly couldn't afford a trip to Europe when I was in school (I worked summers full-time and part-time during classes).
posted by R343L at 8:06 PM on March 31, 2009


No, Bella Sebastian, the OP wants to fund their own holiday. From the posting history, the mom has major anxiety issues and it's not just "our house, our rules." It's much more complicated than that.

But OP, I don't think that any amount of logic will appeal to your parents. Maybe family therapy is all you got at this point.
posted by sweetkid at 8:07 PM on March 31, 2009


Moving out is not an option, because of curriculum, tuition, and the fact that I need to get into grad school and want to get into grad school - job will detract from study and I need good grades.

You need good grades for two classes? How much studying does that entail? Be honest with yourself, you sound to me like you don't want to get a job. I bet you've never had a job and you're afraid. You'd probably say a job would be too stressful. But taking your reasoning further, wouldn't a trip to Europe detract from concentrating on good grades? Or summer school where you could cheaply get credits out of the way?

Since your school costs 30,000/year, is halfway across the country, and you're not even taking a full load, you need to think this through as maturely as possible. Transfer to a school in-state, get a place of your own near home. Or even live with your parents, because you sound like you could use a bit of coddling for a little while longer. Doing so you'd save tens of thousands of dollars on tuition. 30,000 for half a load? Your parents shell this out? What on earth are you complaining about?

Frankly, you sound really young or naive to feel so entitled to trips and expense-free living. I know about idiot parents-- I grew up with two unstable, mean ones who didn't pay a cent for my education, and never supported me in any way. I know about disappointment. Your sob story doesn't come even close to hardship.
posted by vincele at 8:08 PM on March 31, 2009 [8 favorites]


I don't see why you have to go to Europe by yourself at this age. If I were your mother that is why I would say no.
posted by cda at 8:27 PM on March 31, 2009 [1 favorite]


If you can't afford to go to Europe without help, you probably can't go to Europe.

This is pretty much it. You can't afford Europe if you're still in debt for your part of the tuition. That's just life. I said the same in your last thread and I feel even more strongly about it now. Your parents are treating you with great generosity - it might come with a lot of strings attached, but if you accept the generosity, you accept the strings. I too worked my way through college and it's hard to see a trip to Europe mid-education as some sort of right. Not only do a lot of people need all the money they can earn for tuition, they can't afford the time it takes to wander around Europe - because they need to be making money for tuition. You could be working, too. You could even get a job somewhere wonderful and interesting away from home and make some good money while having breathing space. But the way you describe your situation, it sounds like you're acting like a spoiled kid.

Rethink this from the ground up. You're over eighteen, and you're not actually entitled to anything here. If you want the parental support until grad school, then take it - if you decide you can do without it, then get working and support yourself through school. Either way I don't think you'll be able to get Europe in before graduation.

I don't mean to be harsh, and I'm sure you'll get a chance to travel. But I think you have a skewed sense of what you should be entitled to.
posted by Miko at 8:28 PM on March 31, 2009 [6 favorites]


Skipping over the financial aspects of this question (not out of any disagreement with the collective response here, though):

Logic does not work with hardcore, chronic anxiety sufferers. Trying to win this argument on any sort of rational level? It's not going to happen. Logic has nothing to do with what you're up against. Until she gets help? Give up on that. Seriously.

Screaming and yelling? Also not effective. I would be willing to hazard a guess that your mom's willing to let you call her every name in the book if it means you will be "safe" from whatever horrible fate her neurological wiring has cooked up for you.

Assuming your mom is deaf to "you really need to get some help," it's all about whether this particular issue is the hill you choose to risk estrangement/drama/loss of funding on. If it's not, then all you can do is give some thought to what that hill might be, and what you'll do if it comes along.
posted by gnomeloaf at 8:30 PM on March 31, 2009


You're taking a year off and working on a reduced courseload.

If you're serious about getting your shit together for grad school, why aren't you focusing ONE HUNDRED PERCENT of your energy on that? Which is to say, getting your work up to snuff with a full course load, and making full use of your tuition dollars?

It doesn't sound like there's a good reason for the Europe plan other than "I want to," and "it's potentially feasible to do." It is -- but don't you have more important things to be thining about right now?

That's not to sound snarky -- but I remember this conversation very well. And when I was 20, I was on the wrong end of it.
posted by puckish at 8:33 PM on March 31, 2009 [2 favorites]


*thinking about
posted by puckish at 8:33 PM on March 31, 2009


Meh. If moving out is not an option then going to Europe is not an option. It sucks to have decided that you really really want two things that are not compatible, but there you go. Fortunately Europe has been around for thousands of years and will likely still be there when you have grown up and are supporting yourself.
posted by jacalata at 8:35 PM on March 31, 2009 [2 favorites]


Mom has, for what it's worth, attempted to drive me nuts, and the latest manifestation of her insanity is in the form of not allowing me to go to Europe, in countries that have VASTLY lower crime rates than the United States according to NationMaster, on my own dollar and by myself.

She's not letting you? Your you're not letting you?

I'm guessing she's going to fund your trip? 30k a year in college, i bet she doesn't want to see you piss that up the wall, so she probably has a point. She sounds more concerned than insane.

Put your money where your mouth is. Quit school 'cause it sounds like it's probably not for you right now anyway, get a job and move out. You're 20? You want to be independent, well prove it. If you're still taking your parents money- well you are just whining really.
posted by mattoxic at 8:37 PM on March 31, 2009 [1 favorite]


I sense a disparity between your claim of "Me: logic logic logic" and "MOM UR AN IDIOT!"

This is possibly a result of a neurobiological process, perhaps you could research it.

I'm sorry but I have to agree with a lot of other people here that you're coming across as pretty self-entitled and "not having good reasoning" yourself.

Her house, her rules. It's been this way forever. Also have you seen Taken?
posted by turgid dahlia at 8:51 PM on March 31, 2009 [2 favorites]


Moving out is not an option, because of curriculum, tuition, and the fact that I need to get into grad school and want to get into grad school - job will detract from study and I need good grades.

I'm just going to point out that "work will mess up your grades and THEN what will you do" was often held over my head when I lived with my controlling, overprotective mother.

As it turns out, THEN what I did was "go on to have a 3.95 GPA in California's #1 community college while working more than full-time in VFX, long after I washed out of a four-year uni because I had no life skills whatsoever due to my mother smothering me."

Sometimes that bit about school vs. work really just is a pile of horseshit.
posted by fairytale of los angeles at 9:12 PM on March 31, 2009 [4 favorites]


At your age, I went to college full time, paid for it 100% myself (with lots of student loans), worked 2-3 jobs at a time, save up my money and *then* spent a glorious summer hanging out in Europe. My parents were adamant that the trip was a bad idea and told me not to go, but y'know what? I was completely independent from them, had moved out of their house and was earning my own money. I sent them lots of postcards.
posted by pluckysparrow at 9:26 PM on March 31, 2009 [1 favorite]


Renegotiating your relationship with your parents as an independent adult is interesting! At first you will stay up all night eating marshmallows or going to Europe but eventually you may start to appreciate their position a little more. You may also learn to appreciate how much work it takes to raise $120 000.
posted by cranberrymonger at 9:33 PM on March 31, 2009 [1 favorite]


As if your mother could come up with some good reasoning and you'd be all, "oh, I totally see the rationality of that argument, I will therefore change my mind". Arguments are created to support positions, not the other way around. Her actual reasoning is probably something link "I just don't think you should go" or maybe "I just don't want you to go", and there simply won't be an underlying rational position that you can attack with logic. It's like trying to argue a believer out of their faith. I hope you can realize she is simply human and not an idiot for acting this way.
posted by PercussivePaul at 9:35 PM on March 31, 2009 [2 favorites]


(because your own underlying reasoning for going to Europe is "I want to go to Europe", and any other reason you give is just a justification whose refutation would not change your mind in the least. right?)
posted by PercussivePaul at 9:45 PM on March 31, 2009 [2 favorites]


Actually PercussivePaul, I think you're right on track. But I think mom's reasoning is more accurately: "My baby's brain is sick, and sick brains are scary - and Europe is far away, and far away is scary - and this whole plan just reeks of scary and bad, and I can't even begin to think of reasons why this would be a good plan."

And I'd be thinking the exact same thing.

You have had some seriously rough times lately, and it's going to take a while to bounce back from them. Your mother is trying to spare your feelings by not saying that she's worried about your mental health. But you know that already. And you're really angry that she wont just come out and say it. Because if she did, then you could blame her for not believing that you're getting better.

Your disemboweled rage is what is really bothering you. And that's what you need to take up with your therapist.
posted by greekphilosophy at 10:07 PM on March 31, 2009 [3 favorites]


Going to chime in with the others here on the whole having your hand out for money, only to slap your Mum in the face when she tries to instill some fiscal responsibility into you (which is how I see it from what you've said in your post).

When I was growing up, I had something of the reverse situation you are describing. I did a full time degree, worked two jobs but still lived at home. My parents would ask me for money to "pay the bills" - and I'm talking $3000 a hit sometimes. I gave them the money of course as I knew it wasn't to pay bills but to get them out of serious financial trouble, but this was money I'd saved from working. You know how I felt when they wanted to go out for dinner together? Go to the movies? Buy an expensive bottle of wine? I wanted to tell them that was MY money and only when they paid me back could they earn the right to do that.

So now you know my biases and where my standpoint comes from.

I will say (and I speak from personal experience with my parents and our fiscal relationship) that your relationship with your parents will improve on ALL levels the second you move out of home and pay your own rent/tuition etc.

But until you learn to respect your parents financial situation and respect yourself enough to be truly independant I will guess you will be in this cycle for some time.
posted by Admira at 10:34 PM on March 31, 2009


Also, try putting yourself in your mothers shoes. She generously gives you home and board, pays a lot of money for your tuition to help you get what you want from life. You contribute most of your income towards the tuition, and are saving some up on the side - instead of giving that to your parents as a very generous show of thanks for all the sacrifices they've made for you, you thank them for their help by calling them "idiots".

I'm sure your parents would love to spend the money they pay towards your tuition on other things, perhaps some recognition of what they have done for you over the years wouldn't go astray.

Disclaimer: I am not a parent, and I'm making some assumptions here.
posted by Admira at 10:43 PM on March 31, 2009 [1 favorite]


I would recommend going to Europe. Finance your own trip. Don't worry about what happens when you get back. You will thank yourself for the rest of your life. Though I don't see where you say why you want to go, or where you want to go. But go, for a while, go somewhere you can get a job. If you don't know this, research it. When you come back your mom will still love you and probably still pay for your tuition and stuff but if not you can still get student loans and if you are financially separated from your parents you can "move" to whatever state your school is in and get the in state tuition. You might have to take another year off and get a job in the mean time but I think most 20 year old college students could benefit hugely from a year in the real, probably low-wage, world.
posted by headless at 11:16 PM on March 31, 2009


You've made me feel old, and I'm only 23.

Your parents have given you an amazing gift. A lot of people here have mentioned working 2-3 jobs, and I know it comes across a bit like "in my day we walked three miles uphill in the snow" claptrap, but it really, really sucks. I was always tired, I never saw my friends, it ruined my relationship, and I was seriously depressed.

There is just something soul crushing about coming home from the graveyard shift and buying a forty and a pack of cigarettes at the gas station at eight in the morning while people in suits shake their heads. It's hard to keep your eyes open during a lecture, when you haven't slept more than eight hours in three days, and you're due at your next job in three hours.

Oh, and there's the added pleasure of wondering if you're going to be stabbed when you walk into your box of an apartment.

Anyway, I bring this up because if I hadn't been a self-righteous idiot, then my mother would have paid for my school. But no. I moved out, and I was independent, and she couldn't tell me what to do anymore, by God.

I never finished school. I feel dumb, and I'm ashamed of myself. I like the benefits that my current occupation affords me, but the job isn't very secure in a good economy, and it definitely lacks prestige.

Suck it up. It's just, what, two years? Europe will still be there, I promise, and it will be much more fun when you're at least 21 and bring someone to share the experience. Also, something that's taken me years to learn is that sometimes my mom is right about stuff, and I am wrong.

Soul crushingly, forties for breakfast, shot credit wrong.
posted by jnaps at 11:30 PM on March 31, 2009 [5 favorites]


It might also help to start thinking of your mom's reasoning as "my mom's reasoning, which is different from my own" rather than "FUCKING IDIOTIC."

I sense a disparity between your claim of "Me: logic logic logic" and "MOM UR AN IDIOT!"

I agree with these comments. I'd encourage you to reconsider whether it's useful to frame your question and your relationship as right vs. wrong, logical vs. crazy, rational vs. irrational. I remember seeing that general thing in another recent comment from you. Being smart and right and logical is fine, but there's more to life -- like the ability to understand where people are coming from and meet them there. What about a future question like "my mom has these totally understandable concerns that come from her love and worry and protectiveness for me. Is there a way I can help allay her worry and replace it with some of the same excitement I feel about this opportunity so that she'll support me going to Europe?" that gives credit to the emotional side of the equation and respects where your mom is coming from.
posted by salvia at 11:43 PM on March 31, 2009 [2 favorites]


Oh, I was offline for a while, and while I was not previewing, PercussivePaul and greekphilosophy not only opened up the same line of questioning that I was trying to but provided some pretty solid answers, kudos. I think what we're saying might actually help you potentially get what you want. You seem to think being "right" and "logical" matters, but you should study politics a little. Take climate change. If science was the deciding factor, the laws would already be made. So, what's the deciding factor? Relationships based on shared goals developed from meeting someone else where they're at, and so on; there's a world there you could apply your intelligence to understanding (I'm daunted by its complexity and by the skills involved). For now, maybe just ask her, with a sincere interest to understand, "mom, what's really behind your not wanting me to go?" Don't try to talk her out of it, at least not initially, just really hear it.
posted by salvia at 12:11 AM on April 1, 2009


I think you should take a leave of absence from school, get a shared apartment in the next town over with nice strangers, and work full time at a job that does not require any of your academic experience. Try this for a year, during which you don't talk with your parents or anyone who has existing expectations of you. See who you are at the end of this, and what you want out of life.

You're in a rut, shaped by your own warped perspective and your reactions to your parents' warped perspectives, which have twined around each other so tightly that you have no idea who you are or how you are going to survive the rest of your life.

Every impulse you feel is toxic. Your desire to go to Europe is like Alice following the rabbit down the hole--you are not thinking, you just believe you want to do this, mostly because your mom doesn't want you to. This is lame. Don't engage your mother in life choice battles.

So after you move out and get settled, go explore your new community, volunteer, learn some crafts, read some popular fiction, go to rock shows, make friends, experiment with your hair and clothes. Be a kid. You sound like a pissed off old lady, and that's exactly who you will be if you don't shed this poisonous skin and give yourself a second chance at being you.
posted by Scram at 12:26 AM on April 1, 2009 [1 favorite]


I sympathise. My situation is similar; I just graduated from uni, am still financially dependent until I find a job, that sort of thing ... and I had this exact same conversation with my parents a month ago, except it was about visiting the US solo (though I had the Europe conversation a while back too, and the Mount Kinabalu conversation, and the driving-above-70kmph conversation, and the skydiving conversation ...).

There's simply no way you can make them see your intellectual reasoning, because theirs is entirely emotional: they believe it's unsafe, in a manner that's fundamentally impossible to alter, no matter how idiotic or unreasonable it is.

So unfortunately, the only solution is to postpone the solo holidays until you're financially independent. While they pay for your stuff - your tuition, your living expenses - they call the shots.
posted by Xany at 2:11 AM on April 1, 2009


I'm picking up a huge amount of resentment from you towards your mother, the very same one who is paying for your education? Dude, a little respect where respect is due. You know? If you want to go to Europe so badly - get a job and pay for it yourself, then go and apologize to your mother.
posted by watercarrier at 2:21 AM on April 1, 2009


Any suggestions for what I can do, hive mind?

First and most importantly, stop acting like a spoiled and whiny 15-year-old and start acting your age; then apologize to your mother for calling her an idiot, thank her for paying your tuition, finish school, get a job, pay for your vacation to Europe, tell your mother not to worry and send her lots of postcards from your trip; then go to grad school if that's what you want to do.
posted by agent99 at 5:34 AM on April 1, 2009 [5 favorites]


Also, consider that your mother has a point: if you have depression and anxiety issues such that you can't manage a full course load right now, traveling solo might not be for you right now either right now. I have traveled solo a lot, and it's not always easy: it can be lonely sometimes, things go wrong, you get lost, you don't feel well, etc., etc., etc. Some people roll with these kinds of punches better than others, and it's almost always better to travel with a friend if these things tend to throw you off kilter.
posted by agent99 at 5:42 AM on April 1, 2009 [2 favorites]


Your mom cannot stop you from going to Europe or from doing anything else. She can, however, refuse to pay for it, which is totally within her rights.

You're not acting like the adult you say you are. If you are, you go to Europe and pay for it yourself, telling her you're sorry she feels that way whenever she wails about safety. If you're not, you call her an idiot for not paying for your trip to Europe, which she has absolutely no obligation to do. Her response of '*sputter* NO!' actually seems quite reasonable to me.

(Note: the money angle is so far the only place I see that she has a point. But if you had the money, you wouldn't be having this discussion with her, now would you?)

I went to Europe by myself for the first time when I was 21. I paid for it myself. I don't remember how my mother felt about it, because it wasn't her decision, and she didn't pay for it.
posted by peanut_mcgillicuty at 5:56 AM on April 1, 2009 [1 favorite]


What vincele said. I would favourite it a thousand more times if I could. The first day of my final semester before graduating were spent waiting in the emergency aid office, crying on the floor of the advisor asking for any loan they had going, with any interest, at any repayment schedule because my parents were not going to give me one thin dime and I was flat out of cash. That is what it takes to get to grad school, honey.

Seriously, cowgirl up and pay your own way. Europe will still be there when you can afford it.
posted by methylsalicylate at 6:38 AM on April 1, 2009 [1 favorite]


I watched King Lear on PBS this weekend; your post reminds me of the "sharper than a serpent's tooth" line.

Look, your parents are doing you a HUGE favor by footing the bill (or most of it) for school. They're saving you from a crushing debt burden when you get done. I think a little more respect, and gratitude, are definitely in order here.

If your mom does have anxiety issues, can't you have a little more sympathy for her in light of your own problems?

I agree with the above: Europe can wait. Use the money you've saved toward school or getting your own place. Expecting no-strings-attached financial help from your family is simply unrealistic.
posted by orrnyereg at 8:34 AM on April 1, 2009


Any suggestions for what I can do, hive mind?

Yes. In the future when making an AskMe post, it would help you most to be as truthful as you can with your situation and that way people can provide better answers. In your previous post regarding this same situation, you neglected to mention any of your depression and anxiety, which would have been helpful information to have in order to understand where your mother is coming from. 85 people took their time in that thread to give you advice that might have been different had they known what your mother's concerns included. It seems you are only telling us what you want us to know to get the answer you want.

It's just my opinion, but it seems you are using AskMe as a way to gain support against your mother and as a place to vent your frustrations with her.

And finally, as others have stated, it's her roof and her rules. If you want to be independent, it takes action, not words.
posted by NoraCharles at 8:54 AM on April 1, 2009 [14 favorites]


As the mother of an adult child living at home, I'm nearly speechless that you would speak to your mother like that in ANY circumstance while you live under her roof. What you are requesting is a pleasure trip over the summer to Europe unaccompanied when you don't have a job and will "help" to pay the expenses. You seem to have forgotten that you had an episode of anxiety and depression that in all probability worried your mother for months while you got your head together (and I understand the depression/anxiety deal, I have those issues myself) and now suddenly you feel totally recovered enough to travel, but not enough to get a job. And when your mother reacts with a less than enthusiastic manner, you cuss her out.

Man up. Move out. Then go to Europe without asking someone's permission. Grad school is not mandatory for you to get a job. Grad school is a luxury that not everyone has a chance at. Stomping your foot and saying "but I CANT get a job because I NEED to study so I can go to GRAD SCHOOL" doesn't seem like a behavior of a person mature enough to get themselves around Europe alone.
posted by hollygoheavy at 10:36 AM on April 1, 2009 [3 favorites]


70% about putting up the unbreachable wall of independence... between me and my mother.

Except that your parents' money continues to flow through this wall to you, right? If financial independence is not an option then independent decision in how the money made available for your education is spent is not an option either. Your only other recourse is to continue trying to convince your mother to agree to fund your desire to travel. Apologizing for your appalling rudeness without a bunch of backhanded aggressive, self-righteous bullshit would probably be a good start.
posted by nanojath at 11:05 AM on April 1, 2009 [4 favorites]


Where to begin...I'm really disappointed and irritated by your obvious sense of entitlement. It's this kind of behavior that will render you entirely useless in the working world and during the responsible adulthood to which you say you aspire. You know why? Because once you get there, after all your grad schooling, you'll likely be incapable of empathy toward the grad students who may someday work under you, or have an understanding of the economic and emotional dynamics involved in financial planning.

And when I refer to financial planning, I'm not talking about how great materialism is or anything like that, I'm talking about the impact your current financial cluelessness and sense of entitlement from mama will have on future fundamental things like safety (Can't save money? You have to live in a sketchy, danger-laden neighborhood where the rent is cheap.), retirement (Hungry? Hope you like catfood because you can't afford nutritious meals.), marriage/family planning (Can't take care of your child? The state will step in to make sure it happens.). Those are just a few of the lifestyle choices - to which I'm guessing you'll also feel entitled - that are going to be skewed because you feel entitled to have someone else write you a check, instead of grabbin' the reins and GETTING A JOB.

Some beneficial byproducts of gainful employment include, but are not limited to, financial independence, sense of accomplishment, work experience, contacts in your chosen field or at least in a field that might lead to other jobs later on, enhanced people skills, and just general grown-upness in general. As Martha would say, it's a good thing. How in the hell those byproducts wouldn't translate to helping keep your (now treated) anxiety and depression at bay, I dunno. But I'm pretty sure, after sailing the seas of depression and anxiety myself, that they'd come in handy and do a world of good in continuing to fend off depression.

I, too, suffer from depression and anxiety. I sucked it up and worked - count 'em - FIVE jobs while attending a competitive graduate school, all the while dealing with the unfortunate usual smorgasbord of family drama, the reality of rent payments, and the occasional financial surprise like a broken down car. All of those things rendered me pretty much bulletproof in terms of readiness for Real Life calamities. It's unfortunate you're not setting yourself up for the same type of readiness. This will truly, seriously, I goddamn-tee ya, bite you in the butt.

For someone who purports to have "goals," e.g., grad school, you clearly have no understanding of what it means to truly have a goal. There is a certain amount of shitshoveling and limitation (be it financial or social) that comes along with goal attainment. You haven't put either of those things in place. Sure, you might go on to have lots of letters after your last name and no student debt thanks to your parents, but you'll know shit-all about how to pick yourself up after a financial problem smacks you straight on the ass. Tangentially, you'd have no idea what to do in Europe if your passport and checks got stolen. At this stage, what you *do* know how to do very well is call mama. That really doesn't fly efficiently in Real Life.

The answer is simple: get a job. Keep having a job. Always and forever. All this whining about how your grades would suffer is full bullshit. You don't get to compartmentalize life like that. What are you going to do later on, as a big reseacher or whatever? "Sorry, boss, I can only work on one thing right now because if I take on something else, I'll just have such a hard time." Multi-task. Get used to it.

What's also bullshit is your claim that your mom, who apparently has provided you with a much sought-after FULL RIDE THROUGH COLLEGE, is batshit. And...wait for it...you're upset because she's not on board with the Europe plan?! You appear to be demonstrating very little sense of responsibility, initiative, maturity, empathy, or gratitude. You know what cures those flaws? A JOB. Go get one. Or two. Tutor. Mow lawns. Babysit. Dogwalk. McDonald's. Somethin'. Anything.
posted by December at 12:31 PM on April 1, 2009 [8 favorites]


Me: 'Logic logic logic.' Mom: 'WHARRGARBL'

Yeah, not so much, really. Listen to the unusual unanimity.
Europe will still be there in five years no matter what. And you will have a much better time when you are a little more mature.
posted by CunningLinguist at 1:40 PM on April 1, 2009


Moving out Trip to Europe is not an option, because of curriculum, tuition, and the fact that I need to get into grad school and want to get into grad school - job trip will detract from study and I need good grades.

See your mom's logic now?

I worked my way through university, had depression, and had a great GPA. I went to Europe later, when I had a salary and vacation time.
posted by heatherann at 2:47 PM on April 1, 2009 [6 favorites]


Whatever you do about job stuff, school stuff, living arrangements, trips, etc, the first thing you should do is apologize to your mom.
posted by marble at 4:37 PM on April 1, 2009 [3 favorites]


If you were one of my kids, I'd say no too, and I'm about as lassez-faire as they come re independence. One of mine has already been to Korea for a month.

Europe will be there later. Right now with the economy the way it is, and you still on the mend from issues (issues I have experienced personally, fwiw) you need to put your money into your schooling and into making sure your stability continues.
posted by St. Alia of the Bunnies at 4:59 PM on April 1, 2009


Yes. In the future when making an AskMe post, it would help you most to be as truthful as you can with your situation and that way people can provide better answers. In your previous post regarding this same situation, you neglected to mention any of your depression and anxiety, which would have been helpful information to have in order to understand where your mother is coming from. 85 people took their time in that thread to give you advice that might have been different had they known what your mother's concerns included. It seems you are only telling us what you want us to know to get the answer you want.

Late to this thread, but I want to chime in to agree with this, strongly. I took your side in your last thread about Europe based on the assumption that you had posted your side of the story in good faith. Your post here, however, has made it clear that my assumption was mistaken.

No matter how difficult and irrational your mom may indeed be, you are not nearly as blameless as you fancy yourself -- nor are you as "logical" as you like to claim. You have a sense of entitlement all out of proportion, you are unspeakably and unjustifiably rude to your mother (seriously, my mom and I have had our conflicts over the years, and I never, ever, EVER called her an idiot, even in my bitchy teen years, and if I did, I honestly hope she would have slapped me across the face), and you want all the perks of independence without actually buckling down and doing all the hard work of, you know, actually being independent.

Europe will still be there -- as others have said -- when you grow up. That means you stop making your mom the scapegoat for all your problems and earn the trip for yourself. It also means that how long you have to wait till you in fact get to Europe depends entirely, 100%, on you.
posted by scody at 11:56 AM on April 22, 2009


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