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My friend kicked me out, and I work with her. Help?
January 16, 2013 11:44 AM   Subscribe

I woke up this morning to find a letter on the door of the room I'd been staying in, reading: "Your time is up. I want you out of my house. No matter how you take this, I want you out of my house. I don't care who you have to call, but you must be out by today. Your stuff is already outside in the living room." She was the one who let me in after this situation occurred. I have work at 4, she will be there, and all I want to do is scream and call out sick.

Long wall of text ahead:

We experienced quite a bit of tension leading up to this morning. Two weekends ago, her mother sat me down and gave me a stern lecture about how I wasn't working hard enough to get out, and that I needed to just suck it up and work three jobs. Whatever it took to get out. My friend, while we were on the way to work, hit me with a "don't ask us for rides anymore, for any reason" speech. Which I took quite poorly, but eventually recovered from. I had been making a consistent effort to stay out of their way: coming in only at times when I knew they'd be awake, asking for rides only if backed into a corner, and generally altering my schedule so that if I needed them, it was only a matter of me tagging along on their car ride back home. I paid for my own food, offered repeatedly to pay a portion of the utility bills, and cleaned the house whenever I had free time. I washed their dishes, cleaned up after them in the bathroom, whatever it took to make sure that they knew that I appreciated what they did. I kept the music volume low in my room, made little noise, didn't cook or blow-dry my hair after they fell asleep, and respected their rules about who among my friends could be in their house.

But the hostility towards my being there grew. They made frequent jokes about kicking me out. It hit a peak when my friend demanded that I walk to work - a commute that takes me an hour - rather than allow me to ride with her, even though there was only a 15-minute gap between her starting work time and mine (I would have been 15 minutes late with the blessing of my managers, and she always arrives 15 minutes before the start of her shift).

My parents have graciously taken me back in, although I now owe them $50 a week in rent and I'm still not allowed to have a key. My best friend took her dad's truck and helped me move out of the place. My (now ex) friend was gone when I got the letter, but returned shortly after I called her asking for an explanation. My dad - who bought them an expensive $200 blender for Christmas, as a thank you - tried to comfort her for whatever reason. My best friend tells me that she kept saying "she has a lot of issues that she needs to work out at home, not in someone else's house."

I have work with her at 4pm today. I need the job, so I can't just quit, although my managers obviously don't know what's going on and will continue to schedule us to work together (I had requested similar work schedules, as to avoid inconveniencing her). I'm still in shock, and I don't know how to handle this. Not only do I now have to think about finding better work (something that I have had TERRIBLE luck with), as well as managing the old issues with my parents (which my friend knew about)...but now I have to keep all of this contained long enough to work a 5-hour shift with her. And despite all of this, she acted as if her kicking me out wasn't a big deal, and simply said "if you aren't going to be friends with me over this, then fine."

What do I do? How do I clear my head?

If you need any clarification, I'll answer them - I just can't think straight right now and don't know if I need to include any other details.
posted by Ashen to Human Relations (97 answers total) 14 users marked this as a favorite
 
It's not clear to me what the question here is. Do you just want to commiserate? If you need to work next to her, ignore her.
posted by OmieWise at 11:48 AM on January 16, 2013 [2 favorites]


The fact that you did all those nice things (washed dishes, etc.) and yet they were still incredibly hostile towards you means that either you're not telling us something, or they're not telling you something.

You say, 'My best friend tells me that she kept saying "she has a lot of issues that she needs to work out at home, not in someone else's house.'" I'm not clear about this. Who has a lot of issues? Do you have issues, or does your best friend have issues? Why do you think she's so angry at you?
posted by Melismata at 11:51 AM on January 16, 2013 [20 favorites]


You need to find a shelter to stay in. Stop going back to your parents. Leave your friends out of it. Put your stuff in a storage locker and get out.

Ask to speak with your boss privately. Tell per that for personal reasons, you'll need to work on a different team/ in a different cubicle/ whatever your work situation is. Say something like "X and I had a serious falling out and I'm unable to work with per; I'm not able to focus on my tasks and I don't feel capable of retaining a professional demeanour around per at this time. In a few days/ weeks I'll be able to work with per directly, but right now trying to do so will seriously impact my performance".
posted by windykites at 11:52 AM on January 16, 2013 [4 favorites]


Sorry, I was ranting because I'm still upset. I would like to know about the cognitive strategies I may use to manage working with her in close quarters, for an indefinite amount of time until I find better work. I can't necessarily ignore her - I'm *her* cashier at work, and therefore have to work with her to achieve copy/print projects and other things.

Although tips on how best to "get over" the actual situation would be greatly, greatly appreciated.
posted by Ashen at 11:52 AM on January 16, 2013


It sounds like there is a lot more to the story here with the "quite a bit of tension", "hostility growing" etc. I'm assuming your friend had some serious reasons to kick you out.

All you can do now is be as professional as possible when you must deal with her, and then ask your managers not to schedule you together anymore as you are not sharing rides. Take things step by step. Keep your job until you find a better one. You need to get back out of your parents' house. I would focus on that first and forget about your ex-friend and the job issue, which are small potatoes in comparison. You'll get through this.

Confrontations like seeing a person you're upset about seeing are usually worse in your head than they are in reality as long as you resist the urge to cause a scene or react to a scene being caused (it sounds like your ex-friend is trying to avoid a confrontation with you i.e. leaving notes, etc., so I am assuming she is not planning to cause a scene).
posted by treehorn+bunny at 11:53 AM on January 16, 2013 [4 favorites]


This will be okay with time. What I gather is, about 5 months ago, you crashed with her after a crises situation. She has been housing you and providing you rides ever since. In a few days time, thank her for her generosity for those months. Tell her that you will always remember her kindness during a difficult time. You can tell her you are disappointed on the way she told you to move out, but that you understand you've outstayed your welcome, and you hope with some space you can continue your friendship.
posted by murfed13 at 11:53 AM on January 16, 2013 [48 favorites]


And despite all of this, she acted as if her kicking me out wasn't a big deal, and simply said "if you aren't going to be friends with me over this, then fine." What do I do? How do I clear my head?

Look you were told really clearly you needed to make plans to move out and you seem to have focused instead on being a more invisible room mate. This outcome is a natural outcome; your friends have a right to set a boundary ("you have been a house guest for too long; make other plans") and to enforce it. You can choose to translate this as "And now I hate you" if you want, but your friend is offering to not blow up the friendship if you can be mature about this.

Personally, I would see your friend at work and say "Thanks for the place to crash for the last four months, I totally understand and really appreciate it."
posted by DarlingBri at 11:54 AM on January 16, 2013 [71 favorites]


Are you saying that you lived rent-free in your friend's house for several months and frequently begged rides from her without any more compensation that doing household chores and making offers of sharing some expenses and she gradually became more and more unhappy with that arrangement until she (somewhat gracelessly) kicked you out?

What you need to do is realize that you took advantage of your friend's kindness, failed to read obvious signs that she was unhappy with the deal and find a way to honestly thank her for all her help and apologize for not moving out sooner. Until you are able to see that, you should act as professionally and helpfully towards her at work as you can manage.

If you can afford $50 a week in rent to your parents, perhaps you can find a way to budget for a traditional roommate arrangement, since it sounds like your parent's home isn't a particularly great environment for you either.
posted by Lame_username at 11:58 AM on January 16, 2013 [29 favorites]


It sounds like you wore out your welcome a long time ago, and your friend tried to communicate this to you. When you ignored her gentle suggestions, she got more firm in her requests, and after several weeks of her seeing no effort on your part, she got to her breaking point and told you to move out.

You should be grateful for her putting up with you in her house rent free for multiple months, instead of mad that she told you to move. Per your own question, you had at least 2 weeks lead time (and probably much more than that) to find another place and you didn't.

An apology to your friend is probably in order here.
posted by zug at 12:01 PM on January 16, 2013 [14 favorites]


I agree that this was abrupt, but it sounds like they'd been asking you to leave for quite a while and you hadn't responded to their more low-key requests. Weighing the brusqueness and rudeness with which they handled this versus the generosity of them hosting you for several months, I think your feelings of being hard done by don't really stand up.

I would be polite to the person whose family housed you for months, even though you have some valid grounds to believe they could have handled things better this week.

So what is your plan? How has your plan changed from last week to this week? How can you move forward? I would focus on that.
posted by Sidhedevil at 12:05 PM on January 16, 2013 [4 favorites]


My heart goes out to you, because I had terrible trouble finding a job post-graduation (let alone three jobs, even if I wanted), couldn't afford a car and had to use someone else's in the shitty no-public-transit town where I live, and my home environment was not abusive but was incredibly negative and sometimes terrorizing.

I started working very very part time at a restaurant and doing search engine evaluation for Leapforce. It's work from home (though you pay high taxes as an independent contractor), takes a little while to get approved/to train/get set up, but pays relatively well and you can work 10-21 hours a week. Leapforce made up the bulk of my monthly income, but the waitressing job helped me to get out of the house occasionally and make fast cash if I needed it. I reorganized my resume so that customer service and food handling were the number one items-- so much for my fancy office jobs that were lower on the list.

This question is really making me feel awful, because it seems like you're living with abusive parents (THEY ARE ABUSIVE, DO NOT GO BACK TO THEM) and your friends are kind of trying to help but don't really have their hearts in it. Nine months is a long time, but I've seen longer without hostility and tension, so. I don't really know what to say about that, except that it can hurt if this is a friend you would gladly help in the way they helped you. It is difficult to have non-family living in your house though, if sympathizing with your friend will help.

Is there a Wal-Mart near you? Apply there with your dumbed down resume and it should be hard not to be hired. Maybe even full-time. I've had better luck there (because they employ so many people) than other place when truly strapped for work. Get on as much public assistance as you can, find a place to live. Can you sublet with some other college students on the cheap? I've found this is the best way to move cheaply, because the room is often furnished, it's usually on a flexible schedule (as opposed to a lease), and you usually don't have to make a huge security deposit when you move in, plus you're living with 3-4 other people so the monthly payment is cheap. If you need to move to a nearby college town to do that, I would do it. Living near a research university means volunteering for paid clinical/psych trials and making extra cash.

I wouldn't fight with your friend, either, the friendship is probably salvageable after some time.
posted by stoneandstar at 12:06 PM on January 16, 2013 [5 favorites]


I think everyone is kind of piling on here about why this happened and how you are at fault. As far as how to deal with it at work, it's simple: thank her (in person) for her generosity over the last few months and then move on. Instantly put her in coworker-only territory and stop thinking of her as a friend. In other words, be pleasant but don't try to engage at a personal level.
posted by joan_holloway at 12:07 PM on January 16, 2013 [15 favorites]


Also, you should take responsibility for your situation, but having been in your position I know that sometimes there just is not enough money and no jobs and you have to learn secrets and shortcuts (like subletting, which not everybody thinks about) to get yourself back on your feet.
posted by stoneandstar at 12:08 PM on January 16, 2013 [1 favorite]


I just want to clarify: I was there for TWO months, going on a third as of February 1st

I should have taken the "why aren't you working three jobs" conversation as an eviction notice of sorts. Her mother did state that she wasn't being hard on me and didn't want to kick me out, simply that she wanted me to get on my own two feet. I then had a lengthy conversation with her about my plans, my scheduled job interviews and picking up more work - something I stuck to and continued to update her on. My goal was to get out by the end of February and while SHE was unsure that I'd be ready by that time (they anticipated that I would stay longer; I wasn't comfortable with that), they agreed.

The tension only built up as of two weeks ago, which is when the conversation happened. And I did routinely give my friend gas money, and pay for other things besides. And aside from rides to work when I knew that she'd be on her way to an errand, I did not ask for rides anywhere else. Especially because we worked similar shifts, and I always came early as a result. Before January, they did NOT want me to pay my share of utilities or gas because it was they who wanted me to save money. Every discussion I initiated about bills got cut off with "don't ask me about the bills; don't worry about them."
posted by Ashen at 12:08 PM on January 16, 2013 [4 favorites]


Your dad gave these folks an expensive blender? Has he been talking with them without you around? My first instinct is that abusive parents are abusive, and that your dad might have said something to your friends that made you look bad.

Please don't stay at your parents' house. Based on what you've said before, you need to NOT EVER GO BACK. You can't live there again. Go to a women's shelter, seriously. Call the National Domestic Violence Hotline at 1-800-799-7233; they'll connect you to someone local who can give you proper resources, including temporary housing. They may be able to help you find an apartment, and transportation, and they may have career connections that would put you in a better position going forward. Just call them.

Strategies for being around your friend? Set boundaries. "I'm not ready to talk to you about anything other than work right now. I will let you know if that changes," is a good place to start. Then maybe, when you ARE ready, "What happened that made you so angry and made you kick me out so suddenly?" If you feel enraged or like you're going to cry and like you won't be able to manage a situation professionally, excuse yourself and go to the bathroom or take a walk if at all possible.

And DarlingBri's advice is fantastic. Your friends have been wondrously gracious to you for a good long time, but it sounds like at this point you would benefit from professional assistance in getting yourself situated. Sometimes people get frustrated and annoyed and even angry, and they find themselves needing to set very explicit boundaries, and they don't have to become ex-friends because of it.

::hugs::
posted by brina at 12:11 PM on January 16, 2013 [24 favorites]


The work issue is straightforward. Be professional. Do not bring up or hint at or talk about your personal situation. Limit your communication to what you need to do in order to perform your job. Be unfailingly polite to everyone. Don't let anyone else drag you into gossiping about it while you're on the clock. Bottle your feelings up, pack them down, grow a very stiff upper lip, whatever you have to do. If that's not your native personality it may be difficult, but you'll just have to do it by force of will if nothing else. (If, however, you come from a family of tightass WASPs or kill-em-with-kindness southern or midwesterners, this is your time to let that shit shine. If you happen to have a "bless your heart" grandmother, be her.)

If you don't think you can do that, then you should call in sick. You don't want to be the person who brings their personal issues into work. It seems unfortunately likely, just on the face of it, that if there's a problem at work it will end up being your fault regardless what happens (you will be the one who "has issues"), and you said you need the job, so you can't afford to let that happen.


As an aside, I think people are fixating on the living situation / roommate issue, and my reading of the question is that OP is looking for strategies for work, not a bunch of finger-pointing about what she should have done weeks ago. That doesn't seem especially helpful.
posted by Kadin2048 at 12:15 PM on January 16, 2013 [7 favorites]


Ashen, who knows why they wanted/needed you out suddenly? Let's agree that the way they handled this was inappropriate and rude. That still doesn't negate their earlier hospitality in my opinion, but whatever, I'm not the one who was there.

You need to focus on you and your future. If you feel like you are, on balance, more hurt by your host's rudeness and abruptness in ending the arrangement than in her generosity in hosting you, then ending the friendship makes sense. But learning how to be civil and work with people you're angry with is a massively important life skill. Just be polite, tell her you don't want to talk about personal issues in the workplace, and get the job done.

I'm sorry your plans have been derailed to the extent they have been by this sudden relocation. Please keep your eye on the prize (a place of your own) and remind yourself that you're working for your future and having workplace fights with someone you're angry with isn't going to get you there.
posted by Sidhedevil at 12:16 PM on January 16, 2013 [9 favorites]


For today, you just need to find a zen place where you can let it go. The whys of why it happened and going over them in your mind and obsessing? Not the best way to get through your work day. Instead, do something relaxing. Put on some fun music over your headphones, go run at the gym, whatever it is that gets you in a good mood. If you have a feel good song - listen to it. Get yourself to stop thinking about the situation however you can in the next couple hours. While at work, just say something about it right away (I love brina's suggestion) and then let it drop. Just do your work. Any time you catch yourself obsessing over it, go back to humming your feel-good music in your head. Or thinking about that one celebrity you have a crush on. Or Whatever. It doesn't matter what it is so long as it gets you out of your head about the situation.

Good luck! You can do this.
posted by stoneweaver at 12:17 PM on January 16, 2013


What do I do?

1. Get a bike. Figure out how long it takes to ride to work, and plan to bike to work whenever you work.

2. Be professional at work. If you think your friend's behavior is worth ending the friendship over, then do that, but you can still be professional at work.
posted by 23skidoo at 12:18 PM on January 16, 2013 [7 favorites]


First, detail request: what did your friend say when she let you in? Did it initially seem like she was thinking it would just be for a week or two, or was the offer more open-ended? Also, is this her place, or her mom's place? Does her mom live with her?

Your dad gave these folks an expensive blender? Has he been talking with them without you around? My first instinct is that abusive parents are abusive, and that your dad might have said something to your friends that made you look bad.

I think this is a very real possibility, particularly as you say the hostility seemed like it was increasing. My gut feeling tells me that, in the absence of any other provoking incidents: your friend took you in because you told her you were being abused. Your father was generous and gracious to them, and possibly threw in some "Ha ha, our little girl is so upset but we love her SO much" bullshit, which made them think that someone so charming and generous couldn't possibly be abusive.

Thus, it would explain the radical shift - friend who is really being abused needing a place to stay is very different in people's minds than friend who thinks home life sucks wanting a place to stay. My bet is that they thought you were the latter rather than the former.
posted by corb at 12:19 PM on January 16, 2013 [26 favorites]


Don't be looking to her for closure on this matter. If she tries to pick a fight at work, don't allow yourself to be drawn into it.

They didn't want you contributing to the utilities because they didn't want you to consider yourself as anything more than a house guest. You were a house guest for over 2 months.

I go crazy whenever anyone stays longer than a few days. It's HER space, HER life and she wants control back. It's understandable.
posted by bonobothegreat at 12:20 PM on January 16, 2013 [2 favorites]


Also, for the immediate future, as I see its' close to 4 already: if you feel like you cannot be professional at work today (which would be reasonable), then call in sick. It is okay to take a mental health day sometimes.
posted by corb at 12:20 PM on January 16, 2013 [1 favorite]


And I don't know about anyone else's comments in the thread, but my suggestion that Ashen try to weigh her understandably upset feelings about the abrupt and rude way her hosts asked her to leave against the fact that they had hosted her for an extended period was actually a mood-managing strategy. It's easier not to be overwhelmed with anger toward someone in the moment when you remind yourself that they have done kind things as well as rude and abrupt things.

And that they are unlikely to be the final decision-maker in their parents' household, for that matter.
posted by Sidhedevil at 12:21 PM on January 16, 2013 [3 favorites]


Answering the clarification thing: when they first let me in - both her and her mother - their exact words were "take as long as you need to in order to get on your feet and start your life over."
posted by Ashen at 12:21 PM on January 16, 2013


This ship has sailed, I guess, but your friend can't actually kick you out immediately with no notice. You'd have to check the local laws but it is likely you need to be given something like 30 days written notice. Now, if you refused to leave without 30 days written notice it would cause a massive explosion of drama both interpersonal and legal, but in the future you should keep that in mind.

Essentially you were almost certainly considered to be living there (even if you didn't pay rent) rather than a guest, and someone who lives in a place cannot be unilaterally evicted without proper notice.
posted by Justinian at 12:25 PM on January 16, 2013 [2 favorites]


Here's my two cents:

I think that you were in a desperate situation with your parents. I think that it is possible that your various situations have diminished your confidence -- it would mine; it sounds like you've been through hell.

Whatever issues are going on:
1) If you live there, you live there. Call the cops if they throw you out without due process
2) GO TO A SHELTER. Get out of the cycle of psycho relationships. Use the tools you find at the shelter to be as independent as possible.

Good luck.
posted by angrycat at 12:28 PM on January 16, 2013 [4 favorites]


As far as what you tell the cops when they say you pay no rent, follow Justinian's advice, and also say that you had paid for x y and z expenses related to the house/work expenses -- as compensation for their veeeeeeeeeery and oh so gracious letting you stay with them.

Hopefully you can get yourself to another living situation before the cops come (like a shelter).

Also, if this helps in any way keep your head up and set your boundaries, I think these people are acting like Giant Assholes. You do not fuck with a person's living space w/o due process.
posted by angrycat at 12:33 PM on January 16, 2013 [1 favorite]


Did you ever discuss how long "take as long as you need" actually would be? 2 weeks ago, it looks like they decided it was enough...

And quite frankly, calling the cops on people who just gave you a roof over your head for two months is a very jerk move, helps no one and makes the whole thing more stressful.

Find a women's shelter, get in touch with them, and figure out what you are going to do when you get home after work today. They will have the resources to help you plan your next move.

I agree that it is a very jerk move to kick you out like this, but it is what it is. Cool professionalism (as much as you can manage) will serve you well.
posted by larthegreat at 12:37 PM on January 16, 2013 [11 favorites]


As far as what you tell the cops when they say you pay no rent, follow Justinian's advice, and also say that you had paid for x y and z expenses related to the house/work expenses -- as compensation for their veeeeeeeeeery and oh so gracious letting you stay with them.

This is terrible advice. Even if you call the cops and end up going to housing court you will be evicted so fast your head will spin. (I am not your lawyer). Is it really worth it to further destroy your relationship with this person and involve the authorities just to buy some time? This sucks, but bow out graciously.
posted by murfed13 at 12:38 PM on January 16, 2013 [14 favorites]


I'm not sure how piling on about how awful this friend must be is in any way helpful to the poster. I know if I were in the friend's situation, and I let someone stay at my house rent free (!) for several weeks (!!), I would be very frustrated with said person not taking the hint about it being time to move on. Now, friend did not deal with that well, but I don't see how it would benefit you to call the cops on said friend...someone letting you crash at their place does not require them to house you for free indefinitely (!). Even if there is somehow legally some requirement on the books, from a moral standpoint, that seems crazy to me.

So, it sucks that things fell apart with this friend, and it sounds like a situation in which you both played some role in things not going so well. Accept it, and act professionally at work. You do not need to be friends, but you do need to be civil. Ask your boss if it is possible to get a new schedule ASAP - no need to explain reasons, your manager most likely does not want to know about personal drama.

Otherwise, look for other housing options immediately. A stay in a shelter is certainly not out of the question, but if you can afford $200/month, you may be able to afford a room in a shared house type of situation - even if the housing quality is pretty shitty, it sounds like it will still be better than other options.
posted by rainbowbrite at 12:40 PM on January 16, 2013 [2 favorites]


I also urge you to go to a shelter after tonight.

My abusive parent sabotaged me a few times to cause me to move home. You have to get away.

You are focusing on the wrong thing. Forget about your friend - it sounds like this person is out of touch with what's really happening - forgive her, thank her for her hospitality, focus on getting out of your parents house ASAP.

Do please go to work if you can. Get the hours and the pay.

Call a shelter. If I remember, weren't there resources mentioned in your last thread?

Maybe update with your city/county so people can point you to resources?

What age are you? That might affect what resources you qualify for.

This is not your fault, so please don't feel ashamed. Please do follow thru and sort yourself safe and affordable temporary housing. Are you working enough hours to afford a roommate situation closer to where your job is? Have you been looking at rooms for rent?

Please update with some answers when you can.

Good luck.
posted by jbenben at 12:40 PM on January 16, 2013 [17 favorites]


There's something missing here. Either you're not telling us the whole story, you were a bad guest in some way you're unaware of, or your friend isn't telling you something and your parents have something to do with that something.
posted by cmoj at 12:43 PM on January 16, 2013 [6 favorites]


It does seem that there's more to this story. Sounds like they hoped you would work harder, contribute more money, work towards getting your own place, etc. In an earlier post you talked about how draining your job is and how difficult writing cover letters has been. I'm guessing they saw that your stay was going to be longer than expected. They have a right to change their minds, though I agree your friend didn't handle it gracefully. And if there's also a grandmother living there (from a previous post), that adds another dimension of stress to their household.

So, what you have to do is go to work and act like a professional. Become the best actress you can because you absolutely can't afford to lose your job. If you are working a 5 hour shift, you likely aren't full-time. Are there any babysitting/dog walking/snow shoveling jobs you can do on the side? Have you tried getting help with your resume/cover letter? Have you considered getting temp work? Now is the time to consider all avenues.
posted by Sal and Richard at 12:43 PM on January 16, 2013 [2 favorites]


Do not move back in with your parents. It bears repeating. Do not move back in with your parents.
posted by PhoBWanKenobi at 12:44 PM on January 16, 2013 [14 favorites]


Okay, per your update:

I think that makes it more likely that something happened that altered their perceptions of the situation - perhaps your dad. It's really hard to say. This may mean that if you get out, you need to get out somewhere that your parents don't know about, so they can't try to sabotage things.

Something that might make it easier to make it through with your friend right now is considering sidhedevil's comment about who is likely to be the decisionmaker. Your friend may not have been the one who actually pushed for you getting out, it may have been her mother.

Also, I am out of favorites, but I want to reiterate previous posters telling you not to live with your parents.
posted by corb at 12:47 PM on January 16, 2013 [2 favorites]


I think I remember from your previous questions that you live in New Brunswick. Here is a list of resources in your area. Some of them are for people in your situation, some aren't. But there are options on that list that are way better than going back to your parents.
posted by Ragged Richard at 12:49 PM on January 16, 2013 [4 favorites]


You said before that your local shelter was wiped out by Sandy. Are you still in New Jersey? Can you find another shelter? Here is a list of New Jersey DV services by county. If one shelter is shut down, go to the next one. Go to another county if you have to. You can also call the NJ-specific Domestic Violence Hotline, which is 800-572-7233. Please do this today if you can. Don't stay even one night in your parents' home.
posted by brina at 12:50 PM on January 16, 2013 [1 favorite]


My best friend took her dad's truck and helped me move out of the place.

Have you asked your best friend if you can stay with her?
posted by 23skidoo at 12:52 PM on January 16, 2013


Do exactly as jbenben says.

I'm going to assume you are not withholding incriminating information about yourself that would otherwise explain this. Even if you were, the actions you'd need to take next would be the same.

Even if you were a bad guest in some way you're unaware of, I think this is not your fault. Maybe it could be partly your fault that they want you to leave, but it can't really be your fault that they are kicking you out with no notice. I'm sorry if it was tough for them to have a guest for that long, but I don't think they handled their own tension well if that was the cause of all this.

I agree with those who say this story doesn't make sense and that either there is something you are not telling us, or there is something your friend is not telling you. Assuming you've told us everything, I think it is as corb says - I think your father has been cultivating these people and trying to drive a wedge between you so that you would have to go home. Giving them an expensive appliance is a gesture that's hard to explain any other way. This makes it all the more important that you get to a shelter and that you not spend any more time in the family home.

I agree that you should a) forgive your friend, especially since she was most likely acting on information provided by your father IMHO, and b) take your focus off of her and onto getting safety and independence.
posted by tel3path at 12:54 PM on January 16, 2013 [10 favorites]


There's a difference between saying, call the cops now and saying, this is your legal right. Yes, asserting this will probably cause drama. But confidently asserting your knowledge of the law -- why they can't evict you w/o process and what you could do to prevent that -- I do not see how that is a bad thing. I mean, get outta there tout suite, but sometimes it is hard to find a place to stay. If you are really in a horrible place where your physical safety is threatened, certainly (i.e. facing a night on the street or with your abusive parents) and there are no other options, the law is your friend.
posted by angrycat at 12:59 PM on January 16, 2013


One more clarification: when I called her this morning and we talked, the last thing I asked her was if she'd already spoken to her mother about it. She said yes, but that her mom had left letting me stay there at my friend's discretion. Even when I tried to talk to her about it, she didn't seem to want to answer any of my questions (mainly - why so sudden?). I don't know what's wrong, I don't want closure, and I pretty much want to just write them a check and a thank-you letter and be done with it. I believe that she was a great, amazing friend for letting me in, and then letting me stay. I'm just really, really hurt because of *how* I got kicked out, as that indicates that maybe our friendship has deteriorated. I'll learn from this, and I will extend her the same courtesy should she ever need it, but I just don't see myself remaining friends with her after that letter. Not for a while.

I'm definitely not calling the cops or trying to get anybody else involved. I will remain professional until I can get out of the situation.
posted by Ashen at 12:59 PM on January 16, 2013 [1 favorite]


But confidently asserting your knowledge of the law -- why they can't evict you w/o process and what you could do to prevent that -- I do not see how that is a bad thing.

Just practically: if I put someone up for two months and they pulled this on me I would tell every person we knew in common that it would be a very bad idea to take them in.
posted by Lentrohamsanin at 1:08 PM on January 16, 2013 [11 favorites]


Also, I'm not a church-goer, but I remember from my time in the area that the Reformed Church in Highland Park is extremely community service focused, and place a lot of importance on helping people in need. The church is on S. 2nd in Highland Park. Here's their website. I've known some members - they're very good people.
posted by Ragged Richard at 1:08 PM on January 16, 2013 [3 favorites]


But confidently asserting your knowledge of the law -- why they can't evict you w/o process and what you could do to prevent that -- I do not see how that is a bad thing.

Because rewarding generosity with veiled threats of legal action is a lousy thing to do.
posted by DWRoelands at 1:11 PM on January 16, 2013 [11 favorites]


Please don't write her a check. Put your money towards a deposit on a new roommate situation.

I'm sad you are still focusing on this situation and made no mention in your update about whether you have been looking for rooms to rent, if you've contacted any shelters, etc..

You can think about this person later. Right now, you have to think about landing safely and quickly.

That piece of shit could have given you 3 days notice. Don't give her a second thought other than to mentally forgive her ignorance and rudeness, while publicly thanking her for her generosity. Even 24 hrs notice would have been decent.

Please find a safe place to live closer to your job and public resources to get you back on your feet.

This other situation is nonsense. Drop it. Focus on the problem at hand.

(you can write her and her mother a card, but no check. they don't want your money, and you can't afford it. a thank you card is the ONLY proper gesture here. get a card. focus on your real issues.)
posted by jbenben at 1:12 PM on January 16, 2013 [40 favorites]


I would act like you guys just broke up. That is, act professional, and avoid airing dirty laundry publicly.

I wouldn't call the cops. She did you a favor after all, even if the way she kicked you out was not very nice. I also wouldn't write her a check. You don't have money, that's why you didn't move out. So the check you write her will either signal you could've afforded to move out, or be irrelevant to her situation anyway (but could do you a whole lot of good).

I think taking in someone is a very nice thing to do but can wear on you very quickly, especially if you feel like you're doing all the work. I've lived with a boyfriend who was unemployed, and even that didn't work out.

I've also had my best friend stay with us (my partner and I) for 2 weeks. I love her dearly, but boy, were we glad to finally have space all to ourselves when she finally left. Especially since her reasons for staying were, "I don't have furniture yet" and then "My bed isn't setup" and then "All the boxes are on my bed." The last couple of days, I even told her, "I want space, so can you please go out somewhere tonight and stay out late." If she'd stayed longer, I probably would've put a reverse curfew on her.

The point being, your friend probably thought she was hinting very unsubtly. You didn't get it. She decided to kick you out. Now you've got to find new housing (don't go back to your parents).
posted by ethidda at 1:15 PM on January 16, 2013 [3 favorites]


One thing I learned from housing a friend who was in a situation similar to yours - in general, most people who have stable jobs and stable lives do not understand how hard it is to pull yourself up from disaster. They are not able to understand and asses the process, and they are not ready to provide all the support/patience/resources that are needed, and they often promise more than they can deliver out of sympathy and good intent, only to get stressed out when things take longer or are harder than they had expected. I say this as someone who has been through this process - getting out of homelessness and poverty is really fucking hard and takes a really long time, especially if there's trauma in the mix. It is very easy to think (I know personally that it is easy) that the whole thing will go "a few weeks of quiet roommate-hood, followed by a regular and sufficient paycheck and moving out", and if things don't go that way, it's because the person isn't trying.

It sounds from your other questions like you are struggling with a situation that is both materially difficult and emotionally extremely traumatizing. Maybe your Dad fed them a string of lies ("oh, we'd love to have her come back, she's just so lazy and drug-addicted that it's hard to have her at home! And we can't even trust her with a key!") which precipitated this event; maybe not. I would bet that a lot of this situation is coming from a place where your friend's family has a totally, totally inaccurate picture in their heads of where you're coming from and what your options are. I have learned as a middle class, housed person that it takes a long, long time of listening and observing to even start to understand how many obstacles unhomed and abused people face - not just be able to name-check them but really believe that they exist.

I have also noticed how hard it is to get permanently away from an abusive family - I really hope you can stay strong and not go back, but I have noticed that in many crisis situations it's not just a matter of willpower.

Also, maybe you are not a perfect housemate - but the way you describe things, it sounds like you're really trying and doing your best, and you simply can't be that awful if you're doing chores. (I've let lots of people live with me rent free, and someone who is quiet, does chores and kicks in money if they have it is in the top 1%.) Anyway, if you were not perfect and there's something you're not sharing or are worried about, I hope you can forgive yourself for whatever it is. There's no way that anything you could possibly have been doing (bar actively endangering people) justifies kicking someone out on one day's notice when they have no resources but an abusive family.

I have been in your friend's family's situation - someone living with me who I had to kick out - on two occasions. On each occasion, we worked out a timeline that everyone agreed to - not some kind of nebulous "we would love it if you could have a place in a month or so" but "I will be cleaned up and out of here by Monday the 5th." That is the only humane way to do it. I think it's possible that your former friend's family was either lied to or unprepared or both, but they did a bad thing.

Also, I suspect that if you've grown up being abused and you're in crisis right now (and you are in crisis right now, and it probably makes your judgment poorer than it would be otherwise, that's what I've noticed), you may not be able to find and maintain healthy friendships. You may seek out friendships that replicate some of the aspects of your abuse - even if your friends are good people, a dynamic may evolve between you that contains weaker, less-bad elements of your abuse. I've often observed this in both my life and others'. This does not mean that you are terrible, or that your friends are terrible, but it does mean that there's a lot going on here and it is not a matter of You Clearly Did This Thing Wrong And Ignored Signs You Should Have Read.

I wanted to say all this because it seems like there's a lot of piling on here, and I suspect that some of it is from people who have not been in your shoes or in the position of housing youth who are in crisis, and I don't want you to feel like this is all on you.

I have seen people get out of bad situations via spiral - they don't just rocket on out of there, taking off from the abusive place and never looking back; they have some setbacks and some circling but overall they continue to rise. I believe that just by moving out once, even if you have a setback, you've taken a huge, huge step in getting out and getting well long term.
posted by Frowner at 1:20 PM on January 16, 2013 [81 favorites]


Oh, holy crap, don't give her money.
posted by Frowner at 1:21 PM on January 16, 2013 [27 favorites]


I mean, jesus god, I have housed people who were very hard to live with, people I had to kick out. I have housed people who were easy to live with even though having extra people living with you for free is in itself stressful unless you are very rich and have a very large house. And I would not expect some kind of groveling thank-you routine and a chunk of their precious cash afterward.
posted by Frowner at 1:23 PM on January 16, 2013


Yeah, really — be polite and professional but a thank-you note and a check? That's literally worse than "Thank you ma'am, may I have another?". Don't do that. Ugh.
posted by Kadin2048 at 1:29 PM on January 16, 2013 [1 favorite]


Write a short thank-you note if you want, but DO NOT GIVE THEM MONEY.

I would bet that your parents had something to do with it. My abusive father used to pull shit like this (with my therapist, even) and run around telling those I confided in that I was a lazy liar and all he wanted was for me to let him help me because he loved me so much, which may have even be a true version of events in his abusive mind.

Regardless, whether that's what happened or not, you cannot stay with your parents. You can't. They are abusive, controlling, and potentially dangerous to you and definitely dangerous to your possessions. Ask your best friend for a spot on her couch for a week - firm deadline, no negotiating - and look into shelters or shared apartments with multiple people.

You can't stay with your parents. That's the trap they're springing. Leave tonight if you can, tomorrow at the latest.
posted by lydhre at 1:37 PM on January 16, 2013 [12 favorites]


I agree upthread that's there's something missing from the story, but I have the feeling it's just the fallout of being a survivor of abuse and the continued interventions of the OP's father. Abusers can be very charming and seemingly gracious in a public way to people who don't know them well. In combination with that, their victims can actively feel like they're never good enough, could be trying harder etc because their sense of self-worth has been undermined by their abuser- but people can pick up on that very literally and take it at face value. It encourages resentment against them- because they feel so strongly their situation is their fault somehow, even though it never is.

I also suspect, that even though the OP did guess that they were wanting her to leave, they never really were direct about it. They may have even be giving some sort of mixed signals- like "are you asking me to move out" and they'd be like "no, take as long as you need" while at the same time acting like they should be able to somehow.

I also think that this dynamic- trying to appease your friend and roommate almost like an abusive parent by trying to be an invisible roommate and walk on eggshells around their feelings- could be encouraging them to look down on you as some kind of kid instead of an adult, since you probably avoided conflict and avoided discussing things until things were too late. Another familiar dynamic that's a leftover from surviving abuse, and one that's not easy to change. It also encourages people to devalue yourself and your needs as much as you are devalue them.

Anyway, please please DON'T MOVE BACK IN with your parents! It will be just as bad as you left, and maybe worse now you've made your abuser lose face in public. In addition them charging you rent may mean you never able to save enough money to move out- they may never let you leave again. Please, Please go to a shelter instead. The friendship may or may not be salvageable after some time has passed, but you need to think about yourself first and what you can do now.
posted by Aliera at 1:37 PM on January 16, 2013 [11 favorites]


Your money should be 100% directed towards getting yourself into a safe and stable living situation. That should be prioritized over everything except adequate food and water.
posted by Lame_username at 1:37 PM on January 16, 2013 [6 favorites]


BTW, the people saying you have legal rights here and they had to give you 30 days are not reading the same VA statutes I am. You are not a tenant (which in VA specifically excludes guests), and as such you have no legal rights to notice. IANAL and I am certainly not yours.

OP, do not write them a check. Are you still around Richmond? Because if you have money to write them a check, it looks on Craigslist like you can rent a room for under $500 a month.
posted by DarlingBri at 1:41 PM on January 16, 2013 [1 favorite]


NO MONEY! Eyes on the prize, which is getting your own place.

They don't want your money, they just wanted their house to themselves. They have that now. Now you need a room of your own.
posted by Sidhedevil at 1:42 PM on January 16, 2013 [4 favorites]


DarlingBri, I think Ashen is in New Jersey now.
posted by Sidhedevil at 1:43 PM on January 16, 2013


Sheesh, that's a whole experience.

I think you need to parse this situation into manageable chunks.

1. Get a form of transportation. I like the idea of a beater car, so that you can load all of your possessions into it, should you need to do so quickly. Now, you have a way to scoot around town easily, and it has pockets!

2. Save up a enough dough for first and security on a room. Yeah, you might be living with a weird old lady, or an stoner, or a hippy-chick vegan, but it will be your own space. Unpack your car into it.

3. Work more jobs, save more money, get a studio on your own.

Yes, your friend could have handled things better, but c'est la vie. You're at work now, doing what needs to be done, being professional and cool, calm and collected. That's all you can do.

If you feel safe at your parents, use it as a springboard, if you don't, or if you feel that it is undermining and creepy, couch surf until you can get a place of your own.

Do not send your friend any money, you need it more than she does.
posted by Ruthless Bunny at 1:43 PM on January 16, 2013 [3 favorites]


I have been in your friend's situation. When they say "stay as long as you need to", there is the assumption that you will be putting all of your energy and resources into getting out of that situation as soon as possible. So when in your previous post you mention a hotel room and NYE plans, patience can run a bit thin. It sounds like you and your hosts had different interpretations of the arrangement.

You also mentioned wanting to get an apartment in a previous post. You won't be able to afford an apartment - you need to look for a room, or maybe a hostel room for a few days or maybe a shelter. Focus on minimizing all of your expenditures and maximizing your resources until you can slowly improve your living situation. You are in survival mode - try not to focus on the drama.

You have access to the internet so you can be resourceful. It won't be like this forever, things will get better.

As for your relationship with your friend, be polite, focus on work and being professional. After some time has passed, you may get the friendship back. Acknowledge that she did you a serious favour and try to pay it forward someday.
posted by Pademelon at 2:03 PM on January 16, 2013 [8 favorites]


You are stronger than you think.

In a roundabout way, I was in your situation a few years ago (with an ex, though I honestly deserved to be asked to leave). I had no job, car, ID or savings in a southern city with minimal transportation.

Unlike you, I dragged my feet in leaving for a day or two, but I finally swallowed my pride and my fear--of the future, of people, and of what people thought of me--and focused only on surviving the day and taking whatever steps I could to make progress towards self sufficiency. Not because I wanted to or I because I thought of it as the noble, mature thing to do, but because it was the only thing left that I could do besides curl up in a ball and pray for the world to end. (of which I did indulge in for a day or two after getting my "eviction" notice, though).

I asked for a bit of help from everyone I could. Nothing big, but small favors from a lot of people. A sandwich here, a pair of shoes there. A roof over my head for a few weeks at a boarding house where they let me in as an indigent and pay them back when I found a job. I approached acquaintances, friends of friends, church and club members, expressed responsibility for placing myself in my position, and asked for small, manageable bits of assistance, that as a whole, took on life altering steps upwards and out for me.

I was terrified the entire time, so sure that my house of cards: made of rides, food, and housing would all come crashing down around me before I was settled, but that day never came.

I was stronger than I thought.
posted by Debaser626 at 2:03 PM on January 16, 2013 [10 favorites]


First, I don't think the friend's actions here are as puzzling as some posters are implying. It sounds like the friend's mom gave the OP a very clear talk two weeks ago that indicated, if not explicit notice of eviction, a clear warning that the OP was on borrowed time at this point and needed to do whatever possible (up to and including working three jobs) in order to make moving out happen. A couple weeks passed, the OP's situation had not changed nor any particular sense of urgency manifested on her part, and the host family, fed up, said "we're done." Crudely done, yes, but not particularly unheard of or shocking. I do agree though that the friend's family probably has a less- serious view of the OP's family situation than we do. As someone with very similar parents, and who has been through multiple unceremoniously boot-outs or breakups in my younger years (parents and an abusive relationship) I well know how hard it can be when the emotional and mental overwhelmment is holding you back from doing the obvious things that other people think you ought to be doing to fix the situation (get a better job, buy a car, blah blah). But the fact remains that these steps are still generally right, just hard.

What I would do: NOT buy a car. A dirt cheap used car is a money pit, and you will depend on it for work, and it will break, and you will not afford to do it and you will be fired. Rather, for now: find a neighborhood with numerous businesses, eateries, etc within walking distance. Find the cheapest possible room for rent you can possibly find within that neighborhood that does not put your safety at risk. Turn in resumes/applications at every single place within a two mile (or whatever) radius, and take the first one you get, and keep working while looking for something better. Don' t depend on anyone but yourself and get your lifestyle streamed down to the point where you don't have to. Then, and only then, you can start thinking about bigger and better steps. But if you wait to have the great job and good car and stable everything before taking care of yourself, it will never happen, and honestly I think your friend's family could see that.
posted by celtalitha at 2:09 PM on January 16, 2013 [16 favorites]


I think there is a lot of really great advice upthread, but I would add that wherever it is that you end up, you should not tell your abusive family where you are living. If you have roommates, ask them to not give out any confirmation that you live there. Have your mail sent to a PO box.
posted by jetlagaddict at 3:56 PM on January 16, 2013 [19 favorites]


Stop focusing on the goal of an apartment, and find a sublet. If you are reasonably young and near any sort of university (as long as you stay out of Manhattan) you can probably get yourself a room with people much less alarming than your parents for 300-500/month, sometimes less. Bonus: this kind of housing is often on transit lines, walkable, etc. From THERE you move on to working towards your own apartment.
posted by availablelight at 4:44 PM on January 16, 2013 [6 favorites]


I have to second Frowner's post a thousand times right now. Please go and talk to someone at the dorms. They may be able to arrange a deal or refer you somewhere.

Man, you have been through the wringer. This will all make sense and not feel so bad in the future, but at the moment, I am so sorry that you are going through this.
posted by kettleoffish at 5:15 PM on January 16, 2013 [1 favorite]


Having grown up with an abusive parent who was considered a wonderfully caring and generous person by outsiders, I'm with those who believe that unless there's something huge missing from your story, your parents poisoned the well. Your dad tried to comfort the person who told you to leave? Yeeah, that sounds like some of the info about your "issues" came from him.

You've gotten some excellent advice above (I want to frame Frowner's first comment, in particular - go read that one again), but I just wanted to encourage you to leave your parents' house ASAP if you did end up there. It's very easy for those of us from abusive backgrounds to decide after a bit of time away that "Maybe it wasn't that bad" or "Things have changed" and think it will be different if we go back. This is not your fault. Again, THIS IS NOT YOUR FAULT. Abusive parents install this kind of switch in our heads and trigger it by not being blatantly abusive at us for entire minutes at a time. Your parents are "generously" allowing you to move back? After your mother destroyed your stuff (textbook abuser behavior) and threatened you? Who referred to it as generous - your dad? your friend?

You deserve better than living with your parents (you may not believe this; that's the tapes your parents installed talking), and I am concerned for your safety if you stay there. Please take care of yourself.
posted by camyram at 5:38 PM on January 16, 2013 [6 favorites]


I have to second Frowner's post as well. This is one of those "favorite a thousand times" posts.

It's okay if you're not perfect.
posted by tel3path at 6:00 PM on January 16, 2013 [3 favorites]


> My dad - who bought them an expensive $200 blender for Christmas, as a thank you - tried to comfort her for whatever reason. My best friend tells me that she kept saying "she has a lot of issues that she needs to work out at home, not in someone else's house."

Your parents sabotaged this.
posted by desuetude at 6:59 PM on January 16, 2013 [12 favorites]


Now that I think about it...this IS weird. I got a phone-call from my mom about a day after I got told to never ask for rides, and she told me that if I needed to move back in, she was open to it. I told her that I'd think about it.

And now this.

And it was weird when my dad came up the steps, the first thing that he wanted to do was speak to the girl's grandmother (which I didn't allow). As if nothing was wrong. By the time I finished loading everything, I waited by my friend's truck while he HUGGED HER goodbye.

If they somehow had something to do with this, I wouldn't be surprised - even though I'm not even sure they have the girl's house telephone number.

Tomorrow, I am calling my temp agencies to follow up on two job leads that I was supposedly a good fit for. Then I'm going to immediately start looking for a room to sublet. I plan on calling as many companies as I can about jobs in New Brunswick, and I plan on sending out emails to old contacts about jobs. I called Women Aware - they can't take me because it wasn't a *recent* DV situation and because on the day that I called (last week), I was living with people who hadn't physically harmed me or threatened me with violence. I am hoping the other shelters don't operate in the same way.

Despite the fact that everything feels kind of slow-motion for me, I will do as much as I can in the next 24 hours to change my situation. Will update tomorrow.
posted by Ashen at 7:54 PM on January 16, 2013 [23 favorites]


Yes. Please update tomorrow!

You're going to be OK. Many of us have been in your shoes. We made it out. You'll make it out.

Be secretive and smart. Assume snooping, lock down your online activities, change passwords, clear your browser history, don't leave notes or notebooks around. HIDE YOUR MONEY.

Stay positive. Get out. Good Luck.
posted by jbenben at 8:00 PM on January 16, 2013 [7 favorites]


I ran out of favorites, so I'm going to applaud you for staying focused on your plan. Yay, Ashen.
posted by Sidhedevil at 8:15 PM on January 16, 2013 [2 favorites]


Small update:

I failed my permit test this morning, by one question. I'm retaking it next Thursday.

After yesterday's experience, I am loathe to ask other friends and relatives for safe haven. My mother (not my father, who is an enabler 100% through-and-through) is stable enough that I can remain here for a few days. I will try to get out of the house long enough to call more shelters.

I called both temp agencies. Temp Agency A has shifted me to *another* position, and the company working with Temp Agency B has passed on my resume. I DID speak to the Head Teller at a bank in New Brunswick, and sent an application to their branch as soon as I got back from the MVC. Hopefully I'll hear from them. A commenter upthread who mentioned possible confidence issues was spot-on, and the fact that I took several steps backward (including my failure to get my permit this morning) is...depressing. I don't want to ask for professional assistance beyond a temp agency because I SHOULD be able to get a job on my own, and find a place to live without relying on one more person. I don't want to believe that the person I stayed with with was right.

I'll get over it. Thank you so much for your replies.
posted by Ashen at 12:08 PM on January 17, 2013


Hey most people fail their driving test the first time. You've only got a week till the next one.
posted by tel3path at 12:18 PM on January 17, 2013 [2 favorites]


Dispense with the "shoulds" -- they are not helpful in situations like these.

You are currently at your parents' place? Then you are back in a "recent" DV situation in that you are living with your abusers again. Call that shelter back, and call some others as well. Do NOT minimize the abuse or the threat level.

Have you considered going to a shelter in person to explain the situation to an intake coordinator or counselor? It might be one of those situations where showing up on their doorstep speeds up the process. You never know until you try it. Just insist that you need care and deserve care and don't stop insisting until you get it.

I know this has been said before, but it bears repeating: call the temp agency EVERY day, at least once a day. Most agencies have a sweet spot (at my old one there were two: one at about 10:30 a.m. and one at 4 p.m.), and if you get in the habit of calling every day and being ready to get on a train to Manhattan at a moment's notice, you can quickly earn a reputation as a reliable worker and then get first dibs on gigs. These will pay a lot more than minimum wage, and you can spend your days "off" in the computer lab at the agency beefing up on your Excel skills or whatever. Take as many qualifying tests as you can, and use all the tutorials at the agency so that you can get the higher-paying admin jobs.

Don't be too hard on yourself, please. You've got a lot of self-advocacy to do in the days ahead, and it will be easier to do if you're kind to yourself. Remember that you're awesome, whatever road blocks may be in your way.

::hugs::
posted by brina at 12:44 PM on January 17, 2013 [6 favorites]


My mother (not my father, who is an enabler 100% through-and-through) is stable enough...

From what you described above, your father is also an abuser, not just an enabler. Echoing what brina said; KEEP WORKING AS HARD AS YOU CAN on getting out of there.
posted by Melismata at 12:50 PM on January 17, 2013 [2 favorites]


My mother (not my father, who is an enabler 100% through-and-through) is stable enough that I can remain here for a few days.

That's not the impression we got about your mother in your "I need to move out of my parents' house" AskMe.

Frowner, by far, gave the best answer. This is going to be a long slog of baby steps towards developing new patterns of life so that you can become more independent. You've moved out once. You can move out again.
posted by deanc at 12:53 PM on January 17, 2013 [2 favorites]


I SHOULD be able to get a job on my own, and find a place to live without relying on one more person.

No! It's awesome if you can, but most people get some or all of this stuff through networks of friends and family. It's not a failure to need help occasionally. (FWIW, I failed my driving test the first time and have been a perfectly fine driver since I passed. It's disappointing but not a big deal.)
posted by jeather at 1:02 PM on January 17, 2013 [1 favorite]


Do you know hopey from love and rockets comix, the completely bad ass punk rocker who Takes No Shit?

Find your inner Hopey. Do not let a single thing get in your way. You ARE bad ass, you WILL take no shit, you WILL rise above. Unlike your parents, you will do all this and not hit, slap, degrade, humiliate others.

If you don't know that reference, then perhaps Buffy?

Please, get away from your family ASAP
posted by angrycat at 2:31 PM on January 17, 2013


I agree with you. My father just told me that he still considers her an adopted daughter despite the way she handled kicking me out, so I'm pretty much done with him. He has forgiveness for any and everyone who treats me poorly...

I will have to play the waiting game with my jobs, and I don't have enough money to put down a security deposit on even a subletted room in New Brunswick. But I will call around different homeless service centers and BEG them for a place to stay.

Like...I have no allies left at this point. I might as well take the leap and go into a shelter.

Thank you again.
posted by Ashen at 2:39 PM on January 17, 2013 [2 favorites]


All my friends failed their driver's test the first time, and they're all better drivers than me. I passed it with flying colors. Tests can be weird like that.

I'm so glad you're making a plan and I do advocate getting out as fast as you possibly can.

I agree with you. My father just told me that he still considers her an adopted daughter despite the way she handled kicking me out, so I'm pretty much done with him. He has forgiveness for any and everyone who treats me poorly...

He is obviously and unmercifully fucking with you and as someone not bound by the ties of family, I hate his guts for being such a cowardly shit. Seriously, fuck it. People who hit you and break your things and then treat you like you're less valuable than a random friend who treats their daughter poorly-- they are well-practiced in abuse, manipulation and breaking down egos.

Just for the record, every sublet I've ever stayed in (in Chicago) didn't require a security deposit. But staying in a shelter until you have some kind of job situation is probably wise. I know how hopeless it feels to be jobless and broke, but check Craigslist for freelance work (I used to do transcription for a client from Craigslist, for instance), look for psych trials and stuff, learn to hustle, because you will be 99% independent if you can do that. The other 1% is luck and such.
posted by stoneandstar at 3:07 PM on January 17, 2013 [2 favorites]


most people get some or all of this stuff through networks of friends and family.

Yes. So use any and all resources you can without worrying about "shoulds."
posted by small_ruminant at 4:36 PM on January 17, 2013


A bicycle could be invaluable, given the crazy costs involved in owning a car. The New Brunswick Bicycle Library might be able to help you fix one up for yourself. (I have no personal experience of them, I just googled). Good luck.
posted by kjs4 at 5:22 PM on January 17, 2013 [5 favorites]


So I'm in Philly myself, but I'm friends with a bunch of Rutgers alums here who still have ties in New Brunswick. Might be able to ask around about housing or job leads in that network and see what they know. Memail me if you're interested.

Look into medical trials at Robert Wood Johnson for short term cash.

Also, don't rule out entry-level jobs at Rutgers! (If Chris Christie hasn't cut them all by now.) My mom works for Rutgers and is often in a position to hire people (alas, not now); one of the things she always mentions is how many applications she gets where absolutely nothing in the resume or cover letter relates to the position in any way. And that's typically for pretty advanced jobs! You write pretty well, judging by your posts. If you can convey coherently why you'd be great for an entry-level admin job at Rutgers, you're probably well ahead of the game.
posted by ActionPopulated at 7:35 PM on January 17, 2013 [4 favorites]


> I don't want to ask for professional assistance beyond a temp agency because I SHOULD be able to get a job on my own, and find a place to live without relying on one more person. I don't want to believe that the person I stayed with with was right.

"Most people" get a job and find a place to live by relying on other people either directly or indirectly. Family, friends, friends-of-friends, near-strangers, you name it. Perhaps you have no dependable allies in your immediate circle of friends and family in New Brunswick right now, but THEY don't define your network, YOU do. And every new person you meet is part of it.

Even people who have good relationships with their totally functional parents often get into a big ugly back-and-forth about whether or not they're capable of moving out "for real." It's a thing that people can sympathize with. Don't beat yourself up with self-inflicted shame.
posted by desuetude at 10:39 PM on January 17, 2013 [6 favorites]


New Jersey isn't exactly a cheap place to live - but finding a room to rent with roommates shouldn't be out of reach.

Have you tried Cragslist, Central NJ, Rooms/Shared? I see a bunch of rooms available in the $350-$600/mo range, not bad for NJ.
posted by Ardea alba at 12:38 PM on January 18, 2013 [1 favorite]


Final update: At this point, I'm no longer worried about MY safety. My father has been hospitalized after dealing with my mother. But she has everything set up so that when he's released in a few days, HE will be the one arrested for domestic abuse.

Thank you for your replies. I will keep them in mind in the future, once my father is safe and NOT in jail.
posted by Ashen at 10:58 PM on January 19, 2013


> Final update: At this point, I'm no longer worried about MY safety. My father has been hospitalized after dealing with my mother. But she has everything set up so that when he's released in a few days, HE will be the one arrested for domestic abuse. Thank you for your replies. I will keep them in mind in the future, once my father is safe and NOT in jail.

What about your safety? You can't change what happened by coming back to your parents' house. What are you going to do, reason with your mother? Go see your father in the hospital. But the police can talk to you or vice-versa regardless of where you're living.
posted by desuetude at 11:41 AM on January 20, 2013 [3 favorites]


This is NOT your responsibility. You did not make these problems. You did not hospitalize your father. You did not commit acts of domestic abuse. You are not responsible for saving either your father or your mother right now.

Ashen, please will you call a shelter now and update them on what happened with your dad and mom? They can advise you on how to extricate yourself.

If you feel protective of one of your parents and want to ensure that charges are filed against the main perpetrator of abuse in your household, you can do that by filing a police report of your own and dealing with the legal system.

You might not end up going to trial (or want to). But I urge you to file the initial report so that (a) you can have your own words in the record, (b) you can immediately qualify for help from a shelter, (c) you can later down the road qualify for benefits. (In New York it's called victim's assistance -- it might have another name in New Jersey. In my case, I get to see a therapist for free, as long as my conditions are abuse-related. Which they will still be when I am eighty, so it's a fantastic service the state provides.) There are other benefits you might qualify for, so again please tell your entire story to the police if you can. The shelter might help you do this -- I remember there were various social service agencies that were supposed to be involved in the process when I was going through the family court system, and they were annoyed they hadn't been included from the start. So there ARE services available to you, and at this point it is an actual specific emergency that you need to get the abuse addressed. Remember how earlier you lacked a recent incident? Well, this qualifies you beyond a shadow of a doubt.

Remember that your dad is an adult. And remember that you can't help anyone else until you have secured your own safety. Do you feel safe alone with your mom?

Get out of that house right now, and never go back. Please.

And as I have said before, I am not far from you and would be seriously for real not kidding glad to be of any help I can. Need someone to go to the police station with you? MeFiMail me. Need someone to go to the shelter with you? Ditto. Reach out. Help is all around you.
posted by brina at 12:57 PM on January 20, 2013 [4 favorites]


I remember, when I was going through my own parental situation, that asking for help seemed to get progressively difficult. I've been thinking about the parents of the friends whose homes I ran away to -- I wonder sometimes why they didn't step in (I was a minor). I think that if I hadn't been in this shame-cloud -- well, I would have gone to the social worker a lot sooner than I did (this resulted in my leaving the home). Thinking back to that time, all I remember is fear, anger, and shame.

At any rate, OP, I don't know if you are in this headspace or not, but I've been thinking a lot about your situation today. I guess what I want to say is, as said above, although I'm sorry about your dad, he is not your problem. He needs doctors and a good lawyer. I hope that you are not feeling that this is a problem that is on your shoulders. Because that could impede your extrication from what seems, from this question and your last, a situation that is dangerous to you.
posted by angrycat at 2:57 PM on January 20, 2013 [2 favorites]


You should be worried about your safety. I am literally sitting here worried that this is the last we're ever going to hear from you because you're going to be killed.

You sure as shit qualify for a place in a shelter now, and they are already familiar with your case.

I think you should file that police report because another thing that could happen is that you could be accused of a crime yourself.
posted by tel3path at 4:35 PM on January 20, 2013 [3 favorites]


I don't know how much money you have and where your job is, but it'd be great if you could find housing within walking / biking distance of your job. If you wanted to let us know the general vicinity (e.g., I work in this neighborhood vs. I work at 123 Main St. Suite 700), maybe someone could help?

Best case, you can find one of those punk / hippie crash pads and rent someone's walk-in closet for $150 / month with no deposit. But surely you can find a place with a minimal deposit if any. Here's $300 to share a room (though the posting is old). Here's $370 / mo + $700 deposit sublease. Here's $535/mo + $250 deposit. Good luck.
posted by salvia at 1:40 AM on January 21, 2013


Also, I don't know if you're at all interested in DIY / freegan culture, but if you are, volunteering at something like Food Not Bombs might be a way to meet people while potentially getting free food.
posted by salvia at 1:51 AM on January 21, 2013 [1 favorite]


Thank you for your replies. I will keep them in mind in the future, once my father is safe and NOT in jail.

Really? You're going to decide to stay at your parents house until this latest crisis is dealt with, and you're not going to work on moving out and finding another job until your father is safe and not in jail?

This is, almost, proving the point that some commenters made, here: people in your situation don't just "get up and leave" once they get the motivation. They leave, they come back, they fall back into the same patterns, they get motivated to leave again, they come back (maybe for less time than before), and they slowly manage to get free out of the orbit of the bad situation they were in.

I hope you stay true to your word and look at these comments again when you feel ready, but eventually you're going to have to learn that dealing with your parents' drama is not your problem under these circumstances: that's why on the airplane they say to put on your own mask before helping others'. Keep in mind that this home drama might have been sparked by your parents need to "create something" to keep you in crisis mode so that you'll focus on them rather than yourself.
posted by deanc at 7:08 AM on January 21, 2013 [1 favorite]


No, I stayed with a friend for several days; after getting some affairs straight, I will spend the night in a hotel before heading to Social Services tomorrow morning (that was the requirement in order for me to get housed at said hotel for free). There, they will give me more guidance.

I don't have any savings, and I don't have any money. Certainly not enough to pay $1k to get into an apartment (thank you for the links, however! Had I more money, I'd just move there instead of trying to get into a shelter).

My dad's still in the hospital, but I managed to get him a social worker that will remain with him until he's discharged into a rehab facility.
posted by Ashen at 7:47 AM on January 21, 2013 [4 favorites]


Oh, phew, thank you so much for updating, yay for the steps you are taking, and stay strong.
posted by angrycat at 7:58 AM on January 21, 2013 [3 favorites]


To anyone still watching this thread via Recent Activity...I moved into an apartment this morning. A tough decision after discovering that my mother was diagnosed with dementia not two days before the incident with my father occurred. It's explained her delusions, her extreme paranoia and anxiety...everything about our relationship to each other, including the violence against me. It's not so much a matter of forgiving her as it is...realizing that years of her hiding it from my father and I has finally caught up with her. I got a glimpse of the mom I remember yesterday, and I've been on the verge of tears ever since. My dad now knows (via my sister, who my mom felt safe enough to confess this to), but can't take care of her while he's in rehab regaining his ability to walk. And at 22 with barely a toe in any sort of professional career, I am not in a place where I can act as caregiver - even though I've started to let go of the memories of abuse.

If my former friend (I don't have the emotional wherewithal to deal with that right now) hadn't kicked me out with less than 24 hr's notice, the incident might not have happened and I might not have learned about my mother's illness until it was far, far too late. I'm hesitant to make another AskMe question about it, but if you know of any resources I can turn to in order to cope...I am open to them.

This question started with one issue and has become something far more serious; and while I'm used to having a constant string of bad things happen, I am *not* used to being this overwhelmed. Thanks again for your replies.
posted by Ashen at 7:39 AM on January 31, 2013 [3 favorites]


First, congratulations on an apartment! Second, there are support groups for family members of people with dementia. Get to one ASAP. There are many many different kinds of dementia, and it will help you to know what sort she suffers from. But a support group will help you deal with keeping healthy boundaries, emotionally healing and regaining your footing.

Finally, please know that it is not outside of the realm of possibility that your mother hasn't actually been diagnosed with dementia. Abusive people will often scramble to keep control over people using whatever means necessary, and a fake illness is a well worn tactic. Please keep your guard up, and keep a healthy skepticism until there is incontrovertible proof from a medical professional that couldn't have been tampered with. The sideways (through your sister) delivery raises my suspicions. Keep protecting yourself.

Just so you know - there are lots of people here who are proud of you and cheering for you. You're doing hard things, but you're doing them. Keep up the good work, and you'll get through.
posted by stoneweaver at 8:28 AM on January 31, 2013 [5 favorites]


> And at 22 with barely a toe in any sort of professional career, I am not in a place where I can act as caregiver - even though I've started to let go of the memories of abuse.

Right, but remember that this isn't because you're weak; it's going to be your strength. Put on your own life mask first. Good luck.
posted by desuetude at 8:21 AM on February 1, 2013 [1 favorite]


Hi Ashen, I just saw this.

Congratulations on your apartment!

I don't want to be too cynical, but honestly I have to agree with stoneweaver that your mother may be trying to manipulate you back under her control by saying she has dementia. And this could be true even if she actually was diagnosed with dementia!

But if she has assaulted your father so badly that he suffered paralysis, which you imply by saying he needs rehab to learn to walk - pulling a mental health diagnosis out of her pocket could also be a preparation for a legal defense.

Again, I'm not one to jump to conclusions about people faking illness, but this really looks glaringly suspicious to me.

But suppose the worst is true, and she does have dementia - *you are not in a position to care for her*. Remember this, please.

If your mother needs care, she should be cared for by someone who she hasn't physically assaulted.

As a first aider, one of the first things we're taught to look out for is danger. Remember that episode of House where the guy jumped into the suicide pit and put his body over someone else's body to protect her as a train ran over them both? Well - in all seriousness, and I am not one to belittle acts of heroism - that was definitely more dumb than heroic. That woman was just as capable of lying flat as he was. One person lying on top of another? Well, what if the "hero" had taken up too much space, and he'd gotten caught on the moving train - he could have dragged the woman along with him and put her in more danger than if she'd been lying there on her own! As it was, his young daughter was traumatized by watching her father put himself in danger of death. It would honestly been better if he'd raised the station alarm because then, the train might not have pulled into the station in the first place! I could go on but that act of "heroism" was dumb in more ways than I can reasonably go into here.

My point is, when I say don't get into self-sacrifice or endanger yourself, I'm not just saying that. I know people say it a lot, but they say it for a reason. That reason isn't "I'm all right Jack, pull up the ladder" it's "don't add to the body count and make more work for the emergency services". This is aside from the fact that your life and health are just as precious as anybody else's, but for realz, some things are just a bad idea and it's only the concept of "unselfishness" that tempts you to think otherwise.
posted by tel3path at 2:27 PM on February 11, 2013


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