Should I move out or not?

By Dr. Marie Hartwell-Walker

I have been physically/mentally abused since the 5th grade. That was the first time I was beaten. it was for running down the stairs, I ended up bleeding over the bathtub. The next few days I did not show to school. It was that way for a while. Now it is just the verbal abuse. Sometimes the occasional slap and/or arm pulling. Once in a while I feel like running off in the middle of the night after my dad and I have huge fights. There is one friend I tell everything to. She has been telling me to move away for at least the past two years (told me I can move in with her and her husband). I really do want to, but I am really scared. She said I can start handing/giving her some of my things little by little, that way when I finally have the guts to “run-off” in the middle of the night I won’t end up empty handed. I feel confused about this. Yes, there have been many times when I have been beaten for stupid reasons (like talking too loud or things like that), yet on the other hand there are times when I feel sorry for my parents. I do want to move out (so much) but I’m not sure I should, because sometimes I feel like it’s the wrong thing to do. what should I do?

A: I’m sure it’s very confusing. The very people who are supposed to love you and protect you and help you are the people who are hurting you. Make no mistake: What you are experiencing is domestic violence. Nobody deserves to be hurt. Nobody deserves to feel unsafe in her own home.

At 19, you have more options now than you did when you were small. You are in college so you are smart. You are old enough to work and take care of yourself if you have to. It would be hard to be on your own – but I suggest that it wouldn’t be any worse than being beaten and belittled. It’s not wrong to take care of yourself.

A place to start getting the information you need is the California Self Help Line. Go to the library or your friend’s house and check out this website. Do not do this research from home. It is often dangerous for someone in your position to use the home computer because abusers sometimes monitor the computer history.

I’m so glad you have a friend who is willing to help you. You are lucky indeed to have a place to go. But leaving is only half the solution. The other half is dioing the therapeutic work you need to do to rebuild your self-esteem and self-respect. You already know that staying home isn’t going to change a thing. If you get out and get strong, you may find there are ways to help your parents as well as yourself. That looks to me to be a better future than the one you have now. Plese think about it.

I wish you well.
Dr. Marie

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Last reviewed: By John M. Grohol, Psy.D. on 11 Jun 2010

APA Reference
Hartwell-Walker, D. (2010). Should I move out or not?. Psych Central. Retrieved on December 18, 2014, from http://psychcentral.com/ask-the-therapist/2010/06/11/should-i-move-out-or-not/