T Nation

Packin' Up and Leavin' a Toxic Family/State


This is going to be long; ADD and short-attention types beware!


I've lived a miserable 22 years of my life with an unloving family. Unloving? I haven't seen my parents (only marriage) kiss or hug for AS LONG AS I CAN REMEMBER! Weird. Very abnormal. I want to believe they are only together for the tax exemption aspect of life. There is no love in their relationship at all.

Right now, It's just me and my brother (I'm 22, he is 25) and we both agree that the family life we live is unlike any other we have witnessed. They always condescend upon each other, and it's grown to the point where it's affecting my own personal life. I can't grow and mature as a person living in the same zip code as my parents. My poor childhood upbringing has had a direct impact on my personal relationships with women. I do not know how to "love" anybody; past girlfriends have noticed this about me. I'm 'unloving' and I have no choice but to believe that i'm a product of my environment.

I know I sound like an immature high school kid that hates his restricting parents, but it's FAR worse than that. Anytime I get a positive or aspiring thought they both (especially mother) fucking shit all over it. Hard to explain, but negativity is rampant in my household.

The variable? My father makes $100,000+ annually in real-estate and my mother is around $80,000 (teacher for 35+years at same school district) living VERY comfortably in the suburbs of northern Pennsylvania. Why does this matter? The stereotype of a bad childhood is from a low income and financially struggling family that would spawn such a kid. Not so - not in the least.

I went to an out-of-town university for 2 years post-high school and did not do well at all. It was not for me. I was nearly forced to attend college in lieu of parental pressure. My personality type demands my own rules (i.e. self employed) and cannot develop normally around my projecting and condescending parents. Yes, they DID pay for college, albeit I wish they hadn't.

I recently visited a friend who packed-up and moved to Atlanta Georgia to become a police officer. The big-city atmosphere gave me goosebumps. My brain has been telling me to move down there to start a new life. I've been invited to live with him in Marietta, GA in a beautiful gated community in a quiet suburb of Atlanta at an amazing price (300 total with utilities/cable).

I want to go to school there and start a life outside of my current surroundings. A technical school for I.T. I want to do it on my own.


Anyone have experience packing up and PERMANENTLY moving out of their parental situation to start living a new life? It's scary financially, but long term makes it worth while. I know moving away would be best for me, but breaking ties with parents and other branches of family will not be easy. I know I can do it, but alot of planning HAS to be involved. I have my car insurance (I pay) with my dad, my car title I bought(with dad), and student loans (father is paying) I can afford. Not the problem.

What are my steps to break this off? It has to end. I know I answered my own question of whether or not I SHOULD move, but I'm asking if anyone has any experience in this department. It's sad in some ways, but for the long term aspect NEEDS to happen. I didn't choose who my parents are, but I CAN change who I will become in life regardless.


I have negative, loveless parents who are affecting the outcome of my life. I want to relocate to Atlanta GA to start life anew. What are some things I need to consider when breaking off all ties with parents (I'm 22) before packing up all my shit and getting the fuck out of this situation.

Sorry for the long post. This is something I need to discuss.

Thank you.


First off - kick ass. I've been supporting myself living far away from my parents for a while and it's very nice.

Make sure you have all identification, including birth certificate, ssn card, passport, anything else you may have. Make sure any bills you pay, or have paid for you that you'll take over, will get your new address.

And about spending, you'd be surprised how fast money goes when you start paying for EVERYTHING. So be cautious.

Other than all that it's just a matter of transporting your stuff. That's pretty much it.


Good advice. I personally don't think most people should still be living at home by the age of 22 unless they are still in school and this is just the arrangement until you are on your feet. I can understand about your parents.

Whether your reasons are a "loveless" family life, abusive parents, or overly strict parents, many of us have experienced something similar to varying degrees...which is why you should have been out already if you grew up like that.

There is no better feeling than being independent. Just realize, no one succeeds on their own...NO ONE. That means blowing your parents off completely would be the worst move possible. Until you are actually stable, living on your own will teach you real quick that resources don't last long no matter how well you plan.


Another good point.

I don't know what the situation is, but don't burn your bridges. Even if you feel like telling your parents off or giving them a loud and angry lecture about the REAL reason you're moving...resist the temptation. Don't let a little bit of emotional satisfaction in the short-term get in the way of long-term success.


Right, I'm not sure why the emphasis on ENDING THINGS with your parents.

Just make your plans, politely tell your mom and dad, ask is it ok if you let the insurance and whatever else stay as it is, ask how your father wants to handle the student loan, and get ready to go. This is what most people do at 22, without a great deal of fuss and bother.

If you must do something cataclysmic, tell your parents to fuck off and then leave. I'm not sure what the question is in that case.

You sort of sound like you're 16. The friend in Marietta...is he 22 also? How is it he's living in a beautiful suburban gated community on a new cop's salary and only needs to charge you $300/mo?


Good post...and great question.


I totally agree


I agree that you should not try to create any drama around leaving. I left home at 19 and knew I'd never be back, but I kept that thought to myself. I guess a little voice in my head kept saying, "Never say never...!"

My home life was stressful, but I worked full time and paid my parents room and board for at least a full year before I was ready to leave. I didn't try to make my folks feel bad or guilty (wouldn't have worked, I just would have sounded like an ungrateful jerk), I just explained that I thought it was time to get out and see what the world had to offer.

Our relationship improved with distance. I would like to say you should try not to leave in anger. Your parents are probably act the way they do because they were raised that way themselves. If they are a product of their own upbringing then good on ya for wanting to break the cycle.

I took very little with me as my parents let it be known that my "things" were theirs. (Desk, bed, etc.) So I left with some clothes, my stereo, and a couple of sentimental knick-knacks.

My first "apartment" was actually the unheated attic of a friend's apartment, where I slept on the floor in a sleeping bag the better part of the first year. I bought everything second hand and did without more often than not. I had to be very frugal.

I also had to learn how to grocery shop, cook and do laundry. My financial priorities were 1. Rent. 2. Car and insurance. 3. Groceries/utilities 4. Medical insurance.

There would never have been extra money for things like cable TV, cell phone, Internet connection, recreation, etc. It was bare bones for several years. I did go back and visit some holidays, but going back home (to live) was never an option for me.

If you feel that way then you should be forewarned: when your security involves others you may find yourself at the mercy of their whims. It's a dog eat dog world .... sometimes "friends" are going to make choices that will be in their best interest, not yours. So don't get caught holding your butt ... always have plan B!

Good luck!


ENDING THINGS would be worded better as GETTING AWAY.

His uncle is the manager of the community. My friend will get his rent at half price instead of 800/mo 2 bedroom, he will pay 400 in exchange for being a part time on site security guard.

He doesn't have to do anything but it's a way for them to save money on insurance for the whole complex. He's agreed to split rent from that. The kid is 25. Do I sound like I'm 16 because the rent is cheaper than you expected or what? I don't understand why in your post you felt the need to throw that in. I am here asking for help on relocating.

After re-reading what I wrote in the first post, I agree it did come off as a 'fuck you, I'm out' thing, but it's not like that. I'm sure they would prefer me to stay in the area but thats not the best move for me. The negative and loveless comments were meant to describe my parents relationship between themselves.


I went through something similar with my family a few years ago when I was in my late teens/early 20s. My family was definitely toxic and still is, albeit for different reasons.

My younger brother became a worthless meth addict fuckup and my parents enabled his behavior to a degree that was sickening and inexcusable. I won't go into detail but the situation was so fucked up that at 21 I had to get away from them.

I dropped out of school, moved out of my parents' house, cut all financial ties, and started supporting myself. It was the best thing I ever did.

Three years later my younger brother is 23, still lives at home, has no job, and spends his days playing video games in his room while yelling "MOMMMMMMMMM!" from across the house to demand service.

He's taking high school completion classes online, and the last time I visited home, I caught my mom doing his homework for him. He's now so maladjusted that he'll most likely never be able get out on his own. And it's all my parents' fault for coddling him to death.


Good post. There won't really be any drama when leaving, I'm sure they will be sad to see me go.

The hardest part is for me to type out a description of what my parents are like. I've made it come across as them being horrible people who hate my guts. It's more of just a bad home life with parents who don't like each other.

If they paid for my college they must care about me, and I'm sure they do. The problem lies in them not being able to understand that buying me shit doesn't change anything. I wish I had parents who liked each other. Since thats something out of my control, it's in my best interest to relocate 800 miles away.


I agree, I should have been out a long time ago Prof X. It came across that I wanted to leave in a 'fuck all of you, peace' kind of way but it isn't like that. Some of my words say otherwise but trust me, that's not how I want it to come across.

Their relationship wasn't abusive, I never said that. "Breaking ties" sounds like I'm telling them to never talk to me again, not the case. By "ties" I more leaning to "I'm moving to Georgia, goodbye".

As funny as it sounds, moving far away from my parents might actually make us closer. I'm willing to bet that after a year of living 800 miles away, I will have a better relationship with my parents than I do living 8 feet away.

What my plan was in making this topic was to hear stories and similar experiences from others. The story I laid out in the beginning didn't come out exactly as I wanted it to. When things from my brain make it's way to the keyboard some shit gets lost along the way.

Good posts from everyone, thank you.


I'm in similar situation with moving out, however my family is good its just i feel like its time for me too be my own man(i'm currently approaching 21), I just need to get a night time job and i'll be set.

I've figured out how much money a week i need to support myself and be able to save at the same time so I'm getting my RSA and RSG in the next couple of weeks, then start applying for night time jobs and hopefully save enough money to move out in the next 3-5 months


If you want to move across the country go for it, but trust me, all you really need to do is get out of the house. I lived at home until I was 21 and I was a miserable unhappy prick. 6 months after being on my own I was a different person and my relationship with family improved drastically.

That being said my family has all kinds of bullshit flying from house to house currently, so I myself am considering pretty much separating from them and starting a new. Best of luck to you. Remember, every family is weird.


do it! i just moved 3000 miles across the country to get away and never felt better. unlock the ball and chain!


It's like you live my life. My parents had an arranged marriage. It's strange, like they just tolerate each other.

And then on the other end of the scale, I just root anything that was born with a vagina and has great tits. Move out, enjoy life and don't burn your bridges.

You won't regret it.


I was "asked" to leave the day after my hihgschool graduation party, best thing my mom could have done for me. And yeah, it was a good party.

Maybe once the kids have left the nest your parents will find partners they like. Lifes to short.


I have found this to be very true. However, I have found that when the big shit has hit the fan, it was my friends and true family that were the ones that came through for me.


Why Atlanta? Just curious.


Hm. Maybe yes, maybe no. First of all, when you live 800 miles away you don't really have a relationship with anyone back home. What you can have (hopefully)is a cordial correspondence via phone and maybe the Internet. If that goes well then distance makes it easy to start thinking maybe all that bad stuff was just in your head. 'Till you go home for your first visit.

Truth be told, visiting was always lot harder for me to navigate than the leaving home part was. It felt too weird: Was I a guest? They sure didn't treat me like a guest! Was I family? Yes, but I wasn't interested in stepping back into my old role of family referee. Heck, that's why I left in the first place! Sure, everyone was on their best behavior for oh ... maybe all of 24 hours, which shortly after I would start eye-balling the door and wondering how soon I could bolt and high tail it back to Sanityville!

You'll have a better "relationship" with your folks after you leave because .... well, because you're not their problem anymore and they're not yours ... and that goes a long way toward making everyone a lot happier all the way around!

I think you'll do great ... go for it!