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Family Relations/I want to cut all ties with my entire family but...?


Hi, I'm a 22 yr old female, I've basically decided to leave my family for what I think "for good" and once I make this move I have to cut all ties. Okay so a little bit about my family, Arab/Muslim, very traditional, view females as "second class" citizens, want to feed peoples talk, meaning that they would satisfy peoples talk more then satisfying themselves,  I grew up with 8 girls and one little brother, 2 older sisters married and one divorced, went through arranged marriages as I will have to go through one too, they're not very happy with their marriages, mom was married off at 13 yrs old to my Father who was at the time 30, it's normal in some places in the middleast, so he basically raised her, my dad is VERY controlling, physically and mentally abusive, although he doesn't constantly hit but he would hit if he can and he will, this rubbed off on my mom also, they don't hit me but again they would if they find a good reason to, (ex. my dad hit my 30 yr old sis when she was arguing with my mom). They're very over protective, considering we are girls and in their culture girls are the face of the family, we are not allowed to do anything, and I mean anything, no hanging out with friends no going out to eat, no driving, just staying at home 24/7 except the only thing I am thankful about is they let me go to college and I'm very thankful, but at the same time, I'm so limited to what I can do, like my parents expect me to do pharmacy and I'm horrible at chemistry and I just don't have many opened options, other then that we could only go to the grocery store which is like a block away from our house if we have money, my dad let me work as a work study which is funds from the government, and I can't have a job outside school. Now about me, Ive "evolved" from Islam, I don't consider myself a Muslim, although I do wear the head scarf and the whole dress thing cuz my parents expect me too, my parents have no idea I'm no longer a Muslim, i don't want to label myself as anything according to religion, I can't take more of religion period. I'm i happy? No I'm not, I want to be free and be my own person but I can't do that with my family, can I try to be happy with what I have going for me now? I can try and pretend, becuase I go to school and atleast I have something going for me, but other then that I can't be, now I've waited my entire life for this chance, I have a chance to leave on Friday, but im very scared now, I can't tell my family anything cuz they won't let it happen, and I decided to leave them a note, I know this is the right thing to do for myself, but I know my sisters and my mother will go through so much, it will traumatize them because my initial plan is just to go to school and not come back home cuz that's the only way I can leave, and I feel horrible, I feel really really bad, I'm second guessing everything, it's either now or I will have to live my life like the way it is now. I don't want to regret this, because again, once I do this I can't go back. As an outsider, what do you think?

You live in America. This is a country founded on people following their dreams. You are living in what sounds like a nightmare. Being free from oppressive things can radically change your life. The down side is that you may not be able to be in contact with SOME of your family. There will be other who will gladly keep in touch with you because they wanted to do what you are doing. Good luck. Remember you are free to do what you like in this country within reason.


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Dr. David Simonsen


I am a licensed Marriage & Family therapist with a Ph.D. in Psychology. I work primarily with teens and families on a weekly basis. You will get the straight truth. I will not pull punches.


I have been working daily with teens and families for the last 10 years.


M.S. in Marriage & Family Therapy; Ph.D. Psychology

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