I am living with my boyfriend (who I will call Risuki) in his kind mother's house. We've been doing well so far, even having room to occasionally house a friend. Something has come up that has stressed me out to the point where distraction, fresh air, and meditation are not enough to calm my stress and anxiety. Risuki has an older sister who is married and has two toddlers. Apparently, they have to move back down to the house that I live in. I don't mind moving our mattress, computers, and everything else to one of the smaller rooms to make way, but I do mind them coming here because I hate them so g*****n much.
I dislike Risuki's older sister because, long story short and without too much detail, it was ultimately her decision that had my boyfriend sent to mental institutions multiple times, given medications for mental illnesses he never had and now has scars both mentally and physically from it. He is still healing from it, even though it's been at least 3 years since he's been out.
I despise his brother-in-law. I had said something that, while I didn't intend it to, sounded hateful about one of their family members and this man contacted Risuki and I on Facebook. What I assumed was just going to be a lecture turned out to be manipulation and downright awful behavior. He not only tried to tell a lie about something Risuki said about me with my back turned, but he tried to scare us into believing the cops were watching the house. This man scares me to a level where I feel like my life is being threatened by him.
I know this isn't about me. This is not my house, and they're not my family. However I cannot return to mine, for my mom doesn't even have a bed for me. I don't have friends nearby who would house me or my boyfriend. We don't have a vehicle yet, but we're planning on working some small jobs in web design and programming to earn some money.
I can't bring myself to talk about this to my boyfriend, as he was stressed out when he brought it up with me.
I suppose the question is, what do I do? I want to channel my inner dragon and not be so frightened, but I'm scared for my life as if I'll be slain. I'm sure he won't kill me, but I am afraid he can put me in a position where I'm helpless, alone, or even homeless. My boyfriend assured me that this wouldn't happen, but I can't help but feel that it's a major possibility.
-Roarar (age 21, Arkansas)
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Sorry for the delay in writing you. A question: do you or your bf have ANY prospects for employment other than these small jobs you mention? I mean, regular employment? What education do you and he have?
This will help with my reply.
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My boyfriend has a rather large plan in mind involving his programming skills, but he would probably prefer that I keep the details on it secret. Other than that, no. We're in a rural area with not much in the way of being hired elsewhere and his mother's car being the only vehicle available if she's not at work.
We both took one year of college, then had some scholarship problems and dropped. It's likely we'll go back in the future, but we want a more stable income before doing something like that.
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Sometimes I receive letters from furries that sound as if they expect Papabear to have a Magic Bag of Tricks to pull out an amazing, pain-free, labor-free solution to a difficult problem. No such luck. There are two possible courses for you here: in the first course, you can try and resolve your differences with your mate’s sister and husband; in the second course, you fast track a way out of Risuki’s mother’s house and find your own place.
Let’s talk about Option 1 first. From my outsider’s view, since I don’t know you, Risuki, or his sister, is it possible that Risuki actually needed to go to a mental health facility? Such places are usually short on space, and they just don’t lightly admit someone because a family member says they are ill. Perhaps his sister thought she was doing the right thing. I’m sure it wasn’t pleasant for your boyfriend at all, and so he complains bitterly to you about the injustice of it all, but perhaps you should try to look at it from his sister’s viewpoint or, at least, more objectively. Mental illness is nothing to be ashamed of; as with any other illness, it is not a person’s fault or failing and treatment sometimes can help. Is he on meds today? Has he recovered at all? You don’t say why his sister thought he should go there, so I need more information on that one. Instead of being so confrontational with his sister, try talking to her and understanding her point of view. This is not me taking her side, understand; this is me trying to make sure that you aren’t reacting angrily without really thinking this through. As for her husband, well, that could easily be a misunderstanding as well. Again, communication is key. As soon as you shut and lock that door so that no more communication occurs, there can be nothing but anger and bitterness (aka “channeling your inner dragon”). If you simply get pissed off, the situation will escalate and escalate, and you can imagine what the ultimate result would be. Anger is never a solution. The smart dragon reasons things out.
Oh, and where does Risuki's mother stand in all of this? How did she feel about him going to a hospital? Could she, perhaps, serve as mediator between the two sides?
Of course, there certainly is the possibility that Risuki’s sister and husband are simply unpleasant, ugly people. Such people do exist in the world, and in that case there is nothing much you can do about it, but you should try, first, to see if your relationship can’t be repaired.
If it can’t, then you certainly don’t want to remain where you are. That would be like having a Pandora’s Box in the kitchen waiting to be opened. All of you: you, Risuki, his sister, and husband, should not be living with Mom. Sadly, despite claims by the government that the economy has recovered, the reality is that the job market in the U.S. remains terrible, and the trend for children to move back in with parents has become commonplace.
It sounds like you need some help with strategies for moving out. You say you were both in college for a year (odd that you should both leave college simultaneously for the same reason), and I’m guessing your “scholarship problems” were related to your not keeping your grades up, since many scholarships are dependent on your doing well academically (also guessing that neither of you were on a sports scholarship). I will tell you frankly right now that no company is going to hire Risuki for his “programming skills” without a college degree or at least some kind of certification. I’m also highly suspicious of anyone who says they have “secret” plans for making an income. Frankly, that sounds either illegal or absurd to my ears.
To get a job as a computer programmer, you need one of two things (or both): a college degree OR an impressive portfolio of projects you have accomplished that you can show to prospective employers. These are what employers are looking for. You might ask about certificates. Good question. Getting certified in one of the many disciplines in programming can be done fairly quickly, and then you get a snazzy paper that declares you are “certified” in C++ or whatever. However, the reality is that the whole business of certificates is mainly a money-maker for lame mall colleges and diploma mills such as Kaplan “University” (such places should be outlawed, IMO; always check out schools to see if they are legitimate before enrolling). They can cost a lot and, in the end, probably won’t get you a job or even qualify you for one (here’s a great article about that).
Another option is the government. Places like the NSA, FBI, and CIA are in constant need of people who are skilled in Internet security, and they don’t, frankly, give a damn about college degrees. The government is hiring people as fast as it can who know about hacking and how to stop it. If this is a skill you or Risuki have, then you are golden. The government will even forgive a criminal record if you can show them you can stop places like China and Russia from hacking into their databases (http://www.fastcompany.com/3000879/nsa-wants-hackers-and-it-wants-them-its-side).
That aside, there actually are other certification courses in other fields that you could explore, offering you a quicker way to get an education in a high-paying field. Here is a list of great jobs you can get without a college degree.
Other options: if you are interested in teaching, there is a program for college loan forgiveness if you become a teacher at an inner-city or other poor school system; and, there is always the military, which offers programs to help you save for college. This might sound dangerous, but if you’re a programmer you’re probably not going to be put on the front lines and shot at. There are lots of behind-the-scenes jobs in the military. You will, however, have to get through basic training.
Anyway, if college is not an option, the best thing Risuki (and you, if you can program, too) is to get jobs doing unique and challenging projects that require you to come up with unique solutions. Build up that portfolio and show it to potential employers (which will mean moving out of your rural, isolated Arkansas home, of course, since that’s not exactly Silicon Valley).
You also need to get some income now. Since you obviously have an Internet connection (or else I wouldn’t be reading your letter), you should go online and check out two sites offered by the State of Arkansas: Arkansas Joblink and the Arkansas Department of Workforce Services, both of which are intended to expedite job searches for people such as yourself. Take advantage of the programs your state has to offer, including those listed here:
North Arkansas College (NAC)
South Campus at 1515 Pioneer Drive; North Campus at 1320 Spring Road; Center Campus at 303 N. Main, Harrison, AR 72601, 870-743-3000
Provides a wide variety of vocational classroom training courses plus freshman and sophomore level class for transfer to a four-year college. Day and night classes are available.
Educational Opportunity Center (NAC)
303 N. Main, (North Arkansas College Center Campus), Harrison, AR 72601, 870-391-3129 or 870-391-3130 or 1-800-257-8690 outside of Harrison.
9 am to 4 pm Monday-Friday, other hours by appointment.
Provides information about available resources which can assist adults age 19+ in obtaining post secondary education. Administers assessment, career interest inventory. Assists with applications to post secondary schools and for financial aid.
Arkansas Department of Human Services (DHS)
2126 Capps Road, Harrison, AR 72601, 870-741-6107
8 am to 4:30 pm Monday-Friday
Helps needy families meet their basic needs by providing assistance with TEA, food stamps, Medicaid, children and family services issues, day care, aging and adult services, developmental disabilities and services for the blind and disabled.
Arkansas Rehabilitation Services
705 W. Sherman, Harrison, AR 72601, 870-741-7153
8 am to 4:30 pm Monday-Friday
Provides assessment, testing, and other activities that help put persons with disabilities to work by providing counseling, training and job placement.
Northwest Regional Housing Authority
114 Sisco, Harrison, AR 72602, 870-741-5522
7 am to 5 pm Monday-Friday
Provides rental assistance based on household income. Family Self-Sufficiency Programs helps people become free from assistance through education and employment. Serves Boone (except Harrison), Baxter, Carroll, Madison, Marion, Newton and Searcy counties.
Ozark Share & Care
105 Highway 62-65 Bypass, Harrison, AR 72601, 870-741-3130
Office (Emergency assistance) 1-4 pm Monday-Thursday.
Thrift Store 9 am to 4:30 pm Monday-Friday, 9 am to 4 pm on Saturday.
Provides emergency assistance such as food, rent, utilities, gasoline, medicines, clothing, car seats, coats, fans, USDA commodity distribution to 13 smaller pantries. Holiday food boxes and gift program for needy children in Boone County.
Serves young people between the ages of 16 and 24 by providing them with free basic education training and vocational training. Live on campus while you attend training.
You don’t need to search jobs on your own. Take advantage of the many services out there that can help you and your boyfriend. And! if you are so inclined, also consult with local churches about assistance programs and even job help. Some churches are actually good at helping those with low income or who are unemployed (churches vary a lot, so hopefully you have a good one nearby). And still another option! The Salvation Army, which is an outstanding organization willing to help anybody. Talk to them as well.
I hope at least some of this helps you and Risuki. Time to take charge of your life and not let circumstances (such as lack of control concerning with whom you live) rule you.
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