DEAR ABBY: I need your help. Last week, my mother and I got into a huge fight, with her screaming at me, "I don't want you living here ever again!" I ran into my room in tears, hoping she didn't really mean what she said.
Yesterday, she put a 30-day notice on my door, telling me to move out. I'm 19, so it's probably legal for her to do this to me, but I don't want to go. I love my family. My father is no longer in the picture. I haven't seen him since I was 2. I love my house, my room, my life. I have nowhere to go. I have very little money, no skills, no job, no license and no car. My mother never taught me to be independent.
I don't understand why she's doing this. I don't drink or do drugs and I'm not promiscuous. I'm going to a junior college and getting good grades. My mother once promised me that if I went to college I could live with her.
I am terrified of being homeless. I'm terrified of losing my family. I could get raped or robbed, and if I don't find a job, I could starve to death. Even if I do find a place, what happens if I get sick or injured? No one will take care of me. I'm not ready to live on my own yet, and I resent her thinking that I can.
I have tried talking to her about this. All she said was, "I don't care what you do with your life. Just get out." I feel like an orphan. What should I do? Is there any way I can convince her to let me stay? I have nowhere else to turn. Please help me. -- TERRIFIED IN SANTA ROSA
DEAR TERRIFIED: It would have been helpful if you had mentioned what precipitated the "huge fight" that caused your mother to order you out. It might have given me an insight into her mental state. But because her mind seems to be made up, you must immediately talk to a counselor at school about student housing and employment that might be available.
Former president Franklin Delano Roosevelt once said, "The only thing we have to fear is fear itself." That statement applies to you. You WILL make it through this difficult time. You are not the only young person who has, by unfortunate circumstances, been forced to stand on her own two feet at a moment's notice. However, your first stop should be the school counselor's office, and your second at the financial office.