DEAR ABBY: I am 24 and graduated from college with a bachelor's degree in criminal justice. I am currently living with my parents. They are a bit controlling and hate resistance from me. I grew up doing everything they told me with no personal opinions of my own, until I met my fiance a year ago. He has helped me gain the strength to speak up and let my thoughts be known.
We're trying to save enough money to live together. Mom has made it clear that she doesn't like that idea because we're not married yet. She and Dad are also unhappy that I no longer want to work in the field my degree is in. (I worked for a sheriff's office for a couple of months and was treated horribly, then I was fired.)
I have told my parents repeatedly that this is my life, but it seems to do no good. Do you have any suggestions on what I should say to them about these issues? -- GROWN-UP GIRL IN ALABAMA
DEAR GROWN-UP GIRL: You appear to be a bright young woman who was raised to be submissive and compliant. That may be the reason working at the sheriff's office didn't work out for you.
Rather than turn your back on the profession you trained for, you need to learn to be more assertive. That way you won't be dependent on anyone else for the strength to voice your opinions, or live your life according to the standards you set for yourself. Sometimes it isn't what you say, but the conviction with which the words are spoken that carries the most important message.
P.S. Return to the college from which you graduated and talk to a counselor there about the various career options in your field for someone with your degree. Surely there are more opportunities than working at that sheriff's office.