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hi guys, i've lurked the boards for a long time but never actually posted. However, I now have a pretty big problem that I don't know how to handle. It doesn't have to do with a romantic relationship, but instead a relationship with my parents.

I am 22 years old, the only child, and female. I will graduate from college in 5 days. My parents have been very overprotective my whole life, but it goes even further than that. I feel that I am completely under their thumb because of their manipulation, and I am afraid that our relationship is close to being completely destroyed because of my angry feelings for them.

When I was in high school, my parents would compare me to my friends and my mother would do things like cry if I didn't get into the National Honor Society (I missed it by four hundredths of a point). When it came time to go to college, I decided that I really wanted to look into music therapy as a major because I am very musical and I love to help people. However, to my parents, this wasn't an option, and they informed me that they would not be paying for my college if I chose this major. Since I figured that it was my life and my career, I offered to help pay for it, but they told me it would be absolutely impossible to get a loan because not only would no one actually give me one, but if they did it would require a co-signer, and if any of my grandparents co-signed they would never talk to them again. Reluctantly I applied to the journalism school at a state university and am about to graduate with a bachelor's degree. Throughout college, the quarters that I didn't make the dean's list, my mom would send me newspaper clippings of my friends that did and highlight their names. When my mother realized that I would only be starting out with a salary of about $26,000, she commented that "I should have done music therapy." She said this jokingly, but I found myself very angry by her comment and her previous actions.

Earlier this month, my mother was calling me every day after scouring job-search updates, and then calling me to make sure i applied to those companies. she would read my school newsletter and call me reminding me to go to certain job-hunting events. it was like she wanted some credit for any job I got so she could hold it over my head. After awhile, I applied and got offered a paid internship on my own. Instead of taking the internship, my mother advised me to "live at home and waitress for awhile," and later admitted that she just wanted me to stay at home. I get the feeling that they are absolutely terrified of me making my own decisions and becoming financially independent. I have not been allowed to have a credit card and when the discussion came up, they responded with a firm "no" without talking about it. It just wasn't an option. I am leaving college with absolutely no credit built up, which scares me. Since it has never been an option or barely ever discussed, I am completely in the dark about how to apply for one or what to look for.

These are just a few examples, but I really feel like my parents are using financial means to manipulate me. I realize that I am very lucky that my parents pay for everything, but they are also very controlling and my entire life has been changed because "they are paying for it." They constantly remind me of what a financial strain college is for them, which I can appreciate, but I OFFERED TO PAY FOR IT WITH LOANS and they refused to let me because they didn't want me to be a music therapist. Anyways, I have really been looking forward to next Saturday because I thought I would finally be out from underneath my parents, but it turns out that isn't the case. When I brought up the idea of going to the beach with my boyfriend and his family next week, my father refused to discuss it further than saying "no, you are not going, and if you disobey me you will be paying for your own car insurance and cell phone." Which is FINE with me, I would PREFER to pay for my own things, but I don't even know how to go about switching over car insurance and cell phone bills to my name. I feel like my parents have left me in the dark about this because they want me to have to depend on them for things like this, so that they can keep making decisions and justify them by saying "well, we pay for this, we paid for this, etc." I feel like the beach thing is the last straw, because it is a harmless beach trip for one week, my last chance to spend time with my boyfriend before we transition into a long-distance relationship for at least a year. It's not even about going to the beach, it's about being able to make my own decisions as an adult, but it seems that I am not allowed to do that. If I try to talk to them about this, they refuse to listen to me, I've tried. The sad thing is, the issues I have mentioned are just the tip of the iceberg with them. I find myself growing angrier and angrier with them every day for trying to control every aspect of my life.

I hope I don't sound like a spoiled brat here, because I know that I am VERY lucky that I have financial support. However, I feel like I am paying very much for that support by sacrificing my own life decisions. Any advice on how to handle this?

P.S. sorry this is so long.

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