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Need advice - school/family debacle

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Throughout high school, I was unsure which program I wanted to major in, much less what I wanted to do with my life. Hence, due to the incessant pleas of my mom who is a single mother, I entered university for an arts program with the initial mindset of entering law school post-undergrad to become a lawyer.

However, after two years in school, I've realized that my passion lies in kinesiology and that I would like to become a chiropractor. I broached this with my mom this past summer, informing her of the possibility of me changing programs. Having harboured dreams of me, her only child, becoming a lawyer ever since I was 6-years-old, she refused to let me switch majors; she "knew what's better for [me]", she said. I conceded, temporarily convinced by whatever she said.

After much introspection and option-weighing, I decided that I definitely want to pursue chiropractic education - it is the only thing I could envision myself being happy doing. I neglected to relay this to my mom, however, and to her complete unawareness, I am currently working full-time to earn tuition for school (chiropractic college to which I have applied for next year). She thinks I am attending school full-time with the intention of taking the LSATs.

I realized (only belatedly) that this was the most foolish thing I could do. It's becoming a little more than tiring to put up this facade, not to mention the guilt that accompanies the dishonesty. If I let my mom know now what I have been doing behind her back, she will surely kick me out which will crumble my own plans to become a chiropractor; moreover, I do not want to be completely ostracized from my family for having deceived her.

Any advice?

Edited by senorita_chan
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Over the long-haul of your life, it sounds like you already know and have gone to great lengths to do what is better for yourself, which is switching your focus in school and working hard to achieve it. To reiterate, there are few long-term heartaches as heavy as pursuing a career purpose that is someone else's, but not yours. That the someone else is your mother only complicates things slightly, because your more important decision is still to do what is best for yourself than trying to let your mother "down" in the least painful way possible.

Now, if she is going to kick you out for as irrational a reason as pursuing your own goals, you certainly do not have an obligation to tell her that you have changed them at all. If she would otherwise support you, let her support you in her continued ignorance. Later on, she may come around and realize how awful her decisions were. But if you honestly think she would kick you out now if she discovered the truth, you should have a backup plan. Keep your possessions safe, know how you would access them or remove them in a worse-case-scenario, and research housing or apartment options.

Lastly, if you can afford it, move out on your own accord. You might tell your mother what is going on beforehand, or after, if you care about her and want her to be a part of your life. But make it clear that you are deciding things on your own and that if she cares about you, she will not try to stop you. After getting used to a "new" you, many times family members will come around later, realize that you were always the same, and let it go.

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I cannot help but point out that a large part of Peter Keating's problems were in allowing his mother to steer his life (later that became a habit with allowing ANYONE to steer his life), even to the point of a career choice. he wanted to be an artist (no doubt he would have been a bad one) but Peter allowed her to push him into architecture.

I am glad to see that you are not making this mistake.

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I realized (only belatedly) that this was the most foolish thing I could do. It's becoming a little more than tiring to put up this facade, not to mention the guilt that accompanies the dishonesty. If I let my mom know now what I have been doing behind her back, she will surely kick me out which will crumble my own plans to become a chiropractor; moreover, I do not want to be completely ostracized from my family for having deceived her.

It's a tough position, but hopefully you understand now that you have helped to create it.

Whatever your family thinks is just treatment for deceiving your mother is already set, since your dishonesty is already committed. What did you think they were going to do when they found out about the deception? which they were sure to do. If you don't reveal it now, for fear of this, you simply desire unearned respect from them, don't you think?

Your last statement makes it sound as though you are somehow receiving support from your mother. If she is supporting you under certain terms and would not do so under the ones you have obtained, then you are committing a sort of fraud, dont you think? The fact that it would hurt your plans to go to school doesn't make it any less of a fraud.

So the question is, how much conviction do you hold for being a chiropractor? Your plans won't crumble, but they might be slowed down significantly. But if it is something that burns inside of you to do, then that shouldn't be an issue.

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I was not going to reply to this thread, but I read JASKN's reply and I strongly disagree. I do not know your entire situation, but I advise you to let your mother know you are going to be pursuing your own goals and your own happiness, and that she can either approve or disapprove of your career decision but she does not have a say in what your decision will be. While I do believe she is being a bit irrational, I very strongly disagree that you should continue accepting her help while deceiving her. You should accept her help on her terms, or you should not accept her help at all. I am inclined to believe that she would not go to the extreme of kicking you out, but I do not know her or you personally. If she does, then you should comply with her wishes, and I believe she would eventually come to her senses and figure she was wrong. My advice would be to simply take out a loan to finance the remainder of your education, and use the funds that you are earning to move away.

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This issue is distinct from the question of whether you should be honest with your mother, but according to my limited understanding, chiropractic is not a legitimate medical field. It does not properly use the scientific method and makes many non-testable claims. It is not widely respected within the medical profession, and there has been debate within the AMA as to whether real doctors should even associate with chiropractors. Like many sham fields, chiropractors will often begin a defense of their field by attacking evidence-based medicine in favor of subjective "vitalistic" validation.

Back to the issue at hand, most respected chiropractic colleges require a bachelors degree for applicants. (You should question any institution that claims to make you a "doctor" without one.) If you are truly unable to pursue your dreams on your own, you might consider choosing a degree plan that allows you to pursue both options after graduation, and promise your mother a reevaluation of your plans when you near graduation. It it is entirely possible that you might be passionate about other fields. I doubt your mother will be heartbroken if you choose to be a surgeon instead of a lawyer.

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I think what is terrible is what the mother is doing more than anything. She is cajoling you into a career you have no interest in and that would not make you happy. You life is yours to live, not hers. You're the one more than anyone else that has to live with the consequences of your decisions, and you know yourself better than anyone else.

So, pursuing your life and happiness should be your goal. However, it’s also true that you are making a mistake by not being forth coming. If you're forth coming, you will free yourself up from this conflict and will be happier.

Now, if you don't think you can stand up to your mother, then one idea is to write out on paper as clearly as you're able why being a chiropractor is a value to you, and also write out as clearly as you are able why you have no interest in being a lawyer. If you do that you will know better in your mind why you believe what you do and you will be better able to convince your mother of your intentions. If she is hard to convince, then you'll have to make a stand and show your mother that you are serious about it.

Btw, this battle will help you in the future in other contexts when you have to stand up to other people. You'll have more confidence if you're able to stand up for your convictions.

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...but according to my limited understanding, chiropractic is not a legitimate medical field.

All I know is that when orthopedics, their drugs and their massage therapist could not get rid of my back pain several years ago, the chiropractor did. And for the long term. I honestly don't know much about it or what the medical community thinks about it, I am just forever grateful to not be writhing on my couch in complete agony any longer. And since my insurance paid for it, they must find it legitimate treatment. I'm sure there are good chiropractors and bad chiropractors, but there are good doctors and bad doctors for that matter.

For whatever it's worth, I decided to go with the same chiropractor that the Houston Astros use. I figure if they trust their multi-million dollar bodies to this guy, I could trust mine to him. :P

Edited by K-Mac
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All I know is that when orthopedics, their drugs and their massage therapist could not get rid of my back pain several years ago, the chiropractor did.

The same argument can be given for going to church every Sunday. Religion does make people feel better, but that says nothing about the validity of its claims. Acupuncture may indeed relieve pain, but aspirin is much cheaper and can work just as well. The effectiveness of a treatment means that there is some physiological or psychosomatic mechanism, but does not validate any particular hypothesis.

My girlfriend has severe back pain due to scoliosis, and through trial and error, I've learned to give her back massages to alleviate her pain. Some mechanism is involved, but I doubt it proves chiropractor's claims that medically undetectable "vertebral subluxations" are responsible for every illness in the body.

By the way, until the courts forced the AMA to accept chiropractors in a 1983 antitrust(!) ruling, the official position of the AMA held that it is "unethical for medical doctors to associate with an "unscientific practitioner", and labeled chiropractors "an unscientific cult."

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Your last statement makes it sound as though you are somehow receiving support from your mother. If she is supporting you under certain terms and would not do so under the ones you have obtained, then you are committing a sort of fraud, dont you think?
I do not know your entire situation, but I advise you to let your mother know you are going to be pursuing your own goals and your own happiness, and that she can either approve or disapprove of your career decision but she does not have a say in what your decision will be.
Sometimes parents do crazy things to their kids, and not in a good way. In this case, it's offering to help a child early on in her career, letting the child make plans, and then withdrawing the help for an irrational reason. She actually did have a say in her child's decisions. It's terrible, and is not the kid's problem. My advice was under the "Parent-Kid" category, and doesn't apply toward adult-to-adult. If a parent is still offering to treat their child as a child, that is, at least provide financial support in some way, that is how I would define the relationship. Once she moves out, the relationship changes.

Now, the issue of standing up for your decisions and doing what you want anyway is another topic. I can imagine a child who would do that while avoiding getting kicked out of the house, per this scenario.

On chiropractors, I was unaware that they are considered illegitimate in the medical fields. In fact, the thought never entered my mind, because every time I go to a chiropractor I feel like a thousand bucks when I leave. There must be something to it.

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senorita_chan, Have you looked into Osteopathy?

I have three sisters who are DOs (Doctors of Osteopathy) - 2 Radiologists and an ENT specialist. They claim that the first Chiropractor, Palmer, 'dropped out' of KCOM (Kirksville College of Osteopathic Medicine).

Osteopaths tend to be the butt of jokes because they are not MDs. It is interesting to note that one of my sisters also said that KCOM is the only med school in the US chartered to grant MDs and DOs. They don't stamp degrees with the ol' MD because they think osteopathy is superior. Much of this info is difficult to verify online because my primary tool is Wikipedia.

Anyway, it seems to me that chiropractors might use some techniques of early osteopathic manipulation. Unfortunately, a large number seem to cling to Palmer's unverifiable ideas. After a quick Wikipedia search of 'Chiropractics', I stumbled upon several types of chiropractics. One type, reform chiropractics, distances itself from many of the ideas of early chiropractics and associate with more legitimate medical practitioners.

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Sometimes parents do crazy things to their kids, and not in a good way. In this case, it's offering to help a child early on in her career, letting the child make plans, and then withdrawing the help for an irrational reason. She actually did have a say in her child's decisions. It's terrible, and is not the kid's problem. My advice was under the "Parent-Kid" category, and doesn't apply toward adult-to-adult. If a parent is still offering to treat their child as a child, that is, at least provide financial support in some way, that is how I would define the relationship. Once she moves out, the relationship changes.

Correction: it is the kid's problem. I think this is one of those situations that is at the border of the "Parent-Kid" relationship, and so it is questionable to think about it that way.

I don't think there is an obligation to either a college education, or room and board after a child is of age. Nothing that would be under the "Parent-Kid" heading. If a parent chooses to support their child in pursuit of long range goals, then that is their perogative and they can set the terms. It is a trade like any other, and while it may have a specific spiritual component for the parent (i.e. they accept very little of tangible value in return), it is not an obligation.

Nor do I think that providing room and board in any way confers an obligation on the provision of anything else, under changed terms.

The minute children start thinking they are owed a college education, they start doing weird things like resenting their parents for not providing it, and defrauding their parents when they don't like the terms of financing. They see the prospect of having it so much harder without their support and all of a sudden it is a big issue. When we ask ourselves if all things being equal we'd like to be a lawyer, doctor, poet, or chiropractor, the choice is easy - we do what we want to do. When however, it becomes a) I can be a doctor and have an easy time financing my education or b.) I can be a chiropractor and have an exceedingly difficult time financing it, then our love of something takes on a new meaning.

Thinking one is owed prevents one from really digging in and determining how much they value some believed purpose. If one burns to be a poet so much that they don't much care if their parents support them or not, then that's a sense of purpose. Only in digging down to that level do they understand it, and the only way to do that is to forget about what you're owed, or how irrational your parents are and face the choices you have, as yours.

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I think it might be helpful to lay out all options and evaluate each in turn.

First, let's assume you don't tell your mother that you're studying chiropractic. Either you continue to study chiropractics, or you switch back to pursuing law. You seem to think both the former and latter cases are intolerable, either because of the strain on your relationships or a career you cannot stand. I'm in a somewhat similar situation, I scored a 163 on my LSATs but I just cannot stand law and refuse to pursue it as a career. Philosophy is no money-maker, but it's what I love. Back to the point, though, it seems neither of these are options. Both will degrade your self-worth and ultimate happiness.

Second, let's assume you tell your mother. She will either kick you out or begrudgingly continue to support you. In the latter case, there is no problem. In the former, though you will have acted with integrity and honesty, you will find your life much more difficult. I agree with a person who posted above, there's no imperative to act right away, so you could try to build up some money in the next couple months and do some apartment hunting before you break the news. If I have understood you correctly, though, this is your only acceptable option, which means that there is only to consider how you execute the plan. Think of what you will tell her, try to stress how miserable you would be to practice law and how fulfilling it is to practice chiropractics. Maybe talk to friends or other relatives that you trust, ask them if they have a place you could stay in case she kicks you out. Maybe eat the biggest, most expensive meal out of her fridge before you talk--just in case. It'll be tough to pay for housing, transportation, food, electric, taxes, and tuition. No parties, no frivolities, no TV, cheap food, lots of stress. But if you're passionate, it's worth it.

Hope that helps. All the best.

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If one burns to be a poet so much that they don't much care if their parents support them or not, then that's a sense of purpose.
That is a good separate point, and I also agree generally that parents don't owe their kid a college education after the kid can support himself on his own, at least working a menial job.

But it is clear to any kid what parents intend to do after high school graduation, and he can thus plan for it. And in those cases, it does fall under "Parent-Kid" category, because after he plans based on his parents' decisions, the kid is in no position to support himself. Most college kids don't know what they want going into school, and maybe don't even know they don't know, so I don't think it's reasonable to expect them to provide beforehand a bunch of caveats to parents about the "terms" of their college arrangements with them. Assuming that the new decisions are still rational pursuits, not something like underwater-basket weaving, and assuming the parent is going to do something drastic like kick the kid out, or withdraw college funds (though, I might be swayed that deception about this is crossing a line), the obligation is still on the parent, not the kid. It is probably in the kid's better interest to remove himself from the situation, so in that respect it is the kid's problem, but the situation is the fault of the parent.

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The same argument can be given for going to church every Sunday. Religion does make people feel better, but that says nothing about the validity of its claims. Acupuncture may indeed relieve pain, but aspirin is much cheaper and can work just as well.

I don't recall Church being quite so painful nor do I remember ever liking it or it making me feel better...weird comparison. And frankly, I don't care about any of that other stuff...had aspirin (or any of the other expensive meds that made me feel like crap) worked, I would have been just as happy with them. The simple fact of the matter is, modern medicine failed me. They gave me drugs and sent me out the door in so much pain that I couldn't even drive myself home. After three trips to the chiropractor, the pain was gone and has yet to return (5 years or so later.) There's got to be something to that, no?? Either way, better for me to get back to being at work and being happy than laying around miserable waiting for MDs to do nothing.

I would like to add that I was HIGHLY skeptical of seeing a chiropractor because of all the "stuff" you hear. I was simply desperate for relief and damn near ready to try anything anyone would have suggested. I do not, however, think I was so desperate that I imagined the pain the first place and imagined it going away and staying away for this amount of time. If my imagination were that strong, surely I wouldn't have needed all that Percoset when my leg was broken last winter.

And just because doctors are reluctant to accept something, does not mean it's crap. As evidenced by this article I recently read, doctors and nurses were hesitant to use simple checklists, but as you can read for yourself, the use of them is highly effective in both saving significant numbers of lives as well as millions of dollars.

Trust me, I'm not the kind of person that buys into "snake oil" type treatments, but for my condition and my situation, the chiropractor was as good as gold to me.

Edited by K-Mac
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  • 2 weeks later...

"Results from observational studies suggest that back pain patients are more satisfied with chiropractic care than with medical care. In meta-analyses of clinical outcomes of spinal manipulation for back pain, some researchers have concluded that spinal manipulation is more effective than a placebo,whereas others have argued that no conclusion can be drawn from existing evidence."

From:

Comparing the Satisfaction of Low Back Pain Patients Randomized to Receive Medical or Chiropractic Care: Results From the UCLA Low-Back Pain Study. By: Hertzrnan-Miller, Ruth P., Morgenstern, Hal, Hurwitz, Eric L., Fei Yu, Adams, Alan H., Harber, Philip, Kominski, Gerald F., American Journal of Public Health, 00900036, Oct2002, Vol. 92, Issue 10

I wouldn't rule chiropractic out as an option if you have any kind of back pain.

I had a constant pain problem a few years ago. For a few months, I did what the MDs told me to do. No luck. I still cried it hurt so much and tried to fix it with alcohol. I was willing to try anything within reason. I went to a chiropractor and was doing much better a few months later.

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I had a constant pain problem a few years ago. For a few months, I did what the MDs told me to do. No luck. I still cried it hurt so much and tried to fix it with alcohol. I was willing to try anything within reason. I went to a chiropractor and was doing much better a few months later.

It's great that your back felt better, but it doesn't prove that the chiropractic treatment helped you, and it certainly doesn't validate their ridiculous "science."

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  • 4 weeks later...
It's great that your back felt better, but it doesn't prove that the chiropractic treatment helped you, and it certainly doesn't validate their ridiculous "science."

Hmmm...my sister started going to see a chiropractor a few years ago. She has scoliosis - within a few months she was actually closer to what her height is (her scoliosis improved by several degrees and she was actuall a few inches taller.)

She felt much better, looked better and wasn't in pain anymoore. She wasn't being treated by any other doctor for her condition. The results are directly related to her treatment at the chiropractor.

I do believe it worked for her. I have known several people that have gotten a great amount of relief. Many patients have xrays done before they start treatment, and then in the future after they have had treatment for a while. So that doens't prove it is effective?

I think the problem is with the profession is that the treatment does not work for everyone. That is one of the reasons so many people think they are quacks. But that doesn't mean it doesn't work. It just doesn't work for everyone.

I have been treated for a mild seizure disorder. The treatment my neurologist tried was a common one - and it didn't do much for me. That didn't mean he was a quack, just that my body was not responding to that particular treatment. Some don't respond well to chiropractic treatment - that doesn't mean it is a psuedo science.

Here is another reason why I think the profession gets a bad rap: the treatment is usually more maintanence after a while. That's why people talk about going to get adjusted. Some times a persons body gets out of whack and needs some help getting back inline. So there are those that think because the doctor cannot cure them, well he must just be a quack. I look at it in the same way some people have to be on certain medications all the time to maintain their health.

David - good for you though for helping your girlfriend - the massages are not the same thing as making chiropractic adjustments, but you are "adjusting" her are you not? I have another sister that is a massage therapist. She has regular clients to come to her once a month - and those massages help them physically feel better, and stay healthy.

It's the same idea - except chiropractors are more likely to do serious damage if something goes wrong than a massage therapirst, hence why they need a LOT more schooling.

Just my two cents. And sorry for the rambling -as you probably have observed when we see each other in person, I am not too coherent after 9PM hahah.

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It is possible that chiropractors have hit on at least some things that help with back problems, despite the lack of scientific study into their actual methods.

Remember, there are at least a few "traditional" solutions to illnesses that were hit on by trial and error before science was able to confirm the processes involved.

Are chiropractors legitimate doctors? No. But they may have hit on something. The anecdotal evidence that SOMETHING they do provides some relief is at least enough to warrant some study into the methods and any relation to what they do. No such study, as far as I know, has ever been attempted.

David: While there is no strictly scientific evidence confirming that chiropractors have a legitimate medical method for back relief, the weight of anecdotal evidence warrants at least, I think, a scientific look into what they do. And if someone thinks that the anecdotal evidence warrants a tryout for their own problems, if it is not an excessive expense for them, I also do not see anything wrong with that.

Also,

I doubt it proves chiropractor's claims that medically undetectable "vertebral subluxations" are responsible for every illness in the body.

I have yet to hear of a chiropractor who reccommends a trip to their office for the flu. Please show some validation for the claims that "chiropractors" (a large group, to be sure) believe that cracking your back can fix "every illness in the body" or withdraw this ridiculous claim.

Edit: to the OP, I have a question that I think is more relevant than all this nonsense about the effectiveness of chiropractors' methods. WHY do you want to be a chiropractor?

Edited by sanjavalen
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I recently read an opinion submission to a local newspaper. It was a a particularly disgusting few short paragraphs pushing for government intervention in public places to stop smoking, but that's neither here nor there. The interesting thing is that it was co-written by a Chiropractor and an Osteopath. The DO seemed to be working under the auspices of the chiropractic clinic. This flies in the face of everything I know about the two professions.

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