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Anyone that struggles with their immigrant parents here?

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dke

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Aug 20, 2020
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Really struggling to go after my goal to move to a different country one day, because they would never support it.
 
Tawny

Tawny

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Are they German?

I think many parents support their child exploring the world for a while, in the hope they will return home to settle down and have a family of their own.

Why do you think your parents don't support this?
 
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dke

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No, they have a Turkish background.

I understand that it sucks to not have your own children close by, but they just don't understand that I'm happier in Sydney...

In Turkish culture parents are extremely attached to their kids and don't want to let them do things their way even if they are old enough.. my parents are just generally emotional people and always used to make me feel guilty while I was studying in Sydney by saying things like oh the house is so empty and silent without you and would start crying multiple times a week.

They don't understand that the country you were born in is not where you have to stay for the rest of your life.
 
M

ManDss

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Follow your dream. One of the worse things is to keep thinking you are not living your life good because some crazy obligations you have to follow.

Are those obligations so important to waste life ?
 
Bizzarebitrary

Bizzarebitrary

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There is always this tension between collectivist culture in which some of us are raised and individualism of the society or dominate culture we grow up in. And that's reflected in the tension between family duty and developing one's own identity apart from them.

This tension caused arguments, fights, threats and ultimatums between me and my family, in my younger adult years. There was a surely a middle ground but we couldn't find our way through the terrain between us.

Finally, I realized that my parents just wanted to feel certain that they raised me properly, that I wouldn't abandon all the traditions--and them as well. And they realized I was becoming my own person and if they held on to me too tightly, I could never learn to make my own decisions, could never grow into an adult.

A snapshot of my adult developmental years. I hope it's helpful.
 
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dke

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@Bizzarebitrary thank you so much for sharing your story. I am really interested in which culture/s you grew up.

I totally understand what parents are trying to do but it's way too extreme to the point where I am really afraid to make decisions about my OWN life. It almost feels like a crime cause if they don't agree with it there is going to be big dramas. I don't think that's healthy at all cause it's really affecting me mentally. I feel like I have no power or control over my own life.

Did you overcome your issues by communicating with your parents?

Cause my parents still don't understand after me trying to explain it to them multiple times... They just can't accept the fact that I don't need them and I am ready to be independent. They constantly have a say about everything and already have my whole life planned out for me without asking me once what I actually want or what my goals are.
 
Bizzarebitrary

Bizzarebitrary

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Sorry you're dealing with that tension @dke it can't be easy and I feel your suffering. Sadly, this struggle is pretty common especially among cultures that value communal and collective values over individualism. My father was first generation American, his parents were from Ukraine. Jewish heritage, his parents very religious and controlling. He was a loving autocrat who dictated to everyone else (he became his own father) and we fought constantly until later in life.

Did you overcome your issues by communicating with your parents?
Do you mean by talking with them? A little. There are other ways to communicate. I showed them I was ready to make my own decisions by working very hard, earning my own money and spending it how I decided. Liberation didn't fully happen until I was financially independent. That was hard because I needed to rely on them while I was at university and I chose a school as far from them as they'd allow (about 900 miles).
What story about you would your parents feel most proud telling to the rest of your family or to friends in their community?

True adult to adult conversations didn't begin until I got my degree and a steady job. Finally, my parents could relax their buttholes just a little, their ancient fear that i would fail and reflect poorly on them were not proven true.

Closeness didn't begin until i forgave them unconditionally for all the wrongs i felt they did as parents.
Parents need to know that they did a good job parenting. Hearing that they did a good job from their adult child (me) had a surprising effect. That validation never came from my parents' parents. They lived in insecurity.

Cause my parents still don't understand after me trying to explain it to them multiple times... They just can't accept the fact that I don't need them and I am ready to be independent.
Hmm. Explaining isn't working? Actions might speak louder than your words. What sort of behavior of yours would they recognize as signs of responsibility, practical and devoted?
Keep in mind that you actually will need and want your parents, if not now then later in life--that is if they aren't horrid abusers.
Family and the duties we have to it never expire but the dynamic does change. You will end up parenting your parents, one day, when they're elderly.

For all the control they're asserting over your life, they do not want to make every decision for you for the rest of your life. They don’t want to raise an adult who cannot make a decision or take care of themself. A man-child who is still very dependent on them at age 45. Who does not have any goals or ambition of their own because they never made any choices of their own. What do you think might remind them that this would be a terrible future for you and them?
 
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dke

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Germany
What story about you would your parents feel most proud of telling the rest of your family or to friends in their community?
First of all, thank you so so much for taking the time to share your story with me. I appreciate it so much!

I went to Sydney when I was 19 and was an Aupair for 6 months. I was young and extremely immature but flew across the world away from everyone and everything I know... I started working after graduating to make this happen so I financed it all by myself. My brother supported me with my flight tickets, but I paid him back the second I arrived back in Germany.


Hmm. Explaining isn't working? Actions might speak louder than your words. What sort of behaviour of yours would they recognize as signs of responsibility, practical and devoted?

After coming back from Sydney I started to study, which is something they always wanted me to do. I was planning to study far away from home just like you, but my brother told me about this university close by, where you have the chance to study abroad. I immediately checked the website, saw that they have a partner university in Sydney and decided that's where I'm going to study.


I studied 3 semesters till my study abroad was finally going to happen. I also have a boyfriend in Sydney, which I don't think I mentioned yet. Anyways I studied in Sydney for 2 semesters and was living with my boyfriend, without my parents knowing cause they would never allow it. I was there for 10 months, studied and worked at the same time... I gave up all of my savings for this, but could only afford one semester, so my parents paid for the second one. But I will pay them back for sure.


Now since May, I'm back, I still live with them but in Germany, students get financial help so they don't pay for anything or need to buy me anything and when they try to give me money I never take it. I don't depend on them financially, but I couldn't afford to have my own place, which they would not allow anyway.


Since I'm back I have very bad anxiety because my graduation is not that far away and I know I need to open up to them to make my dreams come true.. I can't sleep before 4 am and have lost my appetite. It's affecting me really bad. My life is basically controlled by this fear. I also started counselling for the first time in my life, but that doesn't stop my negative thoughts.


I guess what I'm just trying to say is that I try to be as independent as I can, but I still don't get taken seriously, but like you said I believe that I need a job and earn my own money for that to happen. I'm also the youngest in our family so I guess that's another factor too. I don't know what else to do.

I'm just so afraid that I'm not going to be brave enough to open up and end up being unhappy forever.
 
S

Sugold

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you can either have a safe, little garden in which you will know all things that you're familiar with. Or you can set out to the unknow, big world that you can discover, that will be full of challenges, hardships, but also new, joyful and wonderful things.
 
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dke

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Germany
you can either have a safe, little garden in which you will know all things that you're familiar with. Or you can set out to the unknow, big world that you can discover, that will be full of challenges, hardships, but also new, joyful and wonderful things.
so true @Sugold
 
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dke

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Germany
I am just very afraid of causing pain to people that are the closest to me... I don't want to disappoint my parents, but this decision definitely would, even if I am not doing anything wrong.

I'm scared that I am going to feel so guilty that I hurt them that I'm not going to be able to be happy myself.
 
Bizzarebitrary

Bizzarebitrary

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I am just very afraid of causing pain to people
I don't want to disappoint my parents,
I am going to feel so guilty
You're welcome and it's nice to share stories in common. 🙂

From what you wrote it sounds like you're trying to please a lot of other people with decisions you make about your life, and it's very hard to do.
But you've also made choices like going to Sydney that were to please you. And that took courage. It's not always easy to go far away from the culture and people you know.

I don't like disappointing people ever. I know I have and will continue to do so from as long as I'm alive. It matters to me but not as much as it did when I was younger, something changed. I'll share some of my story about how and why.

Change began in therapy where I decided that adults can be allowed to feel feelings, that I no longer had to "protect" adults from those feelings because I'm safe. I still catch myself doing it.
As a child, I protected adults from their feelings so that I could feel safe, survive, play a useful role in my family. My parents argued a lot and hit me, and so did my brother. So I was afraid of making adults mad at me because I learned they can be violent, and I was also afraid they might abandon me.

Learning to manipulate my parents helped me get through childhood. Un-learning manipulation has helped me have relationships as an adult.

You mentioned your place in your family is as youngest child, I'm also youngest and I have an older brother. But I imagine the stories of your childhood must be very different than mine. What ways did you find to survive and grow?
 
GhostOfLenin

GhostOfLenin

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@Bizzarebitrary thank you so much for sharing your story. I am really interested in which culture/s you grew up.

I totally understand what parents are trying to do but it's way too extreme to the point where I am really afraid to make decisions about my OWN life. It almost feels like a crime cause if they don't agree with it there is going to be big dramas. I don't think that's healthy at all cause it's really affecting me mentally. I feel like I have no power or control over my own life.

Did you overcome your issues by communicating with your parents?

Cause my parents still don't understand after me trying to explain it to them multiple times... They just can't accept the fact that I don't need them and I am ready to be independent. They constantly have a say about everything and already have my whole life planned out for me without asking me once what I actually want or what my goals are.
Think about your parents for a minute. They left their homeland so they know what its like to move away from where they were born. And consider why they moved. Mind your parents only want whats best for you. Maybe they think they got you in the best place for a good future. If you want to move you should follow your dreams but consider how you would feel if you were in your mum or dads position.
 
D

dke

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Messages
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Location
Germany
You're welcome and it's nice to share stories in common. 🙂

From what you wrote it sounds like you're trying to please a lot of other people with decisions you make about your life, and it's very hard to do.
But you've also made choices like going to Sydney that were to please you. And that took courage. It's not always easy to go far away from the culture and people you know.

I don't like disappointing people ever. I know I have and will continue to do so from as long as I'm alive. It matters to me but not as much as it did when I was younger, something changed. I'll share some of my story about how and why.

Change began in therapy where I decided that adults can be allowed to feel feelings, that I no longer had to "protect" adults from those feelings because I'm safe. I still catch myself doing it.
As a child, I protected adults from their feelings so that I could feel safe, survive, play a useful role in my family. My parents argued a lot and hit me, and so did my brother. So I was afraid of making adults mad at me because I learned they can be violent, and I was also afraid they might abandon me.

Learning to manipulate my parents helped me get through childhood. Un-learning manipulation has helped me have relationships as an adult.

You mentioned your place in your family is as youngest child, I'm also youngest and I have an older brother. But I imagine the stories of your childhood must be very different than mine. What ways did you find to survive and grow?

My parents never really hit me regularly or anything like that. They would really do everything they can for me. But what I realized really early on is that when I expressed something that they don't agree with, they would try to change my opinion or be judgemental about it. Generally I just developed this concern of making them upset with my own opinions and thoughts.. They struggle to tolerate and accept things they are not familiar with or have no understanding for. I believe that is strongly related to their lack of education.



They way I decided to survive is to just not say what I think, cause they are not going to respect it anyway. Another way was by going to Sydney just to finally be able to be me without always having them tell me what to think or how to be. Sydney was the best decision of my life cause I really found myself.


I enjoyed the freedom of being myself so much that I always just want to be away, cause I feel like at home that's not possible.


Just a little example: I got back from Sydney and 2-3 months passed. I missed everything and the freedom I had there.. so one time when we were sitting on the couch I told my parents I want to go back to Sydney again. They both looked at me with open eyes and an open mouth like I said something bad. Sydney was a very sensitive topic for them cause for them it was related to pain and being apart from their child. They are generally very concerned people as well. But they just go upset at me and were like 'how can you say something like that, why would you wanna be away from your family', 'you are spent 6 months there, you are not going back' and were just angry and disappointed for the rest of the night.

What hurts me the most is that they are trying to not let me go again, cause they know how much I love it there and they are extremely concerned I am not going to come back.

But the fact that they tell me I cannot go while knowing how happy I am there breaks my heart.
Like you really want to stop me from doing something that makes me happy just because you are selfish and need me to be home to see what I'm actually doing?


I think that's just terrible parenting.
 
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