Monday, April 8, 2013

Parent /child pairing

In my previous post, I made it sound as if I had the most dysfunctional upbringing which rendered me psychologically traumatized today. That is not completely true. If my personality were more agreeable, less ambitious, slightly more extroverted, more optimistic, less curious, less neurotic, more practical, less idealistic, less of an obsessive information processing machine, I would be 1000 times more appreciative of my parents. I know plenty of people who don't really know what to do with their lives. They just want to secure some income source, find a partner and build a family. They would be happy to have parents like mine who plan out their entire lives for them. I also know people who won't have problem saying, "Yes, Mother!" and then go off to do what they want for themselves instead. Instead, I am the difficult child who keeps getting angry at my mom, demanding her to explain why she wants me to do something, yet hesitant to disobey her even if she provides the crappiest reasons ever (eg. "because I am your mom"; "because I say so"). My personality makes both myself and my parents really unhappy.

Traditional Asian culture encourages people to fit in with societal roles, to be average, to obey ancestors' teachings, to obey those who are older/more senior than you, to strive to be the perfect traditional husband (work hard and brining home the money to raise a family) or wife (cook good food, clean the house, raise children). Seems to me that to be Chinese means to spend your childhood as a studying machine and a child-rearing, salary-earning work slave as an adult. To me that means to be Chinese is to have no life of my own... Until one becomes a senior; then they can boss people around and make other people's lives miserable.

As you know I have been pouring over popular psych theories trying to figure out what's wrong with me. I have a "highly sensitive personality (HSP)". I am an "orchid child" who demands more than the average amount of sensitive caring and support in order to thrive in the society, or else I wither under stress more than the average "dandelion child" (grow up as normal individuals regardless of positive or negative upbringing; does not require extra delicate parenting).

So it sucks for my parents that I have more ambitions and (gasp!) independent thinking than they anticipated. They wanted to raise the perfect daughter that turns into a classical perfect wife and mother, but with a medical degree. They are very confused that i think so differently than they do. It sucks for me that I was under the impression that my parents knew better for many years, until not too long ago when I realized they have an incredibly distorted picture of the world. Or, the world progressed but their view of the world got stuck in a time frame that's 50 years out of date. There are young people out there who would be better suited to be their children (ie. make them very happy every day). Sadly, my sister and I are not it. I of course would be free of most of the present psychological trauma, if I had more liberal parents who trusted me better, who were more supportive, who worried less about all the possible horror events that could potentially happen to a daughter, who didn't raise me with the goal of fitting into some pre-planned mold of the safest, most stable and secure life they can imagine.

Viewed in way, I am here at this world in order to work out my karma. Perhaps I did something to my mother in the previous life that made me deserve to go through this life being manipulated. Viewed in another way, I'm just unfortunate in being brought up by a narcissistic mother. Either way, it'll be a life-long challenge to work through the problems I have right now. The psychological problems are no less trivial than issues I have to solve at work. It will be interesting to look back at this blog 5 years from now. Hopefully I will have made some improvements by then.

Extended reading: Daughters of Unloving Mothers: 7 Common wounds

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