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Old 11-01-2014, 06:52 AM
 
Location: Houston, TX
14,560 posts, read 8,390,759 times
Reputation: 29105

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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ml123 View Post
Hi everyone,

I'm an Asian American guy in my 20's. I've started to recognize that my mother has pretty strong expectations on how I should live my life. She has definitely has good intentions and "wants the best for me," but it's challenging to get along with her. She would ask me how work or a new relationship is going, then she'll often jump to conclusions and strongly suggest things I should do or how I should think.

For example, I started dating a girl about 3 months ago. She would try to get me to push the relationship forward aggressively (asking me to buy gifts, show the girl I like her a lot, go towards marriage asap), which is wrong. However, my mother gets upset when I tell her I disagree with her, and we often end up arguing. Even worse, her strong suggestions and emotions do affect me emotionally, and it makes me feel insecure and unsupported when I'm "defying" her.

How can I maintain a good relationship with my mother under the circumstances, while not being affected emotionally by the negative feelings that always come up when we disagree? Is there a way I can change how I respond to her? I would be especially interested in hearing advice from Asian American guys in similar situations who understand Asian culture.

Thanks,
I understand how you feel. I am a lesbian woman with a very traditional Indian father who was an on again, off again parent throughout my whole life. He and my mother divorced when I was a baby, and I lived with my mom, and I always felt the pressure to excel academically, get married, have 2.5 kids, etc. . . I even married a man I didn't connect with because I wanted to make my dad proud and be the "right" kind of person in the Indian community. He married me because his parents were bothering him about why he hadn't gotten married yet either, and they were American! It was a miserable failure, I felt depressed, my husband and I were fighting all the time, and all in all, it was a dreadful decision. Not only that, my father is still an inconsistent presence in my life, so neither my marriage nor my successful school/work history changed his behavior anyway.

I suggest you tell your mom that you appreciate her concern, but you are taking care of this in the way you see fit. And of course, with Asian parents, being respectful is key. In the future, I suggest leaving out info about your private life, although your mother will probably inquire until/if you marry. In that case, maybe you can just gloss over the details. Just don't let your parents decide when that will be or who that will be with. When I did that, no one won. In my case, I stopped expecting my father to change his behavior. I divorced my husband, and now I have a wonderful gf whom I love. I should have just followed my heart in the first place.
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Old 11-01-2014, 07:11 AM
 
3,955 posts, read 3,183,098 times
Reputation: 12864
Shouldnt be that tough if you're not living with them. You know by now what she has strong feelings about, just don't discuss those things with her. If she asks questions, just be vague. Its really up to you.
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Old 11-01-2014, 08:19 AM
 
Location: Canada
5,706 posts, read 4,122,391 times
Reputation: 15297
You are Asian, but it doesn't mean that this is an "Asian" problem. Mothers, fathers, wives, siblings, etc, all over the world can have these traits.

This just means that your mother is domineering and likes to get her way, reguardless of your/her race. It's your choice to listen to her or not, and up to you if she succeeds in getting her way, or NOT.
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Old 11-01-2014, 08:31 AM
 
9,191 posts, read 4,236,750 times
Reputation: 10988
Quote:
Originally Posted by Ml123 View Post
Hi everyone,

I'm an Asian American guy in my 20's. I've started to recognize that my mother has pretty strong expectations on how I should live my life. She has definitely has good intentions and "wants the best for me," but it's challenging to get along with her. She would ask me how work or a new relationship is going, then she'll often jump to conclusions and strongly suggest things I should do or how I should think.

For example, I started dating a girl about 3 months ago. She would try to get me to push the relationship forward aggressively (asking me to buy gifts, show the girl I like her a lot, go towards marriage asap), which is wrong. However, my mother gets upset when I tell her I disagree with her, and we often end up arguing. Even worse, her strong suggestions and emotions do affect me emotionally, and it makes me feel insecure and unsupported when I'm "defying" her.

How can I maintain a good relationship with my mother under the circumstances, while not being affected emotionally by the negative feelings that always come up when we disagree? Is there a way I can change how I respond to her? I would be especially interested in hearing advice from Asian American guys in similar situations who understand Asian culture.

Thanks,
Moderator Cut

As to your overall dilemma, Asian/Oriental cultures are not the only ones who are pressured to be high achievers. A friend of mine had a "typical Jewish mother" who insisted he become one or the other. He wanted to be a fisherman and own his own fishing boat, but his parents put their foot down and threatened to disown him if he didn't go on to graduate school.
By then he figured he would enjoy medicine more than the law so he became a MD, and a good one at that. Once he made his parents happy, he bought a boat, is now a charter fishing boat captain, and works as an ER MD part time in the FL Keys. The high income allowed him to have his cake and eat it too. So all the time he grumbled with his parents(especially his Mom), he now thanks them for pushing him to be an MD because of the life he now leads.

The issue with her getting involved in your love life is going a bit too far. Sure your are going to have to bring certain girls home to meet the parents, but they should be more along the lines of thumbs up or down, not involved in daily strategy sessions on how to get you married. Sure they want the best for you, but marriage will come in time once you meet the right girl. If you are a typical guy in his 20's you want to have some fun, and that does not always involve the type of girl you bring home to mom.

One last thing regarding what you said about not being supported. Keep in mind that many parents really don't care about their kids or their futures. Some of them shouldn't have been parents to begin with, but "things happen". The point is that your feelings are just the opposite of what is going on because your parents being so involved shows they do support you. It is just that you being a young man, you naturally want to spread your wings and have some independence. I get it.

That leads to answering your question/s. Just as I have tried to empathize with both your parents and yourself, so too must you put yourself into your parents shoes. Understand what is driving them to drive you, so to speak. Another words understand what their motivation is(beyond general over mothering), and find a way to explain how you empathize with them. Reassure them that your longer terms goals are similar to what they want for you, and ask that they easy up a little in certain areas. If you do it in the right way, they might just respect you for it. Your Dad might get a sense his son is growing into a man and help to get your mother to back off a little.
Regardless, if your mother feels you are generally in sync with her hopes and aspirations for you, she might be more likely to try and empathize with your request to take it a little easier on you. Don't lose sight that it is hard for her to switch gears, since she has been in mothering mode for over two decades.

`


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Last edited by Jaded; 11-02-2014 at 02:59 PM.. Reason: Too racially charged. Just stick to the overbearing parent issue please.
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Old 11-01-2014, 09:03 AM
 
Location: Houston, TX
14,560 posts, read 8,390,759 times
Reputation: 29105
I'm not understanding the resentment RE: OP from some of the posters in this thread. A. OP didn't hyphenate Asian American it in the first place, so you're wrong about that. Not only that, he is an Asian American, even if he is American citizen. I am myself, so I know what I'm talking about. B. Even if he did, he still has the same dilemma, and he made no assumption that sons/daughters in other cultures don't have the same problem. He is asking for advice on how to deal with his own mother, and not mothers in other cultures or other kids. He has no obligation to make his parents happy. It's his life and he doesn't even live with his parents. OTOH, because he wants to get along with his mother (although he has no obligation to do so), he wants to strike a balance between maintaining a good relationship with his gf and making his mom happy.

If he pushes the gf too much, he may drive her away. If he does what the mom wants, he'll feel like he's living his life for his mother, not himself. If he does what he wants and disrespects his mother, he risks her wrath and or even losing a relationship with her completely. Possibly the best course of action is diplomacy with mom and cautiously proceeding in the relationship with gf.

Last edited by Jaded; 11-02-2014 at 03:02 PM..
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Old 11-01-2014, 09:19 AM
 
Location: Miami-Jax
6,273 posts, read 6,915,564 times
Reputation: 3476
Quote:
Originally Posted by Ml123 View Post
Hi everyone,

I'm an Asian American guy in my 20's. I've started to recognize that my mother has pretty strong expectations on how I should live my life. She has definitely has good intentions and "wants the best for me," but it's challenging to get along with her. She would ask me how work or a new relationship is going, then she'll often jump to conclusions and strongly suggest things I should do or how I should think.

For example, I started dating a girl about 3 months ago. She would try to get me to push the relationship forward aggressively (asking me to buy gifts, show the girl I like her a lot, go towards marriage asap), which is wrong. However, my mother gets upset when I tell her I disagree with her, and we often end up arguing. Even worse, her strong suggestions and emotions do affect me emotionally, and it makes me feel insecure and unsupported when I'm "defying" her.

How can I maintain a good relationship with my mother under the circumstances, while not being affected emotionally by the negative feelings that always come up when we disagree? Is there a way I can change how I respond to her? I would be especially interested in hearing advice from Asian American guys in similar situations who understand Asian culture.

Thanks,
Asian American guy here basically the same age as you are. I empathize quite a bit with you, especially cause I am an only child. I'd say the best way I found to handle it was to just stop discussing those subjects for which she becomes too overbearing. It's a difficult balancing act, but that's what I do. Also just remember that she wants the best for you but comes from a different generation, so dont get upset with her but also dont feel bad about ignoring her comments either.
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Old 11-01-2014, 10:43 AM
 
687 posts, read 691,024 times
Reputation: 2243
Quote:
Originally Posted by Ml123 View Post
Hi everyone,
I'm an Asian American guy in my 20's. I've started to recognize that my mother has pretty strong expectations on how I should live my life...
Thanks,
Moderator CutYou should be thankful you had an "overbearing" family that set standards for you. You could've turned out much worse, or be dead or in prison by now.

Last edited by Jaded; 11-02-2014 at 03:04 PM.. Reason: Flaming
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Old 11-01-2014, 12:19 PM
 
6,415 posts, read 9,917,883 times
Reputation: 7919
This is a very judgmental thread. The OP asked for advice. Not a bashing session on his mother and an essay on whether he identities with being American or Asian-American.
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Old 11-01-2014, 02:04 PM
 
2,514 posts, read 3,487,165 times
Reputation: 5069
Mom's attitude toward girlfriends of son in strong cultures:

Teens: Those no-good girls are after my fine son.
College: Those gold diggers are after my fine son.
Graduate school: She isn't good enough for my fine son.
Mid 20s: If she comes from a very fine family and is a Dr. or a lawyer I won't look down on her too much.
Late 20s: My son might not be doing this right. Let me give him some advice.
Early 30s: What is wrong with all these women who do not want my son? My friend's daughter is wonderful. Look at her. The hairdresser knows a single girl. Maybe I can set them up?
Late 30s: I'm a little embarrassed by my son. Are there no women I can foist him on?
Early 40s: My husband and I are sweetening the pot by offering a free house along with son. Any takers?
Late 40s: Fake heart attacks every time you break up with a girl, turn down a blind date or in any way refuse to provide daughter-in-law and grand children.

All of the above is meant to be humorous but....
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Old 11-01-2014, 03:12 PM
 
Location: NYC
12,707 posts, read 8,638,266 times
Reputation: 13955
Quote:
Originally Posted by LexusNexus View Post
Your mother is being a horrible parent. Tell her that you're a grown man now, and you can do whatever the hell you want. If she doesn't accept that, because she should know this already, she needs to go get help from a mental health professional. Be respectful, since all parents deserve such, but she is overstepping her bounds.

At 29, the question is why you are still so dependent on what your mother thinks? Is your life, your identity wrapped up in what your mother expects of you? My God man, at your age, you are supposed to be a great deal more mature and autonomous.

Be your own man. Do what you please. It's your life.
As oppose to many American parents still trying to kick out their 20-30 something loser kids still sitting at home.. Multiple threads in forums about freeloading adults kids still at home.
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