Warning…this is going to be a mini-rant (ugghh it turned into a huge rant). I am not complaining…don’t want sympathy…maybe I just need some guts to stand up for myself? I am honestly wondering if anyone has gone through what I am going through, and what you did to resolve the situation.
My life is pretty great right now. I have a new job, great partner, and good friends. My anxiety and stress levels have definitely decreased significantly, except when it comes to my parents. I have discussed certain issues I/we have had with my in laws. But nothing compares to the issues I am currently battling with my parents.
I am Hispanic, if you hadn’t realized that before. My parents brought me to the US when I was 6, and I have grown up in the US for the majority of my life. Even though I have tried to remain very close to my culture (fluent in Spanish, studied literature and history, and keep up with current events), there is a part of me that has been Westernized. I don’t mind it. Why? Because I am not defined by a specific set of cultural rules. I am my own person with my own beliefs.
My parents are alone in this country, and have no significant family. Most of our family is eleven hours away, and they have been for the past 16 years. Let’s just say this has made our parents a little too attached to my brother and I. My parents have very good qualities. They have supported us, and always made sure we had the essentials: food, roof over our head. We were definitely not rich by any standards. I grew up in a financially strapped household, and I knew it from around the age of six. I realized that if I wanted to go to college, I would have to fund the majority of my way through it. So I decided to become an overachiever in academics, sports, and music. My extra curricular activities also provided a way for me to get out of the house.
There has always been a tug a war between my family and I. They will never admit the extent of it, but it was pretty extreme. One, since middle school I was accused of not wanting my parents around, and being ashamed of my heritage. Thinking back, there was probably a part of me that did not want to be Hispanic. I saw how we were treated, and I wanted to differentiate myself from that. I did not want to become a statistic. As far as not wanting my parents around, what teenager does? I thought parents were suppose to co mingle with other parents and let kids be? But since my parents don’t dominate the English language, they always wanted me to stick with them, and hated it when I would go hang out with my friends during events.
Let me give you some examples of their behavior. The summer after my freshman year, I did not want to go to on an impromptu family weekend visit to a cousin’s home in East Texas. I had to study for summer midterms, and needed to spend the weekend studying and completing papers. My mom got mad at me because I wanted to stay home alone and didn’t want to go with them. We had a huge argument. I spent a couple hours at the post office because it was the only place opened away from the house because I didn’t want to go. I had to study! Her arguments were: we don’t trust you to stay home alone (I had lived alone for a year…I was 19), you can do your work at the cousin’s house (the cousin lived in the middle of nowhere with no internet connection), and what will they say when they don’t see you (umm…I’m studying and working?). That same summer I had a road trip planned with a couple of friends, one which I paid for by working during the summer. They held the road trip over my head, threatening to not let me go, if I misbehaved. My mom made me go buy her eggs (the grocery store is a five minute drive) after taking 3 back to back midterm summer finals, and already being late to a close friend’s birthday party. By the time I did her errands, they party was over, and I decided not to go (what was the point? I was distressed and didn’t want to show up looking like hell), she made me go to her house. Also, they didn’t like it when I would spend too much time with friends ( I lost all my friends back home because I couldn’t hang out with them during break). They got mad at me when I decided to not live with them for a summer because I had an internship. When they would come up to see me, and I would invite a friend so that the could get to know them, they would get hurt because they didn’t have me to themselves. My mom got hurt when I decided to bring my brother up from for Spring Break, instead of going to visit her. Oh man…the list is endless…
It’s gotten worse since I got married because they didn’t agree with my marriage, and did not give me permission to do so. Well, they accepted it because they knew I had made up my mind, but deep down they did not agree. Although, I have never really asked for permission, especially since I always take care of my stuff. Really, I do, and I take care of their stuff too. Let’s just say they don’t like my hubby and his American way. And have said in more or less words that he is a bad influence, manipulates me, etc. Which kills me, because he is one of the most compassionate, kind, smart, and handsome men in the world. He takes care of me. I love him. And I want my parents to respect us.
I know I can’t change my parents’ minds, i.e. their opinions. They are the most stubborn people I know. That’s where I get my stubbornness….persistence :) I have tried talking to them, explaining to them, telling them. It always ends up the same way, they think I’m wrong and a bad daughter. Sigh.
I don’t want to be a bad daughter (there goes the old Catholic training), but I also am not going to let my parents tell me what to do. At the end of the day, I’m the one living my life. I should be happy.
So I have to figure out a way to tell them that I respect them, I have listened to their opinions, but their opinions are not mine, and I will make my own decisions as I always have. Because at the end of the day, it’s my life. I have made extremely good decisions throughout my life, so there’s no reason to believe I am making wrong decisions now. Thus, I would like for them to keep their opinions to themselves, and learn to respect the way I live my life.
Now, I have to figure out how to tell them something I have told them a gazillion times in my life.
I care for my parents, they tried their best to give me a good childhood. Their marriage isn’t the most stable, and that has affected them and us. I don’t want to resent them. But I’m starting to, which is not good. One of my goals for this year is to spend more time with family. But I dread spending time with family because of their reactions. I don’t want to be in that environment, can you blame me?
I have a lot of conflicting emotions right now. I love my parents because they are pretty good. I love my mom’s cooking, she shops for me, etc. But they are needy and so far seem, extremely jealous that they don’t have me. They think they should be “enjoying me” and they are not. I think I should really be spending more time with my brother. He is 15 and needs a lot of guidance and support. Which I try to give him. But even that time is limited because my mom wants to be number one. She thinks I’m her best friend, wants me to be her best friend. I don’t like that role. It’s really hard to be a daughter and a best friend when your mother is always pulling rank on you. Not to mention her problems with my dad start affecting my relationship with my dad. I’m tired of that…story for another post.
Every time I stand up for myself, my parents react by saying I am being disrespectful. That no matter how old I am, they will still be my parents and have a say in my life. Do any parents feel like that towards their kids?
I’m sorry for the long rant…I just needed to get it out of my system. There’s only so much I can keep inside.