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Burnt out

Community Member

Sometimes I get the feeling that I've just grown up too fast despite being 22.

The last few years of my life haven't been that healthy for me mentally due to a combination of the unrealistic expectations of my parents and a lack of a rigid social life. When I was 15, that was around when I started to lose my plot. The catalyst was that I once brought home something I cooked at school and had my dad try it. He seriously asked me if I used a machine to cut the carrots in the dish because he thought the school wouldn't let us use knives. I guess I took it very personally, because my grades started to drop, I lost any effort do my best and I started to become hypersensitive and aggressive to everyone around me.

My mum kept telling me to be top of the class and kept comparing me to other people's children (even people with Aspergers). I think my drop in grades was because I wanted to spite my parents for their lack of faith. When I applied for university, she suggested I try a double degree, which I absolutely refused to do because I knew it was beyond my ability and it was only to elevate her haughtiness. She's still doing it now saying I should get a Masters or a Phd.

My enthusiasm has never really recovered from all this because a lot of the things I used to willingly enjoy have been rendered tedious by my parents telling me to do it. My mum once suggested I read psychology books on holidays when I wasn't at uni.

Nowadays, whenever I want to do something, the fun is always drained out of it with my parents twisting it into a life lesson. I want to learn how to do things myself, not have it constantly shoved into my face. At this point in my life, I should be looking forward to it, not actively trying to ruin it out of wanting to spite my parents.

At this point in my life, should I be this bitter? I have a number of issues that stem from life experiences and I can't see the positive side of things anymore. I want to do things for myself, not to inflate the egos of my parents. Even if I do find some stability in my life, I'm not sure if I'll be able to have a sense of fulfillment then. It's just so hard to get my hopes up right now.

Sorry for carrying on and if all of this feels a bit disjointed.

5 Replies 5

Blue Voices Member
Blue Voices Member

Hi Calm&Angry, sorry to hear you have been through such a hard time. Parents can certainly give you a hard time, I know that from experience! I was always compared to my siblings and was told that I wasn't as smart as my sisters and had to try harder. My father used to be an alcoholic and tended to call me names a lot. I was always called lazy and stupid which I am still trying to deal with today and I'm 33. My mother never said much (she was extremely shy) and I have never felt like she listens to what I say or tries to understand me. When I was in high school, I was very interested in natural therapies and really wanted to study to be a Naturopath but my father said it wasn't a good idea because I wouldn't be able to get a job easily. He wanted me to do something like accounting, nursing or teaching. I did start studying nursing, then I tried accounting and I ended up quitting university because I fell pregnant with my first child! Long story short, I now work as a manager for a transport company and my father was finally proud of me for a change. He is always surprised by what I can do although he still doubts me a lot. It's not easy that's for sure so I really feel for you. One thing I have learned though by being a parent to 3 children myself now is that being a parent is not easy and none of us are perfect. I have learnt from some of my parents mistakes - I know that I will always encourage my children to do what makes them happy and I don't call them names that's for sure. I have also made mistakes myself though.

Have you tried sitting down with your parents to discuss exactly how you feel? They may not realize what an impact they have had on how you feel. I also suggest you go to your doctor and tell them how you are feeling. I hope I have helped you in some way and you can see that you are not alone:-).

Champion Alumni
Champion Alumni
dear Calm&Anxiety, when your parents start to dominate you in every way they can, then you drop your bundle because what they say is not what you want to do, so your self esteem fades away to the point that you have no interest in life.
The more you are pushed, and it's not by encouraging you in a pleasant way, but in a determined forceful way then you react to the point where you no longer want to do what they say.
It would be impossible to do two degrees at once and why would you have any thought of getting a masters or PHD if that's not what you want, and then what will they ask you to do, another impossible feat.
They have drained all your spirit in life that once you could have had, but you can now try and regain this again, oh yes I'm not joking here, but you have to cut ties with your parents, and you can start by doing this going away to a place that you always wanted to go, if you have the funds available, or go to someone's place that you might know who lives kms away and if this does happen then you have to ignore what ever your parents will be saying to you because they will show their displeasure, ignore it and get on with your own life. Geoff.

Community Member

Hi, I understand a little about the tolls that parents who want their kids to achieve highly can take on their kids. There are lots of different parents and parenting approaches out there, and the negatives of 'tiger parents' can sometimes include name-calling and unfair comparisons, etc. I've had my dad yell at me that 'you could teach prep students algebra, it's not hard, it's preschool math', when I was younger, maybe around 6-7. Thankfully, those issues have been sorted out now.

I think that you should really try and let them know how you feel about needing to learn life lessons on your own, and feeling like your achievements inflate their ego. If they really mean well for you, I hope that they can finally understand what's going through your head, if you can explain it to others on the internet that understand, then I think there's a chance of your parents understanding what you mean. Maybe try talking to another family member or doctor about how you feel, then asking them to discuss it with your parents, if talking directly to parents doesn't work. If it doesn't work, maybe distancing yourself from your parent's unrealistic ideals and dominance for a while would be ideal. Maybe you'll end up finding a passion or course that you like, so you can work on that with minimum interference.

I really do hope you're able to find enthusiasm and passion for something without parental disruption, and I hope they understand. 🙂

I am going to try to put a parent's point of view across, Obviously I am not you or your parents so so I can only talk about possibilities rather than specifics. A number of years ago my son started to rebel. He ran away from home rather than opening his VCE results. He thought that we would force him to go to uni. Any attempt to talk to him made the situation worse with him taking it as 'proof' that we were trying to control his life. He seemed to take the attitude that if we talked we were nagging but if we said nothing then we didn't care. A few years later he mellowed enough so I could come up with a compromise. Once a month I would talk to him & let him know what I thought he should do. This was preceded by a reminder that this was our monthly chat so I could do my duty as a good mum. This was said in a joking manner to keep it light. I could then talk freely with him putting his point of view in reply. The rest of the month he was free to make his own choices with no comments from me. We know have a good relationship & he is now aware that I was trying to encourage him to think of his options but never had any intention of forcing him. I am not suggesting that the situation is the same or the way we worked it out would work for you. What I am suggesting is that sometimes parents say & do things with the best intentions but sometimes their children misinterpret these & then react negatively causing further breakdown in communications. I would like you to speak to your parents or even start with the one you feel most comfortable with. Try to explain how you feel & tactfully explain how their actions are affecting you. This gives them a chance to understand what is happening & hopefully change. If after this they continue to belittle you or pressure you into doing things you don't want then you need to act like an adult & do what you feel is right (not try to get back at your parents) This may mean leaving home so you can pursue your own life. the way you want.

Hi Calm and Angry. Don't know if this will help. I too had parents who wanted me to be what they thought I should be. As I grew I always had the feeling I was a total disappointment to them. I have grownup kids of my own now and I've learnt that the best way to help kids is basically let them do what makes them happy. I used to feel that no matter what I tried to do, I always let somebody down. If you can accept yourself for who and what you are, it doesn't really matter what anybody else thinks or says. Geoff is also right with what he says that cutting ties altogether might be your only option. If you go through life trying to please everybody who is involved with your life, someone will always try to change what you are trying to do. You have to be you, you have one life, being happy with your choices is what's best for you. Elizabeth also makes a good point about trying to reach a compromise, not always easy, but worth thinking about.