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constant pressure from mother

Community Member

hey, this is the first time i’ve ever done anything for the benefit of my mental health, but i think if i write this out and seek for advice it would help me a lot.

For some context, i’m vietnamese with typical asian parents. Lately my mum has just been adding so much more pressure on me and i don’t know what to do. she’s always put pressure on me to do better than everyone else at school and get the best grades possibly. At times i’m certain she doesn’t even care about my mental health.

it’s my final year of high school and i just failed a test in human biology. My teacher called my mum about it, which is understandable, but my mum had a whole fit. she yelled at me for a good 30 minutes on how i should’ve studied harder and how other kids are doing better and that i need to be the best. i can’t, i’m just not the best in that subject. in fact its not even a topic that i will need in any of my desired careers in the future. i get that she wants the best for me, but she doesn’t need to be adding this extra stress?

what truely hurts is that i cry myself to sleep sometimes because of it. i think about what it would be like if i was just dead, but i know i’m too scared to actually do that to myself. i just can’t take it anymore. i feel so taken for granted because i really am trying and it’s just not enough for anyone, especially my mum.

She thinks taking my phone or making me break up with my boyfriend or even talk less to my friends will help make me smarter and bring up my grades, but what she fails to understand is that they are the only things right now that make me feel like life is worth living. they are the only outlet i have from the constant school work.

How do i tell her that this is my life i’m living and not follow how she wants me to live?

also regarding the pressure, she wants me to go to university through a direct atar pathway when i have told her multiple times that there are many ways to go to uni now. She really doesn’t seem to care for my mental health and see that i’m just not coping well right now.

i’m just exhausted at telling her how i want to live and how things can be so much simpler. i really just don’t know what to do.

😞 please send any advice

3 Replies 3

Hi crybaby2,

Thank you so much for reaching out tonight. We hope that you find some support within our community here on the forums. Please know that there is always help available to you. We have also sent you a private message with some additional support.


Valued Contributor
Valued Contributor

Hi crybaby,

I feel for your struggles, desperation, frustration & feeling hurt, because your family just doesn’t get it...

I have mixed Asian heritage, so I know that the pressure for perfectionism & strong academic performance is very common in many Asian cultures, such as in your Vietnamese culture.

The pressure to do well is often very stressful & intense. If someone doesn’t perform as expected, the attitude often is “s/he isn’t ‘trying’ hard enough” (even though that is generally not the case & there are other factors involved).

Most of my cousins & extended family would be able to relate to your struggles & hurt. I think, even though it’s not necessarily very healthy, there’s a mentality in many Asian cultures that almost everything else should take a “backseat” to doing well in school.

A mindset that views relationships (romantic & platonic like friendships) & even mental health as “less important” than doing well academically. I’m not saying that I personally agree with that mindset. But just expressing that I understand this very entrenched way of thinking.

I feel sad that your mum reacted as she did when she heard about your biology test results. It must have been a humiliating, distressing & hurtful experience to have her yell at you...

I sense what is most hurtful is the lack of support & understanding. Your mum just isn’t listening...

So I think it’s particularly brave & admirable that you’re being assertive, & expressing your feelings & needs. I know your parents aren’t exactly hearing you out right now, but there’s something to be said about how you’re trying with them.

I also like how you know there are many routes for uni admission, & that you understand the importance of good mental health.

It’s just a really tricky situation, because you’re trying to fight a very entrenched cultural mindset. I’m not saying it’s impossible, but just tricky sometimes...

My gentle suggestion for now is maybe book an appointment with your school counsellor. Do you think that is something you would be open to doing?

It’s just that maybe your school counsellor can help you develop a realistic plan to manage your mental health, & perhaps brainstorm strategies with you to help manage your relationship with your parents & their cultural expectations.

Of course, you’re also most welcome to come here to talk too. There’s no pressure of course, but just know there are many caring forum members here if you want to get something off your chest

Kindness & care,


Valued Contributor
Valued Contributor
Hi crybaby2,

It sounds like your mum just isn't hearing you or caring enough about your struggles ATM. Ideally she wants things to go the way she expects but at a cost to the relationship she has with you. It's really not fair as you're explaining yourself to her but she fails to understand/listen.

It sounds like you're under so much pressure and I'm sure you are doing your best under the circumstances. You sound like you have your head screwed on and will get into your uni course.

After getting into the course she might relax a bit. I'm sure she'll again be on your case about doing well and I'm sure you will do well.

By taking away what keeps you going in life is truely driving a wedge between the two of you and isn't fair. I personally wouldn't listen. You need your outside support.

I think she should trust you more and have a bit more faith.

But, you know, that's some parents for you.

Mine were quite strict as well.

Keep doing what you're doing. I wish you every success under the sun and see if u can " brush" off what she says without feeling any guilt. Easier said than done but you are worth more than one subject at school. You shouldn't be made to feel terrible about it.