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My traditional Asian Mother has no friends & this worries me..

Community Member

Hi all,

First time posting on BeyondBlue - this is the only place I feel I may voice my concerns.

I am 25 yrs old, and my mother is nearing 50. We are of Cambodian-Chinese & Vietnamese background.
She is a very traditional Asian mother. I am the only child, and what's more - I am a girl. 
My parents have kept a tight leash on me up until adulthood, and we had a turbulent relationship because of it.

She's had me to fuss over for almost half her life. I left home nearly 2 years ago, and although she took it badly, she learnt to accept it.

My mother & my father have had some relationship issues in the past - which my mother never seemed to forget nor forgive.
As if her mistrust in people was not at a high already, this episode in her life has lead her to become even more mistrusting of EVERYONE.

She has no friends.

My father & I have talked about it - she needs friends. She has none because all she can do is:

  • find, pick & talk about everybody's flaws/negatives
  • always wants to be 'above' or 'better' than all the other mums/women she meets
  • thinks that all the other mums/women are talking about her behind her back
  • or have some 'evil scheme' or agenda when they do try to make friends with her
  • thinks the whole world is full of evils, and bad things will happen if you do ANYTHING and/or EVERYTHING
  • stays inside the toxic circle of her sisters (my aunts whom have similar traits to my mother)

She does not get along with my father's side of the family, because she think his sisters are always plotting against her, or "stepping on her". 

I don't know what to do, how to help or if I even should help. I've been told that I should live my life, and if it is her decision not to make friends then it is what it is. But I worry... My father worries...

My father tells me that most days, all she does is play with the dog... My heart sank into the deepest depths of my stomach & I cringed because I've seen it too. My father has his own friends, but it's hard to take her along to outings because she just wont make friends (and dislikes other women for irrational reasons).

It makes me really sad. I just want my mother to be happy. Although she says she is, I know she's not. I think she's terribly lonely & needs some girlfriends.

Any advice would be kind, thank you.

4 Replies 4

Community Member

Hi BlueJasmine, 

Welcome to the Beyondblue forums!

It seems like your mother has very strong beliefs and i can only imagine how stressful it could be for you and your dad. Have you sat down with her and talked to her about all of this ? Have you told her that isolating herself in harmful to her own well being and that all those predictions of others aren't always true ?

I definitely agree with you though, as you said that she says she's happy but at times i can only imagine how lonely she actually is. Maybe she says this because she is ashamed or embarrassed ? even though she shouldn't be. 

So if your mum won't go out anywhere with you's or try and go and make friends, any chance she would go speak to a health professional ? or her GP ? She needs to understand that it ins't healthy for her and not all people are horrible.

Just be sure to be there for her in her time of need, hopefully soon she starts to realize.

Goodluck and keep in touch! 

- Lori 🙂

Blue Voices Member
Blue Voices Member

Hi BlueJasmine

It's unfortunate that you feel your mother is lonely. I feel the same about my mother and for a long time now have tried to get her to join a social club or start a hobby of some kind that will get her involved more socially with people. However she just makes excuses of why she doesn't want to do that. She sometimes complains she is lonely and tired of her own company, but the only person stopping her being more social is herself. Like your mother mine is very negative towards others, most of her conversations are about complaining about this or that and she constantly says she's not good at small talk. I use to feel like you do, feel sad and sorry for my mother and still see it as an unfortunate situation that she doesn't have more of a social life.

We all have different personalities, and we have to accept the personalities of others. Your mothers personality unfortunately sounds like she would only get along with a very unique group of people who also have similar personalities. While reading your post I was wondering if your mother is religious in anyway as some of her views sound religious in one way or another and that might make her believes and views even harder to change.

Has she tried communicating online to people from similar ethnic backgrounds? While not as social as face to face there might be some internet forums or social websites that are more suited to her traditional culture and background which might spark her interests.

Obviously just enjoy a tea, or a meal with her or spend time with her when you have the urge to. Even talking about her dog on the phone or walk with her and her dog when you see her - and spend time with her in that fashion might be helpful to you both. While you might feel lonely in her situation, she might honestly not feel lonely and at some point you and your father will just have to accept your mother the way she is. It's obviously not ideal but you and your father can't ruin your emotions or lives over trying to change someone into something they aren't.

I'm sure there are many mothers out there that wish they would have a daughter as caring and thoughtful as you seem to be - since not all daughters are the same and not all mothers are the same. Maybe the only thing you can do is accept your mother the way she is, don't try to change her and just be there for her when she needs a hug. Everything else is outside your control.

Kind regards

Community Member

Thank you for your reply!

 I have been doing a lot of the things you mentioned. We keep in touch quite often, and we do things together.

I think sometimes she has no sense of self beyond me, and has a hard time knowing that I am separate from her (or am my own person). Which I completely understand how hard it must be to watch her baby grow wings & fly.

She's seen a GP, but I don't know anything else beyond that (she won't disclose anything to me). I'll continue to be there for her, though.

Thank you, again xx

Thank you for replying, Mike.

 My mother is very religious (Buddhist, following the Mahayana branch). Although I think she misconstrues much of the teachings, and takes a lot of out of context just to support her cases (in arguements & what not).

I do keep in touch with her quite often, and we do things together. Like I said to Lori, I think sometimes she has no sense of self beyond me, and has a hard time knowing that I am separate from her (or am my own person). Which I completely understand how hard it must be to watch her baby grow wings & fly.

I feel guilty sometimes when I'm happy though, and knowing that she may not be.

Thank you for reply, again x