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Request for Help - Family, Work, Health shitting up
Your advice will be greatly appreciated!
- I don't get along with my family (south east asian). Every weekend we get into fights and arguments. They are incredibly strict (9p.m. curfew, no clubbing, no boyfriend, no extracurricular activities) and we keep butting heads because of this and past family conflicts. - My parents are pushing for me to get married during my early/mid 20s. My older sister (arranged marriage in late 20s) suggests that I should get married soon. - My sister is the perfect child who's never rebelled and followed my parents' requests.
The relationship that I've had with my family is toxic. • My mum mentions that her life would be better if I was not born (because of my health problems) • My mum has taught me not to trust anyone but my family (leading to severe trust issues) • If I tell my mum about bad things happening in life, she uses it against me • My sister has always been over-critical of my decisions, or what I say and how I'm perceived by others • Any secrets that I share with my sister go to my parents • My father has mentioned that taking me to the hospital when I get sick is the equivalent to a holiday (the cost, amount of driving, expenses) •Double standards for my sister and I
Health Issues: - I have been living with crohn's disease for 15 years. It generally flares due to stress - I have to be very careful with hours of sleep, with what I eat and amount of stress I take on. - My mum has mentioned to keep my health problem as a secret because it would be looked down upon or no one from our community would marry me if they knew this.
Job Issues: - I'm working on a Startup focussing on mental health and atm I don't have a steady stream of money. Any savings that I have is used as capital for the Startup. - Working on a Startup is also stressful, and I'm doing it by myself. I am a non-techie and the startup is creating a tech solution.
Friends Issues: - If I explain to my friends from childhood about the situation I am in, they are generally quite lost as to what I should do. They try to change conversation (because it makes them feel uncomfotable) with one of my friends mentioning that she compares these situations to her life, making her problems seem insignificant.
I feel like everything is going against me rn. I don't feel respected, valued or loved by anyone.
Tbh I need to fix up this mess, does anyone have any advice as to where/how I can start? FYI it's expensive to move out where I live.
Welcome to the forum and thank you for telling us your story. I am sorry to learn how unhappy you are and the difficulties you are facing. I hope I can offer you support.
It sounds like you are managing your physical illness, Crohn's disease, quite well from your point of view but I understand how hard it can be at times having known several people with that condition. In many ways from your mother's upbringing it is similar to having a mental illness. Something that is kept secret and to be ashamed of. If others know it will bring shame to the family. This is such a hard thing to get round. As you probably know, in Australia this is not an unusual disease and no one thinks the worst of those unfortunate to have this. It is in older cultures that this attitude crops up and I am not certain why.
I do not know how old you are, other than over 15, so am unsure whether you could/should take yourself to hospital in an ambulance when you become unwell. It would certainly take away a reason for your father to complain about cost. However I do not know how this would be received by your family. Something to think about perhaps.
I am guessing your parents emigrated to Australia while you were born here. I imagine it is hard for you to understand why your parents think the way they do when it is so different to your Australian friends and their families. Living in two cultures can be very difficult especially when one side wants to cling on to the comfort and safety of their upbringing. It seems your older sister is doing the same as your parents. I gather there is a large age gap between you.
Can I ask you to explain 'working on a Start Up'? I am not certain if this means setting up your own business or going to college or TAFE etc. What will you be doing? So pleased you are entering the field of mental health. We need people to open up this field and show the neighbours and country this is not something to be ashamed of. well done. Is there any way you can find a mentor in this field? If you are attending an educational place perhaps your lecturers can find someone for you. It is good to have someone to talk with about your struggles and to be able to ask for suggestions.
Talking to friends is great if they can listen and/or empathise. Often they need to have some experience of where you are before 'getting it' and being able to help. This is a good place to talk and ask for suggestions etc. When I hear from you again I will write more.
Thanks for the reply Mary, I appreciate that you took the time to reply to me.
I am in my early 20s, but I don't have a license (was emotionally manipulated to note get it).
My parents did emigrate here, my sister was born there and I was born here. My sister and I have 8 years between us.
When I mention startup, it is a newly founded business I am referring to. I do have mentors, but I would not like to bring up the fact of my parents or health because this could be heavily judged by important people who can help the business grow such as team members and investors.
Keen to hear your advice on things,
Good to know you have some mentors. I asked about mentors in regard to managing your business not for psychological support, although they will be giving that as well on the business side. It's probably good to keep the two aspects separate but sometimes one side will crash into the other and you will need to offer an abbreviated explanation.
I would love to know what your business does. Anything about mental health is good to get out into the community and demonstrate we do not have two heads.
Eight years between siblings can be a huge barrier. The age difference has less effect as you both grow older and you grow into your own skin so to speak. Unfortunately old habits die hard and being constantly irritated can be an old habit. May I suggest you have a good think about what upsets you with your sister and her comments. Try if you can to decide what really trips you up and what you no longer worry about.
When you talk with each other the no-longer irritating stuff you can ignore. You may feel you want to answer because you always have but those comments that no longer press your buttons can be filed in the WPB (waste paper basket). It takes a lot of energy, as you have found out, to be on the defensive when others want to run your life. The response can so often be more aggressive than necessary so if some things have lost their power to hurt put them to one side and keep your strength to manage other situations.
Sometimes it helps to write down these thoughts and the words of others to help give you some clarity on what is being said. My GP used to tell me to pick my battles and she was quite right. Fight when it's really necessary and let the other stuff go. Not always easy when you have been virtually programmed to respond. It will take some concentration from you and some background work to make decisions on what to ignore, but I believe it will make a huge difference to you, not least in managing your Crohn's disease.
If your sister presses you for an answer make a general remark. Again you may want to think about what to say beforehand to avoid blurting out a comment that will escalate the conversation. It's all about being in control of yourself and not allowing yourself to be triggered into hasty words. It can be disastrous. If you still feel upset/irritated/hurt afterwards go and do something physical such as going for walk. This helps to clear the triggered adrenalin from your system and soothes you. Always a good idea.