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Theresa
Theresa, Psychologist
Category: Relationship
Satisfied Customers: 877
Experience:  PhD. Clinical Psychology
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My mother is Vietnamese and I have been a good vietnamese ...

Customer Question

My mother is Vietnamese and I have been a good vietnamese daughter my whole life. I recently told her, however, that I have plans to move in with my current serious boyfriend, something that she has been taught is a great shame to do. This was three weeks ago. Her health since then has plummeted. She has high blood pressure, and her pressure shot up. She has been very depressed. She has been missing work a lot and her sleep cycle is all messed up. She is afraid she will die, and now I am too. She lives in Oregon, and I live in California. I will go to Guatemala to be with my boyfriend in one month. I''m not sure what I can do to help her. Please help.
Submitted: 6 years ago.
Category: Relationship
Expert:  Ms Chase replied 6 years ago.

Hello Nicole,

This is a difficult question. On one hand you want to say that you are an adult, and should be able to make your own decisions. That you should be able to tell her that you have been a good daughter and it's never your intention to bring shame on your family. Perhaps explain to her that things are a little different her, but she probably knows that.

On the other hand, her reaction is so adverse that I wonder if it might not be better to just tell her that you decided to move into your own apartment in Guatemala. I normally don't advocate lying, however rarely do you see a parent react in such an extreme manner, and I fear that if she does get ill or god forbid, die, then you will have to live with that for the rest of your life. Maybe if you tell her you've decided to go live 'by' him, but you're going to get your own place because you don't want her to be upset, it might calm her down. Then if you decide eventually to get married she may feel better about the whole thing.

The biggest problem with lying (beside the fact that it's just wrong) is that once you tell a lie, you have to continue the lie. He wouldn't be able to answer the phone if she called, she might ask for pictures of your place, or even ask if she can come visit, and all of these things would have to be dealt with.

I'm not sure if this made any sense to you, but I welcome your thoughts. Let me know if you want to talk more.

Chase

Customer: replied 6 years ago.
I don't think lying is a good idea for the simple fact that I know she won't beleive me. She will question my lie to the end. And I don't want to get myself into a place where I have to defend a lie. I don't think it will make anything better, and if she catches me in a lie, it will definitely make things worse. Even if I were to pull this off though, my boyfriend and I are hoping to go to school in the same city (boston). We are waiting to hear if he got accepted into Harvard Law. If he does, I have every intention to move in with him. He will go to law School and I will go to medical school and we will live together for the next few years. So if that happens, there is no way I can lie to her about that. So I don't think it would be a good idea to lie to her about the three months I will be spending in Guatemala if later I am going to upset her again.

Currently, we are not discussing the issue anymore because nothing gets resolved, we both leave with our opinions unchanged, and it pains her greatly..to the point where she no longer wants to continue with her everyday activities. I have been giving her some space, hoping that the emotional distance will give her time to reflect and regroup. However, I am worried what might happen if I choose not to check up on her every once in a while. If something health related DOES happen to her, I am quite positive that this whole thing will be on me no matter what I do next.
Expert:  Ms Chase replied 6 years ago.

Hello Nicole,

Thank you for that additional info. Well I did say that I hate to tell anyone to lie, and like you said, once you lie, you have to keep on lying to keep up with everything. It's unlikely that you would be able to change her mind as this is a part of her life, her beliefs, and her emotions. She wants the best of the best for you and probably has had an idea of what she wanted for your life since the day you were born.

Still, your life is your own to do with what you will. You can tell your mom that she did a wonderful job raising you and now she has to trust that you will make good decisions about your life. She has to allow you to go on your own path the same way she found her path. You can give her space and still check on her. Perhaps it's best that you tell her you don't want to talk about it anymore. That you're very clear on her thoughts on the subject, so maybe it's best that you don't talk about it anymore. Maybe once you are settled you can have her come stay with you for a few days and if she gets to know him, she may start to feel a little different.

It's hard to say really because no one wants to be responsible for someone else's misery, illness and least of all death. You have no choice but to ether do what you want to do, or do what she wants you to do. If you give in this time, you'll have to give in every time you do something she doesn't approve of.

Chase

Customer: replied 6 years ago.
Thanks for the advice Chase, but I've already done all the things you have suggested and it has not helped. I guess we'll just have to wait and see. Thank you for taking the time to respond.
Customer: replied 6 years ago.
Ms. Chase. I have already sent you a reply stating that the things you have suggested did not help because I already did them and I still have this problem. I would like it if another expert could respond to my question. Thank you.
Expert:  Theresa replied 6 years ago.

Hi Nicole:

You are in a very emotional position. We love, honor and respect our parents for they have blessed us by giving us life and caring for us. When we grow into adulthood, it is very normal to fall in love with one that we hope to share our entire life and being with. It is seen that you have reached this crossroad

The joy of loving someone so fully is being experienced by you right now and you are also realizing that while you are full of happiness at finding this love that everyone hopes for, the possibility for a heavy heart can walk right beside the joy. You are experiencing this because you believe that you have disappointed your mother.

A parent that loves their child doesn't really become saddened when their children make choices such as the one you have made. They become fearful for their child and their hearts are fill of worry. However, when the love of a parent and child is unconditional, the parent's fears slowly subside as they see that their child is safe and most of all happy.

I would like to share a personal experience with you that may help what I am saying become more clear for you. I was raised in a home that was similar to yours. My parents, were very moral, kind and good people and they were well respected in our community. They had six children; me, my two brothers and 3 sisters. Being a female in this family brought many expectations from our parents. Like your mother, my parents had similar beliefs and expectations for each of us. They truly believed that a woman had to be clean "so to speak" to maintain her honor and dignity. To this day, I agree with them and have taught my girls the same thing. However, my youngest sister, found herself with child when she was only 18 years old and unmarried. I was 21 years at the time and so very torn for I loved my parents and it was difficult to bear them as they wept. I also loved my sister, and I was concerned for her future. We were taught that good men didn't want females that bore a child before they were betrothed for they had shamed their entire family.

Toady my mother is 79 years and my father who recently walked forward would be 83 years if he were still on the earth with us. They married young and my father moved forward 30 days prior to their 60th wedding anniversary.

By the time my sister birthed the sweet innocent little baby or parents had come to accept that they should not have placed such an emotional burden on my sister by judging her actions. They were both in the delivery room with her and my papa was the biggest silly grand papa that you could ever imagine. My little niece was a beautiful little girl that looked identical to her biological father. But out papa could only see my sister and our mother in her. The child was spoiled and has lived a wonderful life. She was a blessing in that our parents learned many new things about life that they never thought they might learn.

Though we thought that their tears were disappointment and anger... They later explained that the tears were out of fear. Like you and I, our parents grew up with strong beliefs. They feared that their baby girl would have a hard and difficult life based on what they had been taught. Their fear became less with every day that my sister went to school to obtain her RN. When they realized that she could care for her self and her child if they were gone they were once again complete.

My sister married when Elizabeth was five years of age. The man was not her biological daddy; but, he adopted her. His family was joyed for they had a little grandchild now. My sister and her hubby had two more little ones (fella's) and they have just celebrated 20 years of marriage. My niece plays with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra as an alternate, and she teaches music in a private school in Illinois. Unconditional love is simply a miracle to behold.

I read the conversations that you had with Ms. Chase. I want you to know that if your mother should move forward in death it is because it is the will of your God. It is from the mercy he has placed her for she will not suffer any longer. But your decision to be with the one you love would not be the cause dear one. Never... I can not let you think this. I saw that you stated if my mother dies it is all on me. If your mother passes, it is because God has shown her mercy and taken her from the pain of the illness that she has.

You have not or do not have the power to do this to anyone child. What your mother is experiencing right now is no different than what my parents did many years ago... She loves you deeply and fears for your happiness.

Your mother grew up in a time where the teachings were so very different than they are today and this is strange to her. Trust me when I tell you she only wishes for your happiness.

I also want to inform you that if your maturing into an adult and choosing a life mate did result in your mother and you experiencing a break in your relationship, then it is because she is selfish. I do not mean this in a bad way at all. What I am hoping to share is that our parents did the exact same thing. Perhaps not in the same manner, but none the less, they left their parents to enjoy their life with the one they loved. And it is normal for you to seek this.

I would like to encourage you to sit and talk with your mother... Reminisce your youth with her and all of the wonderful things she has blessed you with... Speak of her life with your father... Let her know that your desire is not to hurt her... That your hope is that she can share in this joy with you as she shared in the joys of your youth. If in the end she chooses not to accept your decision at the present time then you should let her know that you respect this and hope that she will have the spirit to forgive you one day. Let her know that you will always love her and that the decision you have made to be with the one you love has only been possible because of the love that she taught you with. Do let her know that you will also respect any choices that she makes if she feels ashamed.

You see, this places the choice in your mother's area of control and this is where it needs to be. Just as you have made the decision to move... For this is your right.

May God bless each of you so that your hearts will be comforted.

Terri

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Theresa, Psychologist
Category: Relationship
Satisfied Customers: 877
Experience: PhD. Clinical Psychology
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