It’s RedRain here
So a lot of y’all have heard about my dad and given me words of encouragement (thank you so much. got me choked up in class), but i got a recent question asking about my mom.
I live with my mom (but my grandpa is living with us alot for cancer treatment) and honestly it’s just a lot of pressure.
She wants me to be perfect. She doesn’t want me to struggle like anyone else in my family, but she doesn’t understand that it’s hard to even get out of bed in the morning and to brush my teeth and put my clothes up. I’m trying so hard in school, but i’m in all honors classes (up to 4.5 gpa) and i’m actually doing pretty good despite being in the psyc ward for part of the year.
She’s constantly complaining and honestly i go to therapy every week and cry about it. I just started highschool with none of my friends and i’m already struggling. I love when i can laugh with her, but most of the time she’s upset, so i just hide away in my room.
Thanks for listening yall, and if you have any advice on how to get her to understand please feel feee to share.
I hear you. I went through that when I was in high school.
Parents want their kids to succeed in general. When a kid is successful, the parents want to see them go to great heights. I know my parents were well-intentioned–they saw potential in me that they knew was greater than they ever had, and they thought that if I could do well, I would be more satisfied and successful than they ever were. The unintended consequence was that nothing was ever good enough for me. I set impossible standards for myself. When I fell short of impossible, I felt like a failure. If I reached a personal high, I reset the bar and minimized my success. Eventually it came crashing down. When I started meeting real challenges, I shut down and quit believing in myself at all.
Your mom’s logic is probably that if you succeed now, you’ll succeed more later. Seeing people in your family struggle, she probably believes that if you’re not “succeeding,” you’re struggling, and struggling will set you up to struggle more later. that’s not the way it works though. It sounds to me like you’re already struggling, even if it’s “successful.” The two aren’t mutually exclusive.
I bet your mom would be heartbroken if she understood what she was doing to you. I know my mom was when she figured it out years later. The problem is they think they know better than you do as a teenager, and the bigger problem is they’re not completely wrong. They’re not completely right either though. So how do you communicate how you feel about your “success?” I would advise writing a letter, then reading it to her. Leave anger out of it, try to word it to minimize a defensive response. Use statements that utilize “I feel,” because that makes it about how you perceive it, and try not to use “you.” She can’t argue with how you perceive your life. I would say things like: “I feel like I can’t enjoy my life because I’m so busy trying to do well and so afraid of failure.” “I feel like even though I’m doing really well on paper, I’m still not doing well enough because I could always be doing better.” “I’m not happy. I’m lonely, but I don’t feel like I can make friends because I’m too busy trying to craft a school resume.” Things that tell her what you’re going through right now, not doom and gloom about how some old guy online said he went through the same thing and dropped out of college. When you read her your letter, tell her “I want you to hear me out. Please just listen until I’m done speaking.” I would hope she can listen, truly hear what you’re saying, and try to understand. It may not solve everything over night, but it’s good to open the door to that conversation.
What you’re doing right now is setting you up to be a lifelong people-pleaser. Other people love people-pleasers, but it’s an extremely toxic way to live. You are learning to only derive your value from how much other people approve of you, and you are worth so much more than that. Don’t tell her to fuck off, but there’s a balance between that and trying to meet her every expectation. You’re an individual. You are at an age where it’s really important to figure out your identity. You can be respectful while you do that, but you don’t have to be a doormat.
Hi RedRain I’m so sorry that you’ve experienced some pretty horrible things in your short life. When I was your age, I had experienced some of the same things. I was raped when I was very young and instead of putting me in therapy, my parents decided to just let me bring it up when I needed to talk about it. What young child understands anything about that? I struggle now with disorders caused by trauma and neglect etc. My mother didn’t understand or even recognized anything while I was growing up, she had her own anxiety issues that she dealt with and I guess wasn’t able to give me the attention I needed. Now she does and she has learned a lot about my disorders and is one of my biggest supporters. I hope that some day, hopefully very soon that your mother will wake up and see that she has a beautiful child that deserves to be loved and kept safe. ~Mystrose
I’m sorry to hear that you’re dealing with such things.
Remember that what you’re doing, in school, is not for your mum but for you. You’re working hard and you’re doing good and you should keep it up but your end goal shouldn’t be to make your mum happy, but to make yourself happy. At the end of the day there’s no point in making your mum happy but you’re still bad mentally. That isn’t what being successful is. Parents always want their kids to be perfect, and it should be so. There’s just one thing that she’s missing - she’s only making things worse complaining and putting more pressure. The more you get her to understand that, the better. I think you and your mum need to understand more on what you’re both going through, so you can both improve each others’ situation.
I hope that you’ll have happier times where you feel motivated to continue with your day.
Hi again Friend, Thank you so much for your response, its so good to hear from you again. I am so glad your Mum is with you and I am really sorry to hear that your Grandad is undergoing cancer treatment but its lovely that he is with you and your Mum, it must be hard for you both but its very special for you all as a family to have this time together. I hear you when you talk about your mum and how you think she doesn’t understand you and that she cries a lot and is upset and that must be hard to watch. No one wants to see their parent upset. I think its probably really difficult to see her daughter struggle in life, also no parent wants to see their child hurt so that works both ways and I think you may find that she probably does understand you more than you think she does but maybe you both haven’t had that time to come together and really talk about everything yet? I don’t know how much you do talk but that would be a lovely thing to do. Maybe even bring mum in on a couple of your therapy sessions? These are just ideas. I hope they help. Just remember how special you are. Take care. You are loved. Lisa. x
Hello, RedRain! I read through your other posts as well and I cannot imagine going through everything you have gone through let alone at such a young age. You are so strong to have gone through all of that and to be trying so hard to heal while also taking honours classes. You are an amazing person.
Why are you in high school without your friends? I hope you can find some new friends in your school while holding onto and maintaining your current friendships. I know it’s fun being in honours classes but if it ends up feeling like too much I definitely suggest moving down into the regular classes. You still get to have a lot of fun and learn tons but there is a little less pressure and it can be helpful when you are struggling with your time. I also took all honors and AP classes in high school and it was fun because I was always with my friends but it did nothing for me really later in life in terms of college/uni. Just a little nugget of wisdom.
Have you tried talking to your mom about why she is upset? Do you enjoy playing card games or board games? Sometimes talking while playing a game with your parent can be a great way to relax and open up with each other. It gives your mind something else to focus on and relax into and also allows silences to happen naturally while you focus on the game without feeling unnatural. And then topics can just come up as you play. Just don’t play a fast paced game for this tactic, haha, then all the focus is on the game.
I wish you all the luck and I hope to see an update from you again soon. I’m glad you found our community here. Stay strong
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