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Overly-conservative parents + coping with bullying


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I'm 19 and I am about to leave for university in a week. I just got into a major fight with my mother about something so stupidly irrelevant to this stage in my life. I've had this argument several times with my parents to which succeeded months of cold war and a near attempt to suicide.


I am a bully victim and have greatly been subjugated to harassment and verbal abuse throughout my teens. Mind you it was not always the case. The mental abuse began after I fought and broke up with my longterm boyfriend [3 yrs] (cool-ass jock, rich-spoilt brat, no sense of decency or maturity- my childhood friend) . He was greatly popular in school and had many followers (literally would follow him anywhere ALL THE TIME). Before we broke up most of his circle of friends were on good terms with me. Post- Break up, all of my so called "friends" gave me the cold-shoulder and the bullying began. I broke up w/ my ex because as I was fed up of his flirtatious, childlike personality and lack of commitment. I never told my parents about our relationship nor our major break up fight, because my parents are very conservative and are close friends to my ex's parents; which would just make things awkward. However my mother sensed that something was wrong because I no longer interacted with him or rather THEM (obviously) but never probed me on the matter and simply assumed things to herself.


Back to the present day; I was having a trivial daily argument with my brother, when my mother barges in and says :


"You will never find a husband with this dirty mouth of yours and that obstinate personality"-{I was'nt even swearing}


>- I asked .


" You are too hot tempered and speak disrespectfully, no one wants to marry a woman with such an ugly personality. You should change your attitude its not appropriate of a young woman."



"If you don't you might end up alone. No wonder all your friends deserted you; you are so unpleasant to be around with. If you keep up that foul mouth of yours, no one will want to be friends with you at university as well"- [ My anger is piqued at this point | Bare in mind that I am a very peaceful person and rarely get furious. Yet when my anger is triggered my tongue becomes a whiplash]




My mother here goes on saying how disgraceful I am and that if I am happy being a pain in the ass then be it. She also warns me again about being alone for the rest of my life. She also informs me that Cindy *my ex's mother; told her how I should be more disciplined and that I should tame such fiery temper. And how I might resemble Bridget Jones"


I am disgusted at this point and run to my room, where I am now. Its hard for me to talk about my bullying history as I am still emotionally sensitive on that subject. I have always felt that I did the right thing breaking up with my ex although now i'm not sure anymore. Its true that when I get angry I can become involuntarily harsh and unpleasant but still, hearing these kinda things from your own mother stings a great deal. I need advice in knowing if I am indeed in the wrong? and how exactly should I deal with my mother??? I am really really really tired of all this nonsense.

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It sounds like it will do you good to leave for uni , because you will free from getting this kid of opinion thrown at you . It might actually bring you and your mum closer when you have space between you .


As for her outlook and opinion on men and marriage etc etc ..It is a train of thought that is not of my world quite frankly and I wouldn't pay too much heed to it .

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Thank you for your prompt reply @pippylongstockig. Although I absolutely scorn her conservative way of thinking I still want to patch things up with her before I leave. Yet I feel that if I have to apologise, it would be admitting that I am indeed in the wrong. Now that I have calmed down a bit, I was wondering if it would be a good idea to tell her about me being bullied? (although i'm quite reluctant and I am scared she will twist my words against me.)

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First and foremost, it's incredibly cruddy for her to make it an issue of you ending up alone for life. Even if there was a lesson to be had somewhere in all that mud, you're absolutely right that there's much more to life than men and marriage, and that any positive changes should be on your behalf.


That out of the way, one of the biggest lessons I took benefit from (one I wish I'd heeded sooner than later) is to thicken your skin to the point you can look past some of the hyperbole and even cruel rhetoric to take note of a potentially valid criticism one might have, especially when you're talking folks who do have a more or less intimate knowledge of you.


Again, making it about your marriage opportunities was uncalled for, if not for its crass, then for its sheer ineffectiveness. But I also wasn't there for your argument with your brother. I don't know your overall demeanor. As the mayor of F-Bomb City, I can fully appreciate some appropriately employed profanity, and I pride myself as much as anyone else in being assertive. But for too long, I hid behind "well, that's just who I am" as an excuse not to adapt and develop some better social tact. And that's not just because it wasn't limiting my dating prospects, but pretty much every other realm of life as well.


Just some food for thought. Again, I don't know you, so your mom could be completely off-base in every aspect, but it's to your own benefit to see if it's worth some reflection.

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Hmmm. You are right. Thank you @j.man. Your comment was very helpful. I will definitely give this a second thought. As for the argument with my brother it was about the football Premier league (not very girlish i'm afraid) and dear lord I would never fire the f-bomb in this household, out of fear of being homeless.(That's how strict my parents are)

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We are on the same train of thought; however its easier said than done. But thank you for your response @Batya33


Well sure it's not always easy to make peace and clerctjecair. I'm a parent and a wife and regularly have to do Thor thongs to do my part in maintaining family peace.

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Your mother honestly sounds like my mother! She used to tell me the same thing when I was your age. Just know that you decided to end things with your ex because you were not happy with how things were and it just wasn't working for you. You are not wrong for that.


That said, looking back, the way I was when I was your age was very similar to you. I didn't see the good in anything my mother said to me until I was older and is more mature.


Yes, I agree, she's a little overboard and may sound to you as crazy. Just know that, every mother looks after their child's best interest at heart. No matter how bad she sounds or how much you disagree with her, she's still your mom and she just wants what's best for you.


Trust me, my mother is just as strict and is very high strung. Even until this day, I don't understand half of the stuff she says to me. Instead of looking at it in a negative point of view (where it used to really upset me) I take it as she just means well and I don't let what she says get to me. It goes in one ear and out the other. I've actually never do anything she tells me. I still turned out fine. You will too.


You will be heading to uni soon so you will no longer have to live in the same household as her. The time and space will really help you realized and appreciate all that your parents did for you. Your view of them will change.


Just give it some time for everyone to cool off and maybe go spend a day with her or your family before you leave. I'm Asian and I know my culture, whenever their kids is about to leave home (got married, school, whatever the reason) they tend to start drama and co-motion over the dumbest thing! It's because they feel that it's a way to make it easier. It makes no sense but it happens to a lot of people I know including myself.

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That's great to look at a parent's intentions beyond the frustrating message. And I think parents have the obligation (at least I know I do) to communicate in an effective and measured way - high strung is a trait I share too often and because I know my son tends towards being anxious and maybe high strung I force myself to calm myself down when I deal with him, to be very careful about my tone and word choice. Sometimes that doesn't work like when he randomly played with the tv remote at 6:30am and made the tv go to blasting loud snow. Still - it's my job to be a role model for him and I can only do that if he can hear and see the right messages. If I go off the handle and have no filter, what is he supposed to learn from that.


Your mother might not want to change her habits, her communication skills but yes know that she means well, and now that you're older perhaps model for her the way you want to be spoken to - not by lecturing but simply by talking in a calm tone and using respectful language -that might tone things down generally and stranger things have happened than an adult learning from a child/teenager (I know I have!).

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Thank you @jujusamples. Its comforting to hear that things will turn out alright, as i have been hearing a lot of the contrary lately (especially from my mum who is indeed asian). I do know she has my best interest at heart and love her to bits. Yet the things she says sometimes are borderline discriminatory, racist, sexist and extremely orthodox (to which i often disagree and where arguments often break out). I honestly look forward to going to uni as the atmosphere between us has become very tensed and depressingly cold. Most importantly I think that what piqued my anger yesterday was how she adamantly defended my bullies; and how she interpreted that it was my fault i got bullied and might have deserved it ....

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You called the argument irrelevant, so why play? Consider the difference between long range strategy versus getting triggered over useless stuff, and you'll learn how to start building clout with your family and others.


Part of maturity is discretion--the clarity, patience and self control to decide which battles are in your best interests, and WHY. The 'appearance' of being reasonable is often more important than actually being reasonable. Once we reach an age where we can recognize a parent's provinciality, we have options, but only if we adopt the discretion to use them wisely.


Impulsive rebellion only confirms immaturity to anyone who can provoke such a display, so skip that. Forgo minor wins to disarm your opponent and build trust. Practice the useful phrase, "Thank you, I'll consider that...." and then change the subject or shut up to allow others to feel victorious and important. Each time you do this, consider it an investment in greasing the wheels of goodwill and reciprocity that will pave your way to successful negotiations down the road, when your provocateurs can be useful.


Negotiation is the skill of offering something of value to another in exchange for what is valuable to you. Bribery is the fine art of showing someone why it's in their best interests to give you what you want. Such transactions require trust in your judgement--so build that trust by yielding on stuff that's superfluous and nonsensical. The more clout you can build over time, the more receptive others will be when you actually want something important from them.


Head high, adopt patience, and use your intelligence in your own favor. You'll thank yourself later.

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Interesting responses. I do think it is a good skill to learn to seperate your own behaviours/ choices from others. When you behave poorly, to own that. And to learn how to be a calm objective person even when others are out of control.


On the other hand, I think your mom is way out of line and there is no excuse at all for her behaviour. I get the impression she is from the line of thought that children are to just obey and listen to their parents. That she doesn't believe she has to be respectful towards you nor to show emotional support to her child.


I think she's a bully. So you've got bullying from multiple directions. I'd be getting far away from that and distancing myself. That's my opinion. Life is too short to tolerate bullies, even if it's family.


If you are allowing your folks to pay for your university or give you money, you will experience this even away from home. If you really are done with being at the bottom of her controlling hammer, the only way to do it is to become independent of her and establish boundaries which work for you and preserve your own health.


No one should ever say that to another. Never mind your own kid. 'No wonder no one likes you' is wrong, I don't care the rational behind it ( more like non regulated emotion). She loses it regularly. You just have to be the bigger smarter person... at 19.

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