reply to post by die_another_day
Dear Precious beleagured Chinese Student . . .
My heart goes out to you . . . as a psychologist . . . and as someone who's lived more than 15 years in China/Taiwan.
I'm going to run some role playing kinds of statements out as though I were you talking to your parents.
I don't know if any of it will have any value, or not.
IF, IF, IF, IF, IF
YOU CAN honestly "own" any of what I write as your own thoughts and feelings--PLEASE FEEL FREE TO DO SO. And modify the wording however you see fit.
You know your parents best, obviously.
If not, please flush it or whatever parts of it . . . Here goes . . .
1. Mom, Dad,
You have raised me to do my best. I've been doing pretty close to my best. It grieves me--it dismays me--it discourages me and leaves me feeling
super depressed and angry that you don't believe me.
2. I'm not a robotic automaton. Maybe other Chinese students can manage to function that way. I can't. And I'm certainly not willing to try harder
to be an automaton. I can't stomach that. It's destroying me inside.
3. And the more you complain about me not being perfect, the more I want to give up and quit trying entirely. PERFECTION is a horrible slave master. I
can never achieve perfection in your eyes or any other eyes. The escalating demands leave me feeling utterly hopeless. I'm not the suicidal type but
the pressures you put me under would have driven me to it long ago, if I were.
4. IF you want a viable, functional, mutually loving relationship with me, then I need you to treat me with more respect. Your behavior toward me in
demanding unachievable perfection is draining the respect I've had for you all my life more and more rapidly and I hate that. I hate not feeling warm
support and encouragement from you. I hate it more than I've ever hated anything else my whole life. It feels like you've turned into some sort of
midevil torturists intent only on harrassing me until I'm as miserable as you can leave me feeling. I hate feeling that way and I hate thinking
towards you that way.
5. You have a lot of power over me. You can continue to kill my inner person--the spark that keeps me going regardless of the pressures. You can leave
me a dry, shallow, aching, miserable shell of a person--a miserable hulk without soul, without heart, without life or hope. You can kill me while I
still walk around like some numbed out helpless, hopeless zombie. But I don't think you would be proud of that as a daughter. I don't think you
would be proud of achieving that result in my life.
6. At some point, I would be forced to withdraw more and more from any normal authentically human relationship and dialogue with you. I would have
to--to survive at all--as a person and certainly as me. Do you really want that? I think you would do well to count the cost before you continue down
7. I'm not some inexhaustible piece of stainless steel that you bend and fire and hammer and hammer and hammer and hammer and hammer endlessly into
some sword point of your design and your choosing for you pride, for your ego.
8. I'm a person. I'm your daughter. I'm your flesh and blood and I hate feeling that I'm no longer treated like I am but instead am treated like
some inexhaustible, indestructible robot. I can't handle that. I won't handle that. I will not continue to live like that.
9. What happened to FAMILY? What happened to mutual respect? What happened to mutual support? What happened to tenderness between us?
10. There are many kinds of success. Perfect grades can be a hollow kind of empty, dry and even deadly 'success.' Some research shows that
perfectionists have LESS SUCCESSFUL LIVES AND CAREERS than those who more or less do their best but score maybe even 80% under PERFECTIONISTS. A)
Perfectionists earn less money. B) Perfectionists have less job satisfaction. C) Perfectionists marry less satisfying spouses and have less satisfying
marriages. D) Perfectionists have more illness. NO THANKS. That's not my choice. E) Their rank and status is also not as high.
11. Not only is such a horrible price to pay for perfectionism--IT'S NOT ME. AND I REFUSE TO TRY ANY HARDER TO MAKE IT ME--THE SUIT DOES NOT FIT AND
I WON'T WEAR IT. And it hurs me and even at some point angers me that you'd even imagine it was a fitting suit for me--much less ask and much, much
less demand that I wear it. I thought you were my loving parents, not my torturers. I hate your stealing my parents away from me and replacing them
with my torturers. I want my loving parents back.
12. I'm aware of the risks of less than perfect grades. I'm prepared to take the consequences of being me. I can do no less nor no more. But it must
be me. I cannot allow even you to try and live your lives through me to satisfy your unmet needs and egos. I can only be me. I have tried to honor
your requests and even your demands. At some point it breaks down. It breaks down horribly. I hate living like that. I hate living even 1/4th like
that. Part of me would rather live a homeless street person than suffer that kind of endless pressure day in and day out from the very folks I used to
think loved me most.
13. I'm willing to accept supportive encouragement for me to do my more or less comfortable best. But when your pressures start to dump life
destroying cortisol into my blood stream--shortening my life--I have to blow the whistle to stop. Something has gone horribly wrong at that point.
14. We can negotiate the time I need in breaks from my studying. I'm not trying to be a lazy slacker. But I need you to support sanity breaks and
just breaks period.
15. Studying intellectual things is done best in 10-20 minute chunks. Then I need to take a break--do something mindless--take a walk; empty the
trash; exercise; whatever while my brain sorts and files what I've just studied. At the very least, I need to change topics every 20 minutes. A lot
of research is clear that hours and hours of pouring yet more of the same content past one's eyes attempting to pound it into one's brain just does
not work--IT'S NOT EFFICIENT. IT WASTES TIME and certainly adds stress. At some point, the brain throws up barriers consciously and unconsciously . .
. resisting being overwhelmed with an integration task too rapid and too demanding. I need respect for being merely human in that regard.
16. I care for you and want the best relationship we can manage at this stage of my life. The pressures of school and society are horrendous. I
need--desperately need your love and support. BUT IF IT CANNOT BE EMPATHETIC AND UNDERSTANDING LOVE AND SUPPORT--THEN IT IS NOT LOVE AND IT WILL NOT
. . . .
I hope there's at least some food for thought for you and your parents above. Please U2U me if you have further questions or if you have posted
something here for me to respond to. I don't always get back to threads I post on.