overprotecting, controlling parents has led to this...

Reply Wed 22 Jul, 2015 05:16 am
Just a word of warning - This is going to be a long post! So thank you to those in advance for reading through.

I'm almost 32 years old and I believe I have experienced the consequences of over protective, helicopter parenting. All my life literally I have been trying to discover why I am in this perpetual stuckness; no career, little ambition/goals/purpose, still single, still living at home with my parents, basically no future and feeling rather hopeless as I have been for many years now.

I'm from the UK but originally my parents are from South Asia and I know in this culture it is common for parents to be very overprotective and their children. Add to this was the fact that they were strong Christians and so I grew up going to church all my life, surrounded by its morals and values. I made a commitment to Christ when I was 14 I'd say but my faith in God has always struggled and been difficult.

Growing up, I would have private tuition classes right from the age of 8 to pretty much til I was 18. My dad would constantly feel the need to help me and would get annoyed and upset if I refused his help. I remember one time he started crying when I did. He would sometimes do homework for me! They made sure I was taken care of and essentially made life as easy as possible for me. My dad would pick me up from school even though it was a 10 minute walk home til I was like 16! I always felt I had to be studying and doing homework all the time. I can think of so many examples – I remember when I was 15 my father didn't let me stay round a friends house because he didn't know his parents personally! One time when I was 18 I went to the cinema with my cousin and didn't get back til about midnight. My parents went crazy, found my notebook where I had written down my friends nos (before the days when everyone had a cell phone) and called all my friends to ask where I could be! When I got home and my parents treated me like I had committed murder when all I did was go to the cinema to watch a movie. They have always had this irrational, paranoid, extreme state of mind and over time it's naturally been projected onto me. Obviously at the time, I wasn't able to recognise this.

Aside from all of this, I suffered constant criticisms and orders, all these should haves, ought tos etc.

So my memories from those years are largely negative. I was treated like I was disobedient or rebellious if I did things my own way or did something they didn't agree with or didn't want to see me doing. It's as if I couldn't make mistakes, if I had failed or did something that was risky. I felt like I couldn't rebel and speak out against this, because it would be seen as being disobedient. Yet to this day I have never really been rebellious. I never smoked, took drugs, hardly ever drink, although I've had serious girlfriends I never slept with any of them (due to my Christian beliefs), never got into a fight, infact I've never once got into any trouble whatsoever at school or in life since then.

On top of all this I never received the love, affirmation and positive encouragement that every child and every individual should receive from their parents. It was always negative from my father, he hardly ever praised or encouraged me, whenever he did, it would be performance based (if I got good grades) or did well at sport or something. Never once did they really say and treat me as loved and accepted for who I was, regardless of however I behaved or performed.

I have always felt this urge to break free and discover myself. I wanted to study Spanish, yet my dad didn't allow it cos he wanted me to do maths because it would be "appropriate" even though I KNEW I would not enjoy it and ended up doing badly in it. Spanish was my favorite subject and I wish I had done it for my degree/major.
Even as I grew older into my 20s they have treated me in similar ways. For example when I was 26 I went to a friend's party and had like 2 beers got back home and my mum the next morning figured that I had been drinking because she smelt alcohol on my clothes. I remember how upset she was and then my dad wrote me a letter the next day saying how I should not drink alcohol, because it is addictive (when they already know I don't drink)!!! At 26!? They went onto say how children need their parents help irrespective of their age and that families should always be interdependent. No mention whatsoever of being self sufficient, independent, being a fully responsible adult man etc.

SO then, is it any surprise now at 32 years of age, I have no idea what to do with my life? I have always been wondering and trying to figure out why I am so dysfunctional, don't have passion in life, why I have very little motivation, why I have this complete failure to launch. It's truly made me realise that the very reason I can't seem to be a man and take control of my own life is due to all what I've described. Every time something went wrong my parents would try and fix it. This constant obsession my father has had that children always NEED their parents has essentially sucked me into this codependency. They've thought that because they've done everything possible for their son, he should be successful and be set for life, when actually it's pushed me further away and I've ended up resenting them. They see me as an extension of themselves. They haven't genuinely cared about what I want, what I need. A true LOVING parent would recognise the essential need for a child at some point in their life to be free, independent to make their own decisions, plan their own lives and take care of themselves and not feel the need to constantly help them and take care of their needs.

People always keep saying how ONLY I can make changes, it's up to YOU to take control of your own life and so on. Everything that I've written above surely explains why to this day I'm finding it almost impossible to move on with my life and be independent. It's not knowing what I truly want to do with my life because I've been taken care of for so many years resulting in this disabling complex, I just feel constantly crippled.

I could go on of course but I think I will stop at this point because I could elaborate for the rest of the day!
I have read studies and researched this entire area and in nearly every case I read stuff that resonates with me perfectly. The causes and consequences that are outlined of this style of parenting are well documented and psychologists and experts agree that it has devastating effects on both a child at school growing up but also more significantly on the adult person. He/she struggles to become a responsible, functioning adult. It all makes perfect sense. It goes a long way to explaining why I am this way.

For example I've picked out two articles here - http://gmwilliams.hubpages.com/hub/C...ed-For-Failure

and this one - http://www.positive-parenting-ally.c...r-parents.html

β€œIn conclusion, overprotected children are slated for failure in school and in life.
Overprotected children end up to be failures in life in more ways than one. Overprotective parents are only damaging their children and either do not or refuse to acknowledge this. Many overprotected children remain in their symbiotic state until it is quite too late to change!”

So is that it then? Am I doomed because it's too late? Is there any hope? I guess that's my main worry. Is there anyway to reverse this now at my age?
Reply Wed 22 Jul, 2015 05:43 am
You're 32 years old. Grow the **** up and take some responsibility for your actions and your choices. Your parents didn't abuse you, so there's a Statute of Limitations on their screwups. At some point, you become an adult and your destiny becomes your own responsibility.

Go to school for something else if you don't like what you do. Network and meet people and learn how to change your life. Get counseling if you can't cope. Your parents did the best they could. But it was imperfect.

Guess what?

Everybody's parents **** up in some way or another.

So long as it isn't physical, sexual, or mental abuse, or neglect, then your job as an adult is to pull up your own bootstraps and forgive them for being human and having failings.

Like every other parents on the planet.
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Reply Wed 22 Jul, 2015 06:18 am
People always keep saying how ONLY I can make changes, it's up to YOU to take control of your own life and so on. Everything that I've written above surely explains why to this day I'm finding it almost impossible to move on with my life and be independent.

Do you know why people say this - because it is true. You are 32 - you can walk out of your parents'home right now. You are allowing your parents to control you.

Yes, you are correct that your situation can be explained by what you have written. It crippled you. But it doesn't have to stop you - it is as you say almost impossible, but it is possible. Your situation happens - other children in this situation have learned to go on.

I know of a couple of children in similar situations - one is a grown adult - she solved hers, by moving across country to go college. She ended up getting married and lives across the country (in my opinion) to get away from her controling parents.

Another is more recent - she just graduated high school. Even closer to your situation with a very strict Christian home. She was going to go a local college, but instead was able to sign on with a Christian group that travels and visits schools...again I think this was her escape from being under her parents'roof.

jespah suggested counseling - I would agree. I would imagine in the UK there are free services. Go meet with someone, they should help guide you so you can start. Honestly I think that is all you need a little start and a little guidance -- see if they can help you get a job and then move out your parents'home. Start making personal and potentially career goals for yourself. Start small and work up. If you don't start you will be 50 and still living with your parents. Don't worry about how old you are and where you are today, think of where you can be next week, next month, next year and so on. Gotta be better than where you are now.
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Reply Wed 22 Jul, 2015 08:46 am
I didn't read the entire article, because I skimmed over it, So, don't thank me. XD

but yes, yes you are doomed. Razz overprotective parenting is detrimental to a child's development. That is undeniable. Parents should be informative, and if they lack communication skills, then they should ADMIT those flaws to themselves instead of pressing themselves upon their children. It is too late for considering that now. Either way, protection is good***

Ya Ud. hablais espanol?

My Spanish isn't amazing. I spent 8 months in Mexico over the duration of two years. I know a few people there.

Please tell me what some of your interests are. I am here looking for penpals. I am searching for study partners, language learning buddies (Spanish is one of my key languages.), travel partners, etc.. and co-authors.

Over all. No, it is not too late. [*Mind you I believe in Immortality. Only laziness, sex hormones and intoxication cause old age. Depression leading to anxiety and laziness, while decreasing immune system efficiencies.]. You can still do anything you had ever wanted.

Smile call me.
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Reply Wed 22 Jul, 2015 12:53 pm
They say that as one grows older, his/her childhood becomes less important. In other words, you are 32 and need to become an adult.

One side effect of "helicopter" parents is that their children don't know how to make choices. Another is that the child has an elevated sense of entitlement. They don't know how to WORK for anything, since it has always been given to them or decided for them.

You need to get out on your own and make your own decisions. Take chances, make mistakes. Then make better mistakes. Develop empathy for others. Only that can raise your own self esteem.
Reply Fri 24 Jul, 2015 02:14 am
As this is the parenting forum I was trying to convey a glimpse into how this type of parenting can be so toxic and the consequences it can have on the child, well into adulthood. This South Asian style of parenting is in direct conflict to the western ideals and value it places on individualism and independence and it is what I have to contend with all my life. Ok, so I was never sexually abused (although my parents shamed me for at least a few years when they found out I was masturbating from 14) or physically abused to the point where I had to go to hospital (although my father and my older brother would give me beatings when they weren't happy with me). Many people as a result, UNLESS they themselves have been in this family dynamic fail to understand the scale of the consequences. To simply dismiss this as self absorbed moaning or whining or whatever is insensitive but then again it's expected because they wouldn't be able to relate. It has stripped me of the key self understanding of who I am and what I want do.
I know I need to move out and move on with my life it simply isn't that easy "just to do it" due to all the factors I've outlined.

I did infact move out about 4 years ago and rented somewhere on my own for about 5 months. Although I had my own space for a while, they would still make contact every week or so, call me once a week, my mum would make me some food occasionally etc. But overall, I still had this feeling of heaviness and apathy and complete paralysis. I had the same issues of feeling stuck and being unable to really do much despite having that space and independence from my parents. So there is more to this than simply living away from home.

Also, obviously I have worked in the past but disliked every job I've done partly because they've been jobs I haven't enjoyed. But there's more to it than that. The last one I had I simply accepted their offer because people were saying exactly the same thing - just find any job and commit to it. And I did exactly that for a year until the company I worked for become so annoyed with my apathy and disinterest and lack of enthusiasm and focus that they had no choice but to ask me to leave. I realise that if I had proper responsibilities then like most other people I would force myself to simply push through it because I would have no choice, right? I understand this because having lived at home whenever I was working, this hasn't really been the case. If I wanted to leave the job then I could and would still have a home to come to and food to eat. Thus the motivation I realise isn't there.

Even so, I have never had a sick day, I was never late and I did what was required. Yet once again, I couldn't shake off the heaviness and sadness that I have had for so many years. With every desk job, I have sat there in front of the screen, still completing the work but ruminating about my losses and indulging in that self pity I guess. I wish I could stop myself from doing this but I can't help feeling this way.
The only occasions I have managed to temporarily feel better is when I've traveled and when I play sport (the main reason why I have worked - to save up money for this).

I should have mentioned also that I have been in counselling on and off for about 10 years, I've seen several different counsellors in that time and the one I'm currently with I've been with for about a year now. He identifies that I have been traumatized by how I was parented but so many other incidents in my life (which obv I haven't gone into detail here).

So it's not as if I haven't tried my best to overcome this whole crisis. I have and will keep doing so. But there has always been something that is making me stuck and my counsellor may be onto something when it refers to trauma related consequences.

To be honest posting on some random forum expecting random people who don't even know me to understand where I'm coming from is a long shot especially with such sensitive and complicated issues but thank to those who did respond.
Reply Fri 24 Jul, 2015 02:20 am
Some people never really grow up. If you can manage to grow up by the age of 33 - 35, you're actually ahead of the game. You've already taken the first and biggest step in realizing that you have a problem.
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Reply Fri 24 Jul, 2015 02:45 am
john, here's the thing. I know it's cliched but the grass is always greener.

My parents were just the opposite of yours. They didn't help me with anything. Even at an early age of 13 (seems early) they didn't care what I did. I could stay out all night, not come home, they didn't care if I called them to tell them where I was. Completely disconnected. I blamed them for a long time up until I was 20 for not giving me proper direction and supporting this idea that I can do what ever I want when ever I want without facing the consequences of those choices.

I realized the only power I had was over my self. You can't blame anyone else for the choices you make right now. Weather or not someone else agrees or disagrees with it, you can't blame them.

So they are over protective? So what? So they didn't give you the type of attention that you think you deserved or needed. So what? The whole thing is right now, is what choices you make yourself, for yourself. Continuing to blame them for why you can't get started only keeps you in this repeating cycle of blame.

Just do something. It doesn't have to be the hail mary pass. Even if it's later a mistake, so what, just do something. You said you liked spanish, take it up. Become a spanish teacher, something. You have passion it's just you have not chosen to pursue them. If your parents don't like it, so what? It's your life, your choice, your consequence, your happiness.
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jim 1968
Reply Sat 25 Jul, 2015 08:02 pm
Interesting post. I understand your dilemma. I have a very tight knit family--my parents are still alive and they like to keep the family close together and they have their strong opinions on almost everything and (even in my 40s) they keep close tabs on me. They didn't indulge me--all my success is self-made. I have a very successful career and a good life. Your parents are not the cause of the hopeless feeling (I get that, too, sometimes). You just have to make choices that are beneficial and take their opinions into account but take them as opinions...not dictates. Good luck Smile
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Reply Wed 29 Jul, 2015 09:22 am
I tried to add a touch of humorous support.

What you have become is 100% permanent, you must progress down the same course you have been set. You cannot go back and do it again, or you have continued to progress forward; Time is not reset when you cure an ailment. It is a portion of your personal development. I found your question very interesting.

honestly. How is your Spanish?

in addition: I do believe in Immortality and I have reasons to. I can blow your mind if your looking to be cleared out.
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