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A Wimp of A Nation


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Hello, this is my first post here with this community and generally my first attempt at sharing my thoughts and feelings with others so if I come away a bit odd I thank you in advance for your patience.


I came across the above article which argues that parental hyperconcern may be why kids cannot cope and found that I shared something in common with the people described within. My parents have a life planned out for myself, and they have dictated how I should spend my time, criticized my school and university work, and everything in between.

While I studied as an undergrad, my writing skills were poor and did not meet the expected standard. I wished to respond and meet my parents expectations so I approached them for help to polish my skills. My father would review my work and criticize my mechanics rather harshly, but I decided it was best to receive help from my father rather than apply to a student writing workshop.

When he came home each day, if he was dissatisfied with something remotely related to me, he would say things like, "this is all I can expect from a C student. No motivation, no effort." At one point, each time he came home he insisted I untie his shoes and take them off for him. When he wanted something he would call me to fetch it, like tv remotes, water, slippers, floss, or whatever he wanted at the time. These small tasks wore down on me such that I dreaded the times when he would return home from work. The worst was when he would mislead my mother that I was not working on my essay assignments and left things to the last minute. Then my mother would also criticize me along with my father.

I felt like I was going insane while enduring this treatment from my parents. Whenever I took issue with the way he treated me, my father would ask, "is this why I pay for you to be educated? Maybe I should stop." At one point the thought of suicide crossed my mind. The very thought terrified me because I would sometimes contemplate suicide in the abstract. The actual intent for suicide was never there until that one moment. By then I knew something was wrong and I had to cope, but I just didn't know how.

I tried to cope with my circumstances and treated the situation like that of an office environment, but sadly, when I did ask for their approval that I seek out work, they denied me as well. Without actual work related experience I chose to believe anyway that they wouldn't treat their co-workers like this, so why me? I wanted to take up some sort of extra-curricular activity - like judo - to take the edge-off, but they objected to my suggestions. My mother argued that judo would encourage violence and that I would be bullied and hurt by the other members. They forbade me to spend more time on campus and refused to give me their approval.

Clearly, I am rather dependent upon my parents. By the time I did achieve my degree, my motivation was poor, my grades were average, and I crashed into bed. I wanted to sleep forever, waking up was not very important. I never talked about this to anyone else even when my professors began to catch on that something was not right because I didn't want to bring any shame to the family. I kept it in, endured, and I suppose I really did crash.

If I had a sense of identity, I felt I had lost it since graduation. I bought the Teachings of Buddha, the Bible, self-help books like Getting Things Done by David Allen, but they didn't satisfy what I was looking for. I couldn't finger what exactly inside me was wrong. I may have thought I was depressed, but after reading more about depression I didn't seem to fit the description. While I blamed my parents for the way they treated me and looked inside for answers, the one thing I knew for certain was my confusion.

Now, when I write about my life, I remember how I once believed myself to be a responsible person. Yet, it pains me to admit, that it seems I am but a wimp of a nation. I don't want an extended childhood between 20-30 years of age. It's hard enough to consider being a wimp, but after writing this much, what now? I'm awake, I'm not dead yet, I'm not defeated enough to roll over and die, I care a great deal for my family, I don't see any of my friends anymore, and for the first time in a very long time I'm feeling frustrated. What do the foolish wimps of Hara Estroff Marano from Psychology Today do?

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Welcome to the community and thanks for sharing your experience. As a former professor and parent, I have seen firsthand what you (and the article you reference) describe. You have taken the first step- self-awareness that you are not how you want to be (or not fulfilled), some thinking about how you got to be who you are, and a desire to change. But, as my favorite professor said in grad school "insight does not lead to behavior change." Now you need a plan for change. The first and foremost part of your plan should be to determine exactly what your goals are. They should be specific and concrete. For instance, saying "I want to be different" is vague. Hard to progress toward. "I want to move out of my parents' home." Is concrete and specific, and can be broken down into smaller (more achievable goals). So, this goal would require getting a job, saving some money, finding a new place to live (perhaps a roommate), etc. , etc. So, come up with a few goals that you want to work toward. Do you have any ideas about what those might be?

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Thanks for the welcome, I laid down pent up worry all at once and I'm not very sure where I wanted to go with that. From my panic reading of material, your advice reminds me of David Allen's book. I've been casually following the suggestions in the book and one of those suggestions involves developing the discipline to define outcomes and the physical, visible action to bring that outcome out into reality. Further, in a nutshell, as a means to evaluate one's effort and priorities, readers are asked to contemplate their responsibilities, and their 1 to 5 year goals and visions in order to align these with one's outcomes and actions.

When I read this I didn't quite understand the value of doing any of it. But, now that you ask of my goals, I think I understand the value of thinking about what 1-2 and 3-5 years looks like. About my goals, certainly, I want to get a job and volunteer when my schedule is freed up. That reminds me, I've always been interested in investing in equities as well. I've been meaning to practice paper investing seriously to work up to the real thing. Also, I would like to somehow reach out to others who may be sharing my experience and let them know they aren't alone too. When I was slogging through my degree I felt alone even though, logically, if I were to experience something, there must have been plenty of people going through the same. Then again, I imagine many "wimps" would have kept these matters to themselves as I did at the time.

Just thinking about the past, and worrying over the Bible and the Teachings probably won't help me much. When I think back to the things my father would say, I do feel some resentment. My parents do mean well, but I guess this is a part of the past I have to move on with.

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The human condition is a shared experience, yes? Since stumbling upon the Psychology Today article I have found another article focusing upon the experiences of others. More often than not, searches for discussions on the internet regarding hyperactive parenting result in the responses of parents. It's difficult to find other young people who share their experiences of hyperactive parenting and how they move on.

I Left My Son in San Francisco

It may not be very important to find these discussions from the child or young wo/man's point of view, but I think it helps a bit.

The blog "The Ivey Files," which is a "blog for high school students and twenty-somethings navigating life, work, and school." Very interesting with honest insight for those interested in legal careers, Generation Y, and heaps more.


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I've been exploring The Ivey Files and found the "Assholes in the Workplace" post very interesting. The description of what an asshole is like is very much how my father treats the family. Before, I only suspected that his behavior is what I had to steel myself for if I were to actually walk myself through my parents' life plan for myself into a law career. Now, to actually find some honest discussion about what it's like in a legal firm, I understand my father a little more. I wonder whether I am just weak to have been effected by my father's asshole wrath when legions of people in the workforce seem to be bearing it with the love of what they do. Where is my love then?

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