A perfectionist pessimistic Asian mother is a piece of work.
These Asian mothers often criticize others and seems to never be content on anything.
They criticize their husband, their kids, the pets, the plants, the food, the microwave...just about everything.
They have a way to crumble your self-worth and self-esteem like those zombies climbing over the walls in World War Z, tearing down your fort.
They think they are the most loving nurturing mother because they sacrifice themselves for the family, their spouse, the children, the house, the garden.
They can nag on everything from the way you cook your boiled eggs to how you wash the dishes to the pimples on your face and make you feel like you shouldn't even be born.
Do you have a mother that never seems to feel satisfy on anything?
Anything you do is just 'not good enough'?
As if she is the only one with the one right true answer, she can't accept other opinion or viewpoints?
Perfectionist pessimistic Asian mother thinks only they know how to do things the right way, any other way is wrong and will fail.
Learn to grow up
White, Black, Hispanic, Asian, Japanese, Korean, Indian...everyone has their own stories to tell and everyone has some kind of struggles and most of us are very busy in our own life drama.
Through my travels, I've reached a lot of epiphanies and realized I'm just a tiny spec in the universe.
Whatever I'm dealing with, someone else has dealt it before.
If I survived it, I can learn from it and be proud of myself.
As first immigrants, all my family do is to make money for survival. I feel guilty to have fun and be happy.
From all the fighting I've experienced, I learn that the only way to change everything, is starting with myself.
You're selfish to not devote yourself and not sacrifice for others.
I was taught this mentality and somehow knew it doesn't work.
My mother would always complains to me how she sacrifice her life for her family, her husband, her kids, and she deeply regretted everything.
My childhood is soaked with poison from negativity, pessimistic views, hatred, complaining, and never ending fighting.
It wasn't until I grew up then I realized a lot of things.
It's not about me.
I can learn from other people's mistakes.
Communication is the key.
If you are not happy with yourself, how are you able to make others happy?
If your emotions and feeling of self-worth are tied to other people's opinion and thoughts, you will never be free.
Do not give your own self-worth and dignity to other people and let them decide who you really want to be.
You need to be you and you need to be happy. That's a utmost important thing.
Old System Doesn't Work
First of all, do understand, there is the generation gap, cultural gap, age gap and maybe even for some of you mother-son relationship, the gender gap.
My parents and I have a massive gap with the size of Mariana trench. The best I could do is to change myself and find my own happiness.
So I try to analyze the sh*t out of this situation. Note that I can't tackle everyone's Asian mother, and not all Asian mother is the same.
●This generation which my parents came from is quite the melodramatic type. As if you browse through the 'Drama' section in Netflix, you will find them on the top row.
●Asian cultural is very collectivist and it is very different from Western culture.
●They value heavily on honor and reputation, meaning, their house, their children, their success must be remarkably identifiable among other Asians in order for them to felt they did good, they are good parents, and they are successful.
●They often criticize or put down their kids in front of other people and it is normal.
It may be a distorted bragging or it could be their way of trying to be humble.
●Physical punishment is normal during their generation. Some parents proud to use physical punishment to control their child.
●They will shout at you, yell at you, shame you and think that's for your own good.
●Children to them is part of retirement tool, children are their carer and provider for their retirement plan.
●Good grades with promising degrees mean successful life.
●Good children will have a steady job and steady paycheck and devote (some of) their income to parents.
●Good daughter will give grandma grandchildren to play with.
●They will live very frugal and will collect things even if it's broken, unusable, unfix-able or unessential.
The hell with this generation goddamnit.
Now, The Survival Guide
You can't change others, but you can change yourself and you can choose how you want to be treated.
Generation & cultural gap is there, and the struggle is real.
Are you aware we live in an era where a mix of generations lives together in which during their time, computers/laptops/tablets/smartphones are so out-of-the-world it's almost like introducing fire to the cavemen?
My point is not to criticize their lack of tech skills, I'm simply pointing out, this is evolution.
Even some of us 'young folks' struggled to learn the whole internet thing, to them, they don't understand our struggles and neither do we have time to understand theirs because we have too many competitions as oppose to their time.
They don't see how we have to keep peddling just to keep our heads above water to breathe, and we don't believe in their time of 'steady paycheck' because layoff is realer than anything. (In case you didn't know, China just invested in a bunch of robots to replace low wage worker's job.)
Being parents, they think they should know everything and always be the right one.
Well, just because it works for them, it does not mean it will work for everyone.
The world has changed with more complexity since their time.
They fear to learn new things because it is difficult, their eyesight is not as good, they get tired easily, and they don't have patience. That's what children are for, to take care of stuff.
Our Gap is Like Mariana Trench, Literally
On top of the generation gap, cultural gap is another stress factor that can do harm, if we don't learn how to empathize.
Collectivist Asian culture and individualistic Western culture is drastically different.
With values, norms, habits and ideology being so different, no wonder we have World Wars.
Some of the things they do I cannot understand and cannot relate.
At a young age, I despise and refuse to understand because I was mocked by other whites.
Until I understood how history plays about the cultural difference and overcome that phase, I was able to make peace with myself and accept parents for who they are.
2. They are just human
They are women who fear being left out, left behind, no one needs or wants them and fear of growing old.
A lot of them suppress their 'needs' and endure the harsh pain from the "men dominates" societal norm to become a nurturing giver.
They are taught to obey and honor the family. Any other possible dreams they have, it will be severely criticized.
Those who pursue what they want will face lots of criticism, shaming, punishment, some even expelled from the family.
Passing on that mentality, some will only allow their children to go for law, Doctor and high paying jobs than anything creative.
Now that the children are grown, their goals are met but they will experience severe empty nest syndrome and if they don't have any other hobbies or goals, they will focus their attention on the adult kid or husband or enlarge other things in life they are not happy about.
●Praise her when she did something, like when she cooks when you visit.
●Acknowledge her hard work and achievements, the struggles she overcomes, like holding the fort down or keeping the house together.
●Listen to her, but intellectually lead the conversation to focus on the positive rather than negative.
●Introduce novelties to them so they are distracted positively rather in their own head swimming with things that drags them down.
●Sometimes small gifts can lift their spirit. Things like flowers, chocolates, nice scarf, her favorite foods and little gadgets may cheer her up. Tactically say you got these gifts but you don't need it so you give them to her or else it's going to trash, if not they will likely to blame you for wasting money.
●Encourage them to develop healthy hobbies like Tai-chi, light yoga, fishing, gardening, karaoke, water aerobics, pottery, creating art and so forth.
●Encourage them to solo travel.
●Encourage them to go to Meetups with similar interest people.
●Gift them pets. Puppies or kitties can cure all sadness of humanity. Enough said.
3. Life Needs More Humor
Just like everyone else, they may be caught up in one perspective
These generation are some really serious folks, too serious.
Perfectionist pessimistic Asian mothers pick on every little thing because that's all their mindset is focused on—every little thing.
They get overwhelmed easily and overreacts on a lot of things.
Personal needs and desire are suppressed that because it takes too much time, energy and money to take care of babies and husband, that's what housewives do, that's how they were taught.
Their past focus has always been 'take care of the family' and they neglected the importance of self, and they turn around and blame everyone for their 'misfortune'.
We can learn to be grateful and lighten the conversation with humor.
It's okay they express what they feel, we can joke, laugh and use interesting metaphors with our own positive aspects.
The world is big and most problems we've encountered, most likely someone else has already been through the same crap, it could be worse. So, learn to use your humor, lead them out of the melodramatic play and give them the comedy skit instead.
Let them know "Relax, nothing is under control".
4. Breath In, Breath Out
Train yourself to be a great intellectual communicator
These perfectionist pessimistic Asian mothers have their stories to tell and they desperately want to be heard.
If you have perfectionists pessimistic Asian mother, you might as well have a young obnoxious daughter instead.
They need attention more than anything else. They nag and rant and be all melodramatic with one private spot light on top of them, it's because they desperately want people to listen to them.
During perfectionist pessimistic Asian mother's generation, it is normal for women to sacrifice themselves for the good of the family, in their opinion.
Some even have arranged marriage and they usually follow whichever husband they were married to until they die, even if the husband is abusive, drunk, stoned druggie, gambler, no-good low life.
Even till this day, many women around the world still struggles to find their voice, know what they want and who they want to be.
The conversation could get sour. We could let her rant, let things drag, talk back, walk away, cut off communications and so forth. There's no one right or wrong answer, it's simply how you want to handle your own situation.
They operate on a very different mentality, but at the end, these perfectionists pessimistic Asian mothers (I should add narcissistic too) want nothing different from the rest of us.
They want to be heard, to be acknowledged, to be praised, to feel that they belong, to be needed, to be respected and to be loved.
Need Help? Read These Books:
Mothers Who Can't Love: A Healing Guide for Daughters by Susan Forward- Pretty useful book that helps you understand different mother-daughter relationships out there, the struggles, how to cope, how to overcome and how to move on. I'd recommend focusing on chapter 1-2 and the last chapter, a lot of the stories and viewpoints are subjective.
Just Listen by Mark Goulston - Neat book that helps you communicate more effectively with useful tactics, constructive communication to lead a more positive conversation, and couple useful psychology viewpoints to help you understand and get through difficult situations.
I know communication can be extremely difficult with perfectionist pessimistic people, and we fall in the blaming trap of "me me me" "you you you", I've fallen for it so much I got really sick and tired of wasting life on fighting when it all really is just different perspective and miscommunication. The point is to learn and change ourselves because nothing will change unless we change our own mindset and attitude.
Nonviolent Communication by Marshall B. Rosenberg- A great book that allows me to let go of the things I've learned from the past because it is impractical and ineffective. If only I could read this book and get pass through the dark age, the damage would be a lot less and I could move on quicker with my life.
This book teaches you to use words wisely to guide conversation a more productive positive light as oppose to the shouting/yelling/swearing and physical fighting that we've all are too familiar with.
The reality is, people do or say things on the heat of the emotion, unaware what kind of consequence it may occur.
They only act base on their experience, understanding, from what they are exposed to and how they were taught.
That's why it's so important to pick and choose who you hang out with.
5. Forgive her and forgive yourself
The past cannot be changed, but you can choose how you want to live the future.
Life perishes faster than we think we are just too afraid to admit it.
People go, people die, life goes on.
Just let it go, both the past and the hard feelings.
Forgive her and forgive yourself.
6. Find Things To Be Happy About
Teach her, show her all the things to be grateful about.
She might not be happy with her marriage, she might not be able to make peace with the past, she might not be able to let go her responsibility as a mother, but she can realize she has the right to live happy, not for anyone else but for herself.
Among many other traditional Asian women, I wish they choose to live happy, enjoy things they forbid themselves to enjoy, appreciate their own womanhood, accept themselves, love themselves and learn to forgive themselves and others.
Don't ever give up on yourself, you can still choose to live happily, no age is too late.
Disclosure: Please note that some of the links in this post are "affiliate links". If you use the links to purchase the recommended products, I will receive a small commission at no extra cost to you. I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will add value to my readers.