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Hey guys. I could really use some advice with a newly realized issue.

I am an only child. At 24, I just realized that I have a whole unresolved issue with my parents and the guilt they have instilled in me from an early age.


I originally came to the US from Belarus in 1997, when I was 8. 'Soviet' parents have a very distinct quality to their style. Yelling is acceptable (my mother), no matter how disproportionate to the offense. There is also tremendous pressure placed on academics and success. Most Soviet (I say 'Soviet' because I do not just mean Russian, but all the surrounding countries which bear cultural similarities) peers of mine have gone on to careers in computer science, medicine, and other high-profile paths that I am just not built for. As long as I can remember, I was always compared to those kids. I was always punished by yelling and generally being made feel like shit whenever my report card had any C's. This subsided while in college, but the patterns of being hard on myself and guilty have been strongly instilled in me, as well as the eternal desire to please my parents. I always crave their approval.


After graduating from college with an English degree, I realized there was nothing for me in this field. So, on my own time, I sought out web development, and started learning on my own. I am now finishing up my first 6-month contract at a rather prominent company, which is set to open some doors for me afterward, and all things considered, am doing quite well. I can honestly say, I am proud of myself for busting my ass and getting to that point. However, the desire to please my parents has shown up in a different arena: my relationships. A few days ago, I broke up with my girlfriend of 1 1/2 years, who was then living with us. Predictably, she went home. However, the whole thing sent huge ripples in my household, particularly with my mother, who loved my girlfriend and saw my actions as callous and heartless. She is now actively avoiding talking to me. I hate it so, so much. I want her to empathize and understand how much I'm hurting. At least, she could ask. But on the day of the breakup she shamed me and literally screamed at me, and then proceeded to ignore me from that point on. It feels terrible, because I finally have a good relationship with my mom, and don't wish for that to be spoiled. But she is so unreachable. This event led me to realize that I have some serious issues with seeking parental approval. I plan to move out in the next few months on my own, but I do not think this will fix it altogether. I need to know, while I'm still here, how I can learn to co-exist with my parents without feeling like their every judgement is a reflection on the kind of person I am. I know they're flawed people. I know we come from different cultures, and see things in a very different way. And I know that, ultimately, I am not bad the way they make me feel I am, consciously or unconsciously. I ask PersonalityCafe for advice. Have you guys had similar issues to deal with, and how what steps did you take to remedy them? How do you shake that monkey off your back and break the cycle that has been enforced for the past two decades?


Thank you all.
 

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I see you have a bit of an identity crisis. Try to empathize with her first. You don't have to say it out loud.
Belarus has secrets unknown to the ordinary people. People disappear there on a daily basis. Poof! Gone like they never existed. And that was way worse during the time your mother grew up. A climate that is even unknown to you perhaps. Maybe she is trying to (over)protect you because she thinks stability matters most in life. And she wants to be proud of you. Maybe she wants you to have a life she never had.
I know Belarus because I had to deal with their government...these people mean business and are basically nothing more than criminals in a suit and they are dangerous.

Parents can never do the right thing. Lol. But I see that you are an INFP. Try to find out what type your mother so you can sort out where you clash (functions)

I had the same thing with my mother only my mother is insane. She is simply not able to canalize her emotions and she lacks any form of self reflection. Big Time! So I can't reason with her. But...I am also not responsible for her. And that is the tricky part. I said goodbye to my mother because she was interfering with my dreams and happiness. And I think that a mother should always be supportive towards her children no matter what. I call it unconditional love.
You are only responsible for yourself. Later, you don't want to look in the mirror and blame others for your mistakes. You can only blame yourself.

So far I think you should be very proud of yourself. What you have accomplished was not easy dude.

Anyway, I am sure there are others with advice as well so I am going to keep it short. Feel free to reply if you want to ask me more.
 

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I think it's pretty natural for people to carry this into adulthood... I think my dad still behaved this way when my grandmother was around, and he was in his 30's.

I behave that way somewhat, and it's subconscious almost... you do it without even realizing you're doing it.
 

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I don't know how to help you with this one. Most people crave approval from their parents, but if mine started laying on the guilt to get me to do what they wanted me to do instead of respecting me as an adult, I'd feel obligated to tell them where they can go (where the sun don't shine). You need to be able to stand on your own. Yes, you're still going to feel like a kid around your parents, but that doesn't mean you have to act like it.

It seems to me that it is time you grow a pair and take charge of your own life. Honor your parents, but don't spend your life being miserable trying to please them over yourself.
 
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