From New Guinea: When I was born my parents were still in university. I have always been made aware of the sacrifices they had to make in order for me to have the basics. I am well aware of that but how much negativity can one take? My mom is and has been the only person paying for my tuition and every time I make a mistake, which I try very hard not to, such as tell a schoolmate of mine what happens at home she blows up. Then there are threats to stop funding my tuition if unless I agree not to repeat the mistake.
The pressure has been so intense for the past two years that I have decided to apply to universities with scholarships abroad so she does not have to deal with me. I don’t know how to deal with my mother and to make matters worse my father is also showing the same treatment.
I have always had excellent grades in high school and lasted two years in a state university but couldn’t continue because of the pressure. I also realized that I might be showing signs of ADHD but am very afraid of talking to any of the health professionals in my country for fear of exposure and the stigma related to it.
I really would appreciate advice to how to deal with my parents who see me as a burdenMy Parents See Me as a Burden
My Parents See Me as a Burden
I’m sorry this is so stressful for you. One way to manage it is to try to see the situation sympathetically from your parents’ point of view. My guess is that you are not a burden. Your parents feel they missed opportunities that they want very much for you to have. They are so focused on making a better life possible for you that they have put extra pressure on you without meaning to.
Understand that the “pressure” from your parents is really a cover for their fear that you will repeat their situation and deprive yourself of the experiences they so wish they had had. They love you so much that they want you to have what they did not. Sadly, their way of loving is making you anxious.
I don’t think you will be able to get them to change. What you can change is how you receive their pressure. If you consider it as well-intended support gone wrong, maybe you won’t feel so bad.
By the way: It’s not a bad idea at all to try for scholarships. If you can see the world by attending a university in another country, you will enrich your own life immeasurably. If you do get accepted, don’t present it to your parents as needing to get away from their awful pressure. Instead, tell them how grateful you are that they have made it possible for you to do something they didn’t.
Meanwhile, do respect your parents’ boundaries about what is and is not appropriate to share with other people. It sounds to me like they are more private than you are. As long as you are accepting their support, it makes sense to accept some reasonable rules.
As for the ADHD: ADHD can be managed. I have had many successful students at the university where I teach who have used it to their advantage. Go to the “Find Help” tab on our homepage. Click on “forums”. Join the forum for ADHD. People there support and encourage each other and give each other strategies for managing it.
I wish you well.