Is there any way to attain freedom for people with strict parents?

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It would mean a lot if someone could be bothered reading all of this and giving me at least some advice. Actually such a serious issue and I think it’s ruining my life.
So I’m a 19 year old Asian female, who has the most strict, traditional and over protective parents ever. I know it doesn’t seem like too much of a bad thing, but believe me, it is. It’s affecting my social life, It also doesn’t help with overcoming my social anxiety problem, and I think I’m getting depression.
The problem is that, my parents are more over protective rather then strict, but the level of it is just crazy.
So this year I started university after graduating from high school last year, drifted away from pretty much all the friends I ever had, and am just concentrating on studies now. Ever since I first started going out to parties and stuff in high school, my curfew would be 9, 10pm latest.. and surprisingly, it still is. I can’t even drive to parties on my own. They also refuse to let anyone else pick or drop me. Dad HAS to drop me off and pick me up.. 10pm on the dot. It started getting pretty embarrassing, especially at this age.. so I stopped going to parties. Now Im at uni, first semester passed, and not once did I ask my parents to go out anywhere, I was always focused on my studies, studying from 6pm – 2am every night, only focusing on the semester break and the amount of freedom I’d get after exams. I thought my parents would understand, I thought they’d realize how hard I’ve been working and I thought they would let me go out freely. But no.. I went out just one day, leaving home at 10am and arrived home at 6pm.. and they kept going on about how long I’d been out for. 6pm… I don’t think that’s merely a reasonable curfew for a 19 year old :/ Yeah, I understand it gets darker earlier during winter, but I would come home from university about 8,9pm everyday & they would be slightly okay with that. So now I’ve gone out like 3 times, & they say “you go out too much, you can’t go out anymore” .. wow I feel like crying lol. Firstly, I always come home within curfew hours, secondly why don’t they understand how long I’ve waited for a break.. I had so much stress on my mind when the semester was on. They expect me to go out for 2-3 hours max, and like stay at one place.. so if I tell them I’m going to the mall, or to dinner, i gotta go and come back within like 3 hours. It’s also pretty stupid because I always have to say I’m going somewhere specific like “movies” or “mall”, they don’t really let me just ‘hang out’ with my friends, at their house, or drive around. Since all this has happened I’ve been really down. I barely have friends this year, & I told mum I’d be meeting up with all of them after semester ends, but I still haven’t been able to see my best friends. I feel pretty crap too, I see everyone else going out, enjoying, and my parents still treat me like a damn baby.. I can’t even go to uni party events, oh my god.. i can’t even go to town alone at night, not even with friends.. parents are so scared that its a bad place.. even though i go university there… And they keep bringing culture up. They use the same excuse “people with values and traditions don’t go out”.. I just want to face palm myself because it feels like people with values don’t have fun either. I mean, even if i did go out, I wouldn’t drink or do anything stupid. I just want to have a good time with friends, and have a social life outside of uni. I don’t know how I can make them understand that I’m growing up, and that things have changed in this generation. They want everything to be so traditional and stuff, I respect that.. but I really would love to enjoy my life as I see other people doing it. Right now it just feels like I’m living, but I’m not really alive. I don’t even have any friends this year, was too busy to meet them at university, and now I can’t meet them during breaks because of parents. I have no social life whatsoever. And thinking about everything is making me so emotionally depressed. I’ve tried talking to them about how terrible i feel, and how bad their rules are affecting my life, but they don’t understand.. I don’t think they ever will.
A few years back I tried talking to mom about my depression problem, and she got upset and shes like “how can you have depression, we give you everything, you’re just selfish,” she kind of made a mockery out of the disorder, as if no such thing could ever happen to me.. but she had no idea how bad I’d been feeling for the past few years. My parents don’t have a social life either, they NEVER go out, not even to dinner. So you can see why I have to deal with this. My sister was living with us until she was 25.. and moved out bc of “work reasons” but she was still treated like a baby too.. had an 11oclock curfew… honestly… i don’t even think I ever saw her go out once. She was lucky enough to be able to move out, but I don’t think that’s ever going to happen with me. Moving out is not an option for me, my parents will never let me. & I just don’t think I can deal with it anymore? I’ve always been a respectable child, respected my parents opinions, values and traditions, but If they don’t ease up on me a little then I just feel like rebelling now.. I’m sick of it. I work so hard to be a perfect child, I study hard and get good marks, do all the housework, and listen to everything my parents have to say, yet they cannot let me live my life as I want to. It’s affecting my relationship too. Now I just feel like telling everyone I can’t go out because I have to stay home everyday. And I get so mad when people ask me to hang out. I get so annoyed I just want people to leave me alone. Sometimes everything adds up so much to the point where I just can’t handle it, and I just want to do something bad. So is there any way I can get my parents to give me a little freedom? Or am I stuck living in this depressing way of live until my parents force me an arranged marriage and send me off, lol. Or I dont know, maybe I am selfish for thinking about myself too much… am I? :/

Category: Tags: asked July 1, 2014

8 Answers

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firstly, you write well. your plight is... palpable. secondly, i think your parents albeit overprotective, love and care for you just as much. so, i believe with a little nudge towards the right direction, they should well... budge. sometimes writing is the best means of communication. talking back and forth may lead to an argument at times, and you may either end up saying things you regret or not expressing properly what you have on mind. hence, i suggest you to write to your parents a note about the predicament you are in, and how it has been causing you stress and making you depressed. this may or may not work, but at least you'd be sharing about your worries to the people who you are most dear to. i think you just have to win their trust that you're totally capable of taking care of yourself. (not that i'm saying you aren't capable now.) ask them to give you some time to show them that you are a responsible adult... and they should come around. i hope it works! and i can relate to what you are going through, fellow asian. being the youngest in the family, everyone gets too protective of me too. so... you aren't alone.
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Honestly if you've got over-protective parents, and you want to attain some freedom you've gotta kinda take it. Do things your parents wouldn't allow you, without their permission. Ofcourse make sure you're always safe, and don't screw up, but show them that you want to and can take responsibility. I honestly think that is the best way to go about things, since your parents obviously don't listen when you talk to them, because they are too caught up in their own world-views. It's healthy to be a bit rebellious, maybe it'll help them realise they are not being reasonable.
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It sounds like you are dealing with a massive cultural difference between you and your parents. I am going to go out on a limb here and guess that you and your parents were raised in two different countries and/or cultures. That being said it sounds like you have already identified the core of your problem. Your parents still see you as a child and, if what you have said about your sister is at anything to go by it is difficult to say what you will have to do to get them to see you as an adult. The best way to get them to see you as an adult would be to get them into a group therapy session where you all express how you feel and you know the rest. I will cut off that vein of thought because you sound smart enough to have though of that already and your parents cultural background would make it difficult for you to get through to them using this method. So if you were to use a group therapist or mediator they would have to be culturally similar to your parents in order to explain it effectively. That being said your best chance at getting your parents to see you as an adult is to start acting like one in the sense of supporting yourself. Not easy or ideal. So it sounds like your best shot would be to find a university that is strong in your major(s) yet far enough away that it no longer makes sense for you to commute. Effectively bypass having to live with them. That issue you could bring up under the guise of do they want you to succeed in life or live at home? Remember you need to have all the facts and plans set up before you bring this up to your parents. If you already have everything set up they will have fewer opportunities to form a logical objection, furthermore this will make your standpoint easier to support from an outside perspective. So if you need a third party they will be more capable of supporting you. (and it shows maturity) It is a way of getting out of the house and bypassing some of the issue. Other then that the simplest way of dealing with the issue involves a lot of emotions feelings, mediators and reflection. Definitely more effective but a bit messier.
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As a 19 year-old, they really cannot, at least leagally speaking, have any hold over you. That being said, I can understand what you are going through. I also had strict curfews, my parents picked me up from my senior Prom (my Junior one as well). I was never allowed to go to parties and felt like an outcast from the rest of my class. Are your parents immigrants? (Mine are.) If so, they are raising you the way that they were raised, because it is all that they know. And I'm sure that after watching the news or reading the horrible things that happen, they are always thinking of the worst case scenario and worrying about all thw things that could happen to you, because the next time they see you may be the last and you could end up on the next episode of Dissapeared. Of course, because they are your parents, they cannot share their fears with you, and they expect you to obey them, because to do otherwise is to be disrespectful. You are already free. They cannot control your thinking. You can leave anytime you want. A funny story... one of my friends (who is also Asian) kept going out despite her mother telling her not to, and one day her mom changed the locks. So my friend lived with her boyfriend until her mom realized that changing the locks only made my friend do what her mom did not want her to do. I guess she expected her daughter to sleep outside and beg to be invited home. So do what you want without being disrespectful of your parents. Try to find ways that you can go out and do your thing while still coming home and helping out and following other traditions. They will be mad and will likely make a lot of empty threats, but if you show that you are a responsible individual on your own, they will eventually realize that you are capable of taking care of yourself.
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Hi. I'm a Mom of a 16 year old who does the opposite of what you do...lol He would not even listen to any of what your parents are saying...unfortunately he has learned things so far in his life the hard way. It sounds as far as your possible depression goes...you might have to speak to someone at school and see how you can proceed on your own to get help. I know I went to see a therapist about issues I was having that my parents told me to get over and that a therapist will not help you. Again, my parents were not Americans, so they had different mind sets. As far as going out, I agree with the person that is saying just go out. You do not have to go out all the time but allow the time for yourself. You sound like an awesome kid who is busting her butt. I understand your parents want you to be the best but if you are feeling this way, it might back fire. Anyway, go out and enjoy yourself, again do not let your studies go, try to create a balance between going out and studies. Good luck and best to you. XOXO
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I also had overbearing parents and I found being honest and having open communication with them really helped. Prove to your parents that you are responsible and can be trusted. When you talk to them, try to keep calm. Don't raise your voice, don't throw a fit, etc, but be clear about your feelings. My mom never liked me to go out either, and she especially hated it when I wanted to be out late. So we compromised. I could go out late as long as I called/texted her every couple hours or so to let her know I was okay. Do you have your license? You could suggest driving yourself and promise to let them know as soon as you get to your destination. (My parents hated me driving, but I told them I got my license for a reason and needed to actually drive to become a better driver).
Your parents are just worried about you so they try to monitor you all the time. You need to help them let go, so patience is key. Once they trust you and see you as an adult they will start to ease up, but it definitely isn't a quick process. Some of it might tedious, but when they finally give you that freedom it will be worth it.
Feel free to reach out to me if you someone to vent to. I get how infuriating it can be. Good luck!
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I wonder if you have other relatives? Maybe you could advice your parents to talk with some uncles/aunts or acquaintances who maybe give their children more freedom? You parents could ask how they do that, and hopefully apply that to you as well. Second, I think you have to prove your parents that you have responsibility. Trigger their borders to prove nothing bad will happen to you. Maybe do a few steps over their borders. Basically, what The Giggle Blizzard said, you have to take your freedom. Not in a way that is too cheeky, but modestly. And then expand it gradually. That should actually help, but if not, then your parents are just extremely stubborn and ignorant. At first I wanted to advice you to rent a room yourself, but you stated that's no option, sadly. I think the most important thing is that other people will tell them they're not raising you in a good way. If you tell them, they'll probably think that you're just insulting them.
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So what exactly do you mean by taking my freedom? How am I supposed to go about this? Like do I just drive off without their permission, and come back home at 11pm or something, (after curfew hours), and gradually keep doing that for long periods of time, until they're okay with it? Or what?? How.. lol.. They just make me feel so bad and guilty whenever I go against them.. I honestly hate the guilt trap they use. Whenever I rebel against anything they tell me I'm not a good daughter, and that I'm letting them down and making life miserable for them. I honestly don't know what to do. I want to respect my parents but I want to be happy too.