Daughter of Weary Parents Seeking Advice


New Member
Hello, I figured I find this board useful even though I'm the daughter of such parents and is seeking advice from other parents to get more of their perspectives so I can find where to go.

First a little background about me: I'm a 25 year old Asian girl from a first generation family (I also first generation but I lived most of my life in the states). My parents own an asian fusion restaurant and I've been working there for the last 6 years with no pay. When I was 13, I was threatened that I would not be supported for my living expenses anymore if I didn't become a doctor. So starting from high school I enrolled into science and medical classes. Recently I graduated with a bachelors in bio health pre-pharmacy with my parents working to pay every college expense of mine including renting an apartment near campus (I did get scholarships and discounts on tuition to lessen the burden.)

I know my parents are somewhat narcisstic, but I still feel like I'm in the wrong somewhere. I never wanted to go into the medication field, but I was scared because I had no other family to turn to since all my relatives were overseas. Not to mention I'm not a citizen and don't know all my rights very well. While in school I work on Fridays-Sundays. And any time out of school I work 12 hours a day, 7 days a week nonstop. I don't think all the time I've worked will ever repay my parents as it seems that I can never live up to their expectations. I'm so tired every night trying to fill applications and paperwork for jobs. And if I do get an interview I have to go there then immediately come to the restaurant to work after.

Honestly I could've moved out by 18 with my boyfriend, but I feel that's improper and don't want to abandon my parents (not to mention I'll start entirely from scratch with no insurance or anything). I'm constantly on the receiving end of verbal abuse and lived a sheltered life as I wasn't allowed to communicate with my peers much unless there were to be academic advantage. I feel like a failure to my mom and dad because I haven't found a job yet, but I'm at my wit's end. I need some advice from other parents with weary daughters like myself. What would you like me to do next in order to make you happy? I'm turning 26 this year and I feel so inexperienced still even though I've achieved high academic marks. How can I communicate with my parents that I'm still trying? I never stole their money or anything even though they gave me access to their bank accounts (I never touched that money because I feel like I'll never be able to pay back.) I'm scared that I will be abandoned because I'm useless from what a lot of stories I read from moms here.


Staff member
Hello @amyrena.

I don't have any life experience with what you are going through but I do know of a book that has been helpful to others.

Adult Children of Emotionally Immature Parents: How to Heal from Distant, Rejecting, or Self-Involved Parents by Lindsay C. Gibson PsyD

That might be worth reading.


Well-Known Member
All i can say is you are an awesome hardworking daughter and you may never make your parents happy. Sounds like they want you to do things for them, not what makes you happy. I do not know your cultural norms but on the U.S. this would be considered by many to be abusive. Yes they paid your bills but at what cost? Did you not make friends in college to see how other families are? Thats an imppryant part of college...friends.

Maybe it would be better to take out a loan and go into the field you like rather than having them pay for you to do what THEY want you to do. You in my opinion are best to live your life for yourself, not them. But again perhaps there are cultural differences. If so, this I still think is wrong.

I hope you marry your boyfriend one day and build your own family. Then you will have a family on top of Dad and Mom. You are a very good person. Too good maybe. No parent here would call you difficult. You are almost too accomodating in my opinion. You should think more about your own wants and needs.

Be well!!!
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Well-Known Member
Staff member
Amyrena, welcome. I empathize with your story. My first response is that you are trying to live up to expectations which seem harsh, judgmental and unrealistic. There may be areas within those expectations that are directly related to your culture which I cannot comment on because I don't know enough about that. However, it doesn't sound as if your desires or thoughts or feelings have any bearing on your own future.

You seem caught between fear of abandonment by your parents, the stress of living up to their expectations and your own desire to have a life of your own. At the risk of moving into cultural differences your parents bring to the table, my first thought is that you need someone on your side to offer you guidance, options, support and perhaps a way of communicating with your parents so that your needs and desires are taken into consideration. You sound like a good daughter trying to please your parents by doing everything they want you to do. That is admirable. However, I believe your life is yours to do with as you want. You are on a path you don't want to be on so it makes a lot of sense that you would feel stressed. And if you have no real voice in your family, a sense that your feelings matter, I can certainly understand why you feel "wrong."

I think it's very difficult to live in 2 different cultures which have very different ideals and expectations. Perhaps if you could find a counselor or therapist, you could receive support for finding a way to move in the direction of your own dreams. It doesn't sound as if you've had that opportunity.

You might shift the question from "what can I do to make them happy?" to what can I do to open up a dialogue which includes what I want to do. It sounds as if you've done everything to make your parents happy, but you still cannot live up to their expectations. I grew up in a family which had unrealistic expectations of me and it's taken me many years to come to grips with what it is that I want. You may need a therapist or someone outside of your family to help you navigate through this. It's challenging to go against our parents but it's also healthy to find YOUR voice, YOUR desires, YOUR wants and needs.....it sounds as if that time has come for you. There are also books about children of Narcissistic parents, you might google that to find them.

You are nothing like most of the adult children on this board who suffer from addictions, mental illness, laziness, entitlement and conduct disorders. You are a good daughter. You've not done anything wrong. My advice is to get support to find your own voice. When we habitually cast aside our own desires and our own voice there are consequences for us.......it sounds as if it is time for you to begin separating from your parents and starting on your own path.

Sending you warm thoughts and a big hug.......hang in there, get yourself some support and keep posting. I'm glad you're here...


Well-Known Member
Hi, Amyrena. I would suggest scheduling a meeting with an attorney who specializes in immigration law in order to learn more about the rights you have, whether or not you are interested in pursuing citizenship. Are there elders in your place of worship or community that might be able to help you find a balance?

My daughter will be 26 this year. She chose a college 800 miles away, graduated, got married, and is building her life there. Yes, I miss her, but she loves her husband, her dog, and her city, so I'm happy for her. At some point, you will have to decide what kind of life you want, and begin taking steps towards it. The alternative is just to stay where you are.


Roll With It
You have devoted your life to making your parent happy and you are MISERABLE. I think you are misreading what we as parents are posting here. We are upset with our kids because they are not being even semi-responsible people, or even trying to be. You have more than tried to be responsible. You work every spare moment you have. You have given up even trying to have friends or a social life. You have studied what your parents dictated even though it makes you miserable. You have never ever rebelled or done drugs. But your parents are still always angry with you.

Sorry, but your parents are so far out of line that it makes me want to shake them.

You remind me of a young Asian girl who was on my dorm floor my first year in college. Her parents were still in her home country and every Friday they would call (wealthy family) and berate her for her grades. She would get the top grades in her classes but it was never enough. If she got a 98 they were furious, why did she not get 100%, why did she miss that other 2%, how could she be so stupid? They would scream so loud that we could hear them from outside her dorm room and she never put them on speakerphone. It was horrifying.

You need to figure out your citizenship status. Were you born in the US? Get with a lawyer and figure it out. Then figure out what will make YOU happy and go and do it. You can only live your life one time. No one else can make you happy or miserable, only you. You must go and find what will make you happy, and then you should go and do that. You have more than repaid your parents for whatever debt you owe them, no matter what they say. Don't let their guilt trip influence you any more than it already has.

FYI, if they have filed for citizenship, or a social security card for you and they won't give you this, they are in violation of the law. You must have this to go to most schools in the US. Also to work in the US. I think you also must have this to own a business int he US. So I am willing to bet you have one and they are just keeping it from you. A friend of mine was born in Libya and her father kept hers to try to force her into an arranged marriage. She had to call the cops and file charges before he would hand over her papers. He didn't speak to her for several years, but she didn't feel she was missing out on anything.


Well-Known Member
I'm scared that I will be abandoned because I'm useless from what a lot of stories I read from moms here.

My dear, dear Amyrena - We are the parent's of children who do drugs, steal, lie, flunk out of school, even threaten our lives! What many of us would give to have a child half as loving and respectful as you!

You've done so much to try to win your parent's respect in return. You feel you are in their debt and that you have to repay them for their support. I know we come from different cultures, but you must know that, in the end, you have to live for yourself, not for other people, including your parents.

You need to talk with them. Tell them how unhappy you are. Tell them you want their love and respect, that you feel you will let them down if you don't do what they want. Tell them your own dreams...not theirs. See how they react. Maybe they'll surprise you and continue to offer their support to you. If not? Well, you are an adult. You are old enough to get a job, no matter what the field, and earn your own way. You can show them that you can survive on your own. I hope it does not come to that...but you're clearly an intelligent, capable young woman. Best of luck to you.

pigless in VA

Well-Known Member
Welcome, amyrena.

You are in an tough situation, because you are trying to make your parents happy. I know your parents are old school and have high expectations for you. No matter what you do, they will always expect more. Please accept that you will never be able to make someone else happy.

I suspect that to seek counseling for yourself would make them angry. Only you can decide if that is worth the price. I think it would help. If you can't see an actual counselor, keep talking to us here. We're all like free therapists. Each one of us brings something different to the table and a wealth of experience. We are telling you that you are a wonderful daughter, a hardworking person and have great value to the world. Your parents love you, but undoubtedly have great difficulty with allowing you to have your own voice in your own life. We're trying to encourage you to take charge of your own destiny.

I do agree with finding out about your citizenship status and rights. I'm with susiestar in suspecting that you must have at least a social security number. You can apply to be a U.S. citizen and that gives you rights with respect to the law.

Many warm hugs. :group-hug: