Strained Relationship With Parents
i’m the eldest in my family, with 2 younger brothers.
since young, and as the only girl in the family, i’ve been trained to do housework, and as i grow up, the house chores basically increased. when i turned 16, i realised that not only did my brothers not take up any chores, everyone basically used the house, dirtied it and i cleaned it. i started to feel like a maid. i asked my mother why i’m doing all the housework, from washing dishes, sweeping, mopping, ironing to washing toilets, why couldn’t i take turns with my brothers? she would say that it’s because i’m a girl and i need to do everything. why my mother doesn’t have to do the house chores, i asked her, she said she’s my elder, so she doesn’t need to do.
growing up, my father tells me i’m stupid, foolish and useless. i’m mostly stupid and useless (to him). he laughs at my flat nose, “you have no nose bridge”, he said, “you have single eye-lid and your eyes are slanted”. when i was a child, i thought i resembled someone with down syndrome and had very very low self esteem. at 9 or 10 years old, i was already very aware of my looks and would look into the mirror, wondering why i looked so ugly. my self confidence went to a new low during puberty when i had acne everywhere.
the only thing i’m proud of was my academic success, that was when i’m independent of whatever my parents said of me and proved to myself that hey, my report card said that i’m not stupid. then came my father, “actually, your brother is the smart one”, “if he had studied, he would have won you already. he just needed to study. you 读死书, it’s useless one”.
when i got married at 22 (1 year after uni), i moved out, life started to change for the better.
but then, my parents came into the picture.
my car story
for work and family outings, we had bought a commercial van. and one fine day, my father said he needed our van for his painting projects. he borrowed it, it was all okay at first, but week after week, he would come to take our van saying he needed it for work. soon, his excuses changed to, he needed to drive my mother out for errands.
we protested, asking to have our van back.
without our knowledge, my parents bought a red honda jazz (under my brother’s name) and parked it in our carpark. they decided that we would be using this jazz car during the weekends, and our van was permanently parked at their place. all was fine at first since we had transport to bring the boys out during weekends. 1 month later, my brother said that the car was bought under his name, it was his car. he came and took the red honda jazz. we were left transport-less. finally, we decided it was enough. we told them they could take their red car, and they could continue servicing our van’s remaining loan, parking, diesel etc and the van would be theirs for their sole use.
within 4 months, they sold both vehicles away cos they really couldn’t service both the loans and the expenses involved.
when we got our very own car, they came to borrow our car, saying they needed a car to go out. but this time, we said ‘no’.
my house story
when we moved to our current place, my parents asked for a spare key to our house, citing reasons like, “in case one of us loses a key”, “forget to bring key out”. we gave them the spare set and it was a BIG mistake.
my parents would come to my house every other day, even on days when we were both working. they would come in, leave things and food in our house/fridge without our knowledge. during those WFH days, i fear of hearing my door bell ring and door knocks in the middle of the day.
my last straw with my mother
– she ordered 5 boxes of sugar rolls and i only found out about them when i came home. i asked her why didn’t she check in with me and why she ordered so much, we couldn’t finish so many boxes. she said it’s ‘cheap’ and we have to finish within a week or they’ll spoil.
– on another ocassion, she came with boxes of sushi without asking if we wanted any. it was 430pm that day and i was already preparing dinner for the family.
– BUT with my brothers, it’s a different case: she always asked if they wanted dinner (in the family chatgroup), their reply was always a ‘no’ or ‘cigarettes’. so, i asked her why couldn’t she just check with me like how she checked with her sons. i left the chatgroup that day.
my last straw with my father
– during my maternal grand-aunt’s funeral, i was keeping my father company. and he was basically complaining about everything about his life. in order to change the topic, i started talking about the kids’ academic results, something i thought he’ll have nothing negative to talk about.
– he said ‘yes, the elder one is doing so well cos his brain is now ‘opened’ and can receive knowledge. unlike you, your 脑没开.’ i laughed nervously, cos the nosy relatives were there. ‘no, really, your brain has never opened.’ i truly felt like crying my heart out.
– on another occasion (6 months later), i bought my parents out to bring them out for meals and to buy bags/ clothes to be ready for my brother’s upcoming wedding. in the car, he talked about my unopened brain again.
– that day, i’m left with a big hole in my pocket and endless agony
– it took me 2 months before i could come clean and tell my husband that, actually, i had a terrible day, i had lied to him saying that my day with parents was “great”
soon after, i drifted away slowly and no longer approach them both. i no longer beg my mother to go lunch/shopping with me or try to bring the folks out for meals anymore. honestly, i tried to engage them but i realised i was really giving them a chance to verbally abuse me.
i’ve not approached my parents for 2 years now and have no plans to. they’ll still text and call me, ring my door bell, knock. i ignored all of them. financially, i still support them thru monthly bank transfers, but i don’t dare to deal with them physically, i’m still trying to self-heal.
and sometimes, when i come across articles about “parents without children to care for their old age”, i do wonder, is there another side to their story?