Your Parents Vs. Your Dreams

Read this article in other languages: Español, Italiano

As this blog continues to grow steadily, I find myself getting more and more emails from readers. I’ve noticed that one topic comes up over and over again.


Seems there are a lot of us out there who have big dreams, who want to do something meaningful with our lives, away from the safe and forgettable… but we’re worried about what our parents will think.

We’re worried about abandoning them. We’re worried about disappointing them. We’re worried that, if we are to trust our guts and follow our hearts, that we may end up being disowned by the very people we owe our lives to.

What to do?

I’m lucky

I’ll state right up front that I’m not the best person to address this issue, since methinks I have it pretty easy compared to most.

See, while my parents aren’t exactly thrilled with the lifestyle I’ve chosen for myself — if my mother had it her way I’d marry a nice Irish girl and build a house next door — they haven’t offered up much resistance to it. As long as I’m happy and not hurting anyone, they’re pretty cool with however I choose to live my life.

I’m also fortunate in that my two older brothers have built houses very close to home, so my parents won’t be all alone or lacking in support as they grow older and less independent.

Oh, and I’ve never been a parent myself, so I have no idea what it’s like to have my kid abandon apparent sanity and chase a crazy dream.

So yeah, I can’t really tell you anything here from personal experience. But I’ll share my perspective anyways. Hopefully it helps.

Mr. and Mrs. Coelho

When folks email me about the parent issue, I like to bring up Paulo Coelho.

You’ve heard of him, right? One of the most successful authors alive today, he’s sold several billion books (give or take) worldwide. He doesn’t just write, he inspires. The world is undoubtedly a better place for him and his work.

But flash back to when Paulo was a teenager, and his parents had him committed to a mental institution. On three separate occasions.


Because he wanted to be a writer.

See, Mr. and Mrs. Coelho didn’t think “writer” was a practical career choice. They were full sure that their son would end up starving in a slum somewhere if he pursued his passion, and so they tried to talk him out of it. When he wouldn’t listen, a trip to the local nuthouse for a little electro-shock therapy seemed in order.

Thankfully, Paulo resisted his parents resistance and managed to become his best self anyways.

But what if the young Brazilian had succumbed to all that opposition and given up on his dream? What if he’d been a good son and obeyed his parents? Sure, he’d probably have become a successful lawyer and helped a lot of people anyway, but he would have had nowhere near the positive impact that he’s been able to achieve through his writing.

Fact is, the world today would be a little less bright had Paulo been a parent pleaser.

But here’s what I love most about Coelho’s story. When asked if he’d forgiven his parents for how they treated them, he responded

I did not need to forgive them, because I never blamed them for what happened. From their own point-of-view, they were trying to help me to get the discipline necessary to accomplish my deeds as an adult, and to forget the “dreams of a teenager.”

Why your parents don’t want you to be you

When parents offer resistance, I believe it’s for four primary reasons.

1) They want to protect you

The higher you set your aspirations, the bigger the potential for disappointment. Your parents don’t want to see you fall. They want you to succeed at everything and never get hurt. Of course, the world doesn’t work that way. Shield a kid from pain and she’ll never really live.

I truly believe that going all out to achieve your dream is reward enough in itself, even if you never quite reach it. Just in that journey you’ll feel alive more than you ever have before.

2) The fear of change

We’re all a little selfish, and we all resist change. Many parents don’t want their kids deviating from the norm because then the parents themselves will have to figure out a new reality, a different and uncomfortable reality where their kid doesn’t follow the rules and act predictably.

But hey, everything changes. Nothing stays the same. We adapt or we die.

3) That unflattering light

Then there’s the possibility that you going off and living your biggest dream will shine an unflattering light on the unfulfilling life your parents might lead. Because when we see someone else doing something that we’re too scared or lazy to do, it’s easy to feel bad about ourselves, and to resent that someone for “making” us feel that way.

Usually this will be subconscious if it’s there at all. So expect it, and forgive it. It comes from a place of low self-worth, of regret and despair. It’s nothing to do with you.

4) They really do need you

If you’re an only child or somehow your parents’ life support system, you can’t just drop everything and head off into the world to chase your biggest dream, leaving your parents to fend for themselves. I totally get and respect that. Giving up your own ambitions to care for loved ones is nothing short of heroic.

You need to be careful here though. I get the impression that many sons and daughters tell themselves that their parents can’t live without them, when in fact that’s just a convenient excuse to keep them from taking a scary leap.

Momma doesn’t always know best

A friend of mine dropped out of school at sixteen. His mother, herself a school teacher, almost killed the chap. She wanted him to follow in the footsteps of her eldest son, who had finished top of his class in high school, aced all four years at a fancy university to secure a prestigious degree, and landed a damn spiffy desk job before his grad hat hit the ground.

Fast forward a decade, and the eldest had abandoned the corporate life. The big paycheck didn’t compensate for all the uninspiring work and mountains of stress. He found himself much happier helping out his uncle laying hardwood floors, prestigious degree be damned.

And by that time, his younger brother (the dropout) had become highly-successful running his own garage, showing remarkable business smarts while turning his passion for everything on four wheels into an auto repair shop. He’s more artist than mechanic.

So one son did everything momma wanted, while the other listened to his gut and went his own way. They both ended up in their happy place, but the eldest needed a big detour to get there. Gotta be careful who you take directions from.

Honoring your parents

I feel my biggest loyalty lies with the world at large, and the potential I have to make it a better place, to reach as many people as possible in my lifetime and leave them better than I found them.

If you want to truly honor your loved ones, go out in the world and live your absolute best and brightest, make the most of that gift your parents gave you. And you have to be okay with the fact that they may always resent you for doing so, and you have to forgive them that resentment.

The alternative is for you to live your life the way your parents expect you to and never reach your dreams. And if you do that, it’s not just you who suffers, but everyone who stands to benefit from the gifts your best self has to offer.

I also like to believe that there’s an abundance of love in the world, and if my parents were to suddenly disown me for some reason, that other, more supportive people would step up to take their place.

They say family is everything, but I don’t believe you have to be related to someone by blood to have an extremely strong and fulfilling connection with them. On the flip side, many of us have family members who are terrible people and do nothing but drag us down. It’s just not smart trying to remain loyal to folks like that.

Have your parents ever held you back?

Like I said, I don’t have much in the way of personal experience to draw on here, so I’m interested to hear from others in the comments. How have you dealt with parental resistance?


Further reading/viewing on this topic:

  1. 6-minute TED Talk by Lisa Bu: Honoring your parents and obeying your parents are not the same thing. You don’t need to obey your parents to honor them, and quite often obeying their wishes that conflict with your own, will bring them dishonor in the long run.
  2. Mark Manson’s article on boundaries is a must-read for anyone who feels their parents don’t respect their wishes.
  3. Derek Halpern has a great video recommending the try-it-and-see approach when it comes to family resistance. That is, you tell them that you just want to try following your dream for a year, and if it doesn’t work out, then you’ll try it their way.
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About The Author


  1. Sarah Schoolcraft

    My dream is to have as many children as I can have, to raise with my husband (no use of fertility drugs or anything, just natural). We have 9 and our second set of twins on the way…I am 41. I also homeschool them. Life is awesome! We are healthy. We have plenty of money. And with every child the love multiples! But I cannot understand why my parents keep asking if I’m done yet or “don’t I want a break”? I do not require them (my parents) to help at all! Our kids are happy, smart, well behaved, and talented. I feel like we are climbing Mount Everest (as far as effort is concerned) and people are asking us, “Don’t you want to just quit half way? C’mon!” What sense does that make? Your article answered a lot of questions for me… and in a very respectful way…. Thank you

  2. Niall… If your reading this I kinda think you can help me…maybe? I mean I-I don’t know If I should tell you but…

    I am 12 years old but I’ll be 13 this year on 11 September. So the problem is that I’m an Indian and mostly Indian parents want their kids to be either a doctor or an engineer but I want to be a singer like Beyonce, Selena Gomez, Ariana Grande, etc. however my parents don’t want that they want me to be a doctor and it hurts me a damn lot. whenever I’m drawing and my dad notices that he always says “stop it you don’t want to be like your sister you get it?” because my sister is an Animator and I always nod and always tears apart the drawing. I even tore the rest of the drawing and portraits that I’ve made in the past few days and I’ve been crying all night and fake smiling all day and I’m going crazy lie I’ve been imagining things like at Billboard Music Awards and Grammys and stuff like that And meeting awesome people and BTS a Korean boy band. Sometimes I feel like after 12th grade I should just take the money and my phone (only if I get one), book a cab and run to America just to complete my dreams. For me, my dream career comes first. but I don’t want them to be hurt because of me.

    comment me if you can help me
    even a bit of advice will be okay
    I know for some people it could be a small issue but for me, it is like having depression

    1. Hang in there, Mishty. I know it’s hard now but this is only temporary. Your parents can only dictate how you live your life for so long. Once you become an adult, you can do what you want. Keep that dream alive and push towards it a little bit at a time. Try to do well in your studies as well to keep your parents off your back.

  3. Hi. I am 15 and Indian. All my parents want me to do is to get a respectable well paid job and whenever I try to tell them that I want to become a writer or a musician, they are like “How long will you able to sing?” and “will that pay?”. Even my school music teacher tried to convince my mom to get me to join proper violin classes. I have done a proper solo part in a reputed auditorium (Siri Fort)after 5 months of self teaching without my parents learning about it. I AM kind of science oriented, but i know that all of that is inheritance and not my indivisual quality.
    Please help. Thanks for inspiring me and countless others

  4. Hello,
    I am young (nearly 18) and is still unsure what i want to do with my life. I’d like to have a good diplom at least for my parents and for my ego but i am not sure i’m going to follow that with a career in that domain. I have a lot of different artistic skills that i’ve always been extremely dedicated and passionate about. I know my parents will be furious if they hear of my project but i’d rather put them in front of the final fact that discussing this with them (they have a lot of disdain for everything that does not seems to offer a lot of money). They are fine people and hard worker but the life they probably envision for me look extremely distressing from my point of view (knowing myself my career will be the most important thing in my life, i can’t do something emotionally exhausting and that i don’t like).

    I don’t like lying and i know i am going to disappoint them but just mentioning a possible art job is taken extremely badly. I just don’t know if i have the emotional strength and self confidence to follow through my beliefs. Their opinion is extremely important for me mentally and i hate that.

    Thanks for reading

  5. Hi
    I have a dream but my parents don’t agree I’m don’t care because this is my life…with this I love my family I’m a fear when I’m doing the steps to closer my dream my parents they live me alone and they don’t want to talk with me

  6. Hai
    I can dance well and my only love is for hiphop dance. But my mom wants me to perform barathanatyam as I am from india. She is not allowing me and compelling to do barathanatyam but I hate it. I just want to go on my way and dance which I like.please give me some ways to make my mom to accept my love for western dance..

  7. Zachary Luscher

    I am living out of my car and working part-time while going to school full-time to obtain a degree in materials engineering. My parents refuse to help and say I’m entitled and selfish for asking for any help. My Dad works as a program manager for Boeing making $100k+ a year.

    1. Hi Zachary –
      Sounds like very selfish and confused parents!
      But you are not confused!
      You may be living in your car right now, but continue with your schooling.

      Can the school help you find a better place to live?

      Forget about your parents. There are lots of rich parents who do not treat their children in a nurturing manner. That is not great, but just keep going ahead with your plan. Be proud of yourself!
      You’ll see when graduate and get a good job you will have a great life. I wouldn’t be surprised if your parents take credit for your accomplishments.
      Hey – remember YOU did it. Not them. Hold your head up and keep going.
      You can do it! I am sure you will be remarkably successful.
      And remember when you are a parent to support your children’s education as best as you can.
      I find it outrageous that your parents would allow you to live in a car while going to school. Believe me some parents would actually try to talk their kids out of going to school so they don’t have to pay for it. Don’t let that happen!
      Zachary you’re doing it and never mind what they say. Don’t get tangled up in their negative ideas. Just pursue your goal. Good Luck! You’re worth it! You’ll make it!

  8. My 15 year old son has incredible depth and wisdom about the life experience. He has always lived by his own rules and clashes with any organized educational facility. Hes been kicked out of every public school since 7th grade. He finds the admin and robotic treatment of students horrifying. Hes run through alternative schools because they dont really have it figured out either. He is also on probation for a felony charge and will be in hot water with the court upon his return. His father doesmt want him back but has made it so Im not an option for him to live with.

    Two days ago his father..we are divorced…flew him to another state to stay at summer wilderness camp which would be followed by boarding school. He was not happy about it but his father is a control maniac. Today he quit the camp and now faces juvy when he returns. He doesn’t belong in juvy.

    I’m his Mother. He is much like me. We are not conventional. But his father controls everything and is the opposite. His aim to control and force convention has been a disaster. If I had control I would hand my son his life and tell him to go for it. Im setiously worried about him because I know what he’s longing to do. He is on his own agenda and I respect that. We live in Colorado and I know he wants to be near me. Can anyone suggest options? Thinking beyond special schools and manufactured structured schools that say they are alternative. I’m trying to dig deeper. I don’t care right now about high school learning. I just want to let him find his calling doing something completely unheard of. I feel like this is the beginning of the last round before he gives up and heads “up” there. Where do kids go who have enormous potential but need to go about it in a way not normally done? If I could find a kind of guru in the mountains to lead him and let him grow…something like that seems appropriate. I appreciate any ideas. No idea is too wild. Anything is possible. Thankyou.

  9. Hi, I’m 25 and play American football for an amateur team in Nigeria. I’m a graduate of civil engineering with a masters degree in water resources and environmental engineering but I have no job. I plan to move to Germany for a second masters degree and also advance my career in American Football, problem is my Dad wants me to enrol for a PhD back home in Nigeria.
    Both are good opportunities but I believe in the former, any advice

    1. Where do you see yourself useful and fulfilled? As an engineer or as an American footballer? Is age still on your side to pursue a career in American football? If she is on your side and you have the skill and passion for it, why not. You have to think of the consequences of your decision.

  10. A friend of mine once told me, “A time will come when you’re faced with the decision of choosing between your parents happiness and yours.”

    That was 5 years ago. And now,I’m about to make a decision that defies not just my family’s wishes, but others as well. I’ve realized that no one will ever understand what you’re going through but you. Why? Coz they are not in your shoes. They did not grow up like you nor did they experience the things you had to go through in your life just to get to where you are now. People will always have things to say. Especially when they’re older than you. But in the end, you’re the one determining your happiness, not them. In the end,the only person who’ll stick with you is none other than yours truly. So why not do what makes you happy? If you’re happy, the people who really cares about you will be happy for you, too.

    1. I agree that the only person truly in your corner is “yours truly”.
      Years ago I had 2 older relatives –
      self made women – who gave me encouragement and provided me with a great role model and moral support. Sadly they are
      deceased now, so it’s now up to “yours truly” to carry the torch.
      I am a creative person with divorced parents who cared more about their never ending battle with one another than helping their kids along. Still true to this day. Extremely self absorbed and selfish people. So it’s me, myself and I.
      Never could I make these people happy unless, possibly, I was waiting on them hand and foot.
      The idea is that it is your life and my life. If all those around think something Blue is Red, it doesn’t make it Red. It’s still Blue.
      I know my own truth. It is great to have a support system, but if you do not, it does not make your own truth less realistic.

  11. Goodness, this article and the comments alone are enough to make a guy wonder. I’ve not only got practical parents, I have an entire practical church that’s making me feel as though my dreams aren’t good enough. I have many areas of passionate interest, but I feel as though every time I’ve suggested something creative I want to do, my folks try and find what I like to call a ‘practical spin’ on it. Here’s a few examples:

    First, I love to draw. I want to make my own cartoons, they say I should go into advertising.
    Second, I love music and voiceover. However mom has perfect pitch and I know I can’t record at home hence why I’ve been waiting on some friends in order to move out.
    Third, I like communication, they think I should go into PR.

    The point here is that I’m not going to be satisfied with what they deem to be a ‘safe’ job. Cubicles drive me nuts and 9-5 hours wear me out. Even with my personality several people say I’d be great at teaching, but even then I don’t have the wherewithal to do those long hours and still be any good to those kids. I have a plan, but I freak out internally every time someone suggests that I should deviate from the plan. I’ve deviated so far from the original plan of owning my own animation studio that I’m not sure if I could wind back around to that for years. I’m taking classes for voiceover, but the fact that I have nothing to show for it and nowhere to take it is rather disconcerting. I think once I have the professional demo I’ll be able to get somewhere with this, but at 27 life seems to be passing me by.

  12. Hey Niall,

    Huge thanks for this post; it felt like a gulp of fresh air when I read it. I’m 22 and currently going to the exact same crisis as described in your blog.

    I’m a Russian and I am an international student in Canada. Since I’m close to graduation, most of my parents (minus my mom, who is almost always supportive) insist that I apply for a Canadian permanent residence. So, I am currently doing this with high reluctance, since staying in Canada is not in my plans; the goals and dreams that I set for myself aren’t really compatible with this.

    On one hand, because I love my parents, I’m afraid to disappoint them, but on the other hand, I realize that I became too much of a parent pleaser and that I should start forging my own destiny. My plan is to leave Canada for another country, where I believe I will feel fulfilled and will be able to make my dreams come true. I haven’t told my parents about my plans to leave Canada behind and move to another place (only my mom knows it), since there is a 99% of chance that they will discourage me from doing so. I’ll probably have to wait for the right moment to tell them about my goals.

    1. Hello! You are very lucky to have a supportive mother. I think it is a good plan tell everyone how you truly feel, your plans, and what you think is best for you because it is your life. Good luck to you!

  13. Pingback: Niall Doherty from Disrupting the Rabblement - Blog Profits

  14. I’m 24 almost 25 and my boyfriend is 26 and we’re in a long term long distance relationship. My bf lives in New York with his parents and I live in Texas with my parents and siblings. For a year and a half now we have been planning for me to move to New York of summer 2018 and we have plans and goals for when I move there and we told my parents together this month about me moving There. My stepdad said I’m 24 so I can decide for myself but my mom is not okay with me at all, she’s completely against it. My mom is very tough and hard on me so I understand her concerns and worries but she degraded me and puts guilt trips on me so I don’t move to New York with my boyfriend. I’m expecimg a dilema because I feel torn about it. Regardless of what I say or what I do she will not be okay with me living in New York so it’s like do I sacrifice my plans and goals with my boyfriend because of my mom being against which would cause problems if I move there. I’m so confused!

  15. I am in a similar boat, where I come from a country where marriages are arranged. I moved to the US couple years ago, and I am currently dating a girl who has a kid and got divorced. I told my parents that I am dating her and my parents are freaking out and throwing all sorts of things at me, like we did all of this for you to do this, how can we hold our head up in society, did you not think of us for a second etc.

    Its a very tough situation that I am in now, where I like this girl and want to see how the relationship goes, but with all of this going on with my parents its kinda affecting the time that I spend with her as I have all of this stuff going on in my head.

    Not sure how to deal with this, but will deal with it. Let me know if you have any suggestions

  16. C R A P P U C C I N O

    My parents don’t want me to chase my dreams because it’s against my religion. Sometimes I feel trapped without knowing what to do.

  17. What about advice for the “parent” whose adult child is living at home (no problem with that) but after loosing his dream job he is stuck and doesn’t look for another job. He says he is and wants to but doesn’t. He’s in his forties and it has been about 4 years now. He’s gone through his money. Having an Irish bachelor living at home isn’t that unusual in the Irish world but he needs to be self supporting and contribute. He’s like a second father to his nieces and very involved in everything family. Good man, nice guy.

  18. Thanks for this article. I needed to be reminded of Paulo Coelho…

    I decided to quit my corporate job because I felt I was following the footsteps of someone else, and although my parents thought it was best, I disagreed. They even enrolled me in an mba thinking that I would move up the corporate ladder. However, I doubt those dreams would ever come true as I find myself engaged with more freelance work than anything stable. I’m still at that point where I have one foot on what I want, and another on what my parents want whilst feeling quite anxious to fully commit myself solely on my own aspirations.

    Sorry for commenting on this like seven years later…:)

  19. Oh my God! This article has been a life-saver for me! My parents are very negative though very caring. They always try to limit my abilities, they think I can’t go far. They just have a weird way of undermining their children. Though my brother has become very successful in every part of his life, my parents still think he is not THAT successful. They want to mould my life the way they think it’s “normal” or viable. Really appreciate the story of Coelho that you mentioned here. Nobody limits me!

  20. Hello. I am a brazilian law student. Since my parents always had lots of debts, i never felt confident about depend of them. Last year i studyed alone and passed on a state college (that is free on brazil), so them didn’t had to give any money for education. i was looking for a job this months to pay a chinese student’s bag to go to china (that’s something that i have studied for some time now), when my mom lost her driver licence. She works with her car, so the only way to continue sustaining home is making me drive for her for the next 2 years, making impossible for me to work.
    I don’t know what to do. I’m feeling sad and impaired. This means that i will never go overseas (i can’t save money anymore), i will not have any money during 2 years (they will not pay me), and i will have to stop my academic groups and extra classes. I said is okay, but is not. I don’t want to look egocentric, but i can stop felling that my dreams are ruined. these are really important years for me, could someone help me accept or to deal with this situation?

  21. Hi. I am a bisexual who currently have a girlfriend now. I lift my hometown for several reasons such as wanting to go abroad to work and to be with my girlfriend. But then here comes my family in my mother’s side telling me to go home because she doesn’t have much time lift in her. I am still hesitating to go home because i think they are using my mom’s sickness to make me go home. You see I am a female and I know they are against in my same sex relationship. I honestly don’t want to go home but they are driving me crazy. I can’t even sleep at night thinking about it. I don’t have a close relationship with my mom due to her palying favoritism towards me and my brother. I don’t wanna go home and stick with my life there. Help me decide please.

  22. Thank you for writing about this issue with parents.
    I’ll share my story with you all;

    My biological parents got separated when I was just about 3 years old. My dad moved abroad shortly after that to pursue his dream of working in the UK as a medical doctor. He got married and has other kids whom I love unconditionally.
    My mum didn’t finish university after having me. She and my maternal grandma saw me through highschool and my dad was responsible for my university degree. I am a Medical doctor now practicing in West Africa and I just rented a house to stay with my mum, in order to give her a platform to get her business back running. She was evicted from her rented apartment 3 years ago because she gave out loans to friends and they couldn’t pay back.

    My dad is disappointed with my decision and wants me to relocate to the UK instead and further my career. Now I’m torn between following his advice or staying put to see that I guide my mum back to her independence and continue building my life even if it might seem like throwing a good opportunity away.
    Some years back I decided to forgive both parents without them asking for it, for my peace of mind.

  23. Virendra singh

    Actually i was born in india but my dream is to reach london and settle there im a student and im doing a lot of hard work to achieve my goals slowly slowly with my thirst to go to london had made me feel that im a briton but my parents always oppose me and say that im an indian and by hearing this i loose my hope what should I do?

  24. Hi, all.
    Not everybody gets to live their dreams and do what they want, especially if you’re the eldest in an traditional family where you are expected to work and give them a better life. My parents deserve nothing less of the best, after everything they’ve done to raise me, but I’m at the point of my adult life where I want to make choices that give me happiness. And migrating to another country to live with my family is not one of them. My parents are not ready to let me go and they cannot accept the fact that I am in my mid-20s. I’m leaving in a month; I’m leaving my friends, my boyfriend, the life I’ve made for myself where I am now, just to fulfill my parents wish of staying together. I’m lying through my teeth with my friends, telling them I’m going on holiday when in fact I’m staying there for good. I’m breaking my boyfriend’s heart, after everything we’ve been through I and just get a plane ticket and leave everything behind, just like that. I’m so frustrated and my situation feels hopeless. I’m setting everybody I care about for disappointment. I’m so tired of acting like a damn robot to my parents wishes, but at the same time, a part of me hates having conflict with them, coz it’s just too mentally and physically consuming, not to mention the fact that my parents have a habit of involving me in their problems and expecting me to do something about it. I can’t just magic their problems away, not even with financial success. What am I? God?? I’m so fed up. So fed up.

  25. It’s never to late to follow your dreams, each new day is the chance to change direction and claim your future. I spent too much time following the dreams of others and now I’m following my dream I feel my life and those around me has changed for the better.

  26. I’m 18 and all I can think about is boxing at the moment. My mum and dad want me to just get a’normal’ job which I can just not Fucking stand at all, I just wanna be the best at what I wanna do. Then they’re like “well you have to come back down to earth and stop living in cloud cuckoo land”. Then I say ” Well I don’t want a ‘normal’ job” “Well it’s either that or you move out” And I just think to myself what have I done wrong. And I just know that they’re gonna be like “do you really think Owen is gonna be Boxer? Really? C’mon? I just don’t know what to do anymore I’ve thought about just giving up and getting a shit normal job and live a normal life I don’t know I just cant be arsed anymore to be honest.

  27. Will they even listen or will they just start storytelling your mistakes from God knows when up to now and hold it ALL against you? I feel like the latter’s most likely to happen coz it’s every parent’s satisfaction just by having that sense of control. I gotta hope and pray nobody else is stupid enough to commit suicide (out of suffocation) after having a shtload of this.

  28. Never Ever Give Up your dreams!! And never live to make true others’ dreams!What I believe is, it IS true that they brought up us amidst many challenges, but, once we are big enough to think for ourselves, we don’t want any others to make decisions for us. Not even our parents have the right!
    It is one of our human rights, to do what we want with our lives, whether to ruin or to achieve!
    I was too, once a girl captivated in my father’s dreams. What he did actually was, he made mocks of my tiniest failures and made me scared of making mistakes in my life. But, one day, after a terrible verbal fight with my parents over my own dreams of studying further and going abroad and their dreams of stucking me into home, finding my most-hated job and marrying early, I begun to think what right they have to stop me from dreaming. So, I begun dreaming, strongly, passionately and amidst many,many obstacles, humiliations and discriminations (my father once blamed me that my Brain has Rot! ;)),I continued dreaming of my life on a sun shiny day!I made sure that I don;t miss a single chance, whether I have the potential or not, I gave a try! I proudly declare that I have finally won my battle! I found my dream job and now I have gained my freedom.
    It’s not disobeying your parents. You don’t have to do everything they say to obey them. Even now, when they start nagging me over this and that, I only listen to what is relevant for me. Others, I simply neglect.

    So, Keep dreaming! And acting! Work Smarter that Harder! And imagine daily, like a meditation, the bright future awaiting, right in front of you!Be brave! Don’t be scared, even before trying!
    Don’t get stucked in your comfort zone!!Try out of it too!! But, be careful with your each step. Believe in yourself. A good mantra to your mind is self-praising. Excessively, endlessly praise yourself, and results are unbelievable! You’re going to get that strength stuck in you, strength to break down any barrier, to fly to your dreams. Believe me! It happened to me.:)
    Try to discuss your matters with parents (this works most of the time). If they don’t listen, then, show them what you’re! Then,they have to believe!

  29. I just only want to be independent but my parents prefer me to stay at home and after a year get married. My only dream is to work ,i want to do a job ,and for that i had to go out of town for pursuing my post graduation . But they don’t want me to do job .

  30. I’ve never had an article hit me right to the core than what I’ve just read. I completely relate to all this. And unfortunately, I’m still struggling. My parents always want me to achieve their “goals” for me. Whether it be career-wise or relationship-wise. There are times that I just start experiencing breakdowns because of the pressure. I want my parents to be proud of me, but the choices I make end up making them feel like they’re being betrayed and nag at how disrespectful or what a failure I’ve become (the latter which, by the way, I’ve heard a million times before). I honestly don’t know what to do at this point. 🙁

  31. I’ve always wanted to be what I want to be. My dad never gives me a chance to dream,he wants it his own way just because I’m the only child. My dream is to become a professional basketball player but my dad is setting me back,all he wants is for me to get diplomas degrees all kinds of certificate. I stay at home everyday reading my books. I don’t include myself in any sports event. I feel like giving up on everything i have ever dreamed of being. I guess i would have to disobey my dad and pursue my dreams to be a happy person.

  32. Ever since high school, I wanted to be a computer engineer. I got into the robotics club but my dad made me quit because of wrestling. In college I changed my major to history, which my dad hated so much. He said theres no jobs in that field. I’m still doing history but ironically, my dad is holding me back from getting help from career advisors when he says I should go to them. He says he knows everything.

  33. hi , im 17 years old student currently having conflicts with my own decision…Ive always wanted to become a game developer, and yes my parents allowed and support me….the thing is, i’ll be sitting for a important exam this year and i just dont have what it takes to get a scholarship to pursue my dreams…until recently, i’ve decided to focus on my dream instead of academic subjects because im not good im academic…im planning to be honest with my parents, but, do you think it is a good choice for me to abandon my academic and do an early pursue of my dream?

  34. Hey Niall
    i appreciate your blog.
    can you help me with a few things,. i want to be an English singer and i got a really good voice. i sing Taylor swift and Selena Gomez’s really good , but my parents don’t support me . they want me to become a doctor and that’s all . they don’t even get me a guitar. just because we live in India they are like ” you are Indian and u wanna be an English singer, English music will not work in India ” but its not true . Indians are addicted to English music . i want to audition for X factor UK but my parents wouldn’t take me their because its really costly . can you please tell me how to convince my parents please help me

  35. I actually found this blog by accident when I googled “unsopportive parents.” Reading this post has helped me in so many ways! I am a junior in college and I have a boyfriend that my parents don’t approve of. We’ve been dating for a little over two years and he treats me so well and I love him so much. My parents don’t like him because he doesn’t look perfect or come from a wealthy family. I don’t care about those things, but they do and they constantly tell me that “I could do better” or “we’re disappointed in you dating him.” Those words hurt so much and even though I am an adult, I still wish I had my parent’s approval, especially when my brother’s girlfriend is constantly around the house and I’m too scared to bring my boyfriend home when I visit. The stories in this post has helped me with the idea that I’m not the only person facing these kind of problems and that everything will be okay if I follow my heart. Thank you very much.

  36. hello sir i am 10th grade my dad wants me to be a doctor he said that is “the most successful job in US” but, i dont want to i wanna be a lawyr or social counselor. and when i told him he was really angry at me. i know that he loves me and wants me to live a good life but i cant study some thing that i hate it

  37. Hi I am shyann from Singapore I have this dream of one day acting on Disney or Nickelodeon I’m now 15 so the things is I have been changing my dreams for about 5 years now I have been going for acting lesson building up my courage so when I was 13 I when for this audition called premiere I got in the first evaluation but sadly I could not get pass the second as I got really nervous after that day I always told myself I will go back again for another evaluation when I think I’m ready so today it’s been two years so I thought u was ready so I approach my mom on going for the audition again but she ended up telling me I have no talent and I’m fat and I’m ugly. I am very Halsey broken as I always thought she will always be supporting me through my dream but after that I do not know what to do pls help as I am not old enough to chase my dream by myself I do not know what to do

  38. Hello! I stumbled upon your blog as I was searching up this topic. I am the oldest of four kids and when asked what I wanted to study I proudly replied with “I want to be a High school English teacher” this did not sit well sit my father. I already looked into the University and know about which courses I would take, I’m a Junior in High School so I thought it be best to look into it. I’m a lover of anything having to do with reading and writing and I even write a little, so I thought an English teacher would be perfect for me maybe even dabble with writing.I found the perfect career choice for me and I proudly told my parents of this, my mother is a strong supporter always telling me to “Follow your dreams” and “It’s your life after all”. My father on the other hand is the opposite of my mother with comments such as “The world has enough teachers but it doesn’t have enough surgeons” , “Have you looked into any schools that you can get your medical degree in?” and no speech can be ended without a famous “When your a surgeon you should buy us (mother,father and 3 siblings) a big house and you should also buy me a truck”.When any adults ask what I want to study he answers for me before I have a chance.I’m sorry for the long comment but if anyone has any suggestions about how I can get my father to understand that I want to study to be an English teacher and not a surgeon please do tel me. The thought of being stuck in a job that I hate with all my heart for 30+ years scares me to death. Thank you and best of luck to your writing.

  39. If you’re the only child, you experience even more pressure from your family. Because you’re the only one out there, obviously. I’m in the middle of a big conflict with my parents now, because I decided to move abroad for a couple of years and I have a relationship there. I wonder if being the only child means to give up opportunities/relationships in order to be with your family?

    1. I feel for you Kate. I’m exactly in the same situation now. As wanting to move abroad for study and relationship, I feel smothered by my parents, but also guity about hurting them at the same time. I loved being an only child when I was a kid, but now I hate it because of too much pressure and burden. I wonder how you handled it. I wish you a good luck!

  40. At last! I’m not alone in this very lonely battle of going abroad to pursue my dream, in spite of my parents’ constant “pulling downs”! I wish wholeheartedly that they would have believed me,their only child, her abilities and passions. They mock me “openly” at my dreams and it hurts my heart, yet in no millimeter would my courage and passion go down!I get more and more inspired. If they had believed me,at least a tiny little bit, then I might have loved them very,very much so as even to forget my dream and to stay with them.Thank you very much for letting me know that I am safe, my own way and that I am by no means alone. I do love them and respect them a lot, yet, I’m not ready to sacrifice my soul, my life and my future for them. I know my way, know what I want and I know very well that they are going to be honored, once my dear dream is achieved. Thank you very much again! You helped me to sort out my confused feelings on whether me or my parents. You also helped me to think differently on this issue and to act with much patience. I’ll work very hard and try my best to make this world a better place and make the lives of people that I meet on the way “better than I found them”

    1. I want to do comedic acting, but my parents are forcing me to do drama. In the future, I want to be a funny actor, like Matt LeBlanc in Friends. I think his character, Joey was really funny and I want a funny role like that. Matt LeBlanc is my inspiration, but my parents want me to be dramatic.

  41. For years I felt resistance from both my parents about the things I wanted to accomplish like getting my education, starting a small business, ending a very bad relationship, moving to another city, going back to get more education and finally going after my PhD which is what I’m currently doing. Not to discourage anyone out there but I think it takes a lifetime to un-program yourself from the doubts and fears your parents put on you as a child and young adult. I’m 42 and it’s only in the last 3 or 4 years that I’ve been living ONLY for myself despite the peanut gallery’s negative input. This summer I spent time in my home town and learned that my father resents me for being fearless and my mother is mostly afraid for me to fail but my decisions make her doubt her own life and choices and that makes her very uneasy. I have had to learn to filter what I tell them and NEVER count on them for help because there will be strings attached (do it my way and I’ll help).

  42. Hi guys!

    I want to share my story with you people. I suffering a lot to take decisions in my life. Right after my undergrad I got job in a big mnc as Software Engineer. But I want to pursue Masters abroad in Ireland and work there. I from a middle class family in India and studying abroad is a big risk financially. So I understood this situation and joined in the job. But two straight years my dream to go abroad for studies is haunting me. I don’t why it fascinates me so much. So recently told this to my parents and they are convincing me so much to carry on with my job. Our financial position is stable now and they are not dependent on me. I even explained them that I will take required loans which makes 75% of expenses to study and remaining 25% from my savings. Still they are not satisfied with it. I’m not sure how to convince them because I explained them the pros of studying there and still they are not convinced. Which way should I take now guts n glory or parents, sentiment and depression of not pursuing my dreams.

  43. My father was a military man. My mother almost always agreed with what he said. He assumed because there were plenty of jobs when THEY were looking for work, that the thing to do was to force all his children to go through difficult university courses and never have social lives and then work for someone else until they die. I don’t want to hate my father but every year I grow older I feel emptier and angrier and I wonder what the point of everything is. I wanted to be a singer and had to lie about going to the studio. I lied about being a model when I went for shows. He never listens and I’m at a stage in my life where I’ve worked for a company in a job I hate for 1 and a half years. The company has forced me to relocate and I get nothing for it. Its a massive step backwards for me but my father wants to force me, yet again, to do something that is not good for me, the same way every piece of advice I have ever followed from him has led me to more unhappiness and more anger. I have no idea what to do. I want nothing more than to resign and go back to school to finish studying what I started. Of course, my father says he will not pay for it even though he knows I earn minimum wage and can’t afford it. But at 24 I feel like its too late for me. Sometimes I think it would all have been better for me if I’d never been born. Personally, I don’t think I want children, because I can’t imagine making them feel as trapped as I do.

  44. I want to be a singer and my mom and my dad think I have to start a career at 5. Luke Bryan started his career at 14. I am 15 and got a guitar when I was about 11. She think I should work behind a computer screen in a office with other people. That’s not my dream though.

  45. My name is Ephraim Mwenda, I’m 29 at the moment turning 30 in November and I’ve always had a passion to do artistic things, I began drawing at 6 or 7 years old and I remember drawing tons of pics spending hours on end a day drawing and creating images from magazines books everything, and I said to myself when I grow up I want to be an animator. However my parents both have very impressive careers my mother is now a supreme court judge and my father had setup a very successful cigarette company which is constantly expanding. I have a lot of siblings 3 brothers and 4 sisters each of which had all studied business at request of my father. At the end of high school my teacher told me to pursue art as a career as I could do something with this to the disappointment of my parents even though I was probably the second best artist in my class at the time as the best student was the son of my art teacher it only drove me to want to reach my personal best one day. In honour of my parents most especially my Dad as he told me he wouldn’t want to pay for my University course if it was not business related which would obviously suit him I accepted and have been doing my best to get a business degree. I tried it first in 2005. I just didn’t have the desire or passion to be committed to something I have very little interest in unless my interests are culminated into the programme, I ended up withdrawing from the course and went back home to work at my fathers business until 2008 when I tried again, unfortunately I had to return home as their was a financial issue which prevented me from finishing so I worked again till 2010 however the same situation took place and I withdrew from the course by that time my little sisters, little brother had all completed their business degrees for some strange reason I had not managed yet. Come 2014 I came back again to study business this time around I had reached my final year this year but had been withdrawn from my program due to me failing one module so had been given an exit award even though when I tally up my degree classification plus the module I failed would have allowed me to received a first class honors as I pretty much just wanted to be done with being in learning institutions and actually do something with my life rather than continuously keep studying material I’ve seen for the last decade. Currently I am still within the UK trying to redo the module I failed so I can graduate as that seems to be the most important thing for both my parents as without they’ve never expressed any sense of pride in me or the gifts I naturally have and I was told by my father to then pursue a masters degree after my degree which would mean I may finish studied at 31. It isn’t a bad thing just the experiences make me bitter and complain because I would have most probably become successful in my chosen field had I not been forced to divert from it. It does still sadden me tremendously to this very day but I have become accustomed to the disappointment of not having what I desired to do. I always thought to myself when my father dies I will not hesitate to pursue my dreams but whether I will still have the desire and passion after the relentless verbal obscenities and being told I’m a total disappointment at times I wish I had a different but understanding family as the pain always seems multiplied when its the people you love the most. I do have other passions I pursue I also can rap fairly well as I started writing poetry at 16 which I began to continue on more and more as I got older I still just do it as a hobby but make music from time to time. I’m also a very avid weightlifter another passion I began to pursue almost 6 years ago however it is also an outlet of escape from getting into drugs and all sorts of things, but I am still optimistic about what I can do to pursue happiness in my life and God willing my father will still be alive to see me succeed eventually.

  46. My name is Noah and I ´m 14.I live in the Carribean.Not to throw shade but there ´s no way I can succeed where I come from and if there is it’s going to be a long seemongly endless road.I asked my parents to let me live in the United States with my aunt because I want to attend Stanford and I know that some of the regularities for a scholarship require high school there.My parents are really close to my aunt so they can’t say it’s a trust problem.Also she is just like them,strict and she want her kids focused on school and on church.Not that I mind though.Anyway it was their idea at first but ever since I’d started agreeing with it it became the worst thing inthe world.I don’t understand how it is that they alwaystellmeto focus on school but when I do suddendly I ´m being childish and stupid.I know I’m still a kid but I know what I want and we ´re running out of time since I should be starting my second year of high school.It feels like they’re sitting on me and crushing me with their weight which is in a way what they’re doing with my dream( I ´d like to be a psychologist or a neurologist ).I know the chances of this happening are really small I have to try and accept it.But I’m scared ,being christian, that I won’t be able to forgive them. Please I don’t wanna hear the You know nothing You’re just a kid And your parents know best thing again,

  47. I’m sixteen and my parents want me to be a doctor because they think it is an ‘appropriate’ career for women, however I don’t. And now they won’t even talk to me because I dropped Biology and instead chose Mathematics as a subject for my Alevels. I hope it proves to be worth it.

  48. Blessing Shitaa

    OK, my situation is like this…my Dad would call me very often, almost everyday. last month I went to visit him, he lives in a small town called Tsumeb and I live in the city (Windhoek), im a student. I left an empty beer bottle under my bed when i left his house to come back to the city, he later discovered it and he was very pissed, he told my mom to cut down on my allowance by 50%!! which she did but she told me he asked her to, they are divorced by the way, since I was 9. he sent me a message stating that appart from paying my rent, he would give me a single cent. he expects me to live my life in a way that pleases him, to live according to “how he raised me” you know “going to church everyday and stuff but that is not who I am and how I want to live. now my fridge is empty because of the sudden reduction in my allowance. we have not spoken for two weeks and i am still upset. since he found it, he thinks the worst of me, he thinks i drink evryday, he thinks i smoke weed, he thinks im doing nothing with my life when i have not failed a single subject since i began varsity. this is my fourth and last year, perusing an honors degree. anyways, i wrote him a message telling him that never again will I ask for his money. i meant it though, i still do..he called 3 times yesterday but i never answered or returned his calls….he expects me to be the “perfect son””….can anybody out here say something about this? cause i dont see myself changing into the son that he wants me to be because that would leave him happy but where would leave me?? living to impress him? i know he is my dad but i also want to live my life happily.

  49. Since I was a kid I liked dancing and acting and I wanted to go to Bollywood as I’m an Indian, and whenever I used to turn around the topic and just ask my parents how do you thing actor as a a career, they would say it is shit and there is a lot of struggle, and your never doing it, and I used to say ya obviously I don’t want to. I know there is struggle but if you work hard towards your goal, struggle is nothing. My mom says to me that Ganima share all your feelings with me, but this one feeling, my dream, that I can’t share, because I know my parents won’t like it, and I’ve tried sometimes. I chose drama in high school as I’m going to grade 9, so I can learn a bit about performing and acting. My mom
    might put me in a very good famous dance academy, whose owner is really snouts in Bollywood because of his dance(Shiamak Dance). But further as I go I’m confused, what to do, I’m gonna do a lawyer course, and then go towards acting, and lawyer will be my backup plan, and many celebrities have done that, because who doesn’t want a backup plan.Im actually confused what to do, because many people bullied me when I was a kid, about what I will become, and now I wanna prove them what I can be, and make myslef and my family feel proud of me.

  50. Hey Sir,
    I am a 16 year old aspiring football player but do not have the resources to be one and I feel afraid to ask my parents for their support. Whenever I try to talk to them I have a feeling they will be disappointed in me. What should I do?

  51. So, I want to be an actor and I have already been in 2 award winning shows. My dad on the other hand hates that I sing and dance and act. He believes that boys should be playing sports, not “frolicking around, being someone their not”but this is what I love to do. My mom was really supportive before she died but after her death, my dad took control of my life. I don’t know what to do, please help me.

  52. Pingback: respect your parents | lighthousefamilychurch

  53. Even if I tell my mom about what the problems and solutions are, as long as it is apart from the way she set in the argument, she’ll ignore it and say: “This is true but it does not apply to this situation.” or that “You are finding people who agree with your wrong choice.” or “Okay, I will agree but you have to be ready for the CONSEQUENCES.” She intentionally mentioned it because she wants to force me to study in the school she likes. She won’t allow it if it is not the school she chose. She knows that there are mysteriously good scenarios disguised through the challenges such as when my autism was severe but I became top 15 in my class and I overcame autism almost completely which is much harder than surviving the school I chose with my current intellect level and that I am the only one who can finish my thesis in 5 days in my whole school. But then she keeps on bringing up the past like : “Do you remember EVERY single thing you did and ALL its CONSEQUENCES? Are you willing to let it happen again? Do you want to repeat senior high for the second time if you fail?” When there was this question: 3 numbers must add to be 30 and you have to choose among the odd numbers from 1 to 15 with allowed repetitions, 98% will fail and 2% will pass. Guess what? If I asked her if I’d be the 2%, she said”Maybe” to deny that she doubts I’d be but she really does. But when I asked her if I’ll be the 98%, she said “Don’t be disappointed by it. Ordinary people became the 98% so it’s okay if you are.” That’s a sign of a very annoying doubt and disbelief and discouragement. She tells me not to aim too high, yes but I feel insulted that just because I had weaknesses in life and have never done productive and responsible things like others did then she will choose the ORDINARY over EXTRAORDINARY for me. She was supposed to say like “You can do it as long as you put your mind to it. Don’t be disappointed by the results but should not make it an excuse not to work for it.” but no. The child himself (me) had even to be the one who tells her that. I wanted big dreams. She forced me into an international school and I aimed higher than that. She said “But that school is good”. The one I picked is better and she said: “You will fail in that school but this school will be good.” Actually, both choices are correct. None is more than the other. It’s because she wants me to study in the school that she picked that’s why she used every method she has to tell me that this school is better. Well, no it isn’t. It’s not because of the standard or my capability. It’s the difference from her choice and her admiration in the choice she makes. If I make success here, it’s easier to deny it that’s why I picked the other school. That school she picked can only be succeeded because: “I’m not tardy because the school is near”, “I only pay attention because the population is small and it makes it less noisy and the teacher CAN be more attentive.” She has reasons and they are all making sense but she is the over anxious and OCD mother so this scenarios are just part of her OCD. She always makes sure that she has a mistake to correct. I feel that she enjoys it when I make mistakes because she can keep on sermoning. I made a list of most annoying people and she asked me to put her in #1. Whenever we talk, she always interrupts me and does not give me the chance to talk or explain. She always says: “You are talking too long or that you’re the one who interrupts me.” Well these things she said, she’s the one doing it. She is talking too long because she wants only her points to get across and not only across but IMMEDIATELY. What she wants is: “Follow rules and no objections. End Of Discussion. I won’t listen, I’ll just watch my favorite show or story.” When there is a professional who agrees to my intentions and could argue better than my mom, my mom would say: “I’m your mom so I know more. And that professional does not know how to train kids like you.” And she either ignores that professional or stops me from being together or connected with that person. I’m idle for months at home and I told my mom I don’t want to be idle and be productive and she just ignores. Does not anyone know that I am willing to learn as well? Do you actually even think that most of my fictional stories and characters were designed for me to do big things in the world? Every person is mysterious in his/her intentions and reasons even the one you created (created means someone with a super close relationship with you both literally or unliterally). When I say the child thinks mysteriously with mysterious reasons, it means he has faith in the fact that anything good can be created when the mind focuses on it and need not to know what would actually happen. No one knows the future. It’s so hard that Jesus does not know the apocalypse. Jesus knows the future. But my point is, you can’t over assume what the future would be like because predicting the future is so hard that there is even one future (Apocalypse) that Jesus Himself does not know when it’ll happen. Don’t even mention an ordinary mother predicting what she does not put her beliefs to when she only sees only one particular type of scenarios to stick to her choice instead of thinking what good would it be if I go there. But don’t see my mother as a bad person. If she’ll be shamed when I express in this page, I don’t mean it. I need help, that’s all. Anyone who curses or calls my mother a terrible mother should be reported immediately except if they are telling me that there are some mistakes in her method or why there isn’t.

  54. My parents are devout Christian, my step father more so than my mother, and they have a very traditional way of looking at life. My stepfather things a woman’s only purpose in life is to breed and raise children. I myself like children, but I do not want my own. I have never wanted kids, but my family just laughs at me and says I will change my mind one day, which I might, but it doesn’t mean they should be disrespectful of my choices. I have dreams of working my way around the world teaching English as a foreign language, and doing volunteer work whenever I can. One of my passions is writing, and I would like to start a travel blog. My step father does not think I will succeed in life because I do not want a “real job” or to marry and have kids. I know my parents want what is best for me, but it gets stifling. I am eighteen, and still live at home, and they do not want me to move out because I help take care of my younger siblings. My eldest sister moved out when she was 24, only because she got married, and now she has a child as well. Even my brothers and sister, both step family and related, have the same beliefs as my parents, and have no particular desire to travel, and would rather marry and have kids. I feel trapped. I only just started dating a Brazilian man a few months ago, and when I told my mother about him, she told me immediately to break up with him, because I could not be in a long distance relationship. He understands my situation at least, and is still willing to come visit me from Brazil in December this year. I was almost begging him to take me to Brazil, but he didn’t want me to ruin my relationship with my family. I don’t know what to do, and sorry this is long I just feel so trapped.

    1. Hey Julia look
      I am 15 ikr I am probably younger but you can listen to my advice. Your parents are Christians and they think in a certain way. YOU NEED KIDS TI BE SUCCESSFUL YOU NEED A GOOD JIB A REAL JOB. That’s what they always say it’s theyere (idk if I spelled it right) culture (ps: I don’t want to disrespect any cultures I dont believe in any god I believe in my self) any how they will tell you the same stuff but you choose what to take in its like a present if you want you accept it or not there is no need to be afraid or beging a Brazilian dude to take you there just do go work at simple works (MC Donald coffee shops etc ) if you’re at an work age or near it make some cash DON’T spend them at unnecessary things and learn how to do jobs for the house learn to wash dishes clean the door
      Etc then by the time you are ready and have enough money to move out and have supplyes / money for BIOS and taxes for a few months go and find your path and be afraid to change something if YOU DON’T TRY for your dreams nobody will

      Hope I helped you out tell me if you would like to keep contact I would love to learn that you succeed 😀 hopefully cya soon 🙂

  55. I want to become a physician assistant, but for some reason it’s like my parents want to force me into nursing. This behavior has occurred all my life. As much as I want to please my parents, I’m tired of always being stuck in the house. We are very low income (30K for household of 7) yet I am not allowed to get a job. My father is verbally and was physically abusive at one point towards my mother. It clouds my mind everyday. Being 19 in college now, I want to change my major from nursing, take on internships, study abroad, but I can already imagine the screaming & insults I’ll receive from my father. I want to take a stand and will not be coming home for the next summer break, but I fear for my four younger siblings. I don’t want my actions to anger my father so much that he places the anger on my mother and siblings. I guess I’ll just have to be strong for the next few years.

  56. My dream is to become an auther but my parents want me to become a loyer, I already have some books in mind, an illestrator, and a publisher and I’m only 10!!!

    1. Jost proove them rong man write your first book and showit to them 🙂 and make them belive that you are no loyer that you are an Auther

      Good Luck Man Keep Your dreams up!

  57. Dragontortise

    For me I want to be emo but my mom is to protective and I’m to scared that if she sees me with like park hair with coler in it Ile get in trouble and I want to do things but my mom is constantly doing things like trying to teach me how to cook or clean but what she doesn’t realize is that I know that stuff already and it’s bothering me and all I want to do is chill but she will tell me to get up and clean like it seems fun to her to send me out to do the stupidist things like vacuum the next day I already did and I want to dye my hair but I have to be like 13 or 14 when I’m 12 but like I know as much as a 18 year old like I know what to do in life but she does not realize that and everything depends on if she likes it or not like with shopping I hate it with her because I hate dresses and things like that and I rlly want to change my room coler from light blue to black but she won’t like it so it sucks so much

  58. Thank you, Niall, for writing this article! I am currently struggling to break free from my mother, but it’s still so hard to do. I’ve been with my mother for my entire life and I felt like I had to have some sort of loyalty to her, but I am now realizing that I can’t. I don’t really trust her and she always brings me down. We’ve had plenty arguments, in more recent years (probably because I’m so close to adulting – I graduate from college in December), and it’s like a power struggle when I’m trying to be myself and prove to her that I can be independent, but I need her to be willing to let me go.

  59. I am 22 and doing a degree in mass communication and journalism and I am also into modeling I once won miss city but my mom won’t let me continue being what I want I respect her alot and I see myself doing well in life through my modeling career please advise me when I talk about it she tells me she would rather die than to see me continue being a model

  60. oppressed girl

    my dad is forcing me to quit work, if i just leave home, am i in the wrong?
    i am 19 years old and after working for the last 3 and a half years, my parents want me to quit because they think it will ruin me and ill get out of hand. i work in virgin media and have a very respectable job so have no reason to quit. if they carry on forcing me, if i called the cops and just left, would i be in the wrong?

  61. I want to be an actress and have wanted to since I was 7 when I joined musical theatre. when I was in middle school I was inspired by movies and joined a film acting class telling my parents it was just a hobby. Really it was more though. Every single day I would come home from school and watch them. I loved pretending to be different characters while at school. I’ve taken as many acting classes I possibly could. I asked my school drama and community theatre teachers what I should do. I got my resume done and headshots scheduled all on my own with a photographer friend. (I know it’s not the classiest way to get headshots done but I can’t work yet to pay a real photographer). I am 16 now and I have been doing all this for 8 years. I would stay up late at night just looking for open casting calls that I could go to for my age. And when I would find one I would immediately sign up. But the thing is, my parents wouldn’t ever take me. They don’t think acting is a supportive and for sure job. They don’t understand the term dream because they never followed theirs. They were too scared of failure, and now they are scared of my failure. The negative things they say about me wanting to be an actor, are tearing me up. It’s so hard to be positive and keep going towards my dream being a constant disappointment. Every time I find a hint of hope for my acting career they just ask me if I got my homework done or how my grades are. I want to leave the house and live with those really upbeat adventurous parents who support their kids’ dream no matter how risky it is. I feel like I’m being pulled back by them every time I get back up.

  62. Pingback: Obey vs Honour your parents. | Sync into my mind

  63. Niall , I need help. I want to become a psychologist and my parents are against that. They don’t want me to take arts .They don’t support me but I don’t see my future in any other career. What should I do?

  64. I am currently having trouble with my parents because they want me to go to a specifc university and pursue a specific career. The career and university they want for me is not what i want for myself. My parents keep insisting that I am making a horrible decision and that I am heading in the wrong direction. I do not want to study that and i do not want to go to that university. And yet i continuously get comments from them saying that I am acting irresponsible because I am deciding against the best opportunity for my future. I am torn..

  65. Hi! , Hey, thank you for your advices.
    It’s useful now, while I’m thinking, considering about what faculty i really want to go in University.
    My own choice or my parents’ expectations.

  66. Hi,I visited here as I was facing one of this problem. I m 18 yrs old I m pretty good with my feets and I play football I want to be a footballer. But major problem is my dad is totally against any sport. My mom always support my dad. I told my parents and my three sisters that I want to follow my dream of becoming a footballer, but I was scrolled up. I try to tell them 100 of time in past 3 years but no luck and to mention my family earn quite money to live and I know my dad is able to put money required in a football club giving chances for u to become a footballer. But he never try to contact them for me even I told him about that but my whole family come against me. I know if I go their there is risk of career but I don’t like jobs or to work under a desk I like to be free and die doing what I love,surely it’s not that I will make it to a top level if I then it’s good but if I didn’t at least I will live happy living my dream.what should I do now tell me someone should I continue my studies or follow my dream I k ow I m capable of.

  67. I come from a sort of traditional Asian family and my parents do expect me to join the civil service. But my dream is nothing like that. Have always wanted to work at development/ human rights NGOs. I had avoided talking about my passion in the last few years. But I’m graduating soon, so I decided to bring up this topic today. I told them I never wanted to be a civil servant and I didn’t want to do something that I wouldn’t enjoy doing for the rest of my life. My mom was like, “It’s not about whether it’s boring or not or whether you like it or not. Think about the decent salary!” I just broke down. I wonder if I, as an individual, actually mean anything to them.

    1. You’re not alone! I’ve had a similar conversation with my mother a couple of years ago and it ended the same way. “You’re picking useless majors” or “It’s not about what you like…” and the result was me blubbering away in my room. If you can muster up the courage to just do what makes you happy, I say go for it! Don’t be like me. I ended up following what my mother wanted and I regret it to this very day.

  68. I was born and raised in Canada then my dad moved me to Egypt at the age of 13. I was a little girl who couldn’t speak Arabic and scared and it was a big culture shock for me. I was put into the Egyptian education which is the worst education I’ve ever seen. It consists of you memorizing the whole curriculum to pass. I suffered but I succeeded and got 88% in high school over all. Now I would like to go back to Canada and peruse a real education. Realise My passion and live my life but my father is against it. I confronted him today with what I want to do and he started yelling and saying how I’m killing him. He wants me to major in engineering in a Egyptian university. That’s 5 years wasted from my life. I don’t know if I have the guts to leave because a lot of people will hate me. I wish a single person in this world can tell me I’m doing the right thing by perusing what I want. A lot of people are telling me that im going to kill my father if I do this. PS, he was 4 other children so im not an only child. I wish god can send me a sign

  69. I’m afraid I won’t express myself fully and clearly in this mere, single comment but,okay, here it goes. (And yes I have asian parents)
    During my elementary stage, I guess I was mentally asleep and oblivious thinking that I wanted to be a doctor – living a perfect stable life. I’m in my mid teens (under 2 years till university) now and I’ve rekindled with love for music over the previous years. I now see what I’ve been born to do and my soul is yearning for me to just follow this impractical dream of mine. I want to be a singer-songwriter. I know I’ve got what it takes and I can work with other people. My mother fears that I will lead to an unstable life, maybe one that is worse than our current lifestyle as we are ,arguably, lower class. But doesn’t everything in life have some level of risk? She also said that we do not have the financial abilities to support a music career, that my dream is “only for rich children or if you have nothing better to do”. I want to believe this yet there are examples of ‘rags to riches’ musicians and I could be like them to prove her wrong or should I stop my hopeless fantasy?

  70. I want to learn music after high school, but my parents want me to be an Indian Institute of Technology Grad ( engineering) Heck Indian universities have only 1% acceptance rate, and they are making me work hard for it…

    But i really want to be a musician in my life, I want to dedicate my whole life to music.. My parents don’t support me for that…

    But I am gonna do what I wanna do, even if they force me to get into engineering, I will just get into music anyways…..

    1. My parents even physically hurt me when I don’t listen to them… When i was a bit small, they beat me with sticks, every time that i dint listen to them.. Now that I am 16, they can’t do that anymore (because of my resistance), but they still torture me for things…

  71. Hi, I’m pretty young and have just taken an interest Ina new sub-culture fashion called fairy kei, a street fashion in Japan….. I really want to wear these clothes but my parents aren’t exactly the approving type, especially since I’m a boy, I wanna tell my mom, but im afraid she will say no or get really ticked…. What do I do…

  72. I’m 15 years old. My dream is to be a singer in another country, but my parents want me to be a doctor. Recently, my school held a talent show and those who want to join have to have an approval from parents. I asked my parents and talked to them about this, but strongly disagree about this. I couldn’t talk back to them and I don’t know what to do. I secretly locked myself in the bedroom and cried my eyes out. What should I do?

  73. Good article. Part of a sentence stated we owe our lives to our parents. I disagree. It was my parents dream to have children. They wanted to create a legacy and fulfill part of their dreams by having children. Parents do not own children, they don’t own their children’s dreams and lives. I did not ask to be born. My life was forced into this world. We are all miracles considering it is a miracle we are born and born to be the individual persons that we are. As an individual I can and will live an independent life from my parents and I will fulfill my own dreams. Therefore, I do feel I owe my life to my parents. I respect my parents for being my parents and for the life they provided for me. I also appreciate them. Choosing to be a parent comes with commitments and responsibilities. I don’t owe anybody for fulfilling a job role thats expected of them when a person chooses parenthood or a life they chose i.e. to be a parent. My parents provided food, water, shelter, clothing, love and some guidance until I was 18 years old. After 18, I was expected to provide these things for myself. If I’m paying for my own food, shelter and clothing and making a life for myself and my future children then its no ones business how I go about my life. My dreams are not for someone else to steal, crush or stop. No is living my life but me. And so I will fulfill my dreams to the best of my ability and for my future children. My dreams are good dreams because their important to me. As long as I take responsibility for them working or not working out then no one has any say as to how I live my life. No parent should make their adult child feel they have to choose between their parents and their dreams. Life is about balance always. You can balance both. Dreams take a life time to fulfill…their is no time limit on dreams. If you keep working at your dreams eventually they will come true. Your dreams might not be exactly as you pictured them and you have to learn to be satisfied with your dreams, but working daily at them over your life time can fulfill them close to what you expect. I take care of my parents in any way I can. If I can’t physically help with things like cooking, shoveling, lawn work, moving, banking etc. then I arrange to hire someone who can by taking an extra shift at work. I call them daily to emotionally support them. Most of all I support my parents having evolving dreams of their own.

    Again, I balance my dreams and parents etc. and I ensure my dreams do not cause self or family harm or hardships.

    Here is a saying my parents and family have lived by:

    “On the Children” by Khalil Gibran
    On Children by Kahlil Gibran

    Your children are not your children.
    They are the sons and daughters of Life’s longing for itself.
    They come through you but not from you,
    And though they are with you, yet they belong not to you.

    You may give them your love but not your thoughts.
    For they have their own thoughts.
    You may house their bodies but not their souls,
    For their souls dwell in the house of tomorrow,
    which you cannot visit, not even in your dreams.
    You may strive to be like them, but seek not to make them like you.
    For life goes not backward nor tarries with yesterday.

    You are the bows from which your children as living arrows are sent forth.
    The archer sees the mark upon the path of the infinite,
    and He bends you with His might that His arrows may go swift and far.
    Let your bending in the archer’s hand be for gladness;
    For even as He loves the arrow that flies,
    so He loves also the bow that is stable.

  74. Hey Niall.I’m a 16 year old golfer from India.I’m ranked 13th nationally and my parents want me to become a golfer.But I wanna be an MMA fighter.I told my parents about this once and they told me to come out of this fantasy.They said forget about MMA and become a golfer or study.We are financially very sound.Even if I become the best golfer I won’t be happy.MMA is all that I dream,sleep,walk,eat.I think about it day in day out and it os killing me that I can’t tell them that I wanna do MMA and we hace come so gar..that they r planning to send me to the States or turn me pro when I turn 18..plzz helpe…how do I do MMA without telling them or by telling them I’M messed
    Cheers Vignesh

  75. hey, my name is Leena Maria, I’m 13 and I’m struggling with a slap in the face. My parents want me to become a doctor or something “USEFUL” my dream is to dance, ecome a professional dancer, i have talked to my teachers and i have posititive feedback saying that i have the right physical dimensions to do what it take, which is very inportand for a dancer. I have to tell them soon so i disappoints them less. Plz i beg you, i have had more breakdowns fearing what they will say that happy days. I am doing my best to signal them and i see repsonses, dad, is fine, a bit disappointed but willing to support me, MOM, not so much……..she is the main person who wants me to become a doctor, she won’t even let me do the godforsaken POINTE.She tells me that it would disappoints her, but i have confidence that if i tell her that i would still do a doctoral degree or something like that she will be pleased. I am signed up in 8 classes, so i receive enough training, my dream is also to move away from home and live at a full time ballet school.

  76. I am currently attending a university in Michigan for Fine Arts in Graphic Design. I am a freshman and I am nearing the end of my first semester here. The catch is that I want to be going to a Performance music school in Detroit that my boyfriend goes to. Music is what I truly want to do with my life. But in order to pursue music I can’t attend next semester. I will lose my scholarship to the current university that I’m at and two other scholarships that I had for second semester. I am going to move in with my boyfriend in his apartment that is two blocks from the Music institute and my family is angry. I am 18, I will have to work a full time job to pay back the financial aid that I received for this semester and I will have to save up money to afford the 13,000 a year for the music institute. My family members that know are blaming my boyfriend as the reason for me wanting to go to Detroit. I’m too young to move in with him and I’ll be pregnant before I’m 19 they say. I just want to play music. It just happens that my boyfriend is helping me by playing music with me as it is his dream too. I have a whole mess of things that I have to deal with and it doesn’t seem real and I am extremely guilty and scared of going against my parents, but this article gave me a little to hold on to and I appreciate that. Any other advice would be awesome. My parents are not really understanding and they have a tendency to become angry with everything that I do and I will lose all support from them. Anyone know anything about this type of situation?

  77. Hi,
    I am a 19 year old indian girl from bangalore . I lost my dad when I was 12 due to brain cancer and my mom raised me and my younger sister on her own without any help . When I was a year old, my dad (an army officer) was fighting the kargil war and he wrote a letter to mom, saying, “if I don’t make it, make sure my little girl becomes a doctor in the Indian army(ARMY MEDICAL CORPS) , and makes us proud.” And yes this has been my mom’s dream too, as she is a nursing officer in army, she wants to see her daughter get commissioned as a medical officer lieutenant.
    But I on the other hand, love to be creative, sketch paint and design stuff. I want to pursue my career as a graphic designer or interior designer. But I never told mom this. I couldn’t get through the medical entrance exam after my 12th grade, so my mom asked me to take a drop and prepare for it another year. I did refuse, but due to her emotional drama and tears I agreed and I didn’t get through the next year either. I went into depression and cried and fought and hurt myself more. My mom was upset and abusive and hurt too. At one point I even told her to manage some extra money so that she could get me a seat under the management quota when she’d have to pay a HUGE sum of money in cash at once. And I ended up getting her involved in a money scandal and she lost about 9 lakhs rupees. I was very upset and angry at myself. And mom kept blaming me for it. A week later mom started convincing me to drop another year so that I can make up for the money lost and become a doctor. I stood up against her and she refused to budge. She was physically and verbally abusive. And then she went all emotional again. I didn’t budge either. I fought back. And when my sister got back home from school , she started to tell how she worked so hard for us, and how she sacrificed her life so that we could have ours and how I should fulfill my dead father’s dream. I told her how I lost two years of my life preparing for a career I don’t even want to pursue. She didn’t care she kept begging me to drop a year and prepare for medicine. And as she kept yelling she had a seizure and collapsed and was unconscious for a few minutes. That really scared me and my sister blamed me for it. I called my neighbour who is a doctor and he said that if she undergoes the same kind of stress again there is a chance of cerebral haemorrhage. So at that stage when my mom woke up I told her that I will drop a year and try for medicine. But I am not happy with my decision , I don’t want to do it but I have to. I don’t want to be the girl who killed her mother so she could pursue her career. Now that I agreed, she is so loving to me, she kisses me on my forehead and pats me on my back.
    My sister who used to always me, was the one who said “burn me and mom and go ahead with your career else do what mom wants and let everyone be happy” . So yea, basically I don’t have anyone to support my cause. And When other people try convincing mom to let me do what I want. She recites the clichéd emotional story of my past, and how doctor is the best profession and people feel pity for her and in turn convince me to do as she says. I was very close to giving up everything and killing myself because of this. I don’t know what to do. Why can’t she just say, “Ash go on and become what you want I will support you”.

    Either I become a doctor and make her proud and keep my dad’s words and live my life in regret or become join a design school , and become a graphic designer and live a life I always wanted……..

      1. Well in a way I am better but I had to drop another year thanks to her, I prepared for medical entrance exams this year AGAIN, and now I’m awaiting the results.. I just want all of this to end cause I can’t spend another minute in this house, I need to get into a college and if hat means I have to do medical then so be it! I didn’t sketch a thing for months. I guess my life is meant to be that way, at least I won’t make the same mistake when I become a mother in future 🙂

  78. I need a better education, but that is not the way my mother sees it, my school is not the best, fights everyday, drugs being sold on school campus, I want something better, I’ve recently turned 16 and it’s looking although I have to pay my way to become who I want, I live in Australia, my school in particular has been dealt with the card of being one of many terrible schools in my state, to my mum we can’t afford to move me to a better school, I know we can, I think it’s because she didn’t have it like I do now, what my m doesn’t realise is I have it worse and for that I’m suffering, we get into arguments and she wins every time, it’s either I stay in the school I’m at now or leave, I never wanted this, I have two older siblings at this present time 19 and 18 both not doing so well having given the same education, I’m stuck, I want better and my mum refuses to acknowledge I want to be around people who want to e my friend, who wants to share their knowledge and help. That’s exactly not what I’m getting, my teachers have taught generations of students and are bias and frequently putting students down, I can’t be at this school anymore.
    My mother doesn’t want me to succeed, I’m not succeeding.

  79. Pingback: Mid-20s Issues Based On Personal Experience | Sheina Blogs Now

  80. Hi! I’m so glad when I googled “What to do when your parents are not supportive”, this article came among the results. I’m experiencing this now. Just last weekend I went back to my parent’s house, we had a party, when we finally had time to catch up they asked me about my career. I was had a good record in high school and graduated in one of the top universities in my country. I have followed them always. However, since I started working, they were not supportive of my career choice. I understand that they want to protect me, they want to secure my future. But how many times do I have to explain that I have different plans for my life? They seem to try to understand but we always go in circles, they keep asking and I feel that they do not like what I do. It really hurts because I don’t want to disappoint them. The “Momma doesn’t always know best” part of this article is very enlightening. I know if I follow what my parents want for me I will end up like the elder brother. Also the story of Paulo Coelho, I didn’t know that. Thank you very much for sharing. I’m more convinced now that I should follow my dreams, continue with my plans, at the same time understand my parents. More power!

  81. I’m a young college student, currently living at home, and going to school near where I live. I need advice on two things…
    Firstly, I’ve been going out with a guy for a few months and it’s been fun. We talk almost all the time, but I just don’t feel attracted to him more than I would a friend. I’ve shared this with my parents and they feel that because he’s nice, kind, an introvert like me and because we share all (I emphasize all) the same interests that we should continue going out. They have told me they are worried that because I’m not “interested” in a nice, quiet guy and want to stop seeing him, that I’m going to make a big mistake and that the thing I want is “drama” not a true relationship (they actually said this)…*sigh*. I’ve talked to others about it as well and my siblings say, “you can to better,” my aunt says, “friend zone him,” and even my boss (who I only casually mentioned this to) said, “you’re quiet, you need someone to balance you out.” I know what I want to do, but I don’t feel like I have any emotional support in my decision. How can I talk to them if I keep feeling like I’m banging my head against a wall?
    (Sorry this is a long post…)
    Secondly, I’m currently at a Community College near where I live and plan to transfer to a University a few hours away. My parents have slowly come around to the idea and are supportive of me pursuing this. But what I want my major to be in is a slightly different story. I want to be a Speech Pathologist, I feel like it will be a fulfilling and meaningful job and I think it’s what I’m supposed to do. My parents would rather I became a doctor (an Audiologist or a Holistic Practitioner) and they say things like, “Well, you can eventually become an Audiologist if you get this degree that you want…” or they get all nervous when I talk about it and try to “redirect” the conversation. I’m trying to have empathy for them (I’m the oldest) and I understand that things are emotional and I know in the end they’ll be supportive, but how can I help them to see things from my perspective?

  82. I am that kid who just feels different from other people. You know one of those family movies where a girl/boy feels different and a failure in their families eyes? Like everything I do is “wrong” they judge in everything I do, even when I’m doing something right, they are gonna say, “you suck at do this, why are you doing that, you should do it this way, not your way.” It annoys me. I always get in trouble for the littlest thing. Especially when its my mother. My mother and I don’t have a connecting. In my past she did me and my family dirty. She discussed me. I love her, but I dislike her judgmental uncaring way towards me. I was taking baby steps into following my dreams and I told my mom about it and she said, “no.” And said judgmental words to me. And I told her, “I’m just trying to follow my dreams, but I realize it you that always block my path.” And I walked away. But yeah, I already planned in breaking some rules in order to achieve my dreams.

  83. Johnny Kapnissis

    Hey i want to go to a boarding school in UK but my Dad doesn’t lets me to go there i am 13 years old and my heart is always in UK not because of a girl but just because of England.
    My dream is to became a grate YouTuber also i want to became a graphics designer.

    Please Help me out because i cry every night I believe i Need your help guys

  84. HEY,
    I know its been years since this video and the writing have been put up and I happened to find it now cause I have to come to a stage in life where i have dreams and i really want to follow it. I know what I want in life. What I want is a the biggest thing for a person from my country(INDIA). I want to become an actor. But the family i come from has no actors or any big super stars. Probably i am the first one to have such a dream itself. Everyone else in my family are doctor’s and engineering’s but I have a dream that is really different and big from everyone else. Well the only problem is I don’t have the courage to tell my parents about it cause i know they will not be happy to hear it as they want me to follow the footsteps of my cousins or other family member’s. I am the only child to my parents and as result I’ll have to end up taking care of them in their old age . Currently I am pursuing my engineering degree but that is not what I want to do. Doing something I don’t like is killing me inside everyday. Everyday i feel more and more painful to live my life. Like i said i don’t have the courage to talk it out to them as it will break their thoughts and dreams they have for me. My dads dream is to see me as an engineer as he feels it will give me a settled life in the future and i don’t want a settled life I want to lead a life that is bigger and a life where people will remember me for who I an and who I was. I hate myself for not telling my parents about my dream because i know its going to upset them and i don’t want to see them sad and unhappy with me and at the same time i want to live my dream. I am really confused and depressed at the same time. I don’t really know what to do??

  85. Please if anyone can read this and share your thoughts, it would be very nice.. I passed out from school in 2014 and I wanted to apply to private universities but my parents didn’t give me the money or the means to pay for the application forms. So I ended up in a public university doing a Bachelor of Arts with Honors in English. I am not a person that can do the humanities easily, my real passion lies in business. This year, after fighting and struggling against my parents I applied to business schools, and got accepted to three. My parents don’t approve of my top choice, and they’re always saying pinching things about me wanting to go there because my boyfriend is there. I haven’t told them I’ve broken up with him, reasons for which are different. There’s been so much going on at home lately, and a few minutes ago my dad “accused” me of not wanting to give the interview for a liberal arts school because I wanted to go for a campus tour at my top choice on that day. I came back to my room very frustrated. It feels like I can’t fight anymore. Now I feel that if I killed myself it would save me from all this fighting and bad words being thrown around, plus it’ll save my parents the tuition they would have to pay (which is quite a lot). Then I also think of running away, I don’t want to have to stand these accusations that I want to go to my top choice because of my “friend” or because it has a pretty campus. The whole college application process (and fights) has been going on for two-three months. I can’t take it anymore. My parents will keep insisting I apply to public colleges again and again. One thing surprised me the most today. Last night my parents and I sat together and I told them all about my top choice and second choice and my dad agreed that my top choice is good, but now he’s becoming hostile towards it again. I suspect my mom told him things in the night, like she does, that my dad’s attitude changed. I don’t want to face all this.. I just want to not exist anymore

  86. My whole life, my parents have controlled me. In every single thing and it has gotten to the point where I am 18 years old, and they take away my electronics at night, they control what I read, and listen to. They say what and what I can’t wear for clothes. They force me to give them money every week because they ‘need’ it. When in reality we’re just fine. They control where I work, who I have as friends. They forbade me to even talk to this guy I liked at work, and made me change jobs, and basically said that it was either him or them. My whole life has been thrown to trying to please them, but anything I’ve ever done isn’t good enough and it kills me on the inside. I want to get an apartment with my friends that’s only a couple miles away, and they say that it’s because I want to live a pagan life style that will bring no happiness. Ever since I was 8 years old I have wanted to get into cosmetology and my dad constantly criticizes it saying it’s not ‘good work’. I have 3 younger siblings and I feel like I owe it to them to get out and show them that there is something else then this hell we are all in. I cry myself to sleep almost every night, because I can’t deal with the stress anymore. They expect so much out of me, and they threaten to disown me because I want to move out? I don’t understand why they would think that I would want to live there my whole life. I just can’t take it anymore. Oh, and did I mention that I basically raise my siblings? We’re all homeschooled but my mom does nothing for it. I don’t know how I’ve gotten to where I am honestly. I have had to teach the two youngest ones how to read. On top of working two jobs and trying to do my own school, I have had to cook, clean the house, bathe my siblings, do their school with them and make sure it gets all done while my mom lays in bed claiming pain in her knees. I’m so tired all of the time and I have no time for myself or with friends really. I do have friends that I get to see sometimes but it has to be when at utmost convenience for my parents. I love my family, I do. That’s why when I suffered from severe depression, I made myself get better for the sake of them. I mean, I have my own car that I bought myself, but do not have my own license, not even a permit. Because everyone is ‘too busy’ to help me out with it. I sit and watch as my dad takes MY car to work every day, while their car sits in the drive way. I can’t do it anymore, reading your article made me cry because it touched me so deeply that it is okay to get away. They make it seem like it isn’t, like getting out, or having any dreams is bad, and that I should be ashamed of wanting to leave. That being said what would anyone do in my situation? I’m actually considering moving out of state, to where we lived for awhile, because my two closest friends are there to help me in any way they can because they know I need it. Obviously there’s alot more to my home life that I feel like I shouldn’t share, but, I just need to know that it really is okay to be happy…

  87. Thanks for tackling this tricky subject – it’s rare that people want to discuss matters in which parents and children do not see eye-to-eye. It’s all too easy for people to want to paint a rosy picture of life; perhaps they do it to convince themselves that “all is right with the world”? Sadly, the reality is that bad things do happen, and this includes the fact that not all families are “perfect”.

    In an ideal world, parents would ALL be respectful, understanding, nurturing and support their children with unconditional love. Alas, this is NOT the case. Many parents, for various reasons, fall well short of being good parents. Some became parents too young, and perhaps resent giving up their youth. Others became parents reluctantly, or felt obliged to undertake the duty; they may now resent their children, and see them as an “unwanted intrusion”. Some parents have serious “baggage” – issues of their own, from the past, that they have not yet dealt with. These parents lack insight, and self-awareness; they do not appear to understand that the very issues they have failed to deal with are the ones that they are now highly likely to be either passing onto, or taking out on, their own children. Put simply, parents ought to be “in the right place”, so to speak, when they decide to have children. If they are not, this causes problems for the future – problems that affect their ability to parent.

    I have parents like this. One is mentally ill, the other a bully. Both have issues from the past that they have never dealt with; the refuse point blank to come to terms with these issues. Both have a history of inter-generational family conflicts, and feuds with other family members. Both my parents are highly controlling, manipulative, bitter, domineering people. THEIR way is the ONLY way. To resist this, or to argue and fight back, is to risk SEVERE punishment… And I mean SEVERE!

    From a very early age, I was pushed to the limit academically. My father (the bully) never wanted to be around to care for me, and my bi-polar mother did not seem able to cope. Thus, I was sent to school full-time a year early. I coped well, and my parents LOVED this. They basked in the glory of my high grades, and before long they were demanding ever more academic success. At first I liked this; I found school easy, and enjoyed doing well. However, things became increasingly frustrating as my parents began to dictate not only my grades, but also the actual subjects I studied, and where and when I studied them.

    I noted other behaviours, too, that struck me as odd over time. My mother ALWAYS dictated what I wore, laying my clothes out on the end of the bed. As I reached my teens, and wanted to wear what I liked, this became a huge source of conflict. I was no longer a little “dolly” to dress up! Comparisons to my relatives came thick and fast – they were always negative, and used against me – “why can’t you be more like so and so?” “why can’t you be pretty like so and so?”. Talk about confidence destroying! My academic grades became a source of similar comparisons, and my behaviour was compared too. Always negatively!

    By the end of secondary school, my parents controlled my studies, my friendships, and increasingly my life. I had NO privacy at home – they walked into my room without knocking, they read my private diary, they listened in on my phone-calls. There were endless arguments about clothes (they HATED how I dressed – as a Goth – my one attempt at rebellion!). There were endless arguments about anything, and everything… My parents were NOT good communicators. THEIR way of doing things was to bark orders. They even communicated this way with each other! NOBODY talked politely in my family home – they screamed and yelled!

    My teenage years were HELL. The more I sought independence, the more my parents attempted to stifle and suffocate me. I reckon if my father could PHYSICALLY have suffocated me, he would have! He was physically, and verbally, abusive. My mother always backed him up, and was sometimes verbal, too. Pretty much everything I did was de-valued. Things I liked doing at school, and was good at, my father told me were “piss-assed” and “would not get me a proper job”. My parents stopped ALL my hobbies, claiming there was not money for them (although my younger brother still had hobbies). My parents dictated that I went to Sixth Form and which one. They dictated what subjects I studied (my father has NEVER forgiven me for not wanting to do Business Studies or things like Accountancy!). Both parents had a list in their heads of jobs that they thought it was “acceptable” for me to do – things like Law, Accountancy, Medicine. However, their utter, controlling stupidity meant that I could NEVER get a job like this… My father insisted that he would never consider letting me do Postgraduate study, despite getting the grades to do so! Therefore, HOW could I ever become something like a Doctor?

    The “compromise” was I studied foreign Languages; my parents felt I could enter the Diplomatic Service. How ridiculous is that?! I HATED foreign languages, despite getting top grades in them. I wanted to study English Literature (which I also got an A in), but my father (him again!) thought it was “sissy” and a “waste of time”. Yet more arguments! After graduating from University (FOUR wasted years on a Degree course I hated), I worked in foreign Languages – translation and sales work. I was miserable as Hell!

    My parents were highly aware of my unhappiness – and did NOT care a jot! Each and every time I attempted to confide in somebody as to what was going on at home – telling teachers at School, telling my G.P., it seems this got reported back to my parents. This simply made matters worse. My parents made sure they had a LOT of people “in high places” who they could network with, so I was NEVER safe, and could NEVER confide in anyone. They made a point of having friends who were teachers, friends in the Local Council, friends who were Doctors; of joining the Freemasons, the Womens’ Institute… anything to make them superficially look good. I guess the truth is that abusers are really crafty, and will do anything to hide their abuse!

    Behind closed doors I was thumped, screamed at, slapped, chased about the house, told I was worthless, told I could be sent to a psychiatric hospital… Threat after threat after threat! And all the while, I was endlessly jumping through proverbial hoops trying to please my parents. Well, I say trying to please… That is how it started out. In the end, it was simply trying to keep them off my back! Literally YEARS spent studying subjects I was not interested in, after giving up all that I loved. YEARS working in jobs I hated and did not want to do, whilst all the time craving the passion of something that genuinely interested and inspired me. YEARS of being called “worthless”, “disrespectful”, “bad”, “naughty”, “insubordinate”… all manner of negative names. Why? Because I did not feel it was right to be forced to do what my parents demanded. And, at the end of the day, NOTHING I ever did suited them, anyway.

    Each time I did something for me, my parents sabotaged it. Bad-mouthing me. Spreading malicious rumours about me. Physically and verbally abusing me. Withdrawing funding and support. Threatening to kick me out of the home. Telling people I was a “liar” , or “mental, like my mother”. I spent a little time in a job I loved – my father told me to my face he was “ashamed” of the work I did, and that the job was “dirty” (I was a Social Worker)! I did Postgraduate study – my father and his sister, my aunt, demanded to know when I was getting a “proper job”! See – EVERYTHING I do is subject to their criticism, unless they dictate what I do.

    Meanwhile, my parents think they can rely on me, and call me to help them out whenever my mother’s mental illness takes a turn for the worse. Afterwards, NO thank-you, or recognition of my support. No! You are not even supposed to talk about mum’s illness! There is NO understanding of its effects on me, or of the fact that I worry about mum, or her illness stresses me out. I have ALWAYS had to cope alone with this – attempts to get help or advice from teachers, counsellors or anyone else simply resulted in more trouble.

    You write that you believe parents become controlling with the best intentions. I used to believe this – now, I no longer do. I firmly believe that some parents act this way out of sheer MALICE. They are ABUSERS. They see themselves as superior, as more experienced and more knowledgeable than their children. They treat their children as subordinates and servants. They demand POWER over their children, pure and simple. It is a power trip!

    Some parents want to live vicariously through their kids – the child must fulfil all the hopes and dreams that the parent did not (even though these are NOT the child’s aspirations). This is an issue of parental “baggage” that has not ben dealt with. Such “baggage” can take many forms – a parent who is controlling because his or her own parents were controlling has “baggage”. The “baggage” is in the form of inherited parenting style. Other types of “baggage” can be seen in parents who fear for the future, and demand that their offspring stay home to look after them when they are elderly, without considering the lives of these offspring. Parents who use their children in “tug of love” arguments, or control and manipulate their kids because they are jealous of their own children’s achievements and abilities also have “baggage”.

    Mental illness can have a BIG impact on how controlling a parent is. Some mentally ill parents cannot cope with parenting, and thus seek to control the child’s behaviour in order to make the task of being a parent easier. Other mentally ill parents may be Narcissists, who expect the child to be a “mini me” – a reflection of themselves. They do NOT see the child as a separate person, but as an extension of who they are. Some mentally ill parents could be Psychopathic or Sociopathic. They control basically because they have NO real feelings or empathy; they cannot see the world as their offspring see it. Instead, they understand only their own perspective. Psychopaths and Sociopaths are by nature highly cruel, manipulative, devious and abusive. Their children are easy targets!

    Whilst it pains me to say this, I must explain that NOT all controlling parents do so with good intentions. Some ARE plain cruel! In any case, whatever the reason, controlling parents are ultimately damaging parents unless a child can find a way to escape, and to separate him or herself from the parents and the parental agenda. Much as we would all like to be loyal to our parents, and much as we may as children have been brought up to believe in unconditional love, the love of a controlling parent is purely CONDITIONAL… and NOBODY who hurts us, intentionally or otherwise, deserves our loyalty. We ALL have the right to live our OWN lives. We are NOT obliged to live for others.

    1. Oh, story of my frickin life. I know this is a really late post, but I just have to reply in agreement to everything you mentioned in your comment. I’m 25 and my parents still treat me like I can’t stand on my own two feet. The verbal abuse took its toll on me very early on and I have suffered depression, anxiety and very low self esteem as a teen. Early in my twenties, the stigma it created in my life affects me from time to time and to this day, in different areas of my life. I’m really relieved to know I’m not the only one struggling with these kind of problems. I wasted so many years living for my parents back then. I hope this article and the comments posted here will encourage other people to step out of their comfort zone and have the courage to fight for what makes them happy. Because in the end, you’re the one who gets to live in the future you make. Not your parents.

  88. hey there, i’m from india. a land where what relatives would say, matters the most for the parents. there is a big list of successful people in my family. my parents want me to be a study geek and study for 15-18 hours everyday……… ufffff it’s becoming tough for me, i want to apply for foreign universities and study there and whenever i discuss this with them, they are like “oh look, he wants to be a bigshot!”
    like i don’t know how to make them intrested in this …………………….the main thing is that they never motivate me to do what i want to do.

    1. Hi. I understand what you’re saying as I’m from India as well. Few months ago I was facing the same situation i.e. trying to convince them that my interest lies in something else. I think all you can do is not to give up and be stubborn and make them realize what you want. Prove it. Don’t care about others. Once you’re firm about your decisions others can do nothing but remain silent.

  89. I know im only 14, but I have loved cheerleading forever. I know every step, count, dance, and lyrics to a song of almost everyteam in the Allstar industry. One day about a year ago, I told my parents about a local Allstar team. These teams are pretty expensive- $300 a month- but I told them how much I love it. Take in to concideration, most of my friends cheer so i constantly go to their competitions, and I can tumble and stunt well from open gyms. Anywho, after I told them I wanted to cheer, I knew I shouldnt have said anything. They looked up some of the teams I suggested turned to me and said “Absolutly not”
    being me I ask, “Why?”
    My mother turns to me and tells me
    “You always do this, Jessica. You dont stick with anything”
    And here I am thinking
    ‘Really. Ive only ever done 2 sports. Dance, and Swim which were both forced upon me.’
    I get red eyed and they ask me why im making such a big deal about it.
    They say Im too old to start now and I wont make it anywhere.
    I havent brought cheer up since then.

  90. I’m in my late 20’s, used to be a very happy person, but I’ve been depressed for several months now. My parents have a very problematic business they run. I could help out, yes, I feel guilty every day for not being able to do so, I’ve been told that I could’ve helped and that it’s my fault that things could be better with my help, when I was pushed in the first place to pursue my dreams since I was a kid. I’m working 24/7 on my freelance work day and night extra hours, and I feel guilty because I don’t have time to help out my family’s business, though every weekend that I can, I do so when I’m home. I’m moving out of town in a month back to where I lived since almost three years ago to keep pursuing my dream, but I just came home temporarily, and always feel guilty and helpless. I feel that if I stay here I will never do anything with my life and will be miserable forever both in my personal and work life. I feel stuck and I don’t know what to do. It’s the worst feeling ever. Sometimes I’ve thought about giving up on my dreams to make them happy and for them to have a less work-stressful life, but I haven’t even started with my own life, I’m just beginning to do so and this would be a life sacrifice for me since I would give up on my partner and work that are in that other city where I’m pursuing my dream, to help my family in my hometown. I don’t know what to do.

  91. Great post, Niall! Thank you for this. Would love to speak with you on this further, and potentially collaborate! What’s the best way to reach you?

  92. I’m 14. So I want to move out and into a friends house for educational reasons that will help so much more for my future but my mom doesn’t approve. I don’t live with her I live with my grandad (he’s my guardian) so does she have a say in this or is it the guardian that gets to say in this because he’s fine with it I’m really confused please help.

  93. my name is swapnil I am from India . my mother loves me more than life. I want to study in space science institute but the problem is it is in another state of my country . My mom won’t allow me to go there .She says I should study some type engineering in my city only … My city does not offer my courses so I am confused what to… she says I cannot live without u though my elder brother and father are there to support her.

  94. Pingback: Your Parents vs. Your Dreams | microBillionaire

  95. I’m 17 years old and all my life, I,ve loved music, I’m a Nigerian and my Parents , well let’s just say they’ve got a VERY deep Nigerian mentality, my mom is a “Christian Freak” sometimes she fills my life with fear, and I get too paranoid, they’ve NEVER suported my dreams/plans of Living the country and going to England to puursue my dreams. They don’t believe in dreams, just go to school, get married and Die! Like really my mind is SO different from theirs and I thank God everyday. Well. I’ve gotten a scholarship that’s gonna take me to England, but my parents wouldn’t agree, to complete the remaining half, and I’ve been contemplating for a while now, but after reading this post, my mind is made up! I’m going to do everything myself, and leave on a morning when they are all asleep, drop them a Note and leave this country, I can’t keep pleasing my mom. When all she says is “is it Gods will for you to go there” you can only but imagine how that sounds. Well I believe God wants the best for all his people, and we should always ask for his grace and strength which is enough to see us through. I’m going to leave my family, this year. I won’t contact them for a while, part of growing up is making your decisions and bearing the consequences right? So thanks Niall you’ve inspired me. I don’t EVER want to live a life where I look back and regret.

    1. Ella,
      I think you are very, very brave and I envy you. I’m 18 and my parents are quite the same although I am in America. Everything I want to do is ‘well is it Gods will?’ and while I believe in God, I am quite unsure of what exactly I believe because my parents have forced me into believing what they believe and how everyone else is wrong. I’m trying to do everything their way until I can leave. I want to leave on good terms because of my younger siblings who I have basically raised myself. I can’t do it anymore they disregard, and demean everything I like and want to do. I have considered running away, in fact I was gone but came back before they woke up, because I couldn’t do that to my siblings. I wish I could be you. I don’t have the courage to stand up to them, although I’m going to do what I want in the long run, it’s like I’m a completely different person at home, and the stress is literally killing me. I can’t do it anymore, I’ve already told my parents that I want to move, but I am trying to do it with their blessing although that isn’t really working, so that is why I’m just waiting till the right moment and then make arrangements and just leave, with an ‘I love you’. But like this has inspired me, you have also, and I want to thank you, because you have what I don’t.

  96. Mahnoor Mirwani

    Hi! This is Mahnoor Mirwani from Pakistan. I belong to a more town-like area and a conserved society where gender bias makes me feel living three centuries back. Well, I too am kind of stuck in between my dream and my family. I’ve always dreamt of becoming an engineer, but my family wants me to be a doctor. This year I passed my secondary exams and headed towards high sec. This is the stage where one chooses whether to study pre-medical, pre-engineering or any other field. But stuck me had to come to the consequence of choosing pre-medical and have headed towards it though not happy but need to pretend that I am!
    The prior reasons behind it is a fingering society, but very fortunately I have one understanding family. The problem then is that there is no engineering institutions within our boundaries to reach and those out there are too expensive.

  97. depressingpasserby

    I’m really confused right now on my path after receiving a bad day after telling my dad I want to go oversea for an 2+ month long langauge course.

    You can tell how desperate because I ‘googled’ and came across this site.

    First of all.. I’m not a bright student, I never was but I was passionate in the things I want and people around me always tell me that they felt that in me. My original plan is to travel to another country where they speaks in their language to start a fresh for my studies and later when I graduate from there I could come back to my own country where my parents are with pride. Like the article had said, I’m afraid of leaving my parents because when I look them from their back and I realised how much they grew old with me. Am I doing it right to go on with my dreams of studying for 4 years in a foreign country. I questioned on myself immediately whether im ready to leave my parents; When I submitted my first application to my desire university I wanted and i got myself a place in there but ununfortunately I wasn’t granted with scholarship. I wasn’t able to pay for that huge amount. I have a younger sister who have her aspiration too.. just like mine.. I search for many other way for money until I can tell any one right now that I actually feel what depressed really were until the day I willing to let go of the chance that is infront of me. I was remember that day… it wasn’t too long ago… I cried so much not because I’m sad but I felt happier… that I had let go. I do felt really awkward tell people I just let go of this chance I have … before I know it the next thing I said… I can’t do it even for the next round… but it isn’t stopping me and my dream.. I start from small and I will slowly complete the rest of my dream while doing what my parents (more like my dad) want me to do..

    My mom is the supportive one, even she have thousand and millions of reason wanting to keep me back.. she still want me learn …

    Dad wasn’t supportive.. he is goes on and off according to what my other nosey relatives said.. most probably bad things. He started questioning on my career and future “why don’t you get a job like your cousin? Proper earning staying at home? Get a boyfriend… and married” life like this ? NO that’s not what I want … I don’t want to be similar like my cousin just because the pay and benifits are attractive but making me to “betray” my major studies … in my country they list my job as one of the worst job to earn a living… my dad… unfortunately also one of them…

    I really hope he can change his idea. Look at me and my passion. I don’t travel to another country to have fun.. I want to experience more things .. even is a short one… I don’t ask for more but I hope he could agree and support like my mom with my route I gave for my future… and in the mean time.. I have make ways to give up something I desire but I can’t do it because of separation from family is hard and money… I don’t want to give up on this route too.. I guess those article cheer me on quite a lot.. thanks 🙂

  98. Hi, I am 35 years old and I feel like my entire life was wasted. I was forced by my parents to marry my now ex husband because he is a Dr. It lasted for 12 miserable years. I was also forced to be a nurse which I hated. They tried to force me into having kids, which I have no interest or desire. Luckily, I didn’t get pregnant. They had a meltdown when I quit nursing and became a coder. Then, the divorce came as well as my father’s death, which was unbearable. I moved to AZ for the climate and my mother gave me hell. She would constantly call me and cry. She has a rocky relationship with my sister, so I was in the middle of their drama. She persuaded me to move back and I regret that. She wanted to control my life and who I date. We fought constantly. Now, I am trying to move back to AZ and she pulls the guilt trip and says she will take me out of the will. She ruined my life and I can’t get my wasted time back. I resent her for taking advantage of me and talking shit behind my back. But, a part of me does feel guilty about moving so far away again. I just want to live my life the way I want. Should I feel guilty for that?

  99. I am twenty-four and have had many dreams throughout my life, never sure which one I would like to follow. One dream has remained fairly consistent throughout my life and that was to live in a small home. Most of my friends had dreams of living in mansions or on estates, mine was to live in this trailer house we always passed by to visit my aunt. I never minded the idea of not having much space, in fact as a teenager I spent enough time holed up in my room for my family to label me a hermit. It was and is comfortable for me though. Sure I have to find creative ways to store things and have to negotiate the space with several pets, often times giving up room for me so that they can have the things they need. That and my mother tends to think of it as cluttered, but to me it’s cozy. Then one day I happened to stumble upon tiny homes, more often than not little houses built on flatbed trailers. I fell in love. In these small homes was the closeness I loved and was used to as well as the ability to travel. I looked into everything I could find and eventually I brought it up to my mom, wanting to share my exciting idea with her. One of the first things she said, as well as a few other people, was you’ll get tired of the novelty of it. One of my brothers even said that and then told me about a house he knew that was four hundred a month and was rent to own. Those kinds of comments crushed me and admittedly it made me resent them a little. In my head I had found something I could customize to be my own and they just thought I’d get bored or tired of it. When you’re hopes are smothered liked that it’s hard to see why they would tell you something like that if they’re supposed to support you, but your blog really shed some light on that for me and for that I want to thank you.

  100. Firstly, thank you for writing this blog.
    Im in a confusing situation. I am 16 and want to be a singer-songwriter. This has been my dream/ambitions for coming onto 4 years now and yet my parents (especially my dad) won’t accept this and keep telling me I won’t succeed. I understand that the chances are slim and its a difficult industry to be successful in but I still want to do it. It wouldn’t seem worth it if it was easy. My parents are more academic than creative but I find school restricting. To be completely honest, I have no idea what I would do, or what I’d like to do, in life other than music. I have done some performances in my town and I have never felt more comforable or more at home than I did those times on stage.
    My ultimate fear is to sitdown one day when I’m in my seventies and think “I was going to be a performer.”
    Basically, how do I convince my parents to let my follow my dream despite the possibility that I could completely fail ?

  101. I’m 17 and I’ll be entering a new chapter of my life next year; college. My dream is to be an engineer and to study in the best engineering school in my country. I want to work hard, I mean HARDER for my future family. I dream that someday I would be successfull and I can give my children a good life.

    But that dream is slowly being shattered into pieces by my family. I may be an average student but I know that if I want what I’m doing, I will give my best shot! My family are the greatest naysayers and they make my self-esteem even LOWER.

    I already chose the best engineering university in our country and yes it is expensive. But I’m studying really hard to get that scholarship because I consider the fact that my single dad is sending 6 children to school all on his own!

    And what did my grandma say about my ambition? “You don’t need a degree to be an engineer, just be an electrician with no degree. They get paid too.” BUT having a degree is different!! I know that she’s just jealous because she didn’t finish college so she’s trying to put me down. She even called me selfish for wanting to study in a good school..

    And my super bright sister who’s taking Dentistry told me that I can’t handle the stress of being an engineer because first of all I’m not good at math.. I don’t know about this but my sophomore teacher doted me a lot in math class so yeah I guess I’m okay with it.

    My dad, however, he supports me even though I know that it’s hard on him. I think he supports me because he didn’t get to do what he really wanted in his life. Yes, he studied in one of the best universities in our country but no, he isn’t happy. First, he had kids at a young age so he didn’t get to pursuit what he wanted.

    I just want to be successful and make my parents proud. I want to be able to give them money and support when they are already retired. I want to help them in sending my younger siblings to school. I don’t want to be like my parents; they didn’t get the opportunity to do what they want.

    I’m not even sure of my future. If they won’t send me to my dream university, my dream as an engineer will always be a dream and never a reality. And that’s the saddest thing ever. Not only will it affect me, but also my future children. I don’t want them to experience a life like mine. I want to give them the best!! 🙁

  102. Yes my parents have spent most of my life trying to dictate my career path, my life path, my medical path you name it honestly I would not be surprised if they even have a potential “suitable” mate lined up for me. In a way I can understand why when I was younger up until my mid teens I had a very severe medical condition that required constant supervision and treatment all of which will be in a book someday soon. If your child spends most of their life dancing in front of death’s door why wouldn’t you want to try to keep them safe right?

    The problem is that in my case it’s gone too far, my previous degree was one that I swapped for my current one not only due to the fact my current one is more fun and enjoyable but because my parents started butting in to my college career. High School and Middle School are one thing, but college was supposed to be my time to grow into my own and damn it all they just can’t let me live my life. Now I am about to graduate with honors with my Graphic Design degree that I was given hell for deciding to pursue because it was not traditional STEM; the degree I have sacrificed hours of work, study, and time I could of spent “having fun” dedicating myself to. Now with three weeks till the biggest day of my life so far my parents decide to try to control my path again, by trying to pressure me to work at the same place my father does.

    By work I mean intern and to intern I need to enroll and pay entrance fees for the related university, entrance fees of 5k I can’t afford and that internship won’t pay off. If I were to get a job there I would get health benefits, a stable job, tons of projects and a guaranteed paycheck. The problem is if I wanted that I would of stayed in Business Management and gone on to a middle management position, I chose my current degree for many reasons but one of the big ones is with Graphic Design I can do contract work and get paid to travel to places.

    I don’t want a desk job, I don’t want to play it safe anymore my entire life was more or less hospitals and constant supervision up until recently why the hell would I want to go the traditional road after all of that? But no despite my lifelong obsession with travel, going new places, and creating new things and living I life that is finally open to me my parents want me to graduate then settle down into a safe desk job. Preferably one they choose, which would not be my breaking point if that was all they were doing however they also:

    Meddle and try to control how I spend my money and free time when I have it.
    Act like they understand how design works, and complain about costs they don’t understand but I do.
    Trying to tell me how to do my job.
    Attempting to keep me in my current area that I despise and have despised for years because it costs so much to move and moving is unsafe.
    Trying to control who I interact with.
    Generally try to dictate my life and let my sibling get away with everything.
    If that were not adorable enough they blame me for things and taking credit for everything I have done that they have had little to no hand in doing.

    I am the oldest and that supposedly means I am more responsible, more conservative, more this and that but truth is I am nothing like that. I am rebellious on a spiked chain, an artist with no limits, a survivor with a passion for life barely lived; and my folks keep trying to force me into a role I refuse to fit into because it isn’t me. Truth is it is more my brother’s role than mine, he is the naturally conservative one with the traditional career path with dreams to settle down with a family.

    I am the one who wants to go and explore the world living a life of excitement, graphic design by day exploration by night and no limits in between. My parents must not see it this way, and at this point I have given up trying to make them understand.

    Honestly my solution is simple, sell off all I can ignore them and move two thousand miles away then start traveling because I am done being the perfect child and done having them trying to relive their lives through me. The instant my sibling was born all those years ago I honestly thought it was great because he could take the burden off of my back, and since they refuse to let that happen I’ll make it happen.

    Sometimes people don’t know what they had till it is gone, soon I’m heading to paradise and leaving this parking lot.

  103. Hello Sir myself Anand. I am a good vocal singer, mimicry artist, a good actor, writer and orator. I got all the above talents but i am unable to decide which to take as career and which to continue as hobby. I think all multi talented persons face this type of problem. And another confusion is i have well settled family business. My grand father started stone industry in 1975. And now my father is looking after that business since 30 years. Now my father is 62 years of old and i am the only son from whom they are expecting to continue the business. Actually i dont have interest in family business but even though i told him that i will try to create interest in business but the problem is there is no scope for my talents in that village where our business is situated… Please help me to come out of this confusion. I did in 2009 and since then i am doing nothing due to this career confusion… Please help me sir.

  104. Hi there,
    I’m currently studying a BA Hons Photography degree at the University of Creative Arts and we’re doing a project based on Vision and Knowledge. For mine, I decided that I would explore into the idea of people frowning upon creative subjects as a full time career.
    I am similar to yourself in the fact that I am lucky with the family that I have. My mum is very creative herself so when I said I wanted to study photography as my degree and after she saw how much I wanted to, she happily looked around many different universities giving as much help as she could. I was also really lucky with my nan – a retired head teacher who had her heart set on me being a teacher as both herself, my mum and my nan’s mum had all been previously – accepted it with ease, happy that I would be doing something I love. Some of my family however, did frown upon it, thinking that I wouldn’t be able to get a ‘decent job with a steady pay’ with something creative – with a brother with a degree in Geology from a leading british university you can understand why the pressure was on for me to follow the academic path. Of course I didn’t pay attention to this as much as I could but it was hard at ties, knowing that the people around me almost wanted me to fail so that I would do what they wanted for me. I also had to deal with college. This may sound tame to most people but I was surrounded by apes sitting and telling me that Photography ‘wasn’t a real subject’, ‘is just for lazy people who want to doss around’ and for ‘indie kids to take photos of a chair for A* grades’ (anyone who has studied Photography knows for a fact that this isn’t true, it’s so much harder than people think with the workload as well as having to create new ideas in a digital world where everyone and their dog has a camera). I had teachers from my other subjects joining in and even going as far as telling me that I wasn’t allowed to bring my photography work into their classroom almost like it dirtied their subject, I will never understand this, maybe they just didn’t like creativity or were jealous of those who had it, either way it was awful.

    Despite that, I know that I have had it relatively easy in getting into the subject that I love, I know that there are people around me that have had it a lot harder getting into their chosen subject because of their family and friends pulling them in the other direction.

    So for this reason, I have decided to show through my project what it is like to be told this constantly everyday of your life – that you’re going to fail and never get a ‘real’ job. I even want to put people in the situations that their parents wanted them to go into, just so I can show how much that they don’t fit that or aren’t being themselves. I intend to use you and this blog post (as well as a few others) as a bit of research and inspiration in my work and I hope that I can justify the amazing blogging that you do.
    Thank you so much,

  105. thanks niall my parents were really supportive untill now,i really want to follow my dreams of being a musician in a band but my parents arent very supportive, both my parents wanted to be a doctor but their parents got in the way and instead of knowing how it feels they want me to follow THEIR dream. im still very young (13) but i get 95-97 percent in music WITHOUT trying and my teacher says i have the voice too. i just need advice if i should follow my dream or not but the video helped so much 🙂

  106. For all these young people who have controlling parents: you need to move out and start becoming as independent as possible otherwise they will continue telling you what to do. You also need to widen your support network so that you have other people to rely on other than your parents. My parents tried to control me so I finally moved out on my own and started to do my own thing. It was very hard because I have very little money, but at least I was independent. I now tell them as little as possible in advance about what I’m going to do so they cannot try to boss me around. It is sad that it has to be that way, but that is the way it is. I have made a wide network of friends so I have many other people I can rely on. I am not rude to my parents, but I go my own way and I think they have started to respect that. If you want to go your own way, you have to move out, move on, and become as independent as possible. Cut those apron strings!!

  107. Hi, I was very dear to my father. He didn’t get tired praising me in public. He wanted to get me married and settle at my place. For varied reasons, I delayed his wishes. He passed away a week ago. I am feeling so bad. I had best intentions for him but, the delay I caused took him away from me. Was I at fault?

    1. I am very sorry to hear that your dad passed away, but no, I do not think you were at fault. Becoming an adult is hard for the parent and hard for the young person because both have to cut the apron strings. Young people don’t always want to do what their parents want them to do, and that’s OK. You have to live your own life! Your parents may not like it at first, but if you are strong and independent, they will eventually have to accept that. It sounds like you are feeling guilty because you didn’t do what your father wanted you to do and then he died. Feeling guilty about something you can’t control is not going to be helpful for you. You are going to miss your father and feel sad about that, but don’t beat yourself up because you didn’t do what he wanted you to do. Honor him by going on and having a worthwhile life by being true to yourself.

  108. Great article that really resonated with me. I have found myself in a situation where I am in my junior year of University in truth to please my mom and uncle. I am not happy with my degree major and am unable to switch my major because it would delay me far too long. The reason being because my immigration status in this country does not allow me to claim federal funds or many scholarships. I have lost out on many grants and scholarships I’ve earned because of my status and need to finish some degree to begin my full time professional life. I’m currently majoring in Economics but I have ultimately realized that I want a more practical, hands on career such as EMT/Firefighter. Something along those lines. I am at a crossroads in my life where I must make heavy decisions as to where to go in the future. This article has at least eased the anxiety I’ve been feeling recently and given me a new perspective.

  109. When I entered College I didn’t have enough knowledge to choose a career wisely, but soon after I did I realized engineering wasn’t exactly what I wanted, I wanted something more in-dept, more scientific. Not just that, engineering is not my thing since I’m pretty bad a fixing stuff and having a practical approach at life in general. The need to move from there was just too clear to me. In my college we didn’t have scientific careers, and making the choice wasn’t to be taken lightly, yet from everyone in my family I received negative feedback, I was treated as if I was literary crazy, not just that but some of them wanted me, maybe need me, to leave engineering but to study Humanities in an attitude of “those careers are said to be for hard working and smart people and you are an idiot”. And to make things worse I actually ended up listening to my father’s recommendations about staying in engineering and then “make a masters in physics or whatever”, and studying engineering aiming at making a masters in science was a very bad experience, as I felt the need of learning the theoretical aspect of things, without any support (because engineers don’t care about that which is completely reasonable for them), and of course, it didn’t help me at all to have good grades, as I didn’t prepare the exams to avoid finger mistakes, so my grades began to become more mediocre each time. Not because I didn’t understand the concepts or because I didn’t know how to solve them, but because I wasn’t focusing on avoiding “mechanical” mistakes, so eventually even my father wanted me also to change but to Humanities.

    The attitude of my family really surprised me since when I graduated from High-school I had the best grades possible and I’ve already taken college courses, yet they dismissed my own opinion about myself, as part of a “black sheep” image they’ve always had of me based on huge exaggerations. It took for me seeing a therapist (a complete stranger) to finally take the derision, but it was too late, I should have been close to my graduation and yet I was starting from zero, feeling uncomfortable because I saw my self as an old guy who was already 22 among kids of 18-19. Professors there like to talk trash about private schools, and people from engineering in the same University, unlike me, got courses re-validated, no to mention the whole environment and the pace were way too different.

    In the end I went back to my original school but to a more managerial engineering, and eventually forgot the whole deal, and got a better taste from my profession. But then I started making bad decisions and my professional career isn’t fulfilling, isn’t inspiring, and I usually have unpleasant times. So at the end I just feel I sacrificed a lot for a current situation where I don’t feel happy, and where I don’t earn much money. I recently told my sister about their lack of support back then only to be replied on an angry tone what basically can be resumed at “Shut up, I know better than you about yourself. You suck at math, actually, you are very stupid”. And it was pretty sad, because it took me back in my mind to that environment where I was a complete idiot, and there was no way I could get out of that, and I think it actually proves why I have this constant feeling that something external to me will prove I’m a complete retard at any time. I must accept my family is horrible, but it’s hard when you’ve always been told they are the ones who should have been by your side supporting you.

    1. I don’t know, by the time I changed to physics in another University, I had became very trouble-minded and emotionally unstable, I guess I had already cracked emotionally by then. And it felt too forced, way to forced by that time…. I really felt as if the whole thing had already reached it’s expiration date, and I was still trying to make a meal out of it.

  110. I’ve recently turned 12. My dreams are to be a college professor and writer. I don’t mean to brag, but my writing skills are very over-the-edge. Except, the fact is, my mother doesn’t support me. To be honest, my mom is the more dominating and powerful one in the family that makes the decisions. My father is more of an observer. More quiet and reserved. My mother says I have no ambitions, like my father. She said that anyone can be a writer, and they don’t need talent. She says that professors never get that much money, even if they teach at Harvard. I personally don’t care about money. I care about respect and enjoyment. I want to live my life to the fullest. And I have told her that. In her opinion, money is one of the greatest things in life. Money can buy happiness, money can buy respect. My father, on the other hand, supports me. He says the life I want to live is very neat and respectable, and it is even better considering that I would enjoy living it. My mother wants me to be a software developer or architectural manager. I will be going to high school in a year or two, and I want to know this: Pursue my dreams and betray my mother or Listen to my mother and aim for the uninteresting jobs my mother has in mind. A little help here?

    1. i know how you feel im almost 13 and want to be a musician my parents say i have one in a million chance at succeding and they want me to be a doctor i hope you find a solution and figure things out best of luck 🙂

  111. Hi Niall,

    I’ll be starting my first of four years at university in a month, and I’m lost. I was accepted to the university as an Economics major, but I can tell you now that I won’t be happy as an Econ major in 10 years. Sure, Econ will bring in the big bucks, but it’s not for me. I’m not the sit-behind-a-desk-for-nine-hours-a-day person. I even knew that when I was 11 years old, and here I am eight years later being accepted to a great university as a sit-behind-a-desk-for-nine-hours-a-day major. My mom has always pressured me to do better than her. I have no option, but to do better than her. With Econ, I can do better than her.

    My dream was UC Berkeley, and when the application process started I knew that I wasn’t going to get accepted by Berkeley. In April, I made the decision to attend community college and transfer over to Berkeley because they give priority acceptance to community college applicants. The second I told my mom she shot me down. She told me I wasn’t allowed to attend community college. A couple of weeks later I was accepted to my #2 school and I decided that’ll be the school I’ll be attending in the fall. Now, a month before I start I know won’t be happy with my major. I’ll be happy with photography, but I know I’ll disappoint my mom. I told her last week that I’ll most likely fail as a photography major.

    Today, I blew up on her. My cousin has dropped the four-year university he was going to attend in a month for a fashion and management school. My mom told his mom that she has to let him do his thing and hope he succeeds. I told her she should let me do the same thing and she said does. She said it’s not her fault that when she lays out the pros and cons of situations that I tend to only hear the cons. For those conversations, I can guarantee to you that she’s only laid out the cons and made me listen to her which I claim as discouragement.

    What I’m trying to say here, is why is it that my mom is so vocal about telling people to let their kids do what they want and hope they succeed, if she won’t let me do what has always made me happy? This has always go on since I was younger. She has made herself quite clear that if I don’t follow what she says, she won’t support me. I’m lost

  112. My mother has 4 children, I’m the only daughter.

    My oldest brother was her 1st golden child, that only looks out for himself and left us. Then the 2nd oldest is very decent, and good hearted and undervalued son who follows his goal. The last child is her favorite 2nd golden child, who is wants to become a chef, he is very spoiled and needy.

    I am the one who runs the house now, and I have tried being just as good as ally brothers, being in honors AP classes and getting into mentorships and programs centered around medicine (mother was a nurse) and joined extra curricular activities. I’ve tried and she doesn’t care and when the topics of colleges came up, she chose which one I should go to.

    My real dream is not to be the heart surgeon she wants me to be, but I love art: I draw everyday since I can remember. I want to be a game character designer or a animator for children’s movies. I love meeting new people and being inspired by their quirks and experiences as well as their unique personalities. All I want to be is an artist, it makes me happy and now the tears have slipped.

    I know she is my mother and she wants the best for me but she doesn’t pay attention to the best for me is actually hurting me instead: sleepless nights for studying how to not make a mistake that could cost someone their life, waiting hand and foot for siblings that are unthankful, and crying on the inside for not being able to make my own life choices.

    I know that she’ll need me later in life and I’m prepared for that, but she blatantly stated that she’ll use me for money and to care for her. And if I follow her choices that she made for me, I know I’ll regret it for the rest of my life.

    When I told her about the art college I wanted to go to, she stated “There are people better than you, who says you even have a chance. Art is just a hobby, not a career.” She has never seen my art, but she’s seen my friend’s and says “That’s amazing, you have a talent.” Then she finally looked at mine and didn’t say anything positive.

    Part of me wishes to run away and pursue my dreams with the part of my family that cares but I can’t. I’m held back by responsibilities of my younger brother and aging father.

    I want to make my own decisions, not follow a schedule someone has made for me without even asking me what I want but that’s how it’s been my whole life. It seems I can’t get away from it no matter what, even when I sleep I dread the next day.

    When I speak to them, these emotions choke me up and she turns her back without even caring about what I want. Any arguments to change her mind are unheard.

    I want to live, I want to make my choices, I just want to be free.

    1. I think your best bet is to double major in art and something else that you can fall back on if for some reason your art career doesn’t take off. The joke with musicians and artists is that you better have a day job. You might be a great artist and you might be destined for a great career in art, however you must have a back-up plan. Is there something else besides art that you sort of like or can at least tolerate so that you can easily support yourself if your art career doesn’t take off? Or maybe you can do some type of commercial art along with the type of art you like to do. I think your mom realizes how difficult it is for even great artists to support themselves 100% through art and is trying to get you to be realistic. This can be a win-win for you if you do the double major thing. That way, you are not giving up art but you are also being realistic and giving yourself a back-up plan. Good luck!

  113. Hi. This may seem a bit silly compared to the other hardships people have to cope with, but I was a soccer player who showed some promise and I worked really hard to follow my dream. Last year, my parents abruptly cut me off from playing due to the risk of getting a concussion. The decision was mainly based upon that and the fact that some of the other players were brutally unkind to me. I have done the research about all of the factors and have proposed alternatives to deal with the problems. I have received one major concussion completely unrelated to soccer and have never come close to having a head injury while playing. I argued reasonably and unreasonably, but their mentality is unchanging. Leaving soccer left a huge void in my life that I and others have attempted to fill. Now, I feel manipulated because my parents have seized the opportunity of me not being committed to any extracurricular to force upon me all of the things the wished they had done or want me to do in order to get into a good college. I now live without living, just follow the schedule that others lay in front of me. My other attempts at becoming independent in any way have been immediately shot down with no hope of negotiation. My mother cannot accept risks in life and my father will not disagree with her because he has to live with her being dark and moody for months. He always tells me I get to leave her and make my own decisions, but he is the one trying to impress upon me how to make my resume look good and do the sports he always envisioned I would. Any argument is always futile because I have attempted so any times they are unwilling to even listen. I feel hopeless all the time and struggle to motivate myself. I need some help. How can I get them to even listen again?

  114. Helped a little! Thanks!!

    I want to join the militarily, but my mom is resentful about it. I can kinda understand why she doesn’t , but for some reason I feel like I need to! I also don’t want to lose her trust or break her heart. Please help me, what should I do?

  115. Hi Niall. My name is Nicole, age 18. I’m not expecting you to answer back, knowing you would be busy with your own life. Although if you could help me out, I would be very grateful.
    I never really had a plan for my life. When I was younger, I had this one dream. And it stuck with me for years. It was stupid to everyone else, and for my parents, it was impossible. But I wanted to be a astronaut. And live by this one beach with a house planned out for every room. I knew what people I was going to hang out with, and I knew what I was going to look like, what pets I was going to have…
    And then I got shot down. My grades weren’t good enough. I failed every class as a kid and wasn’t like my other family who were book smart. So I had to set my expectations lower. And lower. And lower. And by the time I got out of high school and went on my way to college, I saw no reason for living. Because it was never good enough. There was no job in the world that seemed that great, and any job that I wasn’t in control or managing was being a loser in the eyes of everyone who knew me. And I don’t want to make my parents seem like the bad guys. Because they aren’t. They are the ones that helped me get through the whole school year and told me to go on and be this great thing.
    But now it seems since I set the bar so low for myself, I can’t think of any job that would make me happy while trying to make my parents proud.
    So I wanted to know who you are. Because it’s always easy for people to say that there are other like there who are struggling with dealing with parents and following their dreams, but I want to know how you got over these problems personally, and could maybe give me some advice on how I should just keep going with my life.

  116. Niall, your post gave me more determination & courage knowing that following what feels right is right. My mom and family thinks that I am selfish because I am leaving them to pursue my goals and ambitions of becoming a traveler after twenty years of them supporting me financially.

    Coming from an Asian family, the traditions are that you return your parents the favor by supporting them in return but having grown up in a rather liberal and westernized country, I tend to think on the contrary and not take the conventional route which is often seen as crazy/ridiculous/digging my own grave.

    I think my Mom is pretty much on the verge of kicking me out of the house because I cannot comply to what she WANTS me to be, and what she wants from me ($$$). But at this point my dying desire to get out in the world is almost killing me I just know I have to go.

    But really, thank you so much for this wonderful blogpost, I think it really helps those who are seeking a route less traveled in life:)

  117. Loved reading this. I was on the verge of tears and luckily came across your piece of writing that seems to give me sense and hope.
    I don’t even know where to start with my story, I belong to a South Asian family that has always tried to understand my point of view. But somehow I always found myself trying to please my parents.
    I even tried delving into doing what I like and what makes me happy bit eventually I was fed up of listening to the taunts and complaints.
    I know for a fact I have never been a selfish child and my parents have been very supportive, but somehow the minute I deviate into something that doesn’t sit well with them and I pursue it for too long I can see how displeased they are.
    All I have to say is that family is important but we emotional blackmailing and shaming is not.
    I still struggle to find a job in my mid twenties and feel like I’m going through quarter life crisis too, and hearing my mother mention how children are essentially ungrateful doesn’t help. I understand she fears whether my siblings and I will be there for her in her old age. But I think it has just soured our relationship badly. It has come to a point where I can feel how unhappy I am and also see how upset my brother gets when he hears the comments and complaints my parents have developed about children being selfish and what not.
    I still have faith and I still try to move on and build a life for myself. It does bother me that I feel trapped around my parents and it’s a very unfortunate feeling especially when you love them so much

  118. Hello to all readers,

    I would just like to add that dreams are sometimes meant to be kept a secret between you and as some would like to say your spirit.

    For the longest I could not share the desire I had to become a pilot with my family so my education was in something more pleasing to what my parents wanted or saw safer though with the burning desire to fly I knew I had to persue my God given dream even if I were to die trying!

    Please don’t get me wrong though as one of the readers put it looking outside the window and hoping they had pursued their ambition is more rewarding then been in a dead end business or career which you have to wake up to ever morning or make go to that job where you can not stand.

    Just thought you should know that my parents reasoning is a late cousin passed away in a plane crash though what i think is death will come to all of us eventually and at time least expected so we much learn to make the most out of each day and time we have on the planet.

    Some call me the dreamer the if you can make your own dreams possible go for it and very let anyone including family or friends stop you because when your life and not theirs comes to an end what will you look back on broken dreams or achievements to be inspired.

    Enjoy each day as though it is your last and stay true to yourself though love those who are around you may from a distance. Remember not all are called to make a difference or change.

    Some are leaders others are followers.

    Write your journey through your dreams.

  119. You seriously opened my eyes. I can imagine someone giving up everything, and sitting in their window, dreaming about what they could have been, but never saying anything to make sure their parents don’t know that they want to leave, and discover, and most importantly, live. I imagine the parents looking through a nook of the door, and quietly realizing that they should let go. Thank You. This has taught me so much.

  120. Abhay Veer Singh

    Sir, Please help, I will be studying abroad this month. But I am feeling guilty that my parents are spending so much money on my education, also They are not in the favour of studying in abroad. I am very emotional, I love my mom and this very emotional attachment make me feel home sick and hinder my path to study in abroad. It’s like career or loved ones. As I am the only son of my parents and firstly my parents were not ready to allow me study in abroad, I am feeling that have I chosen wrong option i.e. study in abroad??

  121. That was awesome man, thank you very much for this blog
    I’d like to share my case with you :
    I’m a young ambitious 18yo from morocco with a big dream to become a great song-writer and composer, in a country that dreaming isn’t that much mainstream, I had my breakthrough just a few weeks ago which was surprising to my whole family which most of it are working in education, and the idea of leaving the educational system was a shock for them, even though in my side, I find this decision crucial and necessary for me to begin following my dream,
    But they start feeling bad and blaming me for that, which is quite hurtful.

    Although they didn’t convince me at all, I was kind of forced to pursue this year of college, and I’m doing really really bad, I’ve began losing my short term memory, I lost my balance, my creativity, and most important of all, my

    I feel stuck in this horrible state of indecision, and I don’t think it’s any good for me or my parents.

    Any piece of advice would be absolutely good, and I’d be very grateful 🙂

    1. Hey Naji, I too share your horrible state of indecision. I have been feeling this way for some time now and it is really starting to affect every aspect of my life. I dont sleep very well and when I do wake up I feel horrible about the situation I have found myself in. I am currently a junior in University studying Economics but feel as if I’m only there to please my mom and uncle who want to see me as a University Graduate. Due to my heart not really being into Economics or the careers an Economist major transitions into – which I really have no idea – my GPA is at an all time low. I have realized that I am a practical person that wants to learn practical skills. Paramedic/Firefighter/Nurse – something along those lines. The big problem is that that boat seems to have already sailed. I would have to begin my education all over again to become lets say a registered nurse and that is a huge problem. I have a temporary immigration status in the country I live in and am banned from most financial help. I really do not know what to do and I feel terrible about it. I feel like I am letting my family down as well as letting myself down without having a specific path or idea as to where I’m headed. If you or anyone would like to respond back personally or keep in touch/ have advice my email is [email protected]

  122. Hi All,

    I am 27 yrs old and still living according to what my parents want and not what I want. Throughout my life, I have always tried my best to please them and yet always appear to be a failure in their eyes.

    I am currently working as a doctor (which they pushed for) in the UK. They are forever comparing me to other people’s children and putting me down. No decision I make can just be mine, however little. Verbal abuse and emotional blackmail galore. I don’t mean to make fun of this situation but at present, I am so fed up that this is all I can do.

    At present, they are placing incredible amounts of pressure on me to get married and it has finally come to a point where I think that this is not acceptable and I must do what is right by me, regardless of what they think but who knows how I’m going to manage it.

    As a doctor, I am aware of the psychological implications of such behaviour and would like to carry out some research on the matter with a view to potentially writing a book on it.

    I’d be very grateful if anyone interested in telling me their story and having a few questions asked could get in touch at – [email protected].


  123. My mum is d influential person in my family and itz really annoying. my sister graduated 2 or 3 yrs ago n she’s going to be 22 in the next 18 days but unfortunately my parents still have a lot of influence on us and am in my second year in the university. my dad said after my sis final exams in june(she’s taking a professional course) we’re moving permanently to another state and it’s really annoying cuz itz far 4rm my skul and it’s going to seriously affect my sister because she doesn’t want to work there, all her friends are in Lagos state where we are now. i’m going to be 19 yrs in may this year. pleaseeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee how are we going to convince my parents to let us be and live our own lives or better still not to move permanently because we have houses both where we are living now and where we are moving to.

  124. Hi everyone, I also have my story to share hoping i will also get some advise or viewpoints from people here.
    i am a 34 year old indian man, married for bit more than 6 years and have a 4 years old son.
    I lost my dad to lung cancer in 2010 while i was living in London, United Kingdom. Now we live with my mum in India.

    While It was time for me to go to High School(at the age of 16, Year 1995), after scoring 70 Percentage in my secondary school, I had to take up a course in Science Stream against my capabilities and interest because my dad wanted me to do that.

    ( Its quite common in India that parents decide your course of action right from the begining).

    Anyway so after failing 3 times(Year 1995 to 1997) in my board exams i decided to quit Science stream and persue Commerce stream.

    I told my dad about what i wanted to do. He was not happy and did not agree with me, But against all odds i stuck to my decision and studied very hard for the whole year in to commerce stream and cleared my board exams with 71 Percentage.(Year 1999)

    (but this failure put me 2 years behind from my age-group)

    I, then pursued my Bachelor of Business Administration, went through it(Year 1999-2002). After completing the same i wanted to pursue higher education abroad. I chose Australia, started the process, once again against my dad’s wish.

    I had admissions from 3 different universities, i cleared my IELTS Test with 6.5 band and was working on my visa file preparation and had to drop that plan of studying overseas.

    As my dad believed that i am not a very good student to manage my life and studies on my own. His words were : “you cant manage your life and studies while we all are here with you, and how are you gonna manage it on your own in the strange country where you dont know nobody.”
    All these took around 1 year of my life and i had to drop the plan against my wish.

    Then I took up a job with local NGO(Nov’03 to May’04).

    Around the same time i came to know about volunteering in Israel which i desperately wanted to experience. So this time I talked to my dad and convinced him, so with his consent i went to Israel for 6 months and then went to the UK after few day of my return to India.

    I kept visiting my parents in India once every 2 years. During one such visit in the end of year 2007, i got my self tied into an arrange marriage with a girl my dad chose for me, one more time with all my oppose and against my wish and i compromised thinking, “if thats what makes him happy……, i dont wana hurt him, if he will be happy, i will be happy”.

    I was wrong. Only in couple of months i started to realise that i have made the biggest mistake of my life, that i shouldn’t have done what i did, compromising all the happiness of my life. Even after 6 years of my marriage and after having 4 year old son, i still regrat for choosing the one i have chosen. Anyway so after such a marriage, i went back to the UK and she followed me to the UK after 6 months(July 2008).


    After about a year, in July 2009, i got phone call from my mum saying my dad is critically ill and is suffering from lung cancer, so i went to india to visit them after 1 month in Aug’09.

    Again i went to india with my pregnant wife in Nov-Dec’09 for my sister’s wedding as well as to spend time with dad. We decided to have baby in India, who was born in March and after about 7 weeks i lost my dad in May.

    I went to india in March and in May, when i lived there for 1.5 months to support my family. I went back to UK in the end of June.

    Due to the mental and physical stress I was living with for around 1 year, i was taken ill to the hospital with tuber culosis where i spent 1 week as an admitted patient.(Last week of August 2010).

    I flew back to India the next day after i was discharged from the hospital, had treatement and good rest there.

    When it was time to go back to the UK(Nov’2010), the mum insisted to fly back with the wife (so the wife can take good care of me and my health), but i didnt want that as we still needed to get the visa done for my Son who was born in India.

    But ultimately with my mum insisting and saying that she will take care of the baby, we left the Son (8 months old) with my mum and left for the UK.

    Within a week i was cought in a situation where my mum, being 58 years old and on its own, was struggling really hard with having to look after an eitht months old around the clock and with the pain of being left all alone after my dad’s loss.

    Also in the UK my wife was restless without our Son, which only added to make my physical n mental health worst. And I finally dicided to come back home for good. We came back in December’10.

    Its March 2014 now and i am still not settled in India (not mentally, not emotionally, and not at all financially). I am still struggling to make my ends meet. I cant adjust to the work culture and the socio-economic factors, the life style and the standard of living.

    I cant believe i did what I did. Settling and living abroad in a first world country like United Kingdom or any other, was the dream i dreamt of ever since i was a kid.


    SHE IS 61 NOW…… AND TYPE II DIABITIC AND HAS CHOLESTROL PROBLEM. So the first question is who will look after her at this age? She will be all alone inspite of having so many relatives and my own 2 sisters around……


    But I know that she is not very positive about me going abroad again. May be she is feared of being all alone again where as she is living in the house full of her own flesh n blood. Her days are filled with all that plays n stories n talks with my son and my wife…. and if i left her to settle abroad…………..she will be all alone…..


  125. I live nigeria in nigeria I spent 5 yrs at before I was admitted to college my parent don’t support me financially I am working and studying and it is too stressful for me am taking every responsibiliy paying my school fees. Buying my text book all my self am tired of life don’t just know what to do pls advice me.

    1. Ayodeji Taiwo

      Hi Amosu. I am also from Nigeria and just recently graduated university. I understand your ordeal because I had classmates in your shoes. You could try to share bed space with some other kind student so that you can save on this. Also you can try to borrow textbooks from your colleagues instead of buying and try to concentrate on your studies-it ends faster than you think. You are at an advantage that you have part-time work as we both know that there is no job market for Nigerian graduates in Nigeria and our certificates are not worth so much outside Africa. Be strong, and do not lose focus. When you achieve your dreams, then you can look back in joy and tell your success story to others. Hardwork is the way to monumental success. All the best

      1. I’m a Nigerian woman, living at home. The oldest of 5 (we go from 29- 14) It’s difficult for woman in African cultures and households especially. I try to think back to see if I was ever happy within those times of my childhood and I can’t recollect a single happy moment on account of my parents (my father in particular) my mother is no longer but she was great! I miss her so much. I wish she was still around. My dreams were crushed as soon as I got in to middle school (I’ve always wanted to be in the entertainment industry (music, media, fashion..etc) I also had a thing for agriculture, international relations… all shut down. I hated hearing my father voice so I gave in and chose nursing. I struggled, at 21,22 he had control of my tax return (I would get money back and he’d take half) during university ( I would have to show him my grades) to make matters worse i found out I was taking advanced nursing courses before the prerequisites. I did terribly, my father was pissed. I now chose psychology as a new major he wasn’t happy but he wasn’t mad (at the end of the day there was the choice is getting a masters or PhD in it) psychology was ok but I didn’t really have interest in it all that much. things started getting worse my father was cheating, my mom was getting sick all while still trying to save her marriage (eventually I think she just shit fly, she knew her days were numbered). After she passed, my dad became even more super controlling, emotionally abusive, oppressing.. you name it. He’s one of those parents who will tell you not to listen to outsiders but listens to outsiders. He guilt trips so much to the point where anything he says you’ll start to believe him and believe it’s true. He paints my siblings (the older ones: me, the 26 & 24 yr old black) whenever things go wrong like we are bad people. The last girl she’s 18 and freshmen really intelligent (in which he’s praising her for) but he’s already started his controlling ways she has a passion for astronomy. I told her to do what she feels is best for her and what makes her happy. She shouldn’t be like me who listened and barely made it anywhere. My father is narcissistic, a misogynist, and a sexist man. He says that people are talking about us. We’re blah blah. One time I traveled out of the country he said that since I didn’t tell him about people are saying that I am a criminal? When things go really sour he will say I’m a failure, man will look at you somehow, good for nothing and shit like that. I try to look from the outside of situations and see that I’m not a bad person. I never done anything illegal or anything like that. Im pretty smart! I’m 29 by the way living at home and in an African house women shouldn’t leave their home til they get married. Like how!! I can’t even go to the church of my choice because it supposedly divides the family. The only way I can do so is if I move out or get married and follow my husbands religion. When I tried going to a new church (in which I liked) there was a huge argument. He called everyone in the family. Some of them understood where I was coming from when I explained to them but they basically said to grow tough skin and ignore it (they’re scared of him I believe) we all are. I feel like a kid. He wants me to be a mother figure so bad but how when I’m basically a 29 year puke child? There are certain things in my so called adult life I should know .. how to deal with financial aid, what are mortgage is, how to file taxes etc unfortunately I don’t. My dilemma is I want to move out. I know he’s going to be furious he will do anything to hunt me and my 2 older sisters down. But I’m depressed here we all are. I’ve mentioned my mental state and he goes “you know why you’re depressed” African parents don’t get it. They can really bring their children down especially in this day and age where social media, the pressure to become something they’re not just to please their parents, even marriage and shredding ppl and affecting their mental health. They lack empathy and think that love is giving us shelter food and paying for food. It’s a part of that but it’s also WHAT YOURE SUPPOSED TO DO as a parent. Else they should’ve never thought of bringing us in to the world. I get paranoid hearing his loud voice, I feel nauseous when he starts to open his mouth. I try to stay out late so I can come home not talk to him and go to bed. I try my friends my situation and they think my dad is funny because he’s actually a damn psycho. The only thing I’m feeling guilty about is leaving my 2 younger siblings. I will literally be a 10 min drive away but leaving them with my father? Ah!! It’s as almost as if I hate him. I certainly can’t stand him. I’m stuck. I found a place but I’m a bit skeptical about moving in.

        1. Amaka, thank you for sharing your story. I’m also a Nigerian man and I can relate to your story. I was also faced with the same choice of living life on my terms or on my father’s. My father felt he knew it all and whatever advice he gave was for my good, and I must do as he says in order to be successful. I don’t blame him though. That was the best he could do and I’ve made my peace with it. Such relationships may not be the way we would like them to be but we all have to deal with shortcomings of our family members. You cannot choose the family you’re both into and every family comes with specific challenges. Some have it worse than you.

          My father made me feel like a failure, never wanted to listen to my opinion. I had been self-dependent after graduating from uni (with the little I was making it was so difficult for me to grow professionally because I needed money to write certain professional exams and the little money I made working was used to pay rent and feed). He kept offering me an olive branch but you know that kind of assistance that comes with a condition “you must do it my way before you get this help”. I summoned the courage to refuse his offers and persevere to chart my course regardless of the challenges I faced and he basically ignored me to rot, and I honestly feel that he wanted me to fail so he could tell people that I failed because I did not listen to him. Those challenges taught me a lot about patience, hardwork, and determination. Now my situation has improved, I have a better job and I’m comfortable to write my professional exams. My father actually shows me more respect now that I am living on my terms. He contacts me now trying to form a friendship that I handle diplomatically.
          Pardon me for my long sorry I tried to keep it short, lol… but I just had to give you a little glimpse of my story so you could see that I understand your story. The only part that I may not understand well is about your sisters. I know you’re worried about leaving them and it would help to know what really bothers you or scares you about leaving them with him? Because I think you have to deal with those fears first. The decision about you moving out, I believe is best but it’ll be easy for you to make it if you can deal with the concerns about your sisters. What bothers you about leaving them? Can you still maintain a solid guidance for them through visiting and keeping in touch regularly?
          You are going to live your life regardless, no one has the power to decide how you should live. Your father has lived his life and he cannot tell you how to give yours. You will eventually have to forgive him and make peace with your past for your own good. Let go of the right to punish him. It’s your race and, that woman you see for yourself in 5 or 10 years is the woman you should be right now.

  126. I have be married for nine years my husband and i where living happily and just two months ago my husband ment his ex girl friend whom he had in school days and all of a sudden he started dating her again and he never cared about his family again all he does is to stay late at night and when he come’s back he will just lie to me that he hard some fault with his car,there was this faithful day i caught the both of them in a shop,i walked to them and told the girl to stay of my husband girlfriend again,i have suffered too much in the hand of a cheating husband but and when he came home that evening he beat me up even despite the fact that i was pregnant he was just kicking and warning me to never point a finger on his affairs. thank to Dr.Osaze.malaca whom i got from a blog site after a long search for a real spell caster i was so happy that he fulfilled all what he said in just less than three days after the spell was cast they quarrelled and he broke up with the girl and his senses are fully back and he now care and love me like he have never done before and if you are their suffering from a broken marriage or your husband or ex cheats? you can email:[email protected] com

  127. Niall, your article was well written and I could relate to it somewhat. Although I’m a girl and girls have it harder in life than men generally do (depending on the culture where you’re coming from). I’m from South-Asia and 23 years old. I have a bachelor’s in an IT field, although I didn’t get any motivation from my parents on my career, my heart always told me to pursue computer programming (note that when I told them I wanted to get a degree, they told me to stay at home and cook and clean… but i went and got education anyway). I then had an internship at a really good Computer/software company, and I was so happy. That was the best thing ever happened to me in my life. But my dad didn’t seem thrilled, infact he even told my mom to tell me to quit work. Telling me to quit work is like telling me to commit suicide. Some of his friends tell him that ‘ your daughter shouldn’t work’.. he’s the kind of person who listens to ‘outsiders’ instead of his own family (like his own daughter’s opinions over some random family-friends). Everyone is brainwashing him and he’s brainwashing my mom. I love my mom and she supports me (but until when? I’m sure she’ll give into his constant complaints). I’m scared because I’ve a really good job, something that I can finally be happy for. I have a few friends but I work day in and day out. Work is my life. And he wants to take that happiness away from me. That made me cry so much. Why can’t people stand seeing you happy? All the males in our community think I shouldn’t work… and my dad thinks that I should get married because marriage is the most important thing to him; over work, over eduction, over anything… I know that if I don’t follow my dreams I will be miserable, and make everyone else miserable around me if I have to. To make matters worst, the marriage in our culture is nothing like the western society, I won’t even know who the guy I’ll end up with (what if I don’t like him? what if he’s a jerk? what if I’m really not happy in the end? what if…) … I’m in a rut, follow my passion, or follow my dad’s passion? It kills me inside to know that what makes me happy is what makes him unhappy (and what will really kill me is when he managers to persuade my mother from her own notions and i won’t have anyone’s support.. ).. I don’t want to get married right now or have lots of kids (like the women in my country) .. I’ve seen so many women in our society who are unhappy (because they married the person for the hell of it – because their parents told them that it was the right thing to do and so they didn’t pursue their dreams). The men think they have all the control and power, so they over-power them, they divorce the women even if they have three kids together (what do they care?), then she’s miserable the rest of her life. No one marries her because she has three kids. Who will marry her? How will she fend for herself? She didn’t have any career… so what does she do? she runs back to her parents (those very parents who were the cause of it all) .. That part of cultural norm really needs help and should be dealt with..

    1. Sara,

      Again, apologies that my reply is so late in the day. I can totally identify with your comments, even though I am not from an Asian family. I am from a Catholic family, and from what I can see, Catholics behave in EXACTLY the same way. Women are seen as subordinate to men. Marriage and babies are all important. My career offends my father. My parents, too, are unsupportive of me – just like yours, it is my father who causes this problem, and my mother just gives in to him. Privately, and without my father around, my mother might be supportive of me; she just daren’t stand up to my father. I have also noted that, like yours, my parents listen to “outsiders” instead of their own family. My parents will happily take what some random family acquaintance tells them, over what I have to say. It’s hugely offensive, isn’t it, not having your own parents listen to you and take you seriously? It’s even more offensive when they are happy to listen to other people (who sometimes know NOTHING about the reality of the situation they are discussing).
      I cannot agree more with what you say about cultural “norms”. They are hugely problematic, and cause untold damage, if they are not questioned. WHY should some cultures simply accept men as “better” than women? Where is the proof of this? WHY should some cultures expect women so stay at home, marry and have kids – especially if these women are actually more intelligent than many men? WHY should a woman no have a fulfilling career and excellent academic qualifications? WHY can people not question these limiting cultural values, and see the damage they cause?

  128. Niall , I’m came from Asia. Erm…Er…Actually I worry about a person who is very important in my life . Her parent and her sister seem to disagree the subjects that she going to study in her college . It is Culinary Arts, she has a dream to become a Big Chef and she has a lot of interest in it, but Her parent and sister seem to worry about her life and her futures , because she is going to study Culinary Art. Her parent and her sister think that Culinary Arts is a subjects that will somehow waste her time and never get a good job in future or never find a JOB in future and never long lasting . Her parent and sister have several friends that have the same dream as her but they seem to complete their study n practical on the Culinary Arts , but they never find a good job or never success to get a job in Culinary Arts . So What I think is her parent and her sister afraid that she will never get a job in future. Another reason is that , she has a Flying Color Result in the High School final exam and graduated with good result . Her parent and sister said her result was good enough to study in Medic , Sciences and other like engineer which they think will find a good job in future . She hate science and calculation although her result was good in Math and Sciences , this is not she want . She has a big dream long time ago to be a big chef , so she wanna become a chef by studying Culinary Arts. But her sister seem to strongly disagree with her in Culinary Arts instead her sister want her to study in science in the future . When I talk with her , she just yell at me that I dont know how she feel , because I can choose anything to study not like her , have no choice . I think she was very down and sad that time . Actually my parent also didnt agree what I wanna study in , cause in my family there is a FAMILY BUSINESS , mean my father is running a company , so maybe they want me to focus on that business they did instead of studying the subject that I want , cause they both are different . I wanna become a programmer , which my parent think that in society there is a lot of proffessional programmer n developer of programmer such as microsoft and apple , so they think i wont get a job or business in the future since in society , they are many professional and popular programmer , if a big company want a program or software , they will buy them form the popular one instead of me . But I fight my dream until last , and they finally accept my dream for being a programmer since before i graduate from my high school . So What i want to say is , I kinda know how she feel instead of dont know how she feel, so Im fine to be yelled by her since I love her and I know how she feel when her dream denied by her parent and sister . So Im here to look for some advice because I worry about her and I support her dream to the last . I wish to get some help from you .

  129. I see that you answer messages so i’m just gonna try my luck here.
    I’m really frustrated with my mum. I got a D in Economics Paper, and now i have to choose a degree for University.

    She just doesn’t understand how much i hate Economics and she wants me to major in Finance.

    She laughs at my dreams and said it’s a waste of money to get a degree in marketing or entrepreneurship. (At least its a Business Degree). I don’t understand. I’ve never been so frustrated.

    I don’t want to get a degree i don’t like and be stuck in a career that i don’t enjoy.

    Why are there controlling mums in the world. What should i do.

    I’ve tried persuading her for a month.
    Do i have a choice in this.

    Thanks! Aplenty. (Lovely read by the way. )

  130. i have posted a comment above. i guess i have read this post at the right point of my life. hope you look into my problem as being a teenager i am bound to face depressed situations. no one else seems to understand me because they are busy imagining me as a future doctor. i feel like listening to my parents as they are more experienced and i dont want to make them sad. do you think i should listen to them or to myself?

  131. My parents would have been happy if I stayed in the Russian village, got married and had babies like all of my classmates have done; but instead, I left the village to chase my dreams, learnt English, got my Master’s degree, traveled the world & moved to the US 6 years ago, now living in NYC; but everyone in the village including my family, still thinks I am a failure because I don’t have a husband and children and left my country. My family has never been supportive ever since I left Russia. It’s sad but I don’t even want to talk to them anymore because every time I talk to them I end up crying, and every summer I visit them, I end up leaving feeling like a loser. They think there is something wrong with me, because I’ve been different from what they are used to seeing. It’s just so hard when your family does not understand you. I love them so much, but this has really been bothering me 🙁 I don’t know how to handle this anymore. Please advise if anyone has been in the same situation. Thank you

    1. Hi Ina, how are you doing? Your comment is posted almost three years ago, but I still wonder how things are going for you. You must’ve been having a very hard time for so long. I feel for you because I’m in the same situation right now. My parents think I’m such a rebel just because I’m not like their dream daughter; I don’t want to get married like their ‘normal’ friends’ daughters and sons in my late 20s. Instead I want to move abroad to study and start a new career and life.

      I love my parents so much but they make things too hard. They take my decision personally and emotionally, so get hurt so easily. I don’t know what to do.

      I’m really happy for your courage and efforts to seek your dream though!

  132. Niall,
    It’s such a relief that I am not the only one going through this. My parents don’t support my career choice which is fashion marketing/fashion design. I currently live in Florida but I got accepted to a really good university in California. I have really good grades in high school so they expect me to become an engineer or something of that nature.My boyfriend also got accepted and they hate him for no reason. They think of it as if I am running away with him. When I think of it as me chasing my dreams along with someone I love. They are also rude telling me how I am too optimistic and that I need a reality check. But I know that if I stay here and study whatever they want me to study I will be very unhappy and I know life is short, so I dont want to spend it living someone else’s life.

  133. Niall, you are a wonderful writer. Even back in 2011. 🙂

    My next step is buying your book!

    Thank you so much for being strong and sharing your strength with the rest of us.

  134. I have always had my parents holding me back.My parents are part of the KKK and they don’t like me to be dating people outside of my race.I’m nineteen,and I’m leading my life the way I want to.

    I’m becoming a person that I won’t be ashamed of.Especially in my writing.And,I want to live the life I want to live.And,if they don’t like my writing,or the people I date,they can look away.Problem solved.

  135. very nice post niall..
    im from indonesia, and ive been looking for this kind of things to inspire me.
    i have several bruises and emotionally getting abuse with my own mom. since i was a lil kid, ive been labeled as a worst daughter in our family. because i have diffrent personality. All of my decisions in life, like school, university, job , and love live, its always have to being approve by my mom.

    i once try to fight my own decisions,because finally i recognise my interest and talent in writings and singing. im writing some script for stage role and create some songs on my own.

    but when it comes to tell her,my mom yellin and swearing at me, saying shes gonna die etc. i ffels like if im pursuing my own dreams, i will end up hurting her.

    ive been living like this until im 28 rite now. and i have a job like my moms wants me too. but in the end it didnt seems enough for her. she still mentally abuse me for not getting married or as calm like other kids.

    i want to say, its all because i didnt know what im a going. i feels so hopeless. and yesterday ive blew up. i was arguing with her. and i end up hurting my self by hitting my head on the wall. it was suicidal and histerical. i dont know why i can do that things..

    i dont have any how to fix it all..
    but i read your blog..and its kinda enlightened me..

  136. Hey Niall ,
    I am from India. My mother always wanted me to become an engineer (like from when I was 5 or something) as is the trend in India today. But i don’t want to do that(I’ll be passing 10th grade in March), I want to become a lawyer , its what my gut says and that’s what my dream is. Now I have to go against her and take Up courses of Humanities(a course considered for students who don’t get enough marks , but its necessary for lawyers.) and then go to a law school. It’ll take like 7 years or so. But once I become a lawyer , I’ll give my parents all the fruits of life! 🙂 I just need to keep the faith till then. Your post helped me a lot.


  137. Hey Niall
    Ii am from India ,been an average student throughout my life so after my 12th i wantes to pursue engineering which i am after a lot of fights and crying (parents wanted mto do a bcom or se basic degree as i wasn a good stuent and dey considered atleast i shd have. Had 80-90% to get into engineering . So finally i did get into engineering and am in my 3 rd year of my study . Here i got into a relationship with aguy 4 years bak and he is 8 years elder to me . .At firsty parebts said ok and stuff. His family is preuzzing him to get married and he s waiting till my course gets over . My parents believe into looking into astrlgy and they say if this doesn matcih we wont consideand both of us dont want to run away either . I then say if this doesn materialise can i atleasr work the place of my choice ? They then say “we have fulfied tour wishes. You should fulfill youra ie : listen to us “. Wha should i do niall?
    See if i liaten to them about the astrology thing alao and listen to them abt my career too wont my life get ruined ?
    Pls advice and sorry for d typing errors

  138. I’m 14 and this might go a bit off topic but it does have to do a tinsy-winsy bit with this topic. I’m Asian and always living up to my parents’ expectation. They push me to be top in class, go for piano lessons, take up swimming, be the best debater in school, head prefect, teacher’s pet, national public speaker, etc. So far, for ten years it’s been fine. But lately, I’m going off track and I’m absolutely depressed. Anyways, I’ve got two offers from two of the very best boarding schools in my country. (Let’s just name it school A and school B for the moment!) I’ve always wanted to go to school A it’s a private paying school and i’ve been dying to go there since I was eight. But then school B came in to the picture. I quite like it but it’s not what I want. My parents are forever forcing me to go to school B. No matter how much I’ve told them that I love school A, they’ve always tried to ask everyone in my family to brainwash me to go to school B. I’m depressed cause for the past ten years of my life all I’ve been doing was to get in to school A. I know all of these are especially Asian-academically-inclined, but I hope you’ll help me. I’m starting to cut and shut myself down from the world. Please. I’m need help!

  139. I’m 20 years old and I have a very difficult choice to make at this moment. Well, I should start off by saying that my family is Vietnamese and I am the only daughter between two brothers. My mother recently opened up a nail salon. She keeps saying that she opened it for all of us so that we’d always have a place to work, but I really don’t want to work for her anymore. It makes me so unhappy and she can be very verbally abusive. Everyone that has seen the way my mom treats me says it’s wrong and I know it is. I know she also loves me very , which is really what is holding me back.

    Recently, I’ve been given an opportunity to leave and make a life for myself where I can follow my dreams and be happy for myself. It seems everything I do for my mother is never enough and I’m tired of trying to please her. I just want to be happy for myself and I don’t want to be 30 years old and look back and resent my parents. I know they might never forgive me, but I want so badly to be happy. I guess I’v just been looking for a sign or some advice from someone that knows what I’m going through.

  140. im 33,and still at home, asked to move out a couple of times during university as i realized i may need some support in the process.mum said no and bought me a car to commute in,money spent on trains or petrol would have coverd most of rent at the time.i live right on the edge of the city and the jobs around here are a bit now when ever im going out to see friends in the city and generally enjoying life, especially when there’s a girl involved , mum gets these headaches and sickness. in contrast when i had a crappy factory job with long hours and no social life and was feeling really depressed she couldn’t have been happier.

  141. Wow I can totally relate to this right now. I’m currently 2/3 through my accounting degree, and have been working in an accounting firm for almost half a year now. I’m really disliking it. The thought of having to work in this field for the rest of my life stresses me out. Working has made me realise that this is not what i’m passionate about. I love health and fitness. This passion of mine has developed over the last 2 years. I really want to study physiotherapy. I love studying and learning new things, and being challenged. I think this makes you grow as a person. However, my parents think that by changing my degree, then i’m just moving backwards and just “giving up when things get hard.” It’s not that i’m finding accounting difficult at all – i’m not not as interested in it as I thought I was in highschool. I don’t know what to do. Do I put the security of having a job and finishing my degree in a years time on the line? Or do I take a risk, that I could potentially love? Life can be hard.

  142. Hi, I’m a University student, and I’m struggling with my Majors’ choice. I want to take Art as my majors, but I know (from my parents, and everyone around me) that if I chose Visual and Fine Arts as a major I might not have a very good future with good income. The other Majors’ choice is Finance, which is more convenient. Has a better future with good income for me, and everyone recommends it. The problem here, is that I really hate business and anything to do with business, and I know if I chose Business as a subject I’ll end up regretting not choosing art for the rest of my life. But if I choose Art i’m afraid of not getting a decent job and ending up also regretting not making a good career and life choice. So what am I supposed to do here? Chase after my dreams, and have a “not so good” future. Or go for the better career choice, of which I hate and won’t regret much, but still will regret not chasing my dreams..

    1. I think you should study what you are passionate about. At the end of the day, its your life. I’m currently studying accounting and corporate finance also, and want to change into physiotherapy as I love the idea of being able to incorporate health & fitness into a career. But my parents are strongly against it as they think i’ll lose all the progress i’ve made. But, at the end of the day, you don’t want to be stuck doing something for the next 30 years which you do not enjoy. Money isn’t everything. Sure, it could buy material items but it can never buy happiness. Happiness comes from loving what you do, and loving who you are as a person. Life is too short. Follow your dreams. If it doesn’t work out, at least you know you’ve tried and you will have nothing to regret. You can always go back and study finance.

  143. Hi, I’m a University student, and I’m struggling with my Majors’ choice. I want to take Art as my majors, but I know (from my parents, and everyone around me) that if I chose Visual and Fine Arts as a major I might not have a very good future with good income. The other Majors’ choice is Finance, which is more convenient. Has a better future with good income for me, and everyone recommends it. The problem here, is that I really hate business and anything to do with business, and I know if I chose Business as a subject I’ll end up regretting not choosing art for the rest of my life. But if I choose Art i’m afraid of not getting a decent job and ending up also regretting not making a good career and life choice. So what am I supposed to do here? Chase after my dreams, and have a “not so good” future. Or go for the better career choice, of which I hate and won’t regret much, but still will regret not chasing my dreams..

  144. Hey Niall,

    Thank you for such an amazing post. It’s just want I needed in this moment. Seem I have being going thought this situation:

    I am from Colombia and I went on an exchange program to United States almost three years ago, I stayed there for one year and just a few months before I came back home I met this guy. We fall in love and we decided to keep our relationship long distance and try to see each other as many times as we could. So I have being going to the US every time I have vacations from college. My boyfriend hasn’t come to meet my country because he’s scare if how dangerous the news make my country look. So now, my parents are putting a lot of pressure on me, not letting me go to visit him. It’s just that I think I’m old enough to make my own decisions. Beside, I’m not asking my parents for money cause I have being saving to go see my boyfriend. And my mother just keep saying what a bad daughter I’m because I keep visiting my boyfriend and what a helpless person I am. And I don’t think I’m helpless cause I know my parents help me pay for my tuition but I do pay half of it. And I work and help with some of the house bills. Do it just gets me so frustrated that when I get a vacation and I want to use it to relax and see the guy I live and travel my parents are not supporting me, attacking me and not helping me out. It’s just like I like to travel and I save up just because I know that money will get me a trip when I have some free time. But my parents don’t get it, and I’m trying to tell them that I’m going cause I made my depiction but I feel so scare of how they’re going to react.

    I want to do what makes me happy and take an airplane and see my boo. But I do want to do the right thing and tell my parents I. Doing it first. I just don’t know, I hope you can help me. Thank you!!!

    I really appreciated it!


  145. Hi Niall,

    Thanks for the post. I completely agree with the reasoning, but there are always situations that are not like the others. I have one of those.

    I love travelling and do it a lot, but I am yearning to leave Canada for good and move to Europe. However, years ago, my mom decided to take in her mentally ill brother and take care of him, which is getting more strenuous as she can’t even leave him alone for more than a day. To top it off, she just broke up with her boyfriend of 10 years. Basically, besides my brother who lives alone, and can’t be counted upon, I am the only one that can stay home with my uncle if she ever goes away. She can’t hire help because he doesn’t respond well to new people.. So it is literally a Catch 22. If I move to Europe, she won’t even be able to come and see me and I will feel heartbroken that I have done this to her.

    Now I just feel trapped and resentful. Which sucks as I am only 28 years old. I know there is no easy way out and I love my mom too much to let her suffer, but what about me?

    I envy the people that have parents with no problems. Single parents, married parents, doesn’t matter. If my mom was alone, I would leave in a heartbeat.

    Any advice you can give me would help:) Thanks

  146. Our parents are the people we first emulate. They teach us how to talk to others and ourselves; they become a part of us- that kind of bond is not something that many people can just disregard even if it’s not a healthy bond. My father was extremely controlling and verbally/emotionally/physically abusive. I don’t know when it began, but before the age of about 9 or 10, I was drawing every day. Even today I get relatives asking why I did not pursue training for my natural talent- nobody can understand why such a bright little girl turned into a brooding, listless- and seemingly lazy- mess. Even though I am almost 25 now, his insidious words have become how I talk to myself in my head- it’s like I’m carrying around a 250 pound man on my back at all times. I actually began to believe that I would never get anywhere because I heard it every day. I haven’t drawn or created anything in years, I have no friends, and I work at a fast-food restaurant even though I have brains and talent. I live in constant anxiety.

    I guess my point is that sometimes you need professional help to move forward in life and undo the damage that has been done to your way of thinking by abusive parents (and I consider any kind of parental oppression abusive), because it is never as simple as mere forgiveness. Forgiveness is necessary but it is definitely not the first step and it is not easy. Sometimes it’s impossible.

    I appreciate that you wrote a disclaimer saying that you have not experienced this kind of oppression. I hope your article can nudge some people onto the path of healing, but I don’t think it can do much more.

    1. Lea,

      I can see you wrote this some time ago – my reply I more than a little late… but I only found this blog today! Still, I HAD to reply, because your words literally sum up EVERYTHING that I feel about my own parents, and my relationship with them. You are totally correct to describe controlling and manipulative parental behaviour as abuse. It is! You are totally correct to say that, over time, their abusive and belittling words and names “get into your head”. I guess, the way I see it, that what happens is the more somebody tells you something, the more you come to believe it – especially if the person telling you is your own mother or father. This is even the case when what they tell you is that you are “worthless”, “stupid”, “lazy”, “rebellious” or some other negative comment that is not necessarily true.

      I have listened to this poison (for that is what it is like) from my parents for over 30 years. It never changes. I suspect that poisonous parents always were, are, and always will be poison! Living with them, and spending time around them, drains any of the healthy life out of you. It is true that if you listen, pretty much every day, to somebody who is trying to wear you down… it DOES become wearing. NOBODY should have to put up with parents – their own flesh and blood – who are trying to undermine, belittle, criticize and sabotage them.

      I utterly agree that forgiveness is not simple – it is NOT the answer. I agree that sometimes forgiveness is impossible. Besides, any attempt to forgive a parent who does not, and cannot, even understand that they are in the wrong is utterly POINTLESS. Abusive parents care nothing for forgiveness. They want simply to abuse – with IMPUNITY. If anything, a forgiving child is like a “golden ticket” to these abusive parents… a free ticket to allow them to continue to abuse without any fear of being punished or reported!

      There are certain types of parent who, put simply, should NEVER be parents. If you are the child of one of these parents, then no amount of forgiveness will make any difference. These parents are MURDERERS – they do not physically kill. What they do is they emotionally, socially, educationally, behaviourally… they seek to eradicate EVERYTHING that makes their child a unique individual. They metaphorically kill all that makes their child the person their child wants to be. They stifle, mould, constrain, manipulate, suffocate, mollycoddle, coerce, bully, harass, belittle, control, domineer, threaten, criticize, besmirch, slander, libel, punish, berate, abuse, scare, tease, oppress… They do every horrible thing possible, short of physically murdering their child. But, in actuality, they have KILLED whatever potential that child had as an individual…

      Is “murder” to be forgiven?

  147. Hi Niall, I wish I had found this post before so I could not feel so blamed..

    I’m from Brazil and I’m 20 years old. I’ve been studying for 3 years to go to a medical university. My dream is to be a doctor but in a institution that I can feel proud of.

    I finally got it, I’m in the first semester of med school in a university at the same city my parents live. The problem is that I came here forced by my parents, what I really wanted is to study med in university in the city I’ve been living the last 3 years, in the capital. Last year I almost was approved just didn’t get it for 0,2. ( two tenths)

    My parents agreed me to keep studying for the place I wanted but only after many and many crying and suffering.
    The problem now is that I’m feeling guilty!!!

    I’m feeling awful becausee I want something away from home and away from them. Obviously,living in the city I want to live there will not be the same comfort I have here so I’m afraid I can get upset in the future if everything I dreamed of is not so good as I imagined…

    On the other hand I’m hating this university I’m in… I don’t feel stimulated, so I keep studying and applying for others. My entrace exam will be next weekend and I hope everything goes fine.

    I’m sorry for my english….

  148. – I have been having this problem for the longest.I’m 21 yrs old and never even worked,and it’s driving me insane.My parents bickered about what I wnated to go to college for so I picked a random degree to shu them up.mMy mom is doing creepy suff like holding out on my birth certifcate which is preventing me from getting a state id.They took all my financial aid money to pay bills or bs with and I can’t get a measly $12 to get a state id ,not o mention waking me up at night for foolishness.I get blamed for crap I didn’t do and I get the short end of the stick because my dad is misogynistic and my mom is indifferent.I want to be a writer ,but I have been very much discouraged form it.

    -Whenever I mention getting aqjob,there’s aproblem; my mother is on foodstamps and they take more out whenever one of us gets income and the rent may go up.I am tired of being useless and livuing my life on standstill.If sojmeone canhelp me out I would highly appreciate it.I am stuck right now and I have to get out of here,I am tired of eatingout of their hands.I didn’t even get allowance until I was ;ike nineteen,which my dad would always take away because he keeps asking us to order food or buy stuff off of him as a slick way to get the money back.He degrades me all the time as a human being and because my parents (and myself) are obese,there are always food arguments ,usually because he wants to eat gargantuan amounts of food instead of eat like a normal person and there isn’t enough.He goes into fits and all kinds of madness and I can’t deal with this anymore.Not to mention I can’t even go anywhere,I never could.There are days when I feel like I would rather be homeless than put up with the shit…I’m sorry for the rant but I seriously need help.If anyone has any advice,can they please offer it? Thank you

  149. I studied design for 6 years (bachelors in architecture for 5 years, and a masters in product design that took one year) and have discovered it is not my passion. I hoped it would get better when I applied for my masters abroad, it didn’t. It doesn’t make me ‘unhappy’ but it definitely doesn’t make me thrive.
    I want to work FOR my country, work for the social betterment of my people, and my parents say ‘why do you want to waste your education?’.
    I’m so stressed these days because of these conversations. They will never stop me or anything, but I wish I had more of their support 🙁

  150. thank you for this post , i will read it everytime i need encouragement .
    my story is a little more complicated than you might think though ,but i would really appreciate if you gave me advice maybe ..
    my parents are originally lebanese , my dad having moved to canada at 18 , my mom following him shortly after. anyway , im born in canada and i lived in montreal for 12 years before moving to lebanon with my mom and my younger brother and sister (for 2 years) while my dad worked in the emirates. we then moved to the emirates for 2 years and now we live in lebnanon again because my dad is now living in africa. next year i’ll be going to university , i really want to go to my dream university (mcguill) located in montreal , but my parents refuse to even listen to me talk about this subject . they want to force me to study in lebanon , although they will live in africa , which has me wondering that the reason they’re not letting me go isn’t distance since i’ll already be away from them no matter what.the issue isn’t finances because being a canadian , my fees at canadian universities are very low. the issue also can’t be that they’re afraid of me going to a place i’ve never known because i know canada alot , with all my close friends and their families living very near to mcguill. the issue can’t be the cost of flight tickets because its the same from africa to lebanon and from africa to canada. the only thing is that my relatives are in lebanon and would be living 2 hours away from me if i go to a lebanese university so i would be able to see them from a couple of days every month not tat it would make much of a difference, i hate it here and i have so many more logical explanations to why they should let me go but frankly i think i bored you with my nonstop talking…. im very confused and i dont want to wait 4 or more years to go live in canada , please help me (also i am very mature and responsible .. i dont know what else could be wrong)

  151. thx for the story it was amazing
    there is one problem
    what if your parents resisted you even if you have explained to them that your dream is something good?
    i mean when you think that you should help others but your parents think that to have a happy life for yourself is better?
    i explained to them alot of times but they don’t understand so… dream or parents?

  152. Thanks for this post. This goes on my bookmarks for those days I need the encouragement (since little to none is coming from my blood relatives). I have a mother who literally has a nervous breakdown when I do something unconventional. I’m a naturally unconventional person, so I spend my life walking on eggshells for fear that she’ll have one of her classic fits where she refuses to leave bed even to go to work. She just lets things get to her that badly. When this happens my father has to step in and plead with me to follow her wishes. Not wanting to create a family war, I pretend to fold and then go through life lying to their faces (case in point, they still technically think I’m a Christian). This has happened three times, plus countless times I’ve avoided by doing things like having a traditional wedding against my wishes. Anyone worth their salt in life has told me to force her to adapt or die, but I think what will happen is she’ll do herself medical damage or leave bed finally to nag me constantly. What’s resulted now is they see fake me while verbally bashing people in society who resemble real me. I leave angry hoping they move far away after they retire. But now my mother is dropping strange comments about having to care for them in old age and that I better have kids while they can enjoy them. Not sure i even want kids, really don’t want them if it means seeing my family more. Also don’t know how I’ll be able to care for such toxic people… I guess the point to all this is even if it makes you into a liar, being your own person is the only way you can look into mirror. They can try to throw all their personal issues they want, but YOU live with your choices. I spent years trying to be the perfect right wing traditionalist they want, but reality has a way of sneaking up on you in 1,000 little ways everyday until you have no choice but to be you.

  153. This took a huge weight off my shoulders when it comes to my worries about my parents. I’m actually rather young. I’m 17 and still in high school. I was getting terrible grades my first two years because i had no drive or dream to follow. Until i had found i wanted to pursue a career in Music Therapy. I was thrilled and my grades went from D’s to A’s. I’m so happy that i finally found a direction in life, so i told my parents. I was shot down the moment i mentioned it. Saying it was no better than a dream to become the next rock star or famous singer. They want me to follow in my brothers foot steps, who became a lawyer. It’s hard watching everyone support my brother and feel so proud of his accomplishments, while i get shunned for going after my passion simply because it is not in the norm of everyday conversation. I’m heartbroken, but i suppose even if she is sometimes wrong, the best advice my mom ever gave me is it’s better to ask for forgiveness than permission. Otherwise you won’t do anything.

  154. Niall, great article. I’ve been dealing with this situation for a couple of years and this article has finally made me understand why my parents don’t believe in my dreams. I’m 18 years old and my dream has always been becoming a Major League baseball player. Year after year my parents have doubted my abilities telling me to focus on getting a real job and as a result there is always tension between us. Now I’m playing college baseball and getting closer to my dreams than ever before and this article has added more inspiration. Maybe someday I can make them believe. Thank you

  155. I wanted game design as my career, but my parents don’t want it because they don’t want me to play games all day long. Instead, they wanted me to go for Mechatronics, thinking that I’d be good in it and because it has a bright prospect… that’s not what I want, but I had to go along with it because I had to make them happy.

    Yes, I love my family, but now I probably won’t miss them when they’re gone.

  156. Ive always wanted to be an actress and model but my parents think those are not very good jobs and are being rude and cruel being mean and saying cruel words and they want me to be a doctor or lawyer but i cant actually become these thing without them on the same page as me because I’m a minor. Please help me how can i convince them they are very simple a strict african parents and i am a very fun and loud person. P.S we do fight a lot but they treat me like shit and never listen to me and my uncle and aunt think I’m crazy but its something I’m passionate about.

  157. I’m smiling because I was wondering how tragic life can be sometimes, “neither here nor there situation” either way you are the one who is going to get his a** kicked and you can’t do anything about it except smile at your own pathetic situation.

  158. Well vishnu you are right about medical field but in India there’s one more thing called Engineering!You are either an Engineer or a Medic, if not then you are nothing 🙂 And the problem is I don’t want to be either instead the best part is that I want to live just a wanderer’s life. And the best method to stop their kids that Indian parents use is the “emotional blackmailing” method that makes you feel guilty of your decision 😀

  159. hiya…
    I have a problem, I’m going to college for the next schooling year, and I need to start applying soon, I know which college I’d like to go to, and it’s the one I’ve wanted to go to for a while now.. It’s got lots of good reviews and the open day is coming up in October.

    Thing is, the college is near my dad’s house, and I live with my mum… My dad and her don’t get along at all, and I brought it up in conversation the other day, and my mum told me there’s no way I’m going to live with him for college, I even tried to comprimise with her by saying I could stay there for the week and come back for the weekend, but she’s not having it….

    I’ve no idea what to do now, I’ve explained all the reasons I need to go there and it’s the only college I really want to go to, but she just doesn’t listen

    Pleasee help

  160. How do you do this at 41? I’ve spent almost 20 years teaching and I have traveled I guess more than the average person. Someday, you have to stop don’t you? My story is a bit more complicated and not one I care to share here but I have to say I regret so much of what I have done in the name of pleasing everyone. My father now has Parkinsons Disease. My mother has my brother who “visits” once a week. My sister lives in Rome and I truly feel stuck. In my twenties when people asked me what I wanted to do all I said was “sel watermelon on the beach, I had no clue. I have been in debt and have fear, fear of leaving that “secure” job and place which truly have gotten me nowhere. But, I am more afraid of marching like everyone else to the funeral hymn of my dreams … As I said there is more complication and it may seem like excuses but it is real. I feel I would need a job and I have several blogs that do not talk about travel but other things. However, working a full time job restricts one on how much they can do.. Any advice would be helpful. And yes, it may sound negative this post but it is right now my reality which I want to change.. no NEED to change.

  161. The common scenario (and based on some of the comments above): Parents wanting their children to be doctors, lawyers, etc. Children aspiring to have a different career path. Me, on the other hand, is experiencing the exact opposite. I’ve always dreamed of becoming a doctor. But I never get the full support of my parents. My mom always tell me to consider the financial aspect (med school is really, really expensive).

    So, instead of pursuing med after graduation, I worked in a research institution for 2.5 years, then studied abroad for my MS with the help of a scholarship. I was considering to continue for a PhD degree but I know in my heart that I want to become a doctor.

    I am currently working in a job that is stressing me out day after day after day. I’m not happy anymore and the thought of studying med even though I maybe 5 years late already is still here in my head. I still feel that I need to take a shot at my dream. So in two months, I’m planning to take the medical admission exam and hopefully reach my target score. And we’ll see what will happen next. I’m also hoping to get into my dream school + a scholarhip. I think that now is the time to really stand up for my dream! =)

    Great post, by the way. This is exactly what I need right now.

  162. Hi Niall…I stumbled across this post in a fit anger, frustration, and tears, and I’m going out on a limb by commenting. Bear with me, this could get ugly.

    I am 21 years old, just started my third year of college (I have my Associate’s and went straight for my Bachelor’s) but here’s the problem…I don’t want to be here. It’s not that I hate school or anything…I just have no sense of direction.

    Backstory: I’ve always been the “smartest” in my family, 4.0 avg up through high school,gifted at everything I touched, all that bullshit. My parents had high expectations. But as a child, I was…different. I didn’t fit in–my hobbies, interests, the things I talked about and how I spoke, my beliefs…even now, I’m always “wrong” and “rebellious” and they find it fun to tease me on several occasions. Back to the story, fast forward to high school, my parents were in the middle of a nasty divorce. My father was doing everything in his power to make things impossible and my mother was trying to hold us together. Graduation time comes, and I decide: I don’t want my father there. She tells me to let him come, and I do because she insists on it. He comes, acts like the worthless sack of shit I knew he was, and tries to start a fight with my mother’s fiance.

    I go away to college a few hours away and the divorce is still an issue and my father is still harassing me. I made a reckless decision and ended up coming home as a result. It wasn’t until now that my mother acknowledged me when I said I wanted to see a therapist about how the divorce and my childhood in general were affecting me. After a few weeks with someone who I couldn’t imagine actually went to school for psychology…I just opted to work it out on my own.

    The following summer, my mother’s fiance (technically my stepdad–he was the reason I was able to finish the last three years of high school after my father ditched) died in a hospital due to negligence following an accident. I was due to return to school, but needed surgery of my own and decided to stay home. My mother needed me. My stepdad was her love from 25 years ago and they found each other again, so his death hit her hard. I took over the head of household status. She stopped working, eating, getting out of bed, etc, so I made sure everything at home continued and I made sure SHE made it through. But it hit me hard too, to lose someone I though I could accept as family, who didn’t judge me for ANYTHING I did.

    A year after his death, I made it back to school. I studied liberal arts because I’d managed to change my plans three times since my first endeavor to go to college. I just wanted to make sure I was doing something. Or rather, my mother did. I graduated, and now I’m in school again. My mother swears on her life that no decision I make is a good one. She insists that I have no decent human beings for friends, my boyfriend is a nobody because he opted out of the college thing as well, and I will be a nobody because I prefer to play games/write stories/read instead of going shopping, and partying, and all that crap.

    I am an introvert, I’m very creative (or was until my brain stopped working right…), very intelligent, and talented. But I have no sense of direction right now. I need ME time. I need to figure out where the hell my life is going, or at least have a chance to just go with the flow and do what feels right. But she won’t let me. If I’m not in college and doing all the things SHE wants, I’m wrong. She thinks that I am just antisocial, negative, and lazy, with plans to go nowhere in life.

    I’m considering just dropping out and acting on my own decisions. I feel like it would help but I’m terrified of going against her. I’ve never gone against her with ANYTHING. But I feel like it’s the right thing to do. My boyfriend had told me time and again that he will support ANY decision I make, and help me through, and that makes me feel better but I’m still afraid. Any advice? I could use some words of encouragement to remind me that the world doesn’t end when my mother is angry with me…and that making mistakes (if this, indeed, is a mistake)is a part of life.

    Help. Please…

    1. Wow, Danielle. You’ve had a rough ride.

      I know it’s easier said than done, but try to ignore the negativity from your mother. That’s her shit, not yours. No matter what you do she’s probably going to have something negative to say.

      Something that popped into my mind while reading your comment was Byron Katie and The Work. Check out this video, and have a read of her book Loving What Is. It’s not easy stuff to work on and implement, but it seems pretty damn powerful. In essence, if you can’t change your mother’s behavior (and nobody can really change the behavior of another person), you have to change your own thinking. It’s either that or misery.

  163. After reading through some of the comments, I realise that my situation is not so bad but it’s still a problem for me nonetheless. You see, I’m 15 years old right now and am applying to colleges. Throughout all my studies, I perform above average and always get at least an A in every subject, mostly A*. However I am not interested in the subjects I’m learning at all, I just do it because I know that it will be useful and I basically am forced to do it. I am definitely not the smartest though, I work hard but I get easily distracted and my parents are not on good terms with me because of that.

    Both my sisters are extremely successful and are working for large companies right now. One is an actuary, married and content with her life. The other is an analyst, working to rise through the ranks. My parents view them both as extremely successful and constantly compare them with myself. I always end up feeling dejected after they said things that really hurt my feelings. I also have said things that I don’t mean, but it seems like my parents won’t empathise with me.

    So basically, I am a lot more interested in doing filmmaking as I absolutely love filming and writing stories. However, they keep telling me that my sisters also didn’t do what they like, but afterwards learnt to enjoy their job. This made me skeptical. So right now, I don’t even know what I want to become. I don’t want to disappoint my parents because I love them and I know that they put a lot of time and effort into me. I also know that they became extremely stressed because I procrastinated a lot. But what they want me to do does not interest me currently and now I am very confused with what I want to be when I grow up.

    So far from the advice of my friends, to the things that I’ve read, they all encouraged me to do what I want but what I decided was this. I am going to do what my parents want me to do, even if I don’t enjoy it, until I get a firm job and my circumstances are stable. I will then only pursue my dreams but I’m afraid that it will be too late and my job will be too consuming thus not allowing me to do that.

    I realise that this is just one of many teenage dilemmas and understand if people won’t reply, but if you do, thank you so much. I seriously don’t know what I’m gonna do.

    1. Hi UZ,

      Thanks for the comment. Your plan sounds reasonable, and I don’t think you need to worry about it being too late to pursue your dream later. It would be great if you could pursue it now, but if the pressure is too great from your parents and you don’t want to upset them, then you may not have a choice.

      One book that may help you is So Good They Can’t Ignore You by Cal Newport. He notes in there that people do tend to enjoy that which they become good at, so you may end up enjoying the path your parents want you to take.

      That said, try to keep moving closer to your dreams at the same time. Who’s to say you can’t practice filmmaking on the side and become skilled at that, perhaps to the point where you can get some good work making films?

  164. Hi all,

    First let me tell you about myself. I’m an Indonesian Muslim male in his mid-20s. I grew up in Australia ever since 1997 and went to the states for my study. The study was only a yearlong. Over there I met the love of my life (latina) and she is the perfect person, at least in my eyes.

    I flew back after completing my studies to Indonesia as my sister’s wedding was coming up. Since I started college I have been telling my mom (mostly) and dad that I don’t want to work in Indonesia yet. I want to work in Australia (I’m a permanent residence in Australia so visa is not an issue) for a couple of years so that I can gain more experience. When I told both of my parents about that they flat out refused. We had some arguments but my dad told me that to think it over the next couple of days but if I stick with my plan then I know what the consequences would be. He is basically saying that my family will disown me. Initially I thought my sisters are supporting me that deep down they are not.

    After a few days my parents found out about my girlfriend and flat out refused me having a relationship with her on the grounds of different culture, different religion, and different age. My girlfriend happens to be 6 years older than me. I initially was going to think it over on when I want to leave for Australia, at least to give it a week or two before making the decision and telling my parents about it. Soon after they found out about her, my dad confiscated my passport in which limits my movements.

    Right now I don’t know what to do. I was going to visit my girlfriend in South America during new years to spend some time with her and she was really looking forward to that. Now I have no passport to travel internationally as my dad took my passport away which pissed me off and now I am seriously thinking of leaving once I acquire my passport back.

    My dad even said before taking my passport away that if you want to leave then leave. All of sudden he took my passport. He also said that he would hunt me down if I dared to leave. Everything he said is contradictory to everything else he said earlier. I can’t acquire a new passport as that would take too long and near impossible. Also, I’ve tried talking to them and the chances of them saying yes is 0.0000001%.

    I really need advice on what should I do next. Basically I feel like I’m in prison.

    Just letting people know that I can’t make a new passport. As it requires documentation first from the police saying that I’ve lost my passport, then I have to take that document to immigration plus I need to bring my national ID, driver’s license, and family card in which all of them are being held by my dad. That process also takes plenty of time.

    Another problem is that I don’t want to report it to the police that my dad is holding my passport as it creates a bad image. He is very well respected government official in Indonesia and he also holds a very high position in the government. Right below the minister. If I report that to the police, the impact will be devastating in terms of his professional career and image.

  165. I’m glad that you acknowledge in this article that some people have genuine reasons why they can’t do what they want to do.

    In the liberal West, so many people are obsessed with the “YOLO” lifestyle, doing what they want and not thinking about the consequences.

    Whereas outside the West, there are many other constraints such as not shaming the family, looking after the family in old age (many parents don’t save a bean and expect the kids to provide for them).

    I’m not saying this is exclusive to the West and non-West, as the other comments show there are also exceptions to this.

  166. Hi Niall. I’ve been having a little trouble with my parents lately…I’m a competitive swimmer, well, used to be. I decided that I didn’t want to swim anymore. My heart didn’t belong to swimming. I finally told my parents that I wanted to quit. They let me but, after a month, they thought I should go back. I didn’t want to. There making me swim again and I just can’t bring myself to enjoy it once more. I’ve tried talking to them many times but they just won’t listen. I want them to understand that swimming isn’t really something I’d want to take into the future. They’ve always said that they’d support me but when it comes to the point where I make a decision that could possibly alter my future, it’s like they forgot everything they said.

    I want to follow my dreams in Performing Arts. I’ve always wanted to be an actress/singer but I can’t do it without their support. I’d sometimes think that there’s no use and that I should just give up on my dream because it’s too hard but the thing is, I don’t want to. I’m determined to make it happen. If it doesn’t work out, I have a Plan B in school. I just don’t know what to do…I don’t know what to tell them. I don’t want to have to obey them because I know, I WILL regret it in the future. I don’t want to have to think to myself in the future and say that I shouldn’t have obeyed them. That I should have done what I wanted to do. I want to enjoy my life. I want to make a good use of it….

    1. Hi Chloe,

      That really sucks. Sorry you have to go through that.

      I’m not sure what the solution is. If you can, try reach out to others who have had similar struggles in the past and ask how they handled it. Perhaps some of the people you’ve already met in the performing arts world will be able to relate.

      Another option may be to spend time writing a letter to your parents, spelling out exactly how you feel. That might be more effective than a conversation since it sounds like they won’t let you make your case when you talk.

      Let me know how it goes for you. Wishing you all the best.

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  168. Hi, I’m 18 years old now and my parents keep treating me like a child. I really.want to talk to them about it but I feel like they will think that I don’t want to listen to them anymore or I disrespect them. I think its time for me to start making my own decisions and choices. What can I do?

  169. Niall, my name is Chris. I am 20, turning 21 in 20 days. I am currently living in Canada. my dad wants me out in a year from now and I want to move all the way down to Australia but my mom is very protective of me. i’m scared as hell about telling her. i’m fearing a very bad reaction from her. however, after reading your blog last night, it has helped me prepare myself mentally for telling my mom about my wanting to move to Australia. I just don’t know HOW to tell her. I was originally planning to just take off and leave a note for them so they would know that way about where I would be heading but my cousin talked me out of that route. I know i’m eventually going to have to tell my parents about my wanting to move to Australia. I’m not really all that scared at all about telling my dad cuz I know he will support any decision I make 100% but my mom is a different story. As much as i’m scared as hell about telling her, i’m doing my best to keep my chin up and to keep a positive attitude going at all times. I’m also determined to go through with moving regardless of what my mom says about my decision. I would appreciate any advice you can give me about telling my mom about my decision. Thank you very much Niall

  170. Niall,
    I’m 13.
    My dream has been to be a designer/artist ever since I could remember. Unfortunately, my parents never really agreed with my ambition. Every time I talk about it, they would tell me, “What good is it to be that? Accountants make much more money!”
    Honestly, I don’t really care about earning a lot of money. I just want to live a life where I don’t dread going to work.
    I’m planning to audition to an arts school next year without the knowledge of my parents. I’ve been skipping meals just to save up money. Since in my country, they hire 14 year olds, I’m also planning to work on holidays and maybe weekends next year.
    But sometimes when I think about the sacrifices I’ve got to make, and that the outcome might not be very desirable, I begin to rethink my decision. Will it be worth it to sacrifice all this luxury of rest but have my parents potentially disown me? What if I don’t make it? What if I’m just in delusion that I am a good artist?
    Sometimes I get really depressed.
    But this is my dream. I don’t want to sit in an office all day, doing nothing but numbers. Nor do I want to be a doctor. I don’t want everyday to be a routine.
    I know this lot might be a bunch of bull that a 13 year old says but I am very confused and hurt by the lack of support and security my parents provide.

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  172. this post hit home, i am a single mother of 2 kids aged 42 and live with my parents. i live in india so it is not easy, btw i am not even divorced yet because my father thinks it has a moral impact on kids! so you can imagine. all this while my sister had a live in relationship with her boyfriend of over 10 years but then she lives in australia so the parents have no control over her. i hate my parents for what they have done specially because it is too late for me to change the course of my life. my children need money to go to school, live, etc and so i cannot think of doing anything out of the way. they also need my parents’ support. btw, i marreid my ex because i wanted to get away from my parents it was that simple, he was allowing me to do things my parents were not like quitting the course i was doing at that time, etc. turned out he was emotionally abusing me all along (some physical too) but then i could not come back to my parents because they had developed a we wont talk to you because u married the jerk attitude (i eloped btw). so now this crap has transcended a generation and here are 2 innocent fatheress kids because i was stupid enough to wan to please my parnets who would never have been pleased enough with me anyways. my sister is a star in theri eyes and they allowed her total freedom on her career choices, relationship choices, etc and look where she is. she is in a job she loves and so she excels at it, has a wonderful partner and is generally happy. i try telling myself i have to forgive my parents but then when i see them gloating over my sister it makes me remember the unfairness of it all. Anyways, what I tell my kids is really just 2 things:

    Do what you want to do, really I say that to them each day without fail.
    If you screw up please please do come back to me and tell me that you have, my heart and home is always open to you (unlike my parents who closed their hearts and home to me which is why i ended up spending 12 years of my life with my miserable marriage).

    So, yes in the end I screwed up both by not using my brain and doing what I like when I was younger and also then doing something stupid like marrying a no gooder to get away from my parents. Hope this post is not too sad to be online.

  173. Hey, I have a question I hope you can help me with.
    I am 20 years old, still living with my parents and little brother and sister, and am happy to be doing so.
    I am an unpublished writer. I have written three novels and am more than half-way done with my fourth. I finished my first one over 3 years ago.
    My mother does not want me to publish it till she reads it (And I also would like her opinion on the story and help with the grammar). More so, I feel she should read it before a lot of other people because, hey, she’s my mother.
    But after all this time, we are on page 83 out of 335.
    I do not bad mouth my mother. She is the hardest working person I know. Too disappear, all she has to do it sit on the couch as none of us children or Dad will see her, because she so very rarely rests.
    But I want to get the ball rolling. I want to be a full-time writer. But even if my first book was that one in a million success, then I would still have to wait around 2 years before I could even quit my job and write full-time!
    And since my first will NOT be a run-away success, I figure I will have to publish stuff for a good 10+ years before I am able to write full-time, if I am EVER able to do so.
    I really am stuck between hurting the person who gave me life, and I know it will if I try to publish without her, and trying to do what I want to do the rest of my life.

    Thanks for reading.

    1. Hi Andrew
      You do not want to hurt your mother but you let her hurt you by blocking your book publishing? That doesn’t make sense. An idea could be that you talk to your mother and explain about the urge you feel to move on and how important it is for you. You can even dedicate the book to her.
      But in general she does not need to understand you, she can feel hurted, but in fact she is hurting you right now with holding you back in such a way. You are 20 years old, you can move on your own and still respect and love your mother.

    2. Hi Andrew,

      For the last 12 years I’ve worked as a copyeditor, writer and publisher (in Spanish, so please forgive my wonky English!). You might not like what I’m going to say…

      You’re 20. Some of the most succesful writers I know wrote fifteen books or more before even getting close to publishing. Great books are written a lot later in life, when you’ve had years and years of practice and experience. Don’t worry about publishing yet. Focus on your craft, write every day. If your mother can’t read your text as fast as you’d like her to (and it sounds like she really has very little spare time), get friends and other members of your family to help you. Consider getting a degree in English or other related areas. Try and get a job in the publishing or journalism industry (whether freelancing or a 9-to-5 job), anything where you can support yourself financially and hone your craft, and study your language like crazy: it’s your greatest tool. Never stop writing. Finally, when you’ve learnt enough, try to get published.

      Your writing will improve SO much over the years. No matter how good you are now, in ten years time you’ll be so much better. I’ve known so many cases of people under 25 publishing and regretting it afterwards, seeing their own work as inmature and mediocre. Even the ones who wrote fifteen novels before getting published are horribly embarrassed by the 16th one that made it 😉

      I don’t know if this is the kind of advice you were looking for… I just felt I had to share it with you because yours is a case I see over and over again. Whatever you do, I wish you the best of luck 🙂

      1. Thanks everyone for your comments. I have no idea what I will do yet, but I will take time to consider each of your comments.

        Also Niall, thanks for the link to FaceBook!

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  175. Hey,

    I feel my mind almost pushed over that boundary where I can’t stand the life I’m living. My parents always wanted me to be an engineer – they didn’t state it as an ultimatum or a demand but always encouraged me in that direction and disrespected the things I did with passion.
    Long story short – I’m a left handed person, artistic in nature. Not stating that just because it’s a “known fact”, I had a rock band for 8 years in which I’ve always been the “creative mind”. My parents never came to see me at any of my gigs with the band. When I moved to another city (to study engineering) my mom even tried to forbid me to take my guitar there.

    To confirm my different nature – I’m extremely interested in arts. When I was young art teachers and other children told me I had a talent for that but I kind of let it go for years. Recently (about 2-3 years ago) I rediscovered my passion for drawing and I know for sure this is what I want to do in life. Waiting for the summer vacation to come just so I have all the time to practice my passion because I’m exhausted from all the engineering studies.

    Oh by the way – I’m a straight A engineering student – the absolute top of the class and it’s killing me even more, because I’m investing extreme amount of energy to be the best in something I don’t actually like. Energy I can put to better use.

    I have only 1 year left before I get a collage diploma that I don’t want. From the 2nd semester in collage I’ve had doubts that have now grown into convictions. Needless to say – my mom and dad will not only be crushed – they will think I’m going insane for letting go engineering for arts, because in their head art is not something a man could make a living out of.

    How can I fight the guilt feeling for throwing away this education that costed my parents so much? Everything would’ve been so easy if I knew myself 10 years ago.

    1. Hi Dimo,

      Thanks for sharing your story.

      “How can I fight the guilt feeling for throwing away this education that costed my parents so much?”

      I don’t think you’re throwing it away. Think of it as the price of figuring out what you really want to do with your life. That’s pretty valuable I would say.

    2. Hey Dimo,

      I’m in the same situation as you. Going to enter my 3rd year of electrical engineering this fall and barely have it in me anymore. Every time I talk about changing to a different major my dad will sit down with me and tell me how much an engineering degree will matter and how successful I’ll be. That everyone will respect me and listen to what I have to say. You will be a girl in electrical engineering, this is valuable beyond belief. Why would you be like all these other nobody girls and get a BA in the arts? Stay in engineering he says, you will be successful he says.

      I want to be an industrial designer. But not any designer, I want to be the best. I want to have a job environment that’s seeping with creativity. But this doesn’t pay the bills he says. “Contrary to popular belief money does equate to happiness”.

  176. hi iam from india iam very upset and depressed these days from my parents they just are being too rigid by their ways.recently we shifted to a place which is 25km away from the main city where we earlier lived .it is the city where my college is situated and all the things available for me to furthur pursue my dreams studies and career it takes six hours a day in daily commutation from home to the city .but my parents are not allowing me to stay there only.its exhausting and tiring traveling by public transport to city to such a remote area what should i do ill will be nowhere if i live here .if they will let me live there i could work hard for my career prepare for higher studies ive talked many times on this topic but they are reluctant .presently iam pusuing ba in mass communication.i unable to see a way out plz suggest

    1. Hi bindiya,

      There are always options, but none of them are easy. You can try be more insistent with your parents and risk having them get very angry with you. Or you can risk just moving out and hoping that they’ll eventually come around and support you.

      Like I said, no either options. Whatever you decide to do, it will take a good deal of courage. I wish you well.

  177. I come from an indian family where since childhood Ive seen my father abusing us verbally and physically on things like going around with guys in teens(mind you not even kissing or sleeping but just going around). Hes someone whose public image is more important for him than anything else.i am 28years old now and have been living with the guilt that i have been tarnishing his image. I feel depressed now. He conradicts almost everything I do. I mostly give up. I feel its pointless to ask him as he’ll contradict only and so I just kill my dreams. I am really very scared of him. If had to abandon them i dont know where would I go. Theyve been asking me to get married for about 7years now but somehow I have been managing to escape.Now I want to marry someone of my choice. I have told my parets about it and they emotionally blackmail me. I dont know what to do. I feel like a failure. I couldnt pursue the career of my choice and now i cant marry the guy of my choice.

    1. Damn, khushi. That sounds like a horrible situation. I know it’s easier for me to say as an outsider, but I would be getting away from a family like that as soon as possible. What’s the advantage of staying? You get to please people who don’t respect your dreams?

  178. I was sitting on my sofa (in Australia) last night arguing via text with my mother who lives in Wales and I got really sad as I have the same conversation night after night. It start positive and happy and ends in tears and anger.

    Just to out you in the picture I travelled to Australia 10 years ago as a backpacker. I got sponsored by my design employer and then eventually met the man of my dreams and set up my own design business. I now have a little boy too. So I am well and truly happy in Australia. I always had a dream to travel and find my path as a designer. My family were supportive to start with but then I got married and they haven’t coped since. I get a lot of resentment now to the point where my parents barely talk to me. I keep trying to communicate and keep positive. I travel back every 2 years to visit but nothing seems to make them happy.

    Its sad and in desperation last night I googled the subject because i don’t know what you do anymore. I really do feel responsible for their unhappiness now. If I moved back i know won’t be as happy as I am here not because of family but because I don’t feel I can follow my ambitions there.

    I have suggested therapy too so hopefully one day we can be more positive as a family and plan special moments together.

    I do have younger brothers who will be leaving the nest too soon. I wonder if they will react different;y because they are men.

    Thanks for the article it does make me realise I really am honouring my parents by following my heart and my dreams and they were responsible for making me that way which I am thankful for.

    I will make sure to remember this advise for my own children too when they decide to venture around the world.

    1. Thanks for sharing, Fiona. You sound like an amazing daughter who really cares for her family and wants things to turn out well for all. I wish you nothing but the best.

  179. Hi Niall,

    I’m a 17 year old boy from India, and have just finished schooling. I have always wanted to be professional racing driver ever since I first drove a go-kart almost 10 years ago. Now that I have started expressing my interest in motorsports to my father, he has turned on me. According to him, we don’t have the finances that are required in this field.
    Also, since it is very unpredictable, I have decided to pursue Automobile Engineering as well, so as to have some backup.
    I am absolutely sure I have the talent. I don’t know if he knows this or not. Instead, he is ordering me not to race at all, ever. And he doesn’t want me study Automobile Engineering as well, because he thinks I’m choosing this field to support my racing. He wants me to do what millions of other people do. I fail to understand why he doesn’t see my vision to do something different and new.

    Words cannot describe the passion I have for racing, and I am 200% sure that I can go a long way, only if he supports me, and not shout at me everytime I bring this up.

    I know I haven’t been the topper of my class, and that’s because I don’t like studying in general, or maybe because I commit things to him under pressure and when I fail to achieve them, I feel under confident. And he should know this too.

    I can’t see myself doing anything else in life, apart from what I want. Fine, even if I do find something , I’ll never be good at it, because it’d be more of a burden. I’d never be happy in life, and I don’t want that. I hope you understand how difficult it has become for me.

    Don’t tell me to sit and talk because I’ve already tried that numerous times, only to hear his raised voice at the end.
    Please help me out Niall. I’m counting on you.

    1. Hey Garvit,

      Thanks for sharing. Definitely a tough situation, and I don’t think there’s any easy solution. If you really want to live your dream and your father isn’t willing to accept that, you may need to go against his wishes and make your own way without his support.

      One book that I read recently that you might find interesting is Rich Dad, Poor Dad. The poor dad in that book is a good example of a parent having the best of intentions for their child, but not really knowing what’s best for them because they’re only viewing the world through their limited personal lens.

      Sorry I don’t have a better answer for you. I hope everything works out.

      All the best!

      1. Hi Niall,

        Thanks for the response. I could go against his wishes and make my own way, but I’m afraid it won’t be as easy as that. This is because firstly, going against family will put me in a very difficult situation, emotionally. What this means is unless I have emotional support of my father, I won’t feel motivated to win.

        Secondly, racing is a very expensive sport.
        Couple that with my education costs, it will be near-impossible for me myself to fund them both at the same time.

        What I can look forward to, is sponsorship.
        I will try and find someone who can fund my racing and maybe that will change my fathers’ mind.

        Anyway, it was great talking to you and letting it all out at once. I just felt like I needed to share with somebody who’d listen. T
        hank you Niall, and I’ll try to get hold of that book you’ve mentioned. Thank you once again.

        1. Hi Garvit,

          I also asked a few friends about your situation, and here are their response. Different perspectives might be helpful:


          That’s tough. The easy thing is to tell him to follow his passion. He seems certain enough that he will succeed. I don’t really know. It feels a bit like in his comment he’s looking for affirmation that he can be successful as a racecar driver. So he probably should pursue it. If he doesn’t he’ll likely be resentful of his own choice not to pursue it, and/or he may project resentment on to his father for not supporting him in his desire to race.

          Either way he may have a rift with his father, and if that’s the case, he might as well be racing! Plus if he’s successful, his father would hopefully come around.

          Perhaps in an effort to compromise with his father, he could have 2 years (or the number of years he and his father agree on) to pursue racing and see if he likes it and can establish himself in it…


          A guy (from Europe) stayed with me after having a similar situation with his parents, he chose to go couchsurfing for a while to get perspective, then ended up going to college in Northern Ireland doing what he wanted to do. It is hard to see a clearly situation while you’re in it.


          I had the same situation. I had a passion for acting. I wanted to go to college and get a degree in acting. My mother told me I would never be able to make a living at it and that I wasn’t very good anyway. She refused to let me try. I started college, took a few general classes and was bored and unmotivated. I dropped out, ran away from home, and wound up without a degree in anything, married with 4 kids. I love my kids, but I have been depressed and miserable… because I did not even try to follow my dreams. As for the acting, I joined a local theatre troupe and became quite good, and a local favourite. So, the argument that I would not succeed at it was not valid. My relationship with my mother is non-existent, because I never stopped resenting her squashing my dreams. My advice to you is… take the chance and follow your dream. Take the hard road, because believe me, that misery will hurt less.

  180. Honestly Niall your blog is a true soul catalyst. Just know I am discovering there is a “neo-nomadic awakening” and all those inspiring people joining the tribe.

    I have never been able to fit in standard “normality”. A 9-5 job, a mortgage, a brick house and a car bought in installments, a married life and dreams postponed until age 65 were unthinkable from the onset within my innermost self. That’s why I have been a freelance nomad for more than 18 years now.

    For a long time my life choice has caused me lots of trouble with my “normal” relatives and friends (“When-are-you going-to-marry-settle-down-get-a-real job-think-of-your-old-age..”), to the point that sometimes I have felt very weird and lonely.

    You are really helping me to feel strong again and sure in the way of my heart.

    Blessings for your soul travels.

  181. I’m glad I found this. At the moment, I’m struggling with making the decision to drop out of college. I’ve always been a good student and graduated top of my class in high school, so my parents expect a lot from me. But the things I really want to do with my life – travel, write, blog, maybe start a business (anything but a “practical” job) – don’t require a degree and I can’t see wasting the time and money to get one.

    My parents disagree. My dad thinks that college will always equal success, and my mom never went to college and hates her job, so she wants something better for me, which I can understand. But college isn’t a guarantee for a job anymore anyway (I tried explaining that to them and they insist I should have one regardless, because “no one can take your education from you” – yep, all that memorization and essay bullshitting really provides you with knowledge of the real world…) My five older siblings have high expectations of me also, and they all went to college, so my parents expect me to follow them. They’re all very discouraging when I try to tell them what I want to do with my life, saying that I’ll never be successful or make enough money to survive, and I need to get a “real job.”

    I may do well in school, but that doesn’t mean I enjoy it. I know college isn’t for me and all I want to do is leave, but my family is holding me back.

    1. Sounds like you’ll just have to go ahead and take that leap without their support, Megan. They’ll likely come around after a while when they see you happy and thriving out of college.

      1. Thanks for replying Niall. Well I did it – I dropped out yesterday! I’ve never felt better. My parents aren’t happy, but I’ll deal, and their insisting that I’m going to be unsuccessful in life is motivating me to prove them wrong! Your blog is inspiring me as well 😀

    2. I’m in the same position as you. I completely understand what you are going through. I recently graduated with my masters degree in psychology, and my parents want me to get a PhD. They feel that I came so far in my academic career, and they just want me to finish. I graduated in the top of my class in high school and college and I completed my masters thesis in 2 years. What I really want to do is travel frequently and continue running my online business. Ever since I started traveling internationally this year, I absolutely loved it. I felt FREE from everything. I want to become a travelpreneur. I want a lifestyle that involves a lot of traveling, and I want to become a millionaire eventually. They don’t have a problem with that. HOWEVER, they want me to sacrifice travel and my business temporarily for a degree. I don’t think I want to do that. I want to travel and still run my business. They don’t understand that…they still have this traditional mindset that the higher the degree is, the more money I will make. That is not really the case anymore.

  182. Thanks so much for the advice-I came to this blog to prepare myself for an upcoming family meeting about ‘my future.’ No matter how many successes I’ve managed to earn in my career as an artist I’m constantly seen as not good enough by my parents. Even though I’m nearly 30, they seem to think that I’m going to grow out of who I am and suddenly decide to study engineering. They’ve done their fair share of shaming, manipulating, and putting me down. One of their favourite sayings is, “It’s not to late, you know. You were really smart in high-school.” Of course I was. And I need to be. I don’t know any good artists who are stupid.

    My sister is currently in law school and has recently adopted a tone of disrespect, superiority, and mockery. So I don’t call her any more. I’m trying to be patient with my parents and slowly help them understand, but I get my feelings hurt pretty regularly and I wonder how much contact with them is good for me.

    Why are so many of our family members the least supportive people we know? Don’t they realize that the only thing they can do to increase my chances of success is help make us feel strong, confident, and supported? As if nudging us in the direction of doubt and fear could ever do us any good.

    It helps to read this blog and know that I’m not alone. All the best to all you talented, brave dreamers who are tired of being underestimated. Maybe one of the best things our generation can do is resist the tendency to ascribe a social hierarchy to jobs and to cultivate an attitude of equality and tolerance.

  183. devanjoli paul

    Hi,myself Devanjoli from INDIA. I am a student,I have recently appeared my class-12 final examination and now am searching for good college to pursue my higher studies in INDIA itself. My father is no more in this world so me and my mother stays together and she is a senior teacher and her teaching experience is from last 13 yrs I.e., she is teaching since 13 yrs.I respect her a lot but she doesn’t understands me I want to go to a college named lovely professional university for doing the course of B.pharma as m a science student and this college is ranked as 6th best college in whole INDIA and its reasonable for my course too.But the problem is my mother,she is not allowing me to go to that college and I can’t even find any reason why she is denying me since yesterday night m crying continuously till now but she is not trying to understand my feelings what should I do now? Please help me….

    1. Devanjoli, thanks for writing. That’s a tough situation. What options do you have? I can think of three:

      – You can continue to try talk with your mother and hope that she will understand.
      – You can stop trying to convince her and just do what you want, and be ready for her resistance.
      – You can move away from her.

      What do you think?

  184. Hey Niall!
    Your article really hits home in my heart, almost to the point of tears. I’m 18 and currently planning to go to university next year. The thing is, I applied to engineering because I’m strong in math and the sciences, but that’s not what I truly want to do. In fact, I really hate it in all honesty. Just thinking about how I have to spend the next four years studying like hell for the things I absolutely hate 24/7 and to go into that career doing that for the rest of my life has honestly given me several episodes of breakdowns. Yet I’ve been accepted to all the universities I’ve applied to with scholarships and stuff. My parents seem pretty proud of me, but I don’t – no, I feel so empty. All these years, all I really wanted to do draw. I’ve always wanted to enter the arts field and drawing is the only thing that truly makes me happy and I would do anything to spend as much time on it as possible, but unfortunately my family wouldn’t support me. They been telling me over and over how I shouldn’t pursue the field ever since I was a child and officially shot down my dreams when I was 13 because I was a strong student academically. Since then I’ve been studying like a robot, but I feel so empty. Deep down, I know I won’t be able to make it if I go down the road I’m heading right now. Yet, I don’t know what to do anymore… It’s honestly very tough when my parents won’t give me the support I need, saying things like I can’t make a living if I were to go down the road I want to, I’m too naive, that I can’t always do the things I like because reality just doesn’t work that way, illustration isn’t a real job, and even how I’d be wasting my strengths as a strong student getting straight A’s. I can see where they’re coming from – they’re afraid I won’t be able to earn a decent living once they pass away since they are rather old compared to most parents and they don’t earn much compared to other families because they didn’t get a proper education. I know they want me to have a better future than they did. If I were to become an engineer, at least I could possibly support my parents, but a selfish side of me says that after that, what will be left for me? Struggling to get a Bachelor’s degree just to punch in numbers in an office for the rest of my life and all for earning a bit of money? That sounds like a pretty sad life to me. It’s really an internal struggle I fight everyday, especially these days, and I don’t know how to deal with it. I’ve been fooling myself all these years thinking that this is going to make me happy, but now that my friends keep telling me why I should cut myself short in life and reading this article really makes me wonder again.
    In all honesty, I wish I knew how to let go of my dreams. I wish I could drop my pencil and never pick of drawing again; then I wouldn’t have to struggle so much. It’s kind of funny because the only reason why I chose engineering out of any career was because I could probably get a job immediately after just a Bachelor’s degree, though it’d be a painful 4 years. Then I could start focusing on what I truly want to do once I get a job and earn a decent living, but lately I’ve been rethinking if this is the right choice for me. Should I really follow my parents wishes so that I can support them, or do I go for my own happiness, even if I may struggle for quite a bit of time or even the rest of my life possibly in terms of financial stability. I’ll probably get back to you when I come up with a decision. For now, I’d like to say thank you so much for writing this article. I think I’m closer than I’ve ever been to reaching a decision, and to see so many people’s stories has truly been a moving experience. I hope that soon I can see the light at the end of this long, long tunnel.

    1. Hi Kayla. Thanks so much for sharing that. It’s a tough situation you’re in, no doubt about it. I hope you’re closer now to reaching a decision you’re satisfied with.

      One thing I will say…

      “do I go for my own happiness, even if I may struggle for quite a bit of time or even the rest of my life possibly in terms of financial stability.”

      I don’t think you need to worry quite that much about it. I thought as well when I was younger that some of the decisions I was making then would affect the rest of my life, but it rarely turns out that way. You’re free to choose different and change directions at any time. Don’t feel like you have to make the right decision now because you’ll never be able to change your mind. Life is long. You’ll have lots of opportunities to change course.

  185. Hey niall,
    Thanks for getting back to me, it means a lot. Well, with all honesty…im overage and i just feel thats its time for me to live life without fear of “whats going to happen next”. I mean this is my dream job and i got accepted and they just wont listen to me. They have their life and had their dream jobs and all…why wont they let me do what i want? My mother always told me “im not going to force you into any job, do what ever job you want” and it just sounds like the biggest lie now.
    I cant move out, i cant leave, i cent even live my life. So whats the point really?

  186. Hey mate,
    I kindda have a issue at hand and you really seem to know what your talking about, so here it goes: so i applied for this spiffy job, my dream job and they really liked me and wanted me to come in for a trial. I thought i ought to be honest with both my parents but it backfired badly. They think it is dangerous, wrong and pretty much what they say goes. Also to make the situation worse, i happen to be a diplomate and I’m afraid they they might send me back to my hone country if i went after my dreams (in this case the job), they rarely let me go out too and if i do go out its leads to a war at home. I really want this job, have been dreaming of getting it ever since i was 15 (i am now 20) and now i have missed the trial. I cant move out because of all this diplomatic stuff.
    Do you have any advice for me? Could you e-mail me back please?
    Cheers mate.

    1. Hi Mary,

      I’ve never been in a situation like that so take my advice with a grain of salt. I’d urge you to think twenty years into the future though. If you abide by your parents wishes, do you think you’ll be happy?

  187. Wow, Niall. Reading this I felt like you were speaking directly to me. It is exactly how I feel and my relationship with my parents. I am the eldest son you describe. I took the detour.

    I am three months from graduating medical school and I am giving it up to pursue music. I never thought that my parents were controlling me because it was always MY decision which career to pursue. But my choice was not free. I was limited to “practical” careers. Medicine, Law, or Business. Pick one. And I was smart enough to do whichever one I chose. I picked medicine.

    As my childhood faded away, and my adulthood became filled with countless hours of studying instead of creating, I felt as if I was drifting. My depression, angst, and anxiety all increased. My father would tell me that I needed to just relax and live in the present moment. That’s when I realized how much I hated the present moment.

    But I still couldn’t quit. I had come too far. I was in too much debt. And I was lying to myself everyday about how I felt about medicine. And then it came time to match for residency. I did all the preparations. And a week before the residency match, I broke down. I finally gave in to my desires. The realization that I was about to commit the next 4 years of my life to something I didn’t want. I could no longer bear it.

    I wrote my parents a letter. They called me immediately. I broke down over the phone, sobbing, and telling them how I really felt. They told me to calm down. They told me I was having a manic episode. And I believed them.

    They convinced me I was bipolar. And it was hard to deny it. Even with my medical knowledge. Because I was exhibiting wild mood swings. I was talking rapidly.

    Today, it all finally came to a head. Last night, I was working on my new project so in depth that I had a feeling of elation so great it was a religious experience. And I am not a religious person. Later, I thought this might be the euphoria of bipolarism.

    I went to a psychiatrist to get a mood stabilizer. I told him everything. And he told me he didn’t think I was bipolar. He told me that I didn’t fit a lot of the criteria. He told me it was also unlikely given my age (28), that it would appear this late in my life and not earlier.

    Shocked, and feeling very validated, I called my parents. They flipped out. They called the doctor a lunatic. They said they couldn’t believe they were wasting money on him.

    And it finally hit me. What I had never even considered possible. That my parents were controlling my decisions. My parents have allowed me to make every decision in my life except one. My choice of career. They have always demonized my friends who were attempting less “practical” careers. So they made sure my career was practical. And I have always felt that I owed it to them. That they had given me so much. They deserved to have a son who was a doctor. But I just couldn’t take it anymore. I was too miserable. And too many of my friends were living their dreams and making them a reality.

    I don’t blame my parents. I am certain what they did was out of love. I know that they don’t realize they are doing it. But it is time to break free.

    It is my life. It’s time I went and lived it.

    1. Holy shit, Josh. That is one epic realization to have come to. Sounds like you’ve got a whole new life ahead of you. Congrats, dude! So many people never get to experience such an awakening!

    2. Hey Josh,

      How did things turn out for you? I’m going through almost the same exact situation.

      From a young age, it had been decided that I was going to become a doctor. Around the age of 12, I’d developed my passions for computers. I played with them every single day. I loved them. My parents would constantly tell me to stop wasting my time and do something productive, which is a shame because I think I was actually quite lucky to have discovered a strong interest at such a young age.

      Then freshman year of high school rolled around and my father sat me down to have the talk about my future. He asked me what I wanted to do. I immediately told him computer science. His response was that he knew friends in the field who could barely support their families. Then I said I wanted to perhaps pursue business. He said any old schmuck of the street could study that and that I needed to think of something else. I finally came to medicine, and his demeanor had completely changed, calling me wise and proud I had made the right decision.

      So I went along with it. After all, as long as I wanted to do medicine, they’d give me everything. Education, support, approval, anything. It felt safe and comfortable. But I kept finding myself still wanting to pursue my hobbies. Every year or so I would erupt in anger and resentment to tell them that I wasn’t happy, that I’d rather be studying this or that. They’d tell me to stop acting irresponsible, to be realistic, and that “when you grow up you’ll understand.” So I half-assedly went through college, then barely made it to a no-name medical school, all the while telling them that I was not happy. I couldn’t jump ship because I’d lose everything, my family, my support, the only things I could find comfort in.

      Now I find myself in my last year of medical school, around that time when you apply for residency, and I’m not applying. I’ve decided to go ahead and finally do what I want. I’m not going to commit to another 3/4 years of work I’m not happy doing. I’m in a relationship that my father only agreed to support if I were going to pursue a residency, so now I’m finding myself having to string him along so that he does not compromise my relationship. He asks me about how apps are going, and when he hears my disdain, he keeps drilling it into my head that this is essentially a life-or-death situation. If I don’t find a job as a doctor, I’ll end up homeless. And although I can rationalize how false that is consciously, I think years of that sort of talk have convinced me that it’s true subconsciously, and so I live every single day in anxiety, questioning my abilities, about whether I will actually end up homeless.

      It’s my life, but I’m so afraid of losing my parents in the process of pursuing my interests. I’m knee-deep in debt now, I hate every second of my working life, and I spend my days looking at my friends in jealousy and resentment for many of them have gone on to do the very thing I’ve wanted to do since the age of 12.

  188. I studied overseas in Australia for a few years and returned back home to see my parents. I thought while I was here I could do my internship because I am a health professional and what was meant to be a long visit is turning into a prison. I sincerely want to return to Australia but my parents go mental every time I bring it up and they do the usual extreme guilt trip saying that they are old and who is going to take care of them. I am the youngest of 3 brothers with 10 years apart from my older brothers. They have both gone away at my age and did what they wanted to do and now they live nearby but because my parents have a bad relationship with them I am expected to give up on my dreams because they are too proud to call them for help if they should need it. I haven’t slept in a year and every day I suffer from anxiety and depression yet my parents seem completely oblivious of it. When I tried to open up to my mom and told her I am really depressed she simply replied that it was “my fault”. When I tell them that I have dreams and things they want to do they reply that I can do what I want after they die.

    Every day I am conflicted whether I should follow my dreams or stay and do my “duty”. The sad thing is that I am able to fulfil my dreams, I have the means and support but my parents are against me and resist me at every stage.

    1. Hey John,

      Interesting timing on your comment as I’m reading a book right now called How Good People Make Tough Choices. The author talks about moral temptations and ethical dilemmas. The former are right vs. wrong, whereas the latter are right vs. right.

      Sounds like you’re definitely facing an ethical dilemma. It’s right to stay and look after your parents. And it’s also right to go and follow your dreams.

      There’s no easy answer to your dilemma, but I recommend checking that book out for yourself. It provides a framework for working through such issues and making choices you’re unlikely to regret.

      1. Since I was a kid I liked dancing and acting and I wanted to go in Bollywood as because I’m Indian, and whenever I used to turn around the topic and just ask them how do you think a actor as a career, they would say it is shit and there a lot of struggle, and your not doing it. Ik there struggle but if you work hard towards your goal, struggle is nothing. Now my mom says share all your feelings with me, but this is one feeling that I can’t share, because ik my parents won’t like it. I choose Drama in high school, because I’m going to grade 9, so I can’t learn a bit about performing and acting, I’m gonna tell my parents if I can join a really good dance academy it’s called Shiamak, the owner itself is famous in Bollywood for his dance, but further as I go I’m confused what to do. I’m gonna finish a lawyer course, then go towards acting so I have a backup plan. But even telling my parents about this scares me.

    2. Hey John,
      How’s your situation now?
      I understand what you are going through.
      I am in the almost same situation as you, but slightly different.
      I am the only child and I was suppose to go somewhere far from my hometown to pursue my dream career but prior to my departure, my mom had a meltdown and threw me an ultimatum. It was either family or my dreams. She even said that she wanted to disown me if I were to go.I was in great shock and pain.This had been a year ago and everday I am feeling so sad that after I had given up so much(my then happy but not fulfilling job in another city, my comfortable flat that I had spent so much on, familiar friends) and I still fail to pursue my dreams.

  189. At this moment, i am getting no sleep more than 3-4 hours per night, not eating almost at all since few days except the cheapest Chinese take outs, my partner in my trading business is giving up on me assuming i am no good to him, 125 dollars left in my bank account.

    And one look of failure from my parents, drops me in deep depression. Makes me feel that i am the biggest looser in the whole world, i don’t know no more how to convince them that i can succeed in my business, only if for once they showed some sort of support, i would get some life back in me !!

    looking forward to a word from you.

  190. Well this was really helpful, but my parents won’t listen to me.
    Well I want to be a musician and I have potential, beacause I’ve finished music school and I really like making music.
    Basically, music is my passion and I feel good while making it.
    But here in Lithuania, everybody thinks, that musicians earn cents. And my mother wants me to be an Odontologist, but I mean, it’s medicine, and I hate it.
    So nobody listens to me and says what I HAVE to do.

    I’m pretty desperate.
    so could you please give some help?

    1. Follow your passion, David.. in the long run, what you enjoy the most will mean the world to you. My parents liked sciences too.. I took all science-related courses in highschool and was actually going to pursue a science-field. But then just before I applied to any science-related programs, it hit me that I love computers… I should apply to computers… I did, and now thank god I’m the most happiest person because of the profession I chose.. so follow your heart.. you will be more happier..

  191. I’ m very impressedi about your article.It really motivates me. Well ,I’m a teen and I want to be a fashion designer in my nearj future but my parents were unsupportive .They said it just a hobby not a right career path and it is too risky because a lot of money is needed to begin with…I also plan to work oversea and I had this passion whenever I design something new.Lastly,I just need to know your advice about should I continue my dreams or follow parents guidance.I m really in a hopeless state.

    1. actually,we are in the same situation,i want also to be a fashion designer, i really love it !! but my dad thinks its just a hobby and that i can do that later when im done with what he wants,i also really dont know what to do

  192. Thank you for the article. I just looked up the subject after my parent made a comment about how “You never knew what you wanted to do”. “You took too long to pick a profession”. Which isn’t true. I always knew what I wanted to do. It just wasn’t what she liked or wanted. In my family’s culture, you’re not really in a lucrative field unless you are a doctor, a lawyer, or and engineer, etc. That’s pretty limited, but understandable considering they had to escape the poverty of their country. I do agree with them that education is important. But what I wanted to be had to have the “clearance” through them. I’ve managed to find my way and explore different career paths that have enriched my life in so many ways. I never thought that my life was about picking a profession as if that was my whole existence. My life is journey and luckily I have been in a culture that has given me the freedom to choose–something my parents didn’t have. I agree with the writer that we would be different people and are denying the joy we give to others if we don’t follow our gut. Even if we do follow what are parents want, eventually our spirits will take us to where we need to go, but it will be that much later for taking the long route.

    I just have gotten tired of listening to the same tape from my parent after all these years, and that they will never let me forget that they can make me feel guilty. So, I forgive them and realize that they might not know better but they did the best they could by at least thinking the best for me. I don’t regret not being popular in the family. I have dreams. It’s between me and my Spirit which way my life will go.

  193. Honestly, my parents have offered resistance to my career decisions every day. They wanted me to be a medical doctor, I pursued a career in Political Theory and philosophy. Although, vocally my parents offer resistance and daily commentary, they have never, like your parents, stood in my way to attaining my goal. In fact, my parents continually push me forward, encourage me to strive in my academic life, despite their disagreements in my decisions.

    So, although I think my parents often disagree with my personal decisions, they tacitly have a breaking point. If I cross this imaginary point, they may be a bit more adamant to get me back behind this line. However, I don’t that breaking point is absolute and it is contingent upon how I frame it to them.

    Overall, I believe my parents have, although verbally, not been supportive, they have always been okay with my decisions, because they trust my rationale. They can be frustrating, in terms of ‘relationship’ advice and at times may micro-manage my life. But for the most part, are probably the reason why I have set my own high standards and in 24 years was able to attain 2 master degrees and am currently finishing up the last year or so of my phd.

    Great post!

  194. Interesting comments and full of honesty.

    Regarding blame…

    I fail to have met people who it left feeling better about themselves or others. Yep, blaming seems to never make us feel better. We must nevertheless avoid falling into denial and rather be able to ascertain what has happened to us.

    I know my parents raised me blaming me for who I was and I transgressed this blame by trying to please them by putting the real me in the shadow and trying to become someone I wasn’t. From such a system, a self propelled process of blame and shame was produced. This process is in my opinion what we must have the courage to identify and leave in order to live our true purpose and create a life to be truly happy.

    I guess the point I want to make is those of you like me must not wait to save them all before we start moving forward (as they may not want to be saved from THEIR dream, even if it appears to us like it sucks or make us weep to see them like that or be less tham what you feel they could be).


  195. Pingback: » Selfishness vs. Chasing Your Dreams

  196. Niall, I’ve been reading your blog all morning and was tempted to comment on each and every post. However, this one got me hooked ..

    Without going into my full life story, I spent about 10 years being incredibly angry with my Dad – the smouldering, under the surface kind of anger. I never expressed it to him directly, but it was always there like an elephant in the room.

    I had a long list of stuff I blamed him for. Stuff he’d done or not done which impacted my happiness, stuff that I could only interpret as unfeeling or uncaring on his part.

    I was pretty angry with him.

    Fast forward 10 years and, thankfully, he’s still alive and well – because with the benefit of hindsight, I realise it was all my crap – projected onto him.

    Was he a perfect father? Nope. Did he care and do his best? Yep.

    The truth is, I wasn’t happy at the time and he was an easy target – ask any therapist. Now I’m happy and fulfilled, I’m not angry and don’t need to blame anyone.

    I guess the point I’m making is that it’s easy to blame parents when stuff is messed up in one’s life – but that doesn’t make them ‘guilty’.

    What I’ve personally found to be useful is to accept them as fallible human beings and take responsibility for my own choices and whatever the consequences are.

    The alternative is to spend the rest of my life blaming them, or someone else, or society, or .. and never get off my fat arse and make the most of my time here.

  197. Great post Nial! First off, I want to thank you for bringing Paulo Coelho to my attention. Just read all about him. Can’t wait to read The Alchemist now…

    Secondly, I am about to begin a journey through Central and South America. I suspect it will be many years. I don’t see myself setting down for very long. My parents are worried about the violence, drugs, and unrest in these foreign countries.

    I just tell myself, “It’s my life, and it’s the only one I have. I need to live for myself.” A person has to realize at some point if you spend your life living for other people, when you come to the end you’ll be left with regrets.

    1. Love your perspective, Mitchell! You’re speaking my language.

      Looking forward to exploring Central and South America myself in a few years. I may get back to you for some recommendations 🙂

  198. Wow, looks like I get to be the first mum to comment on this!

    My own experience has been the usual one: my parents gave me unconditional love, yet with a possessive flavour. I still hear mum’s voice in my head when I’m making big decisions.

    Now I’m a mother of a young man myself. Ever since he was born I’ve been getting ready for this chapter of life as I really really need to do this right. It is a brutal fact that there is no way to protect your loved ones. But there are ways to suffocate them, meaning well and all. I don’t want to end up doing that.

    To let your child spread his own wings and fly is the ultimate test of motherhood. Not for sissies, I tell you. There are moments when you feel like Gandalf sending Frodo to Mordor. But if you know your frodo really well you trust him to be alright no matter what.

    Only it would have been a bit easier for the worried wizard had there been mobile phones or internet…

  199. Fantastic post as usual, Niall. You have a knack for covering the things that people think and talk about in their small circles, but don’t blog about very often. 🙂 Your ‘missing people’ post hit me squarely in the face this way, too. 🙂

    Yep, I’ve dealt with this, as have several of my friends… particularly with quitting a PhD program. Parents don’t seem to understand why we don’t just go for it if we had the ability, though I know 100% that leaving my math PhD was one of the best things I’ve ever done. The older I get, the clearer it is that while most people mean well, there really are NO experts – not bosses, parents, friends, or even professionals – that can absolutely tell you what’s best for you all the time. Intuition, gut, and a strong sense of self make a great filter. 🙂

  200. Great post, Niall!

    I’m a big Alchemist fan and wasn’t aware of Paulo’s crazy parents.

    I’m lucky myself that this has never been an issue. They could actually probably try to talk me out of some of the stuff I try and that would help.

    Rock it!

  201. My mum seems to have the idea that I should work as an economist or mathematician. And while I have talent for maths, I’m far more interested in personal development and helping people.

    It’s okay, I don’t blame my mum, because I see where she’s coming from. I’ll just go ahead with my dreams anyway, and I’m sure she’ll come around when she sees me living a happy, fulfilling life doing things I love!

    1. I like to think that most parents come around eventually. I’m pretty sure Mr. and Mrs. Coelho would have been very proud of their son after he became the best-selling Brazilian author of all-time.

      Thanks for the comment, Vlad. Hope you’re enjoying your trip 🙂

  202. Holy Cow! Coincidence? I think not!

    Mr. D, you’re cool. No, more like AWESOME. I randomly came across your blog’s link from Benny the Irish Polyglot. He’s the reason why I got the courage to dive into my upcoming language-learning adventure in the first place. Paulo Coelho’s the reason why I decided to stick it to everyone who ever shook their head when I told them about my dreams and just go for them. Actually, came across his “Warrior of the Light” book at my local library by sheer chance sometime ago. (strangely, the book didn’t even come from the library branch I was in that day) Never even heard of him before. Definitely changed the way I live my life now, though.

    Now I’m 18, just graduated from high school and made the craziest decision of my life to learn the languages I’ve always dreamed of learning: Spanish, Brazilian Portuguese, Italian and French. I’m travelling to Bolivia, Brazil, Italy & France for 3 months each (inspired by Benny) with money that I’ve saved up for YEARS. (But of course hoping to do some couchsurfing, WWOOFing, HelpXing, WorkAwaying . . . you name it!)

    Geez, talk about going against my parent’s wishes!!! You said it, alright! I had to fight my way through just to tell them that I wanted to take a year off.

    Hope it all works out!

    Do you couchsurf? Would love to treat you to a coffee or a drink sometime (perhaps in Spanish after my trip)!

    All the best with your dreams! It’s always nice to realize that there are other fellow maverick go-getters out there in the world!



    1. Thanks so much for that, Paco. Your comment was exactly what I needed to see this morning 🙂

      I love the sound of this adventure you have lined up for yourself. Let me know if you’ll be writing about it anywhere, would be great to follow along.

      And yes, I’m a Couchsurfer. I’m sure we’ll meet on the road at some point 🙂

  203. I wish I had had the opportunity of reading this post when I was 18 and chose not go to college to a different city mainly for my parent’s concerns, and my own concerns about them being sad. That was the first and last time I stopped doing something out of fear of hurting my parents, I don’t regret it, though, because I ended up doing more or less what I wanted although it took me longer, but I regretted it for a long time and blame my mother for it, for not being supportive, rather the opposite. It took me a while to realize the ugly truth: I was the only one to blame for not being strong enough and do what I considered good for me, and for using my parents as an excuse when I was scared to death to pursue my dream career out my city.

    I guess I am the person I am, thanks or despite my parents. They are extremely protective and always opposed a strong resistance whenever I wanted to do something out of home, which seemed to be the only safe place and where the real love was (according to them). It might be the safest, but it has always made me feel constraint, so I’ve always been fighting against my parents or their expectations, trying to explaining them what I wanted and who I was, which it has been great to strengthen myself and decipher my personality and motivations.

    I’m fighting less and less now, not because they understand me (the female part of my family still don’t) but because I know they never will. My only aspiration now is that they accept me as I am and that they are sure I love them and I will be there whenever they really need me. Still a lot of work to do in that regard…

    1. Thanks for sharing, María. I know it hasn’t been easy for you, and it still isn’t. But it sounds like you’ve come a long way and are in a better place with it now. I like what you say about not fighting so much anymore. I think that’s a really good approach, since there’s little we can do to control the fears and projections of others.

      Muchos abrazos.

  204. For a while when I was growing up, life was just my mom and myself. Because of this I’ve got a very special spot in her heart. She busted her ass as a single parent, so she has a special part in mine, too.

    But this relationship makes her very VERY protective and over the years she has become more and more terrified of the great big world we live in. She only wants to travel to ‘safe’ places (meaning, very Americanized for tourists)

    This is unfortunately limiting, and she worries herself sick about my views of life. She sees recklessness where I see courage, and she sees foolishness where I see fortune.

    I don’t think I will personally know how she feels until I have children of my own though.

    Thanks for the post, Niall, great stuff as always. =)

    1. Thanks, Tim. I feel the same, can’t really know how our parents feel until we have kids ourselves. I’m sure some day I’ll have a better perspective on all of this 🙂

      Cheers for the comments.

  205. Great post ND. I postponed my adventures early on because of my mom’s concerns, among others. It was a long time before life finally gave me the opportunity again to live my dreams. No regrets though. I believe it came when it was suppose too, because as I look back on it now, I don’t think I could have ever appreciated everything in the way I do at this time, if you can understand what I mean.

    A topic of mine that I would very much like to get some feed back on is developing and maintaining relationships, especially with the opposite sex, given our lifestyles and personal choices. Have any thoughts. May be the subject of another blog post.

    By the way. I recently got a google+ invite. If you would like one let me know. You will get 150 free invites when you join, and that will give you another communication tool in your digital toolbox.

    Cheers, Michael

  206. I left my life in the states to move back to Ireland to care for two family members one of which has alzheimers and the other suffered several strokes. As painful as it was to have to put my dreams of life in a new country on hold it would have been completely against my core values in life of living for the benefit of others. But like most things like that are neither black or white but rather a shade of grey. Every action has a reaction and that reaction on a personal level reguarding this event at times has been that of frustration and depression.

    The truth of the matter is there are a million and one reasons not to do something. Just because it may appear your life has reached a dead end and the wounds of that ball and chain around your ankle seems never to heal and its difficult to see the forest beyond the trees the lesson to be learnt from that experience is that of appreciation and gratitude for the things that are good in your life. Just because there are certain constrictions in our lives does not mean we should throw in the towel and give up on our dreams but instead maybe we should dive deeper into what is most important to us and what small goals can we achieve that help keep us motivated and inspired.

    Its not about setting out to building a wall and being overcome by the illusion of the greatness of that task but rather in focusing your effort in laying that first brick as best you can and repeating that process tirelessly,soon before you know it you’ll have that wall and you’d have achieved your goal.

    In terms of human evolution one of our under appreciated qualities is our ability to adapt to changing environments and respond to those challenge in a positive and productive way.

    Family is important,lets face it when things get ugly community is what saves us but what is equally important is the practice of letting go and accepting the choices that we make and the circumstances of our lives.

    Situations are what we make them,places are that too and wishing you where somewhere else,someone else or doing something else in my opinion is missing the point. Life for me is in being where you are when your there and doing what your doing when your doing it. Mindfully orchestrating a life that above all is fulfilling and of merit to others no matter the scale of your actions.

    Make the most of what ever situation your in and take every opportunity to grow. Compassion is both necessary to others and ourselves.

    Thnaks for the post Niall,this one hit home for me too.

    1. Brilliant comment, Niall. Lots of great wisdom in there. I especially like this bit:

      “Just because there are certain constrictions in our lives does not mean we should throw in the towel and give up on our dreams but instead maybe we should dive deeper into what is most important to us and what small goals can we achieve that help keep us motivated and inspired.”

      I think you also hit upon a big key above: knowing your core values. And knowing that the core values of others will be different. And respecting those differences.

      Major respect to you for your integrity.


  207. Niall… I could write a novel here about this, no word of a lie.

    My parents, even my brother, have done nothing but stifle and frustrate me since I was like 13. Granted, it was to get away from computer games BUT they also overdid it and insisted all of sudden that I stop liking childish things and grow up and get some ‘ cop on. ‘

    Thing is, their idea of being grown up and having cop on was vastly incompatible with how I see the world, to say the least. I did try and please them. However at one point, I was afraid to even think the way I wanted because I thought it was wrong and that their way was the ONLY way. Needless to say, it made me miserable.

    I did break free from this mental prison. However, I rarely talk to them about personal issues because they will shove the idea that my viewpoint is wrong down my throat and that I need to grow up and be realistic ( its also because I’m an introvert, even more so than my father ) Its also for this reason my laptop and other electronics I have with personal information on them are password protected and I don’t like family members going onto my laptop to check something.

    Its tough and I do appreciate what they did for me ( I was meant to be sent to a special school when I was younger – they had none of it ) but it doesn’t mean I should slavishly do what they want because of that. I want to live my own life in my own way.

    Identically, this same thing was what resulted in me beginning to question why things were the way they were from a fairly young age so I guess lifestyle design is a natural progression for me as a result. So I guess it can’t have being all bad.

    1. Tough environment, Adrian. Fair play to you for rising above it and seeing it for what it is.

      I go back and forth between getting frustrated with people like that and feeling sorry for them. I found myself frustrated with an incident recently, but then thought a bit about it and realized that it was all external shit, nothing to do with me. Projection is a dangerous thing.

      Thanks for the comment, man.

  208. i’m not really successful – tho i love being me – but if i were more successful one day i’d say: “the key to my success was not to listen to my parents”. 🙂

    1. Haha, I guess they act as a sort of signpost for you then. Whatever they advise, you can turn around and do the opposite, safe in the knowledge that it will be better for you 😛

    2. Hey now! Success is an INternal measurement. You are successful based on YOUR own terms. And I’m certain that you can achieve whatever that measurement of success is. You’ve got a head start, you love who you are, so I gotta ask..

      What else do you need to achieve in order to consider yourself successful? And how can I help? =)

  209. Parents often see their kids as a way to live vicariously the lives they didn’t live, or, if they “like” their credentials, kids are a way to make copies of themselves. That’s what I see, everywhere I look. Parents who allow their kids to make their own decisions without intruding too much but also provide emotional support and some guidance based on experience are rare. You ARE lucky, as you say.

    I don’t want to look like I’m shamelessly self-promoting, however, point number one in this post of mine:

    and this short post in its’ entirety:

    deal with the same general issue and give a similar but different approach.

    Keep up the good work, Niall, yours is the first blog I started following, when I started reading blogs a few months ago. I thought, “who’s this guy who’s going to do what pleases him, rather than going out of his way to please ‘society’?”

    What I like is that you have a lot of very SIMILAR ideas to me but you’re coming from a completely different angle. And one thing I’ve learned is that absorbing new plausible angles and understanding them is a great way to expand one’s own consciousness and live a better life.

    Getting new ideas, etc…

    Keep going and keep posting!


    1. Thanks, Dean. Just checked out those posts, liking your take. “Make sure your decisions are your own.” Absolutely.

      And don’t worry, I have no intention of stopping any time soon 🙂


  210. Hey Mr D,

    Great post yet again. I fight with this on a daily basis – might be that divorced parents are the worst, a constant pulling on the mental chord strings.

    My mum is great – supports me in whatever I do, tells me to do it even if it goes against her immediate happiness.

    My dad? What a fucked up mess that is. Probably the main reason I choose not to live a normal lifestyle as he was so fed up with his while I was growing up. Now he expects me to do the same. “Why don’t you just get on with it?” he says to me.

    Get on with what? Being miserable and working in a stressful job to afford a load of a shit I don’t need, don’t impress people I don’t care about – (stole your quote from Caroline’s video here!)

    No thanks.

    1. Good for you, Will. There are a lot of dads out there who say things like that to their kids, and unfortunately most of those kids never realize the stupidity of it. If only more parents were like your mum.

      Thanks for the comment, and for checking out my interview with Caroline 🙂

  211. Niall – there should be a separate post for Asian parents.

    They don’t want you to be you, because they want:

    1) you to be a doctor

    2) you to be a pharmacist

    3) you to be a dentist

    4) any profession in the medical field so you will be able to provide free medical care to them in old age and they can tell all their friends they are getting free medical care. and make you give their friends free medical care.

    1. It’s really coincidental to see someone post up about Asian-American parents. One of my friends here in Atlanta focuses her coaching on this very issue (among only two other specific areas). She had told me that Asian-Americans are very pressured to become medical professionals, which was an interesting an new concept to me, and writes about it at her blog at

      Niall brings up a great point which I’ll comment on in more detail, but I thought you could use Crystal as an excellent resource/specialist in the Asian-American area you mentioned!

        1. It’s not just Asian American parents. Nigerian American parents as well. They can be as unyielding as the worst of Asian American parents. But no one really talks about it. And that whole “Chinese Mothers are Superior” article by Amy Chua could have been written by a Nigerian woman, only some major substitutions would have been made, but the bottom line would remain the same: certain immigrant parents heap ridiculous amounts of expectations on their children.

          1. Yes. Fellow Nigerian here. Nigerian parents apply tremendous pressure on their (adult) children. If you’re not a medical doctor, a lawyer, or an engineer, you’d better get a master’s or a doctorate to compensate for your failure. Naturally, conventional academics are a big deal and As and Bs are the minimum. “Finding yourself” or “following your dreams” is crazy thinking which may warrant a meeting of all the relatives to figure out what’s really wrong with you. I speak from personal experience but despite all the pressure (and meetings), I will be following my dreams.

          2. Thanks, Someone! I’d like to learn more about this – do you have any personal stories or experiences that speak to this?

          3. same for dominican parents they want u to be someone above them but when u ask them for help they discourage u then when u give up they say what u did was wrong. some bullshit.

          4. Dude you are so right. I’m going through this same ‘you must be a lawyer by force’ phase and all I wanna do is go to school for music production and cinematography. I wonder what’s in this wig and gown.

      1. Actually that isn’t exactly true. There is no pressure on Asian kids to get into the medical fields specifically, the pressure is on being extensively result oriented. As a matter of fact, I want to be a medical doctor. I was very confused as a teenager and without thinking much (with a little help from my family) I dived into information technology only to realise that is wasn’t meant for me and I wasn’t happy in it. Now I want to change my career and I’m terrified of even discussing it with my parents. My parents are both highly educated, but very protective. Recently, I made up my mind about following my dreams no matter what. I’ve come to realise that it’s okay for them to be mad at me for a few years than me hating what I do for the rest of my life.

      2. The pressure to become a health care professional is in the logic that:
        1: you are a highly respected citizen.
        2. You earn well and do not need to worry much, if you study hard or work hard.
        3. You set a good example for future generations.
        4. You are a doctor and yourself make healthy decisions, preferably abstaining from alcohol, drugs of sportive mis- use and other related risk taking behaviors . Your psychological make up becomes different .

        Having said that not all Asian or Asian – western parents are forceful of career choices. The professions are encouraged as a life insurance in a highly competitive field.
        Ask me I’m a dentist so vishnu’s statement Humoured me.
        I do agree with all of you but it’s worth keeping the root of their good intentions at heart.

        However when it came to marraige I burnt myself. I listened as I was not going to risk finding my own or getting broken. But guess what I got burnt by a husband who left me and my baby two mere days after bringing him home from the hospital. It was arranged marraige and our Indian boys most of them are really rotten apples.
        If you read the stupidest reasons in the section 49A blogs and what the trend has been , then I would say to all new Indian brides: please don’t get swept by the commotion that is the festivity of a grand wedding, rather sit your parents down and also if you can the boy and his family and really talk in detail about life after marraige.
        Ask them what if scenarios and test them . Ask them real life scenarios and please always look after your best interests first!

        I’m learning the hard way just to have pleased everyone but myself !
        I do everything yet all the duties and tasks I would do any day for my son. In this daily commotion I am late daily for classes and sabotage my own career. Not only this I cannot leave the country thanks to a psychopsthic husband who is ready to lure me into a trap to get me in deep waters legally.
        I cannot give him my baby as my baby is a pawn in his power game . I’m exhausted in this never ending legal turmoil and I cannot find the excitement to do much anymore.
        I never exercise though I’m still luckily in good shape. My mind isn’t I have no more perseverance like I prided myself on or the desire to look impressive like I did once or to up hold good student reputation. I feel completely ashamed that I am constantly late to a program that I wrote a soul inspiring essay for just to not promise my statement in completeness. I did my share of hard work but being late or having missed some days cast me in a bad light in my dental observer ship academic program.
        I cannot even ask for letters of recommendation though I worked dilligently on the days and hours I was there.

        This whole marraige mess cost my life in entirety and not only that I cannot visit grand parents , family or parents because my ex has put stay orders on my baby .
        His legal proceedings back home have ensured a cancellation of his and his screwed up parents national ID s , but even the worst won’t kneel them and leave me and my son alone.

        There are days I pray to God for something uneventful to befall my ex husband . This is something left to destiny just like it was for me to be a people pleaser.

        So please in general please pretty please do not be a people pleaser being snarky with a powerful no to most things that stretch you thin: is best. Learn to rebel powerfully or else you will endure open humiliation, endure internal turmoil and still have to tie up loose ends to be considered seriously before you sucuumb not to parents but to hell instead.

    2. hi there,
      you are taking about asian parents wanting children to b in medical field ,i tel you something i am doctor myself, even though my parents are not happy.i do not how to make them happy ?

    3. Vishnu, you’re absolutely correct on that one! My mum is Asian and she is forcing me to become a doctor. She doesn’t care whether i want to be one or not. If i call her my “mum” and still live with her i have to do everything she says. I will be 16 in July, its illegal for me to live on my own in Australia. so i really don’t have a choice.

    4. im a thirteen my mom wants me to be a doctor or some fancy career ive told her what i want to be a countless number of times but she keeps telling me that it could be ny hobby and that i wont make money i have a passion for designing i love fashion she keeps telling me that why cant i be more like thi person i just want her to understand that i am me and why cant she understand me for me no one understands me sometimes i just find myself saying and thinking that i cant wait to turn eighteen i have so much drama

    5. OMG! I was hoping someone would say that. I’m this innocent Chinese teenager with some wild dream. I would like to become an actress and mentioned the topic to my mom. She said that I had to do something in the medical field.

      I know she wishes the best for me, but it’s getting extremely annoying and I want to carve out my own path of life. I don’t want to let my parents get involved in everything of my life. Dang it, they even chose the college I go to.

      Help… someone!

    6. hi. I agree with you. I am 16 years old and i am facing the same situation. My parents are doctors and they want me to be the same. But i feel that biology isnt my cup of tea because i have never been able to score in it. i always get above 90% though. My marks increase only due to my good writing ability. so i have decided to be an author. i am an avid reader too. what is your opinion over this, Vishnu and Niall?

      1. Random Pedestrian

        HI~ I completely agree with you guys. I am a hardcore otaku and an asian. I am 15 ish and my parents and sisters are constantly judging me. My sisters are perfect students and daughters. They get 100s constantly, while I was bringing home low A’s. They follow every word(ok maybe not EVERY word but close enough) my parents said, while I want to do something else. I am constantly being pressured in so many different way because I’m very different from them. I want to be a youtuber, singer, or designer when I grow up but I’m afraid of what my family will say. I don’t want to be a doctor(or anything in the medical field), nor do I want to be a lawyer or engineer. I’m constantly forced to hide, my personality, my feelings, my interests, from my family because they will always put me down- even though they don’t think they are putting me down.

        1. Help! I am thirteen and my dream is to be a dancer. My parents are very unsupportive because they want me to have an academic career and they are trying to take dance away from me. Can’t wait until I am eighteen.

          1. I can relate! I wanted to major in dance, and my parents were not supportive. I listened and changed my major to psychology. I loved psychology, and I have 2 degrees in it. However I still love to dance, and sometimes I feel that I should not have listened to them. I would be a professional if I kept going. But I love where I am now.

            My suggestion: If you don’t want to go to college, DON’T. Don’t get in student loan debt! If you want to make a career in dance, make sure it meets your financial goals

    7. how ironic! my mom doesn’t want me to be a doctor! When I was younger, yeah I listened to her…worst decision I made. After 19 years of trying to forget about my medical dream (and still crying over the “worst decision I made”), I find myself still wanting to be a doctor. Guess what? She still disagrees up to this time!

      1. I wanted to be a doctor all my life I just about passed my A-levels after retaking 4 times! (lack of motivation and being lazy) and got into a science degree anyway twice only to drop out again because my parents told me so. Now, they put me in software engineering which I have no interest in despite passing first year. I am so unhappy but because I don’t want debt I am thinking of carrying on but I am being offered a position in human bio first year. I really want to pursue my dream seeing as I made so many damn mistakes. I really want to sort it out and not be seen as a failure in my family (everyone including my relatives regard me as a failure in science) but I know I can do it. Could someone please help! Thanks a lot.

        1. The reason why my parents want me as a doctor is because this world is money and money only. Mum told me that i need a good job for a good house. I said NO! passion is much more than stupid money. This world evolves around being greedy and having money

    8. Dont forget:
      5) lawyers or
      6) engineers

      when you cant get anywhere in the medical field, and degrees. Asian parents have a mania for degrees. Medical preferred of course, but anything below lawyers and engineers they imagine as an ungrateful slap in the face to them.

      And not pursuing a degree (even if for reasons like not having money or energy because you are working to get money, so you can get to a stable place) is absolute murder.

      On one side they claim that they dont want to see you suffer, while tormenting you mentally. Every. Chance. They. Get. Oh, and you cant point out the hypocrisy because that makes you “that ungrateful child tormenting the poor parents”

  212. Esther van der Wal

    Great one, Niall. Although my parents are very supportive, I still find myself worrying over their opinion (knowing where we disagree) and wanting to please them. Understanding is the hardest part: I badly want others to understand me, and most of all my parents.

    And I really love how you articulated your mission in life. Loyalty to the world at large. Good, good stuff!

    1. Thanks, Esther. I’m at pretty much the same place with my parents, disagreeing with them about a few things, but still wanting to please them. My dad, for example, doesn’t really get the whole veg diet thing, but he’s never put me down about it.


  213. As you already know, Niall, this is an issue I’ve been grappling with myself for the longest time, and this advice is a slap in the face no matter how many times I read it (and I mean that in a good way!). It’s something we all need to hear… we’re faced with a choice: we can either do as Mommy and Daddy want us to and forever wonder “what if,” or we can follow our own paths and find out.

    My personal experience is this: I have a thing for Russia. When I expressed interest in going to the Motherland, my mother, though she knew I’d been studying the language for close to a year, freaked out and informed me, “Nothing good ever came from THAT country.” Perhaps there’s a bit of old, Cold-War-era logic at play here, but the fact of the matter is this: My choices are to either to forget about going to Russia like she wants me to, or to go there anyway.

    I hate to admit that I chose the former the first time around. By no means is this an easy decision. But, I’m learning from my mistakes. I know that, when it comes time to apply for my university’s study abroad program, I won’t make the same mistake again. No matter how much I love my mother, I can’t spend my whole life catering to her.

    In short, every word in this post rings absolutely true. <3 Thank you so much for posting, Niall!

    1. Thank you, Natalia. I can only imagine how difficult such a situation is. Wishing you all the best as you work towards your dream, and I hope your mother will come around and see how much it means to you.

  214. This post just reminds me to be the best parent I can be, and to support my daughter in whatever (safe) endeavor she chooses.

    Thank you for bringing this subject to light!

      1. My parents doesn’t let me live my own life. They are always judgemental. They love my sister more than me. Whatever she says they take it right and whatever I say they feel its sis always try to rule my life. My parents always considered her to be right . All this is affecting my life career both. I dont want to live anymore. Somewhat I feel my sis hates me and she does all this out of jealousy.pls help

        1. Hey shrey, just out of curiosity , how old are you?
          I bet your sister is older than you and thats why you said what you said about your parents listening to what she says more.
          I understand where you’re coming from, dont think that they love her more than you, when it comes down to it , they love you both, in a few years each of you will be on your own and you wont have this “issue”.
          but untill then try to make the best out of it, become friends with your sister, and try to actually listen to what shes saying and whats the difference between what you’re saying, sometimes she might have a point and sometimes you might have a point… .
          stay strong , peace 😛

  215. Thanks for relaying the Coelho story. I’ve read The Alchemist several times and had no idea that his family actually had him committed for his writer aspirations. I’ve been fortunate to always have my mother’s support for my unorthodox approach to career and work, and I suppose my father as well. But as they (and I) get older I do wonder how my responsibility to take care of them in their later years will play out.

    1. Hey Vic, thanks for the comment. Yeah, that whole caretaking thing is tricky. Like I said, I’m very lucky in that I have two older brothers living very close to my parents, but I’m not sure I’d feel right if they were doing all the looking after while I was off gallivanting around the globe. I’ll have to see how it plays out when the time comes.

      1. Hey, everyone I am Akash Sehgal and I am 22 years old. I am from India. So lets jump to the point. I wanna be an actor but I can’t persue it right now because I have to take care of our family business and my dad because he’s fragile and business is slack. He needs my help at the moment, my support is all he has because of our financial crisis. If I won’t help we might get homeless and I don’t want that. My first task is financial stability. I wanna persue my dream afterwards because I also have nose allergy on the outer skin so I don’t look good. So to even cure it I need money. My only fear is I don’t wanna forget my dream and don’t want my life to end up here. I atleast wanna try. So any advice or wise words?

  216. After my father died nearly nine years ago, I became a quasi-parent to my much younger brother and sister. I plan on leaving the country within the next couple of years to pursue my newly found dream and am worried about leaving them and my mother. In fact, the reason I’m waiting as long as I am is because I refuse to leave without seeing my sister graduate high school. This places some odd constraints on me, as if doesn’t work well with the timing of my goals.

    As it is, I try to balance my goals with my family, all of whom are important to me. My mother is worried for the reasons stated in the article, but will eventually come around. Everyone else is for it. I suppose that in the end, my commitment to family is holding me back more than my mother usually does.

      1. Niall, I’ve spent YEARS trying to figure my life out, typically changing my mind every few weeks to every few months. I think I found my best path forward and am just trying to stick to it more than anything.

        1. yeah, you right Matt, I have the same problem too as you said, I have tried to figure out my dream but still, I don’t know what I should become. you know life tests and it never will stop from testing, but what you have to solve the problem and know what you want to be. I know family wants me to become a better person but what I want is a better career that makes me happy and to be interesting to work on my career.

      2. I don’t think it ever stops, man. There’s that saying that the price of getting what you want is getting what you wanted. Best we can do is take our best shot and enjoy the journey.

        1. Hey sir ,
          I live in a country where pursuing dreams are impossible and I wanna go to a country that is far away. My parent’s won’t let me accomplish my dream and won’t take me to UK. I wanna be a singer.

          1. Hey Aiman

            I actually have the same dream as you and the same problem but the thing is, I want to go to Korea when I am 18/19 and audition to become a singer but my mom won’t allow me to.

          2. I have a dream too and my dream is to become a professional soccer player I live in usa where I can achieve what I want but the problem s that my parents don’t like soccer and they want me to concentrate on my studies I’m only 16 and wanna achieve my goals but ma parents are a problem to me

          3. mum and dad won’t let me be a singer and an author they say I won’t make it that far. Normal me would take this to offence and let it weigh me down passionate me is laughing at what my parents are saying “Hey,you were 11 once you had crazy, passionable dreams but you didn’t follow them, mum your parents didn’t have the best lifestyle in mind for you but you were a good kid and where are you now. It’s not horrible but it’s not ideal eh’ now let me be who I am!!You will be proud one day I promise now let me grab that opportunity and fill my head with dreams then let me spill them out and have them take over my life!!” Good luck to everyone facing this problem, I have my life planned out in my head and I will show mum and dad. Anyone who puts me down can’t see the future. I hope you all go and follow your dreams and love what you do, I hope i will make it too. (I will also have two dogs and a cat later on since I’m not allowed any pets now.) When i get them publish you can read my books about following passions and dreams.

      3. Niall,
        What a great and refreshing blog to peruse at this point in my life. Simply Wonderful, Thank you!
        I was going to post a reply to others, but this one seems to be the one hitting closest to home. Especially, when you say:
        “If you want to truly honor your loved ones, go out in the world and live your absolute best and brightest, make the most of that gift your parents gave you.”

        You see, I am a daughter AND a single mother. My boys are now 22 and 18 yrs old, and it is time for me to follow my dreams and allow them to follow theirs (with my support, of course). My widowed mother, on the other hand, is 66 yrs old and I have lived with her for the past 3 1/2 years while I worked part-time and attended college full-time. Sidenote… I’m 40 years old.

        However, that is not stopping me from graduating with two Associate’s degrees and flying to India to teach English part-time. I feel this is the time for action.

        My plans/goals: Move to India, marry my Indian fiance, get TEFL certification, teach English part-time, maybe have 1 or 2 children, do humanitarian projects for others, live minimally and eco-friendly, etc, etc…

        Whatever happens, happens.

        I am going into this adventurous dream with open eyes and a big heart. I truly want to help people.

        Your blog posts inspire me much! I look forward to reading your book.

        Now… to transform and cram a 23 year Accumulation of Shit into 2 suitcases and a carry-on. Ackkk! Let’s see how “extreme-yet-practical” I can go.

        Thanks again!

        1. Wow, Sara. What a journey you’re on! If you find time when the dust settles you should consider sharing your story. I’m sure many people would find it inspirational.

          Good luck with the packing!

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