5 Steps to Having a Better Relationship With Your Asian Parent (Part 5 of 5) - (3 minute read)

 

Although the title of this series is "5 Steps to Having a Better Relationship With Your Asian Parent," it really isn't about steps. 

Just because you've completed some steps doesn't mean you get your reward. It's not a recipe where you get to have your cake and eat it too. 

**Click Below To Listen** 


Click for Step 1 (Why?)
Click for Step 2 (What?)
Click for Step 3 (How?)
Click for Step 4 (When?)

The journey to improving any connection with another is actually a cycle. And at the end of the first cycle, you need to reassess, take a look at who you are and do some self-reflection before you start your second cycle. 


Personally, I've been on this journey to improve my relationship with my dad for over 5 years and I'm still on it. 

A few months ago, I'm in my car about to leave an off-site meeting to go back to the office. 

My phone 'pings.' I want to check it but I don't. My mind is wondering who the email is from when I begin backing out of the parking spot.  All of a sudden, I hear a loud screeching sound.


The entire left door of my car was crushed against a cement beam. The side mirror is a dangling mess.


I jump out and drop some muted f-bombs (you know, the ones where your top teeth almost bite off your bottom lip?). 

I pick up the pieces of my mirror, put it in a plastic bag, chuck it in the trunk and then I'm off.


That evening when I go pick up my daughter from my parents, I sheepishly park on the street instead of in their driveway so that they could only see the right side of my car. 

I didn't want my dad to see the damage. I felt like a scared teenager who had scratched her parent's fancy car while doing a joy ride, trying to impress some cool kids. 

I wanted to hide this from him. Why? It's not like I damaged his car and it's not like he has to pay for the repairs. do. I'm the responsible adult who needs to deal with this. I mean I'm a parent myself!


When I get home, my husband asks me how my day was. 


I give him the cold shoulder and bark, "I had a bad day. It was a bad day, okay?"


I felt like shit. I was angry, disappointed, embarrassed and ashamed of myself. 


I didn't want to tell my husband. And the more he asked why I was giving him attitude, the more I wanted to pick a fight with him. 

Why? It's not like he hasn't had a fender bender himself. I trust that he's not going to judge me. Our marriage is based on trust! Besides, this shit happens! 


So why did I feel like such a failure? Instead of starting a fight and blowing up at my husband, I did some self-reflection.

Growing up, my dad often made comments about women being bad drivers. For instance, if I was in the car with him and a female driver cut him off, he would make a snide remark about her driving skills; whereas, if it was a male, he would say that the guy's an asshole.

I remember one time (I think I was 14) when my mom was picking me up from a piano lesson, she accidentally scratched her car. She told me not to tell my dad because he would get mad at her. She then tried to cover up the scratch with nail polish. 


Somehow my dad found out and made a big fuss about it. He asked blame-filled questions that made her feel like crap. 

"How could you not have seen the wall? Did you not fix your mirrors? Were you even paying attention?"
So that was why I was feeling sick to my stomach when I came home that night. I presumed that my husband would treat me the way my dad treated my mom. 

I realized that the experiences I had witnessed between my parents as a child influenced who I am today and how I treat other people. 

Therefore, at that moment, I decided to change my history; I will not lie like my mom and hide my mistakes. My husband will not react like my dad and berate me like a child. My daughter will not witness us arguing about this.  


So instead of starting a fight, I figured out who I was and told him why I felt ashamed to talk about the car. And I would not have been able to tell this story if I had not taken the first step to understanding why I needed to improve my relationship with my parents. 


The final step of this series is about discovering Who you are, taking what you've learned in steps 1 through 4 and applying it so you have a better understanding of yourself and how you interact with others.

Because at the end of the day, no matter how hard you try to tell yourself you are not your parents, there is an element of who they are in you. And going through the steps, again and again, will help you figure who you are, making you a more self-aware, better human being.


Click for Step 1 (Why?)
Click for Step 2 (What?)
Click for Step 3 (How?)
Click for Step 4 (When?)

So Readers, what elements of your parents do you see in yourself? Are there things you would like to change?


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