“My parents were not bad parents, but they weren’t perfect either. I started realizing it when I entered college and lived separated from them for the first time in my life.
My mother controlled my every little life choice. From clothes I can wear, how I should behave, what I should become, what I should learn—everything. I should become a doctor to continue her dream. I should not say ‘Can you please,’ to the waiter in the restaurant because it’s their job to serve us. I should focus on studying the really important subjects like math or science because art and music are useless for my future. I should not get too serious with mere hobbies because studying is all I must do. I should not get angry or sad or emotional. I should not go out with my friends because kids do not make real friends and people cannot be trusted and there is no such thing as a friendship based on personality.
My life always revolved around my mom and I had always thought it was normal. That everyone else went through the same thing. Then I went to college and lived separated from my parents for the first time and I felt so out of place.
I never knew people can make their own choices. My female classmates choose and buy their own clothes and make-up. My male classmates invited each other to a game of football or made a band. They made friends and hung out. They joked with each other, got into arguments with their friends, made up. They were full of life and emotions. On the other hand, finally out of my mom’s scrutinizing eyes, I felt at a loss. I did not have any hobbies. I could not make any friends. I did not have any particular interests in pretty much anything. I did not know how normal people interact.
I was the weird girl in my year. Always quiet and alone and almost expressionless. And my study was not any good. I had barely any interest in learning medicine and without anyone pointing out what I should learn or not, I could not learn a single thing. I fell behind on my study and soon fell into depression. I grew a huge trust issue with everyone. I had anxiety about learning something new or meeting new people or trying out new things because I always feel like I am going to fail and disappoint people. I developed anxiety-induced procrastination.
It took me years of observing people to learn that I was also allowed to be happy and sad and angry, that I can make my own choice without needing my parents’ consent for every single thing, that I can say no to things I do not like, that I do not have to make a huge number of friends but only a few of very close friends are enough, that real friendships do exist.
My mom isn’t a bad person or a bad parent. She only wanted what’s best for me, but one thing every parent should know is to teach your child the skill to hunt rather than giving them the meat. Children will grow and they will need to learn to be self-sufficient. Remember that your child won’t be a kid forever.”