I get triggered by my parents, but I’ve learnt to deal
My Mum, who’s in her 60’s, has asked for help with a number of things during this lockdown. Sometimes the requests seem reasonable to me but the last thing that bugged me was when she asked me to help her come up with an excuse to allow her to travel further than what’s allowed under COVID-19 restrictions. I shut down the idea straight away but was frustrated that she would even ask something like that. I thought to myself “Here’s another perk of dealing with an Asian parent.” It triggered feelings from every other time in my life when I felt shit from an interaction with my parents. Thing is, after all these years I’ve added some coping strategies to my tool belt for situations like this, whether it’s annoying tech support or being berated with unfair criticism. Here are some that have been helpful:
If this is possible, separating ourselves from the interaction can avoid us feeling worse and sometimes prevent a blow-up. As a teen, I would just walk off but during the uni days I’d say “Sorry Mum, can you please give me half an hour? I just need to get a bit of work done first.” I’d then go to my room and close the door.
Even after leaving the interaction, we’re probably still feeling frustrated, down or guilty. Sometimes it’s helpful to remind ourselves what is/isn’t our responsibility and what we do/don’t have control over. If we really can’t leave the interaction, there are times where we have to say to ourselves “I don’t agree with what they’re saying, but I’m not going to let them upset me. I’ll just nod, then go on with doing what I want to do.”
You’ve probably seen lists of ways to calm down, from deep breathing to muscle relaxation. Try them out and see which work for you. If needed, practice them with guidance from someone else to train your body to calm.
Sometimes just writing down what’s happening, what I’m thinking and what I’m feeling for a while helps put things in perspective and with getting the emotions out.
Speaking with someone
Talking with someone who might understand or who is a good listener does wonders. I often feel listened to and understood, which then makes me feel less alone and crazy.
Do something you enjoy
Sometimes I just need to do something for me and something that I find enjoyable. For me, the go-to activity is watching something funny on my computer. For you, it might be the same or it might be sport, music, video games or something else.
Note: This is only general guidance and is not a substitute for professional support. If you are in crisis, please contact Lifeline on 13 11 14