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Date of last update: 8/24/2017.

Forum Name: Psychiatric Topics

Question: Family in a lot of chaos at the moment, need analysis.

 ultima0chaotic - Wed Aug 11, 2010 9:05 am


I'm a 21 year old male and my family is going through a lot of turbulence right now.

The jist:
-I took nursing in university to please my parents, they told me I can take anything, but I know they would be happier if one of their kids, especially me being the eldest, would go into the medical field. I convinced myself nursing is the way to go, plus it pays big bucks, I feel like I did it all for the wrong reasons.

-I almost failed first year, but just passed. Second year, not so lucky as I failed one mandatory course. I found that as a sign to finally stop trying to bury my passion (Art) and that I should pursue it.

-I found out results of second year about 2 months ago and have been holding it in until now. It feels a lot lighter within me and it feels much better, but now the turmoil begins.

-I first informed my aunt who was visiting from another country because I did not know how to handle my parents and I did not know who to turn to. She told my mom, mom got upset, mom told dad, dad got upset.

-After discussing initially, dad wants me to continue nursing, but that would make me sad because going to nursing for those two years felt like hell to me and I regret taking it in the first place just so they can be proud of me.

-Mom is reacting terribly. This morning she drove out really early to work and is being minimal with her conversations with everyone. She is currently ignoring my attempts to communicate with her.

-I told them that I would work to pay for my own tuition if I switch to the course I want to take, but right now they can't hear, let alone understand my reasons. They say they want me to grow up and I feel like this is a chance I can be an adult by trying to be a lot more independent. My dad says that continuing nursing is the only option that's acceptable to them and that they will support me if I do that. I have no reason to go back, I have nothing to fight for except for the degree and title at the end of the ordeal. Plus, it's too late for this year, so I will have to retake it next year and that will be another 4 years, starting this year. I wanna get started on straightening out my life ASAP and I feel like this nursing thing is a giant road-block.

For the past 5 years, starting in grade 10 highschool, my mental state hasn't been at its best, because I feel pressured to do something my parents would like me to do. Hiding the fact that I failed for 2 months and only now coming out with it, it felt good unloading and finally telling the truth. My parents can not see my reasoning though and my dad told me I was just being lazy, distracted and didn't give it my best and he feels that me wanting to switch courses is just a big excuse. What he doesn't know though, is that I did try my best and how much staying in college away from home while studying something I do not like at all, is slowly grinding away at my very being. I don't know if I can handle going back. On the other hand, if I don't go back, I will be very worried for my mother's well-being, although we haven't spoken yet since my confession.

That's it. I don't know what to do from here. It's very difficult for me. If someone could please analyze and give advice, I would greatly appreciate it.
 Faye Lang, RN, MSW - Wed Aug 11, 2010 9:12 pm

Hello ultimaOchaotic,

Family systems are definitely complex. While our parents usually want what is best for us, sometimes their idea of "best" just isn't a good match for the reality of "us." The family norms may have a long history of parental involvement in the life choices of their children, based on cultural norms. Professions such as nursing are seen as respectable, stable professions, while art professions frequently aren't recognized as contributing to society.

For a relative to break a confidence without a person's consent is not a sign of a healthy family system. A parent's refusal to communicate until the child cooperates is simply manipulation and an attempt to control. Healthy families discuss issues openly. When a 21-year-old person is willing to pay their own way and pursue their chosen profession, that implies adulthood. A parental labeling of such a plan as a need to grow up infers the need to control, even though wanting the best for the child.

Have you discussed this issue with your student counselor or your professors? If you are not doing well in your classes, they may well be willing to state that nursing is not the best match for your talents. Such a statement might go a long way in dissuading your parents from trying to force you to continue the program. Separation from one's parents' wishes is often not easy, but can be a sign of taking responsiblity for oneself. If one is certain, there is no need for argument; rather, one proceeds, and if one fails, one takes full responsibility for it. If you are comfortable doing that, your parents will likely eventually come around.

I hope this helps. Let me know how it turns out.

Good luck to you.

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