I was talking to my friend the other day.
Iris is Taiwanese but moved to Canada a few years before to give her two daughters a better home environment. She recently came back to Taiwan to teach Mandarin.
She isn’t young, and her age shows in her weathered features.
But she’s a very friendly person and I count her as one of my treasured friends here.
I usually complain to her about my life’s complications (and heck, there are many), but this time, it was her turn to say something.
Her face was sad.
“My 24-year old daughter wants to join the (Canadian) army,” she said. “I do not agree… I am afraid that she may be sent to a dangerous place like Afghanistan or Iraq.”
Like any good mother, Iris is concerned about her daughter’s well-being.
“I asked one of my Canadian students the other day. I asked her what she thought about daughters joining the army,” she continued. “Her face scrunched up and she’s like, ‘That’s crazy.”
“I don’t agree with my daughter’s decision,” she sadly said. “I don’t want her to go to the army. But she is stubborn and she wants to. When she was 18, she wanted to enlist but I told her for once in my life that I don’t want her to enlist.”
And like any mother experiencing frustration with her daughter, Iris exclaims, “But now, she’s going to do it. I can’t stop her. She knows I disapprove but if I talk to her about it, she thinks I’m a nag and she hangs up the phone. Then I can’t reach her for days! That’s my daughter and as a mother, I don’t want us to have a bad relationship...”
Looking at her face and seeing her eyes tear up, I felt bad for Iris.
She’s experiencing what mothers since time immemorial are experiencing — they love their children so much that they sacrifice so much for their child, only to find that their love goes unappreciated and their children treat them badly.
How do I know?
To a lesser degree, I’m like that too.
My mom is probably one of the best moms ever, no holds barred when it comes to loving her husband and two children.
And yet, there are tons of time that her kind/warm gestures remain unappreciated, bringing much truth to the saying, “You can’t really respect a person who bends their back over to please you.”
Dozens of people asked why the heck would their partners/spouses leave them when all they did was do everything to please them?
Because you do EVERYTHING for them at your expense (and self-respect), how can you expect them to respect and love you in return?
Have you ever been pursued by a man who’d declare his undying love for you, give you all the expensive gifts you want and just did everything for you?
You had no doubts whatsoever about his love and you know despite whatever sh*t you throw at him, he’ll still accept it with willing arms because he’s so in love with you?
Can you ever respect a man like that?
No matter how good you know they have been treating you, you can’t appreciate it.
Because people can’t appreciate a good thing unless they lose it… and you know that no matter how badly you treat them, since they love you, they’ll still take it.
It’s hard to respect people with no boundaries.
And parents usually have very flexible boundaries when it comes to their kids. Iris’ daughter had her eating at the palm of her hand!
If it was my father, heck, I can never EVER hang up on him… I know that despite his immense love for me, all these will disappear once he decides that I don’t respect him and I’m not worthy of such love.
That’s what he did to my half-siblings… when my brother ran away for two years, my father just looked at the farewell note, turned his head in indifference and didn’t talk to my brother for those two years.
When my sister married someone he didn’t approve of, it took them 8 years to even start communicating with each other.
His attitude is: “You don’t want me, tough.”
Oh, you can’t treat my dad like crap and expect him to just take it in silence.
It’s true what they say, the opposite of love is indifference and you can see how my dad can be indifferent to someone, even if it’s his own flesh and blood.
Shrug, at least, it ensures he gets respect.
But with Iris, it’s the complete opposite.
Fragile as she is, even if her daughter turns away from her, she still continues to keep in contact and try to follow what her daughter says so to continue whatever contact they may have.
“She knows that she has me wrapped around her little finger,” she sadly concludes.
I told her, “She doesn’t respect you. If you want respect, you’d have to change on how you react to her. If you let her get away with it, she’ll continue to predictably treat you this way.If you want her to change, you’d have to be strong enough to change yourself and build healthy boundaries.”
“But I love her, I don’t really have the strength,” Iris insisted.
“Then expect her to treat you the same way she is treating you now for years to come,” I said. “If you want respect, you’d have to act as if you don’t need it and you can walk away if they don’t give you the respect you demand. Only then can you get respect.”
People can be so predictable.
Before you can love, there must be respect. But how can you respect someone if they don’t respect themselves.
Ah, the curse of most parents out there…
Just some shout-outs:
* What my friend told me the other day made me smile: “You’re a very special girl, but I guess you know that already. Guys here don’t deserve you, they can’t even keep up with you!”
Thanks B for making my day!
* Current state of being: Numb.
Numb from all the deadlines of work (this week’s just packed) and from how my relationship with my ex has moved to a state that I do not like or approve of. I don’t feel that I’m being respected and I can’t handle that. I don’t want to be with a man who does not respect me, when I know I deserve that respect.
Finally, the indecisive girl decides… and there’ll be a change from now on.
* Starbucks birthday today so they’re giving away free cup of joes. I found out AFTER I bought my cup of coffee elsewhere. This sucks. But if you haven’t gotten yours yet, go and get it! 🙂
* Relationship guru Mike is still mad at me for standing him up (I couldn’t wake up on time) two Sundays ago. He’s a volunteer tour guide at the National Palace Museum and despite knowing him for over 2 years, I’ve never been. Anyway, long story but he’s very disappointed in me and we haven’t talked for over a week (long for both of us).
Sigh, I need to apologize again soon… 🙁
* AmCham (American Chamber of Commerce) is approaching me and my company, inviting them to join their group. I believe application fees are NT$1,000 to process, and NT$9,000 per annum for a yuppie like me. My only concern is, why do I need to pay that amount of money to join Amcham? Aside from the free magazine and discounts, what type of benefits do members get? NT$9,000 per annum is quite steep.
* Dinner with Aussie guy tonight! Hope it finally works out this time and he doesn’t cancel or there’ll be hell to pay! 🙂
* Hahaha, was just talking to my good friend Dave last night. He’s in Shanghai right now. Always fun to talk to him. He asked, “How does it feel to have an ultra-popular (ex)boyfriend?” My ex you see, knows quite a bit of the expat and ABC community in Taiwan.
“Well, it doesn’t really bother me ’cause am popular myself,” I said. “It’s just a hassle to date someone new because he knows everyone. It’s weird for me to date someone he personally knows.”
“But,” I continued optimistically, “Hard to believe but at least he doesn’t really know the guys I’m dating right now, so that’s good…”
C’est la vie!