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Does anyone else still struggle with extreme childhood (and existing) parental pressures to succeed?

Hey everyone, just thought I'd start this thread seeing as it's been on my mind a lot lately and I'm sure many people on here relate.

I've long been aware of the repercussions of extremely success-hungry parents, whether it be academic, reputational, money-related etc. yet I still feel like it's a hurdle I've never been able to overcome. Growing up in a family that prioritised "perceived success" (when others view you as successful) over anything else was incredibly damaging to my self esteem and identity, and I still find myself in the clutches of 'caring too much about what others think', seeking validation and approval constantly, grossly undervaluing my worth and being ultra-unforgiving towards myself. 

It's ironic because as much as I advocate for everyone to find their own path, passion and to practice self-love and self-care, these standards and unconditional love somehow don't apply to myself. I recently identified how much I use denial as a defense mechanism to broach my negative emotions, because in my little brainwashed head I just never feel good enough, or worthy enough of attention or care. I think there is a greater irony and frustration in being hyper-aware of my formative years and subsequent personality traits (with the help of therapy), but still feeling like I have no real control over it. That, coupled with the feeling that depression has robbed me of many years has led me to feeling like I'm a perpetual failure that is behind in life compared to everyone else (which I know is just my brain catastrophising and being dramatic).

Anyway, before this goes on for too long,
TLDR; Does anyone else still struggle with extreme childhood (and existing) parental pressures to succeed? How do you think this has affected you into adolescence/ adulthood?

If this was a past struggle I'd love to hear stories of how you managed to climb out of the deep deep ditch of despair Smiley Happy


Re: Does anyone else still struggle with extreme childhood (and existing) parental pressures to succ

Hey @Gbear 

Thanks for making this thread and for sharing your experiences, I think this is something a lot of people can relate to and they will appreciate hearing your thoughts and having the space to share their own Heart

I think something that helped me when I felt pressured by the adults in my life, was the realisation that they are all humans just like me - and they don't really know what they're doing either, we're all just making it up as we go. And we're also all separate humans who need to form our own values. I really like the phrase "Comparison is the thief of joy" and I try to think about this whenever I find myself comparing my successes to others. Is there anything you've found that helps you @Gbear when you're really feeling this pressure?

It's so lovely to read how passionate you are about advocating for others, self-care and unconditional love, is there anything that helps you to turn this inwards? Like asking yourself, "what would I say to a friend if they were in my situation"?

 

Keen to hear your and others thoughts on this Heart

Re: Does anyone else still struggle with extreme childhood (and existing) parental pressures to succ

@Gbear thank you for being willing to share your experience. I have in the past experienced extreme pressure from my parents. I can empathise with still clutching to needing everyone else's approval and I think for me personally some their pressure became internalised and I started to put a toxic amount of pressure on myself despite my parents seeing the effect and stopping. I can also relate to the denial as a defence mechanism I used to do this a lot. For me what helped the most was to start slowly breaking down all the thoughts that came with the pressure. With mindfulness to gain self-awareness and to slowly take action based on what I needed rather what everyone expected of me. 
I hope that you can find a way to advocate for yourself like you do others, for me that started through pretending I was advocating to my younger self and subconsciously changes were made.

Re: Does anyone else still struggle with extreme childhood (and existing) parental pressures to succ

Parental expectations can be so hard to deal with @Gbear. Smiley Sad You're definitely not alone. I have and still go through similar in my own life. It can feel like nothing is ever good enough for my parents.
I think that a lot of parents feel as though they have to live through their children and feel as though they have to compete with other parents to have the 'best' kids, at least that's what it feels like with my parents. I think it is important to remember that each generation goes through different experiences. How my parents found success many years ago isn't necessarily the path that people my age take. In fact, a lot of career-related things were much easier in my parents' time. That isn't to say that they didn't have their own struggles, but sometimes I try to remind my parents of this. I also try to think of positive things, or things that I like about myself, when I feel as though I'm being criticised.

Re: Does anyone else still struggle with extreme childhood (and existing) parental pressures to succ

My parents don’t really pressure me to get good grades. Having said that, they always try to pressure me into things that I don't want to do, making me feel like my parents don’t understand me. So, yes, I can totally relate to what you talk about Robot Frustrated .

 

I understand that it is for my own good, and that my parents do not want me to be where they were at my age but to reach my highest best. But I think this affects me overall, like, on the one hand, I always fear I might make bad decisions, upset someone and not meet the expectations of others, on the other, I sometimes do something that I know my parents/friends don't particularly like, trying to get that feeling of control back Robot Embarassed .

 

One of my best friends recently said that I didn’t ever open up to her, and that the fact that I kept things from her hurt her a lot… I have started to rethink myself and my decisions, and this leads me into becoming upset. I told this friend of mine that I didn’t want to burden others with my problems and therefore seldom told anyone how I felt. (Sometimes, I feel embarrassed about what I said to someone about myself and my family. I am afraid people might think I am stupid and boring, like I am still dependent on my parents, or they make decisions for me because they think I’m a failure and know what's best for me…Robot Sad).

 

Seriously, I have no idea how to deal with this. Some of my best friends said something like, “Move away from your parents” and “Try to have more confidence in yourself and be positive”, But, again, that’s easier said than done… Smiley LOL

 

Re: Does anyone else still struggle with extreme childhood (and existing) parental pressures to succ

That sounds like really tough @new1234567, I am sorry that you feel pressured to meet the expectations of others at times. It also sounds like things are a bit difficult with your friends at the moment too, which sucks. It must be hard to not feel like you can talk to them about how you have been feeling. It can be so helpful to have someone to talk to at times when we are upset or concerned about something. Do you have anyone that you feel comfortable talking to about how you have been feeling? Heart

Re: Does anyone else still struggle with extreme childhood (and existing) parental pressures to succ

Hi @Gbear! How are you going today?