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Let me preface by saying I'm not entirely sure if I'm asking this in the right place and I'm very emotional right now, I apologize if my post is in disarray or if this question is not within scope of this site - I hope you will all understand.

I am 22 years old, I graduated from college 5 months ago, and I'm currently working. For several months, I've been planning with my twin sister and several of my friends to move out and live in a rented house. We recently got approved for a house and signed the contract so my sister and I broke the news to our parents. My dad has been silent but my mom is incredibly upset, and I'm afraid we're permanently damaging our relationship with her.

To give further background, I am first generation Asian-American. No one in my extended family has ever moved out of the house. All my cousins live at home - even if they go to college away from home, they'll move back in immediately and won't leave until they get married; I have two uncles who still live with my grandmother. So, one of my mom's main grievances is that I don't care about my family anymore and that I value my friends over my family. She also thinks our living arrangement will be awful because there's going to be 5 girls in one house and we're gonna ruin our relationship with our friends.

Her second grievance is that she thinks I'm ruining my financial standings by moving out. I make roughly $70K a year and I have roughly $17K in savings. I do not have a car right now and I will need to buy one when I move out. The rent I'll be paying will be $100 more than what I'm paying my parents right now. She thinks that I am making a mistake by not staying at home and saving money, which to be fair, yes, I understand that it would be technically cheaper to live at home especially since I'm lucky enough that my parents feed me, do my laundry, and pay for utilities.

My motives for moving out seem very Western, but I just want to be independent and not treated like a child. I still have curfews and all my actions at home are scrutinized and monitored, and I just feel like I can't be my true self while living at home. I don't hate my family and I have no intentions of abandoning them; I'm not moving that far away from home and still want a relationship with my parents after moving out. I know that I'll have to grow up by managing my finances carefully, cook for myself, take care of myself etc etc.

I guess my question is how can I communicate to my parents my motives and help them cope with the idea of me moving out? Considering my background, is it really so wrong for me to want to move out? Am I really not in a situation to be moving out? Am I really such a terrible daughter for wanting to move out? I'm sorry, I'm just so terribly upset - I technically wasn't the one who broke the news to my parents but my sister; I was taking a nap and had awoken when I heard my mom scream at the top of her lungs that she would kill herself and I'm worried that my decisions are hurting her and that I'm an awful person for doing this.

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My best friend is Korean, and over the past 15 years I've watched him sacrifice his happiness time and time again in order to make his family proud, or happy.

Coming from a completely different culture and upbringing (my father is super-independent, and encouraged me to be the same), I just could not comprehend why he was putting himself through all those things - going into medicine, which he hated, instead of engineering, because his mother thought that profession was more prestigious, for example. That was a major life choice which he regretted for years, especially when he ended up dropping out because he was hating every minute of it. It put his education and finances in a terrible situation for a very long time.

Sadly, many years later the conclusion he's come to is that devotion to family and tradition has to be moderated. Did it hurt his relationship with his family when he started pushing back? It did, but eventually they just accepted that that's how things are going to be.

Allowing others to make your decisions for you does not end well. We only live once, and it's a terrible thing to look back on the past decade of your life and wish you could do it again.

You're a young adult, you make good money, and you want to experience life. There is nothing wrong with that. Your family is used to abiding by certain traditions, and they are certainly important, however, emotional guilt tripping, and attempting to control your life is not.

Have a frank talk with your mother. Explain that you love her, and she can count on you to be responsible, but that you are not her. You did not grow up in the same environment, did not suffer the same hardships, and are experiencing completely different opportunities than she ever did.

Sad as it is to phrase it in this manner, if your mother is mature enough she will understand, and get over her distress. If the guilt tripping escalates, then simply imagine what your life would be like a decade from now, having remained her ever obedient daughter. Would you regret not having taken control of your own destiny and lived a little?

Best of luck, and I hope that your mother comes around.

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    thank you very much for sharing your friend's story, it's very much a common anecdote among Asian Americans. My friends share the same sentiment that it's my life and my mom shouldn't be guilt tripping me. However, I'm still struggling to preserve my family's happiness by abiding to culture. After a long, calm, tearful discussion with my dad, I'll be working to find a middle ground that will make both my mom and I happy. – Tracy Nguyen Oct 21 '17 at 22:53
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Any parent wants to do the best for their children, so excluding selfish reasons for them to want you at home (sure, there will be some - especially if tradition says that family members do not move out...they may face some reputational cost) they probably feel that with you at home they can help:

  • protect you financially
  • be there to comfort you when needed
  • protect you physically
  • provide food
  • provide accommodation
  • guide your behaviour down a "good" route

If this is how the family has always done things, they will be rather afraid of what may happen to you out in the big world, so while they may not want to listen, it is worth explaining your needs in terms that also give them some comfort that you will be safe, secure and behave "correctly."

But at the end of the day, you are an adult and can make your own decisions. If they are set against you becoming independent, you will need to weigh up the pros and cons of possibly alienating your parents - that can be a tricky relationship to rebuild if you break it completely!

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    I agree with you completely. While I was talking with my dad today, he highlighted everything you said, that as his child he only wants to care for me and make sure I'm safe. Ultimately, my parent's compromise that I should wait another year to move out so that they can emotionally prepare and teach me things about the real world so that I'm even more prepared when I do officially move out. In the mean while, I'm discussing with them about finding a middle ground, especially since I already paid the lease for the house. – Tracy Nguyen Oct 21 '17 at 22:55
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how can I communicate to my parents my motives and help them cope with the idea of me moving out?

You can't reason someone out of something they didn't reason anyone in to.

You are not responsible for how your parents respond to your choices.

You explain, once, why you are doing what you are doing, then declare the topic closed and off limits. If they try to bring it up again, tell them to knock it off. Walk away if you must. They don't have a right to berate or harass you over a perfectly valid choice.

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