by HANAKO 花子

Being the only child would usually result in your parents over pampering you, but that’s not my experience. I am from a typical Asian family and my mother is a so-called ‘Tiger Mom’. She is strict and only provides me with the best. I suppose that is the reason why she could not accept anything but the best from me.

I am extremely grateful for her strict teachings and guidelines, but sometimes she can be really overwhelming. I must follow her ways, well, most of the time… Up until high school, I had never said no to my mother. If she asked me to take up an extracurricular activity, I have no say in it, even if I don’t like it. This kind of became my habit and it is a bad one.

I accepted a proposal and finally have my first boyfriend. His presence is comforting to me but every time we separate, problems arise. I would ask him extra questions to reassure my doubting mind and he would get annoyed, mad, pissed off at me. This was not what I want in a relationship. However, I continued to hold on and I began to compromise with his attitude.

Ask less questions. Stop doubting me. Even if you don’t want me to go out, I will still do it. But you can’t go out when I say no to you. I am going to ignore you for several days, and if you make a big fuss out of it I am going to break up with you.

Unhealthy relationship. Unhealthy ways of communicating. Unhealthy mindset.

This poses a threat to my mental health. I had tried my best to speak my mind but it always, always ends up badly. So, I gave up. I minimised the need of voicing my thoughts and letting my voice be heard so that I could avoid troubles.

It was never a good feeling. I felt as if I had buried a part of me to make other people happy, but I am weak. And I don’t think that I can take other people shouting and getting mad at me even if it wasn’t even my fault anymore.

Hanako has submitted this piece using a pseudonym.

Story image: ‘Control’ by Aftab Uzzaman on Flickr.

If you are experiencing abuse or violence in your relationship, there are resources available to you. For a list of resources and services, contact 1800 RESPECT (1800 737 732 /

If you are experiencing depression and anxiety, please reach out to the University of Newcastle’s free counselling service, or call Lifeline (13 11 14). In an emergency, always call triple zero (000).