The older I get the more I feel distance towards my parents. We live in two different worlds, on different continents. When I was very small my parents loved me so much, but when I turned 14 they sent me off to work in another city, and when I turned 16 they sent me off to work to another country. Since then we don't really talk or communicate.
They waited and waited for me to send them money that's the reason why I had to stop school and start working full time. I feel like they give birth to me so that I can be their insurance when they are old. Now after 17 years living apart from them, I feel like I am the one who abandoned them. It seems that what makes them happy is if I go back to the village and live there and be company for them until they die. But I have my own life now and my own family.
I call them once a week and am feeling disconnected. I moved forward with my life and they are stuck there without progress, doing the same thing just like when I was small and still waiting for me to send them money monthly. I give them money to make me feel less guilty. But why do I feel guilty when in the first place they are the ones who sent me off to work abroad? I give them a lot of money so that they live a comfortable life and they have a better life because of that.
You should not feel guilty!!! There are a lot of people out there like you! You are right to take care of your family(children & spouse). Please put you and your family first. Sometimes the way we were raised leads us to think that the hard and abandoned life that was taught to us seems normal. Not even close!! To let you know that you are not alone, and maybe taking some of that money to see a therapist.
Yoru parents are so wrong to do this to you. First off it is not up to you to support them and keep them in a lifestyle they want to live. I use to help my mom out after my dad died but then realized that all the money I gave her to live on was being wasted on trips and taking people with her. One day I had to say enough was enough and stop. She has plenty of money to live on and I do not need to make her life any better than it already is.
A lot of change within yourself and reflecting on what has gone down makes you question their love for you now. Did you consider speaking with them about how this has made you feel through the passing years? Your parents will always be your parents; they may have sacrificed for your happiness and future while you were in their care.
Going to distant places or furthering the distance between parents/child must be for a good reason....I'd be curious enough to want to get that answered and find some peace about it and there's no better place to begin than with those from whence it came; your parents. It will have more enlightenment shed on the situation than what you know now and possibly have come to a better understanding of where their actions came from and why you perceive what you feel in the now.
Open up a channel of communication and what have you got to lose, but fear maybe instilled by you that you're loved less by them. I don't know your ethnic background of beliefs, but maybe that is what creates the separation.
Your parents may feel they gave up a lot and sacrificed for you
to have better and now feel it's time for you to show that care and love returned and they know you care for them. Money doesn't buy love, respect or one's time. What it does buy is comfort living, food/clothing, meeting a need or two.
Giving of one's self is love which you show your parents via calling them to talk, sending them "help" money for their needs and letting them know they are a part of your life still. If they haven't shown you anything that shouts out LOVE, then the problem lies within themselves. Get that conversation started and get to the bottom of the matter. Let them know how you have been feeling too. I wish you great success.
I do not believe that you are American. This is very much a frowned-upon behaviour in the US and other 'Western' nations I believe, but it is very much a cultural expectation in the East and elsewhere.
THe question would be, what do you owe your parents?
Well, the obvious answer is, your life.
And a follow-up question is, how much do you value that? IE, how grateful are you for it? And at what point can you stop paying this debt of gratitude?
The short answer is, whenever you like. Whenever you like you can just cut them off, in the same way that many parents walk out on their kids and leave them to their fates.
What is clear though is that your parents are emotionally and culturally incapable, it sounds like, from having a relationship with you beyond ATM, which ironically is what happens to many parents of affluent Westerners - their kids learn to value them as nothing more than ATMs
You may live in the United States or another part of the world but It is very clear that your parents do not live in America so it is difficult to offer advise because most responders will be speaking from a point of view that may not relate to you and your parent's culture.
It is clear that over the years you have moved away from just 'accepting' the responsibility of taking care of your parents.
Now you have to decide how you will feel if you decide to stop sending money as this seems to be what is expected of you from your parents point of view.
Do your parents live in an area that provides for families that have no means of support? Since they are probably seniors and may not be able to work (is work available for them?) this may prove very hard for you if you know they are living in poor conditions.
No one knows what your financial situation is so only you can decide if you can afford to send money or if it is putting you in a difficult position with your family. We all know that everyone can use more money so that is not the question.
It seems plain that you and your parents have never been close and that will probably never be mended so the only question that I can see is whether you should continue to send money for their support.
I would hope that you know how much money they need for living expenses and there should be no need for money to go for other than safe housing and healthy food.
You should know that you are not the only one that does this sort of thing as I know several people who still send money 'back home' to help their families have a better life style.
Perhaps this should be a family discussion but whatever decision you make, you should do it in a manner that sets you free of guilt or regret if your parents have problems later on.
If you have children then THEY are your principal concern now. There will be no shortage of reasons to 'feel' guilty in life. Did you catch that? You will 'feel' many things. So you must decide what you lift up and bear in life. There will be no shortage of things you will HAVE TO BEAR up and carry. Don't clutter the load. Sounds like your parents are good simple folk from a good simple world. What they are doing is customary for their culture. Be the person you are proud of and they will be proud. Love them and respect them for who they are, unselfishly. Because you were born with a straight spine life will try to bend it. Often much of it with your permission. Best luck to you.
By the time your child has become an adult, they can become your friend. You want to be able to show your love, and be an ear for their important life decisions. This page is about being a parent to adult children.