Rant

Oct. 25th, 2009 04:18 pm
fersakyn: (sad kitty)
[personal profile] fersakyn


And so I received two job offers from the two universities in Taiwan to which I applied. I accepted the one located in Taipei because I don't want to live in the middle of nowhere when I have a choice (the other university is considered more prestigious in Taiwan but it's one of those "revolving door" places: people just keep going in and coming right back out; most people don't want to live there). I was excited and scared and worried, but fairly at ease with my decision.

Then my cage got rattled.

The chair of the department of the university I turned down called me personally to ask me to reconsider. She listed all the benefits that she thought I might not have considered, blah, blah, blah. I thought, okay, maybe I should think more carefully. Stupidly, because of feeling a bit rattled (it's a big decision after all -- my first assistant prof gig!), I told my mom about the call. She WOULD NOT STOP harassing me about it for four days! It was four days of how I need to take the other position, there's faculty housing, blah, blah, blah. She called up her friend to get her to convince me to take the other job. (Her friend pointed out a few pros and cons, but didn't say that I should take one over the other.) Yes, stupid am I. I should've just remembered my first game plan: don't tell my mom anything -- just present situations to her as fait accompli.

After that little fracas, when I finally put my foot down and told her that I was not going to change my mind, my mom came back to me with another "suggestion": I should take BOTH jobs. 'Cuz really, nine hours of teaching (3 classes) is NOTHING. That's practically a parttime job! This, on top of a year of "you're so lazy," "you do nothing," etc., while I was 1. finishing my dissertation, then 2. finding and applying to jobs, was just the last straw. I had kept my mouth shut about all the insults, snide remarks, and putdowns. But this... I just blew up at her. And she had the gall to point out that the position is "assistant professor" -- so that means I just "help other professors with their classes," right? It's not a REAL job. I started yelling. I listed all the ways that she was ignorant and just plain wrong. Of course, needing to have the last word, she huffed that it's not her fault that she misunderstood. I retorted that she never bothered to ask what an assistant prof does.

Of course, that's not the end. No. Never that "simple" with my mother. Today, she came to me with the plan that I should rent a 3-bedroom apartment, with her paying for half, so that during summer vacations my nephew and nieces can stay with me and take Chinese courses to keep up the language and learn their ethnic heritage. I didn't say yay or nay; I've been thinking about it. Of course, to her, this means that I should have the international shippers move EVERYTHING. I just mildly said that if that was the case, I would want to make an IKEA-run to get furniture. She came back later this afternoon with a long rant about how I'm too Americanized, and just thoughtless. After all, Taiwanese people don't like DIY furniture places like IKEA, blah, blah, blah, so I shouldn't count on getting stuff from IKEA. I was gripping my resolve not to fight with her with my fingernails at that point. I just turned my face away while she griped at me from the doorway to my bedroom. Of course, she couldn't let that stand. I'm not allowed to ignore her. She was all like, what's your problem. I told her to just leave and that I didn't want to talk to her. She got all offended. And then we got into it. Of course.

My friend pointed out in an earlier phone conversation that it was up to me to be the bigger person about this whole thing. I need to keep in mind that I have all the power here. I am the one who is moving and getting a job away from her. She has no say. I think he's right; but it doesn't make it any less offensive or aggravating when my mom gets in her mode of "I am right; you are ALWAYS wrong."

He also pointed out that her inability to congratulate me or to wish me well, but instead to criticize constantly and insult me no doubt adds considerably to the fraying of my temper. Hence, the three blowouts this week alone, whereas in the previous months I was able to just be silent in the face of her dysfunctionality.

He added that I also needed to congratulate myself on accomplishing a lot this past year. Finishing my dissertation, applying to positions, and getting a job offer my first year out are all valid and worthy milestones. He's right, but you know what's really sad? My first thought after receiving the job offers was, I must've been the only applicant. Isn't that a sad comment on how insecure I am? I attribute it mostly to my loving and encouraging mother. What a great way to make your child feel confident and secure in her abilities: to criticize constantly, to tear her down all the time, to make her feel useless. I wish I could feel happier. I just feel really angry and sad.

Date: 2009-10-26 03:10 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] mahaliem.livejournal.com
First of all - Congratulations!!!

Secondly, I think your mother needs something else to focus on besides you. Maybe she should have the niece and nephew stay with her during the summer, take a Chinese course at a local college, and only speak Chinese in her house during that period as preparation for visiting you for a week or two.

Date: 2009-10-27 06:06 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] fersakyn.livejournal.com
Thanks for that! I have to admit, it's sometimes weird to get good wishes from people. It kind of takes me aback, like, oh yes, this IS a good thing! It definitely brings a sense of happiness that I SHOULD feel.

Yeah, all of my friends have delicately pointed out, in no way justifying her bad behavior, that my mom no doubt feels some panic and worry that I'm "leaving the nest" -- though I myself felt that I left the nest YEARS ago. She's very controlling and self-righteous; my brother doesn't really like for her to have too much of a role in raising the kids, so I doubt he'd go for that.

I actually think (in the hypothetical) that the kids and my sister-in-law staying with me for a month or so isn't too horrible. We'll see. As long as my sister-in-law is there, it doesn't seem like it would put me out too much. Gotta think it over some more.

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