My fiance's white and my Chinese mother yells a lot

posted 3 years ago in East Asian
Post # 3
Member
1649 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: August 2015

Coming from an Indian woman who is marrying a Chinese man, we are both getting shit from our families. But we’re staying strong, and the idea of eloping, regardless of the shame and upset it will bring to our families, is looking more and more pleasing. 

FI and I are family now and while our parents mean the world to us, once we get married, it’s done. They can’t complain about us getting married anymore.

Post # 4
Member
404 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: April 2013

@alai678:  In some ways I can definitely relate to you. My FI is white and is from the midwest although he has lived in Korea (I’m Korean) for a few years. My mom was born in Korea but came to the states when she was fairly young (10 years old) so she’s very Americanized. However, there are still a LOT of cultural differences and sometimes they stress me and my FI out.

We just recently moved from the Midwest to California where I was born and raised and have been staying at my mom’s house until we find our own place. My FI and my mom get along because my mom is this very outgoing, funny, charming and charismatic woman but sometimes her ‘Asian Mom’ side comes out and my FI cannot really deal so it stresses ME out and gets ME uncomfortable. My mom’s ‘asian side’ causes her to yell at me for like the most miniscule things. I know that my mom’s not really trying to hurt my feelings or be mean to me, it’s just her Asian culture. If I’m stirring the food too hard or too much she’ll get a little snappy…If I don’t do this the right way, she’ll take it from me and make a comment and do it herself which is the ‘right way’. All these things don’t really bother me and half the time I don’t really notice because I don’t take it as my mom being mean. But my FI…wow…he was SOOO bothered by it. He thought my mom was ‘really rude and mean to me and spoke to me so badly’. When he said that, I instantly got sooo defensive and caused a LOT of stress because we’re living with her for the time being…and I hate thinking my FI thinks my mom is ‘mean and rude’ to me. 

I’m not sure what advice I can give you except I feel you and some aspects of your situation, I’m dealing with too. I’ve had to explain to my FI that it’s seriously just cultural differences. He didn’t understand that because he said, ‘Your mom is SO Americanized though!’. It doesn’t matter. My mom was raised by my very Korean grandmother and so the culture difference will always be there.  I’m also really sorry your mom isn’t willing to listen to your feelings. I’m sorry you’re so stressed out (I feel you). But do not let this interfere with marrying the man of your dreams. A lot of your mom’s superstitions and ‘quirks’ (as my Fi likes to call them) are a part of her culture. A lot of that you can’t change. And I toooootally understand that whole ‘not talking back because of respect’ thing. There are times where I really have to bite my tongue with my mom and grandmother. I know I’m rambling but just don’t let this ruin your special day. You never know, your mom might surprise you!

How does your FI feel about it?

Post # 5
Member
1249 posts
Bumble bee

@alai678:  You seem to suggest your mother is not usually in an angry mood… So, is something else bothering her? You did not say she doesn’t like him.

Post # 6
Member
10748 posts
Sugar Beekeeper
  • Wedding: February 2014

I’m sorry that your mom’s visit was so awful. I’m in the opposite boat – I’m white, fiancé is Chinese. His parents live here in the same city though and have for 30 years so although they can be very traditional and anal about some things, they’ve gotten used to life in Canada and the fact that their only child is more Canadian than Chinese. Whenever his parents want something that my fiancé doesn’t agree with, he stands his ground and they get over it. I know it’s tough though, I’ve seen him pretty stressed/upset sometimes because of it. And they are much better than what your mom’s trip sounded like. Hopefully over time she will get used to it and things will get better. Do you have siblings that could maybe help share the load? 

Post # 8
Member
252 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: November 2016

The title of your post made me laugh out loud – because yep – Chinese mothers yell. A lot. 

I’m half chinese and my SO is white, but my mom is the quintessential tiger mom. She’s also a little crazy, but I guess all moms are. The first time my SO met my parents, my chinese grandmother was also over at the house, and she and my mom yelled at eachother at the dinner table (aie yaaaaaah) for about an hour. This is normal. Chinese people know this is normal. My SO was terrified. 

My mom also criticizes me a lot, which again, is totally normal. She tells me I’m fat, that I have huge legs, that my hair is thin, that my cuticles need to be trimmed, that I work out too much, or that I don’t work out enough, etc. etc. etc. All normal Asian mom behaviour. My SO especially hates this – he thinks my mom is mean and judgmental and that I shouldn’t put up with it. I just tell him it is “Asian honesty” and it genuinely doesn’t bother me. She just wants me to be the best I can be. I am not my mother, and I can choose to not have those “traditional” personalities. Would I ever say those things to my child? No, but I am no worse for wear from it. 

I’m sorry that the cultural tension is making you upset. Nobody should have to cry over wedding planning. 

You are not your mother. You don’t need to be your mother. I know it’s hard to bridge the gap and it’s harder when someone who you love and whose approval you want for your special day is yelling at you. I’m sure a lot of ABC/CBC bees know what you are going through and have cried many of the same tears. 

I know it is hard, but you and your FI need to be a team. You know you are creating a new family together. You will have new traditions, a new (multi)culture, and new expectations. I hope that your mother can respect this. You are not getting married in China, and you are not going to have a “Chinese” marriage. I know this is the last thing that a traditional Chinese mom is going to want to hear, but if you don’t want this to continue into your marriage, you have to speak up now. 

Stick to your guns. Eventually your family is going to have to accept your decisions. I think it’s best to incorporate their ideas and wishes, but make it clear that you are going to make the final decision, and that your life is going to be a beautiful and wonderful mix of two cultures.

Post # 10
Member
3249 posts
Sugar bee
  • Wedding: August 2013

@alai678:  You need to yell back, like an American, and explain to her that her culture does not dictate what your fiancée must do in his own country.  He should be sensitive to her culture, as well, but it sounds like she expects him to do everything in his power to be as Chinese as possible, but that she has no responsibility to bridge the gap.  So, you need to yell back.  Like an adult.

Post # 11
Member
3249 posts
Sugar bee
  • Wedding: August 2013

@alai678:  After writring my last post, I have the “Be A Man” song from Mulan stuck in my head.  My subconscious is gloriously ironic. 

Post # 13
Member
252 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: November 2016

@alai678:

My Chinese mother did not approve of a lot of what I did for a while. I quit playing an instrument (gasp), played competitive contact sports (gasp) – in a men’s league (gasp), and didn’t go to med school (OMG). It sounds like a joke but the med school contention was actually a huge issue. I as in a pre-med genetics program and decided to become a lawyer instead, which is clearly not good enough. SHe could reduce me to tears over my general inadequacy/North American choices. 

So I did what you may have to do. I didn’t talk to my mother for almost two years. Obviously, you don’t have to be that drastic. And I don’t mean we never spoke, but I didn’t talk to her about anything of real significance. We had “how’s the weather” type conversation. Whenever she tried to pry, I would just change the subject or tell her I had to get going (most of this was over the phone, I lived far away.

Believe it or not, she finally realized that if she wanted to be a part of my life, she needed to be respectful of my decisions. While she is still a crazy Asian mom, she is better about holding her tongue – as much as she can. She still has outbursts, but she no longer can control my emotions the way she used to. It might be worthwhile to not talk to her about wedding stuff, at least for a while. 

It’s hard, but it can work.  

Post # 16
Member
252 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: November 2016

@alai678:  

I think it could help to show her that part of the wedding is for her, and for your Chinese heritage, but that the whole thing is for you and your future husband. Just stay strong. I know very well about the emotional hangover, and it’s hard to walk away, but when a contentious issue comes up, I find the best is just to sidestep it and change the subject. She’ll eventually have to realize you have different ways of doing certain things. She will want to be part of your life because as you said, it comes from a loving place and she loves you and wants the absolute best for you. It’s just her version and your version of “best” are sometimes different. Just be firm that you are happy and that this is the best choice for you. She will come around. It just takes time. Culture is so engrained. 

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