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Thursday, July 25, 2024


Prisoner in my own home


I am facing a similar situation as you (29M if it matters). Since young, I’ve never gotten anything that I wanted to do. Wanted to study something else better than Engineering (Law included), but forced to take Engineering. Can you imagine having parents rather you study Engineering than Law? I was younger so I thought maybe Law had a catch so my parents didn’t want me to. Wanted to learn the piano, sent to learn the guitar (Gave up music eventually). Wanted to do volunteer work, but my whole family didn’t allow me, including my elder brother. Forced to study Japanese too, but to be fair, I ended up liking it. Obviously, Overseas exchange, is not allowed too. I’d also rather study something else more interesting in Engineering (but not offered in Singapore), and obviously the same thing, parents don’t allow. Ended up with Simple plain ol’ NTU EEE. And, I wasn’t allowed to stay in the NTU dormitory. So, no hostel story for you guys.

For non-school life, if I really want to go out, I have to say where I’m going and the time I’ll be back. If I sleep before my parents come home, they’ll question me the next morning why I sleep early. If I sleep after my parents come home, they’ll question me why I am not yet sleeping. At home, since young, my mother and elder brother (already married and living in another place) always liked to enter my room to see me, I said “Yes?”, but then neither of them would say anything and close the door (Obviously to spot-check on me). Among my siblings, I was always the one who got to go together where to eat or travel but not to decide. Except for me, my siblings eventually studied for a degree that they wanted. Middle Child Syndrome is real.

But, we were young. At NTU, I took a Politics course as an elective. I remember my professor saying this “99% of your life is decided by your parents.” Which is very true. So at the very least, I could close one eye and say to myself: “Oh, we are still studying, we have yet to work. Better to still listen to parents. After all, we are living off them.” But, we were young. So likewise, up to graduation was the limit I could only have accepted.

I’ve already tried to keep the above part as brief as possible.


Then, came working life as an adult. My elder brother is already married, and my father already doesn’t interfere much in my life anymore. Except my mother. Remember the room spot-check thing? You know, it’d be good to have some privacy. So I decided to ask her directly, “Why do you always come into my room and not say anything?” She got angry and said “Why cannot?” amongst many other things. Up to today, the same thing occurs with no privacy. Whenever I still wanted to go out, she always questioned me about where I was going, including the time. If I didn’t need dinner, she’d also question me where I was going. The scary part is when I go to the pool to relax and swim, she knows even without me saying and goes to spot-check on me. I’d tell you, it’s creepy AF. Another creepy thing is that whenever I settled my own dinner, she always knew what I made or bought. The third creepy thing is she looks in the trash because she always questions me about the things I throw.

My mother also keeps questioning me about marriage. But my answer is the same: “Until I achieve something that I want to do in my life, I will never think about marriage.” And for me now, it’s working overseas. Engineering in Singapore is pathetic. So if I work overseas, I improve in both personal and job fulfillment.

By the way, I’ve heard of someone else’s mother following her to job interviews. Not mine. That’d be super embarrassing.

First job, my mother forced me to change to another job because of the lower salary. I really didn’t want to because I was comfortable there. So I decided to change. Remember that I had knowledge of the Japanese language? I wanted to work in Japan for my second job (A good opportunity to have some overseas exposure). Obviously, due to my mother’s controlling nature, it’s not allowed. Got the whole maternal side to “convince” me not to go. Got another job in Singapore. The second job, my mother also wanted me to change to another job because I always had to do OT.

But at this point in time, we found out my mother’s cheating on my father. That guy, my sister and I will meet him occasionally. The whole family’s still living under one roof but the mood’s always cold. Since we knew about this affair, I realised, there was no point in listening to my mother anymore. So I stayed on my second job until today. Furthermore, the long working hours are a good reason to not meet that guy. But I kid you not, my mother’s still very controlling. “Red packet from that guy.” “Whether I needed dinner?” and weekend room spot-checks etc.


My father has plans to move out coming this January / February period. I’ll be moving with him. Even though whenever I’m with my father, I still don’t have full control over my own life. Because he didn’t deserve to be cheated on, I decided to stay with my father for a while more. I decided to migrate to Japan for good by the latest 2025. Maybe volunteer at a political party, and finally get to enjoy my personal life traveling around. My father doesn’t like the idea of me migrating, but he’s not one to disapprove and get angry now that I’m an adult. Due to my unique circumstances, I finally will have freedom after so long.

Because your parents are still together, your situation is slightly different from mine. Obviously, like me, you wouldn’t want to just move out unilaterally and strain ties with your family. Or else, HDB at 35 or renting a room would be so much easier. Wouldn’t it?

The way I see it, the solution is the same. Find a job overseas. If you said you are offered a good-paying job overseas and that you have already resigned from your current job, they’d probably have no choice but to let you go. Better to work overseas than being a NEET. Preferably a job in Europe or the Americas, because of the different time zones.

The most important part is how you’d package it. If they see it as you trying to avoid them, obviously there’d be complications in them agreeing to it. For example, mention that they are free to visit you whenever they are free. Even if they are free, the air tickets aren’t. Monthly flights to and fro Europe and North America aren’t gonna be cheap. Rather than migrating, there may be other solutions, like marriage. You’d have to explore other options on your own.

All in all, it’s impossible to have your mother stop controlling you at once. It has to be gradual. Something like reducing the amount of cigarettes for smokers. Cold turkey will have negative consequences.

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