Seeking Advice: Stressed Out Youngest Hmong Son


From Anonymous:

Dear Hmong Community,
I’m nearing a quarter-life crisis. I’ve completed school and have begun the path to a solid career. However, there is still a lot of pressure on me for how I make decisions in life. I’m trying to move out for my own sake because my family is emotionally and mentally abusive. But because I am the youngest son there is a lot the youngest son still has to do to support his family. I still live at home: with my mom, my dead beat dad, and two brothers well into their 30s. One brother physically cannot work. Another brother works but we have no idea where his money goes. My parents don’t work either.

My issue is that traditionally the parents stay with the youngest son because his “role” is to take care of them. While I love my mom to death and would take care of her until her final days, she comes with a lot of baggage. My brothers and dad are still her boys and she wouldn’t go anywhere without them. Ive got many passions beyond my personal career goals. I’ve still got a long winding road of life to experience. I’m the only one who seems to be making any type of moves.

Please don’t compare your family to mine. Because when you say “I’d do this/that because my family...” it doesn’t apply to me since we come from our own unique situations. Put yourself in my shoes, and answer me. What would you do in my position? Im not ready to, and will not, take care of a family of 5 (grown ass people). 3 out of 4 didn’t even take care of me growing up. The other men in my family don’t even talk to me on a regular basis even though we live in the same household. It’ll be like taking care of strangers.

Should I decide to leave my mother with the 3 of them and hope they can take care of each other without me? Should I keep trying to convince my mother to move on, letting the other boys take care of themselves? And if she refuses? Should I remove myself from my family for the sake of my personal health and goals? I’ve got a life to live too. I just can’t see myself succeeding in anything I do. Especially not with a family I’d have to prioritize to take care of for the rest of their lives. When you’re obligated to take care of 4 other adults, it’s quite difficult to work on yourself.

Please help with any advice. Any insight, positive or negative feedback are all greatly appreciated. Thanks.

Comments (3)

Vianna Lee

You are in a tough situation. You are a good son. I hope you are able to find a solution that works for both you and your family. Sometimes you need to find a way to save yourself before you can save others.

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  • NploojNtsuab KavLaus

    Tus me Kwv, this obligation has been inherited in the Hmong traditions since the beginning of time. There is no right or wrong to the path you're about to take, the only WRONG choice you'll make is by not making any choices at all. I cannot advice you to take any chances or choices, but I was in the same boat you're in awhile back, but being the oldest son; parents separated and have to care for 6 other younger siblings and a very disheartened, and furious, yet loving mother. I overcome this after marrying a very caring wife and she and i venture together saving our family. We slowly nurture the young siblings out of the house and save our mother who now lives with the youngest who also have a loving/caring wife. We welcome her back anytime, but she knows our house is PACKED with too many kids, but she still loves them and DAYCARE's them everyday for us. Remember NOTHING else brother but this, "a wife can be replaced 100 times, but calling a person "niam(mother)" is once in a lifetime. This applies to direct siblings and parents. I hope you find peace and find your way with ease. Take care.

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  • PaajSua

    NploojNstuab, your words are very wise and inspiring. To the original poster, it may seem dark and bleak right now, but I feel that your family needs you the most at this very moment. Like NploojNstuab has done, nurturing your family members and helping them to become self-sufficient will one day pay off and together you and your siblings can lift your family up together. I wish you and your family the best.

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