Keeping on trying

Keeping on trying
Monday July 20, 2009

Dear Alice,

I am the 21-year-old girl from South Korea who e-mailed you this spring.

I have just ended my session which lasted for 6 months,
because I and my therapist had agreed that I am relatively okay now.
Probably I would go back to her later, for I have more forgotten memories to cry over.
But currently I think I can go along with my life
without using up all of my energy fighting the ugre to throw myself in front of running cars.

I didn’t have the chance to give my therapist your books,
but she have supported me so far.
She never blamed me for my feelings toward parents,
never judged my feelings good or bad.
Instead, she encouraged me to express my feelings
and not to opress any of them for fear of my parents.
I sometimes wanted to run away from the therapy for it was too painful,
but I managed not to do so because of the support she gave me.
I have a little hope for future now, because she showed me
that I am also a human being who is worthy of having her own voice.
So I could cry and express my feelings, again and again.
And the more I recount my childhood and my feelings,
the more I realize that you are right.
As you said in your book,
I think I recovered part of my natural ability with help of enlightened witness.

Over the 6 moths, I have changed.
I feel more lively.
I feel comfortable enough about meeting people
to be able to fall in love for the first time of my life, to open my heart.
And these changes are visible to people around me – they tells me that I look lively.

And this change, which I can’t be happier about, is provoking a new problem.
As it is visible to people, it is recognizable to my parents, too.
They definitely can see that my feeling toward them have changed.
I am changing from an obedient good girl
to a person who tries to have her own voice.
It would seem to be rebelious to my parents, threatening to their control over me.
As you described in your books,
I used to be so obedient
because their beatings, blamings, thretenings were so effective.
And now that I am struggling to break the chain that chokes me off in everything I do,
they are feeling insecure
and going back to the good old device that used to be so powerful.

I hope they wouldn’t beat me now,
for I am grown up and they haven’t beaten me since I entered highschool,
but what they are saying to me makes me think
that I wouldn’t be surprised if they slap me on my face.
They are saying to me
“I am the one with power. You are the powerless.
It is because I am your parent and you’re my daughter.
Therefore you have to answer what I ask you, whatever it is,
and you have to do as I say, whatever it is.”
“You want me to show how scary I can get?
I will destroy everything(you have).”
“Are you not living with us?” , etc..
I couldn’t say anything to them because I am still scared of my parents.
I couldn’t help shivering and feeling desperate.
And it was so disappointing to realize that they are so childish, shallow, and insecure.
Maybe a human being doesn’t get strong, wise as they get older,
when the fear of childhood looms over him/her…

They are also trying to control my date ‘for my own good’.
They ask too much private questions that I don’t want to answer,
and threaten that I should act ‘courteously’ so the people around us would speak ill of me.
It seems to me it is because they are afraid I might have sex with him
and people around me and parents would know and speak ill of it
(In Korea, there is generation gap on the view on sex,
traditional conservative view and the changing trend).
Well, I can’t say that I don’t care at all.
I realized several days ago,
that the reason I always hesitate kissing my boyfriend was because of their threatening.
Before I accept it as a way of expressing affection,
the angry, discontent faces of my parents loom over my head,
telling me to behave myself so no neighbors, people they know wouldn’t speak ill of me.

Sometimes it makes me anxious
that it seems to be back-breaking to express my feelings to my parents and break free.
But I know their ways are not as effective as it used to be,
as you described in your books, because I can live with my truth now,
I don’t have to deny that my parents want domination over me to survive.
It is a harsh truth, though.

I have come to think
that I have to express my feelings to my parents
if I my misery to fully come to an end…
I just can’t wait for myself to get my job and get out of this house,
(I badly want my parents and my brother away from me)
to be stronger enough not to be affected by my parents.
I just hope that I would get gradually stronger
by not running away in the face of the truth.

So I keep on trying today.
I keep on reading your books.
I keep working on my childhood memories.
I keep on practicing expressing my feelings.
I would always go back to my therapist when I need more support.

I believe I will eventually break free.

The other day, I saw a little girl ( 3 to 4 years old, I think) and her mother on the subway. The girl was crying, but the mother never even threw a glance at her until the girl stopped crying. At last the mother hugged her girl. Noone said anything. I felt sad for the girl. And then I realized that If I hadn’t read your book or had my therapy, I would have thought that the girl was noisy, and agreed on the mother’s way. It was terrifying. I was, and most people on the subway were so used to that kind of treatment.


AM: Thank you for your letter. I was very much moved by the way you describe yourself as leaving the obedient girl behind you and becoming a couragous and conscious adult woman. So many obedient girls don’t even realize their total dependency. Congratulations for what you already achieved in your age of 21 (!), I have no doubt that you will eventually break free.