Happy Thanksgiving: Setting and Maintaining Family Boundaries [Especially for Asian and South Asian Families]

Monya De, MD MPH
4 min readNov 22, 2017

“You have to come visit us every weekend with the kids, because we took care of you when you were little.”

“Spend only $300 per year on clothes. You don’t need to impress anyone in your office.”

“Of course I called that manager at Google. I had to find out why they didn’t hire my son after the last interview.”

Every day, thousands of people sit on couches in their therapists’ offices , learning they lack boundaries in their interpersonal relationships. Whether it is a parent controlling the life of a self-sufficient adult child, a wife belittling her husband’s hobbies, or a boyfriend trying to “mold” his partner into an idealized aspirational being, examples abound of people close to us interfering with our emotional health, because we allow them to foist their desires, flaws and preferences upon us unfettered.

Boundaries, according to Raymond Richmond, a psychologist in San Francisco, are conscious and healthy ways to protect oneself from emotional harm. When people establish boundaries, the second parties in the relationships have a clear roadmap and guidelines for productive communication. Boundaries state “First and foremost, I will be respected as the adult I am.”

In the examples above, the speakers are using: 1) guilt and a false analogy to bypass the needs and preferences of their adult children 2) condescension and…

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Monya De, MD MPH

Words @stat @abcnews @economist @latimes Interests: #meded, integrative med, health policy, tech, environment. Internal medicine MD based in LA. Go @stanford