8 Must Read Books to Help Cope with Asian Parents
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8 Must Read Books to Help Cope with Asian Parents

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Although these authors are not of Asian ethnicity, nor may they have any knowledge of Asian culture, I have found them insightful in allowing me to have different perspectives in dealing with Asian parents and the conditioning that came from being raised by them. These books have given me the motivation for self-growth and have inspired me to function on a day-to-day basis while keeping aligned to who I am and still respecting my parents at the same time – despite our many differences in opinions.

Sometimes all it takes is a different approach or an encouraging and uplifting thought to inspire you to be brave, discover, and live unapologetically to your truth. By adapting the knowledge provided in these books, even though they are not written by Asian authors, I find it easy to adjust the author’s message to my circumstances and it also enables me to have the framework to cope with Asian parents.

This comes with a disclaimer, however, that I’m a believer in the fact that we are always in control of our lives – even through hard situations we always have choices. My goal with these book suggestions is for you to change your inner talk and to also understand your opposition so that you can adjust to your outside world with mental clarity and emotional capacity without losing your humanity. This is how we cope, by taking back power on the only thing we do have control over – ourselves. So, I hope the idea of these authors who are not of Asian ethnicity does not deter you from reaping the benefits that come from reading these great informative books.


1. A Strategy for Daily Living by Ari Kiev, MD

A Strategy for Daily Living has helped hundreds of thousands of people since its first publication over thirty-five years ago. Providing a pragmatic compass for life, full of practical insights and inspirational perspectives, this book will help you find the way to your spiritual and creative potential in the midst of crises, challenges, and pressures of daily life. It will help you to overcome adversity, maximize your performance, and tap into the power of your love to improve relationships at home, on the job, and in the world at large.

Go Poised Never Split the Difference
2. Never Split the Difference, Negotiating As if Your Life Depends On It by Chris Voss

This book has been one of my holy grails for my daily operations when interacting with others regardless if it’s on a professional or personal level. It has reframed my mindset when dealing with negotiating, conflicts, and disagreements. Written by former FBI hostage negotiator, Chris Voss, he states that life is a series of negotiations: whether buying a car, getting a better raise, buying a home, renegotiating rent, or deliberating with your partner. Every time you’re wanting someone to say yes to you, you are in negotiations. This book gives you the advantage and edge to either talk yourself in or out of just about any situation – including negotiating with 3-year-olds. If Voss can successfully understand and negotiate with terrorists, then he can most definitely help you cope and negotiate with Asian parents.

Go Poised from Asian Parenting The Subtle Art of Not Giving a Fuck
3. The Subtle Art of Not Giving A F*ck by Mark Manson

Be prepared to see the positives in the negatives that Mark Manson so eloquently articulates in his book. If you’re looking for a book that will coddle you in all positivity and give you the warm fuzzies, this book isn’t it. What this book does promise you is to give unfiltered negative and positive views of life. Many other self-help books are focusing on the “how to feel good” but I appreciate Manson’s approach because I believe that unless you see all sides to life, the negatives and positives, you won’t have full clarity and you’re ignoring your problems. Manson offers real material that actually helps you come to terms with yourself instead of shifting the blame on others while not inflating your ego. As a bonus, I find this book hilarious and fun to read.

4. Emotional Intellegence: Why it can matter more then IQ by Daniel Goleman

Humans are motivated by emotions. Whether we are aware of it or not it is our emotional sensations that drive our thought process. We all do the things that we do because we feel an attachment to it. If we didn’t feel anything towards it, we wouldn’t care about it. Being aware of our thought process in different situations can make us act wisely and appropriately without causing our internal and external worlds to collide. But being aware of our opposition’s thought process gives us an advantage when we communicate with them. Being emotionally intelligent not only helps you understand what’s motivating other people but how to interact smarter with other people. I view this book as the emotional manual to Chris Voss’s Never Split the Difference where he offers the strategies and tactics to handle emotionally driven people. If we are all driven by emotions, then understanding emotions is the biggest step to living smarter. It’s a slow read, but full of facts backed by scientific research.

Go Poised from Asian Parenting What Happened to You Oprah Winfrey
5. What Happened to You? Conversations on Trauma, Resilience, and Healing by Oprah Winfrey

This is a book flips the internal narrative that we often have with ourselves, or what we often ask of others, from “what’s wrong with you/me” to “what happened to us/me.” Oprah, using her own experiences, helps us open up to our trauma by acknowledging behavior patterns that no longer serve us anymore and states that without healing from these patterns we are keeping ourselves in a self-suffering loop. I agree with her ideology of our earliest experiences shape our lives and can set us on a narrow path as we grow, which is crucial to understanding the trauma we face, the people we associate with, and the behaviors that we manifest.

6. Will I Ever Be Good Enough? Healing the Daughters of Narcissistic by Karyl McBride, Ph.D

An excellent book for women who have suffered the abuse of narcissistic, self-involved mothers, McBride provides the expert assistance you need in order to overcome your debilitating past and reclaim your life and helps you recognize the widespread effects of this emotional abuse. Adults who have gone through life believing that love is conditional and in accordance with their mother’s expectations and impulses have difficulty overcoming feelings of inadequacy, disappointment, emotional emptiness, and sadness. They may also have a fear of abandonment that leads them to form unhealthy romantic relationships, as well as a tendency to perfectionism and unrelenting self-criticism or to self-sabotage and frustration. This book aims to heal and restore your life from those conditioned beliefs that you’re not good enough by using empathy and understanding. A definite read, even just to better understand narcissism in general, and although the title states “mothers” the material is transferrable to narcissistic fathers as well.

7. Adult Children of Emotionally Immature Parents: How to Heal from Distant, Rejecting, or Self-Involved Parents by Lindsay C. Gibson PsyD 

If you grew up with an emotionally immature, unavailable, or selfish parent, you may have lingering feelings of anger, loneliness, betrayal, or abandonment. You may recall your childhood as a time when your emotional needs were not met, when your feelings were dismissed, or when you took on adult levels of responsibility in an effort to compensate for your parent’s behavior. These wounds can be healed, and you can move forward in your life. In this breakthrough book, clinical psychologist Lindsay Gibson exposes the destructive nature of parents who are emotionally immature or unavailable. You will see how these parents create a sense of neglect, and discover ways to heal from the pain and confusion caused by your childhood. By freeing yourself from your parents’ emotional immaturity, you can recover your true nature, control how you react to them, and avoid disappointment. Finally, you’ll learn how to create positive, new relationships so you can build a better life.

Go Poised from Asian Parenting Toxic Parents Book
8. Toxic Parents: Overcoming Their Hurtful Legacy and Reclaiming Your Life by Susan Forward

Powerful in its own right and ironic because those who deal with toxic parents most often feel powerless. I can’t speak for anyone else, but dealing with toxic parents is like walking on eggshells. Every day is different from the next except for one thing, the anger, the pain, confusion, the sadness, the fear are always still there.  What I loved about this book is the analysis of the different types of abuse, how Forward explains the danger of Freudian beliefs, and the end goal: to find your own peace no matter what. It’s not about reconciliation but about you overcoming the pain and becoming a better version of yourself, a happier and more independent one. Independence is what victims have to regain and it’s incredibly beautiful to not give a damn anymore if your abusive parents agree with your and your life or not. It’s not about them accepting you, it’s about you accepting yourself and doing whatever makes you happy.

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