Is anyone experiencing this?
I have found that being a PhD student or having a PhD makes those around you uncomfortable (parents, spouse/partner, siblings, friends). Like, you are not allowed to say anything. Its never taken for something you just said. If the same statement was said by a different person, it would get a more favorable reaction. Anyone experiencing this and how are you dealing with it?
This should not happen with parents. With siblings it could happen that some competition occurs. If it happens with all those, the problem might be that they feel you are too proud of yourself so they try to stop you but it might be an over correction. Try being more modest and see if this changes.
Unfortunately in my case it also involves parents. In my country phd students or phds are a rare thing to the point that a parent feels like everything you say is meant to put them down or show them that they don't know.
It could be that they perceive me as being proud. I cannot change that as am not that way - its a perception thing. I am contemplating resorting to just distancing myself from relating with people who react to me this way and sticking to my colleagues because that's about the only place one can socialise freely without people wearing their hats on their sleeves.
I don't think I know what you mean unless you give some examples.
In my experience, just be yourself, as you always have been, and people will soon see that you are normal (or as normal as you were before).
Also maybe just explain that a PhD is just another degree or course - like a masters (sorry anyone who finds that offensive, but that is how I see it).
My parents were as proud as anything over me getting my PhD. One problem I did have was my mother was unhappy about me giving up my job and career (she saw me as settled into a job she thought was a safe bet for the future) to take up a PhD. I explained to her that the idea was always in the back on my mind since finishing masters after a gap of five years and basically having a rest. As my job was under threat anyway and the company I was working for folded some months later anyway, it made the move easier to understand for her.
It may be that parents especially see you as doing your degree then finding a job so you can settle down. Having someone in the family that has decided to remain a "student" beyond degree and masters might be seen as not reaching the point you are settling down. Also, you comment that PhDs are not common in your country, so they may be unsure what a PhD is. You might try to ask them what their concerns are about what you are doing.
It sometimes needs to be made clear a PhD is not a normal degree but a highly intensive research programme leading potentially to new findings and knowledge not already in the public domain. It's one of the reasons many moons ago I did my blog and that might help you explain what you are doing to them (http://www.geocities.ws/high_temp_wear).
Yeah I get this. I was the first in my family to get GCSE's, and education isn't really valued in my family. I stood out and not in a good way, if I said anything relating to my BSc I was told to stop showing off. Even when I posted my graduation photo's an aunt chastised me and told me I should do my Uni work for me, not for anyone else so why did I have to rub everyone's face in it like I was better. I stopped talking about anything to do with my studies, then another family member did a degree and I was constantly told it was more of an achievement than me getting a funded PhD because I'm a 'smart a*se' so it's easy, and that as a single parent who's gay I obviously get everything handed to me because I tick a box.
I had a lot of counselling to deal with my toxic family, and I learnt that it was all down to their own insecurity; me doing well wasn't something to celebrate or be proud of for them, but a personal insult. I now do not see many of my family except for large events, and sometimes they ask how my work is going ('so you're not even a Doctor yet? Was it really worth it?') and I just reply 'It's going really well, but we both know you're not interested in it and that's fine'.
On the flip side, dealing with people who dismiss everything I say came in really useful during the PhD process!
Toxic people are just toxic. Both of my parents have degrees but my Dad was the only one is his family that went to uni. My Dad and his side of the family are super supportive, they are interested in what I do but are not jealous. My Mum's side however is completely toxic despite most of them having degrees. To them I am an "underachiever" that has wasted my potential, while my cousins are lauded for barely scraping into uni and passing with a 2:2. I constantly get told that my cousins "worked harder than you" and they "deserve it more", because they were not naturally intelligent. My family openly joke to my face that I am "Dr Binman" and that after my PhD I will become a binman because my PhD involves process wastes. So I don't know what to suggest other than learn to recognise toxic people, regardless of how you are related, and cut them out of your life. Toxic people don't change and are not worth the effort.
Sadly the ticking box thing is just part of the identity politics thing we have got ourselves into today and that is probably going to take a long time to get out of! People's achievements ought not to be diminished or blown up by some box they tick.
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