“People who’ve endured horrible things can laugh at anything”
Our childhood shapes much of who we become as adults, so what happens if you had a really traumatic childhood?
Lindsay Wong is the author of The Woo Woo: How I Survived Ice Hockey, Drug Raids, Demons, and My Crazy Chinese Family, a memoir about her unusual childhood growing up with a mercurial and unreliable mother who’s obsessed with ghosts (she once lit Lindsay's foot on fire in the name of exorcising demons) and a father who was always working. He had often called her terrible names as a way to motivate her to achieve in life.
Lindsay’s parents immigrated to Canada from Hong Kong, and much of the dysfunctional family dynamic came from their Asian immigrant experience and her mother’s mental illness arising from generations of trauma.
It was a super strange childhood growing up in the suburbs of Vancouver next to Chinese drug millionaires and her “crazy” family, where her aunt once held the City of Vancouver hostage on Canada Day for eight hours after threatening to jump off a bridge.
Given her family’s history of mental illness, Lindsay began questioning her own sanity once she became an adult. Her childhood experience had also left her maladjusted to face the real world. She had anger issues, and wherever she went, trouble always seemed to follow. It took her many years to unlearn her early conditioning and find peace within herself.
Working on the memoir had helped her heal and forgive her parents, Lindsay told me. When I interviewed her, she looked happy and content with her current life and said it was her resilience that got her through. Her childhood difficulties had also given her a wicked sense of humor, which grips you as soon as you open The Woo Woo.
For our interview, I wanted to know how Lindsay managed to rise above her traumatic childhood and went on to thrive and create a life for herself that she loved. I also wanted her insights when it comes to navigating difficult child-parent relationships that we're all familiar with.
Along the way, we also chatted about:
How she accidentally became an author
Bad luck, good luck
The friction between immigrant parents and their children
How writing helped her heal
How she forgave her parents
What her current relationship is like with her parents
Whether we can truly escape intergenerational trauma
And how to get along with difficult parents
Lindsay Wong (Twitter): @lindsaymwong
Lindsay Wong (Instagram): @lindsaywong.m
Wiser Living with Sissi Wang (Facebook): @wiserlivingpodcast
Wiser Living with Sissi Wang (Instagram): @wiserlivingpodcast