Aviyal-bit of everything

Troubled Mind

Posted on: June 17, 2009

** as the title indicates this is a disturbing post. Please feel free to ignore.**

 I am scared, I feel helpless, I feel guilty and irresponsible.

 It is not a phase. I fight my inner demons constantly. So much is embedded in my system that I lack the sense of right and wrong, abuse and normal.

 Monday I read Laksh’s post on Sa  and there was another post Laksh did  on abuse. My trouble is ‘How do I teach my kids about abuse’ when I myself is not clear what it is.

 Laksh raised quite a few point in Sa post; both on physical abuse and emotional abuse. In both the cases, first step is to recognize the abuse.How do you do that when you don’t know what it is.

 I think, to recognize physical abuse is comparatively easy because there is something tangible- quoting laksh  “ like a gash on the forehead or belt marks on the back”.

 “ How do you deal with abuse that is emotional? Harsh words, tight control on financial assets, continuous assault on self esteem, lack of independence to move around” says Laksh. To me, that is the grey area. And many of things mentioned here by Laksh do not falls on the abuse side per the system embedded in me.

 Kerala, where I come from, may be a the most literate state in India but also quite a male chauvinistic society, and honestly I think it is more prevalent among the Catholics ( yes, you would think how can she criticize her own community- I am just stating from my experience or lack thereof in another community). In married life: it is always the wife to have the ‘tolerance and patience like mother earth’; after the father now husband is the supreme authority, all money is his (no matter the wife earns); wife can have money only in a joint account with husband or no account at all; man’s achievements are to be celebrated; all achievements kids make ( thanks to father’s blood); kids gone wrong way (thanks to mother’s in appropriate way of bringing them up); now wife is part of husband’s family and therefore cut off from wife’s parents/siblings; anything goes wrong in the house (thanks to wife thoughtlessness); … these are all normal norms of the system. No one sees wrong (what is to see when there nothing wrong!)

 I can go on. There is no equality in a married relationship (the system labels you a feminist if woman (read bad woman) ask for equality (and nobody wants to be labeled bad- do you?). In another post on Sa Awakening , the author Janini describes an incident “During one of our chitchats, my roommate and I got into an argument. She could not digest the idea that both the husband and the wife need to play an equal role in the family”. Seriously, I can relate to her roommate because my guess she did not want to be labeled ‘bad’.

 Outside married life; wherever there is power and authority abuse happens (who cares about accountability right?): the ayurvedic doctor who squeezed the breast of a 11 yr old girl as part of checking her paining knee joints; the scout master, 50 + yr old school teacher, brushing his hands against high school girl guides’ body in the process of helping them to plant a garden(as part of the community service)-oh what a service the master doing to the girls?; the driving school instructor always need wide hand stretch to touch the women students breast showing them how to make left/right turns- yes it has to be one to one class.I used to know a girl, while we were in grade 6, who was forced to perform oral sex on her own maternal uncles in their 20s (heard from other friends- though we did not understand it then, all  we knew was something bad is happening).

 But you don’t talk, you don’t question because the system requires you to be submissive (that is a good girl attribute); and always it is the victim’s fault. And if you manage to gather all the courage in you and try telling to your teachers /parents, the response normally is “don’t tell anyone, just forget about it”..they don’t want to bring disgrace to their own girls.

 So much is embedded in my system that I lack the sense of right and wrong, abuse and normal.

 Many of peers and regulars here are so confident mothers ( or mother figures), they all know what is wrong and right; they all know how to deal with it’ they know what to teach their kids; but I lack all of it. I fear that I fail my kids. They have a world to face in everyday life. There is good and bad there. How do they distinguish them?. I can not leave that responsibility to schools and teachers.

 I don’t want to teach them wrong things (thanks to my lack of sense ) and make their life miserable. How can I do it? how unfair to my kids to bear the burden of my systems.

Yes, good part of my life is done; it is about my kids I am worried about. or is it that separable?

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2 Responses to "Troubled Mind"

Mia – there’s never one option, remember there’s always an alternative. Even when you are cornered without escape, remember that the option is not single but multiple…So teach the children what you believe is the right thing to do…not what the society says….not what the world says…you know that each of the things you mentioned above is wrong, in your heart you believe it or you wouldn’t be raising the question – so when you strongly believe in it, it is your duty as a mother to pass it on to your kids, to practise it in your life so you could be an example. Being labelled bad is better than bringing up kids where they dont know the difference between right and wrong, that might sound harsh, but I think when a woman decides that there’s nothing but one option and that is to survive submissively and dont see any other option beside that one, it means it is time she gets external help – from friends/family/ or even councilling – because that means she has had so much emotional hurt/ mental “gashes” as you put it – that it needs a medicine….and with medicine she will be able to see the other options she does have….
UL, thanks for the comments. gonna pass my response

Very touching and honest post Mia.

Good part of your life is not over yet. And it is never too late to make a beginning. Even when there are grey areas Mia, if you are completely honest with yourself, your inner voice will guide you when something is amiss. Listen to it, trust it and take baby steps to undo that conditioning. I know it’s easier said than done. But please make a beginning and the rest will follow – not for your kids’ sake, but for your own sake. You are smart and accomplished, and you have it in you to rise above these challenges.
suman, thanks for the comment. gonna pass my response.

Your kids are in good hands Mia. Please don’t be too hard on yourself. You owe it to yourself to give credit to your parenting skills.

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