Thursday, 2 April, 2009

Get in touch and deal

A friend of mine was forced to do cooking, serving, and cleaning, when he was a kid. He hated doing this, but there was no choice as his parents chose to turn a blind eye to his plight. They were scared of his paternal grandfather. I don’t know the details. Whatever it was, this boy grew up with anger towards his parents and hating any sort of kitchen/house work. When he was able to stand on his feet, he confronted his parents and told them how angry he was and how they had let him down. After this, his anger subsided, but could not bring himself up to do any housework. He adored his wife, but never helped her in the kitchen. It was fine with her as she was not working full time; she enjoyed cooking; and there was a maid to do washing and cleaning.

Then, wife became pregnant. I went to see her during the initial months of pregnancy. That day, it was he who had cooked lunch. I was surprised. This guy, hurt by his parents’ insensitivity, wants to a better parent. And he’s going to try real hard. To overcome his negative emotions about cooking, he decided to cook a meal all by himself. “It was terrible. I almost relived the pain of my childhood. But, it’s worth it. I don’t want to set a negative example to my kid by showing dislike to housework.” he told.

Another friend also was abused as a kid. He had to work in a relative’s hotel, deliver food around, and was ridiculed by family members. After he got married, he refused to do any work at home. His working wife had to take care of everything from cooking to getting his shoes ready to wear. On Sundays, he would ask her to cook his favourite food and go out to play cricket with friends. In effect, he expected more of mothering from his wife. Again due to whatever he suffered in his childhood. Wife, due to her own childhood baggage, was eager to please him and accommodated all his demands initially. Later, she started complaining about his insensitivity, but it was of no use. He didn’t even think he’s insensitive; so where is the question of changing?

I’m not in touch with them now. I heard the wife is expecting. Does this father also try to deal with the childhood pain and get over it? So that he can set a good example to the child? I hope he does. We want more sensitive kids in this world.

So far it was about others’ experiences. Though not of such magnitude, I have been able to trace out the roots of some of my behavioural traits and pull them out. I’m pretty sure that many of us will be able to track the origin of certain irrational behaviour, anger or hatred and deal with it. In some cases, because of the pain we had endured, we would’ve suppressed it deep in our minds. We would not even admit that the wound is there. It’s a kind of defence mechanism by the mind to escape from the pain. Unless we probe our minds and get in touch with it, it’ll manifest in our behaviour. It’ll be painful to do this, but the results are worth the effort.


sandeep 2 April 2009 at 5:55 pm  

what a coincidence ... i am also feeling an aversion to house work these days ... and dunno why :(

Bindhu Unny 2 April 2009 at 8:51 pm  

It must be a passing phase. Or Preeta might be pampering you too much. Otherwise, get in touch. :-)

Sunita Mohan 2 April 2009 at 9:32 pm  

Hmmm... I'll have to delve deep into my psyche to find a reason why I dislike cooking. ( No, not the flamboyant knock-your-socks-off stuff but the humdrum everyday type ) :D
Okay, I was being a bit flippant there... sorry :)
But you're absolutely right. Every like and dislike that we develop has some roots in our childhood experiences. And it takes a brave soul to overcome the bitter ones and get on with the business of life.

Hey, thanks for dropping by my blog. You've got some good ones going too. I liked your worsatile one... looking forward to seeing whats new soon.

നീലാംബരി 3 April 2009 at 6:17 am  

Good work. I will show this article to my sponsored kid,Chithra, when I meet her next week. She was abused by her father a lot. Thanks for publishing such a great article.

!! Oxymoron !! 3 April 2009 at 9:23 am  

Hi Bindhu!! Lovely post! And yeah, what a coincidence (w.r.t my story!) The effect begins right from the womb, the mother being unhappy adversely affects the child too and then it just continues. It makes me wonder if the 'bad' things that people do, then, can't be blamed on them? But, like you rightly said, we've got to uproot those negative influences, its a matter of choice.
I try to do it every so often when in a flash I'm reminded of something that is affecting me in a negative way. I first accept that it happened (else, denial gets me to suppress it further) and then consciously decide to change.

Thanks for this post, its so wise.

Pooja 4 April 2009 at 2:52 am  

How true! I agree with you.Most of our actions/behavioural patterns are greatly influenced by the atmosphere in which we were bought up!

Bindhu Unny 4 April 2009 at 10:44 pm  

Sunita: Hope you don't dislike eating. :-)
I believe it's good to look at oneself critically and be aware of any odd behaviour. Changing it becomes easy then. Support of spouse/family is also an important factor.
Nice to know that you likes worsatile. :-)

നീലാംബരി: Getting rid of guilt is one major hurdle for abused kids. I think anger is easier to deal with. Hope Chithra is not feeling guilty for her something which is not her fault. Give my love to her. :-)

Oxymoron: Yes,I've read about the effects of mother's moods on unborn child. But, whatever be the reason, we should take charge and move on. It's good that you don't suppress the negative things, but accept it.

Pooja: Right. The sad fact is that many of us are not aware of this.

Santosh 7 April 2009 at 11:36 pm  

Good one & very true about the past experiences moulding one's behavior.

Knowing ourselves that we have a problem to deal with, is actually half the problem solved and is a good start.

It gets more interesting when you try to read this along with an individual's personal ego & their need of social acceptance. And add a little bit of salt & pepper to it as the 'agenda' of the various people whom we interact with - in our day to day life; both family & outside.

Sometimes asking this question to yourself & trying to find an answer will be interesting - "Do you live your life inside-out or outside-in?"

Living "outside-in" may give you a lot of social acceptance but you will have to deal with a lot of turbulence with-in - On the other hand, living 'inside-out' gives you immense amount of mental peace while it creates a lot of enemies external to you.

And for me, I had tried to live my life inside-out for a few years, burnt my hands, spoiled a bunch of relationships and is now in search of finding a balance...

(hope that wasn't a long one ;) )

mathew 8 April 2009 at 10:49 am  

I think its insensitive on the side of the guy to pass on the frustration of childhood trauma to his wife..after all then whats the point!!

nice write!!

Bindhu Unny 15 April 2009 at 10:00 pm  

Santosh: Yes, that was a long one, but interesting. Thanks.

Ego, social pressures to conform, etc, too dictate our behaviour. Still, I believe even those have roots in growing up years.

We've always tried to live "inside-out". And lost a few relationships (good) and found a few ones (better). Beyond following the basic rules to live in a society/community, I believe, social acceptance doesn't matter.

Mathew: Yes, there's no point in doing that. But, he doesn't think he's being insensitive. :-)

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