Why should my child carry the burden of my past?
I have been observing over a period of time the issues that crop up in marital life are more often than not trickled down from the previous generation especially in the Indian context. All those reading this write up please understand I do not mean to disrespect or blame parents or in laws. Nor do I favour children who turn a blind eye to their parents during old age. But I believe that most of us are good human beings who love their parents as well as children and are just drawn into situations of negativity because of blind belief or guilt.
I am just in process of a reality check for myself and my child.
When I read “Jaya” by Devdutt Patanaik, I could relate to the mention of the Yayati Complex that breeds in India. We are the end result of our parent’s megalomania. And in process of bearing the brunt we end up becoming like them. This simply happens because we are made to believe that parents are Gods and in instilling this thought in our children we ourselves start believing that we are Gods and we can do nothing wrong.
Indians are very family oriented people. We try to stick together as one unit. This is a very positive outlook for bringing children up in a secure environment. But all of us in process have been instilled with our parent’s insecurities as individuals and so we are afraid to do things outside the norm. This very insecurity of parents makes them feed the child with a thought that parents can do no wrong. In doing so parents forget that they are burdening the child with a feeling that he or she should suppress his thoughts to feed their egos. As parent’s we start seeing our children as instruments to fulfill our ambitions and desires especially the ones we were unsuccessful in. We judge them when they try to live their desires. The moment the child lives his desires the ego maniac within us arises and declares the child guilty of not taking care of his parent’s wishes. This is where conflict arises.
We can see thousands of posts shared trying to instill guilt in a child of ignoring his or her parents. While the truth is there may be some extreme cases definitely but most of us in our capacity try to do things for our parents with or without being actually acknowledged for the same.
A child grows up and is unable to cope with the assumed sense of greatness of the parents while he keeps seeing their human mistakes. Parents in turn are not able to accept their child pointing out their errors because they themselves have started believing that they are Gods in their children’s lives. This ego conflict in the long run dampens the spirits of either one generation.
If the child keeps the belief on he may hamper his present especially when the parents set wrong examples and ideologies. Or if the child revolts, the parents end up heartbroken and disillusioned sometimes even lonely.
In India the moment a daughter is born she is taught to be an outsider. Her parents themselves teach her that they are raising her but post marriage will merely be guests at her house. There starts the burden of “OMG! My parents are sacrificing so much for me and I will not be allowed to take care of them.” Even before she has met the prospective groom she already carries a defensive attitude that his parents will get all perks while my parents will suffer alone.
The moment a boy is engaged to be married he is taunted that now he will only listen to his wife. And it is assumed that the outsider obviously is a vicious girl who will take the son away from the family.
And so the suffocation game begins and our so called sacred marriage pact is already marred with malicious thoughts and feelings. Burden Inherited!
Accept it we all are guilty of it. Be it a cousin’s marriage or our very own kin, somewhere or else we have sided with our parents in boosting their ambition to be God; and in process subtly planted the seed of the same insecurity deep down in ourselves to resurface years later.
It is easy to deal with someone who accepts he is a human and is capable of making mistakes but it is impossible to deal with the assumption of being GOD.
As parents we seriously need to do reality checks on ourselves and trust our upbringing. Yes my child will be selfish at times but that is because he is trying to live life on his own terms. And before judging him I hope the real God gives me the good sense to realize that he is as human as I am. He too has just one life to live and I cannot make him bear the burden of my failed ambitions and ideologies. My wishes need to be fulfilled by me and end with me alone. I have to learn to live my life and when in need seek his help the way he seeks mine today. I have to be there with him in principle but not dictate terms of our being together.
I have to be independent of my idea of Being His God. I have to be a human for him, imperfect as I am; I have to be his parent only. Nothing more, nothing less!