At the risk of generalizing, Indians love worshiping their parents. Parenthood has turned into a mindless glorified festivity. You cannot question, argue, reason, debate, converse, convince, disagree, disapprove, stand up to them & still love them. There is a certain choice you make – please them & be unhappy yourself or disagree with them & you are on your own. The socio-political-finacial aspect of this relationship cannot be ignored. Y often says, the underlying question always is :
Are you ready to be the bad person?
I don’t want to get married this way. I don’t want to study engineering. I don’t like these relatives. I am not religious.
It is important to humanize parents. They were kids once. They have their own set of experiences & biases. And they are not always right. The nature of obligation & guilt is complex and it is difficult to identify it and separate it from a parent-child relationship. It is important to understand the role of power in this relationship. No one has been able to escape these vices, no parent either. Age & education doesn’t necessarily have an effect on these –
- Opinions & perspectives
- Principles & political views
- History, culture, society, heritage
- Acceptance beyond disagreement
- Love beyond conditions
Am I ready to see them as people and not as someone larger than life?
Yes, I don’t exactly idolize them.
Am I ready to help them understand that I am an individual with opinions & ideas?
I have often told them about my opinions & they more often disapprove. I haven’t succeeded at making them understand.
Am I ready to argue, debate, disagree, reason with them & help them accept it?
Yes, I always do this & get rejected in return.
Am I ready to do the right thing, even if it means my parents might abandon me?
Abandonment is a slow & not so obvious process. And it has already started for me.
Am I capable of loving them as people?
I am not sure of this and still figuring it out. I sometimes like to imagine meeting them outside family and that gives me some clarity on whether I like them as people. I instinctively feel protective about them & sometimes understand where they are come from but I would like to give myself the choice of not liking them. This choice is often followed by guilt.
How important is choice to me?
I am very democratic in nature. Choice is extremely important to me. I need a detailed argument to convince me otherwise. Force hasn’t worked well for me.
What does my family mean to me?
Y & me & little M. We have together set up an environment for ourselves in which rationality, objectivity, freedom, choice, health, respect, empathy, sensitivity, love, peace, productivity, honesty, equality & growth are extremely important. Shame & violence are highly discouraged. Us & this space that we have created for ourselves is family to me.
What is the role of my parents in my life?
Not exactly role models but I crave for for their approval & I know I am emotionally dependent on them.
Am I helping them grow? Or have I given up on their capacity to grow?
I have partially given up on them. If I don’t see them change in the near future, I will most likely give up on the remaining hope.
Do I see growth in our relationship or has it stagnated?
How far am I ready to go to work it out with them?
I am convinced that honest conversations haven’t worked well with them. I think I have exhausted my resources to work it out with them.
If it isn’t working out, am I ready to go my separate way?
It would be a huge struggle for me but yes I am ready.
How far am I ready to go to defend my sense of freedom?
Being the black sheep somewhat relieves you of your fear of abandonment. It is liberating in a way. Sense of freedom & choice are equally important to me.
What if I don’t love my parents anymore?
I wont deny the possibility. Will work on accepting this feeling and keeping my distance.
Do I love them or is it my fear of abandonment?
Both. Fear of abandonment is an equal part, won’t deny that.
How do I deal with my anger towards them?
Anger always finds it ways, however hard I try to suppress it.
Am I ready to forgive them?
Ideally, I would want to. But their ego & adamant behaviour puts me off all the time.
How will I deal with their death?
I believe honest & sincere conversations are the only way of resolving issues. Death makes you feel lonely & sad but it doesn’t bring you forgiveness. Unresolved issues get buried and keep living in our thoughts. Closure is a life long process. Sometimes, talking might not yield results, but it will surely bring you closure. I can still live with closure.
What happens to my sense of belonging?
I have often struggled with my sense of belonging, be it parents, family, society, culture, nation. Sense of belonging comes with certain stereotypical attributes attached to it. I feel caught in these attributes. Not belonging is often perceived as a sign of arrogance.