It is a blessing to find this article. My whole journey into spirituality was at its core about finding love for my own mother and resolve the rage going on between both sides. By and by through persistent work I’ve come to understand that the anger in our relationship was not as personal as we thought it was.
This reblogged article arrives very synchronously. I was talking to a friend very recently about the rage and abuse inflicted upon her by her mother-in-law and her husband remaining silent in the face of that out of the guilt-based thought – “My mother has done so much for us so I cannot tell her anything“. She eventually had to give up on the marriage working out in the presence of her mother-in-law. As we spoke, she shared her mother in law’s history – she came from a rich family but because of a tiny health issue, she was married off to someone who was less wealthy. Subsequently she had to work from the ground up to prove her worth which she eventually did with a flourishing business of her own. But the wound of having had to compromise her sense of self to fit into a family who was poorer than her natural one, seemed to have left a mark. My friend also came from a family more well off than her spouse’s family. She had never had to cook in her life. However, after getting married she was constantly belittled on the fact that she cannot cook. Even as she started to learn, at one point she had to give up her career to save her marriage by learning to cook and keep a good house. At one point, her mother in law pointedly told her that she would make sure that her wings are cut off. This is a sordid reflection of what must have happened to her, or her interpretation of the circumstances of her own marriage. This is not the story of an uneducated, poor class of people. My friend and her husband are both engineers who have their independent corporate careers. This is the story of an educated middle class.
And this is just one out of many wounds.
Another friend of mine was constantly blaming herself for all the tension in the house brought on by her mother. She was constantly disturbed by the verbal abuse her mother inflicted on her father. She tried innumerable therapies to resolve this but could never come to peace with the way things were. I often sensed the immense guilt and sense of responsibility she carried on her shoulders to somehow make the family alright and bring them peace. Though the silver lining is that she has with determination pursued exercises to bring her peace, she has not been able to forgive herself for not making things right. Through this family drama, she has got sucked into the belief that she has betrayed her family somehow which makes her go very hard on herself. Today she is a soon-to-be mother. I genuinely pray that by reading this article she finds the kindness within her to absolve herself of the crime she thinks she has made. She was never meant to get her parents’ marriage working. It wasn’t her job.
Lastly, I struggled for years to understand and free myself of this pain of a marriage going sour. I still find traces of this. Though I have found immense forgiveness and compassion for my mother, I am still hesitant to act out on some of my desires out of fear that I will break her expectation of me or that I will outdo her expectations in some way. Apparently the two extremities do go together. I am still searching within me to find the courage to speak for myself and acknowledge that I have been a good daughter. A part of me seems to never allow me to do so. It is incidental that the time I write this, I feel called to take care of her as she is undergoing health issues. I question myself often, “Am I doing this out of duty? Am I doing this out of guilt? Or obligation? Or simply because I want to win the title of a “good daughter” and finally feel guilt-free?” These are tough questions. But the answers are the only way to allow myself to realise my full potential.
Thankfully, by and by emotions have been coming up and leaving. The answers are not coming in terms of words but are coming in through feelings of gratitude and appreciation of who I am. I don’t have to be a good daughter. It is okay to be loving, even from a distance.
I sincerely hope you read the article below even if it is long, and share it with your girlfriends, mothers and MILs. Invite them to voice their history, their agony of never being allowed to be who they are. It might just save a generation from carrying the same wound.