You are just back from a social gathering and your mind is heavy. Sometimes meeting relatives can be a source of pain and discomfort, even it is after ages. Some people never cease to fire at the slightest of opportunities. This gathering has been on your mind since a couple of weeks and you have been preparing for it with happiness and the added excitement of meeting your relatives after a long time. One relative’s crude remark has managed to set you off colour and seething with disgust and anger. You meet this person again after a few weeks and she is not apologetic about the earlier incident. Instead she announces casually “I am like this only!”
What can you decipher from this remark, flung carelessly at you, knowing that you are hurt? Such a person is insensitive to another’s feelings for sure. In fact I faced a similar situation recently at the hands of a close relative. We had gone to an intimate gathering of our extended family and were sitting and talking after lunch when the topic of our children came in. When my turn came, I slowly said that I have decided not to enrol my elder son in the Armed forces; all eyes were upon me with raised eyebrows. Coming from an Army background, everyone knew my love and admiration for it. The recent trend has however made me drop this long cherished dream. Now just as I had finished stating this decision of mine, my co- sister in law retorted with “Just send him to the Army, he would be bestowed with a Param Vir Chakra( Death of a soldier in the battleground) and make you proud!” I was flabbergasted as she knew that I had lost my only brother, a martyr in 1996.
I could not fathom her mental makeup. Was it sarcasm, dark humour or an intention to rub in hurt? Whatever it was, it sure did make me sad and angry. I decided to keep away from her and ensured this. Recently she called me after 6 months and spoke as if nothing had happened and that she had not said those words. Then as an afterthought she added cheekily “I am like this only!” She went onto say that my son should live to be a hundred years and more nonsensical stuff. This was her nature, her habit of saying whatever came to her mind in the flow of things. She expected me to pat her back and express my appreciation at her ability to speak with freedom. I have consciously chosen to keep her at a distance and I am really glad with my decision.
This set me thinking. It took me back to my childhood when my parents corrected my expressions and taught me the right way of putting across thoughts. Maybe this is why I did not respond to her rudely. Values when ingrained deeply in one’s system tend to keep one grounded. But if you ask me keeping things bottled up is also injurious to your peace of mind and health. So what is the best way out? Avoid them, ignore them or reciprocate?
A mix of all the three is required these days as gone is the time when people thought before speaking. The one liner “I am like this only!” is being flaunted rather openly and callously. If parents raise their children with the right values, speech being the most important skill, they would grow into responsible adults. In the race to keep abreast with the latest, most parents teach their children all the acquired external skill sets, but fail to hone their inherent abilities, which then take shape based upon their day-today interactions. Such children are not grounded in their thinking and grow up into scattered thinking adults. Though it is never too late to change their mindset, the will and the desire to do it may not be forth coming as they have begun to enjoy the distress of others. To some it may seem like creativity at its best but in reality it is putting another’s patience to test. Before long such people would face the music and would be either sidelined or retorted to in a similar manner
Such instances can leave a permanent scar in a child’s life. When a child is made the butt of such harsh jokes, he can become subdued and get into depression which can alter his personality. The damage can be long lasting and painful to his entire family. The anger and helplessness can make him aggressive and rebellious. Parent’s must pay close attention to any changes in the child’s behaviour and help him address his feelings of anger and sadness. School is one place where children spend their maximum time and it has a deep impact on the child’s mind and behaviour. These days teachers are quite short tempered and punish children at the drop of a hat. They address the child with nicknames and make a mockery in public.
I have seen several cases of children with low self-esteem being a psychologist. The trauma a child faces is indescribable in words. Added to this is the parent’s non availability and in most cases lack of empathy which drives the child further away into his shell. Some parents feel that all these instances have to be dealt by the child as it would make him strong. All children are not alike and while this could work for some, it would destroy the other not so evolved kids.
The new age parenting is much more challenging with multi dimensional problem solving approaches required.
So if you or your child has been a victim of the “I am like this only!” syndrome, simply walk away after giving the owner a look of disapproval. It is better to stay away from such people as your peace and well being matter the most.