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Watching your parents fight can be traumatic for children of all ages. Read this heartfelt note from a young woman and stop – just stop.
For someone who has had a rather secure kind of attachment with her own parents, the mere thought of watching my parents fight in front of me, and the unimaginable horror of letting those fights affect me, are bone-chilling, to say the least. However, some children actually have to go through the trauma of seeing their parents fight.
Here’s an appeal from one of my friends, who, unfortunately, goes through something as horrible, for the lack of a better word, as this.
As shared with me.
Okay, so here’s a big confession. Probably I’m going to be grounded for the rest of my life if ever my parents come across this, because this is all so true.
I belong to a middle class family. My parents are in the field of education, so naturally you’d expect them to be ultra liberal and of an accommodating nature; nurturing and caring for their child in an environment where the child can easily develop and sustain an emotional attachment towards the parents. Making sure that the child never gets to see any negativity in terms of parental discord, judgementalism, or comparison with cousins or other children. And ensuring that no matter what, the child never develops an inferiority complex and if by chance that happens, making sure that the child comes out of it through constant support and encouragement.
This is typically what anyone would expect from a teacher couple to bring up their children.
And the fundamental thing, of course, not ever fighting with each other, or backbiting about each other or each other’s family in front of the child. But alas, every Indian parent is an expert at doing that.
No amount of education, no kind of occupation and nothing with regards to the effect of their open quarrels in front of their children can make them see how badly they are wronging their children.
Yeah, my parents fight. On a daily basis. I’ve grown up seeing them fight. My first attempt at suicide was when I was a mere 9 y.o. All because they were fighting. And add to it the fact, that I started blaming myself. I internalised it all and blamed myself. Ever since the blaming hasn’t stopped, neither has their fighting nor my attempts. One of the worst things? I made my former impressions of most of my relatives based on my parents’ stigmas. Ma doesn’t like this paternal aunt/uncle/cousin – I must hate them, too. Dad hates this maternal uncle/aunt/cousin – why the fuck should I love them?
So, yeah, at the age where I was still entitled to ride on my uncles’ shoulders, eat yummy food cooked by aunts and play with my cousins, I let my parents’ judgement get the better of me.
I don’t blame them, though. My belief in the institution of marriage broke down when I was still at an age where girls play house- house. I never desired to be anyone’s wife or girlfriend. Because marriage, to me means fighting and blaming and hating your spouse, their family and every fibre of their being. However, hell, never even thinking that I actually would, I fell in love with someone and I blew it because of my insecurities – deep set within the most of my childhood memories.
For the past few days, I have become totally disoriented. I can’t focus on anything, can’t eat or sleep. Am always looking for excuses to drink. Have stopped talking to most of my friends and if ever I do talk to them, I just get pissed off at them for no reason at all.
The past few days, I can tell, I need to see someone – a counselor maybe.
I’ve tried telling that to the parents, but obviously, Indian parents do not believe in the concept of mental illness. Depression and suicidal ideation do not exist in their dictionary.
It’s not okay if the child begs you to stop fighting – the child has lost all sanskaars; it’s completely okay, however, to fight in front of them and make your differences obvious to the child.
And if the child begins to drift apart, talks back or do stuff that only ‘bigde huye bacche’ (spoilt kids) do, it’s all the child’s fault. The child is mannerless.
I’m not writing all this to get sympathy from anyone, I just want to request those who are parents or are going to become parents, do whatever you may, but don’t ever fight in front of your children. It may not seem like it, but it affects them, at the bottom most level and it is enough to shake their beliefs, their innocence and everything that makes them what they are – your children!
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Just your average pen-wielding person with a knack for thinking inside the box.
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