Monday, August 8, 2011

Domestic Violence- Are we thoughtful to other people's problems?

A young lady in her early 20s (let’s call her Paru) is at a family gathering to celebrate the wedding reception of her brother in law, and welcoming the new bride. The family consists of Mom, Dad, three sons and 2 elder daughter-in laws, one daughter, one daughter-in-law who is the new bride.

 Our Paru goes about the day helping with the festivities, but she is quiet and has little enthusiasm. As the day moves on, there is a sudden explosion that disrupts all festivities. The explosion is of an emotional source and comes from Paru.

Paru begins to shout, “What is wrong with all of you? How can you all act happy?! This bride is in potential danger!”

She starts crying and flees from the room. Now, please reflect: What are your thoughts about what happened? Has she ruined the whole atmosphere? Is she unstable and does she lack control? Is she perhaps even crazy?

If any of these conclusions come to mind, this young adult has been labeled what psychology calls, “The Identified Patient.” She would be the one encouraged to get therapy.

What is the immediate truth here? Before the outburst, her mother in law had abused her physically and emotionally as young bride for few years now. What is the historical truth? Her family had been indifferent and mother in law treated her as a servant and her husband was made aware of it — everyone but her parents and family.

So the reality is this: She is part of a family system that operates in denial, and it is that system that is dysfunctional. So let’s shed some truth on this scenario.

This young woman is actually the only one in her family who has insight, is emotionally healthy and takes action. Her husband had been uncomfortable when she told him of the agony she goes through.. Once he accepted it, he talked to the mother in law once, and then wanted it to never be spoken of again.

Father in law went into emotional denial. He accepted it had happened, but could not accept how deeply the abuse affected his daughter in law. Dad figured he paid for therapy; why couldn’t she just get over it and forgive?

Her mother in law, thought the lasting repercussions were her “Paru’s issue” and she went along with life. Mom felt “uncomfortable” when her daughter wanted to spend time with her away from her in-laws place. When abuse was brought up in another context, the father in law asked his daughter in law if she would divorce her husband because of this domestic violence
When she responded, “yes,” he said, “Whatever, Paru” — as if Paru had the problem.

What is this family system exhibiting? Denial and concealment. What are they conveying? That the daughter in law is the one with problems.

Essentially, she’s the family scapegoat. Her anger festered, justice, righteousness and truth screamed out to be heard, and she was met with, “Paru’s crazy.” And her younger brother in law called her as a ‘Fish Market!’

Actually, Paru is the most sane member of the family in this story. This is a family system that had thrived on everyone agreeing and denying. This is called pseudo mutuality and is a very dysfunctional family dynamic. Truth and healing are rarely revealed in this type of system.

This is Paru’s narrative. We all have one. Often, the source of a painful narrative is family of origin, abuse, being misunderstood and the like. Our experiences create who we are. When no one gives us a voice, and others do not take the time to understand our experience, then people who are innocent can be misunderstood.

Often victims look like the identified patient, the one with the problem, when in fact it is the system that is dysfunctional. Often domestic violence, child abuse, sexual abuse, shaming and emotional abuses are denied. They can either lead to someone shutting down emotionally or one becoming a voice for justice.

Integrating facts and truth into how we view people demonstrates morality. It should be practiced as members of a community, family and even in friendships. We often speak cavalier statements, such as a person is dysfunctional, crazy or unstable. But we must take the investigation of truth into consideration.

Victimized individuals are deeply affected by life and often much more intuitive and emotionally intelligent than others. They are less likely to put up with injustice. They often make a stand and speak out against immorality, and this just makes others uncomfortable.

But the reality is, the woman in the above story is absolutely right. She uncovered hidden sin. Once it was revealed, it was pushed under the carpet. She then confronted the denial.

Why did she do this? To save others from being victimized. Her experience gave her insight, righteous indignation and the courage to point out and fight against injustice and abuse.

Let’s support those who speak out against abuse and get over our discomfort. We then become healthy systems for people to thrive in.

Thanks to Kimberlee Z,whose article inspired me to write this story

1 comment:

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