Do you have any childhood memory where you were scolded or beaten by your parents instead of behaving out of the actual scenario? You never found out the answer to why they behaved the way they did. And you will never understand it until you have done the same with someone else and it triggered you a question: “why did I even do that?”.
Today destiny has shown some light on this type of behavior from our loved ones. I got to know one story from my mother about one of her childhood experiences. And then I remember two more incidents from my own life. Those are profound examples of many different aspects of our psychology and how we learn this type of behavior from our ancestors through each generation.
Let’s begin with the story of my Mother’s childhood. She was around 6 years old (year around 1970) and her brother was just 2 years younger than her. One evening my grandfather took both of them with him to the market and bought them some snacks. Then my grandfather told my mother to go home and take my uncle as well with her.
She was too young to find out the way home. Even after she started with her brother, on the way she thought of waiting for my grandfather and going home altogether. On the other side, my grandfather completed his grocery shopping and went home directly without any second thought of his children as he has already sent them home. After he reached home, he found none of the kids reached home. He went furious and ran to search for my mother and uncle. Once he found them and took them back home, he had beaten both of them so much out of some unknown anger instead of asking if they were lost or got scared.
Now time for my own stories. The first story of mine was like this: There was some celebration in our house and as you all know Indian families always have huge gatherings of close and far relatives. I was around 10 years old. Now that I understand, one of my cousins wanted to see a girl (who was also invited to the function) outside of our house, somewhere in solitude. But, because people might ask many questions they took me together with them and we all got into a village boat. It was late evening around 8-9 PM. They were having a conversation, and I was enjoying the ride.
Upon return to the home, the actual story happened. My mom came out of nowhere and started beating me with her slippers. And I was only traumatized, confused, hurt mentally and physically. Here, instead of asking questions to my cousin or scolding him for taking me out in the water late in the evening, she did what she did. And interesting thing is, today my mother brought up that story that she was very angry and had beaten me out of anger on others. In my whole life, my mom has hit me only twice. Don’t think she was an abusive mother. 😉
The second story of mine happened after I hit puberty, age 15. The reason was my over-possessive father who was furious about his daughter. It was about my first boyfriend with whom I had already broken up because neither I understood what I was doing nor I wanted any trouble for my father. One fine evening I was practicing my music lessons, my sister was closing off the windows as we usually do in the evening to stop the mosquitoes from coming inside. I asked her not to close my window immediately as the sunlight was still coming in.
Suddenly my father came out of nowhere and closed all the windows. Sent my sister to another room and took a heavy wooden log ( which we use to close wooden doors in villages) and started beating me like a mad person. I was traumatized, confused, begging for mercy. I remember that night my mom had given me Arnica (homeopathy medicine to reduce pain) and slept with me. Later on, I got to understand from my mother’s conversation that someone has informed my father that I am writing letters to that same boyfriend. Instead of asking me about the actual story, my father did what he did.
In all three stories above, they have used anger as the primary expression but, at the same time we know it wasn’t an anger reaction, it was something more than that. What I understand now is, that was their extreme love and worry for their kid and some imagination of what worst could have happened out of it if they couldn’t stop it. They had no idea why they took those actions in a moment where they were to show kindness or empathy.
The more interesting thing is we learn this type of behavior from our family. Until or unless we are reacting out of fear, or out of anger, and not doing conscious analysis of our behavior, we will never understand why we behave the way we do. Most of the time we think a person is behaving out of their acquired behavior but, in reality, they might be behaving just like someone in their family whom they might have hated for treating them wrongly.
We all play victims or blame the other person for treating us a certain way. But, we need to understand why we do what we do. The coin turns around. Sometimes we are to blame and someone else is the victim. It is impossible to behave out of our behavior in vulnerable situations. But, it is possible to take a moment to put some light on the situation later on when we calm down, and instead of checking what the other person did to us, we should analyze why we did what we did. This can help us treat our relationship better. We must take this responsibility to know ourselves better than we know today.