country of control freaks???
It was a college friend’s birthday. Called up to wish her. After the birthday greetings were conveyed, we got talking about the topic that has been monopolizing every conversation these days. According to her, the silver lining of Covid-19 was that she got to be at her parents’. While she was visiting them, the lockdown was announced and she couldn’t return to where her husband and in-laws live. She was at her parents’ for threemonths – first time in her almost thirteen years of marriage. Told her would be good to catch up, if she visited again. And her response is the reason behind this write-up.
She told me she wasn’t “allowed” to visit her parents more than once a year and would be visiting them next year. I wasn’t appalled by the response, given the nature of my work. I come across many clients controlled by parents, siblings, bosses, spouses and in-laws. But it really made me think. Why are people controlled to such an extent that they don’t evenhave the liberty to take decisions like visiting their own parents?
I’ve had discussions with my friends and fellow work associates who feel one can be controlled only if one lets oneself to be controlled. It’s easier said than done especially for people who feel intrinsically controlled when controlled extrinsically. So, the word here should be ‘exploited’ rather than controlled.
In my friend’s case, she belongs to a very conservative family. Before marriage she was controlled by her parents and two elder brothers. After marriage, by her husband and in-laws and if I see through a crystal ball, I can see her being controlled by her grown up child in the future. May be she can put up with the restrictions because she is used to all the restraints right from her childhood. She probably has never experienced zero ruling. Her conditioning probably helps her muddle through all the controls that come her way. Doesn’t mean she is happy. She reminisced the college days and said those were the best days of her life and wish she could turn back the clock to those days.
Why is personal freedom so expensive in our country, especially for women? Although there are men who are oppressed and controlled too. In the case of women, despite the education, they are “not allowed” to work. If they don’t work, where will the financial independence come from? Well, even financially independent women don’t always have a say in their marriage. I have clients who give away their salaries to their husbands. And have to ask for money for their expenses. I do find fault with such women who don’t stand up for themselves. But it’s also not always a cake walk for them. Would walking out of a controlling marriage give them their freedom? Not always. If they go back to their parents’, they would be controlled by them. And for women who are not financially independent, they don’t have too much choice. Ihave no words for such husbands and/or in-laws capitalizing on the financial dependence and exploiting their wife/daughter in law. I see so many young adults controlled by their parents. Even married sons in the family business have to ask permission to take their wives out or on holidays or buy them some gifts.
The tendency to own and control another person comes from a very toxic mindset which needs help. Despite their controlling nature and having controlled other people, these are the same people who come to therapy the most – rather than the ones who are controlled. Ironic! The mentality to control – the overt and covert ways of control, spoil relationships. Let go of control to save your relationship from going out of control.
The other day I gave a ride to a lady and her mother in law who stay in the house across. Her mother in law very proudly shared that her daughter in law too could drive, but was “not allowed” to drive by the men in the family.
I wish EVERYONE is ALLOWED to spread their wings and soar beyond the stars…