Experts say it takes 21 days to form any habit and afterwards, the more you practice more permanent part of you that habit becomes. I am wailing for past 11 years now. Has it become my habit? Habit of wailing about a single person and a single reason, day and night.
I was in a party yesterday, when one of the relatives came and whispered “Your MIL was telling her sister that you ruined her family. You are not right for her family.” This information made me feel anxious, stressful, abused, and angry. I didn’t know how to handle my anger and immediately I started whining. “It is not fair. This should not be happening to me. What did I ever do to deserve such treatment? Who does she think she is, to pass one such judgments? She will never accept me. She doesn’t like me.” I said all these things. And I have honestly lost the count, how many times I have fallen into this loop after my love marriage. And it always iterates in the same way. And everyone, my club of DILs, would raise single question, in great astonishment, “How do they forget they were also DILs sometime back?” Or “Women against Women!” See, again I messed it up. But I won’t give up, no I won’t give in. I have to change this course.
Now that I know, I have developed a habit of playing ‘Victim’. Period.
Are you wondering, why I chose this?
As long as the cost of being a victim is less than its benefit, or when my behavior is rewarded, I will maintain the behavior. The victim is always morally right, neither responsible nor accountable, and forever entitled to sympathy. So I have developed a knack of dragging other people into emotional maelstrom I create. I portray myself as someone with high traits and values, but stuck in wrong, helpless and hopeless situation. I don’t confront my MIL and so I am achieving moral superiority while simultaneously disowning any responsibility. I am not seeking justice and fairness, rather, enjoying status of a victim. This is why I cling to this status. It’s nice to be noticed and validated.
What if I don’t change my habit of playing victim?
In the image of my MIL, I just found the mirror in which I could see my own face most clearly. Because she is also playing the same thing for a longer time and hence has developed kind of expertise in that. My MIL is playing ‘poor me’ card that some wrong, stupid girl entered into her family, snatched her son, and hence ruined her family. Oh! All the mothers can feel this pain very well. The sympathy she gets from them satisfies her ego. She is competing for the status of victim, to be defined as some sort of survivor. She simply shifted the responsibility to her DIL for whatever is going unpleasant in her life. She earned many compassionate responses. She is harboring feelings of self-inefficacy. She is using very subtle, indirect and behind-the-scenes way of getting what she wants and expressing anger without openly acknowledging it.
Like my MIL, I would be timid to say openly that I am angry with her (my future DIL) and I don’t like her actions. As I am today to confront the same feeling about my MIL. I am doubtful if my husband would like to hear anything against his mother and he is the only person I trust in family.
The resentment, I am carrying inside me, is preparing a fertile ground for the cultivation of victimization. I feel helpless and so I fell in love with the concept of feeling victimized. I am feeling helpless because I have assigned the job of solving my problems to my hubby and rest of the family and that too without telling them my problem directly. They have to take clues by themselves. This also means I won’t help myself. As soon as, I will have someone weaker than me, a new comer in the family, I would have a way to deal with my resentment. I will be in a dominating position then and will try to make sense of my world and my existence. I will target my pain and rage on someone weaker than me, again creating some kind of emotional drama. Thus making peace with whatever wrong happened with me. This turns me into a perpetrator, though playing as a victim. This assures that I will always be in disguise, now as DIL and later on as MIL. Someone needs to break this chain. And who better than me?
Otherwise, my DIL and her friends would wonder “Saas bhi kabhi Bahu thi!” This blame game, playing victim and being indirect victimizer within, will go on for next generations. When we DILs say “how can she do something that she disapproved long back?” We are missing something. See, it is easier to fall in the trap of self-pity than to take control of the situation and think about solution. There is a threshold for every feeling, after that you become emotionally cold. And 20 to 25 years is enough to reach that threshold. The old ladies have crossed their threshold to feel anything about victim (their type) passionately. Now they are ruthless players. They have developed a belief that good things that occur are deserved, and bad things that occur are because someone else is being cruel, thoughtless, or unfair.
People have two ways of dealing with unpleasantness in their lives. Either they turn the bitterness inwards and become depressed and may commit suicide Or they turn it outwards and become victimizer. What is your option? If you think you have a threshold that you cannot achieve in your lifetime to become cold to miseries, it is bullshit. Better you look out for ways to settle your resentments and maintain your sanity. Be courageous and face the facts and issues directly. Stop self-pity.
I decide to end this trend in my family. I will stop shouting “I am a victim”. Stop adhering to a victim ideology which states that victims are always and completely innocent- believe me it is absurd. I am joining club of victorious. I have to understand and admit, I am not a unanimous ‘Right Choice’. I am right choice for my hubby and I would not beat myself up for becoming right choice for my MIL. I believe that we can re-frame difficult life situations positively. We must learn to talk about conflict without being judgmental.
Mahatma Gandhi says: “A ‘No’ uttered from deepest conviction is better and greater than a ‘Yes’ merely uttered to please, or, what is worse, to avoid trouble.” Therefore, I decide to say ‘NO’ to myself, whenever I feel most tempted to use my Victim card.
I must resist being fashionista. Today it is fashionable to be a victim. Rati Agnihotri, Yukta Mookhey, Pratyusha Bannerjee, Preity Zinta, Zeenat Aman, Sanjay Dutt, Jiah Khan, Owen Wilson and many more celebrities are playing a victim card. Victim of domestic violence, depression, sexually abused etc. It is so easy and relaxing to blame someone for bad conditions.
Take your life in your own hands, and what happens? A terrible thing: no one to blame. – Erica Jong
Few lines from Shakira’s song
You’re on the front line, Everyone’s watching, You know it’s serious,
The pressure’s on, you feel it, but you got it all -Believe it.
People are raising their expectations. Go on and feed them, This is your moment- No hesitation
Today’s your day -I feel it, You paved the way -Believe it.
See you again. 🙂