“I work in a MNC on a handsome package. A few years back, I moved to US and sent my car to my hometown. No one at my home knows how to drive a car. I drive it whenever I visit home. The last time I visited, I stayed a while. And in no time, I was made a chauffeur. I was picking relatives I don’t even know from train station; I was dropping guests to bus stop at 5.30 in the morning. People came to our home assuming that I’d drop them to their next destination. My father would insist guests to stay till late telling them that I would drop them. At other times, my mom would tell me to take her to hospital to visit a distant relative. In the evening, I’d make a second round to the hospital so my father can pay a visit too.
One day my wife retorted, “Are you a driver? Don’t you have anything else to do than just pick and drop everyone? Do they even deserve your personalized services?”
She was harsh. But I know she was right. I need to stop doing it. I just don’t know how.”
As shared with me by Manish (name changed) over email.
You, my friend, are victimized. Not only by your family and relatives, but by yourself too. Your family and relatives are manipulating you. By ordering you around and making you do things you don’t want to do. And you, you are letting this happen to you.
At the center of this victimization is your fearful attitude. You are scared of saying no to drive people around. Because you fear what will happen if…
Getting yourself out of your victim habits begins with this realization. An understanding of victimizers in your life- which is you in most cases, and in rest most, it’s your family. Yes, unbeknownst to most of us, the family is the biggest victimizer of all the victimizers there are.
Ask yourself to make a list of five situations where you feel victimized. And then check them against the examples below, which are the most common victimization stances people face. Chances are you’ll find more than one match of family victimization instances.
1. My mom always compares me with others who’ve achieved a lot in life. I feel such a loser!
2. My husband makes me feel guilty for anything I do. In the end, it boils down to teaching me to treat my in-laws as supreme authority.
3. My brother thinks of me as stupid and calls me a rote learner. I’m not stupid! And neither am I a rote learner!
4. My mom-in-law orders me to do things which make no sense to me. She expects me to just follow them mindlessly.
5. My mom forces me to talk to relatives I don’t care about.
6. My parents think that we’ll just go-along with whatever they tell us, without caring that we have a life of our own.
7. My mom still treats me as a kid and preaches at me.
8. My relatives belittle me by constantly reminding however hard I may study, I’ll end up leading a second-grade life, which revolves around making chapatis.
9. My parents always highlight me that I’m not as good a kid as my sister is.
10. My wife makes a fuss whenever I make plans without consulting her. Do I need to seek her permission all the time? Can I not plan on my own?
11. My family treats me as if I’m a driver. Anyone has to go anywhere, my parents ask me to drop or pick them. Just because I know how to drive a car, do I have to provide services to everyone? How do I stop being a driver?
If you really want to live your life on your own terms without being miserable, you need to get out of this victimization habit.
And take some baby steps.
Ideally, I would have preferred some direct statements clearly highlighting my intentions.
Probably you can arrive at this directness after you’ve undertaken some baby steps and build some courage.
But this is family. The idea is not to revolt, but give an astute hint to get them see the point. Besides, you can be direct but if you kill yourself with guilt later, then your courage would’ve defied its purpose. Even your astute hint may give them a jolt, but as acceptance sinks in, they’ll come to respect you for your stand.
Or, you can try talking to your parents if you care too much about hurting their feelings. And if they are sensible enough to understand.
Whichever way, you got a take a step towards courage.
Take a step towards courage
Which of the family victimization instances you are currently going through? Are you committing today to take some baby steps in your journey towards courage? Comment below to make yourself heard!