As a young Indian kid, I have always been subjected to sexism and patriarchal norms that were once dictated to me by my parent. My younger self always took the vague blame for my habits, appearance, and low grades.
But little did I know, it struck to me one day after I left home to study and started to live an independent life in another city, that I was a subject to a past cycle of trauma laid down by one of my grandparents to one of her children, and this cycle then went onto repeat for me.
You see, this is called the cycle of abuse, which was explained through studies by Lenore E. Walker. Abuse is a word that is usually taken lightly when said out loud. Abuse brings up physical bruises, or physical fights when we first hear it, and that’s because our minds have always been conditioned to stay in a box of limited yet comfortable words that we can escape to. So when someone tells you for the first time that they were abused, you are bound to think first that this person was hit, when in fact that abuse could be emotional, verbal, or even sexual.
Within my own family, going back generations they must have gone through some kind of abuse emotionally. They then, unknowingly, and also because of the lack of education and spiritual awareness, passed this on to their generations, and finally to me.
Although it is hard to break out of the cycle, it’s certainly not impossible.
Here are some ways in which you can reduce the amount of abuse and trauma you experience:
1. Talk it out
As much as it sounds cliché, talking it out really helps. Sure, at first your parent will be highly irritated with you, or won’t understand where you are coming from, but then again once the conversation and they are left alone, they might do some thinking and actually start to realise that they have been a victim of abuse themselves, and when they realise that, they can change a bit.
2. Communicate through visual media
This step can be used when your parent has a problem with direct confrontation and communication. You can share screenshots and light threads with your parent to make him understand some basic things first before moving on.
If it is possible you can try booking a session with your parent to see where that goes. Oftentimes, things explained by our friends or other relatives aren’t easily recognised by the victim themselves, and instead, a calm therapist can act as a mediator between you and your parent. A good one is probably going to work on the problems but the best one will identify the problems in the first place and will lend you an ear.
4. Let it go
Finally, after you have done all these things, you might feel like giving up, or even might feel angry at yourself for trying. But don’t worry, remember that at least you tried because you wanted to, at least you took the first step to reconciliation if they did not, and move on.