Recently I read an article on the growing trend of teenage drinking in India. It is a grave concern with disastrous consequences- wrecked lives, lost opportunities and broken relationships. It’s terrible and leaves a sordid trail of destruction in families.

The article highlighted it and got me thinking…but I soon realized my thoughts were getting pulled into a different zone…and a song I didn’t know I knew kept playing in my head…

Whatcha gonna do, whatcha gonna do, When they come for you… Sang Bob Marley in my head.

Then I got it!

The article had truly got me thinking, but the problems of teenage drinking were not putting those lyrics in my head–the Bechari/Bechara syndrome, universally known as the Victim Mentality was the one playing havoc.

I will tell you why…

The article starts with a story about a 40 year old mom getting palpitations as Friday nears…

Because her 20 something daughter starts making party plans.

Now the mom is a widow most probably staying with her in-laws. Maybe she is independent maybe she is not, the article did not specify but her answers made me think that the latter is the possibility here.

She knows her daughter will drink and return home and her fear is ‘what will my daughter say to her grand parents when she comes home in high spirits in the night’. That’s the fear that starts her palpitations.

She is unhappy  because her daughter’s ‘bad behaviour’ could get her reprimanded by her in-laws…or embarrass her in front of them. I could almost hear them shouting at that poor lady, “it’s all your fault. Your bad upbringing led to this state…”

See, even I wrote it as- ‘that poor lady’

‘That poor lady’ thinks the whole world is conspiring against her. There is no one who offers solace. There is no savior. Not her kid. Definitely not the in-laws and relatives.

Whatcha gonna do, whatcha gonna do

When they come for you

She is falling deeper and deeper into the victim mentality. She feels she has no control over anything. She fears what her daughter does, because she cannot control it.

She is ready to flinch every time her in-laws say something. She prays before every family gathering, hoping against hope, that when the ‘good spirits flow’ her daughter does not accept the glass in front of the relatives.

Her daughter always accepts the glass.

As a mother she feels she should be able to control it, but she can’t.

She is waiting for her daughter to stop doing what she is doing so that she can feel secure. She can’t even expect that consideration from her in-laws and relatives so she doesn’t look there for help.

Whatcha gonna do, whatcha gonna do

When they come for you

How many of us do that?

How many of us willingly give away our strengths, our pride and our self to stand before others with bowed head and shaking knees; vulnerable to everything and everyone.

We wait for a savior, someone who will come and save us from this horrible situation because we tell ourselves that we can’t do anything.

We desperately wait for a superhero- just for us.

I know because I did it too.

I loved writing but for years I waited for someone to come up to me and say, “You can be a great writer. Come write for us!”

No one did. Till I went out and worked to find them. Till I created the articles, stories and blogs that caught their interest. Till I forced myself out of the dead-hole of victimization.

Today, when I don’t get a project. I know where to look. I look in the mirror and say, “One step done. Take the next step.”

Breathe in. Breathe out.

We hold our breath over each defeat and suffocate our true selves by looking at ourselves through the eyes of others.

Whereas the truth is that we really have no control over anything- especially not over what others think of us. By the way, we also don’t even have control over what we think of about ourselves!

So why seek that validation?

As Pema Chondron says,

Inner peace begins the moment you choose not to allow another person or event to control your emotions

Yes. It is humanly possible to come out of this self-fulfilling belief but it’s a long road and it begins by loving ourselves. Making ourselves stand tall in our eyes or as that old devotional hymn began…

“Doosron ki jai se pehle khud ke jai karo”

(praise yourself before praising others)

Most times we do the opposite…we praise others while we easily find faults in ourselves and our situation.

So,

Whatcha gonna do, whatcha gonna do

When they come for you

Nobody naw give you no break

Police naw give you no break

Soldier naw give you no break

Not even you idren naw give you no break

 

Who will give you a break? Who will stand up for you if you can’t?

Hint: It’s the person in the mirror.

 

 

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