Mind to Mind

My mother is not a bad person. I don’t hate her and I don’t want others to hate her. She suffered and that suffering caused her to live her life on her own terms. My only sorrow is that another man is robbing me of my moments with her. I am unable to accept the fact that she prioritizes this relationship over and above me. I am unable to come to terms with the fact that I am not her priority‘, she said.

I sighed.

Fundamentally, there is no bad in any human being. There is always a reason to all the bad in us, and when we rationalize bad from that perspective, we realize it is so human. Your mother is a good person. But she has run away from her role as a parent. It is her absence in your life that has left behind an unfulfilled void in you‘, I replied.

She said nothing.

What is a bird’s dream?‘, I asked her.

To fly?‘, she replied, unsure of what my question implied.

To fly. A bird is happiest when it can fly. That is its instinct. It is this instinct that propels it forward until the day it can fly unbridled across the skies, reveling in this flight. Take away its ability to fly, and you have taken away its soul. So what is the role of the mother bird?

She looked at me, aware of the point I was trying to make.

To feed it, care for it and to guide it towards its dream. The mother bird teaches the baby bird to fly. And when the baby bird can fly independently, the mother bird’s role in the baby bird’s life is complete‘, I said.

She was silent.

So what is your dream?‘, I asked.

I have no dream‘, she replied.

That is what concerns me. Everybody has a dream. That dream is one’s motivation. But one must uncover this dream that lies dormant within. At an age when you should have experienced a mother’s presence, affection and care, you were lonely. Her absence in your life almost caused you to question your worth- a feeling that there is perhaps nothing in you that makes other people like you or want you. Now, at an age when you should have been emotionally secure and building your dreams, you are struggling with worthlessness and a lack of motivation‘, I replied.

She lowered her eyes. There were tears in those melancholic eyes.

Do you love your mother?‘, I asked.

Yes I do…I don’t hate her‘, she replied.

What is love?‘, I asked her.

She was quiet, perhaps wondering how one spells out an emotion.

You love your mother, no doubt. You miss your mother, you crave for her presence, and you perhaps do many things to make her happy. It is a child’s love for her mother- a child’s need for her mother. But given the nature of your circumstances, you must try and give this love a more mature dimension. When you really love someone, you must set them free. You can continue to love them, but set them free. Your mother has made up her mind with regard to the relationship. That is what she wants because she believes that the relationship will make her happy. If you love her, set her free. Don’t rebel, don’t protest. Let go. Let go because you love her so much that you wouldn’t want to be the cause of her unhappiness. People are also able to love back more when you set them free. Your mother may really appreciate this step on your part and it may even cause her to be remorseful of her act. That her daughter could make a sacrifice for her when she couldn’t make a sacrifice for her daughter, may change her perspective. Rise above the rebellion, anguish and denial that your circumstances have seeded in you. That will cause you to look at your own self in new light, and even change your feelings of worthlessness. After all, how many people are capable of such an act?

By now, she was crying.

A long time ago, somebody told me- Don’t make me the sun of your solar system’. I didn’t quite understand what they meant at that time, but I am repeating those words to you now. Relationships and people are a necessary element of our lives, but they are not our goals…our destinations. Our dream is to fly. Relationships must only help us fly. If you wish to fly, to find your dream, you must outgrow this dependence on relationships. You must overcome this fear of losing people.

She had wiped her tears, but her eyes were red.

You are important to me and I care about you. I would ideally like to check on you every now and again, meet you and make sure you are okay. But that is often not possible, given the nature of my circumstances, and given the pace of the modern world. I worry when I realize that I am your motivation, and that most of your life is centered on something concerning me. As a teacher and otherwise, I am happiest when I can work on my students and make them independent and help them discover their dream. I am worried when they grow dependent on me and start weaving their lives around me.

She sat listening to me and a certain numbness had taken over.

As long as I am here in this place, I will be in touch. I am not going to abandon you or disappear. We will do many things together. Things that you will enjoy and things that will help you discover who you are and what your dream is. When you discover your dream, it will not be difficult to shift your emotions towards your dream. They call it transference in psychiatry. You transferred your emotions for your mother to me, owing to her absence in your life. Similarly, you will outgrow your dependence on me only when you transfer your emotions for me to your dream. Also, you must probably allow yourself to feel the negative emotions that flood your mind when you fear losing someone. Fear is often our resistance to feelings we wish to avoid. I will absent myself from your life for brief periods and you must allow yourself to feel the negative emotions, unless they are too difficult.‘ I concluded.

The human mind…

There are occasions when the mind refuses to rise above its misery, despite the innumerable helping hands that make attempts at reviving it- a reminder of our powerlessness over our minds. And then there are occasions when the mind displays its potential for the extraordinary, despite the negativity of the circumstances that it must confront, and despite the solitary battle that it must put up. Indeed, it’s all in the mind!





8 thoughts on “Mind to Mind

  1. “Your mother may really appreciate this step on your part and it may even cause her to be remorseful of her act. That her daughter could make a sacrifice for her when she couldn’t make a sacrifice for her daughter, may change her perspective.”

    Hi Vidya – don’t quite agree with this. Why must it be a sacrifice on either of their parts? Yes, the mother wasn’t there – perhaps physically, but very importantly, the moot question here is if she cared for her daughter and showed her affection in any other way? There can not be one way right?

    Plus, the daughter does not have a partner yet, hence she is feeling lonely. Once she finds her life partner, she herself would want to spend as much time with him as possible. That is the way of the world and life transcends from one stage to another.

    I think the daughter must support her mother in this stage of the relationship, and that will bring both of them closer to each other (not the mother, resenting her decision).

    1. Dear ‘Walk in the Woods’ (I am sorry I don’t know your name),
      I really didn’t think someone would read this and comment. I wrote this in order to record my own thoughts on this child who is currently my focus. Since you have raised a doubt, let me give you the background. This child lives with her father. Her parents had a some marital disharmony. So, when this child was an infant, her mother moved abroad and the father raised the child. Her mother would visit the child once a year, and the child developed an unconscious fear of separation. She is very fearful of relationships and tends to avoid them. So deep rooted is this fear of separation that the child has difficulty handling her emotions. She struggles with her mood fluctuations and has also had suicidal behaviour in the past. She does not believe in a marriage because of the factors that have shaped her concept of relationships. Science labels this entity as ‘borderline personality’ and the rate of suicide is very high in them. Hence the concern for her. It is not easy to remove her fear of separation because it is operating largely at an unconscious level, having been seeded early in her life. I am not sure if you will agree with my thoughts here after reading this, but in any case, I am a person who believes in traditional institutions, mainly because these institutions protect the vulnerable- children and elderly. However, I have also questioned these institutions at one point in time, but the more you study life and the mind, the more you begin to see the value in these institutions. Please feel free to disagree. Thank you for reading!

  2. Vidya, yes that really helped and I see where you are coming from. The context was missing and in fact, I assumed this to be a fiction piece. I agree that having such a childhood would have been tough on the little one and now do understand why she is facing emotional issues, and how traumatic life would have been for her.
    Thanks for sharing the context.

    1. This blog is a space where I ventilate my thoughts, reflect and ponder- a conversation with myself. Therefore, I often end up writing in fragments. Here, I am not averse to the mother building a life of her own or seeking a new relationship, but there are unfulfilled emotional needs in the child that are reflecting in the child’s behaviour and attitude to life- a permanent scar that is hard to erase. Parenting is a huge responsibility, more so in a nuclear family where the support system is lacking and the parents become the only caregivers to the child. To the child, the parents are the earliest representation of the world. Also, every child’s requirement is different. Here, we have a sensitive child who has developed worthlessness and a borderline personality due to inadequate parenting. And the mother may not even realize that she has contributed to the child’s personality, though unintentionally.

  3. Yes, true. In this situation, the mother has shirked her responsibility at the cost of her child’s emotions. Perhaps the same would happen if it was the other way round? If the dad was missing from the child’s life? Children who have single parents generally do develop emotional issues related to estrangement. 😦

    1. Yes, absence of either parent would have some impact on the child. The degree of impact would vary, depending on the inherent sensitivity of the child. Also, different children would react to this trauma in different ways- they choose different paths, depending on their cognitive ability at processing trauma. And thus, when they grow up, this trauma can reflect in their behaviour in multiple ways, across an entire spectrum of behavioral disorders and psychiatric disorders.

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