A young lady took on the responsibilities of her home after the death of her father. She got a job in his company on compassionate grounds and took over the reins of running of her home. The mother fell ill after the death of her husband and the son was less than ten. This is the responsibility the young woman inherited. The mother too subsequently passed away.
This young woman got her brother educated and he is working now. She herself did not marry, preferred to concentrate on the upbringing of her younger brother. The problem arose when the brother fell in love. He brought home his girlfriend, the sister was not happy. She would direct them where they could meet, when they could meet and generally laid restrictions on their meetings. The girl got fed up and broke off the relationship. The brother was unhappy.
He felt unless his sister is married and settled in her own family, he will be forever on her leash. He started to feel constricted by her love, and her expectations. Apparently she did not allow him to apply to universities away from their town. He wanted to go abroad, he knows she would be upset and so decided to get her married.
She is resisting and these two approached a forum to sort out their issues. Once all the matter came out, it was clear she was not willing to let go of her brother. She felt he owed his life to her, he has to follow her directions. She knew what was best for him, she would decide for him. He clearly stated he wanted his freedom. She was shocked.
This does happen in some relationships. One member does a lot for someone, and feels he/she has the right to dictate the life of the dependent person. The young lady was pointed out that what she did for her brother was her duty, she could have continued doing all this even after her marriage. She is employed, she could stipulate the condition of her taking care of her brother. And also inculcated the sense of independence in him, by encourage him to enroll in a hostel, go beyond the city they grew up in. Instead she clung to him and was hurt he wanted to leave her.
She took the role of a mother too far. She would have been a terrible mother-in-law! When love turns obsessive, nothing is left to chance or to the discretion of the other person. The other person starts to feel like a fly trapped in a spider’s web. The feeling of gratitude comes in conflict with the need for freedom. If the constriction becomes too much, gratitude will be abandoned. Then the relationship can turn sour.
The lady brought the conflict to the forum saying her brother was forcing her to marry and settle down. Their paternal aunt had brought a proposal, but the young lady refused. She claimed the man was mentally deficient. It was subsequently proved so. But in trying to prove how noble her act is in not marrying for the sake of her brother, she opened up a can of worms. Maybe she wanted the forum to direct her brother to appreciate her love and sacrifice and stay by her side. To follow her wishes and live by her dictates. It did not turn out so.
The young man tried his best not to hurt his sister in front of strangers. But finally he could not contain himself. He said he appreciated what she has done, he is there for her, but he wanted to lead a life of freedom. He wanted to go abroad, pursue his higher studies and marry a girl of his choice. He did choose wrong means to attain this, but this only showed his desperation.
I have seen mothers who turn to their child after divorce or the death of the spouse. They pour all their emotional self in this child and start to live for this child. Somewhere down the line, this emotional love turns into a noose, the child is unable to break free. This child is unable to form relationships when adult and he/she starts to resent the mother. Sometimes a father takes on this role of a provider.
The young lady mentioned in the beginning of the article, could have gotten married, involved herself in various productive activities as also taken care of her brother. She chose to shut down all areas of her life, and focus only on her brother. Now she feels he is not being fair to her. She made a choice, she has to bear the consequences. Why hold him responsible? She made a decision for herself, he had no say. Also he was too young to be able to decide for himself.
Even now it is not too late. She can marry, or not marry. But allow him to find his feet. He says he wants to fall, get hurt, but all on his own. He wants to face the world, take his own decisions and explore. He wants to settle down, but this can happen if his sister understands his needs and also settles down herself. He does not want her to lead a lonely life. Nor does he want to tie himself to her apron strings, because she is being adamant.
Love should not turn manipulative. One cannot have this hold on one’s own children, leave alone siblings.
The only thought in my mind is, what did the sister actually think she could achieve by bringing her family matter to this public forum? And after all this, how can they go back and live in the same house? What is going to be the outcome of this conflict? Will she recognize how constrictive has been her love? Or will the young man walk out, and not look back? This possibility is there.
There is love between them. I hope it is strong enough to wipe out the bitterness and bring about a win-win situation.