Fear of helplessness
I have always had a pretty sheltered life. First it was for my parents who gave me a protective atmosphere at home. Then it was for my in-laws whom I trusted to be my defence from any external pricking and blows. And in situations where they were not able to keep up, husband became my shield. I lived in such a fortress that very little problems could penetrate deep enough to reach me. I had just 2 responsibilities – to respect my elders at home and to focus on my work at the workplace. Since I did not have to worry about anything in life I was able to do well for myself at work, for all the concentrated energies. There was, although, one aspect where now I think I lagged and it was my emotional strength. I depended heavily on my family for my emotional well-being. There is nothing wrong about it because this is the primary role family or family members play – to support each other.
But, later, when the shield got sick of protecting me, it was then I discovered my inner strength as an individual in utter loneliness. This was an attribute which I assume I had to learn the hard way and which has been playing an important part in raising Dhruv with emotional stability. Today, it is for my inner fullness that does not allow me to feel lonely even when Dhruv and I live alone in a city where we have no relatives for support and the friendships which I have formed are relatively new. 6 months back, I took this courageous decision not to accompany husband on his overseas assignment this time and stay back with Dhruv. The underlying reason was Dhruv had got adjusted in his school, therefore we did not want to disturb his schooling and also uproot our base yet again. I never did let the slightest doubt pass my mind of not being able to sustain this way.
I have a habit of creating positive thoughts throughout the day – “Things are going to be fine. We are going to keep healthy, physically and emotionally.”
I will not lie. Fears do creep into my mind once in a while however I make efforts by working on my mind diverting those thoughts away. The worst of fears raised its head for the first time when, one day, I found Dhruv jumping recklessly from one couch to another giving deaf ears to my cautions. At the spur of a moment, the mind painted the picture of his falling down, getting terribly hurt and blood oozing out. This picture sent shivers down my spine. The next moment I was rubbing this picture frantically leaving no spots or dots. I ran to him, pinning him down yelled at him to be careful in the way he plays because if he gets hurt badly then what will I do, being alone and that he should play carefully and responsibly. Realising the sensitivity of the circumstance Dhruv instantly stopped jumping around.
I must have expressed my helplessness a couple of times more. It must have been totally reactionary since I do not even remember the situations now.
Last week, on the first day of his holidays, he was playing with the Lego bricks which are very small. I was busy working in the kitchen when I turned around to face the living room and saw him putting a small brick in his mouth. I panicked demanding him at the highest pitch to spit it out. The memory from my childhood returned. It was a day me and my brother were playing chinese checkers and brother wanting to show some trick, knowingly, inserted a peg into one of his nostril. On being asked by mummy to exhale it out, he inhaled and the peg went up his nasal passage. Papa was phoned to come home from office immediately and we had to rush him to the ENT specialist who was far off from our home.
I was repeating the same lecture to Dhruv of what was I going to do if that brick would have stuck in his food pipe. He replied innocently I would have taken him to the hospital.
The next morning, I was sitting in quiet and the realisation dawned. I was passing on my fear to him by reminding him repeatedly that I am weak, helpless and insecure whereas I should be the one from whom he should be drawing courage and confidence and feel secure with. I should be asking him not to be playing recklessly for the reason that it will hurt him and not for the reason that I would not be able to care for him.
Later that day, both of us watched the movie – ‘Thomas and his friends – Tale of the brave’ on DVD. There was a dialogue in it where an engine tells another engine who is feeling scared of monsters and does not want to work in the night-time. The dialogue was –
Being brave is not about not feeling afraid but what you do when you ARE feeling afraid.