Human beings are social animals. We learn this as kids in school. However, we never really fully understand the import of this statement. What does it mean to be human? What makes us different from other animals? What does being social or sociable entail? Who decides which human is asocial or anti-social?
As a young Indian girl growing up in a joint family, none of these questions ever reared during my formative years. Therefore, while I would not like to stereotype the Indian family ethos, I speak about most experiences.
Growing up in a joint Indian family, one learns to go with the flow. One learns to be subservient. One learns, or rather, is taught to forego freethought, an independent spirit and indomitable will. One learns the art of co-dependence. One learns or is taught to lose faith in oneself. All of this is more so true in the case of a girl child.
The theme is that the family is your cocoon. The family is paramount. The family is the only unit that cares for you selflessly and will keep you safe from external trauma.
While all of this may be true, who would then take responsibility for the trauma that arises within the confines of a family? Who would take responsibility for abandonment issues that crop up when the overbearing family suddenly disappears at their convenience?
What then happens to the co-dependent, emotionally frail, the diffident excuse for a human being who has been creating by years of smothering?
Can one imagine the extent of insecurity that an abandoned individual would feel? Let me try to put the feeling into words.
These are just some of the feelings one feels. Is this because humans are social animals? Maybe if we were less social, abandonment wouldn’t feel as painful as it currently does. Maybe if we were less social, abandonment wouldn’t feel like a catastrophe waiting to happen.
Or maybe, just maybe, we would learn to heal and accept our scars, our journey and the pain that comes from trust being broken.