Ghar Ghar Ki Kahani

Mrs Rao is known to me for many years now. When I was child I used to go to their house for all the pujas they used to celebrate in their house. She used to make lovely Prasad, most of the time my favorite "Payasam" made with jaggery and lots of dry fruits. Her son Ganesh was a cute baby and I always accompanied Mrs. Rao for her evening walks to the garden and used to feel great to take charge of the pram and little Ganesh.

She was a very doting wife and a doting mother, always buried in housework, in child care allowing her own identity to get submerged. Her own requirements always retreated in favor of her family needs. Her only son Ganesh was world to her so is true for every mother.

Ganesh was a fairly studious child, very obedient and grew up as a shy boy who would open his mouth only when required. Mrs. Rao dutifully took care of all his requirements and she took immense pride in letting everyone know that "to her son she means everything" and he does not take any decision without her consent. As Ganesh grew older I knew Mrs. Rao was epitomizing dutiful-mother syndrome. Ganesh took a very long time to get a good job even when he was well qualified and a well deserving candidate, most of the time I heard Mrs Rao justifying his reticence being the prime reason for him not getting selected.

When the time arrived for Ganesh to get married, Mrs Rao was over thrilled when Ganesh asked her to choose a right girl. It was her trophy, how well she had brought up her son as he had complete faith in her and trusted her completely even in the matters relating to his life-time partner.

She chose a good looking, well-educated girl and got them married. All these days Mrs Rao used to take all his salary and take care of all his needs, very proudly boasting that Ganesh did not do any shopping for his personal matters letting Mrs Rao do the needful.

She never imagined that a new girl in Ganesh's life is also going to be playing a very important role in his life, post marriage his wife would be his first priority and his mother would be second. Though Ganesh never said anything against his mother he also did not stop his wife for asking freedom from his mother's possessive behavior.

Mrs Rao could not imagine her son spending his salary for buying a gift for his wife without even consulting her; the withdrawal symptoms were too difficult for her to bear. And the result was obvious-regular fights between Mrs Rao and her daughter in law. Ganesh opted to keep quiet as that is what he did all these years. Mrs. Rao also started accusing her son for inaction and not realizing it was unintentional. The cause of conflict between his mother and wife was a battle for who gets the control of the attention from him.

Mrs Rao wanted Ganesh to shout at his wife for her not obeying Mrs. Rao's orders but he never did that. She also started demanding that his wife should leave the job and sit at home trying to indoctrinate Ganesh with the stereotype image of a woman where traditionalism and domestication is a must in woman's character. According to her a woman should be a working professional not because of her ambition or ability but because of economic necessity. As the family was financially well, according to her there was no need for his wife to be out the whole day. The daughter in law was surely not going to take all this mutely as she represented today's woman with independent thoughts, goals, aspirations and definite expectations from life.

Mrs Rao started objecting gifts given to his wife, to their occasional outing, to their chats over Chai, to their long drives on the way back home and so on.

The day came when Mrs Rao asked Ganesh to choose one of them-either mother or wife. To her surprise he chose his wife.

It was a huge shock to her. Ganesh was her only child. She had monitored each and every move of his and had all her brain cells working on how to optimize his actions to highest degree, she was very sure that the daughter in law was incapable of looking after her son's "unique" needs and she genuinely thought she had made a wrong choice for her innocent son.

Ganesh was clueless as he was never allowed to think for himself or take any decision. He was always appreciated for his obedience and suddenly his mother and his wife wanted him to decide and also take action, both of them willing to have it in opposite direction. Mrs Rao surely knew that it was the young pretty face of his wife which has made her innocent son think the other way and she was thinking how to get rid of this manipulative woman.

Things were getting worse and Ganesh thought of taking up a new job outside the city and move with his wife. I was a recruiter then and he approached me for any new opening in any other location but Mumbai.

I had been witnessing many things myself and Ganesh and his wife briefed me on the issue. While talking to them I realized the real problem was Mrs Rao's possessiveness for her son. Both of them were not ruling out her importance but naturally were in need of starting their life as couple, as it is the most important relationship in all the relationships.

I took a long pause, and was thinking what would be a right advice. The real efforts were required by Mrs Rao, she had to learn that her role as a mother has been changed after his marriage. But to Ganesh's wife I advised to become a sycophant. Instead of berating her mother in law for berating her I asked her to keep praising her mother in law and say that she wants to become just like her. This may get her in good books faster than she could imagine and may keep the relationship with her husband argument free, over a period she may forget bad mouthing her and we may expect things turning other way.

I really do not know if this worked well or no but I only heard they are still together. I knew it was anyway very difficult for Mrs Rao also to stay away from her only son as her life only had one agenda- "Ganesh".

In any relationship becoming overbearing and possessive can turn a happy, satisfied life to a relationship based on fear, jealousy and control, it can be any relation, as in Mrs Rao's case- a mother Son relationship, a wife and husband relationship, father-daughter relationship or it can be between two friends.

Possessiveness actually stems from feelings of insecurity where one doubts the love or genuinity of the other person in relationship. So we witness the obvious result as one of the partner becoming jealous and controlling. It can happen in parent child or romantic relationship equally. We must realize that more possessive one of the partner is in relationship more the other partner will struggle to set free from the relationship. The possessive person thereby feels more insecure and lonely, and he gets desperate to gain control and further deteriorates the relationship.

In most of the cases, the possessive people are strong willed and overpowering in nature and thus expect the other person to confirm to their wishes and to what they think is right. They get into shell as soon as they feel powerless and get into self pity mode. It is hard for them to give without expecting anything back in the relationship.