What is Emotional Misuse?
“Sometimes those we love, may not necessarily be good for us”
Some movies are made to depict reality. Actors play parts similar to a common person’s day-to-day life. In search of their “better acting”, sometimes these actors portray such raw human emotions that it connects with reality. It does not matter whether these emotions are genuine or not, what matters is the connection made with the audiences.
The person who watches the movie now realizes that maybe he is not all alone. The problems in his mind are not just his, it is something that is happening to other people in the world too. The movie now becomes a reality, and what does the person in the audience do? He looks at that movie as his own story.
Emotional Misuse in the Stories
The stories, whether from a movie or reality, do not come out simply from a vacuum. If you notice deeply, you will question that, ‘what is it that makes an individual capable of telling a story with all his emotions, as if it was him only who was the main character of the story?’.
Well, it is the deep-rooted human experience in the human psyche, which to no surprise, makes storytelling natural to us. Because it is only when a person connects to the story at a level where he feels that it is a reality, he can express it well in his own words.
Over the period of time, there have been several movies that made us realize in a very subtle yet comical manner the existence of a hard truth which we did not learn about; Sometimes those we love may not necessarily be good for us; It is time that we shed some light on this matter. Yes, I am talking about a problem that has been there in front of us for so long, yet we ignore it, which is emotional misuse.
Emotional misuse can turn into emotional abuse if the situation or the behavior of the abuser turns severe. As children, this emotional misuse can become confusing, but as adults, we must know how it affects us emotionally since we have the knowledge of right and wrong.
Emotional misuse can come from all kinds of relationships, whether it be of husband-wife, brother-sister, parent-children, or even a whole family towards a single member. Amongst these, the most common and recurrent misuse is the one between parents and their children. We all have seen movies like Kabhi Khushi Kabhi Gham, DDLJ, or recent films like Piku.
Even though we enjoyed these movies a lot, we never really got the message that was in front of us the whole time. We meet these characters in the middle of their lives at the start of yet another day. As the first quarter of the movie passes, we successfully understand the parent-children dynamic that could highlight the entire story. For example, in Kabhi Khushi Kabhi Gham, the bittersweet relationship between the father and the son establishes very soon, or in Piku, we see the father-daughter dynamic and how she struggles to live with her highly rigid father.
Through these movies, we see signs where parents set unrealistic expectations from their children, which becomes so extreme at times that they emotionally invalidate their children every time they try to bring up these problems of expectations. While on the one hand, it is the parents’ right to expect love and care from their children once they grow older. However, on the other hand, they also forget about the fine line that exists between expectation and emotional misuse.
Emotional Misuse in Life
Parents often give us statements like, “We have given you full freedom, so have no right to talk to us in this manner”, but what they do not understand is that these sudden outbursts from children are a reflex to the behavior of the parents, which they do not wish to change at all. If you have seen the movie Piku, you would understand the situation in a better manner. How Piku’s father, Bhaskor, figuratively interferes with his daughter’s life, like when she receives inappropriate messages from him in the middle of her meeting or when she has to meet a boy, he does not care about his daughter’s privacy or decisions.
No matter how much the parents emotionally misuse their children, the children still remain with them. No matter how much irritation or frustration they have towards their parent’s behavior, they still stay with them. In relationships like these, the story about the ‘abuser’ and the ‘victim’ blurs, and the entire focus shifts on the abuser. In this case, it is the parents.
Society always says that “they are your parents, it is your moral duty to obey them and take care of them”, but how should the children obey them, when they know that their faulty and childish behavior is out of rigidness and not knowledgeable thinking.
It is important to note that by understanding the concept of emotional misuse, we are not targeting our parents as villains, and neither does it mean that the childish behavior done by the parents as they grow old should make children leave them entirely on their own. The matter presents the ideologies of two very different people, who think of themselves as right in their particular ways.
While at times, it becomes too late to make the parents realize that what they say and how they behave can often lead to emotional blackmail, whether it is through forcing their children to get married out of their choice, or sticking to their old ways of thinking, even when it does not work in today’s time, or not listening to the opinion and decisions of their children simply because it does not go in ‘their way’.
Life is not black and white, it has all shades of colors. Parents are people who love and empower their children, still, they knowingly or unknowingly hurt them. While children struggle to cope with their parents’ changing behavior and the emotional support demanded by them.
After a certain point of time, the children will have to come to terms with the reality that parents will use emotional misuse as a pawn to make things work in their way. They will now have to understand and find ways to manage the emotional misuse which the parents inflict upon them.
This is what the ‘my story of a person in the audience would look like. There would be many people in this world, who would have been going through the same problem of emotional misuse. Still, many would not even be aware of it, it is when they see these movies or read about them, they understand human nature and its conditions, which is when they connect. After all, the fine line between movies and reality is understanding.
About the Author: Devaanshi is a humanities student with an absolute love for traveling and everything related to it. Cooking and Writing are other fields that interest her.