Skip to main content

MASK – Yours or Mine?

Posted in

A couple arrives at a social gathering in a fancy car, impeccably dressed, the woman hanging by the man’s arm like an expensive piece of jewelry. People surround them as they would if Monarchy showed up. The couple consumes the attention showered upon them as others slowly arrive and a sizable audience builds up for the night. As meaningless chatter of wealth, prejudice and power take over occasionally we hear a man’s subtle and snide remarks towards a woman’s lack of homemaking skills. With just enough alcohol in his system amusing anecdotes about his partner start to permeate through the evening’s conversations. The woman does her best to not look embarrassed and attempts to change the topic but is silenced immediately. She feels humiliated, is sad and angry. She decides to walk away and mingle with others in an attempt to make things look normal. People move on to the next source of entertainment. Soon her partner misses her presence, goes looking for her and brings her right back into his more stimulating hurtful conversations. This continues through the night. Later when they are by themselves she points out that he should stop treating her the way he does in public. He retorts and asks her to develop a thicker skin, not to mention, that her behavior incites him to treat her that way. It is her fault and that she’s not the perfect partner he had imagined her to be. He could still live with her if she stopped pointing out his mistakes. He does not show any remorse and is unapologetic as always. He reminds her that he is perfect and does not appreciate being called out on his demeanor.

All that glitters is not gold,” is perhaps the best one line description of what I have presented above. Over a decade ago, Dr. Susan Weitzman researched and published a book “Not to People like Us: Hidden Abuse in Upscale Marriages”. The book was a sensation because, for the first time someone had lifted the veil to expose ‘upscale abuse’, a term coined by her. The example is a stereotype presentation of a male perpetrator and female victim. But we now know that is not always the case. In the USA alone, 14% males and 25% females are victims of domestic abuse and both numbers are on the rise.

For purposes of this discussion, let’s assume that the victim in the example has not had prior exposure to spousal abuse and doesn’t know how to handle any of this. She is embarrassed to discuss her situation with others. If and when she manages to share, she is reminded of her position in society and also that she has the means and resources to take necessary action. What others do not realize is that it is a challenge to stand up against someone who is reputed for his magnanimous charitable contributions, has excellent networking skills and frankly can dishonor her within seconds. It is challenging to go up against someone who is perceived as an icon. But it’s not impossible. It requirespatience, time and people to make things happen.

Psychologists probably have a term that describes the perpetrator in my example. These people thrive on self-affirmation. Their indestructible self-efficacies fan their ego and keep them going. The branding of their image by self and others in the community makes them stronger. However, since they thrive on external affirmation and at the same time also have a deep rooted unaddressed fear within, it is easy to bring them down when the time is right, hence my alluding to patience in the earlier paragraph. Evil is powerful for a while but evil cannot sustain too long!

Our vulnerable selves are magnificent and gorgeous, yet we choose to hide behind masks. We live in fear and in trying to cover it, we go over-board. We go to the extent of killing our true selves in trying to live up to the image we have created. Jim Morrison says that most people love us for who we pretend to be. To keep their love, we keep pretending - performing. We start loving our pretense. We're locked in an image, an act - and the sad thing is, we get used to the image we create and get attached to our masks. We love our chains. We forget all about who we really are. And if someone tries to remind us, we hate them for doing so because we feel like they’re trying to steal our most precious possession. Sooner or later we wake up and remove those masks and take charge of our lives. Exactly at that moment we shift gears and transform. We launch our true selves.

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Image Courtesy : redpaperclipfiles.com

 

About the Author : As a child, Rupsi (pron. Roopshee) was actively involved in charitable programs through herschool and communities. Due to her parents' involvement in educating under-privileged women and children in India she knows no better than to do so herself and pass on the baton. Currently she pursues her passion to empower women through HOPE IN LIFE FOUNDATION (www.hopeinlifefoundation.org), a non-profit public benefit charitable organization that she started in California to end domestic abuse. 

The organization has a ‘preventative’ approach towards the issue and uses structured training and education programs to enable women to be fearless and financially independent. She works with local schools and colleges and adults in communities to educate them about respect and self-worth. With an MBA and over a dozen years of IT experience in the USA, she is an accomplished, dynamic professional who has been consistently recognized for successfully managing programs and projects while demonstrating the ability to lead diverse teams to new levels of success in various industries and fast-paced environments. Join her in her commitment and show your support to end one of the fastest growing epidemics in the world. If you seek more information, please contact her viahopeinlifefoundation@gmail.com.

 
0
Your rating: None

Roopshee: Totally agree with

Roopshee:
Totally agree with your view-point. I would like to emphasize especially where you state "What others do not realize is that it is a challenge to stand up against someone who is reputed for his magnanimous charitable contributions, has excellent networking skills and frankly can dishonor her within seconds. It is challenging to go up against someone who is perceived as an icon. But it’s not impossible. It requires patience, time and people to make things happen."
It’s like a “been there seen that” for me; personal experience validating every line that you state.
Thanks a ton for writing this. Hope to see more such writings from you. Gives immense courage and hope to the one silently abused, an abuse that is masked as you say, an abuse that is hurtful to the core, an abuse that kills and devastates the soul beyond repair.
Please keep writing.
Thanks

Roopshee: Totally agree with

Roopshee:
Totally agree with your view-point. I would like to emphasize especially where you state "What others do not realize is that it is a challenge to stand up against someone who is reputed for his magnanimous charitable contributions, has excellent networking skills and frankly can dishonor her within seconds. It is challenging to go up against someone who is perceived as an icon. But it’s not impossible. It requires patience, time and people to make things happen."
It’s like a “been there seen that” for me; personal experience validating every line that you state.
Thanks a ton for writing this. Hope to see more such writings from you. Gives immense courage and hope to the one silently abused, an abuse that is masked as you say, an abuse that is hurtful to the core, an abuse that kills and devastates the soul beyond repair.
Please keep writing.
Thanks

Thank you for understanding what I have attempted here

I do plan on writing on the most prevalant issues in the world today - be it stark and open or sophisticated, under cover. You are absolutely right when you say that it takes time for things to work out. But when you have taken that first step, everything else follows.

I apologize for the delay in responding to your insight.
Thank you
Roopshee

The unseen Abuse.

Many times the abuser hides the abusee from family and friends. As was pointed out earlier abuse hides in emotional, spiritual, monetarily, psychlogical, sexual, physical and Isolation.
The abuser in all these forms has to keep the abusee from talking, it's his or her fear. People finding out of what is going on inside the four walls.
I want to let you know as an abusee you are not alone. Talk with a "trusted" friend, an ER nurse if you need to be treated. ER's have phone numbers to help you. They can be helpful in separating you from your abuser. Get a plan of action, keep back some resources and decide the when. Then do it, GO! alfie/EMS

Thank you for your support

I am so glad that you are actually asking women on this forum to reach out and speak to people in the medical profession or others. So many opportunities open up when we share.Sharing leads to creating a plan of action and then it happens. BREAKING THE SILENCE is the most important first step! Believe it or not!

Thank you, My Dear.
Roopshee

I have witnessed it up close

I have witnessed it up close and personal in my extended family with some male chauvinistic husbands indulging in it shamelessly - insulting their wives is their favorite pastime in any gathering. Yes, the real reason for behavior of such men is their low self esteem and insecurity. They are so weak and this bumps their ego giving them a pseudo sense of accomplishment. This kind of abuse is even more traumatic as it hurts one's soul. I do blame the women too esp. those who are educated and capable, for keep taking it all their lives, and putting up with it at the cost of their self-respect! Thanks for bringing attention to something so prevalent in our society yet rarely talked about.

Jyothi - you are so right

Most of the problems in this world stem from EGO, our false self. You know what, Jyothi, if we realized how demeaning it is for our soul to endure this kind of behavior, we wouldn't do it at all. The problem is we have mastered a way to circumvent what our soul has to say. We are disconnected from ourselves. Thank you for your comment. I apologize for the delay in responding to your comment.
Roopshee

Spot on is what I would want

Spot on is what I would want to say about on your comment. Men with a monumental sense of security would stoop to abuse the female partner; and the abuse is generally unseen by the world, it is silent and like slow poisoning. It wrings the soul, it breaks the woman from within and outside; often the damage is colossal and could be beyond repair!! And believe it many educated, capable and financially stable women suffer silently, for reasons that cannot be explained as you have pointed!! And the man basks in the contorted glory of his “success” sadly!

Thank you for your observation

Yes, agree with you - the woman is broken both inside and out. Unless she makes up her mind to leave, she will rot in the relationship. It's really her call.

I apologize for the delay in responding to your observation.
Roopshee

The need to wear a mask is

The need to wear a mask is associated with insecurities and fear. The mask drops when the realization dawns that what they feared is far less a challenge than their "faked lives". You can try to hold their hand in these situations but through personal experience much of the awareness has to come from within. I have even noticed many willing to bear with the mask for the financial cushioning it comes with. Hence the oppressor is none other than the self who would rather wear the mask than face the reality for what its worth.

Right On

I agree with you. Change comes from within and when the opressor is SELF, it is hardest to break out from behind that mask.
Thank you for your comment. I apologize for the delay in responding to your comment.
Roopshee

Thank you Pritha for your observation

I agree with you when you say that no relationship is perfect and that adults should be willing to accept one another in a relationship. The tools to use are kindness and understanding.

The need to wear a mask arises when we have to hide something either from our past or present.

Spot On !!!!

I have seen too many marriages break up and too many relationships falter because of too many smiles, the fake ones. You can keep up appearences for only so long. These didn't always have a case of abuse but definitely a lot of discontent for various reasons. Successful relationships are always among equals, not necessarily financial equals, but emotional equals. In psychology there is a way to define behavior in terms of P, A, C - Parent, Adult and Child. In any relationship an individual vacillates between all three. For instance a spouse may behave like a child being fussy about dinner while the other might take on a parental role for a few minutes.. but in the long run, it HAS to be two adults in an emotionally mature partnership for it to sustain internal and external pressures. It is unfair to expect perfection from any one in any relationship.. the ADULT behavior is one of acceptance and kindness and most of all understanding. When as a result of almost a process of reaching equilibrium, a couple arrives at this stage, things are fool proof. It takes time, awareness, and cognition each other's lapses of reason and the causes for it.

And we all wear masks but it is so much easier to breathe free without it.. even if taking it off for a while may hurt, it is always easier in the long run. Personally for me, I have to get away from crowds and people to regroup within me, cry my guts out if I Need to, but there is NO WAY IN HELL am gonna put up a false smile for anyone if I don;t mean it.. coz if I caught myself in the mirror.. I would be my own biggest liar..

 

I loved reading this Rupsi..thank you

Pritha