I have observed this in many Indian men (I could be wrong but I have seen a LOT of Indian men doing this). They talk a lot about the importance of respecting parents, which is fine. I am not even debating against this statement..because we should treat our parents with respect (and all other human beings..as long as they are not harming others). But there is this obsession among many Indian men to make their parents “happy” which is also fine..because .who doesn’t want to? However, they often justify the pain that they cause others by saying that they did whatever they did for their parents. This is not just limited to Indian men.This could apply to anybody who has a problem with saying “no”.

When a relative of mine got married, he made great promises to his life partner. He said that both of them will be equals. He was very nice to her and genuinely cared about her life and dreams.  Apparently, his parents were not happy with this approach and they shamed him for not doing what men should be doing i.e. he is not “real man” if he cannot dominate his wife. This man is so devoted to his parents that he changed himself and started treating his wife as his inferior. Of course, there must be much more than this to the story..I mean, I have only heard the story from one party’s perspective, but it doesn’t matter whether the story is true or not. The point is, that such people do exist. And these people say that they did what they did because they didn’t want to hurt their parents. They will also say that parents are equal to God. They will tell you that when you say “no” to someone, they get hurt…and they don’t want to do that. Of course, we must care about the emotions of our loved ones, but not to such an extent that we are blind to others. In the example, the man cared about his parents’ emotions but ended up hurting his wife. He believes that since his parents have sacrificed so much for him, he has to obey them. But he doesn’t think that even his wife’s parents have sacrificed so much for her..if their daughter is hurt, THEY will be hurt too. If parents are equal to God, then even his wife’s parents must be equal to God…right? By that logic, we cannot say “no” to ANYBODY because every human being was born to somebody and hurting a person would mean, hurting his/her parents as most parents want to see their children happy! Isn’t this absurd?
What if your father wants you to do X and your mother wants you to do Y? Now your logic is that you must listen to your parents…but which parent will you listen to and why? What if your mother is an alcoholic, who always asks you money to buy alcohol…will you say “no” and stop giving her money? Why would you do that? Why are you disobeying her?
The problem with saying “yes” or “no” is that saying “yes” to someone is saying “no” to somebody else…because human beings are connected. You can, of course, hide your selfishness behind “oh but I didn’t want to hurt that person by saying no” but we all make choices every second of our lives and when we choose something, we reject something simultaneously. So don’t say that you did X,Y or Z because you don’t want to hurt people. No, you did what you did because don’t want to hurt the people that matter to YOU…no matter what you do, there will be people who won’t be happy with your choice. Now this doesn’t make you a bad person…human beings have limited time and they cannot say “yes” to everything and everyone. So they prioritize..and that’s completely okay.

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