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why angie’s letter makes me uncomfortable

25 Aug

I recently read this post on Upworthy, titled “She Could Hear Every Word He Said Through The Open Window, So She Started Typing“. Somehow, this post made me uncomfortable and I started typing. Here is what I think is wrong with the post. It is written by “Angie” to “woman”, sympathizing with her, an abuse victim. It places the onus of stopping the violence on the victim and is letting the abuser get-away scot-free.

Every time you sympathize with the victim, you take away their sense of control and power. You tell them their situation is sad and worthy of sympathy, that they are helpless, and defense-less. And most unfortunately, you are telling them you have nothing more to offer to them other than sympathy. It makes the victim feel that they have no options and are fighting a lone battle.

When you tell the victim that your hear and see the abuse, yet you do nothing, you tell the victim that they are not worthy of standing-up for. You tell the victim that you are afraid to confront the abuser and they are on their own. Your words sound hollow and empty and meaningless.

Many years ago, there was an abuser who routinely told his wife he was going to work, and would climb back onto the patio of their second floor apartment through the first floor fence, and spy on her. Many neighbors saw him climbing back on to the patio through the fence. Yet, no one confronted him or called the cops, or even the apartment manager, to report a seeming intruder in the apartment-complex.

“Mandatory reporters” in the form of doctors, psychologists, school staff – all threaten the victim to leave the situation or they will report *her*. No one confronts the abuser, that they know about the abuse and will report *him*. Placing the onus on the victim to leave her abuser, adds greater responsibility on her without providing her support. It adds a greater fear on her to not let the signs of abuse show, and further isolates her.

Angie, your letter to “woman”  is well-meaning, but you wrote to the wrong person. I am a great believer in the saying “If you see something, say something”. Confront the abuser. Tell him you can hear him through the open windows and doors and the paper thin walls. Tell him you don’t care whether or not the victim complains about him or tries to protect him. Tell him that you are watching him, his every move, and will not let him set a bad example for your children or spoil the environment for the upcoming generation. Tell him that you will report *him* if he doesn’t straighten-out his act. It will be *his* Visa/Immigration that will be revoked, and it will be *him* who will lose custody of the kids. 

Step in front of her and don’t let him hit her or abuse her or demean her. Show the “woman” in your story how to stand-up to her abuser and be a role-model for her. Show her that you are not afraid of the abuser, that he is not worthy of being afraid. Do not allow the abuser to hide in plain sight. There are no doors that cannot be broken down. Show the victims that they are worth standing-up for, and pledge to step in and place the onus to stop where it belongs – with the abuser.  

There is a lot more you can do than type, don’t let the opportunity slip away. Knock on his door and tell him to cut it out or take her with you into your own home. Call the cops that he is disturbing the peace. Build a trail of reports so that when she feels ready to leave him, your reports and your witnessing are there to support her. Not with your words and sympathy, but with your actions.



indra nooyi: who’s talking about her mom?

4 Jul

Indra Nooyi’s comments about women not being able to have it all have gone viral in recent days. Here is the link to the original video if you are interested. The first 25 minutes or so are her talk. 

I wrote yesterday about men having the same problem as women about not being able to have it all. You can read the blog post here.

Another aspect to this discussion is the perceived lack of support from Ms Nooyi’s mom, and I want to comment about that here. There are a lot of comments on the internet about how mothers and mothers-in-law are the most unsupportive. I beg to differ.

Ms Nooyi talked about her mom sending her back out to get milk, before hearing any of her news. What is implicit to me here is that her mom was living with her, and presumably running the household. She was living there for the sake of her daughter, not her son-in-law. And when Grandma is running the household, she is the CEO of the home. If they are out of milk, she is worried her grand daughters will not have milk for the night or the next morning, and it is her responsibility to find the best delivery person. If it happened to be Indra, then so be it. (Maybe she asked the son-in-law earlier, but he was unwilling. Ms Nooyi could just as well have called on her husband to run the errand.) Grandma is not comprising on her granddaughters’ care for any news or any reason. Who knows, the store might be closing in a few minutes or it might be close to the granddaughters’ bedtime! Any good CEO of a company would do exactly the same.

As Ms Nooyi said, we need to build or enlist “co-opts” to help us get better balance between parenting and Career progression. Even Sheryl Sandberg has mentioned having a lot of support from her sister and mother in raising their kids. But we cannot take that support for granted, or feel entitled to it. 

Grandma has already done her round of raising kids. But she is doing a second round for the sake of her daughter. And she needs all the support she can get to do an awesome job as the CEO of home!


why i think “princeton mom” is wrong

28 Mar

independent women

Princeton Mom’s article:

So, “Princeton Mom” Susan Patton is advising young women in Ivy League Colleges to find a husband while still in College. While I agree with her premise that College has the highest density of potential eligible men, that is where my agreement with her stops.

For one, she assumes that young women in their late teens and early twenties have enough life experience to pick a good long term husband. If young women get married and have kids too early, they are doomed to a life-long relationship with men who could be life-long trouble-makers like being abusive. Very intelligent men (and women) are also likely to have higher rate of social abnormalities.

Second, having a child too early in life saddles people with high level of responsibilities that there is no escape from. You can switch careers relatively easily, but if you realize parenthood is not for you, you don’t really have many options. It is better to take time and understand yourself, and have kids when you are really ready for them.

Third, having children too early in life significantly reduces your enjoyment of life experiences like adventure-traveling, fine dining etc. You are also limited in hours and energy in building your career. It is much harder to start building your career at age 40 than it would be at age 25. You are older, have less energy, technology has moved on and you have lost a lot of your professional confidence seeing your peers get ahead while you “made other choices”.

Fourth, one parent has to take a step back in their career to raise kids. It doesn’t matter which one. Kids need their parents on-site, and cannot be raised through remote parenting. This dynamic often makes one parent “dependent” upon the other, leading to unequal relationships. If the career-parent is abusive, or suffers from some social/mental disorders, it can be hell for the on-site parent. If the marriage doesn’t work-out, the on-site parent will be under greater financial burden in trying to now take off their own career.

Fifth, with higher life expectancy, people can expect to live until their eighties or nineties. It is unreasonable to expect that most people will be happy with the same spouse they picked in their twenties. People grow and evolve, and sometimes diverge from each other. It is important to gain some life experience, and really understand your own priorities and values, before picking a life partner. Many folks are not even clear on their sexual-orientation until later in life!

Marrying young and having children early has its advantages, but only if you can control every single variable in your life. That is often NOT the case. I would advise young people to wait, and really know what they are getting into. If you meet someone special in College, date them some more. There’s no rush. The world is full of people, and you have a long life!

dating advice if you have reached a “certain” age

21 Jan

If you have a reached a “certain” age, and are still not in a long term or committed relationship, here are some things you can try. Oh, and if you are wondering what a “certain” age is, then let me tell you, only you know the number. If you feel you have been single (or single-again) long enough, then it is your “certain” age. If you are still happy being single, then you have not reached the “certain” age. No one else can determine that for you.

Meeting: Go out and meet people. Do things you love, and do things that most folks of the opposite gender love. There are plenty of online groups like meetup etc., where you can find such events being organized. Join online dating web-sites. Let your friends and family know you are looking to meet people. Accept invitations, dates, setups etc. You have to put yourself out there and meet people. There is no substitute for that. Set-up/introduce your other single friends if you meet someone not right for you, but may be right for them. You never know, someone may be so happy that they might actually return the favor 🙂

Weeding: Let people know upfront that you are looking for a steady, long term, committed relationship. That will weed out most of the folks who are looking for a casual fling, are still “window shopping”, or simply not ready to give-up their singledom. Don’t worry, you are not losing potential mates, you are only losing the time-wasting distractors. You would be surprised how many there are!

Staying put: Once you have met someone interesting, who catches your fancy, and is also looking for a long term steady relationship, then commit to them. That does not mean you start making declarations of ever-lasting love, but it means, commit to them in your mind that you will see this relationship through with a sincere and honest effort. Spend time with them, and genuinely get to know them. Stop playing games. Return messages and calls as soon as you are able. Ensure you spend time talking to them over the phone, if not in person, on a regular basis. Do not “keep your options open” or date multiple people at the same time. You are old enough to know what’s out there, and what you can get. If you are unsure, and still want to keep your options open, either you have not reached the “certain” age, or you are seeing red flags and this person is not right for you. Next!

Taking it slow: Go slow if you must, but understand what that means. It does not mean you create artificial communication gaps – returning calls with text, waiting 2 days after a great date to message back, and so on. It means, do not get engaged or married in a hurry because you can’t wait to have kids (or whatever your reason is). It means, do not jump into bed even before you know if you can spend an entire day or a weekend with them without wishing at least one of you were dead 😛 Take your time on physical intimacy and life-changing commitments, but do move at a natural pace to really get to know the person and see if you enjoy their company. If you feel like calling, call. If you feel like asking them out, then do so. Make sure you get an enthusiastic response from them every time you reach out, or you give them an enthusiastic response when they reach out to you. Make them feel special, and also see if they make you feel special as well. That way, you won’t be chasing someone who is not interested in you.

Dealing with issues: And certainly take it slow when you run into issues, do not run for the door. You can break-up any time, but really put in your best effort before you call it quits. Think about the issues, and try to resolve them with mature dialogue and discussion. (Unless you both are addicted to feelings of anger and drama, and enjoy the fights. In that case, all bets are off 🙂 ). Ask for advice from folks who are in long term committed relationships, talk to therapists if that might help. If your partner refuses to go, you can go alone. They are most likely to tell you examples of how to make things work, rather than the standard advice of “plenty of fish”. And most important, bring-up all issues and concerns with your partner directly. Do NOT use middlemen (or middle women) to convey messages. If you can’t have a direct dialogue with your partner, that is cause for concern. Either you need to get more assertive and speak-up, or tone yourself down so your partner feels safe in speaking-up.

Keeping yourself inspired: Read stories about long term relationships, how they met, and talk to your own family and friends of how they faced challenges in life. Such stories are inspiring and help develop a problem-solving attitude, rather than encouraging to take the easy exit. And if you believe in the Laws of Attraction, then it will bring in more positive energy in your life.

I hope some of these ideas help. If you have any more to share, I would love to hear from you!


how Not to get friend-zoned

22 Aug

My new friend noahzukowski posted a blog about guys being friend-zoned here  That inspired some thoughts today.

I believe, you can move from being a great friend  to a potential mate “when you become more attractive as a mate than you are as a friend”. If she already likes you as a friend, chances are, she is willing to spend time with you and is not repelled by you. So, how do you get her to see you in a different light? Here are some ideas and tips. Try them out and let me know if they worked for you.

Act like a guy looking for a relationship. With her.

Don’t just “hang”, ask her out on an evening date. Plan something nice.  A place with good ambiance, where she will naturally have to  dress-up. Dress-up well yourself, too. Open doors for her. Talk about fun things. Flirt with her. Then take her to a naturally quiet place like by the seaside or a lake, watching the stars and the moon. And then, just once, towards the end, have a really intense moment with her when everything becomes really quiet, and its just the two of you.

Don’t let her talk about ex-boyfriends or other guys that are interested in her. Don’t give her advice how to deal with other men. Allow your mild jealously to show-up. No, don’t be controlling, but let her know you would rather talk about the two of you than any third wheel.

Take-on some “male” roles in her life. See where she needs help and offer your expertise there. Some ideas are to offer to pick her up and drive every time you have to go somewhere. Fix small things around her apartment. Help her figure-out her finances, Or whatever else you are good at, and she could use the help.

Enlist her help with some traditional “female” roles in your life. See what she is good at, and ask her help there. It could be to help you set-up your apartment, buy clothes for yourself, advice with kids/nieces/nephews, recipes for cooking etc.

Buy her flowers and chocolates. And when she asks, don’t say they are “just like that”, or “because you are a good friend” or “you did x for me”. Tell her you got them because you thought she might like them, or that you like to see her smile, or something like that.

Compliment her when she looks nice. Make sure she knows its a compliment coming from a guy, not “a friend”. For example, don’t say the dress looks good on her, or her new hairstyle is nice. That would be giving her advice as a friend.Tell her something like “Wow! You’re looking good”, like a guy who loves how she looks, regardless of details like her dress or makeup.

All the while, keep flirting and letting her know you want to cross your platonic boundaries. As a potential mate, you need to let her see you as a “provider and a partner”, and not just as a “nice person”.

Good luck!

Related articles

in defense of educated partners

21 Aug

Deep thought today, in defense of educated partners

As I watched this video, , I was zoning out, multi-tasking with, you know, the all-important job of staying updated with the Face Book news feed. And suddenly, one of the comments jolted me awake! Yeah, the “gold-digger” one. For some reason, that really brought -out the thought-sharing feeling in me.  You know, the one where I’m tempted to speak-out loud, but there are no listeners, because Face Book is a solitary sport.

And, I wondered why we Americans look-down upon those searching for a college-educated partner. It’s not necessarily about the money. College-educated folks will most likely get you to sign a pre-nup anyways. They’re smart about things like that. Or, at least, I expect them to be.

If you talk to folks who grew-up in Asia, most notably in China and India, the whole focus is on education. It is important to get a good job, and be able to support a family, before you start one. In practical terms, it indicates the person is hard-working, dedicated and committed. They set goals and stick to the plans, even when the going gets tough. A consistent employment history shows they can manage to work with people without pissing them off enough to get fired. Or, they don’t give-in to whimsical “I quit” tantrums. They learn and grow on the job as the requirements and job descriptions change.

As a partner and co-parent, you could expect them to stay with you through difficult times, and work through the challenges. If you do end-up getting divorced, they are more likely to stay involved with the kids. The more accomplished they feel, the deeper the desire in them to “pass-on” their legacy. People with low self-esteem have a hard time being role-models for kids, because kids hold-up a unique mirror to our souls.

Oh, and if they’ve been convicted and sent to jail, for any reason whatsoever, stay away from them. Most laws in America follow basic character qualities. If they broke a law, it would also indicate some serious character flaw that goes with it. (That applies even if they are highly educated).

So folks, what do you think… is it “wrong” to look for a College-educated partner, with a steady job?