Someone had referred this young man to me. So, he came a month ago to seek my help in the three accounts subjects of T.Y. B’Com. He had failed in all three of them in the latest exams. Now, he was here with me seeking my help.
I took him in.
As I started teaching him over the days, I realized that he deeply disliked the subjects which he was learning from me. He wasn’t showing any enthusiasm, skipped the homework regularly with one excuse or another… and, when I became strict, he would skip the class the following day. Talking to his parents turned a futile exercise… as the young man seemed to detest their attempts to change him even further.
So, it was high time I taught him something else before he learnt from me ‘accounts’!
I changed gears, immediately. I started talking to him on a heart-to-heart level. Earlier, when I had made several attempt to drill in his head the ‘reminder’ that he had ‘failed’ and ‘wasted’ a year… and, he ‘should’ learn from that ‘mistake’, become more ‘determined’ this time, that he should not ‘let his parents down’, once again… yes, all this had made no impact on the young man. Apparently, he detested such ‘high-voltage’ sermons from any one, including me. Now, while helping him open up, I realized that he detested, almost violently, his parents’ attempts to preach’ him.
That route was blocked for me, too.
I had only route open, if I had to make any breakthrough with this young man: try to understand as to why he detested learning the subjects I was supposed to teach him.
The story went this way. The young man had scored well in his tenth-standard exams and he was passionate about taking Science. However, his father, who ran a Chartered Accountancy firm, had his own agenda for his son. He pressurized the innocent young man to take up commerce, which the sensitive boy – who was unable to assert himself before his dominant father – reluctantly opted. The suppressed feelings of anger and hurt, of not being heard and cared for – slowly built in him the deep resentment to whatever his father stood for. Obviously, this included the accounts subjects he was supposed to be good at in order to be a Chartered Accountant. So, the dislike for the subjects was the off-shoot of the dislike for what his father had done to his son. It was revenge!
Was the injustice done to the innocent son really responsible for turning him into a rebel?
Apparently, it was.
Now that, by constantly resenting what his father stood for, the 20-year old had landed up where he had…
Was he winning or was he losing the battle with his father?
I had no clue about the state of mind and state or heart of his father. But, it must be of the worst kind. Full of anger, hurt, betrayal and isolation. Or, could it be one of retrospection: repentance, genuine anguish through a deep realization?
I really did not know.
I only knew this: by holding on to the anger and wounds, by silently trying to prove his father wrong, by constantly giving in to the deep resentment of his mind, the real loser in life was not the father but the young man himself. He was an adult now… and, he was going on a self-destructive warpath.
No, there was no way he could teach his father any valuable lesson…
No way could he really learn to love another soul on this earth as long as he harbored this deep resentment…
No way could he enjoy the simple joy of living…
No way could he feel confident as he went about his life.
“Whose life is it, any way?”
“Whose business is it to change your father?”
“For whose sake, should you come to terms with your resentment… reconcile?”
During our cordial discussion, these questions came up.
I tried to prevail upon the young man,
with lots of compassion,
the need to walk away from the warpath
to the recovery-path…
I seriously hope, he would…
Because, there is no other way to feel good deep within!
The famous organization, ‘Alcoholics Anonymous’ (AA), helps millions world over to get over their addiction to alcohol. There are those simple yet incredibly powerful ‘twelve steps’ through which, the ‘patient’ (that’s how an alcoholic is treated here) is slowly and lovingly guided to get over his ‘illness’. Invariably, resentment is cited to be the number one offender and the greatest threat to an alcoholic. So, the treatment involves helping the ‘sick’ to identify and deal with his deep resentment as he went about his path toward recovery through the powerful medicine – the twelve steps to recovery!
Ironically, there are two other branches of this famous organization. ‘Al-Anon’ helps the family members of the addict – the spouse, parents, siblings and children. These are the most affected people because of the alcoholism of their loved one. Yes, the same twelve steps to them, too… because, the same is the root-cause of their agony: deep resentment!
And, there is ‘Al-teen’ to help the innocent teens at home who are caught-up in the same vicious whirl-pool of resentment. Yes, the same twelve steps to help them to gain serenity… the same poison to go: resentment!
The young man, my student, has come in my life to help me understand this universal affliction – ‘resentment’.
It is there in our lives in one form or the other. Yes, we may not be alcoholics or the ones affected by them. But, we do have resentments of varied kinds in our lives… and, as long as we are caught-up in their venomous tentacles, I think, we would remain in our agony… Low in self-confidence, low in trust. Of course, with that killing feeling inside our hearts… of being a loser in life!
Probably, that seems to be the reason why Robert C. Solomon - the thinker, who wrote so much on the emotion of resentment and its dark effects on those who experience it – had said:
“It is the moment when humanity is at its lowest ebb!”
Pics.: Vivek D'Cunha