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“Why do you let your son push you around like that?”

I overheard one elderly woman ask the other on the metro. From their conversation, I sensed the woman was being pushed around by her son, and she could not help it because of her old age. I could also hear the sheer frustration and bewilderment in her friend’s voice at how passive the woman has been in the face of the poor treatment by her son. Perhaps, every elderly out there have felt it that way once in his or her lifetime.

The reason so many old people allow other people to step on their dignity and also treat them with little to no respect is as complex as human nature itself. However, at the very core of it lies the fear of what may happen if they do stand up for themselves. They fear that they might be humiliated. They fear that they will be ostracized by family, friends, and co-workers. That they will have to deal with ugly fallouts. They fear to create a scene. But most of all they fear ending up feeling worse about themselves than before.

The desire to belong along with the fear of rejection triggers their vulnerability and overrides their better judgment. The elderly find it very difficult to cope with the stress of dealing with friends or family members belittling them just because of their old age. Numerous elderly people feel powerless when it comes to thinking.

We know that numerous people feel utterly powerless when they encounter bullies in their day to day lives, even when they are not powerless. Similarly, a glance at the domestic violence statistics, which shows that there are numerous people, both elderly men, and women, who choose to stay in offensive relationships for many years only because they are too afraid to be left alone. They are afraid that they would have to give up on factors such as security, social status or the sheer comfort of being in familiar surroundings, or just simply because they are afraid of being alone. However, the biggest reason why they prefer to stay in abusive relationships is the fact that they fear being left alone on their own.

Whatever the present state of your relationships with your family members, take out a moment to think if you should not stay silent and rather speak out about various situations you are facing in your life. On the other hand, if you should speak out what you tolerate when you are treated in numerous ways that leave you upset, frustrated, angry or underrated. It might not seem like a very big deal, however over time, we might teach people how to treat us. It is why bullies prey on people who can get away with the mistreatment of the elderly. At the end of the day, we only get what we tolerate.

Don’t forget to drink from the fountain of youth, YOUR MIND!

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