Mind your mouth

INTROSPECT The quintessential, ambitious, multi-tasking woman of today is always in a hurry, with little time for niceties - except with the boss or i

Mind your mouth

Ratna Mullick is a frantically busy entrepreneur. Her day begins at six in the morning and, typically, ends at eight or even later, when the party season is on. Not surprisingly, by noon, working intermittently in her air-conditioned cabin and the hot, back-end workshop, the designer is sweaty, hassled and tense.

She ends up screaming at the tailors and embroiderers to hurry so that they can make prompt deliveries. By the end of the day, Ratna has high blood pressure and just enough energy to lie down and rest. She has no strength to welcome home her children or husband, who are perhaps equally tired. Very often, her home is a bomb waiting to explode with her temper tantrums.

As a middle-level designer of workplace/ evening clothes, Ratna may have made a success of her boutique, but she is also progressively becoming a champion screamer under extreme stress. And she is not alone. The harried multi-tasking life that women have accepted over the past few decades has taken its toll and almost changed the basic nature of women, say social observers. A large majority of Indian women are no longer the ‘loving, peaceful, encouraging, soothing’ individuals, who were once the pillar of the family and the balm to friends in bad times. Today, they are as temperamental and arrogant as the stereotypical male bosses of the bygone era.

When women look after their homes and work hard to raise good children and build strong marriages, on the one hand, and at the same time, aim to achieve high targets in their professional space – which can be an inhuman burden at times – they tend to lose their cool at the slightest obstacle in their paths. Interestingly, though, most of them are shrewd enough to choose their ‘victims to scream at’ carefully. Even if the burst of anger seems spontaneous, they know exactly who will take it, who will retaliate and who will hurt them. So, what is the anger pattern of women under stress?

First, too much shouting and screaming is done due to sheer habit. Many women believe that shouting and using strong language drives people to perform their tasks well due to fear of humiliation. Losing one’s temper at the slightest upset becomes a way to vent out one’s stress.

Once it becomes a habit to shout at ‘selected’ victims, it is very difficult to control it. Such an ‘always angry or short-tempered’ woman is in time avoided by friends, colleagues and even family. In the long run, she is labelled a battle-axe. As the habit becomes stubborn, it worsens and takes hold of the stressed-out woman so much, that counselling becomes necessary.

Most screamers instinctively know that some people make good targets for their shouting attacks. For instance, small children, domestic workers, lower staff in the workplace, helpless old people or strangers on the street make excellent targets for the ‘always angry’ woman. They are unable to shout back and are sitting ducks for the anger of the stressed-out woman. Also, the screamer feels good, important and powerful as these attacks are most often one-sided. The screaming woman feels that she has put the recipients in their place.

With their modern, multi-tasking lifestyle, women develop a permanent look of impatience. They are seen as busy and rushing around to get their huge workload done. It appears as if impatience is the new mantra of ambitious people. Therefore, shouting at people to ‘hurry up and get going’ offers a semblance of power to a woman. The concept of enjoying life is now passé or infra dig. The more hectic a woman’s life, the more she seems to be successful, glamorous and envied by all.

By virtue of her organising skills, she considers herself superior, efficient and free to discipline others to achieve success and results. So while she is attentive and polite to higher ups, she feels it is okay to shout at others who don’t fall in the important category.

 Busy women now have no time for sharing affection and goodwill as they are considered ‘paltry pursuits’. There is a team of domestic workers to take care of the children and home, while they attempt to spend time with the husband when possible. Children go to excellent schools and when classes are over, are ferried from hobby classes to tuition classes, so that they also become multi-talented top-rankers like their mothers, who believe that there is no place for mediocrity in today’s life. Relationships today are based on achieving goals rather than love, respect, togetherness and support.

Depending on others to help out is a fast-disappearing habit. Today, everyone is so busy in her own career or work that she cannot spare time to help out when there is a minor crisis among family members, friends or colleagues. Total trust in another person to do justice to a job or banking upon her or him to complete it is a thing of the past. Relationships are more brittle and not dependable enough to absorb the ups and downs of life as in the good ol’ days.

Women are often the perpetrators or victims of this silent, but all devouring revolution, which inspires work-burdened, ambitious women to be angry the whole day and scream at victims who have no option but to take their angst quietly. Why do we do this? Should we not develop better social skills and make an effort to change ourselves to give understanding, respect and a patient hearing to everyone – especially those who offer such valuable support in our life? It is high-time that we begin introspecting along these lines.

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