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Triggered by possibility of an arranged marriage
I am South Asian woman in my mid-twenties living in Australia and I recently completed my Bachelor and am doing all things visa and finding work and what not. You know about the invisible timeline set by society (from what I know and have seen in my South Asian culture, especially in my country), where you graduate high school, go to uni, get a degree, find a job and get married have kids.. that sort of timeline... Well, I told some news to my parents that is related to my career that makes me happy, it's sort of the culmination of the Bachelor that I studied. They congratulated me and started going on about the timeline I mentioned above, especially marriage. Now, marriage is a subject that I know triggers me cause I've seen and lived among some horrible marriages filled with abuse, violence, belittling, degrading, disrespectful and just absolutely horrible. I'm trying to work through some of the trauma and heal but I haven't been able to see my therapist because of money issues.. she's experienced in dealing with trauma and stuff and we had a good relationship going where I could actually be vulnerable to her about my trauma and we did some good work. Anyway, then my parents go on about finding me a husband and I'm like no no that's not necessary and just tried to gloss over it and change the subject which I did. Just minutes after, I am feeling absolutely horrible, I feel like I'm going to spiral out of control, shaking and scared out of my wits. I feel like puking.. I feel like this an unreasonable way to react and if I had been at home when this happened I would've lost it. I'm so scared.. I don't want to be abused and degraded and disrespected by someone I will have to consider a partner... I'm really confused and scared even though this hasn't even happened yet. When my dad puts his mind to something he does not give up, he will do anything to get his way, he will guilt trip me into doing things I don't want to do. Although I have been setting stronger boundaries and staying away from the people pleasing I feel like the work I've done would wash away and say yes to stuff I don't even want, because it's him asking me.. I am so scared.. Help? Am I thinking too much?
Thank you for sharing this with the community. We can hear that recent events have brought up some really difficult things from your past, but it also sounds like you're dealing with a lot of pressure from your family.
Hopefully we'll hear from the community once they spot your post, but in the meantime we wanted to pop in and share that no one should make you feel scared or pressured to do something you don't want to do. We know it's not easy to reach out, but there are agencies who will help you as much or as little as you would like to feel safe while dealing with these pressures. We'd really recommend reaching out to 1800RESPECT for a chat about this, on 1800 737 732.
If forced marriage is something you're worried about, or wanting to find out more about, it is something you can talk to 1800RESPECT about. There's also My Blue Sky, Australia's national service for people who are worried about being forced to marry. You can find out more information on the My Blue Sky website, here.
The Beyond Blue Support Service is here for you if you'd like some more immediate support while we wait to hear from this community you've so bravely shared with today. Thank you for your openness and kindness in sharing this, darkenedsun.
I'd like to join Sophie_M in welcoming you here to the Forum. I'm glad you have already met her as Sophie gives good advice.
I also think you are a very capable person, living in another country and successfully gaining a degree. That takes determination - and ability. if that leads on to employment in an area that satisfies you - one you can enjoy - then so much the better.
Being influenced by a set of rules that don't apply is only natural, they have been part of your culture, however there really is no timeline, only mature decisions made at the appropriate time, which may be something completely different. To stick to something forced on you could be bad for you, bad for any kids, and maybe even bad for the partner - even if he was a reasonable person.
Obeying a father who has the backing of culture and success in getting his way is sort of ingrained in many people and very hard to go against.
Negative thoughts of what can go wrong in a marriage, employment opportunities lost, and simple fear are sometimes not enough to give one the strenght simply to say no, I'm me, I'm the expert on me and I'll decide what's good for me.
So perhaps as well it might be good to have a positive to think on.
I've been blessed twice in marriage. The first time for 25 years before my partner passed away after a long illness, and again now, a further 25+ years with another beautiful person. (Why there have been two people in the world silly enough to marry me is a mystery:)
These have been partnerships, and it is a relief to me that they are. When I first got married the first time I thought I had the most responsibly, but over time I learned this is something both share equally. We love and rely on each other, enjoy each other's company - and have fun.
This sort of union cannot be dictated by others or custom. It is a fortunate meeting that leads willingly down the path to marriage and life together in harmony.
Perhaps thinking of that sort of possibility can help you say NO! at the right time.
So what do you think?
Im sorry you are feeling this way.
Please know that no one can make you do anything that you don’t want to do no matter who they are.
You are your own person and you can decide how you want to live your life.
Life gets a whole lot more beautiful once you start living for yourself and accept the fact that you can’t please everyone.
This also goes for your Dad, no matter what he wants you are in your right to say NO.
Hello darkenedsun, firstly you can contact your doctor for getting a 'mental health plan', this allows you 20 Medicare paid sessions per year and may help you overcome these fears.
Now that you are here, you can choose what you want to do, because arranged marriages don't proportionally work out, especially for the female, so just a suggestion, can you change your religion, so that this doesn't have to happen.
It's your life you have to look after and not something that your parents want you to do, you live in Australia and can say no, you are now living a life you have created by yourself and to marry someone you don't know and what may happen, only leads to problems.
I've ticked you for support and hope you can get back to us.
I think it's very important that you acknowledge these feelings that you have and the thoughts you have towards your parents.
I am in a mixed marriage and I can relate to the initial resistance to break out of the mold of what was expected of me by cultural and family traditions.
I think it really helps for you to write some of these feelings down and if possible share that with your parents to let them know how much this is affecting you. It will be very hard equally for you write these feelings down as well as for them to read it but I think sometimes it may be the way forward.
All I want to say is that you are brave to share your experience here and it takes courage from you to do this.