We are a resilient people. Yes, we do not give up! We are raised to not accept NO and we indeed can not say NO. Sometimes we let our negative experiences become learning opportunities and we move on! Not giving up is a positive attitude, however, sometimes, not letting go of old habits, thoughts, and behaviors become unhealthy!
Are we all resilient? Yes. Do we use our abilities in a healthy way? No, for sure not! We are different people, with various levels of resiliency or “mogavemant” in Persian language, because we come from various background with various support systems.
Our Iranian women are the real survivors; women around the world are real survivors. Men are also survivors—do not get me wrong! We all, women and men, want to survive; however, sometimes this strong drive lets us think we have permission to violate someone else rights.
An example from our community: A man, who does not want to accept divorce becoming a fact in his life, tries to survive by making the life of the woman who left him as bitter as possible. He tries to manipulate, uses all sorts of threats, calls her names, tries to portray her as a prostitute, and he puts her family under pressure. (This example is in fact an example of the testimony of hundreds of women that this writer has met.)
Why can’t this man let go of his failed marriage and why does he force his children to hate their mother?
It is because he will survive; because he is sick and he feels lonely. He is not used to being rejected, because his mother raised him to be in control and to have power. Now that a woman (not his mom) is rejecting him, saying no to him, he is most definitely hurt. He conveys this message all the time: “You’re either with me, or you’re no one without me.”
In Iran, men like this one can force women to remain in a marriage far longer than here in Western cultures. This is why many Iranian couples divorce soon after they arrive here!
In Stockholm University, Sweden, there was a PhD. level research project by Mehrdad Darvishpour (1996-98) about reasons for the high number of divorces among Iranian couples. There are numerous other studies about what divorce is about,yet this one was interesting since the researcher looked at migration along with challenges of adjustment in the new home country as some factors contributing to divorce among Iranian.
What could be the reasons? Here are some of my speculations without trying to be controversial:
· There was no real healthy foundation for the marriage in first place.
· Extended families forced the couple to marry and have babies, so that their ancestors’ name would be carried on.
· Marriage occurs in the first place, because allowing any relationships between sexes is taboo. In fact many men in Iran, though not all of them, see women as a sexual objects.
· Many other culturally enforced elements.
What is the solution?
· Don’t get married because your parents want you to.
· Do get married when you are ready to love someone and share your life with him/her.
· Do care for your partner’s emotional needs.
· Do get help if you feel stuck.
· Do learn how to calm down when discussions are heated.
· Do find support services to place around yourself.
· Do let go of your egos about who you are, and be humble enough to learn from others!
Is there anything wrong with thinking this way?
Resiliency is an innate ability a child is born with, yet, in the light of life situations this ability becomes a survival skill if we let it. The main goal is for us not to get hurt, not to hurt others, and to be safe.
May 4, 2007