Three recent cases happened in Indonesia during one last year:
1. A mother—identified as suffering from terribly psychologically depressed—killed her three children, by putting pillows on their faces so that they couldn’t breathe.
2. A mother tried committing suicide by burning herself and her two children.
3. A mother killed her four children. After that, she killed herself.
One article in the local newspaper stated that those murders were the result from the heavy burden put on women’s shoulders. The burden can be in the form of economy, household, social, environment, and health. When someone feels that he/she is not strong enough to face that burden, it will form toxic anxiety in someone’s life. Toxic anxiety is poisonous, because it poisons the way of thinking, feeling, attitude, behavior, etc. When this poison is not neutralized or eliminated, the poison will spur someone to do cruel things. The poison exists as conflict and dilemma in life that can happen to anybody. From this conflict and dilemma, natural anxiety is engendered. This natural anxiety must be analyzed and faced wisely, not to be feared of, nor avoided.
The article ended with suggestion that government must carry out some counseling, health examination, and psychological guidance.
It reminds me of one article I wrote entitled “Mental Depression” I posted in my blog around a year ago. Why should women be more vulnerable to get depressed? If I relate it to woman’s madness phenomenon, patriarchal society’s demand from women to be good women (read good wife, good mother, also good women that contradicts to ‘bitch’) is still very high in Indonesia. Instead of proposing suggestion that government must carry out some counseling, etc, I would rather suggest open communication between the husband and the wife and the husband’s appreciation to women as equal with them. Open communication will make the husband and the wife know what obstacles they face in their marriage life and try to find the way out together. (The background of the three cases mentioned in the beginning of this article shows the not good communication between the victims and their husbands, the husbands did not really understand what bothered their wives, etc.) High appreciation from society—especially from the husbands—will boost women’s confidence, to talk about anything. I am convinced that feeling appreciated will make women appreciate themselves, and that hopefully will result in women value their lives better.
Instead of suggesting government to do some counseling, etc, I believe it is better that patriarchal society reduces the burden they put on women’s shoulders to be good women. When a woman thinks that her burden can be shared with her husband, it will lighten her steps to undergo her life.
One case happened to my mother’s friend. One day in December 2006—still very early in the morning—my mother got a call from her friend. A man who is around sixties asked her whether his wife was in my mother’s house. She was gone. She left the house without saying anything. She said she would do some shopping and never returned. They have been married for many years. When my mother asked that man whether they had big quarrel, he said nothing. Their relationship was very good during their marriage life, he said.
Several days later, a neighbor of that man told him that she saw his wife in the railway station. She said she would go out of town (Surabaya) to visit a relative. She looked troubled at that time.
Three months have passed. That man cannot find where his wife is yet until now.
I saw this case as another case of woman’s madness phenomenon. Unconsciously, she has tried to bury all negative feelings coming to her, to be considered as a good wife and a good mother. When she thought that she could no longer cope up with that, she left her home. Her husband said that everything was fine in their marriage life. Nah lo!
By the way, patriarchal society’s burden put on women’s shoulders have existed since time immemorial. Why did those three cases happen just lately? Didn’t similar cases happen a decade, two decades ago, or longer than that? Perhaps the cases were not recorded by media now that media has developed tremendously everywhere around the world. The high competition has made media and their journalists get interesting news to be published. The more pathetic one case is, the more it sells.
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