A dog in the manger!
Though the trait is devoid of altruism and is a strange form of selfishness, disputes may arise as to which gender holds sway over that quality..
Selfishness may be a universal trait transmigrating gender, societies, culture and lands. It does not discriminate between either of the sex. man and woman can be equally selfish and equally less as well.
But the “dog in the manger” is more often women than men. I have not heard or come across a man being possessive of his son or daughter and warring with the hapless son-in-law or daughter- in-law. It is not often that we hear of a man enforcing surreptitiously or overtly an attitude that if he is denied something in life, the same must not be enjoyed by the rest, (Often in this case, the children, sons or daughters- in law).
But I have noticed this quite often in woman, irrespective of her education, social status or background, economic, religious or cultural. The very disposition have many a time mauled and ruined lives. And she enjoys it deep with in. If she dose not succeed, beware she will come back at you like “The devil woman”.
A few examples I have known .
The first protagonist is a former bureaucrat and since retired. She lost her husband quite early in life after he begot her two children. They are now grown up, employed and settled well. He hit the tavern and ruined his life, causing as far as I can understand immense difficulties to our protagonist. I would have thought that a similar life would certainly make any woman ensure that her daughters enjoy a life that is opposite to the one that visited her. However in spite of this fact, she goes great length to engineer and sustain rift and differences among her daughters and their spouses. And matters once even went up to the extent when one daughter wanted to call quits to her marriage. I’m absolutely certain that this possibility must have enlivened the older woman. Though fortunately for the couple, the mechanisations of the mother (-in law) did not succeed, the prospect of a recouped assault is always in the air.
The second example is far more vicious and of stealth. Those who know her at close quarter can vouch that she has it in her to walk astray from the flock in search of greener pastures. She thus bartered a frugal but respectable life that was easily within her grasp to wealth and power. However it was her fierce conviction that the goodness of life which was not hers or stay within her grasp must not be allowed to others. Whether it was her own siblings or outsiders she used stealth and mechanization to deny or purge. She was violently possessive, and fiercely too, be it as things as sharing a candy with her younger ones. She ensured that the icing was hers and hers only. She displayed a countenance opposite to that of the dog in the manger. i.e. she did not growl, bark like the proverbial canine when the bovines want to partake the food in the manger. She exhibited an aura of virtue, nicety and religiosity. And often the victims were misled into illusion. Systematically the plans are laid and happiness in of others was held to ransom. She has succeeded quite well with the strange trappings which only some of the female sex have.
The third specimen sample is a top secretary in the Administrative service. She takes long sabbatical when the dispensation that is voted in is not the party that she is in cahoots.. She moved into the IAS from the Foreign Service after quite a few years as diplomat abroad. In fact the story about her is not a fair advert for education and the elite Services. She has to a considerable extent made her spouse pliable. Ostracised the mother in law and the sister in law and controls the show. She displays artistic decorum and conduct in public, amongst friends and family, that it will be hard to understand that she has a distasteful side. Just see what she could do sitting in the pedestal of a senior IAS officer- they have to cooks at home, and the two women take turns in the kitchen. Our officer lady has a strange diet which is a very little boiled rice, some vegetables micro cooked and curd. She does not (or is it a medical advice, which I cannot tell) have meat in her diet. The old woman, mother- in law loves to devour meat, be it lamb, chicken or beef. And food is cooked for her separate. Strange indeed almost always when meat is cooked for the old woman it is inedible because of the high presence of salt. Tastes like having been cooked in the “
Dead Sea”! The cooks were called up and given dressing down, but the story continued. The poor cooks swore on the Mother of God they were sure that salt was added for taste and nothing more. The story went on and the old woman was repeatedly denied her food. Until one day the son caught his wife sneakily dumping spoons of salt into the food prepared for his mother. Pliable he is, he did not wag a finger. And now the old woman has moved to another house.
The stereo typed mother in law and daughter-in-law are the ones who act as irritant flies, who finds happiness and pleasure in the difficulties that they could inflict on her son(s) spouse or mother. But the above examples are pretty unique as there is a mother-in-law, a divorcee and an educated daughter- in- law. Wonder if they provide good advertisement to Woman hood.