A few days back, on the weekend I started watching the Netflix series MYTHOMANIAC.It is a French drama series, about a modern day family. Elvira is a typical modern day woman, she has a full time job under a horrible boss, and then her other full time job, which is getting her three kids to school, driving them back, taking them to classes, making dinners and snacks and at the end of the day, wondering if anyone notices all the work she puts in.
She is a burnt out suburban mother, who feels unnoticed and unappreciated by her husband and kids. An appointment at the radiologist brings her much needed attention. Even though she is assured that they are just fat lumps, in a desperate and frankly disturbing move for attention she tells her partner Patrick that the lumps are tumors. Shock makes him realise that he might lose Elvira, and her value,and decides that this is the indication that they need a fresh start and really notice her again.There is a great change in his behavior and he becomes really attentive and demonstrative. She starts enjoying this new, changed behavior from her family, the concern and love and tells them she needs a small surgery and decides to take a break for herself.
Mythomania is defined as the abnormal propensity for lying or exaggerating, and we all know people who did it, but in a medical context it has strange implications. The eventuality of little white lies escalating into unstoppable snowballs has often been seen, but the idea of faking a terrible illness still seems pretty unreal. All of us have indulged in small, white lies like having a terrible headache or PMSing to get out of entertaining guests or missing events.
Indeed Elvira has inconsiderate, ungrateful kids and a self absorbed husband, but did she really feel the need to fake something as terrible as cancer, to seek her family’s attention and sympathy. Did she really have to go to such great lengths to get kindness and consideration from those she loved. She has been taking care of her family and their needs, but why is their no reciprocation?
There is no doubt that lying and exaggerating are wrong, and when done to fake an illness are terrible and unforgivable, but do women really feel so unacknowledged and alone that they are willing to go to such drastic lengths to get from their family what they anyway deserve.
Does this show once again highlight what all of us women, have felt at some time or the other, undervalued and overworked. Most of us have complained that motherhood is a thankless job, and all we need is some acknowledgement, I know I have.
No, I am quite sure, we would not resort to such measures but why should any wife or mother feel so desperate or alone that she has to?