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Abuse, guilt and self blame in marriages

Published : Jan 17, 2019, 6:47 am IST
Updated : Jan 17, 2019, 6:47 am IST

Some weeks ago I had written about a friend who is a victim that has brought much emotional outrage from my readers.

I am sure the victim would often feel that there is no chance the husband would agree to the ‘shame’ of counselling.
 I am sure the victim would often feel that there is no chance the husband would agree to the ‘shame’ of counselling.

In this age of higher stress levels and low tolerance, I see a greater instance of abuse in relationships. Or maybe with quicker communication, phone videos et al, we are more aware of such instances? Whatever the case, isn’t it important to seek professional counselling rather than amateur advice from family and friends?

For reasons I cannot understand, most men in a marriage (especially in India where counselling is often considered the recourse of people who have lost their marbles) seem to resist professional marriage counselling. Women on the other hand find it easier to talk, share and introspect. In their own interest, a couple should reach out for professional guidance that they so urgently need to help themselves out of despaired bewilderment. Battered women must also reach out to support groups and seek help than allow themselves to arrive at the level of despair where they are crushed and beaten in vulnerable brokenness.

In a marriage, if the man wishes to go back to freedom from the shackles of marriage to a freewheeling life that he enjoyed in his bachelorhood, has strayed from marriage and is philandering, he often does shirk responsibility and even uses the oft used excuse of suffocation and highly magnified allegations of misdemeanour by the woman. This is often the easiest resort that seems to be typecast in men of this psyche. And WhatsApp forwards and jokes about a harridan wife who is a ‘nag’ don’t help either! The man then has an exit into self-willed unrestrained ways.

In England there used to be an archaic law that the stick used to beat a wife should not be thicker than the width of a thumb!! From which comes the phrase “rule of thumb” reflecting on times when perhaps beating a wife was prevalent and eyebrows were not raised. Thankfully in our times physical abuse in a relationship is an aberrant act that is a criminal offence. Most of us, thankfully may have not met abusive people in our lives, but we do know of instances of this brutality.  Some weeks ago I had written about a friend who is a victim that has brought much emotional outrage from my readers.

A friend I know endured such a situation that began almost at the early stages of her marriage and the ordeal has continued over the birth of two children! A situation of mental and emotional cruelty that has the man venting his cruelty not just upon her but the two little children that makes you aghast.  Wise people may murmur sometimes, women can bring out the devil in. A man!!  But babies?! Why did my friend not walk out?!  

She was so ashamed that her marriage was a failure, she was submerged with guilt at having to burden her parents. Here I must mention that women often blame themselves for a marriage gone wrong. My friend kept hoping that the few good phases, meant a new happier change of life. She wept alone, feeling inadequate and inferior when her friends chatted happily of marital bonhomie and husbands who cared. Self-blame, subsequent low self-esteem, fear of a future alone after so many years, the desire to cling to a known devil than an unknown future kept her from seeking a life sans turmoil and toxicity.

Be mortified and shamed?

The writer is a columnist, designer and brand consultant. Mail her at nishajamvwal@gmail.com

Tags: communication