“I have not been able to find out till date, how he can twist me around his fingers like a puppet and how I give in so easily to all his demands .It is only much later I would realize that I have been made a succor. He played with my emotions”, said Tina. Emotional abuse even though is visible and disturbing yet the victim finds it difficult to ask the perpetrator to stop and leave the victim alone. We all know that the abuse is real and we are being abused but we find it extremely difficult to come out of it. Abusive relationship is in true sense a violence of the soul and mind. Unlike physical abuse it does not hurt on the physical body parts. It hurts in such a way that the bruises and the blood don’t come to the fore yet it shreds the mind, emotions and the self respects to many uncollectible bits, leaving the victim broken in body mind and soul . Its impact can be every time more killing than the actual bullet is fired by someone. The abusive behavior is often directed at a weaker personality irrespective of the status, gender or creed or relationship.
The abusive behavior in marital relationship is often made a tool by either partner to control the other partner’s mind and soul. The advantages sought by the perpetrator could be to gain control over the victim for financial, emotional, psychological, social or simply sadistic pleasure. Emotional abuse is a form of domestic violence, and it can have devastating effects on the physical, emotional and mental health of the victim more so if the victim is a housewife, as she feels threatened of losing her matrimony.
The first thing you need to understand is that emotional abuse is not so easily recognized by others as the one who indulges into it is always fully well prepared to go on the offensive, should the victim seek any outside help or interference. The others would be made to believe that you are creating difficult situation by your emotional weak mind. They are made to understand that you could be unnecessarily reacting to the situations which you are finding difficult to handle. You could be rather called the one initiating it. The abuser poses to be the victim here. Then again no law of the land looks at emotional abuse as a crime. You do not have any valid proof against the abuser as it is always done in such a manner that none other can come to know of it except the victim. At the basic level all forms of emotional abuse is an act of coercion, intimidation and suppression.
The victim of emotional abuse is often tortured so much that he or she begins to blame self for provoking the perpetrator. The victims are made to believe that they deserve the treatment that is being met to them. In the victim’s perception the villain deserves sympathy. In this manner the abuser becomes the person being sympathized with piety and kind attitude.
Over a period the victim starts thinking: I am definitely sick of my mind and psyche to have caused distress to the one who sympathized with me so much. One could never be more incorrect than this misconception. Such misperception can make one think that one is definitely suffering from psychotic issues and the thought itself can give severe depression.
How can one know one is being subjected to emotional abuse?
It is not necessary that only intimate and romantic relationship can bring about emotional abuse. The emotional abuse can happen between the mother-son or daughter, parent and the child, or vice versa, between the co-workers, between the friends, amongst the official relations or even casual acquaintances. But often the position wielding stronger power would indulge into such an abuse making use of the power inherent in the opposition.
Gender does discriminate when it comes to emotional abuse. Women tend to be more vulnerable than men to emotional exploitation by their men folk.
The ways the perpetrators make use of Emotional Abuse.
There are several ways by which emotional abuse can take place in relationships. Actually abusers may adopt multiple tortuous tools against the weak victims, to control their minds.
Threatening to either break the relationship, of leaving the person alone or even threatening to harm physically the victim or self ,defaming or spoiling reputation amongst the friends and family, of taking the kids away are some of the ways . Entire plan of the villain is to play vicious and manipulative mind games to create mental fear, awe and terror and kill the independent thinking of the victim.
Regular Fault Finding and Negation of Contribution
Regular Fault finding, pointing out shortcomings and negation of the person’s any and every act would upset even the most brave and positive person. The constant denial of any appreciation and consideration is a terrible abuse causing low self esteem and feelings of failure in the mind of the victim. Critical words turn into put-downs, which are not productive, it’s abusive. When someone is constantly putting you down or questioning your decisions, there’s a malicious motive behind their behavior.
This chronic shaming wears down the victim’s respectability ,self confidence, decision making ability, conative skills , reducing him or her to a mere moot spectator to the life and happenings around them. Criticism is often in the garb of taunts, challenges and ridicules to ensure the victim does not react and further gets drowned into the abyss of self insult and pity. For example a person may not be referred to as self respecting person but one who expects others to bow before him or her just because he /she thinks very highly of herself/himself.
Not respecting and responding to opinions and suggestions.
The abuser will have scant regards for victim’s any and every thought, suggestions opinions and would always use statements like,” you don’t know anything and hence don’t talk. A regular flow of fault finding, opposing and blocking, continues. The result of repeatedly having your opinions shot down or being told to shut up or that your thoughts don’t matter is that you stop standing up for yourself. You stop vocalizing your opinions. Ultimately no interaction can exist without open communication and the relationship breaks down.
Such an aggressive abuse can be quite negative. It can be as cruel as the abuser telling you that you are useless, time and again thus killing your sense of self worth completely.
Making one feel unwanted
A relationship evolves and flourishes when one person makes the other feel wanted and reciprocity is maintained. This is golden rule to sustain all successful relationships, be it parent-child relationships, lover- beloved relationships and or husband -wife relationships, and even siblings. When the child is accused, abused punished for no fault of the child, the entire sense of self esteem in the child’s mind suffers. The child feels insulted, demeaned, and feels threatened of being abandoned. Such a behavior by the parent, guardian causes emotional, psychological and mental damage to the child, cause extreme mental harm. This also occurs in intimate relationships in which the abuser continues to stay but repeatedly calls the victim names and makes character assassination or other such social personal insults to show that they have no respect for them. In any such relationship, the result is that the victim feels like no one else would want them either and that they are themselves responsible for such a grim situation.
Isolating the victim
The abuser makes sure that the victim is kept apart from friends or other family members .This is another form of emotional abuse. A child or partner may not be allowed to interact with friends. An elderly parent may be denied visits to and from family and friends. Without other healthy relationships, the victim becomes more and more dependent upon the abuser to fulfill his or her needs.This is unhealthy and destructive to their lives.
Partners or parents may keep the victim from getting a job, meaning they don’t form relationships with peers and they have no financial independence. Ultimately, losing the abuser would mean losing everything, even if the victim sees that the relationship is not.
Shifting the blame:
Passing the onus of doing everything and anything wrong on to the victim is one more of emotional abuse. Emotional blaming is a severe form of mental torture that results into emotional abuse. making the victim feel responsible for the acts , behavior not committed by him or her in another form of abuse, whether physical, sexual, or emotional. The perpetrator will make the victim assume or aver specifically that things that happened are his or her doing. Such acts behavior often takes place in privacy and hence none is in a position otherwise to refute the claim made.
How do I stop it?
The only way to stop such emotional abuse is to raise your voice against the abuse even when the others initially may not understand why you have complaints against such a nice person (remember the perpetrator will be always on the right side with others that matter) in the relationship.
Seeking a Family therapist
Reaching out and seeking a professional advice is away helpful. It is not necessary that your partner will agree but mere discussion with a professional family Therapy counselor will be empowering to identify your issues. Such professional counseling reaching out for help can show you a way ahead to deal with the emotional abuse.
Refusing to bow down to the tricks of the abuser and putting your foot down for such emotional abuse with firmness and finality will help. If it doesn’t, at least it will make the abuser clear that the games played by her or him have been seen through and exposed.
If you have such an abusive situation You should come to us at Family Therapy India and we will help you resolve all issues of your marriage in more amicable manner .Find us @ http://www.familytherapyindia.com.
Email us @firstname.lastname@example.org
–Ramneek Kapoor – Family Therapist, Psychologist Counselor and Science of Living Expert.
“I have always had a very problematic marriage and all efforts to make things right have been of no use. I have been advised by my friends to seriously think of consulting a marriage and family therapist .But every time I think of reaching out to one, “the only thought that comes to my mind is, “What if this too does not help. Let, me ask you a simple question, “does marriage counseling really work?’.
Priti (name changed) had expressed apprehensions about the process of marriage counseling when she had, asked me this question.
Experts differ on the effectiveness of marital issues in marriage and family therapy. Some of them will simply say no to any external intervention in a marriage. They are of the opinion that “marriage is sacrosanct and privacy of the bed room should stay within your bedroom. Most of them however will speak in favor of getting a professionally trained family therapist’s help. Marriage is often an adjustment of two different personalities who come together to raise a new family in their wedlock. In this journey some distance can be smooth, some part of journey could be rough too, where an external help can smoothen the edges and provide the necessary cushioning.
Your life can be difficult and beautiful both at the same time. The life of the newly married couples is like a baby conceived in the womb of a mother, giving tough time to the mother all through nine months of its growth from the embryo to delivery but once the baby is born life becomes joyfully beautiful, yet bringing with it challenges everyday of raising a child. The joy of watching your baby grow always is greater than the challenges that come in the process of being a mother.
Marriage offers similar such journey of smooth ride and rough road of mutual problems .The partners to a marriage love each other and at times hate each other but they continue with the journey of matrimonial bliss. Sushant and Daisy (names changed) are in one such relationship. They have had fights; yet they have been living into their marriage despite all odds for ten years. “It had never occurred to me even once that I should walk out of this marriage. I am from a conservative Christian family and Sushant belongs to a kind of liberated Hindu family. Our marriage had not been accepted by our respective families for almost five years. There were issues of social norms, of cultural differences, of devotions and faith. My mother has been a devout Christian and it was difficult for her to conceive that her daughter will not follow a religion of the family”. “Both I and Sushant had made a pact that we would always refer our matters to a third unbiased arbitrator in case of any of the differences that might crop up into our marriage. We found one such unbiased opinion and advice in Family Therapist and Marriage counselor Dr Ramneek Kapoor and all our differences get resolved to our mutual interest”.
“I have had many cases of family differences, husband wife disputes, cohabitation problems and other adjustment issues and working through their disputes and differences can really be worth it. Most such married couples come to us when they face communication issues, marital discords and even the personal ego matters, at the breaking point of their marriages, but they are benefitted by consulting a professional family therapist and marriage counselor who help them in dealing with those difficulties, look at their disputes from a much wider point of view and different perspective. The couples are encouraged to sort out the difference, take them on to find satisfactory resolution instead of being judgmental and giving up on the relationship. They are made to work hard to eventually come to an understanding of the beneficial fruits of making their marriage a success.
“Much of the ideas people get about their marriage counseling at times can be wrong. It is not necessarily the bed room story that is talked about in the counseling. A marital life holds many other points of discord and differences of opinions. There can be personality issues, adjusting with other members of the extended family, household issues, individual career matters, spouse behavior concerns, children growth subjects, older parental care concerns and of course faith and trust fears . Only a third party intervention may not solve these issues but a detailed worked out therapeutic strategy and planning with the help of a qualified professional Family Therapist and Marriage Counselor can definitely go a long way in resolving all such matters.
“It sounds good. It makes sense to me” said Dinesh(name changed) when he had walked into our clinic for consulting us on his broken marriage of fifteen years. “The problem is my wife feels it usually doesn’t work. We had gone to a traditional matchmaker to help us reconcile a broken marriage. Their process is not very professional”.
You really have to be careful when dealing with a delicate matter of marital compatibility and communication breakdown. It cannot be resolved merely by advice of do’s and don’ts. All matters need to be handled in a manner that the counseling given has to achieve the outcome, the couple and the family looks forward to. An untrained and non professional marriage counselor has no idea what he or she is faced with and how this needs to be analyzed and resolved.
In a complex family therapy situation counseling an estranged couple may be the hardest thing to do .It takes longer to resolve their differences and the couples are advised to be patient and cooperate with the therapist ,whose basic aim is to help the client come to agreement and understanding within them.
Surveys indicate that many of the match makers, social activists and soothe Sayers undertake family therapy and couples therapy. They do not possess the professional qualification and they never got their training into marital counseling and family therapy.
We need to understand that couples coming for family therapy and marriage counseling are mixed agenda couples. Often one or the other party will have thought of either divorce or separation. Traditional matchmakers or even normal psychologists will not prove effective in dealing such marriage counseling as they do not know the professional way to deal with those problems.
Much of the advice couples get from family advisors or traditional matchmakers sounds good to the ears but it doesn’t work in real life. When it comes to marriage counseling, one solution cannot be applied to all situations. Each marital discord will have its own unique dynamics and a professional Family Therapist and Marriage Counselor takes into account the uniqueness of each dynamic while dealing with a husband and wife disconnect.
Couples can at times become disconnected emotionally for various reasons. Their passion and excitement can wear out faster than expected out of their marriage if their fights and day to day quarrels continue. Their novelty can finish sooner as monotony creeps in into their partnership. It happened to Nidhi (name changed) who admitted in a session
“I decided to call our marriage off because I felt like I have been living with a rival roommate not a husband, after we got married his attitude and tone changed towards me. His true nature comes to the fore as he sheds the facade of pretended love.”
What can married couples do if they’re having some difficulties?
I would advice, “one person in the marriage doesn’t have to wait for the other to start working on the reconciliation .Either of the spouse could begin with positive changes in the marriage. Don’t wait for your partner to agree, you can initiate the process of contacting a trained professional Family Therapist and Marriage Counselor.Do Not say to yourself that things will improve with passage of time. That’s the wrong ideation. The key to succeeding in your marriage is to sort out the differences at your earliest. What better time to begin doing this than now. Now is the time to find the right therapist; who will help you to connect with the person you married .You do not have to wait to be lucky in love .You make it your choice to be happy in your marriage, the love will flow thereafter. Get in touch with us today, and take control of your marital bliss. Let’s make it happen.
One last advice though, as far as possible stop discussing with your friends about your marital problems. You must not break the unwritten code of privacy of your marriage. Many a times it’s fatal to talk about your marriage or your spouse to family or friends. It’s a mockery marriage’s privacy and it’s not the done thing.
You should come to us at Family Therapy India and we will help you resolve all issues of your marriage in more amicable manner .Find us @ http://www.familytherapyindia.com.
Email us @email@example.com
–Ramneek Kapoor – Family Therapist, Psychologist Counselor and Science of Living Expert.
As I was growing up, I had always missed one major factor of any child’s growth. That was the presence of grandparents into my life. I would often hear my parents talk about my grandparents in a very fond manner reminiscing about their life with them. I am currently in my mid sixties and I have experienced many different roles so far that being of a son, a brother, a husband, a father in law. I have been a mentor, an academician, a psychologist and a family therapist. During all these roles, l have noticed that the roles of elderly in the family have always been that of providing love affection and a sense of stability to the family. Yet of these roles I have had positive experiences and some negatives, and I have been grateful of the experiences that life had taught me in all these years. But again in the major years of my growth I could simply reminisce about my parents to my children as my parents had long been dead before my wife and my kids came into my world.
But the story I am discussing here is a little disturbing for many of us, though to some it may seem absolutely justified way of dealing with ageing elders of the family.
Santosh (name changed) contacted us for family counseling sessions after she had been physically beaten by her son after an argument and heated discussion on some family matters. As an old lady and mother of 30 years old married son (whom she has supported in all his endeavors of life) Santosh could hardly believe it that her son, her only dear son had beaten her so mercilessly. Her only fault being that she loved her son Shubham (name changed).She had simply advised him to not to create embarrassing moments for the family by doing things not expected of a person of his maturity.
Similar is the story of Rajpal (name changed), who has been married to Binita (name changed).To his parents distress (who have so far been living with their son in their own house), Rajpal’s wife Binita does not want the ageing parents to live with them. She finds it very disturbing and difficult to establish a communication with her in laws she has been the lonely bird during all her pre marriage years. She had told, Rajpal that she would get married to him only on the condition that she would not be sharing her husband and their marital space with any one, be it his family or her family. She wants the parents-in- laws to be moved out of the house to someplace else .Rajpal should find another place for setting up their household as she needs complete privacy.
The youngsters in any society are today finding it difficult to play the role of a caregiver. They find it very stressful to take care of their elder members of their family. The stress of caring for parents and grandparents ultimately falls on the society and other welfare organizations. But not many such organizations exist in our country.
The country though is claiming to be the source of largest young population but the population of the elders and soon to be an elder too is proportionately very large.
In many cases it is seen the youngsters are willing to take up the responsibility of looking after their parents and other elders in the family, but their own commitment to their careers and jobs definitely make it difficult to do so. The youngsters in modern times want to be mobile not only within the country but they want to be globally competitive and hence the youngsters move away from home to charter new career paths for themselves.
The elders would never like to leave the places they have spent their lifetime in, at their old age .They feel comfortable living in their own cities and the homes in whichever they have spent the good part of their lives. With the children moving away, the empty nest syndrome hits every parent at this age coupled with the prospects of loss of occupations for the seniors. I can feel the same stress in many of my elderly clients as they talk about how they are dealing with their lives in their empty nests. I know how they find it difficult to cope up with their daily activities and failing health on account of age catching up with them.
Mr. Shukla 70 years (name changed) had shifted to his son’s home, after Mrs. Shukla had passed away a year ago. Though he had a huge comfortable house with all facilities available, the family still preferred that Mr. Shukla moved to his son’s home in the nearby town. Mr. Shukla has ever since been suffering from anxiety and depression. He feels completely lost and rootless, in spite of being with his son and two grandkids.” I had a routine when she was there living with me .I would still have managed being alone in my own home where I have a kitchen garden my wife had so lovingly developed. I have a good collection of plants and trees in my backyard .But I find that loneliness creeps on me even after having done all that. I just do not have anyone to talk to now either in my home or in my son’s home. My son and his wife do take care of my needs but they have to lead their own lives and take care of their infant daughter. Most of my friends have gone to God’s home. Some of them have just shifted to their ward’s place. If only we could have a system that would take care of our short term and long term care needs, things would have been much brighter”.
The seniors would require someone to take care of their full time needs that can last for years. Such needs as cannot just be fulfilled by part time caretakers or by technology alone.
Not many commercial , government or non governmental agencies exist for providing such caregivers .There are some old age homes and few geriatric care commercial companies operating but these too do not serve the actual care giving purpose .Such agencies operate more on profit making terms for themselves and are very rarely subjected to any government audit for their services standards. We need to have more trained psychologists and family therapists well familiar with the geriatric care needs and the mindset to reach out to the needy.
We need to educate people on better self care in their old age and at the same time we need to have more social and community based institutional support for our growing population of old people.
The youngsters need to be trained as better caregivers for their elders and other senior members of their society. On the social front these young men and women should understand that the act of caregiving can be very rewarding. It enables them to build up their relationships to the generation that has just gone by and understand the nuances and cultural norms of the society and community. The love and affection that these seniors have always showered on their wards need to be returned by the family youngsters by taking care of the elders just when they need them in the far end of their lives.
We at Family Therapy India do hereby commit ourselves to take care of their needs with an empathetic human approach .Please reach us at http://www.familytherapyindia.com if you have any such caregiving needs for your elders in your family.
–Ramneek Kapoor – Family Therapist, Psychologist Counselor and Science of Living Expert.
Family will survive all storms with a little patience and perseverance
I love to go to a garden nearby to look at the plants growing and to savor their fragrant breeze full of oxygen and greens. And let me tell you I do love to speak to the plants in the morning as they open up their lovely flowers to the rising Sun and rebuild their energy which they gather from the sunlight .At home we do not have a lawn where we could grow these plants (we live in an apartment) . But on the top of the building where we have managed to rent a terrace we do have a few pots with plants. These plants have very tenderly been reared by my daughter with great care and love. I have seen the fresh flowers of white, red and yellow colors bloom to the plants virtually growing from little buds to the full blown beautiful flowers. Whenever I go the terrace I water them, talk to them and make sure they feel loved and taken care of by me and feel happy about this. I feel my conversing with my plants exactly is the reason these plants have grown from tiny saplings to the full grown plants adorning their smile into these flowers.
Similar to these little saplings and plants all kinds of relationships need constant communication, love, tender care, nurturing and sunshine of trust and admiration. If any of the same is missing our relationships tend to get withered away just as all those seedlings died which had not been attended to by me.
We would often take our relationships for granted once we have formed them. We allow the novelty and the freshness of each other’s company wear of, thinking, “now that we have each other where the hell can the person go”. It is easy to do that as you get busy with the daily grinds of life. But like the delicate plants that were given extra care by me to grow, each relationship too needs to be handled with full involvement and care.
In a relationship or in a friendship, we need to regularly spread the showers of mutual understanding, of admiration the nurture and love. Not all relationships may require you to go out of your way to attend to them. A periodic touch of getting to know about each person as to how he or she is living life ensures we do not feel cut off and likewise the other person too feels in touch. In the current age of internet and social media though people are always available online, yet the lack of personal touch and physical presence of good listeners is felt by one and all. People living under the same roof and sleeping in the common bedroom become strangers as they remain occupied in their own virtual world of WhatsApp.Facebook,instagram,twitter and other online social media apps.
I have many a times met such husbands and wives who do not have either time or an empathetic ear for each other to give at least a hearing to the partners when they need to talk. Being there with an empathetic attitude and listening with patience to the other’s point of view can go a long way in solving many compatibility issues the couples face in their marital life.
I am currently meeting and counseling quite a few numbers of families, where all family members have agreed to spend at least two evenings in a week on working days and every alternate weekend in a month together on family outing or family dinner and they have shown wonderful results in their understanding of each other. The faces of the family members more especially the younger members beam smiles as big as the rose in the picture above after they find their parents spending a quality time with them in such a positive manner.
Just as we need to take care of the plants, saplings and flowers an protect them from all kinds of weeds, strong winds, too much of sunshine, the same way we need to tend to the relationship by giving our empathetic, loving , and understanding physical presence and listening ears to all family members.
-Ramneek Kapoor – Family Therapist, Psychologist Counselor and Science of Living Expert.