HIS and HER Marital Relationship - Abuse Counselling - By Dr Pradnya J Ajinkya

Mohit was in great distress. He was unhappy with his wife. He complained that Divya was crude and she made no attempt to make him feel desired or desirable. Divya joined him in the sessions.
Mohit and Divya were seen for a couple of sessions.

The couple live in a state called ‘cyle of abuse. Such behaviour includes verbal, physical, and emotional/mental in nature.

Mohit explained : My wife sat quietly in the car while returning from the party. ‘when you met me first time you said you weren’t sure if you were willing to marry me?” I frowned and said, “I felt that way then.” “So you allowed yourself to get married to me without being sure of what you wanted?” I readied myself for the “so you allowed yourself .....” argument for the 100th time. I am tired of this behaviour. I have seen her into a frenzy of “you don’t care” and I am getting tired of this behaviour that my wife adopts so often. I have seen her whip herself into a frenzy of “how could you- you don’t care” to an extent that I have started doubting her sanity.  At times, Divya feels she has been hurt so much that she needs to leave the relationship. I agree that I too feel the same way. I am unable to provide an explanation. There are moments when we feel loving and caring. However, there is no way of knowing when the next flare-up will occur. The slightest mistake in facial expression or exclamation is enough reason for “so you did it even then?” Blame, cruel words and hurtful intent fill the communication.

Therapist : Focus on what each can directly control. Each need to make constructive changes in their life. Changes that would force to adapt and behave in more appropriate ways. Two people who have been in a relationship for any amount of time will have moments of error. If the relationship is genuine in moments of normalcy, there is scope for retaining and improving it.

Divya : "I don't think I feel things the same way you do." It's like my first marriage. He was my next door neighbour. We knew each other as kids. We got married because we liked each other and were inseparable. When we became wise, we realised that we were unmanagebale together. I left him. And I guess something like this is supposed to make me feel bad, right? It's supposed to hurt, right? But instead, it's like there's nothing." She smiled apologetically and shakes her head, "Nothing."

Therapist : Ask about parents and in-laws.

Divya : What kind of parents would let their daughter marry a man like this? And I think my in-laws were given up for adoption. How the hell should I know?  Would you care to explain this ‘quintessence’ that you think they have not understood the problems in our marriage? I refer to the parents and in-laws...

Therapist : This is such an important issue to discuss as the impact on you and your husband is so destructive and can last a lifetime unless dealt with properly. Everyone feels angry or insecure from time-to-time, but what happens when you feel overly angry and fearful all the time? You seem to be insecure, much more than other people?

Divya : Yes. I am insecure. I want to be in this relationship, but my fear of rejection keeps me from being able to interact with people in normal ways. Instead, I avoid them and keep to myself.

Therapist : If a boy gets married to a girl he likes, they will certainly live happily. Happiness is something the heart feels. The boy must have the feeling that the girl likes him. And the girl must have the feeling that the boy likes her. A girl has to go through a period of intense attachment (rabta). The couple feel great love for each other. They exchange thoughts and feelings of trust and care. And finally he marries you. How do you feel? You feel happy and secure. And in a case he or she doesn’t marry. How do you feel? You feel angry and always upset because you don’t trust anyone, even your parents. I understand that you have no feelings towards your earlier husband. In this case we can describe a typical way of how you both as a couple can live together.

Divya : I find myself wishing to be near my husband. I feel very relaxed. I feel relaxed and a great pleasure at being near him. Yes, he taught me courage. We often talk to each other about the movies or books we have read. But I never had sex with him. I used to tell myself, “if I sleep with him, I will stop liking him.” The other possibility was that he would lose control and I would lose my virginity.

Therapist : Emotions are strong in you. I think if you were physically close with Mohit, you would have remained so attached to him.

Divya : Our love in a way is ideal. If we were too close, we wouldn't have stayed. I personally still feel attached to him. I don't know about his feelings. At the beginning, I was not sure that he was a good person. I found out that he is serious from what people say and from what I see. I was surprised he first rejected me and later accepted me.

This is the experience of Mohit and Divya. Both are hopeful of finding compatibility and harmony. They seem to experience the same intensity of emotional difficulties. They continue to come to counselling.........