Rethinking the relationship cycle By Dr. Pradnya Ajinkya


"Please, please, please help my son," a mother whimpers.
 
The emotional battle that my son Robin has been fighting has left him a stressed man, struggling to win back from a social system trying to consume him. It was the fifth evening after my son had left his rental home, and to his surprise, while Robin in his friend's flat was looking over a new play, Sukanya came along with her friends and threatened him to return home. "It sounds very absurd. I don't agree with you," my son said, loudly. Then Sukanya and her friends threatened to punish Robin before they left.

Case conceptualization with Robin
 
"I met Sukanya in the tail end of '11.  Evidently she is a cleverer woman than what I took her for. I feel that there are deeper and more serious matters that I have suffered than the mere solution of the mystery of separation,' said Robin shutting his teeth tightly together. Robin took a deep breath and then returned with a rapid mental photograph of his bearings. "Everything seemed to be going so well from the beginning. Like not too many of us want to be thought of as a grouch of the group of friends, we too maintained a good crowd of friends and enjoyed together. She was really really nice. Everyone liked to think that we were nice together. 'Yes' slipped off our tongues before we had the chance to stop it even if we internally were shouting 'no'.  We would meet very often. Her parents lived in another city where there wasn't much in the way of work. She wanted to get independent and on her feet and she willingly invited herself to come and live with me. Then these are the few pretty blows which hit  in a few months. Sukanya would decide how we spent time together. She would insist that I cancel plans with my family and friends. She expected me to pay off her bills. She would accuse me of cheating her with friends. If I ignored she would cry and yell and stalk off for days. I always got back to Sukanya looking into the good in her, and would give her anything and cared for her. She had the strength and an advantage of getting me back each time. If I was distracted by work, she had a habit of going into severe sulking fits. She wouldn't respond to anything. I decided something was wrong, though I was in denial for a long time. It wasn't the smartest move, but I decided to move out of my rental apartment. When Sukanya realised that I was tired and out, she grabbed me by my shoulders and dropped me to the floor and spat in my face before she walked off. The pain was enough that I quickly got up and had enough presence of mind to pick up my belongings and moved out. I was so afraid to even meet a doctor. I limped for almost five days until I started getting a little better and I was confronted by Sukanya and her friends. I told them that the relationship is over and that she struck me and I was physically and mentally threatened and things dissolved into pretty much daily arguments and hence decided to spent a few days out with a folk in his house. She did try calling me but I ignored and completely cut off, then I received a ton of texts, then my friend's phone started ringing. I did not want to compromise on my safety, integrity or privacy. I really did not want to go back," said Robin wishing that the story had ended there. "She kept harassing my friends before finally leaving me. The emotional scars are definitely still there. Life for me isn't perfect, but it is the best it could be considering the path it could have taken....." he said. 'I am still in the first part, said Robin wishing that the story had ended there.  The idea that Liz, a grade V classmate loved me so much that the first time she laid her eyes on me she fell in love with me at first sight, gave me a feel between beautiful and disaster. Now finding myself feels impossible. I feel it is Liz this time. It is barely three months and she has started sending me threats via text messages, emails and calls. 'If you break up with me, I'll post those pics everywhere.' Again slowly the labels come from her to define me and out of the wreckage of the the tragic beginnings in the earlier relationship, a similarly unlikely and tragic relationship unfolds.......'
 
Therapist
 
First, let’s deal with the priorities and convictions.
 
1] Since you know the situation best, the first option you may choose might be to stand your ground and not give in to threats.
 
2] If you fear that your friend can become a threat and harm you, it might be safest to turn to some of your support systems for self care and create a safety plan. Remember to keep your parents informed.
 
3] Check out for laws against 'revenge porn'.
 
4] It is important to realise that you may need to be cautious while being careful that this is not someone you can really lead a healthy relationship with.
 
5] Be committed to write down what you need to do each day and you can look back and know how much you have accomplished.
 
6] Keeping promises to yourself is something you need to do for self help.
 
7] While you are on your difficult memories and moments, you need to weigh your answer with your convictions and priorities.
 
8] You will have to repeat the reason you gave in the first place for saying 'yes'. Example : Sukanya and I agreed that we were ready only committing to one extra level of living-in-together to know each other.  At this point, in the present moment in a new situation, you can either change the subject or say, 'If you'll excuse me, I'm not going to get there.' 
 
9] Avoid considering the request at another time. Say that it is impossible for me to consider what you are saying. I won't let myself again.
 
10] Don’t wimp out of fear and be vague with your answers to avoid hurting feelings. It raises false hope for them, makes you seem indecisive, and slows down the process of determining who is going to be helping .....
 
This raises a few questions:
 
a] Why Robin repeats over and over again the same relationship cycle of abuse?
 
b] Can his emotional availability be questioned?
 
c] Could he have acted differently?
 
d] Why it is important to choose when and whom he should love?
 
e] Deciding to continue in a safe and long term relationship?

Entertainment Quiz
 
Read the top before you scroll down...................
 
You are in a desert. You have with you the following five animals:
A lion, a cow, a horse, a sheep, and a monkey.

To escape the desert you are going to have to get rid of one of your animals.

Which one do you drop? (You can use whatever logic you like BUT  keep track of which animal is discarded when!) You have 4 animals left.
 
The desert is burning up! It goes on for miles.
Sand is everywhere. You realize, to get out, you are going to have drop another animal.
 
Which do you drop?
 
You have 3 animals left.
 
Walk, walk, walk. Hot, hot, hot.
 
Disaster! The Oasis that you were looking for is dried up!
 
You have no choice but to drop another animal.
 
You have 2 animals left.
 
Ok, it's a long hot walk. You can see the edge of the desert way on the horizon. Unfortunately, you can only leave the desert with ONE animal.
 
Which one do you drop and which one do you keep?
 
Before looking at the answers below, make sure you know which animal you dropped in what order.
 
These answers are based on Japanese Archetypes.
 
The desert represents a hardship.
 
The animals represent . . .

    Lion = Pride
    Monkey = Your children
    Sheep = Friendship
    Cow = Basic needs
    Horse = Your passion
 
So, in the face of hardship, you will sacrifice each of these things in turn. Your last animal represents that thing which you cling to at the expense of all others.

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