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ASK ME: My sibling is in an emotionally abusive marriage. Will any attempt to save this marriage be successful?

Q. My siblings’ spouse often indulges in frequent quarrels, disrespecting his spouse in family, public and when together, at times is physically violent. Their marriage is just 18 months old. Will any attempt be successful to save this marriage?

KU. It is no secret to anyone who is married, that quarrels occur from time to time. For some couples these times are few and far between while for others they may be frequent. But violence in any form physical, sexual, psychological, emotional, economic, disrespecting spouse, being dishonest, insulting and humiliating has no place in a healthy marital relationship.

Girls continue to be in abusive marriage, because they are afraid that the abuser will become more abusive if she tries to leave. Children are also a factor to continue in a bad marriage.

Women believe they cannot make it on their own. Some blame themselves for such abusive behaviour of their husband. Few do not understand that they are being abused, till they are made to realise it. Fear of social stigma is also valid for them.

Abusive men come from all walks of life, highly educated, sophisticated, may be very successful in their professional career, may have a very respectful image in their society. They ill- treat their spouse as research suggests they are jealous, possessive and easily angered, feel women are inferior, may be alcoholic or under the influence of certain drugs. Misogyny a common cause.

Living with such a life partner can be threatening to your sibling’s mental physical health, it can affect the heart health, muscles and bones may be stressed, poor digestion leading to stomach problems etc, may develop anxiety disorders and other mood instability and emotional imbalances. If your sibling thinks she is in a bad marriage, it’s important to set healthy boundaries before it’s too late. With the right approach and professional support one can overcome these issues and build a happier life for self.

Check whether your marriage is toxic or not:

  1. Would you like your partner to go through your mobile phone.
  2. How many times do you call each other when you’re not together.
  3. Do you fight with each other.
  4. What would you do if your partner moves to a different place for work without you
  5. Do you feel comfortable hanging out with your spouse’s friends
  6. Are you okay if your spouse spends more time with his/her friends.
  7. Does your spouse make fun of you in public.
  8. Does not support you economically if you are not employed.
  9. Appreciates your efforts of managing home/ home and work if employed.
  10. There is exchange of intellectual ideas.

Such statements might make it clear, whether there is any hope in the relationship or not or it needs
some mending.

One’s attitude towards violence must always be one of ZERO TOLERANCE. Basic rule of thumb should be “safety first”, separation may be what it takes to open his eyes to his behaviour and to stimulate some badly needed self-examination on his part. Empowering your sibling with financial independence, mobility, emotional strength and support will give a big moral boost.

A marriage of 18 months is too young, if there is violence, disrespect, quarrels and hatred, the relationship can become very difficult. As this is early stage i.e. the honeymoon stage requires economic sufficiency, good relation with in-laws for both partners, absence of conflicts, intellectual intimacy, affectionate expression, emotional communication and sexual satisfaction based on a research conducted on 100 honeymoon stage couples by the columnist.

*Disclaimer: The views expressed by the writer are in their personal capacity only and aren’t to be replaced with medical advise.

Kavita Upadhyay

Student counsellor and has expertise in teaching psychology, career counselling, stress management and gender issues. Kavita is also an expert practitioner in marital counselling, life skills, interaction with community, research and tool construction


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