What happens when that fairytale marriage becomes a nightmare? The first instinct would be to free yourself from the bonds that pin you down. Here is one such story of how a young woman survived the ordeal of a bitter union as narrated by an ace clinical psychologist who worked a professional miracle and saved the marriage.
Yamuna was 25, a postgraduate rank-holder and daughter of well-educated and socially-grounded parents. The moment she was done with her PG, her parents decided it was time for wedding bells. All went well as planned with the pedigreed, suave and moneyed US-based Shankar sweeping her off her feet.
All through her student days, Yamuna had clung on to the single dream of being a professional someday. In all ways, this marriage seemed to be the answer to her dreams and she committed to it without any hesitation.
The formalities over, Yamuna put up her sole request to Shankar. She wanted to work. The prospective groom had no objections and the knot was tied. Was this a dream, the woman asked herself as she flew with her husband to her new destination.
The dream seemed to be a mirage as the reality of a nightmare began unfolding the minute Yamuna landed in the US. Shankar’s transformation from suave to savage was instantaneous. With one fell cut, he put an end to her job dreams. He wanted a wife who would be at his beck and call forever and aye. It was a vassal, not a wife that he wanted.
Yamuna’s life slid from disillusionment to disbelief and downright shock when her husband revealed his true colors. From drinks to debauchery, the man lived a wanton life. His weakness for wine and women was there for all to see. He would get drunk daily.
Many a time, he had his friends across where their booze sessions would get out of hand. Shankar’s implicit orders to his wife were to cook for his friends and clean up their puke. Never once did he think of the ordeal he was putting her through.
More often than not, he would take off to destinations far away from his home with friends in tow. He would switch off his cell phone leaving no trace of his whereabouts. There were days on end when Yamuna was left alone in her apartment not knowing where her husband had gone to or when he would come back.
Am I his wife, Yamuna used to ask herself. As for sex, it was just once in a blue moon episode. Somewhere down the line a baby was born.
Yamuna’s hopes that her husband would change once the baby was born were dashed to bits when the man continued with his wild ways. He cared neither for his child nor his wife. This indifference bordering on cruelty was too big a burden for the young woman who realized she was losing grip.
Her sleepless nights lengthened to anxiety, depression, forgetfulness and suicidal thoughts. Around this time, she was constantly visited by dreams of a loving and sexual relationship with another man.
The early-morning dreams started distressing her. How could she ever think of anything like that when her husband was alive and with her? The guilt trip she went on took her to a Christian church nearby in the hope of finding solace.
The prayers she partook of offered her a lot of comforts, but the guilt of another sort surfaced. How could she, born and raised a devout Hindu ever think of turning to a Christian church for comfort? What would her family think of her? What if somebody found out? Distressed and broken by such thoughts, Yamuna found herself falling down an abyss of despair.
That decided things for her. She flew back home to India with her baby. Her family had no inkling of what she had been going through. She’d never disclosed the enormity of her suffering to her parents.
Once back with her dear ones, Yamuna broke down and bared all. It was her parents who brought her in for counseling and help.
The first step was to put Yamuna through cognitive therapy to bring her back from depression, all the while helping her with supportive counseling. Shankar’s parents were apprised of the situation and they asked him to come down.
It was quite evident that Shankar too needed help. A month into the counseling, Shankar started seeing light for the first time. The enormity of the torture he had inflicted on his wife began dawning on him. He started relating to Yamuna as an individual and as a wife. He relented wholeheartedly and promised to let her work.
Yamuna continued with her treatment for over six months after which she left for the US once again. She landed a part-time job too. The young woman who loved music found time to join a local music club where she made a lot of friends.
Shankar too changed his wild old ways and became domesticated. Though he still has his friends, he has learned where to draw the line. He never brings anyone home. When he travels, he keeps his mobile live and is in constant touch with Yamuna.
Tips for couples:
However busy, husbands must find and give that small bit of time solely to their wives. This holds good for wives too, especially if they are out working. They need to find time for their husbands.
Women need a lot of love, care and attention from their husbands. It distresses them when they are denied these considerations.
There should be a sense of equality in all dealings between a husband and wife and a lot of cooperation as well.
The minute they sense the drift, couples are advised to take their parents into confidence, especially if they are far away from home or not within immediate reach of one another. Bottling up woes will help none.
(As narrated by Dr K.Girish, Asst professor, Clinical Psychology, Medical College, Thiruvananthapuram).