A recent ruling from the Mumbai high court makes emotional abuse as offensive as physical abuse. A welcome verdict indeed! While physical abuse is common, emotional abuse is a part of almost every other household. So many individuals suffer in silence. And while women are subjected to it more, men too have their share of emotional abuse.
Emotional abuse can take numerous forms. The other day, I was introduced to a middle-aged couple at a friend’s house warming gathering. They seemed as congenial with each other as with others around. During the course of the evening, their group of friends got planning a holiday together. They for some reason seemed to disagree with each other on the plan. When the wife tried to verbalize her reason, the husband gave her a stern dirty look – one which made the wife quiet immediately. The look on her face as a result of his, made her low. I could make out her silence was not out of an intent to avoid an argument publicly but was an outcome of her husband’s disdain. She was controlled by him. This is emotional abuse. When the freedom of expression is restricted, it amounts to emotional mistreatment.
I also know a couple where the husband is controlled by the wife. She makes it very apparent by calling the shots about everything. She would decide if they could stay back at a party, if he could drink, if he could interact in mixed company and much more. She would throw a tantrum if he picked up a separate plate to eat. She had made a rule that they would always eat from the same plate. Any deviance from this practice would get her out of control. She would react by getting almost hysterical. Emotional abuse again.
Emotional abuse can be verbal or non-verbal. Shouting, wailing uncontrollably, being sarcastic, putting one’s partner down, ridiculing him/her can be akin to withdrawing and giving a cold treatment. Wearing a long face and sulking by not communicating can be equally stressful. Such behaviour causes a lot of mental trauma. The psychology of people subjecting their partners to such mental stress think they are punishing them. On the contrary, they become unpleasant and unwanted in the process. A marriage is never about control. Emotionally healthy people would never wield control. Alter your mind and delete control from your relationship.