Healing with family, friends and work part 1
After joining an all-women’s group of more than 10000 women on Facebook, I noticed the increasing trend of anonymous posts by women facing domestic abuse, but unable to raise their voices due to lack of support from their parents and financial dependence on their husbands! These women only need a ray of hope, soothing words giving strength and practical advice to pull them out of the darkness they are trapped in!
I am lucky to have awesome parents and grandparents, relatives and friends who have supported me through the separation process. My parents tried their best to counsel and improve our marriage. They even warned my in-laws but when they heard my final call of distress, they did not think twice before taking me away. They only went by one dictum – they need to save me and my child before we were physically harmed. All the psychological wounds would heal with time, but life once lost cannot be returned! And since that day, they haven’t once regretted their decision or made me feel dependent on them. Today, I can confidently say that my child wouldn’t have received half as much care and love without them.
My parents always had progressive views and words of encouragement for me. I used to share all my issues with them during my marriage and whenever they felt they really needed to intervene, they did. This irked my in-laws to no end and they tried their best to estrange me from my parents. Coming from a strong bonded family I found this behaviour suspicious and never relented to their wish of severing ties with my parents. My parents were always informed about the misbehavior of my husband and in-laws and this saved me from having to explain to them why I needed help when I did.
My advice to newly married women is to always keep your parents in the loop and to never hide the wrong doings of your husband or in laws. Marriage doesn’t mean the end of a relationship with your own parents.
My advice to parents whose daughter/s are going through separation or the divorce process:
- Always lend a ear to your daughter’s grumbles. Initially they may sound immature or be teething issues, but they could also be clues to issues with her husband or in-laws.
- Never try to solve issues by giving gifts or money to the in-laws. Gifts beget greed. This is just going to lead to an unending chain of abuse, demands and giving.
- Never defend your daughter against her husband or in-laws. Always point out doubts or faults in front of the both of them so the matter can be resolved quickly.
- Point out your daughter’s mistakes to her instead of blindly supporting her just because she is your child. In-laws can make such a positive difference in saving a marriage by simply supporting the right person.
- Take apt legal advice on behalf of your daughter before taking any step. Accompany her to court proceedings or the police station, if need be. They will be emotionally vulnerable at these places.
- It’s equally, if not more difficult, for parents while bringing their daughter back home but try to be strong on the outside, at the very least, because your child needs that confidence from you to be sure of her decision.
- Discuss all incidents after your daughter is prepared to talk about them. Be frank with her, ask her relevant questions till she becomes strong enough to have these discussions without tears. This exercise is extremely important to prepare her to face the society.
- Give her examples of similar situations, how women have handled and overcame this phase and moved on gracefully.
- Do not hide reality from your relatives and society. Your daughter shouldn’t feel that you are ashamed of her divorce and feel trapped inside your home.
- A continuous flow of negative words or the blame game can destroy the confidence and make her feel guilty. Please avoid this. Gently point out her mistakes so that they do not repeat in the future.
- Making your daughter financially independent should be a priority. It will go a long way in rapid healing and regaining confidence. Encourage her to work harder and celebrate her successes.
- Nurture your grandchild/grandchildren with loads of love.
- Do not hesitate in suggesting professional help or counseling for your daughter.
- Encourage her to eat well, dress up well, celebrate festivals, go out with friends or take a holiday. In short, try to make life as normal as it was before marriage.
Man is a social animal, no man is an island. When one decides to break up with their life partner, one needs a strong support system. A divorce is not just between husband and wife, but also between their families and friends. They can play a very important role in easing the pain, sharing the grief and giving one the confidence to rise up again.