By: Panchi Changkakoty
It was already too late when Aparna realised that she was too broken to build any kind of healthy adult relationship in her life. She got divorced, lost all her friends, her family members abandoned her and she lost what was left of her innocence.
With a lot of courage, Aparna decided to go visit a therapist. She wanted help to come out of her anxiety and depression. As she started talking to her therapist, she revealed to her about her early days, her family mainly and why she had turned out to be the person that she is today.
Aparna in her own words…
Ever since I was able to realize things as a child, every morning I would wake up to my parents arguing and yelling at each other. At times when things turned really wild my father would slap my mother so hard across her face leaving imprints of his fingers on her skin and deep emotional scars on my mind. Warm tear drops will roll down her cheeks and hit the rice grains which she would silently go on to pick one by one with her hands pretending like nothing happened. She would pose in front of me and my brother like there is nothing to worry about, everything is fine. But her silence spoke volumes to my young mind and most importantly sent a deep message about domestic violence, paralyzing me with fear, discouraging me to stand up against any form of abuse from my partner in future.
Can you imagine this horrific abuse became so normal for a five year old me that every morning I would wake up to hurls of abuse, yelling at each other, hitting, crying and what not. My maternal grandparents were indifferent to the abuse their daughter was receiving from her husband, I guess. My mother would say that they didn’t have a choice. My grandparents were impoverished. They couldn’t afford to take care of a single mother and her child. But I strongly disagreed with my mother on this. My mother was an educated woman; she could have easily left my father and fetched a job for herself hence saving us from the abuse.
As for my father, he would pose as a flag bearer for all the domestic violence victims. Our relatives, neighbours, family friends would feel sorry for him, cursing my mother, cursing me and my brother for not being supportive enough towards our father. I was really confused. When parents are in a toxic relationship, they don’t realise that their children are affected the most. Most Indian women don’t leave their abusive partners and chooses to remain in such unhappy marriages due to fear of society, financial dependency for their kids and themselves but what is the point of staying in such toxic relationships when your partner despises abuses and beats you like that. My mother would say that we need both our parents to have a stable life in future, I disagree on that. An unhappy home is the worst living nightmare for a child. It scars their young minds and souls forever.
Trust issues and fear of relationships
I started developing trust issues. When two of my closest people had a double face, one angry, abusive, sad face inside and the other posing as a perfect couple on the outside, how could I trust others? I could not develop healthy relationships with my husband later on. I started despising men just because I saw my father behaving as a misogynist with my mother or the way my grandparents would keep my mother suppressed. I started getting nightmares, I couldn’t concentrate properly in school, and my grades went down. I had to drop a year. I had no friends in school as I had difficulty approaching people. I started developing self esteem issues because my needs were never addressed properly. My parents were too busy being angry at each other and were forever sad. I dreaded coming back to home from school everyday as I feared watching my mother cry and my father beating her to death sometimes.
I never saw all four of us going out on picnics or sitting together as a family and having a real bonding moment. All I remember is abuse and pretend.
As I started growing up I will always be either sad, angry or just terrified. Mental health is still a taboo in our society and I had no one to talk to about what was going on in my home. My parents have grown bitter over the years but the abuse is absent now. There is always an uncomfortable silence at home.
I took a job in different city after graduation as I could no longer bear the environment in our home. I closed myself up over the years. I am way too careful about meeting new people now. When a guy approaches me I push him away or abandon the connection completely. Relationships terrifies me now. (The author can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 8638857594)