A reader who wishes to remain anonymous asks: I got married more than two years back. We fell in love and got married against her parents’ wishes.
For the first couple of months after marriage it was all good.
My childhood was not that good as my family's financial condition was not good, but my parents worked hard and made me what I am today?
My wife and I had our first fight last March, we were to head to India next day as I had to exit for my job change and had to do a lot of packing the next day, so I asked her to sleep early but she neglected me and we argued a lot, which resulted in a big fight. Finally, I slapped her. She stopped talking to me for that day, I asked her to forgive me but in return she slapped and spitted on me. I kept my calm and said nothing as my reaction would have created a big havoc.
After four days, I was back in the UAE for my new job and after a month she joined me. Time passed, but the situation was altogether different.
Now she argues even for small things. If I say to her don't do this, she would do exactly that. If I said to her that there is more salt in the food today that would create a big argument, which would last for hours.
My wife's relationship was very good with my parents and vice-versa, we used to call them thrice in a week. My financial condition is good. With my wife's permission I invited my parents here.
My parents arrived, we celebrated out first marriage anniversary with them. But something was not all that right. The relationship between my parents and my wife was not going good, since I was at work most of the time, I could not figure out what was going on.
One day, me and my parents returned home from the neighborhood park; my wife was washing utensils and my mother tried to help her, but wife refused her rudely. My mother wept.
I called my wife for a discussion but my wife refused, that made me angry and we had a big fight. My father tried to calm her, but she was just shouting and fighting with me. For the next 20 days, it was hard for my parents to stay here but still we managed. On the last day of their visit she asked me to tell them that they had done a big mistake by coming here and would suffer throughout their life. After that I left for the airport with my parents.
After returning back from airport, I suffered the worst night of my life. My dad called me from the airport that they have boarded and asked me to call them tomorrow morning. She in anger picked my phone and threw it in the toilet.
I took out the phone, but it stopped working. She started beating me saying that I have created a mess in our relation by inviting my parents here and that I would suffer for this.
She started beating me with whatever she had in her hand. She picked my belt for beating me. For at least three hours she was beating me, abusing me, spitting on me. The horrible night passed.
Now, fighting, beating, arguing, abusing me has become a routine thing after every 10-15 days in my life, I can't call my family members from my home here, I can't express my feeling, If I start talking about my parents she starts abusing me and them very badly.
She is now asking me to tell my parents to leave our house in India, which I bought three years back and I am here to repay my loan for the same.
Last week, my mother made a casual visit to her parents. In the evening, my mother-in-law called my wife and told her about the visit. She just banged the phone after the talk and started asking me what my mother was doing at her parents place? Who told her to go there? and started abusing my mother. She also called my mother at the same time and told her not go again to her parents' house for any reason and break all relations with her and me. She abused me and my parents.
I have loved and still love this girl very much, on the other hand, I don't want to leave my parents alone for any reason, because I know what they have done for me.
I don't want to break this marriage and don't want to leave my parents. Please advise.
I want to live a good life with my wife and my parents.
Melanie C. Schlatter (PhD, Consultant Health Psychologist, HEALTH PSYCHOLOGY UAE) replies: You have outlined your current marital situation and the negative conditions that have preceded it during the past 1.5 years.
You state that only the first 2-3 months were good, and that now the marriage has turned into a fortnightly cycle of emotional and physical abuse towards yourself. You also admit that you have raised your hand to your wife on two occasions.
The first occasion which seemed to ignite this entire situation was because you felt stressed, as well as neglected by her, prior to a trip to India. You ended up slapping her. In turn, she then stopped talking to you and responded by slapping and spitting on you.
These actions - on both sides - are extremely damaging to a relationship. I do not know the details of your upbringings and whether arguing and violence were ever observed and/or commonplace, but it is unacceptable. Furthermore, you then had a period of approximately one month apart, and things were different ever since.
I start off by wondering what began to go wrong after those initial positive months of marriage, as well as what triggered your own stress levels in order to first slap your wife - because you will need help with this. If you were feeling neglected, then what was she feeling? Then I wonder what happened when she stayed in India for one month after you returned. Is it possible that she confided in her parents and that they reverted to being against the marriage, and thus aiding her present negative feelings?
Regardless, there appears to be substantial reason for your wife's rage and anger after your parents arrived to stay - after all, things had been good enough, that she had given her permission originally. Did something go wrong at that time between them that you may be unaware of, and that she could be afraid to discuss with you? Is there any way that they may have threatened her role or offended or dominated her in an untoward manner? Maybe, she is fearful that this could be her life forever more with them?
I realise that you wish to live a good life with both your wife and family, which is an excellent start towards the goal of healing these marital wounds. However, at this precise time, the situation is unsustainable, confusing, and requires immediate professional help.
Indeed, for over one year you have been subjected to, and/or subjected each other, to extreme levels of stress, and it is unclear what triggers and maintains such outbursts in her. Her extreme animosity towards your parents needs to be explored. After all, she is not saying she wants to leave you; she just wants them out of the picture completely - which of course is an unlikely solution.
Furthermore, you have not been making any favourable progress. I don't know if you have even tried? And I am not entirely sure what it is about your personality that is making you put up with this - both the abuse towards yourself, and your family - but I can assure you that you will become psychologically weakened, which in turn will affect all other facets of your life - if it hasn't already. Indeed, this abusive cycle is well under way, and is difficult to break.
You already have evidence for this, because you cannot say even the slightest thing to your wife nowadays without an extreme reaction.
In fairness, I do not have any idea of how you have been responding to your wife's recent attacks in these months - for instance, is there any way you could be communicating to her in a threatening, antagonizing, dismissive, or judgmental way yourself? Or perhaps your 'love' for her, helps you to refrain from any destructive comments and behaviors in response? But I can assure you that this 'love' and level of control will not last, and you will reach a point of explosion - especially if you are very busy and stressed at the office, and especially if you have physically retaliated in the past. I am also particularly concerned that you have not been able to talk to anyone outside of this situation and express your feelings outright.
I know that it is painful when you want to do the right thing by everyone, and I do understand that you may have reasons for not ending this marriage, but this is what you may face unless you can both seek urgent help through a mediator or marriage/family psychologist. This situation cannot merely be rectified by providing you with different methods of communication skills. The situation is too volatile. You both need an opportunity to safely open up and discuss the underlying issues and repair the wounds created between yourselves and your families; stress and anger management skills; as well as an opportunity to learn to forgive each other so that you do not harbor deep resentment in the future.
Please, do not be afraid to seek the help you need, as I do not believe you have the personal capacity to solve this all on your own. Until you seek help, I ask you to be aware of the intensity of your own stress levels; to refrain from any possible outbursts that might be building within you; and to remove yourself from all escalating situations where emotional or physical damage could ensue. If there are any observable triggers, which you have noticed (i.e. - other than the discussion of your parents) then please note these down and discuss them with your chosen professional.
Write with your concerns to firstname.lastname@example.org and selected questions will be answered by a panel of qualified psychiatrists and psychologists. Your contributions will be modified for length and appropriateness, and will be open to other Gulf News readers to comment and suggest solutions. Let us know if you would like GulfNews.com to withhold your name from your letter should it be published.
Disclaimer: This blog is a conversation and is not an alternative for treatment. The recommendations and suggestions offered by our panel of psychiatrists are their own and Gulf News will not take any responsibility for the advice they provide.