Anguish. Pain. Desolate. Melancholy.Lachrymose. Despondent. Dejected. A thread flows through these words; all of them being synonymous to each other. My words flow out today not because my heart is saddened and in pain but this thought cringes me every time it comes to consciousness.
She is young, bright, intelligent, beautiful, charming, loving, caring, giving, forgiving, smart and the list goes on. In short: A girl belonging to today’s generation having every quality a guy might dream of. (Oh! yes she is slim too…for those who see it first (smirk))
Sigh….But the guy who has been a part of her life for some good years has taken that lustre away from this girl I know very well. Her sheen has been oxidised in a way that I can do nothing to get back. My words fall flat and her non-porous heart in no way absorbs them. My heart aches every time I hear her shed tears when she shares; more so when she is hurt, suffers and doesn’t share.
I’ve learnt many things from her. One of them being that no matter if things are going wrong in a relationship, a wise girl won’t share it with her besties and let time, mind and heart heal them on their own. I truly respect that. As I write these words, one word reverberates in my mind: ABUSE!
Abuse, no matter of any kind leaves the person broken. Like an iron left open in the air soon gets rusted and obsolete, similarly the faculties of emotions, body and mind if abused for long, over a period of time, lose all their vigour, vitality and spirit they had to function. Over use of anything wears away even the ‘some’ thing that that anything had! Exploitation and abuse of a person kills them of life. At the moment I wish to talk only about women.
It is well known that women have this quality to stretch their capacities to maximum if a given situation calls for it. I ask what if the water level has raised much above its mark? In other words, the abuse has become so much a part of her life that she sees no way out of it? The man continues to attack her with his vituperative and acerbic words. It hurts her once, twice, thrice……..the twentieth time it all becomes a part of the mundane routine. Those words which once would pierce though her heart and shiver her entire body for the poison they would spread, now no more seem dangerous. ( in fact, she waits for it to happen!)
Through her amazing capacity she converts those words, the blue scars on her body into a balm which shall from now on be a part of her being.
‘I’m a candle, igniting others but dark within’, I borrow these words spoken by a friend in deep pain for some other reason; yet I feel they fit here perfectly.
This very lady would care for her husband, toil day and night, cook food, clean her home, nourish the baby even as her spirit left her body years before. This kind of living is akin to a baby suffering from ‘dead mother complex’. This term was given by British Psychoanalyst Andre Green. I have come to an understanding that as an infant when the mother fails ‘to mother’ her child in an alive fashion, the child soon comes to ‘decathect’ himself from her which means that he/she tries to take back the energy he invested in his mother and uses that to substitute ‘mimicry’ of her so as to compensate for the injury caused by her. Thus the aim of the imitation of the mother is to become the object by him/herself in the process, for the object can no longer be possessed.
(Understand the word ‘decathect’ in terms of ‘de-investing’ what was invested earlier)
The word ‘dead mother complex’ may sound too horrific and drenched with despair, yet from all that I have read and sensed personally I feel that perhaps it is not that bad when compared to a person who has lost his being to an abused relationship.
Why do I say that?
I say this because a baby having experienced rejection ( no matter how painful) in the very first hours or days of being born perhaps unconsciously learns and says to himself ‘Alright, if this is how my mother is, I’ll do all I can to self soothe myself’. In doing so he takes back the energy he had invested/ cathected in her only to recreate that ‘fantasised’ mother who nurtures him. If the baby is lucky enough, s/he may even find one good person in the whole wide world who will care for him/ her and make him feel that the world is not a very bad place to live in as much as it is still bad.
Much in contrast is an adult, who is far stronger, healthier, wiser and rational. This adult lady has seen life take myriad of its forms and colors. She has experienced events from very close. Suffered and endured some, and others she simply cured. But life changes and the spirit evaporates when she falls prey ( read: in love) to a person who initially loves her but then the love escalates to use and in no time the use becomes ab-use!
She told me “it was love”
I thought “This is madness”
I spoke, I heard but I wonder
If I truly listened!
Today as I write this post, there is an upsurge of desperateness that makes me want to know the reason why women continue to stay for years long in an abusive relationship ; not being able to break the chains which in all the years of entanglement have only made them numb and lifeless. Even as I understand that married women see moving out of an abusive relationship as a daunting task among other factors. I fail to realise why it takes them years to rise and shine?
I’m all ears for your words. You have research papers, share! You've come across such women and their experiences, share again! More so, I wish to know how we as friends can help and counsel them. My words have failed and I’m deeply sad to see her carry on.