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ASK ANU: My child and I can't take this emotional abuse'

By ANU KRISHNA
October 19, 2022 14:50 IST
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In this weekly self-help series, mental health and life coach Anu Krishna tells you how to take control of your life.

Illustration: Dominic Xavier/Rediff.com

Is your relationship causing you stress?

Are you feeling lonely, helpless, indecisive?

You are not alone!

Mind/life coach, NLP trainer and mental health guru Anu Krishna wants you to talk about your problems.

Every week, Anu will answer your queries, address your concerns and offer expert advice on how you can take control of your life.

Dear readers, if you have a question for Anu, please e-mail it to getahead@rediff.co.in (Subject: Ask ANU) for her advice.

Meanwhile, here's the unedited excerpt from Anu's latest offline session with readers:


VS: Hello mam,
(I want to remain anonymous )
I want to ask regarding my relationship with my husband.
We got married in 2013 and after a month and so...
He started saying I shouldn't mingle with Muslim friends who were my colleagues in my office. I told him they are good people and we've never had such kind of differences. But he got angry and from here one by one he started picking fights for each and everything.
Since we are newly weds, I asked if we can explore new nearby(one day trip)places during the weekend, which he didn't do.
My parents lived nearby and since we used to stay at home they'd call us on weekends for lunch or dinner. He started fighting for that also.
He also started body shaming me saying I have gained weight (and everyone in his home are commenting about my weight). I had only gained 3 kgs after my marriage.
He said I have relationships with colleagues even after my engagement, which was not the case. Later he said I shouldn't go out for lunch meetings arranged by the company for the whole team. He said I'm wasting time in the company and there is no bright future.
I tried to find a job outside but I couldn't cope up with the demeaning and exhausting behaviour in the house and non-stop workload in the office.
I agree I was a bit lazy to find a new job but I couldn't do it. In 2015 I left the job and was jobless for 2 months (this happened drastically after a big fight in his hometown that too for trivial reasons). During these two months he made my life a living hell.
He would fight for the smallest of things. I had to take care of the house, his younger brother and sister.
There were times when we fought because I took care more of his siblings and not him (I used to wonder why he is being hostile when taking care of his family).

In 2016 we started our family planning and by God's grace we had baby in 2017.
Even when I was pregnant he used to pressurize me to ask my mom to come and take care of me but my mom used to work in a different city and I was thoroughly taken care by my granny and my father. He had problems with that as well.

When he started fighting for this matter, I asked him to bring his mother (I knew it was not possible because it's difficult to leave the home and come take care of me) but he kept on saying weird things and insulting my mother saying she is dominating, irresponsible.
After having the baby he left me in his hometown for 1 whole year saying that till I prepare myself for the interview and find a new job he will not live with me.
I kept begging him, fought with him and even tried to commit suicide because I didn't want to live there anymore after 8 months.
I just wanted to come back and have my family which he denied saying he has financial problems.
Ultimately I had to pressurise my parents to intervene and take me and my child to their home.
Whenever he felt like seeing his daughter he used to come. Otherwise he totally ignored us.
My parents and I begged him to come home and stay but he refused (we had a tight financial situation so we couldn't afford a house).

My father arranged a small home without any amenities to keep his house's unwanted things.
My husband said he will stay there and not in my parents’ house for which I objected. Yet he stayed there for almost 6 months.
Later I found a job and moved to a new house.
When the pandemic hit I lost my beloved father and my job. I could have saved him but my husband did not allow me to go to my parents place even after explaining to him the situation that my parents are facing. My father did not die of Covid but due to medical negligence. He wanted me to cook and take care of his family in his hometown.
He suggested my mother and brother to take leave of two months and sort out all the legal activities which they couldn't.
My brother had to leave for his job overseas and mother back to her job. She used to come every three weeks and ask for my help to get things done. He got angry for that and kept on blaming me that I only take care of my family and not him.

After my father's death he started insulting my mother. He even made his father to call my mom and talk cheap with her and my brother.
Fast forward to now, we have been fighting non-stop and every week there will be a fight, name calling, vulgar words exchanged. He stops talking to me for months together and there has hardly been any physical or emotional intimacy.
Even after I confess, cajole and plead with him to sort out our family, he agrees momentarily and again within a week there will be a new topic to fight on in such a way it goes to extremes.
This roller coaster ride -- the fights in our relationship -- has affected my child immensely and sometimes for the sake of the child we plan not to divorce each other. But I'm guilty that I'm not providing my child a healthy environment. That I'm not a good wife. I'm confused whether I should continue in this relationship or quit it for the betterment of the three of us because I cannot take this emotional abuse and have my child watching me cry non-stop.
Please guide me if my husband will change in future. Should I try counselling or do I divorce him? Because whenever I keep my hopes positive, he goes back to his old ways.

Dear VS,

You are married to a man who gets his self-esteem and validation by showing you in poor light, exercises control by telling you who your professional/social circle should be, makes you weak by detaching you from your parents and those who are your support system.

Does this put things into perspective for you as to where you are in within your marriage?

Once you fulfil the above, he might be willing to somewhat accept you, but there will be constant new demands to keep his self-esteem high. It’s all about him, him, and him.

Does he need to visit a professional who can guide him to a better way of thinking? Yes, but that will happen only when he acknowledges his false sense of existence and flushed ego.

If that is possible, do visit a professional who can help him ably and then he might be able to see the marriage in a new light and his contribution towards it.

Till then, this seems to be a battle with a child who is adamant about getting one candy and then another and yet another and then crying out loud when denied.

The child is absolutely growing up in an emotionally challenging environment and this will obviously affect his growth, both physically and emotionally.

I am glad you have been thinking about what to do and now you know what an absolute must-have for the marriage is, to continue.

He must change the way he thinks and acts and treats you like his partner and not someone who was married to him for his sense of validation and self-esteem.

Be wise, watch and decide!

All the best!


PF: Hi Anu, I was in an arranged marriage in April 2022.
Ten days after my marriage I found some letters, videos, conversation which clearly indicate that my husband is gay.
I left him silently and tried to understand those things.
We were not in a physical or romantic relationship. When I confronted him he said he was confused about his orientation for the last 10 years but now he is straight...
Everything he explained had no head or tail, it seemed like a lie. We decided to separate.
He moved on and is enjoying his life but my life has become hell.
I miss the life I had dreamed about.
I feel guilty if I was over reacting.
Sometimes I wonder why I left him.
I lost everything -- my looks, my confidence, my health, friends etc... I feel lonely.

Dear PF,

I seriously don’t understand how he goes from being gay to straight all of a sudden.

If he is convinced that he is straight, have there been any moments of intimacy between the two of you or is this a façade that he is putting to avoid the glares of society and its cruel backlash?

If you feel that there is still hope, would you be willing to dull in your mind, what had happened and then appeal to him to start afresh?

Or has that boat already sailed?

I do believe in second chances and if his claims that he is straight are true and you feel that you acted in haste about leaving the relationship, why don’t you reach out to him and request him for a chance for both of you to work on getting back together?

There is no point in feeling sorry or guilty. What helps is doing something that might help you in the direction of what you want.

So, get into that action mode and do what needs to be done. Your confidence solely lies in moving ahead into a solution mode. So, what are you waiting for?

Best wishes!


KB: Hi Anu, I have been reading your articles for quite some time.
I am 40 years old in a marriage for last 12 years. I have a 11.5 year old son.
My marriage is going through a very rough phase. My husband doesn't leave any chance to abuse me, doesn't matter where and with whom we are
My husband proposed to me knowing I have Vitiligo (discoloration of skin). Plus I was not as rich as him.
I did make him aware of this before going ahead. His family was against our marriage still he went ahead.
From the day of marriage he suddenly changed, and started abusing me in and out.
First I thought my mother-in-law is creating problems which she did every time we came together.
Infront of every maid and in the absence of my husband she tried to humiliate me based on my skin condition and financial status. But she'd become caring in his presence.
After five years of marriage, for a few years we were away from family.
It was peaceful and we had a nice time. But during the lockdown and online school we were back with the same problem. Now the condition is that I cannot stay with my husband.
My family is very supportive but suggest that before taking any step I should think of my child. And that we should both sit and talk.
If I try talking to my husband I know it will end in a fight.
Kindly suggest which way should I go?

Dear KB,

Maybe someone from the family or his friends have commented on your condition and made him feel that he made the wrong choice.

Even if it’s that, when he knew and had no objection, what is a man’s word is that he keeps it no matter what!

Now that he has gone back on it, it’s natural for others to take advantage of it and mock you for what the society considers as ‘not beautiful’.

In a way, we are obsessed with some sort of standards for what’s beautiful and what’s not. Beauty standards, you might call it so!

He seems to be a different person with his family and without, it suggests that he may not have a very strong mind to back up the decision of marrying you in the first place possibly against the wishes of his family.

Abuse, at no point is justifiable and you need to take a strong stance and draw a boundary as this is going to continue.

Your family has made a wise suggestion and for the sake of the child, it might be worth the effort to sit down have that chat with your husband however hard that might be.

Do not compromise on the fact that this so-called beauty standards and labels within his family will continue. Be unapologetic about who you are and own your beauty your way.

This is non- negotiable and you need to state this clearly when you have that conversation with him. Period!

All the best!


T: Hi Anu, I am 35, male. We had a love marriage seven years ago after being together for eight years in friendship.
During our courtship, she was in other city in India for three years her higher education.
There she befriended a guy, her college mate and eventually we broke up. I was hurt badly.
In 2013 she messaged me and asked to marry her but I didn't respond on social media.
She would message me every 5-6 months initiating a talk but I never responded.
She was in a relationship with the guy while she was messaging me (I read her messages post marriage hence I know).
She also had one or two guys interested in her where she had casual talk relationship also while she was not interested in marriage with the first guy from her college. Meanwhile she kept messaging me also between 2013 and 2014.
Somehow we met in 2015 and got married. Lately I happened to read messages somewhere on social media about her intimate relationship with the first person (the reason we broke up ) and I was devastated to know that as she had promised she didn't have any relationship with the particular person as it was the first condition for marrying her.
Recently I read her messages again with some old friend of her where she approached him and instantly got into intimate chat with him to the extent that she said she loves him and plans to go on a trip with him citing official trip since she works.
I am stunned since then. She claims to love me and plans our future and everything but somewhere I sense something is fishy.
My queries:
Should I trust her?
Should I confront her?
What to do if she plans to go on trip with him while lying to me and I know about it? Should I confront her before she goes on trip?
If she says sorry after confronting how can I trust?

Dear T,

The very fact that you have approached me, a total stranger on the topic of whether you can trust your spouse or not, simply means that somewhere you have lost trust in her.

The timelines are a little confusing to me and hence what I would say to you is that: Past is the past and what happens there and what people do is what they can in the best possible manner. So, do not bring the past into a present decision.

But if there are any parallel relationships brewing now that are threatening your mind and the marriage, kindly confront her calmly and with ample evidence in your kitty to produce in case she denies them. But make sure that the evidence that you have is all real with time stamps on it.

Do make sure that the confrontation is not for you to prove a point and score high but it comes from a place where you want to know where this marriage is headed.

This helps avoid unnecessary arguments and will help you both be in a solution space.

If she says sorry, you need to ask yourself, if you can move ahead placing trust on her again.

What must she do to gain your trust? State this clearly to her. Move on this quickly before it eats your peace of mind.
All the best!


KN: Anu, Request you to keep my identity anonymous.
I am a 40 years old guy, happily married with two kids. I have a lot of friends and I have invariably introduced most of them to my wife.
While with a previous organisation that I worked for, I met this girl (say M) and we became very good friends. M is 2½ years younger to me, is married and has kids. Much like with my other friends, I introduced M to my wife. M has also been home a couple of times during festive occasions.
While so, during a family day event at office almost 5 years back, during an apparent conversation between M and me, we were engrossed in the conversation and my wife was standing right next to me. My wife thought that she was deliberately being snubbed/ignored and got offended with M's behaviour.
Since then my wife developed some sort of a hatred towards M. Many a times I tried explaining to my wife that M's behaviour was not offensive and even if it was, was unintentional.
It's been nearly six years since this happened, but that animosity still continues.
The more I try to explain to her, the angrier she gets.
We have had a lot of fights whenever this topic arises. I am scared to even pick M's calls when my wife is around.

What this has done is that I started speaking to M discreetly.
I had to delete all photos that I had with her. I constantly keep deleting all WhatsApp conversations and call logs that I have with her.

I do not want to do all these secret things especially when I am not doing anything wrong.
I want my wife to give M one more chance. My wife does not think I have a relationship with M. Her point is that I should not talk to someone who has insulted her (my wife). I think that it would not be fair for me to stop talking to M.

My question is how do I instill sense into my wife?
How do I convince her to give M one more chance? I don’t want to lose a good friend.

Dear K,

If your wife has felt snubbed and you feel that she is being unreasonable, what can you do if you wife isn’t willing to befriend M?

The more you fight this, the more your wife feels that there is something going on.

Doubts in the mind spread like slow fire consuming the mind and you are adding fuel to the fire by being adamant on maintaining the connection with M.

Now you wife is convinced that she must not have anything to do with her and you should not as well.

What do you want to do? Spoil the peace at home because of an external connection?

It may not seem fair to you, but there is a reason why your wife felt snubbed by M at that time.

She is unrelenting and does not want M in the equation. Why are you fighting this?

I am asking you choose between the peace within the marriage and an external connection.

There will be a point in time when your wife will be willing to look at this objectively and that is the time to talk to her about it.

Right now, it will be like forcing her, having fights over this and maintaining a connection with M within all of this/ Do you really feel that a connection is made suppressing another one?

Connections are made in complete peace and harmony with existing connections growing because of the new one.

What you have is the existing connection being threatened because of the other.

Be patient and reasonable and wait for the time to emerge for connections to co-exist and in the meantime, reassure your wife that your marriage means a lot to you.

May not sound fair, but it’s the only way to honour the marriage.

All the best!



Anu Krishna is a mind coach, author and co-founder, Unfear Changemakers LLP and Soulful Exploration LLP. She's an NLP Trainer (National Federation of Neuro Linguistic Programming, NFNLP, USA), Energy Work Specialist (Institute for Inner Studies, Manila), Executive Member of Indian Association of Adolescent Health (M.I.A.A.H) and Member of Quality Circle Forum of India (QCFI). She has authored the self-coaching book: The Secret of Life – Decoding Happiness.

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