Published: 25th May 2020
Coping with abuse at home: Here are ways to cope with violence by learning to protect and dissociate yourself
The Coach speaks about learning to cope with domestic violence and uncomfortable truths by learning to protect and dissociate yourself
We’re constantly racking our brains every week, to select the most interesting, thought-provoking and deep subjects to address here in my column. But once in a while, we get some very intriguing questions which are either quite challenging or deep and introspective.
THESE ARE THE KIND OF QUESTIONS THAT I LOVE TO ANSWER and we’ve selected two such questions for this week and the next.
Q: 1.5 years ago, I discovered that my father is having an affair with a lady in his office and he is cheating on my mother. Sometimes things turn ugly and they fight. If not, both of them get into an ugly verbal fight in which both of them say very harsh words and my mom cries a lot. Please tell me what to do.
Looking at the question above the first thing that happened was that my mind went on AUTOPILOT and took me to those days during my adolescent years during which I was deeply affected by the arguments at home. Today, I realise that the constant venting out of anger is a NORMAL part of each and everyone’s life but the chills still present themselves sometimes. I can all but imagine what this kid must be going through with so many issues.
The first Advice: Two aspects are very important, COMPARTMENTALISATION and DISSOCIATION. The reason I say this is because YOU NEED TO BE PROTECTED AND INSULATED as I personally KNOW how it shall affect you going forward. I’m not at all saying that you’re parents aren’t important, I’m saying that SURVIVAL is more important than anything else. Compartmentalisation is a simple process of learning to ensure that one aspect of your life doesn’t affect the other. You’re making your life into different boxes and during the time your parents are fighting, you need to put all those feelings in a different box and not let it affect your mental well being. The best thing to do is to put on your headphones and listen to music, watch a movie or even play a game. You need to learn to take a step back and that’s what DISSOCIATION simply is. Once you understand compartmentalisation, you need to next learn to practice dissociation.
EXTRA MARITAL AFFAIRS affect everyone! You need to regularly tell yourself that YOU’RE IN NO WAY
RESPONSIBLE OR INVOLVED. Which brings me to the SECOND most important advice, LET THE ADULTS HANDLE IT and it’s their MESS! A marriage or a relationship is based on being able to satisfy one another and also the ability to compromise on some aspects in order to satisfy each other.
Last but not the least, The ELEPHANT in the room: I’ve kept this for last as you really need to seek help from someone outside your family, who has a level of influence over both your parents or you’ll have to seek help from a marriage counsellor. You need to protect your mother. And at the same time, you need to be able to spend more time with her, love her, make her feel loved and ensure that she too learns to become truly independent of your father’s love. The ultimate goal for you is to study well, get a good job and become capable of taking care of your mother on your own. That’s the milestone!
Adarsh Benakappa Basavaraj