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By definition, divorce is ‘the legal dissolution of a marriage by a court or other competent body’. It involves tedious paperwork, separation of finances and assets. However, divorce is just a formality as it’s preceded by an emotional divorce, which does the actual damage. According to the internet, emotional divorce can be defined as a psychological defence mechanism employed by the partner, who feels that their existing marriage is a threat to their well being. The subjected partner tends to withdraw his/her emotions from the marriage to protect oneself. According to experts, Shivani Misri Sadhoo, psychologist and marriage counselor, the partner that initiates the emotional divorce, is the ‘walk- away’ spouse and the partner that gets emotionally divorced, is the ‘left- behind’ spouse.
In general, couples who are fleeting through distressed relationship doubt if couple counseling would never work for them or not or would it be a wastage of time and money – and that stops them from seeking professional help from an expert who can save their relationship and marriage.
The problem arises because there are myths about the low success rate of couples therapy. People with no experience of good counseling or who don’t know about the subject, give the worst advice to distressed people. “Couple Counselling is a waste of money”, “rather wear gems or consult an astrologer, do yoga, meet new people” but don’t trust a trained and certified expert who is trained and experienced especially to help distressed couples and to save their relationship and marriage.
Delhi’s eminent Psychologist and Couple Counsellor Shivani Misri Sadhoo tell us that the success rate of couple therapy is extremely high. She says there has been much research done to check the success rate of couple counselling and the results are always extraordinary, for example recently a research was done by the American Association of Marriage and Family Therapists, families and couples who have attended family or couples therapy sessions indicate high levels of patient satisfaction. Over 98% of those surveyed reported that they received good or excellent couples therapy. Respondents also reported improved physical and emotional health and the ability to communicate better at work after attending therapy.
So how couple counselling work? Counsellor Shivani Misri Sadhoo says good couple counselling works on certain basic principles and that pulls out couples from their distressed state to a positive and healthy relationship condition. These principals are:
1. Good couple counseling changes the views of the relationship.
First, the couple therapist helps both partners see the relationship in an objective manner. The therapist helps the couples to learn to stop the “blame game” and instead look at what happens to them when they involve each partner negatively.
2. Modifies dysfunctional behavior.
Effective couple therapist attempts to change the way the partners actually behave with each other. This means that in addition to helping them improve their interactions, therapists ensures that their clients are not engaging in actions that can cause physical, psychological or economic harm to self or to their partner.
3. Decreases Emotional Avoidance
Couples who avoid expressing their innermost feelings put themselves at a greater risk of becoming emotionally distant and hence grow apart. Effective couples therapist helps their clients bring out the emotions and thoughts that they fear expressing to the other person. Attachment-based couples therapy allows the partners to feel less afraid of expressing their needs for closeness.
4. Improves Communication
An effective couple counsellor focuses on helping the partners to communicate more effectively. The new communication mode which the counsellor redevelops within couples is not abusive, nor does it ridicule partners when they express their true feelings. The counsellor helps the couples learn to listen more actively and empathically.
5. Promotes strengths
Effective couple therapists point out the strengths in the relationship and build resilience particularly as therapy nears a termination. The point of promoting strength is to help the couple to gain back their trust, their love, their bliss and satisfaction which was put on the back burner by both the partners.
To build a good marriage, you need love and acceptance. To build a bad one, you need dumb rules and unreal expectations.
ARE YOU IN A COMMITTED RELATIONSHIP? DON’T STOP BEING YOURSELF, SAY COUNSELOR SHIVANI MISRI SADHOO WITH HINDUSTAN TIMES
There is no dearth of people out there who operate with other people with negative and bad behaviour. You may find them within your family, neighbour, workplace, associates and friends too. When you have to deal with the negative behaviour of the people every day or you when you cannot avoid them, then they will possibly make your life miserable. Today Psychologist & Relationship Counsellor Shivani Misri Sadhoo shares some important tips to deal with people's unpleasant behaviour effectively.
Psychologist Sadhoo shares that when someone exhibits destructive, mean or otherwise non-caring behaviour, they are usually acting out from something going on with them, not with you. They may say it is about you – “Oh, you make me SO mad!” – but the reality is that people who manifest these negative behaviours are showing an outward display of inward pain or hurt.
It is true that it is not easy to remember that the other person is in pain when he/she is yelling at you, trying to undermine you, being unnecessarily nasty, and/or ignoring you. However, if you don’t recognise that they are in pain, you will be at the biggest loss, their pain actually becomes your pain, you will keep thinking as to how to deal with them next time, you will think about saying just the right thing to knock them off.
In other words, your mind and your attention will be drawn to the person’s negative behaviour. The problem here is that the other person behaiour doesn’t change. Your attempts to say “just the right thing” won’t shift their unhappiness within themselves (unless you are a trained therapist). So the cycle continues. They act badly, you react and feel bad, and nothing changes.
Next time you encounter someone’s bad behaviour, realise that you can own your reactions and actions, and can actually shift the dynamic and lessen the sting inflicted by the negative person. It takes work and it isn’t easy, but if you are game, try these five steps next time you encounter the difficult ones:
1. Seek to understand. When you first time experience a bad behaviour, instead of wasting your mental energy on pain , anger and emotions, ask yourself: “Is there something else at work here?” You typically react to the bad behaviour; instead, simply pause to ask what’s underneath the bad behaviour. Some negative actions require compassion, which mostly are loathed to give when they have been injured somehow.
2. Do Analysis. Instead of just reacting and then trying to find a pal with whom you can share what has happened and tell all the bad words about the person’s bad behaviour, take a moment to act like a detective and analyse the situation with facts and data: “My boss always yells, he seems to like to yell about everything, perhaps that’s what he thinks is the desired way of talking to juniors and delegate or assign work. I am not here to change him nor I have the time to do so, so let me just finish my work instead of focusing on the behaviour.
3. Identify the impact. If your sister in law is just an unhappy and a rude person, but it doesn’t really affect anything in your life? If someone is negative toward you, and it doesn’t really impact you, just let it go. Let her stay happy in her world and you in yours.– just walk away, and get on with your day.
4. Giving up the desire to win: Yes, this one is extremely difficult, especially in personal relationships when you know you are “right”. Fighting to win doesn’t actually benefit anyone. It just leaves negative feelings in its wake and makes things worst for the future. So the intelligence is not in repeatedly trying to prove your point and wasting your time and energy, just learn to walk away.
From a neurobiological perspective, love is seen similar to addiction, when we fall in love, our brain gets flooded with a host of "feel good" neurochemicals like - adrenaline, dopamine, norepinephrine, serotonin. These chemicals cause us to feel highly motivated to do things that may seem impossible otherwise, like staying up all night talking or chatting to the person you love on the phone, feeling the deep desperation or the desire to meet your lover, ready to physically harm self for a person whom you know just year or months back.
As our relationship progresses and we begin to settle into our daily life with our partner those neurochemicals settle too. This is ultimately for the best otherwise humans would not be able to progress in other aspects of their life efficiently if they keep themselves completely submerged into the thoughts and feelings of their partner 24X7 (like in the initial phase).
When a breakup occurs, especially at an advanced stage of the relationship, human brain gets accustomed to the feel-good neurochemicals that their togetherness has generated over the time. Hence the brain pressures the person to seek the physical presence of the lover so it can again generate the feel-good neurochemicals. In human behavior, this process is reflected by a sudden shot of happy memories and realising that he/she is no longer with us.
So who feels the pain more Men or Women?
According to the researchers from Binghamton University and University College London, Women tend to feel the emotional pain associated with a breakup more acutely than men, but men take longer to "get over" their former lover.
Although the research found that women tend to feel the physical and emotional pain associated with a breakup more acutely than men do, they also found that both the sexes reported feelings, different breakup-related emotions in about the same proportions. For example, both men & women reported anger and depression, troubled sleep, struggle with their weight or experience panic attacks after a breakup.
So, why women get more affected by breakups than men? Well, from a scientific standpoint, women typically have more at stake in relationships than men do. Women are evolved to invest far more in a relationship than a man. A brief romantic encounter could lead to nine months of pregnancy followed by many years of lactation for a woman while the man may leave the scene' literally minutes after the encounter with no further biological investment. This knowledge is rooted in a woman’s brain from the stone age.
The study also shows that men may have a different set of emotional scars following a breakup. The man is likely to feel the loss deeply and for a very long period of time as it 'sinks in' that he must 'start competing' all over again to replace what he has lost — or, worse still, comes to the realisation that the loss is irreplaceable.
Unfortunately, if you know someone or you yourself are in a relationship with a partner who is cunning, pathological liar, narcissistic, abusive and/or you may not know what you’re dealing with.
Emotional abuse is a form of abuse in which a partner uses verbal assault, fear, or humiliation to undermine the other person's self-esteem and self-worth. Emotional abuse, in reality, can be said worse than physical abuse. Physical abuse can easily be identified by self and by others and generally gets cured with medication whereas emotional abuse leaves no physical marks but destroys the victim’s emotional and psychological well-being, sometimes permanently.
Hence it’s very important that everyone should know the signs of emotional abuse, essentially to understand such situations if ever happens to us or to our loved ones. Eminent Relationship and Marriage Counsellor Shivani Misri Sadhoo shares the signs of emotional abuse as:
Frequent accusations and blame game: If one partner always tries to shift the responsibility and holds another person responsible for their relationship degradation and the rise of issues. The abusive partner hence frequently will use phrases like: “It’s your fault.” What’s wrong with you?” “You didn’t remind me.” “Nothing I do is ever enough.”
Ignoring and silent treatment is too frequent and a common behaviour: One partner shows repeated behaviour of refusing to listen and ignoring their partner’s questions, withholding eye contact and gives “silent treatment.”
Such an act is generally been used to conceal information about where he/she is going, when he/she is coming back, about financial resources and bill payments etc. Gradually such behavior is added with withholding approvals, appreciation, affection, information, thoughts and feelings to corner and control the victim
Contradicting: The abusive partner disapproves and opposes the victim’s thoughts, perceptions or their experiences of life itself. No matter what the victim may say, the abuser uses contradicting arguments to frustrate the victim and wears him/her down.
Disparaging humour: Verbal abuse is often disguised as jokes. The abuser teases, ridicules, and humiliates the victim with sarcastic remarks about his/her appearance, personality, abilities, and values. The abuser makes fun of their partner in front of friends and family because the abuser knows that victim will avoid a public confrontation.
Judging and criticising: The abuser frequently uses harsh and unfair criticism in an effort to make the victim feel unreasonable and guilty.
Remember a healthy, non-abusive relationship is built on support, admiration, empathy, balance, and personal responsibility. These elements add up to a love built on mutual respect. If your relationship feels more abusive than loving, seek help from a therapist.