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She knew she had nowhere to go. Her parents would never believe that Nitesh had this facet. He was very well-behaved in front of them.
“It was a nice party. Rekha and Kshitij are such nice hosts, aren’t they?” Maya and Nitesh had just been back from their friends Rekha and Kshitij’s party, and Maya said this to her husband.
Nitesh looked at Maya and said, “I wonder how Rekha manages everything so well. Look at her, she has maintained herself so well, she works for a reputable firm, manages her children and home perfectly, entertains guests, always has a smile on her face and look at you. Such a lazy woman you are. Look at yourself, I feel ashamed to take you anywhere. Nothing looks good on you. You lack the culinary skills of my mom. Our kids are not chubby and healthy like Rekha’s kids. You are useless.” Nitesh went to the other room to watch TV.
Maya had tears in her eyes. This was not the first time Nitesh was humiliating or mocking her. Every day he used to pick on her for one reason or the other.
Once or twice she tried to confide in her mother and she said, “Don’t be so touchy about small things. He is a good husband. Has he ever yelled at you or raised hand at you? You new generation girls don’t know how to adjust.”
For the outside world, friends and relatives, Maya and Nitesh had a perfect marriage. He earned well, was jovial and courteous (for everyone else), they had 2 beautiful children, a nice home, perfect holidays; only Maya knew how day in and day out she faced the emotional abuse.
Just the other day when Maya tried out a paneer recipe for the first time, Nitesh went and threw the dish in the dustbin and mocked her, “Don’t try to be like my mom. You can never be a good chef like her. Such disgusting shit you had made. Useless woman.”
Maya tasted the dish, it was not bad, might not be of her mother-in-law’s caliber, but not worthy of being thrown in the dustbin.
Every time the kids fell ill, Nitesh blamed her. “I wonder why women like you become mothers. Can’t you even raise two kids properly? Don’t you feed them well or take care? I won’t allow my children to fall sick because of your laziness and carelessness. Why the hell did you marry, you moron?”
The marks of physical abuse are visible to everyone, but there are no marks of emotional abuse. There were days when Maya would retaliate and Nitesh would get even nastier. “Don’t dare to raise your voice woman. You enjoy my money, my security, my home, and despise me? Next time I hear you answering me back, I will throw this shapeless figure of yours with your pea-sized brain out of the house, understood? Ungrateful stupid woman.”
She knew she had nowhere to go. Her parents would never believe that Nitesh had this facet. He was very well-behaved in front of them. She couldn’t go out and work as Nitesh didn’t want her to. If she dared to separate, she knew Nitesh would never allow her to take their kids with her. She was stuck in an emotionally abusive marriage. Even the law and police would need proof that she was tortured mentally. It’s so easy to prove physical abuse, but so difficult to prove emotional abuse.
Maya decided to take baby steps to get out of this rotten marriage where she was treated like a garbage. She had already looked for a work-from-home option and hoped to eventually get out of this mess.
Once she had told her friend about Nitesh’s behavior and all she said was, “At least he doesn’t beat you, so its really not abuse…”
Wish the world understood that there are many women like her who daily get humiliated and tortured emotionally, which is as bad as physical abuse..
A version of this was first published here.
Image source: shutterstock
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