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My Husband Questioned Every Tiny Decision I Madeā€¦

04 Apr 2017

At 23 I had just finished my MBA and landed a job at a reputable company when I met and fell in love with the man I was going to marry. He was a charming, funny man who was also vocal about social issues that were important to me, like gender equality. I couldn't believe my good fortune when he proposed to me and within a year of knowing each other we were married. At our wedding reception one of his old college friends came to wish us and her hug was a little longer and more intimate than usual. Later that night when I asked him about it, he brushed me off, saying it's all in my head. Though I felt uneasy quelling my instinct, I stayed quiet.

Over the next few months I noticed that every time I made a decision, he replied with an “Are you sure?” Even simple things like which restaurant we should take our parents to for dinner would be met with an “are you sure we should go to that one?” I found myself consistently doubting what I had said and wondering what was wrong with my decisions. It started getting to a point where I hesitated from making any decisions at all. But that wasn't enough. Once I stopped giving Rajesh the opportunity to question my decision, his behaviour took another, more vicious turn. We were going to Goa for our first wedding anniversary and when we reached the hotel we were told we had no reservations. Rajesh turned to me and started screaming about why I hadn't made reservations. I tried to explain that he hadn't asked me to, that he'd said he'll take care of everything so that nothing goes wrong. But he wouldn't hear it, he insisted he had told me to make the reservations, when I clearly knew he hadn't. Thankfully we found a room in a nearby hotel. Later that evening, at dinner, when I told him that his yelling at me publicly had upset me, he told me I was being crazy and that it hadn't been such a big deal. I wondered if he was right. Was it all in my head? Was I going crazy?

When we got home I spoke to my best friend, who is a counsellor, about Rajesh's behaviour. She told me that what I was describing was the classical definition of gaslighting. Gaslighting is a way of manipulating someone psychologically till they start doubting their own reality and sanity. Suddenly it seemed to make so much sense. This explained the constant fog of confusion I had started experiencing. I asked her what I can do and she suggested therapy to first empower myself. I started immediately and as the fog started to lift, and I steadily refused to buckle under Rajesh, I confronted him. I told him I loved him but was not willing to be treated like this, and that if he wanted our marriage to thrive he had to get help. Surprisingly, encountered by the old, confident me, he agreed. With effort from both our sides, we were able to work through this problem and save our marriage.

If you feel that you havent been able to make your own choices. If you feel hopeless and sad for most part of the day and if negative thoughts surround you, it may BE DEPRESSION. 

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Tags: husband, relationship, criticism, sadness, depression, self esteem, confidence