Unraveling The Lost Freedom
Story by Kanika Joshi
A relationship with positive energy is a loving gesture which made my partner and I stick together for four years. He had always been supportive in all my interests. We got engaged when I was twenty-four.
We always hope and seek our relationships to reach the finish line, but where exactly is the finish line? After our engagement, I noticed slight behavioural changes in him, but I brushed them off.
He manipulated me to give up on my passion. My self-belief shook, he made me believe I wasn't good enough. Slowly, all my decisions were influenced by him.
I knew relationships are never perfect. But to what extent should we embrace our partner's flaws? I paid no heed to the red flags, thinking them to be mere flaws and got married after a year.
Life after marriage was all about striving to survive in a living hell. Not allowed to continue working, I was made to look after his family all the time. I was distanced from my friends and family. Mistakes in any of the household chores meant showers of taunts on how I was good at nothing. I felt exhausted.
Months passed by and my husband's narcissistic, misogynistic nature got him good. The psychological abuse that I was going through kept on intensifying.
He became suspicious of me having an affair with my male friends and tried to talk to them through my phone and accompanied me everywhere. He installed cameras at the house to keep an eye on me.
I almost forgot how it felt to be free. Even my food intake was monitored. While he angrily said that getting married to me was his biggest mistake and how trying to leave this marriage would only make my life go downhill, I had moments of silent, frantic cries for help all alone. I was traumatised.
He somehow convinced me that my parents wouldn't accept me either. Everything that went on harmed my mental peace to the extent where I felt death to be easier than living with him. The man I once loved, who seemed so genuine, his words were then abusive enough to leave me miserable and heartbroken.
I became so weak that he had to finally take me to the psychologist. That's when I completely broke down. As suggested by the psychologist, I came back to my home. Then, my in-laws told their extended family that I ran away from their house taking money from my husband’s locker.
To make tables turn in their favour, they falsely claimed that I was a schizophrenic individual and accused my friends and family for cheating on them by getting me married to him without them knowing about it.
To cope with everything, I seeked professional help which helped immensely. But it did get difficult for me to stay in Delhi; some people suggested I return to him saying that at least he wasn't being physically violent which completely left me annoyed.
I was determined to come out of the dark phase, so I decided to shift to Mumbai and start afresh. That one year in Mumbai really helped me to get a steady grip of my life and built a lot of self-confidence. I learnt the art of self-love.
My family and friends were always supportive, even when I decided to file for divorce. Some told me that divorce meant the end and I have brought shame to my family. Nevertheless, I returned to Delhi to file for divorce which was finalised on September 2, 2020.
I continued following my passion and pursued my dream job of being a photographer and videographer. I have been travelling and living my life to the fullest, I can't be happier.
Getting out of the psychologically abusive marriage was one of the best decisions I've made in life, but healing takes time. I haven't stopped seeking therapy, hoping for the days when the memories of my past wouldn't haunt me anymore at random hours.