Last Updated: June 11, 2023, 13:58 IST
On Wednesday, the chopped body parts of a woman were recovered from a flat of a building in Maharashtra’s Thane district. The police on Wednesday recovered the chopped body parts of the 32-year-old victim, Saraswati Vaidya, from the seventh floor flat of Akashdeep building in Mira Road (East), where she resided with her ‘live-in’ partner Manoj Sane (56). The couple had been living in this rented flat for the last three years.
It is suspected that the murder took place on June 4, but came to light on June 7 after the police broke open the door of the couple’s flat after their neighbours complained of foul smell emanating from there.
The murder reminded of the horrific case of Shraddha Walkar, who was killed by her live-in partner Aaftab Poonawalla. After the act, Poonawalla dismembered Walkar’s body and proceeded to dispose off her body parts over the next couple of months.
The cases have brought to light to abusive nature of many relationships, and marriages, and why women become victim to such abusive partners, despite warning signs and a history of toxic tendencies and behaviours. Psychologists say the reason behind this is complicated, with a number of manipulative behaviours used to trap the victim in the toxic partnership.
Amid the developments, let’s take a look at the warning signs one should look out for and seek help in case you find yourself trapped in a cycle of abuse:
Warning Signs of an Abusive Person
The information below, provided by the Portland WomenStrength Program, outlines signs that may indicate an abusive person:
- Excessive Jealousy and Possessiveness: Constantly wants to be with you, accuses you of cheating, follows you around, and frequently calls. Asks friends to check up on you.
- Controlling Behaviour: Questions who you spend time with, what you did/wore/said, and where you went. Makes you ask for permission to do certain things and undermines your decision-making abilities. Masks controlling behavior as concern for your safety.
- Quick Involvement: Moves too fast in the relationship, such as living together or getting engaged within six months or less. Claims love at first sight and pressures you for commitment.
- Unrealistic Expectations: Compliments you excessively, making you seem superhuman. Expects perfection from you and claims that you are all they need.
- Isolation: Puts down your friends and family, restricts your access to transportation and communication, and tries to cut off your support network. Makes it difficult for you to work or go to school.
- Blaming Others for Problems: Shifts blame for their own actions onto others. Refuses to take responsibility for their behavior and blames you for relationship issues.
- Blaming Others for Feelings: Makes you responsible for their emotions, claiming that you are causing their anger or hurt. Avoids taking responsibility for their own feelings.
- Hypersensitivity: Easily insulted, sees everything as a personal attack, and seeks out arguments. Overreacts to situations and can be unpredictable in their responses.
- Disrespectful or Cruel to Others: Treats animals or children cruelly, lacks empathy for others’ pain and suffering, and dismisses others’ feelings. Doesn’t show respect towards others.
- “Playful” Use of Force During Sexual Activity: Shows little concern for your consent and manipulates you into compliance through sulking or anger. Makes degrading or sexual jokes about you.
- Verbal Abuse: Engages in any form of verbal abuse, such as insults, put-downs, or demeaning language.
- Rigid Sex Roles: Holds the belief that women are inferior to men and cannot be complete individuals without a relationship.
- Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde: Demonstrates sudden mood swings, as if they have two distinct personalities. Alternates between being nice and explosive, happy and sad, without warning.
- Past History of Battering: You may learn that the person has been abusive to others in the past. They may deny it, discredit their ex-partner, or downplay the severity of the incidents.
- Threats of Any Kind: Uses threats to intimidate or control you.
- Destruction of Property: Breaks or damages your cherished possessions, beats on tables, or throws objects in fits of anger.
- Use of Force During Arguments: Physically restrains you, pushes, or shoves you to prevent you from leaving the room during arguments.
- Lack of Respect for Your Property or Privacy.
What is Manipulation in a Relationship?
Manipulation is a powerful tool that many abusers use to gain control over their partners, as per a report by National Legal Service. It’s not just a way for them to shift blame; it is a form of abuse in itself. Manipulation can create confusion and self-doubt in the victim’s mind, making it harder for them to recognize the abusive behavior.
In a relationship, manipulation can take various forms, as per the report, including:
- Passive aggression: The abuser may use silent treatment, fail to fulfill simple tasks, or make seemingly innocent comments that carry criticism. They shift blame and deny the truth, creating a toxic environment.
- Guilt tripping: Manipulators often leverage guilt to make their partner feel responsible for their unhappiness. They may suggest that setting boundaries or prioritizing one’s own needs is causing harm to them.
- Withdrawal: Manipulators withhold affection, attention, or support to pressure their partner into complying with their demands.
- Constant criticism and blaming: Manipulators use criticism to undermine their partner’s self-esteem. They may disguise hurtful remarks as jokes, making the victim feel responsible for their own pain by dismissing it as oversensitivity.
- Gaslighting: Gaslighting is a psychological manipulation tactic that involves denying or distorting facts, shifting blame, and minimizing the victim’s feelings. By questioning the victim’s perception of reality, the manipulator creates doubt and confusion.
These manipulative behaviors can leave the victim questioning their own judgment, feelings, and even sanity. It’s important to recognize and address manipulation in relationships to ensure one’s emotional well-being and safety.
If you think you are experiencing any of these behaviours in your relationship or marriage, you need to seek counselling or legal/police help, and distance yourself, physically and emotionally from the situation.