He was a child prodigy, she was an accomplished musician, but their life was out of tune … Their differences led them to a divorce and the bitter divorce to an early grave for him. Am talking of Mandolin U Srinivas, the genius who was just 46 when he died. The newspapers said that he had a troubled marriage and he died of multi organ failure.
While I didn’t know him personally, his early death bothers me and makes me question relationships. There was a recent TED talk on what gives true happiness. It’s a 75 year old study done by the prestigious Harvard business school and fascinatingly enough, good strong relationships help you to stay happy and live longer with good health. Man is a social animal and relationships have a deep impact on his well being.
Science has established the link between your thoughts and several diseases and even though western medicine is reluctant to accept the connection, especially the “allopathic” school of medicine – there is proof that many of the allopathic doctors have come up with which points to the psychosomatic causes of several illnesses. Many people like Louise Hay and Wayne Dyer have cured themselves of even the deadly cancer just by the strength of their thoughts. Some like Steve Jobs who put a dent in the universe, couldn’t put a dent on his own cancer and succumbed to it … Leaving a whole bunch of us wondering how the mammoth Apple will be after he was gone.
I believe that Mandolin U Srinivas’ death was preventable … If only he had cut his losses early, just like we do in business. When we were running the computer training centre in Chennai and the losses just kept mounting, one of our customers to the book shop, a retired IAS officer taught us this concept of cutting your losses. He said we should be unemotional about this and just shut down and cut our losses. Pumping money into a business that cannot recover in a reasonable period of time, is bad business. The problem with all the self help books and motivational “pins” is that you feel like trying again and again and again – “never give up” .. Never give up if your ladder is leaning on the right wall :). All motivation is contextual and if you don’t understand that, all the positivity and motivation goes a waste. In yoga too, our Acharya Arun Pandala would say “if you have a cold, don’t do certain types of pranayama, because you will help spread the wrong energy”.
Toxic relationships are no different. Cut away the relationship before it kills you. Let go of the other person with a lot of compassion and love, but living with someone who drains you of positivity is torture. Divorce is the legal option, but divorce in thoughts is very important. The simple test of a good marriage is whether it is uplifting to both the partners – if either the wife or the husband is in pain which is because of the other, it’s probably better to call it quits. Marriage is between two adults and both have to carry their share of keeping the relationship positive. So many marriages are sheer torture and many times the wife and some times the husband is just crushed.
When your partner has a psychological issue, or an addiction issue – it takes a toll on you psychologically. Self preservation is very critical at these times because if you too go down and out, who will be around to help your partner who is mentally ill or substance addicted ? And how long do you try and help your partner ? I may sound callous as I ask this question but it has to be asked. We have seen marriages breakup where both people are absolutely wonderful and there is deep affection and love for each other, but one gets addicted to alcohol or drugs or something and takes the fast elevator down to hell and the other person tries really hard and long to help and stand by his/her side but at some tipping point says “enough”. I respect that decision, however much I love the “victim” because remember, anyone on the addiction train slowly becomes a stranger, the longer they stay on the train. So cutting your loss even in the business of emotions is sometimes a much needed step. The other name for it is self preservation and it’s perfectly OK.
Readers of this piece who are psychologists – please comment and correct anything I might have written. I am not an expert, but having seen some people who have gone through terrible relationships, I believe it’s important to put this message out.