Even though alienation from child can make any parent depressed the problem is more with fathers because they don’t get child custody easily. The men’s rights volunteers very frequently get such cases where men undergo extreme form of depression due to divorce and separation from their kids. Many men commit suicide due to this depression. Many of them successfully fight depression and emerge as a winner of their custody battle too. Only a few dads can successfully overcome depression even if they do not win custody battle.
Father’s rights activists suggest that one should not leave hope of getting one’s child’s custody and battle it out in courts of law. But this battle is not easy for Indian men especially because every divorce today is marred with a dowry case and very recent addition of rape case to make men suffer the most. With this deadly trend setting in, divorce brings the first challenge of proving one’s innocence to the world. Very often this trauma drives a man to suicide.
This suicidal tendency hits the male feminists most because they see themselves unsafe from the same women they wanted to save. These are the families who had traditionally believed and forced others to believe that women can’t file false cases and women are victims they find it very difficult to adjust to the new unforeseen reality.
Indian men have one more problem of not seeking help when needed. This problem also comes from Indian patriarchal system that teaches men to be brave and be providers and protectors for women around them. However, these men are not taught how to save themselves from women.
The struggle gets aggravated when a child is involved. Mothers almost always use the child as the pawn to emotionally shatter the man. If a woman does not do this, her relatives or lawyers force her to do the same so that maximum money is extorted from the man. Indian judiciary being a laggard in handling overwhelming majority of cases and lower courts being inefficient and places of high corruption the battle becomes difficult for such dads.
The first step for any such dad is to contact either men’s rights activists or contact the father’s rights activists.
Even though the legal aspect of each case can be separately dealt with, the emotional aspect is where many families fail.
These tricks can help one fight such depression.
- Discuss your problems with others – You need to find out that one person who will be empathetic to your problem and will be able to give you solutions. However, sharing the problem with too many people may not help. Most of your friends may not bother about your issue. Don’t blame yourself if they don’t, because it is their ignorance and not your fault.
There may be two scenarios in this – one, when you know the child is not yours and two when your child is your biological child. These two cases need to be handled differently –
A. When you know the child is not yours
Nowadays cases of adultery by women is increasing. Unofficial records suggest 30% DNA paternity tests done on children in Mumbai failed the test. Since a in our patriarchal society a father is not given the opportunity of getting DNA test done for his own child to confirm paternity, even if one has slightest doubt in one’s mind that can be dangerous at a later stage in life.
There is immense love for the child and at the same time hatred for being cheated by the closest woman in one’s life. This mixed feeling many a times lead to serious crimes like murder of the kids, mom and then committing suicide. Such men can never go out and tell anyone except one is completely unknown and an expert psychologist. Many MRAs are good in handling such cases too.
1. Disassociate yourself with the objects bearing child’s memory – To avoid depression it is important that you disassociate yourself with the child’s memory slowly if the child is not yours. This is difficult in initial years of separation but there is a way. Remove all little memories associated with the child from your life. That means, give away his toys to other kids, change your house to a new location, remove all his photos from around you, sell or give away any object remotely associated with him e.g. the sofa where he used to play, your cloth that he loved wearing when he played daddy, removing that laptop that he loved playing with.
2. Disassociate yourself with other emotional memories – This part is not easy. You might be cheated by a grown up woman but the child didn’t have any fault. Also your wife didn’t do anything wrong by bringing the child on earth. The only crime she did was to cheat on you and almost instantly she had broken the marriage on moral and religious grounds (one of the oaths that Hindu brides take during marriage is to remain faithful to their husbands no matter what).
You can easily disassociate yourself with any sweet memory with your kid by changing those emotional things around. For example, if you used to play with your kid every night after dinner then it is natural that you will remember him every night after dinner even when he is not around. To overcome this emotion, change your dinner timing, engage in post dinner walk OUTSIDE your home or engage in a completely different activity post dinner. The point is, in order to stop those sweet memories of a kid haunt you, you need to create different memories at those slots. You may also be emotional when you see other fathers playing with their kids or a movie where such activities that you used to do with your kid is shown. You can just switch channel to avoid these, concentrate on different activities or simply cry if you are too emotional. Well, men do cry and there is no harm in letting your emotions out.
3. Try adoption if you are too emotional about kids – If after six months of hard try you feel that this disassociation with your kid’s memories is not giving good results in overcoming depression, you may try adopting a child (I will recommend to adopt a boy as orphan boys do not get proper attention from NGOs and govt.). Even if you do not want to go for full fledged legal adoption, there are ways you can sponsor one or two kids from any orphanage and monitor them through rest of your life. This will give you satisfaction of social work and will also give you a reason to live.
I understand that nothing can give you the joy of having your own kid and nurturing one to success. But in such cases involving cheating wives, men often lose trust in women and marriage. To get a meaning in their life, it is best to adopt an orphan and be a proud mentor to a successful kid even if adoption is difficult.
4. Engage in positive habits – Men almost always seek the help of alcohol when depressed. This is another negative way to fight negativity. Alcohol or use of drugs can only give relief on temporary basis but can never bring eternal happiness. For happiness one need to engage in positive habits like engaging in creativity, outdoor sports, gardening, cooking, music etc. These habits can keep you engaged and gradually will help you forget your painful past.
Engaging in physical activities like mountaineering, adventure sports, marathon, yoga etc helps one rejuvenate one’s body and mind and help in accumulating positive energies from the surroundings. This helps one in pursuing other positive and creative habits like painting, music, gardening, cooking etc.
5. Do not fight for custody rights if the child is not yours – No matter how much you love that kid if you know for sure that he is not your kid, do not fight for custody or visitation rights. It doesn’t matter how much you love him, but custody battles in these cases will keep bringing his sweet memories to you and you will continuously be haunted by them. It is better to forget the child once and for all.
B. When you do not have any doubt regarding your child’s paternity
Well don’t ask me how you can be sure of this. There is no way except a legal DNA test which is not possible without a valid court order. In case you have no doubt over your wife’s fidelity then these are the ways to handle separation from your child –
1. Fight for custody rights or shared parenting rights – Don’t be content with mere visitation rights. If you chose to ignore custody rights or shared parenting rights then you may be losing your child forever and father’s rights activists don’t recommend that.
Getting only visitation rights (get to see your child for two hours every alternate weekend) is like your own abuse. You still refresh his memories but do not get him close to you. All other sweet memories will keep haunting you when he is not around and you get more emotionally unstable on subtle cues. Added to this will be his mother’s (your ex’s) brainwashing that will slowly poison his mind against you and your family. So only shared parenting or custody rights can help you fight this battle effectively.
2. Don’t withhold emotions when you meet your child – I hate saying this time and again but it is perfectly alright for a man to cry especially when they miss their kids. Your emotions may run higher when you meet them suddenly and you may be in tears. Let your child know you miss him and no matter how much brainwash his mother’s family does to him, he will still remember you cried and probably will not believe his mother’s stories easily.
3. If you are not at fault, don’t apologise in front of your child – Even though there is nothing egoistic here, men in India are increasingly forced to apologize for the crimes they have not committed. A father / man is held guilty by the society on every divorce, and so our children are also made to believe the same way. It is important that you tell him the truth in a positive way. That means without badmouthing your ex. NO son takes insult of their mother easily. But he can still believe you if you can put your point across properly.
4. Be on top of his mind – Well this is a concept that our marketers use very frequently. To be in top of the mind recall for their consumers. There are ways to be on top of his mind. Give him gifts, take him to good places, play with him or take care of his studies. All these attributes show that you care for him and that will take you a long way in future. This may also ensure that the custody battle goes in your favour.
All other points discussed in the first scenario are also applicable here except erasing the memory of your kid. In this scenario in fact you do not want to erase his memories. Remember positive living is something that can make your life even in difficult situations of depression.
But what if you do not have custody or visitation rights and you are not sure whether you will get it. Will you kill your emotions to come out of depression? One way of fighting that situation is to create new happy memories. Visiting orphanages, adopting orphan children or taking complete care of some orphan children really helps in these cases. In fact you can try voluntary services in any old age home, cancer care center or working for India’s poor and homeless. Remember selfless and benevolent social work done for completely unknown persons can give you the much needed love that you are craving for and help you fight stress and depression. Even your own son can have selfish motives while interacting with you but those poor and uneducated people who does not have any expectation from you, will only have positive emotions about you. That in turn will give you positive emotions and will create positivity in your life.
Hope this article helped you and will also help millions who need help. But most of these men may not be asking others for help. You can just do your bit to help them today. Share your experience of handling such situations and enrich the experience for all others who read this or simply share this with millions of others who will bless you for helping them unconditionally.