For the best experience, open
on your mobile browser.

Loneliness in the Familiar

Despite his declining health, his family showed no concern, dismissing his complaints as exaggerations
01:10 AM May 12, 2024 IST | Dr. Showkat Rashid Wani
loneliness in the familiar

Once, there lived a man named Rafiq, who had dedicated his life to providing for his family. With a loving wife, Rehana, and two children, Shameem and Sakeena, Rafiq had dreamed of a peaceful retirement surrounded by their warmth. However, as he entered this new phase of life, Rafiq noticed a shift in his family dynamics. Rehana, once supportive, became critical, constantly reminding him of his financial dependence. His children, influenced by their mother, began to disrespect him, ignoring his opinions and mocking him. Despite his efforts to mend their relationships, Rafiq felt isolated and unappreciated. Turning to his hobbies for solace, he found himself withdrawing further as emotional abuse took a toll on his well-being.


As Rafiq’s health declined, exacerbated by the stress at home, he longed for the peace and respect he deserved. In the end, Rafiq realized that sometimes the hardest battles are fought not against external foes, but within the walls of one’s own home. Despite his efforts to mend the broken relationships, he understood that true happiness might lie in finding the courage to let go of toxic ties and seek out a life of dignity and self-respect, even if it meant walking away from the family he had dedicated his life to. Rehana’s criticisms of Rafiq were relentless. She would often insult him, calling him lazy and worthless now that he was retired. Her words cut deep, chipping away at Rafiq’s self-esteem and leaving him feeling inadequate and unloved. Rehana would discourage Rafiq from spending time with his friends or pursuing his hobbies. She made him feel guilty for wanting time away from the family, portraying his desire for independence as selfishness.


Despite Rafiq’s years of dedication and financial contributions to the household, Rehana assumed control of his finances upon his retirement. She imposed a limited allowance on him, fostering feelings of dependency and disempowerment. Utilizing guilt and manipulation, Rehana dismissed or downplayed Rafiq’s emotions, causing him to question his own reality. In addition to emotional abuse, Rafiq endured neglect as Rehana overlooked his physical needs, neglecting proper nutrition and healthcare, worsening his health. Influenced by their mother, Sakeena and Shameem often joined in or condoned the abuse, siding with Rehana in disputes, further alienating Rafiq.


Rafiq’s simple requests for attention and affection were routinely disregarded by his family, who were absorbed in their own lives. Despite his declining health, his family showed no concern, dismissing his complaints as exaggerations. This lack of empathy left Rafiq feeling unseen and unloved.


One day, Rafiq’s health deteriorated, landing him alone in the hospital, abandoned by his family. Despite his attempts to reach them, they were too preoccupied to offer support. As Rafiq lay in his hospital bed, the loneliness weighed heavily on him. He longed for familiar voices and comforting presences. Throughout his hospital stay, Rafiq faced medical procedures alone, his family’s absence exacerbating his solitude. Despite his achievements being overlooked, Rafiq found solace in the compassion of hospital staff, who provided comfort amidst his loneliness. Reflecting on his experiences, Rafiq vowed to cherish any expressions of love, recognizing the importance of nurturing relationships, whether from family or strangers, as sources of strength during life’s trials.


If you’re a wife who finds herself insulting her husband post-retirement, it’s crucial to reflect on your behavior and take steps to address it. Here’s some advice to consider:


Recognize the Impact of Your Words: Understand that insults and hurtful remarks can have a significant impact on your husband’s emotional well-being and the overall health of your relationship. Recognizing the consequences of your words is the first step towards making positive changes.


Reflect on the Reasons Behind Your Behavior: Take some time to reflect on why you might be resorting to insulting your husband. Are there underlying frustrations, fears, or unmet needs that are contributing to your behavior? Understanding the root causes can help you address them more effectively.

Practice Empathy: Put yourself in your husband’s shoes and try to understand how your words and actions are affecting him. Empathy can help you develop a deeper appreciation for his perspective and motivate you to communicate more respectfully.

Communicate Constructively: Instead of resorting to insults, try to communicate your thoughts and feelings in a constructive and respectful manner. Use “I” statements to express yourself without placing blame on your husband. For example, say, “I feel frustrated when...” rather than “You always...”

Seek Professional Help if Needed: If you find it challenging to address your behavior on your own, consider seeking the help of a therapist or counsellor. A trained professional can provide you with valuable insights and tools to improve your communication and relationship skills.

Focus on Positivity and Appreciation: Make an effort to focus on your husband’s positive qualities and express appreciation for the things he does. Cultivating a culture of kindness and gratitude can strengthen your bond and create a more supportive and harmonious relationship.

Apologize and Make Amends: If you’ve said or done things that have hurt your husband, apologize sincerely and make an effort to repair the damage. Acknowledge your mistakes, take responsibility for your actions, and demonstrate your commitment to treating him with kindness and respect.


Note: Humara Khurshid is a PhD scholar who is preparing her synopsis on Senior Citizens. The respondents (Senior Citizens) who are willing to interact and share their experiences and feedback with the scholar can reach her on an email id:

BY Dr Showkat Rashid Wani and Humara Khurshid