Rejection violence and murders in Kerala: A psychological perspective
Series of ruthless crimes happening in the state on the grounds of rejection have alarmed Kerala. The parents of Suryagayatri who was stabbed 17 times and killed say that her refusal to accept the marriage proposal of Arun has culminated in such a monstrous crime.
Dr. Krishnakumar P, the Director of IMHANS (Institute of Mental Health and Neuro Sciences) shares the psychological aspects behind the recurring crime episodes among the youth:
Though several bestial crimes have occured in a brief span of time one cannot generalise the issue as if the world has turned out to be evil. Such incidents always exist as the two sides of the same coin. We cannot claim that the revenge killings are on the rise in Kerala. But these days whenever such incidents happen people come to know about it instantly through the media. This could be considered a progressive development as the people are aware of what is going around them.
While approaching such crimes from a psychological point of view, varied reasons can be inferred. Many offences may originate from the genetic disorders of a person and the worst part of it is that such faults in the personality cannot be altered.
In most cases, we perceive the cold-blooded murders as instinctive. The sudden fear of losing a person or the grasping thoughts like no one should get what I am denied, may lead to crimes. But recently emerged occurrences including the Kothamangalam murder case unveil a well-planned way of committing murder. Several mental illnesses such as extreme suspicion, jealousy, revenge motives and so on will end up in such offences.
People with antisocial personality disorder need to be closely monitored as they are more likely to carry out crimes. The dangerous fact is that they may not repent what they did as their personality had evolved in such a direction. The person who stabbed a woman 17 times to death at Nedumangad may have a similar character as there already exist many criminal cases against him in many police stations at Thiruvananthapuram.
Parenting, a serious responsibility
A child's brain keeps on developing till the end of teenage and the experiences a child goes through has a significant role to play in the evolution of the brain as well as personality. Children should be raised in a healthy environment by seeing the love and respect between parents. The nuclear families and the self-centred attitude developing in a child may create anomalies in the personality.
Some parents make it a habit to lose in games simply to see their children winning and being happy. This might seems to be a trivial matter but it does have a huge impact on the children's brain. Later they will not be able to bear even a little failure or rejection. Thus without inculcating superiority in them parents should show and teach mutual respect and norms of democracy and equality from home. Along with pursuing their aspirations, they should be also taught where to draw boundaries to their desires.
Now parents seem to be concerned about their children spending too much time on social media. But they should be more bothered about the content they watch and the websites they follow.
Another menace is the sexual exploitation of boys in their childhood. Several studies conducted show that more boys are being sexually exploited rather than girls. But parents are less concerned about this. Such incidents will have a long-lasting effect on one's life. Personality disorders including severe complexes, issues in future marital life are some of them. Children who go through such traumas are more likely to exhibit anti-social behaviours and without any empathy towards society, they may turn to be the abusers later.
How to find mental disturbances at an early stage
A person should feel stress proportionate to the intensity of its cause. At a stage of depression or any mental health issue, the stress one feels will be very high and prolonging . Recently a six-year-old came to me with her parents for consultation and said that she feels intense sorrow for no reason. Thus irrespective of age or cause, one may sense depression. Psychologists consider hopelessness, helplessness and worthlessness as the triad of depression. Along with this, it will also affect one's biological functions like sleep and appetite. If any such issues are experienced, one should not wait to seek a doctor's help.
Parents can identify such issues in children by noting the behavioural changes in their children. If the child appears as more irritable, anxious, experiencing acute mood swings or the conduct is getting worse, the parents should definitely approach a doctor.
Many offences happening in our present society stem from the negligence of people on mental health.
As with any other physical ailments, mental illness should also be recognised and treated well. Unfortunately, several stigmas are associated with mental disorders. Hopefully societal attitudes are gradually changing, especially the youth are getting more attentive to it.
As I said, evil is always there in society, but we shall be able to control it and exhibit our emotions in a way that is acceptable to a civilised community.