Love and its bloody after-effects

Love and its bloody after-effects

Psychiatrists weigh in on the case of the woman constable who had her lover’s hand chopped off to keep him in her life

Veeresh was found in this state after the violent attack.

Last week, a gruesome crime was reported in Bannerghatta: Jayalakshmi, a woman constable got the hand of her lover chopped off as she wanted to make sure he didn’t stray.

She was romantically involved with him earlier. Their parents didn’t approve of the relationship, and she was married off to another man. That led to a divorce.

Jayalakshmi resumed her relationship with Veeresh. When she suggested marriage, he kept making excuses, according to the police. 

Jayalakshmi, the accused. 

A video of the crime, with the maimed man writhing in pain, went viral and was shown on many TV channels.

Psychiatrists in the city attribute such crimes to ‘fatal obsessions.’ They see many cases in which physical harm is inflicted on the object of love.

Dr Pallavi Arvind Joshi, consultant psychiatrist, Columbia Asia Hospital,  says a romantic relationship is often like an addiction.

“It’s like addiction to cigarette, which quickly moves “from one to 20 cigarettes,” she explains.

There soon comes a phase when one wants the object of obsession around all the time, and restlessness occurs if that doesn’t happen. Symptoms like not able to focus on work and irritability occur when a relationship is insecure.

“Such incidents don’t usually happen in marriage, as a marital relationship comes with societal support and responsibilities,” she says. “On the other hand, one can get out of romantic relationships easily.”

When insecurities rise, obsession can occur and lead to such heinous acts.

“One invests a lot in relationships, emotionally, physically and mentally, and when one feels that the time or effort invested from the other person isn’t equal enough, frustration piles up,” she says.

Many relationships then go through a love-hate phase; where one calls up the other and heaps insults, but is unable to let go of the relationship.

Some call it the Amygdala hijack, where one’s reactions are out of proportion with the stimulus (see box). “Acid attacks and murders often happen because of such situations,” she says.

The woman constable did not think about how such an attack would affect her lover or how it would be to live with a handicapped person, says Dr Pallavi.

Teenagers especially go through such a stage. Some create fake social media profiles, stalk, send illicit messages to one’s love interest’s friends and try to defame them.

“About 15 to 20 per cent do such acts, but five per cent go to the extent of hurting their partner or themselves physically,” she says. Dr Naveen Jayaram, consultant psychiatrist, Sakra World Hospital, says most extreme cases end up in legal and police problems.

“Patients often do not turn up for consultation sessions. They take extreme measures in desperation, when they believe there is no other option left; it is a stage of delusional affection,” he says. Personality traits and social circumstances come into play too. How patients cope with stress is determined by what they have seen and learnt.

“When one feels the need to showcase power in a situation, one often doesn’t think about the after-effects. The only thought is ‘Let him or her learn a lesson’,” he says.

Such cases are more common among men between 25 and 35. Women in such situations are rare, says Dr Naveen. Obsession in relationships can be verbal, violent behaviour or passive-aggressive behaviour.

“There is something called stonewalling, which is basically a refusal to communicate or cooperate with one’s partner, leaving them to suffer in their absence. I have had cases where a partner would leave his partner and disappear for a week, leaving the partner confused and scared,” he says.

Amygdala hijack

The term was coined by Daniel Goleman in his 1996 book Emotional Intelligence: Why It Can Matter More Than IQ. It refers to emotional responses that are immediate and overwhelming, and out of proportion with the actual stimulus.

Some case studies

*A husband stabbed his wife because he wanted to move to Australia while she wasn’t ready. The couple went to court, but later reconciled and settled in Australia. “The husband was in depression,” says Dr Naveen Jayaram, consultant psychiatrist.

 *A spurned girl created multiple Facebook accounts to stay in touch with the boy. She followed him to Punjab and sent abusive emails when he rejected her again. “The police got involved. She was planning to get the boy beaten up. After counselling, she moved on,” says Dr Pallavi Arvind-Joshi, consultant psychiatrist.

How docs handle obsession

Most of the time, the spurned person is going through anxiety and grief.  

Tell patients rejection has to do with the circumstances, and not with them.

Direct them to higher goals.

Recommend physical activity or even doodling to achieve catharsis.

Prescribe antidepressants.

Constrain those in extreme distress.

Murderous ardour

Here are some films that portray obsession.


‘K... K... K... Kiran’ sends the jeepers down the spine? Rahul (Shah Rukh Khan) plays the obsessive lover who tries to kill Sunil (Sunny Deol), fiance of Kiran (Juhi). Rahul then abducts Kiran tries to forcibly marry her but gets killed.   

Pyaar Tune Kya Kiya

Riya Jaiswal (Urmila Matondkar) is obsessed with Jai (Fardeen Khan). She threatens to commit suicide, tries to kill his wife and eventually ends up in hospital.


A Bollywood remake of ‘Sleeping With The Enemy’, Priya (Juhi Chawla) escapes her abusive husband Vikram (Arbaaz Khan) to Shimla and meets Malhotra (Rishi Kapoor), and they decide to marry. Vikram reaches the wedding hall, beats up Malhotra and then goes after Priya to kill her.

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