Skip to main content

Behavioural Science

This Week’s Topic
This week’s topic for discussion, suggested by Pravin, is ‘Bahavioural Science’. I confess, it’s a topic about which I know very little. So here’s my take, for what it’s worth. It offers the viewpoint that relationships can affect our behaviour for good or ill.
Image courtesy of Ambro at
Take Two Friends

I’m using as an example, two fictional friends named Surabhi and Vanya. They grew up in a small town somewhere in north India. When the two girls reached their early twenties, they were ready to get married. Surabhi's marriage was fixed with Raghav, a boy who was a member of her own community. She’d been seeing him secretly for some time before her parents approached his parents regarding their marriage. The two were very comfortable together and they enjoyed continuing to live in the same community after marriage. Vanya fell in love with John, a young man who regularly attended her Church. He worked in the local bank. However, John was only working there temporarily. He was from a small town on the other side of the country. After a year, he was sent back to his own town. Not wishing to be separated, he and Vanya asked their parents' permission and got married quickly. Vanya accompanied John back to his own town when he returned.
Add caImage courtesy of David Castillo Dominici at FreeDigitalPhotos.nettion
The Story Continues

When Vanya went to live in John’s town, she was surrounded by his parents, aunts, uncles, cousins, brothers and sisters. She tried very hard to get along with them, but as she belonged to a different church than they did, they never really accepted her. In front of John they treated her with respect, but there was a huge difference in the way they treated her in his absence. Vanya knew they disliked her and learnt to live with it. It seemed that they resented the fact that he had married her without asking if they approved of her or not. Soon Vanya had two children and kept herself busy with them. Daily she spoke to her mother and her friend, Surabhi, on the mobile. She tried talking to John about how alienated she felt by the way his kin treated her. John dismissed her heartfelt appeals and stated that she was ‘causing tension’ in the family.

Image courtesy of Stuart Miles at
The Unravelling

One day, John’s mother, who lived in the same large house, offered to take care of the children so that Vanya could catch up on some housework after being ill. Vanya used the opportunity to to catch up on laundry. However, when John came in from work a neighbour arrived at the door leading Vanya’s two little girls, both under five years old, by the hand. The two children had been found wandering on the road, totally neglected. John and Vanya had a huge row. John accused Vanya of neglect, calling her an unfit mother. He threatened to divorce her and separate her from her children.Vanya pleaded in vain that John’s mother had offered to take care of the kids and had actually been careless. John accused Vanya of lying and dumping her kids on her mother-in-law, not wanting to look after them herself. John’s mother was present at the time, having come over to see what all the fuss was about. She remained completely silent and Vanya  marvelled inwardly at how the old lady left her open to that terrible scolding from John by her silence.


John ranted on at full decibel, using horrible, negative expressions like shameless bitch  and you've ruined my life and why was I foolish enough to marry an idiot like you? Suddenly, the sound of the doorbell was heard, stopping John in mid-rant. He went and opened the door and was amazed to see a woman standing there. She stood silently, fixing her gaze on John. Vanya recognised her. She was Tina, the woman who lived next door. A single woman, who lived alone with her two dogs. She was a social worker, Vanya knew. active in women's rights and animal rights. Vanya also knew what she was doing. Hearing John's abusive rant, she was participating in the RING THE DOORBELL campaign which sometimes advertised on television. This campaign instructed that if you hear a neighbour abusing his spouse or family members, ring the doorbell to let them know someone is listening. Somehow, John's rant seemed to have subsided. The knowledge that he was being watched seemed to make a difference. Vanya breathed a silent prayer of thanks.

Trying To Get Away

Vanya remembered how kind and good-humoured John had been during their courting days. He never smiled now. Whenever he ate a meal cooked by Vanya, he criiticised her cooking bitterly. Then he started going to his mother, who cooked in a separate kitchen, to eat dinner. He would  arrive back to Vanya and the children later in the evening. Vanya didn’t mind. If he came home early, he would sit all evening, smoking and drinking coffee, expecting Vanya to constantly stop what she was doing and make more coffee for him. He was constantly criticising and complaining.  His sisters constantly referred to him as ‘poor John’, expressing pity that he’d married a girl from a faraway town who didn’t know how to cook his favourite food.

Image courtesy of artur84 at
Vanya Gets Away

Vanya had tried to visit home many times, but he had always stopped her going on some pretext or other. However, it had been five years. Vanya's parents were about to celebrate their 30th wedding anniversary. Her brother, Richard, who was staying in a nearby city, arrived to take her to her home town.  John couldn’t refuse, so he grudgingly ‘allowed’ Vanya to go, instructing her to be back as early as possible.

Vanya Has Changed

Everyone back in her  home town was shocked at the haunted looking, nervous woman Vanya had become. The children were very nervious too. But they soon blossomed into happy children when they got accustomed to their mother’s family home. Here, there was no shouting or criticising. Only loving acceptance of each individual.

Surabhi’s Different Life

Vanya was totally amazed at the difference between her life and her friend Surabhi’s life. Surabhi and her husband had a truly equal relationship. They treated each other with love and respect, but as partners. Raghav was just as likely to make the dinner in his home as his wife was. The couple truly appreciated each other. This was how Vanya had imagined her own life would be before John had crushed her hopes with his domineering behaviour.

Vanya Reads Up

Vanya read up on dysfunctional relationships and realised she’d been under pressure for years. This was wrong. You shouldn’t constantly have to prove your love, loyalty and competence to your partner. She realised that the minute John had got her over to his home state, he was on his own territory where he had full support. This was when things had really started to go downhill. Vanya had started suffering from anxiety because she was constantly scared of doing (or not doing) something that would make John get angry. She now read that if she was in a marriage which was causing her to behave differently than she otherwise would, then she was in an abusive relationship. She knew it was true. So it was now time to make a decision.

Vanya Makes Her Decision

After what she’d seen in her home town, Rachel knew she couldn’t continue with her marriage. John had no respect for her and the longer she stayed with him, the worse things were going to get. Although there hadn’t been any physical violence, it had come pretty close at times. Vanya never wanted that things should go that far. Her parents and brother agreed to support her decision. The parents' house was big enough, with an extra apartment upstairs. As Vanya was a qualified teacher, getting a job in a good school would not be a problem.  She met a solicitor, got legal advice and had the children evaluated by a psyciatrist, who reported that they were unusually subdued for their age.

Informing John

Vanya decided to take John to court for a divorce on the grounds of incompatibility and mental cruelty. She wanted to request the court to give her custody and to give John reasonable access to the children until they were adults. She got the divorce papers prepared and decided to deliver them to John at home. She had no idea what would happen. Would he fly into a rage and threaten to kill himself as threatened to do many times before in one of his horrid rages? She’d been warned that he might turn on the tears and try to make her feel guilty. The best bet, she felt, was to travel to his town, enter the house when he was out, leave the papers on the kitchen table and hastily pack any possessions she really wanted to keep. Her brother, Richard, decided to accompany her for support.

Image courtesy of Ambro at
Vanya Returns Home

Vanya couldn’t believe what a mess the house was in.It was 9 o'clock in the evening. Her mother-in-law was usually asleep on her side of the house by now and John was probably out socialising with his friends. He seemed to be unfamiliar with the concept of tidying up, she noticed. Vanya had told the cleaning lady not to come until she returned to the house. How much mess could one man make?There were remains of fried chicken and pizza takeaways everywhere. Takeaways? Why wasn’t he eating with his mother? Vanya had let herself in with her own key when she'd entered. There was nothing in the house of value to her other than a few photograph albums. Her really treasured possessions were either in her parents' house or she’d brought them back when she’d returned. There was nothing here she required,  except a few books in her bedroom that she wanted to keep. She moved silently through the large bungalow. Reaching her bedroom, she opened the door and gasped.

Image courtesy of Stuart Miles at

Richard Gets A Surprise

Richard sighed with relief as he saw his sister Vanya come out of the house. He started up the hired car and they sat in silence as they drove out towards the airport. He asked his sister if she’d got everything she wanted from the house. She said she had. He asked her if she’d left the divorce papers. “No,” she said. “He wouldn’t have found them in the mess the house in. I’m getting new divorce papers made and he’ll receive them by courier.” 

“New divorce papers? Why?” 

Vanya smiled. “My grounds for divorce were incompatibily and mental cruelty. But now, I’m also suing him for divorce on the grounds of adultery. He brought another woman home and had her sleep in our bed. They’re both still there, dead drunk.” She held up her mobile phone. Smiling bitterly, she said: ‘I have the evidence here”. 

A New Start

“Well done, sis. And don’t worry, you’ll be fine," said Richard. Things were really going their way now.

Behavioural Science?

This looks more like a badly written short story than a post on behaviour or behavioural science. But I wrote this story to show that the behavour of others can have a direct effect on our own.

I blog with the Loose Bloggers Consortium, a group of bloggers who post on the same topic/prompt every Friday, although, owing to overwhelm, I haven't blogged in ages! Sorry, everyone. The current blogging members of this group are: me AshokRamanaChuck, and Pravin. The topic is suggested by Pravin. 

Banner: Courtesy of Canva


  1. Interesting take on the topic. Nice job. Mine was much more traditional.

  2. I don't know how science can make the right formula to precisely reveal someone's behavior.

    1. Psychology is behavioural science, Tikno

    2. Yes, but the result remains as relatively correct, or can also be a "false positive" like antivirus result.

      I'm not able to judge a person's behavior or personality if I have not known him for several years, and it also remains as a relative assessment, because human nature can change either tomorrow, a month, a year, 10 years, or 30 years later.

      However that is not the exact science that uses the exact formula (as the point of my comment above).

      Maybe only God know exactly of a person's personality or behavior.

  3. You're right that other people's behaviour affects our own (and vice versa). That can be a bad or a good thing, depending both on the initial behaviour and the reaction to it.


Post a Comment

Thanks for visiting me. Please let me know you were here

Popular posts from this blog

Good Intentions

I had great intentions for this week.  I'd write a thousand words every day, review six books, get my Loose Bloggers Consortium (LBC) post up well in advance.  And did I?  No, no, no.  I wrote about two hundred words per day and have been trying to read and review two books and still not finished reading.  My target of 19,000 words until today by now is around 15,000 on my 100kWords in 100 Days Challenge.  It seems I'm just not cutting the mustard.

I have the intentions.  I just don't seem to have the mojo to carry out the things I want to do. So many intentions, not enough time.  I've not been sleeping well lately.  Probably very tired.

So - my intention now is to try to get more sleep.  Then carry out the original intentions.That' what I intend to do.  As of now.  Meanwhile, my post is up one day late.

I had to go out to the bank this morning to get some pending work finished.  I clicked the above picture en route.  It seems that after a three week winter, we're…

Global Peace - Is It Possible? LBC Post

I can't believe it's Friday already and time for another LBC post.  The Loose Blogger's Consortium (LBC) is a blogging group consisting of about half a dozen of us who blog together every Friday on the same topic.  We are indebted to Ramana (aka blogger Rummuser) for this week's topic.  Instead of just giving a straightforward topic like anyone else would, he posed a question instead.  Is global peace possible? he asked.  I decided to answer his question in a Tweet sized sentence.

Is global peace possible?  Of course it is. If everyone gets in harmony with each other.   But will it happen?  How on earth would I know?

As we say in Ireland (well, as they used to say when I lived there two decades ago), that's my story and I'm sticking to it.

Thanks to All-Free-Download for the photo.  Thanks to Lettercount for their character counting facilities.  And thanks to my LBC group for being there every Friday in blogging solidarity.

The Curse of Poverty - Short Story

As the dawn light spread its fingers across the early morning, Rajji stirred uneasily.  She tended to sleep like a street dog - ever alert, with one ear open.  But she'd been tired the previous night and as a consequence had slept rather heavily. Her life was a constant struggle, filled with tasks and responsibilities. If she hadn't been careful, she might have been robbed!  She sprang into alert mode and clutched about her person.  No, everything was in place, the precious money was undisturbed.  Thanks to her employment with the bank, cleaning for one hour every morning, six days a week, she even had a bank account which one of the bank employees had helped her to set up.  What little money she had saved up was safe.....

She looked over her children.  Babu, her son lay sleeping still.  Muniya, her daughter, stirred, close to waking up.  But where was Gudiya, her youngest child?  Might have woken up early and gone to wander around.  Gudiya knew everyone around here and every…