In this weekly self-help series, mental health and life coach Anu Krishna tells you how to take control of your life.
Is your relationship causing you stress?
Are you feeling lonely, helpless, indecisive?
You are not alone!
Mind/life coach, NLP trainer and mental health guru Anu Krishna wants you to talk about your problems.
Every week, Anu will answer your queries, address your concerns and offer expert advice on how you can take control of your life.
- Ask ANU: ‘I feel suicidal. What can I do?’
- ASK ANU: How do I deal with loss of a loved one?
- ASK ANU: Are couples fighting more in the lockdown?
- ASK ANU: Do couples have less sex after marriage?
- ASK ANU: How NOT To Talk To Your Teen
- ASK ANU: Stressed by online classes? Seek help!
- ASK ANU: How to leave a toxic relationship
Dear readers, if you have a question for Anu, please e-mail it to [email protected] (Subject: Ask ANU) for her advice.
Meanwhile, here’s the unedited excerpt from Anu’s latest offline session with readers:
SS: We both work in IT company and she earns a very nice salary.
We were living happily without ANY major quarrels with my wife or mother.
After 6 years of marriage our child was born and since Day One she started behaving differently and went to stay back with her parents.
It’s almost about 3 years and she is neither returning nor allowing me to speak to the child and insists that she will play with him at her place.
We tried different ways to convince her but she doesn’t want to return nor shares the reason for this behaviour.
When I asked recently she said she wants to live away from my family and not together and that too on her terms and conditions.
If not, she wants to separate but I don’t want to. I have not done any mistakes then why should I suffer?
What should I do? What is running on her mind? It’s really difficult for me to understand.
No elders are eager to resolve the matter. Awaiting your earliest suggestions.
Something has happened which you might not be aware of that has triggered this behaviour from her.
To not let you be with the child suggests that there is something else that is going on. It requires an intervention.
Speak with her parents who can talk to her sensibly about the requirement of the child being with both parents at this time.
It is highly likely that there have been some disagreements with your family that is preventing her from coming back.
So, you possibly have been naïve to believe that nothing happened. There is a reason for every action, so something so extreme from her certainly warrants a strong reason.
Why exactly did you wait for three years is something that I cannot understand as matters like these get worse with each passing day with room for disappointments.
Well, let’s keep the past right where it belongs in.
Initiate a conversation with her and take things slow and patient.
After three long years, much has changed and to expect things to be as they were is bordering on being very gullible.
State clearly what you expect within the marriage and please be an excellent listener as you encourage her to share her version of the story, her expectations, her complaints and so on…a patient, listening and compassionate ear can go a long way in rebuilding lost relationships only when you don’t go on the defense and she feels pushed again.
I do believe that it takes two people to create or destroy a relationship but since I heard from you, this is my suggestion to you.
Please be the bigger person and keep the larger picture in mind of the marriage and the child, and swallow pride and ego and simply focus on rebuilding if that is eventually a possibility.
All the best!
PK: Dear Anu,
I would prefer to go anonymous.
I am 45+ years old and my wife is 45 years old. We have 2 daughters (12.5 yrs and 8 yrs) and as per me, we are a happy family unit.
I do not live with my parents and live in another city. I have an unmarried sister who stays with my parents so I don’t really have to worry about them a lot. Though I do care about them.
The problem that I face is my father is really obsessed with having a grand-son and has been demanding about it.
Recently my mother passed away and my father started saying that my Mom was really looking forward to have a grandson, but because I did not take it seriously, her desires are unfulfilled.
He has always been pushing for this point since the birth of my second daughter.
In my mind, I would also have loved to have a son, but my wife is very clear that we should not get into it now.
I am always stressed as on one hand my father does not want to listen and my wife is also firm on her stand.
I am totally lost because of the situation and this has taken a toll on my self-confidence.
I always get a feeling that I am not favoured by God and any decision I take will always backfire on me and hence I am unable to focus even on my work.
Please let me know what I should do to come out of this internal and external chaos.
External chaos is caused by internal chaos. Which era are you all living in?
Movies and commercials and docuseries have been made to share the relevance of both genders in our ecosystem and over the past few decades the shades of genders have beautifully merged to create one big Universe.
Yet, you and your family choose to harp on having a son and grandson.
Okay, it might have been your mother’s wish and your father’s stubbornness currently, but what happened to you?
Kindly leave your wife alone before she explodes on your face calling you out.
Be happy with two beautiful children that you have been blessed with.
Most of our suffering stems from the fact that we compare our lives with that of others, we have a projected image of what our life should be or could be and, in your case, a life that is being demanded out of you by your family.
Why wouldn’t this cause you strain? And the best part, it is your choice to suffer by playing the victim by saying that God does not favour you.
Kindly maintain a Gratitude journal and list down ALL that you are thankful for.
You might hopefully be able to see what you have been missing to appreciate and what you have been aimlessly running after.
As far as your father goes, either you ignore his pleas as of that coming from the previous generation or sit him down and patiently explain that his views are something that might not work in the current day and especially within your family.
Though I can see this only after you begin to change your mindset. Appreciate and value what you have!
LM: Dear Madam
I had a relationship with my childhood friend till last year. We both got married to different people.
Due to some misunderstanding he is not talking to me right now.
I tried lot from my end to contact him through social media but no response from his side.
My intention is why can’t we be friends at least now. His thoughts are torturing me badly and I am suffering with depression now a days.
I am trying to get out of this, but I’m unable to do so. Help me out, what should I do now.
Pls reply through email only. It should be confidential.
Things have moved for him, and he has clearly decided to move on.
Why choose to pine so much? If it is some misunderstanding, give him time to sort it in his mind and get back to you.
Trying and not getting the expected result will cause you more pain and anguish over the fact that he is not responding because of this and that.
Your mind will search for all reasons to justify your pain and the action that you have taken to reach out to him.
Give this a break. Respect his decision as hard as it maybe for you, but if he somewhere in the future decides to be a friend, let him approach you.
The more you are chasing him, the more it is hitting your self-esteem with the rejection and soon it will start to make you feel bitter. So, Pause and take that break.
And to defocus on this, make sure you spend more time with your existing set of friends, go deeper into work (if you are a working professional), spend more time with your family, develop new hobbies and more…
What all this does is, give the mind an alternate path to focus on…slowly, the pain starts to ease as your focus on him eases…and this is possible only if you willfully choose to ease the pain for yourself.
Your life, your choice…so, be kind on yourself and choose what’s best for your mind and you.
VV: Hi Anu
This happened in 2020. I had a senior. I had an upcoming driving test, so I asked him to bring his car so I could practice. I also had my friend along. I drove for some time, he was a little bit touchy with me; he’s always been flirtatious, so after I was done driving his car, as payment, I gave a peck on the cheek. Please note that I didn’t have any sort of feelings for this guy. I gave a kiss on his cheek cause I felt he was tired of us. He’d brought his car, petrol was expensive. But later on, when we were sitting in the cafeteria with my friends, he said he has a GF (my senior) which shocked me. I didn’t have feelings for him but I felt bad. He’s always been flirtatious with me. I didn’t have any wrong intentions but I feel guilty. I know it’s 2022. I asked him why he never told me and he said he never felt like saying it. I don’t know what if the same thing happens to me?
Karma! I am recovering from a heartbreak. I can’t go through this again. Please help.
Kindly stop fooling yourself.
The reason you approached him for his car, the peck on the cheek (as a payment), feeling jealous knowing about his girlfriend, being upset that he chose never to tell you….
Please grow up, these are feelings that you have had for him and very smartly you have decided to mask it all under your denial.
Now once you have acknowledged this, the heartbreak is real. But what heartbreak when there was just a one-sided feeling from you?
It started from you, so it can be managed. Look at it as just a harmless situation where you had the attention of this boy that you had feelings for.
Be thankful that he came out to you honestly and shared about his girlfriend without leading you on which would have led you to bad heartache.
Him being flirtatious might have been your interpretation of his actions OR he was just having his share of fun that you were enjoying as well. So, let that go…
Again, it’s a one-sided feeling which might never be reciprocated, so focus on your life knowing that you did nothing wrong for you to be fearful of Karma here.
You just need to look at the entire situation as a childlike expectation that had an end. And now, the world awaits your presence; so hold your head high, smile and walk knowing that there are beautiful situations waiting to welcome you in your journey.
All the best!
AC: Dear Anu,
My second child is 8 years old. She is lovable and kind in heart.
Nowadays she talks in a loud voice, not interested in studying, never heeds us.
We are both employed and find it difficult to teach her anything as she shows zero interest in studies.
We are both mentally stressed with her sound and she never obeys both of us and skips everything by arguing.
Since we do not have T.V. she watches mobile and never gives it back when we ask and quarrels with us all the time for mobile.
Nowadays I tend to beat her due to her sound. Please advise me to overcome the problem.
Never ever raise your hand on a child! It only makes matters worse…So, kindly refrain from that first.
Now, let’s deal with the challenge at hand. It seems like with both if you out on work, she might feel parental neglect. Who is the primary caregiver now?
I suggest take this seriously. It might require some professional help to handle the situation with a lot of care and expertise.
She is protesting against your absence at home and this neglect that she faces (which I am sure is unintentional from your end), is what comes out as a behavioural tantrum.
Beating is not the solution. Understanding the situation for what it is, is the solution.
Your daughter needs love and care from both her parents
She did not have enough knowledge or understanding that both her parents will be out on work
No other primary caregiver (assuming there is none or is ineffective) is around to hold space for her at her age
The absence of parents at home after dreadful school hours can be very stressful on her
Her emotional needs are facing starvation which shows up as anger and tantrums
To bring it to a place where it can be handled, she needs to feel hope and believe that you and your wife are around for her.
- Talking a lot to her and reassuring her that you both are there for her no matter what
- No guilt buying of gadgets or otherwise to make up for your absence as it gives out the wrong message
- Appointing a caregiver who is equipped to be with children her age (preferably an older lady) OR a grandparent who is physically and emotionally able to be a child of age 8
- Use weekends to only be with her no matter what. Extended family and friends can wait; your daughter is your priority
- Look into her eyes and say: I love you and hug her a lot; this is not a gesture but a lifeline to children facing parental neglect
Do this for the next couple of weeks and if nothing changes, kindly seek professional help.
This is not to send you on a guilt trip, but to sensitize you that a child needs a lot of attention and eye to detail in the family set up when both parents are working. So, step up to it NOW.
MB: I got married in 2018 and it was an arranged marriage. Everything seemed very perfect for me. But soon after things got weird as I realised my husband does not share good rapport with his own family.
From day second, I felt I need to correct my husband’ attitude towards his own parents. He loves me a lot and protects me from any type of problem while we were staying at my in-laws’ house.
But before completing 2 months we moved out and somewhere I knew there is no going back to his parents from that point.
During the short 2 months stay I was told that my parents did not give me good stuff — I mean bed, almirah and (that they) had not arranged our marriage function in the best way possible. I have seen them fighting among themselves for purchasing Maggi packets stating who will pay the price.
I was told my husband who is eventually their real son contributed nothing to his sister’s marriage, to their house construction and to his own marriage.
I was asked to pay for the marriage album as my husband contributed nothing to his own marriage.
Even after leaving their place bank payment related messages have been sent to me to pay the amount.
One day after feeling helpless I asked them: If your son is having so much problem why did you marry him.
They simply stated that they did it for the sake of society.
The moments before leaving the house were tense. They threw a lot of tantrums — they took the jewellery they’d purchased for me and also retained the jewellery given by my parents. I said nothing about it as those materialistic things never mattered to me.
I had to take back a part of jewellery made by my parents from them as my parents wanted it back. But after leaving home they did not call to ask anything about our health or our problems with the new set up but instead called for money.
They are threatening to come back if we don’t talk to them on regular basis and bend their son on his knees to come back to his parents.
Till some time, I was under the impression that my husband is having issues; that he is the monster who is abandoning his parents. When I learned his side of story, I realised he is not at fault completely. They never made him feel loved or accepted; and always compared him with others.
They considered him as their investment plan as they are all the time cursing him for not providing any financial support without knowing at what salary he is working for, what are his monthly expenses and whether he is in a position to assist them financially.
He doesn’t have any good memories with his family. Still I tried to make him feel their pain to be left alone behind their only son.
After leaving their house they started to abuse me on phone whenever they wanted. They cursed me and my parents for taking their son away from them.
My husband is the typical Indian male who on the first night took control of my debit card as he thinks it is his birth right. He strictly told me what not to wear.
Although these were major flaws in the attitude, he showed love towards me so I did also do the same.
I am happy with him. But with this constant verbal abuse from his parents, I feel like I’m the one who is the culprit here.
I was not ready to even extend my family with my husband but somehow I did take the decision after four years of my marriage.
I am expecting now but my husband warned me to not inform about this to his parents otherwise, he will send me permanently to my parents’ house. My subconscious is shaking me in every 2 to 3 weeks that I’m the culprit here. I feel like my child will also leave me behind the way we left his parents behind. They insulted me in every possible way but I still don’t want them to be left alone in their senior years like this. But I have no control over my husband he is way more detached towards them and maximum time insensitive to their problems. Also his parents always call to either abuse me or their son they did never ask us how we are if we are fine even in corona time I was positive and when they knew about they call my husband to make fun of this. Please suggest.
Too much going on in your mind all at once. Sometimes, it helps to compartmentalize.
It seems like you are being a nice human, have tried patching things between the son and his family.
Let it alone, it is unique and it’s their battle to fight. By you getting into this, it might eventually be pointed out that you are a bad wife and a bad influence on their son.
People when in distress lose sense of logic and blame everything on the external. So, you have done your bit, in vain…now stay away from their relationship.
What is meant to be, will be. Any more interference might only harm the relationship further.
As for you, when they call and abuse, kindly assert that you will not be talked to in that manner OR simply avoid their calls till the time they ask, then say: I do want our conversations to be had with respect both ways.
As for your husband taking away your debit card; it does seem his way of exercising control which he lacks with himself in relation to his parents.
He feels helpless and him taking charge of what you wear etc is his way of establishing ground rules by being a patriarch.
Please rework this soon else this will be observed by your children especially if you have a girl child.
Your meek submission is what she will learn from you.
Just like you took your streedhan back, what you feel you have a personal association and right over, kindly take it back.
His love for you does not mean that he owns you and it does not mean you need to submit.
Of course, if it is to maintain peace for the time being, alright…but over a period of time this has to change.
Enjoy the pregnancy without bringing unwanted worries that your child will also leave you etc.
Too much of commercial movies can instil these fears. Your husband and his family made this choice to harbor animosity towards each other.
Why will your child do the same with you? There is no transference. Simply, enjoy being pregnant, focus on yourself and your child.
Think good, eat good, feel good, laugh a lot and choose what who you want around you. It affects the child directly.
Please become responsible now towards your unborn child. He/she needs you.
Be with Nature a lot, listen to calming music…your baby will thank you someday for this. So smile and get on to enjoying your pregnancy.
Be happy and all the best!
- Read all of Anu Krishna’s columns here!
Anu Krishna is a mind coach, author and co-founder, Unfear Changemakers LLP. She’s an NLP Trainer (National Federation of Neuro Linguistic Programming, NFNLP, USA), Energy Work Specialist (Institute for Inner Studies, Manila), Executive Member of Indian Association of Adolescent Health (M.I.A.A.H) and Member of Quality Circle Forum of India (QCFI). She has authored the self-coaching book: The Secret of Life – Decoding Happiness.
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