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'She is cold-hearted, manipulative, stubborn'

By ANU KRISHNA
Last updated on: January 27, 2022 12:55 IST
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In this weekly self-help series, mental health and life coach Anu Krishna tells you how to take control of your life.

Ask Anu: 'We used to be a happy couple but...'

Illustration: Dominic Xavier/Rediff.com

Is your relationship causing you stress?

Are you feeling lonely, helpless, indecisive?

You are not alone!

As part of an initiative to help Rediff readers, 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.

Dear readers, if you have a question for Anu, please e-mail it to getahead@rediff.co.in (Subject: Ask ANU) for her advice.

Meanwhile, here's the unedited excerpt from Anu's latest offline session with readers:


Hello Anu,
I listen to your Q&A session from time to time. I like your suggestions and the practical way you approach.
Recently, I listened to your take on the topic Rebellious teens.

I had one question for you. I am mom of 2 teen girls. 19 and 15. Both of them are very sweet and I think I have good relationship with them and try to strike a balance and share some real life situations, what is the best way to deal etc and have nice communication with them.
We are in the US. So, bringing in the cultural balance gets tough. I go with the mindset bring the best of both worlds and not too biased towards one country or the other. One thing that I do ask them is to have faith in god. The reason is not because I am religious but I strongly feel this helps teens to realize there is something beyond us which is above everything and will help them in situations when they feel down and helpless.
This is my take seeing the high rate of suicides in teens. I do take them to temple at least once a month just so they are in touch with our culture. They both say they don’t believe in god. I am not sure if they are in this rebellious age they say that. At this time, I don’t push them but from time to time I try to tell.
I left it thinking they will realize when they grow up. Telling them is my duty. So, for teens, how do you get them to have this faith, bring some kind of knowledge that will help them in situations which need them to be resilient, confident and don't feel end of the world and face the problems in life in a positive way.
I do send my younger one to Balvihar. I make them do service projects once a month like making food for homeless people. They do understand and realize how fortunate they are compared to others.

Thanks,
Sirisha

Dear S,

Thank you for your kind words of acknowledgement and appreciation.

And wonderful on the amazing job with your daughters. But of course, at 19 and 15, they have a mind of their own and a path that they must follow.

What will happen if they don’t follow any religion or faith or belief?

What will happen if they don’t adhere to rituals that you did when you were younger?

What will happen if they don’t see things the way you see?

Can resilience and confidence come from other ways other than faith in God?

Let’s understand that youngsters are from a different time than us and it is our duty to honour their choices as long as the choices don’t lead them to any dangerous outcomes.

A little deviation from the previous generation and its beliefs is a good thing as it allows them to grow and evolve.

There’s no better feeling for a child, whatever the age that their parent/s stand with them no matter what.

Who knows there might be a time when things will move a full circle and they may surprise you with new beliefs in the Higher power! Until then, Step back, allow, honour and simply be with them.

All the best for a beautiful life ahead!

Hello Anu Madam!
I have two kids (daughter 13 and son 10 years old).
My son has a habit to go to sleep at 10 pm but he always requires me to be besides him.
Whenever, I tell him that I will come after some time, then he asks me at what time, if I say 10.30 or 11 pm then he keeps on watching the clock for the time. And he comes to me that the time is up and come to sleep.
If sometimes, I scold him and put to sleep and I go out in the hall, he is still awake after two hours also.
If I sleep with my son then he has a sound sleep and is not disturbed.
I am worried about his behaviour of sleeping with me as he is growing up and I want him to sleep on his own.
Please help, how can I do it naturally without harming his feelings.
Thanking you
Regards,
M

Dear M,

Is there a reason why he insists on you being with him?

When did this exactly start, or has it been like this right from when he was a baby? Wanting to still cling on could also be a sign of some underlying stress within the family.

Whatever the reason is, it is certainly useful to wean him off from the emotional security he seeks from you which is satisfied by your physical presence.

What if this emotional security can be fulfilled in other ways?

Like for example: Stories. Stories are a way by which you can bring real life situations without really suggesting anything but driving the point home through a character.

Now, will this work? You can surely give this a fair chance. Start by introducing a character that is around your son’s age and height but with a different name and build a story of his triumph over insecurity and fear and into confidence and happiness.

Also, you can wean off the time you are with him during his bedtime; like if you need to be with him for an hour before he sleeps, bring it down to 30 mins, 15 mins, 10 mins.

Keep a warm, soft light on till he sleeps.

Reassure him that no matter what; you love him and will always do.

Hug him a lot during the day (if he is a child that likes the sensory touch and feel).

Watch movies that show care and love in the family system.

And love, love and love him a lot and show him just that.

All the best!

Dear Anu,
I want a solution for my problem that is the result of my imagination (probably).
My husband would travel along with his two office team mates in his car daily.
One male and one female.
The male member met with an accident and the lady continued going with my husband.
I developed a fear and some sort of insecurity about the two of them. Things started becoming worse day by day. Regular fights, arguments have become a daily routine.
I just wanted him to stop travelling with that Lady but he couldn't oblige to it saying it will hurt his image in office. I couldn't tolerate it and made a call (though caught by husband) to that lady. She understood my problem and stopped going with him.
His other team mates started asking the reason for the same. He couldn't digest it and even beaten me. He also started consuming alcohol just to abuse me and shout at me.
I convinced that lady to start travelling again with him
Then somehow he accepted me.
I do understand the things but still I feel he had cheated upon me. I feel lonely and helpless
PS

Dear PS,

This is an unfortunate turn of events for a situation that needed an open communication between the two of you.

Now, why you were insecure or why your husband didn’t want to see your perspective is anybody’s guess! But nothing justifies his beating you.

And as for his alcohol consumption, it his choice to weaken his senses even further and not wanting to face the situation at hand. And it makes no sense whatsoever when you say that after the lady started to travel with him, he accepted you.

Why does he need another person to step in to accept you? This all points more as a thing that your husband needs to work on.

Possibly he is dealing with more insecurity than you are and hence this behaviour from him. Of course, I cannot judge him without knowing his version of the story, but if you want to get past this, it’s time to have that open communication; involve a third person who will be neutral to mediate and bring in some much-needed perspectives into your relationship.

All the best and be strong!

Hi Anu,
Hope you are in fine health!
This will take 4 minutes to read but I plead to you for help.
I am a man of 40 years, an engineer working with a reputed MNC as a manager. My wife, 37 is also an engineer working with a global service firm as process lead.
We have a son nearing 8 years.
We got married in 2012 - an arranged marriage and welcomed our son in early 2014. Things were fine largely in the initial phase. She quit her job in 2013 (a collective decision) to be in London with me for 2 years till 2015. My mother passed away in 2014 so I suggested that we return to Mumbai for good as my dad was alone. She agreed (at least I think so). Upon return I feel her father intervened too much in our family life (coming to our house unwarranted to help my wife, when my father was at my sister's place after bypass surgery).
For little things, my wife depended on them although I was always around.
In some ways I always thought she wanted me to be like her father. A couple of showdowns and family discussions later, she walked out in 2016 with our 2 year-old son.
It was a well orchestrated event with her father, sister, far-flung cousin picking her up with 8-9 bundles of belongings, including our marriage certificate and son's birth certificates (Indian and London). I viewed it as a betrayal but kept mum.
I went to her place 4 times in the following month to meet my son but her mother threatened me with 498A in the last meeting. I feel they had ulterior motives to this entire episode -- I am an IT engineer so they knew I had money.
My wife was unhappy that my dad's flat in a posh locality in Mumbai where we stayed would be split between me and my sister. She had said I and only I should be the inheritor.

She put a condition that I can meet my son only at her father's residence, so I was denied access to my son.
After a depressing wait of 2 years, I filed custody petition. I secured regular visitation rights to my son. He warmed up to me and I took him to Goa, Kerala, Mysore on separate visits. My belief was 'whatever happens to our relationship, my son should not feel the absence of his father ever'
Thinking my wife would have warmed up, I filed restitution 1.5 years later. She fought both petitions tooth and nail, denying me even 30 mins extra visitation. I was supposed to pick my son and drop him from underneath her flat.
Humiliation ensued but I stuck to being a good dutiful father which was appreciated and rewarded by the family court counsellor. I was paying his school fees and also nurtured him for 5 months in 2020 at my place when my wife and her family contracted COVID (which she claimed in court as unlawful detention of 'my' son).
May be, sensing she is losing ground, all of a sudden she agreed to a mutual divorce in April 2021 with custody shared for 15-15 days every month. A day before the final signing of papers, she asked to meet and said, 'Can't we make this work for our son ? I am ready to come back' I was getting what I always wanted so I relented. Court gave us a trial period of 3 months which went fine.
We were physical 5-6 days a week. I suggested a second kid but she used to evade the question by saying 1 kid is enough. She was gelling well with my family but I maintained a distance from her parents as I did not want a repeat.
I did not step into her house which she resented. After 3 months, I told her I need 3 more months and she was shocked but went with it. The best thing that was happening was that our son was opening up and was much less anxious.
After another 3 months, we were ready to continue as husband and wife and were ready to sign in court in Dec 2021 but got a date in Jan 2022 as judge was absent.

NOW, on 29th Dec we got to know that we are expecting.
She cried saying she does not want the baby while I feel we should go ahead. The gynaec said at 37 years, it was not too late given that we conceived naturally and she does not have any chronic issues (her reports showed possible onset of diabetes, low haemoglobin levels which doctor said can be treated).
We fought again as she said she still wants to tour the world, has her hands full with the first kid and is not mentally and emotionally prepared. My father and I spoke to her. I called upon her father who sided with her. Finally on 5th Jan she conveyed that she was firm on abortion. I said I am not part of this decision as I still feel we can afford the baby and it will strengthen our bond. We have access to the best of doctors who can ensure a good pregnancy. But she was firm so I asked her to 'Do whatever you want. I will not participate'.
I asked her to go and stay with her parents until her bleeding stops and come back to my son and me. But I warned her that this act could have consequences, however much we try not to.

WHY? Because I feel cheated. Voiceless. Helpless. Powerless. Hurt. Aggrieved. Sad. Guilty.
She took the decision independently and was completely detached emotionally from the 6-week baby so as to abort.
I am scared to say 'We will continue as husband and wife' in our end-of-trial-period hearing next week. What if she continues to be as stubborn and backstab me each time. I could go into depression. I am seeing a pattern in her behaviour.
She hasn't changed -- may be the first 6 months were a farce. She is cold-hearted, manipulative and stubborn. She leaves me when she wants, denies me access to my son in an arm-twisting tactic, makes amends when it suits her and aborts at will.
I fear I am setting myself up for bigger betrayals ( last month, she and her parents showed me flats costing ~4 crores because she wants to own one.
I bought one for 1.5 crore in 2019 where we are residing right now, in my and my father's name. I have begged that I won't be able to help her financially as I already have a loan; I have two housemaids in the house for food-utensils-mopping and they too complain that she does not get involved in any housework --- like even instructing them what to do. I have brought up sharing-of-expenses 2-3 times but stopped asking after seeing it was not heart-felt from her side) I am feeling like a doormat who is clinging to this relationship too tightly, at my own peril.
Can you assist me with questions whose answers will guide me in taking a decision on marriage v/s divorce ?

Regards
Unknown

Dear Unknown,

<>I do empathise with whatever you have shared with me. As long as you are willing to offer your emotions to be played with, you will be ping-ponging from one end to the other.

I understand that you wanted to give your marriage a fair chance; and things started to get better in the three months.

But I do fail to understand why you wanted her to go through the pregnancy especially after health challenges that she might have faced. And to keep her away especially when she needs to be with you and the child, is not something that is going to work in anyone’s favour.

Firstly, figure out this: What are you punishing her for? Are you angry with her for walking out on you in 2016 and the treatment meted out to you then and is this anger now mounting on her not wanting the pregnancy?

They are two separate events and need to be looked at separately. To displace anger from one event and map it onto the other, doesn’t show emotional maturity; it will only make matters worse for you.

Things were getting back to normal; and do respect a woman’s choice of having the baby or not…after all, she has to carry the baby within her for 9 months and when it is telling on her health, why shouldn’t you support her as her husband?

You felt cheated the first time; this time it was a decision that needed none of the past feelings coming into it.

If you do want to continue the marriage, it will be a wise decision to live under the same roof, clear all the past unresolved issues and find a way to move ahead. And also, think of the implications this is having on your son who has already experienced so much.

Do the right thing; for you, for her and for the child.

All the best!

I am Mahesh and I am in relationship from last 4 years and we were planning to get married. But all of a sudden things changed.
My girlfriend started working and during that period she met with a guy and she said the person is her friend and she get good vibes while talking to him.
I stated that you should limit your friendly behaviour with everyone and asked not to hang out with that person. Instead of taking thing into positive way she started disclosing the things and a day I saw her taking lift with that person.
When I asked about that thing she said "I didn't wanted to hurt you that's why I didn't told you anything about it because you will react badly". After that things have changed and we both are not having good relationship. Should I just end or should wait for some time?

Thanks and regards,
MB

Dear MB,

Time to bring in that wise conversation, that will be open, vocal and honest.

Tell her how you feel; wait for her to respond without judging or demanding.

Also, ask yourself if you are being possessive and jealous and if your imagination is leading you to be insecure!

Whatever it is, do sit down and have that frank discussion with her before you decide one way or the other. Communication does solve a lot of things; so please use it wisely.

All the best!


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ANU KRISHNA