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ASK ANU: Why do I have to be a perfect daughter?

By ANU KRISHNA
Last updated on: August 23, 2022 14:03 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.

Illustration: Dominic Xavier/Rediff.com

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.

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:


AB: Hello Anu, Hope you are doing well.
PLEASE HELP ME. I have never had a girlfriend.
I am a 31 yr old guy with so many things that changed me so badly and I am just aggressive than before.
Today I am writing you this as I am in a complete anxiety situation that I don't know where to start from.
I don't know how safe it is to share here but I wish to still share with you.

So this scamdemic ruined it all.
A girl entered my life and now acts like female Devdas.
Sometimes she says I'm just a friend. Sometimes she craves to meet me.
First let me tell you my personal life issue.
I got married in 2016 but it didn't last more than year.
I got married in January and in April 2017 my life changed.
It was an arranged marriage. The girl was new and I was happy. In April, she left me with her parents and in October she got married.
Later, I found out that she married her past love. But they blamed me and I went into depression for almost 6 months.
Today after almost after 5 years I am in the same scenario.

The girl I am getting married to is arranged through relatives. She is nice, simple and down to earth but still there is this anxiety.
My first marriage was also arranged through relatives so I am having the same anxiety.
I faced several rejections for no reason. I don’t drink or smoke and wanted to go for love marriage but in my case it never worked.

Before meeting this girl whom I am about to marry I was in touch with another girl who was not ready for marriage.
Now suddenly she is acting like a female Devdas.
When I asked her out, she took me for granted and now suddenly she is feeling broken so I am in a fix.
I don't know if this second arranged marriage attempt will go down well.

My engagement will be on the same date as of marriage so I don't know what to do.
Please help me come out of this dilemma as I am having so much guilt and pain deep inside.

Dear AB,

Any obsession to make it something happen is going to only make you run around in circles.

Is it possible for you take a step back and take a breather?

When we don’t chase things or people, they come to us.

Focus on your second marriage that’s about to happen instead of focusing on the girl who seems to be acting like a ‘devdas’.

But are you in a position to mentally and emotionally to get into a commitment like marriage?

The new girl will come into your life with a whole new set of expectations.

What I understand from what you have shared is that you want the second marriage to happen differently from the first one.

Then why are you making a reference of the girl who is acting like she has been wronged by you?

Are you ready for the marriage?

Please get into it only when you are sure that you can move past your experiences with the earlier partner/s. Else you will be projecting your emotions onto the new partner and get into a loop of doubts all over again.

Be wise; all the best!


R: Hi ma'am. I am 37 years old, married, financially independent working mom of two, and not to forget I have a perfect husband.
Problem - I'll not say it's a problem but the thing is my mother was also a working mom. She is super egoistic and critical towards her kids.
I had a severe case of insecurity due to continuous criticism regarding my weight, colour and beauty while growing up.
I always tried for good academic scores, even then also there was someone better than me. We were always compared.
She always said No for any request I made. So I stopped asking and informing her or I'll just tell her some lie.
After I got married and after so many years, I thought I am over being that girl.
But even now, she gets annoyed if I miss calling her.

She calls me names and tells me how I am an awful child to do that to my parents.
I try my best to call them every day, I try to include them in everything.

Why do I have to be a perfect daughter when I was never told that she is there for me. That I am beautiful, I am a good student or a good daughter.
She never calls or allows my father to call if I miss a day.
I feel it's only when I do everything the way she wants. Then she is happy. Otherwise she makes sure to hurt me with her words.
Please help me.

-An insecure daughter

Dear R,

Time to stop playing the ‘victim’ card and take charge of your life?

Life isn’t fair at times and all of us face challenges at different points in time.

What if you accepted your mother for who she is rather than try and change her?

Thinking repeatedly about the ‘wrong’ she did to you, is only going to make you feel more resentment.

By asking her to change, (I am sure you have tried this before), has she changed for you to feel secure?

People and their behaviours is not in your control and the more you attempt to change it, the more disappointed you are going to be.

Why not focus on yourself and find your security with close friends and yourself?

The more you play a ‘victim’, the more you will feel the need to prove how poorly you have been treated.

Can you let go of that thin rope and look inward, play on your strengths and tell yourself to accept, move on and create a better life?

And you are not an awful child’ it’s just your mother’s way of asking for your attention negatively.

Smile and become silent. This might cause her to take note and change her stance about you.

All the best!


AI: Hi mam, I am a 19 years old girl.
In 2019, after my 10th boards, I came across a guy in FB. He was 9 years older than me.
He seemed to be a really nice and helping guy. And he also belonged from a prestigious university pursuing his research.
After my 10th, I started preparing for entrance exams. So, he used to motivate me, give me validation, encourage me to do better in my mocks.
It all happened online. I haven't even met this guy till date.
At that time, he showed me the dream of targeting the best college of India of which I hadn't even thought of before. And I was also so motivated that I started studying hard.
Besides, I started emotionally depending on him for validation. He is such a manipulating guy, that slowly I started falling in love with him.
He told me that we should wait and see what the time decides. But, slowly he showed his real colours.
He was just interested in 'friends with benefits' type of relationship with me.
I strongly disagreed on it. Then days and months passed, his validation, manipulation, toxic and provocative words made me stand before an existential crisis.
I used to cry out for the entire day.
By 2020, during the lockdown phase, staying back at home, dealing with these sh***y things and exam pressure pushed me into depression.
He made me insecure about every single thing... My academics, studies, results, my looks, my innocent nature, my previous success, my future.... every single thing.
I eventually came to know he was just interested in sharing his life stories, getting an emotional support in his life, a good timepass element, hoping to get intimate with me someday.

Moreover he was just interested in successful girls and ladies. So, all I thought at that period was that I have to succeed in my entrance exam at any cost and then everything will be alright.
Unfortunately, I could not make it. I failed to qualify in my first attempt.
I went into a severe depression, had to attend some online mental health rehab and counselling.
To add salt to my wounds, the guy disclosed that he has been in a relationship since the past 1 year. And he is very happy.
I broke down completely. For 5-6 months I could not study anything. I have an exam just round the corner.
How can I just forget whatever happened and focus on my work?
Please help and guide me... I am still having emotional breakdowns very frequently.

Dear AI,

The nature of a virtual relationship can be the way that you have mentioned.

What is being shared virtually may not be reality and it is difficult to spot this.

Now that you know, isn’t it a lesson learned not to rely on anyone outside of you for your own happiness?

Did you have to study hard just so that you fit his choice of ‘successful’ women/girls?

Can you not work hard to live your dreams?

What you lack is self-love! Something that you didn’t focus on because you were working hard to prove how relevant you are in his life so that he chooses you.

Even if this relationship works, it will be his call always and other than strive hard to be in his life, there’s nothing that will grow in it.

Moreover, isn’t it a red flag when he revealed that he has been in a relationship for over a year?

Time to get back to yourself. Value yourself more, love yourself more…if you don’t, no one else will!

Start every morning doing these little things:

  • in gratitude for being alive
  • list down 3 things that you love about yourself
  • do one thing that you love at least for 15 minutes everyday
  • spend time in Nature
  • surround yourself with people that love you

These are tried and tested methods to get you out of a low phase.

Again, love yourself more and yet again!

All the best!


RM: Respected Anu Madam, Your advice will be of great importance and valuable to me.
I really appreciate your answers and I want to take your valuable guidance.
I sincerely request you to take time to go through lengthy mail. Please oblige and help.
Madam, I got married in 1995.
My wife though well-educated often gets into her parents' shoes and never found to be satisfied with me. Unlike me, she 
was from a well to do family.
Based on my education and job, I got married to her. Most of the time she used to spend time at her parents' place, 
say around 5 months in a year. Rest of the period also hardly we used to be together -- maximum 4 to 5 times a month.

In 1997, we were blessed with a daughter. In 1999 she had a miscarriage.
In 2002 I went to the USA, but could not sustain and came back in September 2002.
In April 2003, she had hernia surgery, wherein she was diagnosed as HIV positive.
When I got tested I was negative. I was told that during the 1999 abortion, there was a blood transfusion during which she must have got acquired the HIV.
We didn't reveal this to my family members. Our parents are aware of this dangerous health issue. But I used to suffer extremely bad in all respects.

We started living independently since 2003, and I used to take care of her in all respects.
We never had any conjugal relation since 2003 (I was 35 years old then).
Even before 2003 it was very minimal and formal.

Every now and then we used to fight during which she used to be very aggressive and nothing less than me in anyway.
As a woman she has zero tolerance level. The slightest of things would offend her.

However things kept going. In November 2015, her health got worse and irrespective of consulting doctors, it was not improving.
Her CD4 count (immunity level for healthy living) had gone down to dangerous levels of just 10%. Her liver got affected with water accumulation and she was diagnosed with TB.
At that time, by God’s grace, with great difficulty I found a doctor, who gave her a second life.
For 18 months, I helped her to get back to normal condition while I was dealing with financial and mental stress.
In 2021 during Covid also I saved her life.

In the absence of any satisfaction, happiness or love, I never neglected or ill-treated her. In fact I provided her a very comfortable life in all respects and behaved with her in a usual way.
In 2018, I sent my daughter to the US for MS as per her choice.
In 2019, I purchased a 3 bedroom flat as per my wife’s choice and consent and presently we are living in that.
I give her Rs 10,000 per month as her personal expenses apart from providing all other things.

During my wife’s treatment in 2015, I came across a divorced working woman whose father also died of HIV.
Slowly, she also understood my position, we exchanged views and became closer. ?
She was an extremely fine lady with lots and lots of love and affection.
She never expected any money or small material things from me.
I can say she is a very nice and good woman, whom any person will rarely come across.
I felt very happy with her. She also got very much attached to me because of my attitude and behaviour.
Of course I never told my wife or discussed this relationship. This
 woman is living separately with her grown up children about 30 km from my residence. But, we love each other so much and have a lot of affection for each other.
Sometimes, very occasionally, I used to speak to this woman. But I never knew that my wife was observing me.
In January 2022, my wife made a big issue out of this. She is suspecting each and every call and movement of mine and looking at me very cheaply, which I am unable to tolerate.

I did so much for her and put my life at stake to bring her back to normal life from a dangerous disease. She is just not able to understand me.
If she doesn't understand my necessities, 
how can I be happy?
Madam, now my concern is:
1. In 2015 after second woman came in my life and after observing her for about 7 years, I found her very nice, independent, amicable, tolerable, Good behaviour, hard-working and good looking lady. We never want to lose each other, and we will be mutual support to each other in future circumstances. I am 55 and she is 45. My wife is 50.
2. Because of my wife’s nagging, I cannot sacrifice the second woman. I am very much committed to her and want to support her in all respects for the rest of my life. She is the only person who understands me apart from my mother.
3. At my house, I am being treated like a paying guest by my wife. Morning tiffin and night dinner she will cook for me. There is nothing more. Days are going very heavily. Only on need basis, we will talk. There is no affection or love.
4. Being in a responsible position I feel very stressed, depressed and I am not able to execute my duties. I have five years of service left to me and I am unable to understand how to lead the life later, in case my wife survives.
5. I have not done any injustice or ill-treated my wife but in case something happens to her, what will happen to me? I have not done anything out of lust. But as a man, I too will have some feelings towards a woman. But my wife never understood this basic concept and got adjusted.
Neither she will provide me any love (since 2003) nor she will tolerate any woman in my life. Though I don’t give her any pain, I feel this is unfair and sadist.
Because of the conditions prevailing around me and as a man, I was bound to do the above. Under these circumstances please advise me what should I do, thinking down the line after 5 years of my retirement?
Your advice will be a great help to me. Kindly oblige to address the above.

Dear RM,

Thank you for being a caring husband and being by your wife’s side no matter what.

The dilemma that you face is something that actually needs a solution from you and not anyone else.

Try describing this to anyone and they might play moral police, advice you to do the right thing, forget the other woman etc.

What is it that you want?

It seems to me like you have stuck by your wife solely out of duty and care and you want to continue to do so.

In that case, how will your wife understand the new connection with the other woman?

How will the other woman accept who you are currently?

It is really difficult to tread on two different paths and to expect either is to understand is equally a difficult ask.

The least you can do is, keep it all transparent (it might sound impossible), talk to your wife to reassure her that your friendship with the other woman is in not in anyway going to undermine her position in your life.

If this does not seem feasible, I can’t see any ecological (something that aligns to your values) way to deal with the situation.

You might not be able to pursue a relationship under the wraps with your wife knowing about it and it is not fair to either of the women.

So, choose wisely and do what seems right keeping in mind that you cannot easily live two lives separately and expect to fulfil both at the same time.

All the best!


SR: I am 29 years old. I work as a software engineer. During Covid time I broke up with my girlfriend and I feel very bad about it.
She was just passing her time with me but I really loved her and I am now struggling to move on. I even had suicidal thoughts sometime back.

I feel like nothing is happening in my life. I feel like I'm stuck in my past.
Life is boring like hell, no interest in any activities.

I have 7 years of experience but only getting paid 12 lakhs per annum, this also bothers me every time.
Everyone I meet acts good with me only for their advantage.
No one is available when I need them. None of my friends take me seriously.

Any advice from you will be really helpful.

Dear SR,

When you don’t value yourself, why expect anyone to value you?

Thinking of attempting to take your life just because of a failed relationship only means that your life is always in someone else’s hands.

Obviously, your earning capacity is the way it is as you are not working to your full potential.

How can you with the way you think about yourself!

Your life is important and it counts. Value it; love yourself more.

Indulge in some hobby and treat your friends the way you want them to treat you. And if you feel that people act good with you only to take advantage of you, ask yourself if you are giving them your full attention while you are with them.

Time to stop pitying yourself, smile a lot, reassure yourself that this moment is a new beginning and most importantly: Love yourself even more.

All the best!


Anu Krishna is a mind coach, author and co-founder, Unfear Changemakers LLP and Soulful Exploration 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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