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Infidelity …Darker secret ... Acceptance

             What do you say to a boy of 18 years when he expresses his shock of seeing a parent with someone else other than his l...

Friday, August 23, 2019

Infidelity …Darker secret ... Acceptance

What do you say to a boy of 18 years when he expresses his shock of seeing a parent with someone else other than his legal partner? It was difficult to explain to him anything between howl’s  of cry of ‘why’ and the feeling of disgust. He confessed to actually puking a few times when he saw his mother after that and just couldn’t have a normal conversation with her. He also felt guilty of the secret he was carrying within himself and not disclosing to his father.  Although he could not see the man she was with he was pretty certain of his identity. Unable to hold his emotions he did follow them once to ascertain and was shocked to see a close friend of his father with her.
                He came to Hallo happiness not knowing whom to talk to about this. The guilt of not telling his father was also eating’s his conscience. He was living with this constant fear of his father discovering  the liaison and was blaming himself for not telling him in advance to save him from an emotional shock of sudden discovery. His relationship with his girlfriend of 3 years was also impacted since he lost all confidence in close relationship and could not discuss with her due to the stigma and she becoming  judgmental about his family.  Unable to bear the plethora of emotions he finally sought help from a confidential source  like Hallohappiness and with time is able to release the emotion of guilt impacting his personal relationship and future. As counselors we only attempt to address the issues of the persons who seek our help since we can’t control the world around them. With time and regular counseling he has been able to reconstruct his life understanding deeper layers in relationships and has developed resilience and ability to handle a difficult emotional situation.
                  Guilt as an emotion can damage normal behavior of  a person and can lead to traumatic close relationships of future too. Undoing guilt as an emotion nurtured from some flow discovered in close relationship can be even more traumatic and difficult to overcome. But the human mind is extremely resilient and has the capacity to decipher and justify emotional actions with in depth understanding, given a chance and the right environment.    

Self Worth and Shame

In your 40’s if you acknowledge shame and do not have high self worth, life can be very unforgiving. The gentleman in question accepted that it was a tough decision for him to ask for help at this stage in his life and chose a platform like Hallohappiness due to his being unsure whether he could do it or not, and could actually disconnect the call at any stage of conversation.
                As a young child, at the most impressionable age he went  through the trauma of his father’s disapproval of everything he did. Since he was always trying to please him, his disapproval had a cascading effect on him and not only did his grades go down in Xth & XII th    standard he could not even excel in sport in where he was a natural. His heart wrenching remark that he had proved his father right coming to seek help as he was unable to take control of his own life. He had failed as his father always predicted.
                For the last 20 years he had worked hard had a good job, a happy, happening life with family by all socially acceptable yardstick. Natural progression of large to larger homes, bigger cars, family vacations, they were all in place. But one solo incident of losing his job in the times of economic recession sent the ball rolling back to his childhood memories and low self esteem. He could only identify with failure now and was scared to take his life leading to further stigma for his family. He repeatedly quoted sentences from his father every time he was not up to the mark.  “Boys like you never make it in life” when he was playing soccer for school in 5th grade, “If you can’t even score in math’s what else can you score in” when he scored 40% in math’s in 7th standard, “mark my words you will never make it in life and be a total failure” when he got 50% in the 10th standard
                Shame as an emotion can have different expression in acute cases leading to depression and even life threatening situation. Man thinks of himself as a provider and is invariably incapable to handle a situation when he is unable to do so. Whereas women sense failure when they have not been able to adapt to life & situation whatever it may be. In difficult situation within the family they unconsciously adopt the note of peacekeeper and to keep everything intact.
                It took a while for him to explore his self worth and realize his abilities with some motivation he was also able to explore his close relationship and new avenues of making money till he got a job. Self worth is  the first step of any ladder in life and if not entrenched at an early age can be a lifelong trauma, specially close relationships.

Wednesday, July 3, 2019

Loneliness- A Fast Growing Segment of Society

          The shopkeeper walked into my office as he saw the standee for www.HalloHappiness.com below, the building while walking past one evening, after work. His question to me was intriguing to say the least “if he paid for the subscription amount for the month, will his mother be able to talk to someone every day? I was a little surprised at the request and suggested he explain the issue to me. 

          He hailed from Rajasthan and “had to” bring his mother down to Mumbai (his place of work and residence) after his father passed away in the village, back home. His mother had spent all her life in those parts and the few visits to Mumbai were full of happy memories as most vacations were spent with his family in Bombay. One of the reasons that prompted him to wind up his father business and sell the property to shift to Bombay. He never foresaw the problem he was facing now and short of shifting her back (which was not quite a possibility) did not seem to have a solution on hand. His Mother was lonely since she did not really have anyone to talk to in Mumbai. What added to the confusion was the inability of his wife to be able to communicate with her mother in law, which as such was quite normal since she was born and brought up in the city and had her own family and set of friends whom she could interact with. Both his children were studying in college and left early morning to return in the evening, so was he, which left the mother and daughter-in-law to spend the day together.

          I told him to get his mother a smart phone and teach her the steps to reach a ‘listener’ on our platform and assigned a particular listener to be online to attend to the mother. At sharp 3.30 we would receive a video call request from her and she would be online till 4.30 everyday. The conversation was almost one sided mostly since she was only disclosing her viewpoint on various issues and only needed affirmation from time to time. After 15 days her son ‘the shopkeeper’ came to me with folded hands and actually said “you have sorted my life” now at least I am not apprehensive when I go back home every evening & know that I will be able to have my dinner in peace with both my mother and wife sharing the meal along with me.

          Most times just finding a good listener is enough to work out our own emotions….as in this case…As human beings we are ‘social animals’ and it is extremely important to have that human connect, to share and get affirmation….right or wrong is of no consequence.

Social Media - Up Keep Pressure - Happiness quotient

When I first heard Amit tondon on his standup comedy expressing how FB and other social media platforms are creating pressure for individuals to keep up with the social activity others are involved in and posting pictures for all to see. I only took it as a humorous observation not realizing that people are actually feeling the pressure in real life to keep up the image of cool travelers who live a life full of ‘Happy getaways’ and do not suffer from ‘weekend blues’ or not being the ‘Happening population’.

The first time he(Siddharth) called it was Thursday evening and just talked about this and that and just not being happy generally but when he called on Friday same time he was positively agitated, in all the ‘fast talk’ I could only understand that he does not want to spend the weekend at home. It seemed to be an emotional pressure of appearance and performance, further; he was unable to decide whether ‘spending the weekend at home’ was not a socially ‘unacceptable’ situation. In addition to that his wife was introducing him to her friends who were having expensive getaways over weekends, not to mention she lagging behind for posting her pictures on FB, Twitter, what’s app etc. and wows, likes etc that followed. As a last resort, if nothing that fanciful was happening they could probably do the 'very expensive' two new restaurants over the weekend and she could at least be able to post those pictures.

This reminded me of another occasion when a caller was under tremendous pressure since the family was unable to travel to a foreign destination for a summer vacation, which had been a practice for a few years. Family was very distressed and unable to bear the trauma of not being able to ‘post’ their own pictures for the world to know ‘what they did last summer’.

Now the pressure of ‘socially acceptable behavior’ is real which probably means expensive designer clothes, expensive vacations/ cruises and the works and can actually disrupt your family life and budget. When I look back, we as kids always travelled in summer vacations to some destination hill station with extended families and cousins. Travel was considered educational and children were encouraged to join and explore, enhance their knowledge, but I distinctly remember there were no pressures not much debate about selecting the destination. It was a fun thing and we all looked forward to narrating our adventure and escapades to all and sundry with excitement of the child. It was never the ‘most expensive quality’ as far as our mind registered but definitely a happy, fulfilling and enriching vacation. 

Life should/can not measured by expenses.....it should only be experience. Whenever we sit down with old friends or families hours pass by narrating those years of life and everybody is richer by at least one liter of blood in our system not to mention the laughter and bonhomie.