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‘I have an issue with my father. Pls help’

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:

TP: My wife abandoned me after 14 years of marriage.
That’s ok to me as she was a torture to my parents and me all the time.
The problem is she poisoned my 12 year old son and also emotionally blackmails my son because of which now my son hates me to make his mom happy.
He very rarely answers my calls and never reverts to my messages.
They contact me only when school and class fee are to be paid. Otherwise, I have no whereabouts of my son or what’s going on in his life.

Pls advise. I don’t wish to get my wife back.

Dear TP,

It is unfortunate that the child is caught in this crossfire which never should be the case in the first place.

It is a difficult task to rework the relationship between you and your son as he is more inclined to believe his primary caregiver; which is his mother.

But of course, nothing is impossible. I might want to suggest that you approach a family member who can play a neutral role in bringing your wife to a place where she realises that the role of a father is necessary for the child other than just the financial support.

Also, what made you feel that your son hates you? What gives you an indication to that? But since there is no information on that, I will go by what you have shared.

He must be doing this not just to keep his Mom happy but also he must know that she is his only source of emotional support and that he might lose that if he aligns with you.

You can only try and keep trying that someday he will respond to your calls or texts. Also, a legal separation might assure you visitation rights if you go down that path.

But that’s always the last option as it takes a moment to break a relationship and a lifetime to build one.

So salvage what you have and appeal to someone close to the family to step in and save the day.

All the best!

RS: Hello Anu,
I am under severe confusion and frustration. Wanted to consult with some psychiatrist but then I got to know about you.
I have an issue with my father.
I’m a 29 years old working man.
My family background was not good, my father was the sole bread earner in the family of 9 including my uncle and grandparents.
But my father invested in his children.
He gave us a good education.
He sent me for IIT coaching in Kota. I couldn’t clear IIT but cleared AIEEE.
Today I’m earning a lot. I’m a software engineer with 7+ years of experience in IT in a big giant firm earning Rs 62 lakhs an annum. But the picture does not look like it is.
My father takes all my money.
Literally he does that.
He has been doing it for last 7 years, every single month.
He has taken my all salaries till now, 80+ months’ salaries to be precise.
And his modus operandi is- he knows my monthly in hand salary after deductions, which is around 3.5 lakhs now.
He calls me around 25th of the month saying ‘Don’t use the salary. I need 4 lakhs this month. He asks me more than my salary, then says ‘okay you don’t have this much, so give me as much as you can.’
Earlier when my salary was Rs 85,0000, he used to ask for Rs 1 lakh.
When salary became Rs 2.2 lakhs he used to ask Rs 2.5 lakhs.
I keep approx Rs 15-20,000 for myself and give the remaining to him.
Why do I give him all my money?
Because I have this feeling that whatever I am today, it’s all because of him.
He went against all odds to educate us, otherwise I would have been a poor kid somewhere in my village doing farming.
The sad part is, he does not use this money for himself.
If he would have used it for his needs I would have been the happiest person. He gives loans to his relatives free of cost.
People come to my father and request that they need money for some XYZ reason. They say you have a lot of money, your son is earning so much, so please help us. My father says okay.
He calls me and says that he has given his word, now he can’t step back and I will have to arrange the money. And this money never comes back.
Till now nobody has returned a single penny.
When I ask my father, he says ‘it’s okay, you will earn more. They can take only your money, not your destiny.’
I’m not exaggerating but I don’t have even a RO filter in my home. I spend Rs 1,500 on water.
I’m fed up with all this.
I had a discussion with my father regarding this many a times that I can’t keep doing this.
He says “What will you do with the money? Tell me the item you want, we will purchase it for you.”
So far I have given more than Rs 1 crore. I’m such a fool.
I don’t want to spoil my relationship with my father but at the same time I also want him to understand that I’m a human not a money-making machine.
The problem has started now, because now he is doing the same with my younger brother as well.
He recently started his job after college, and earns around Rs 55K.
My father takes 50K from him and has deliberately kept him with me so that we can save on rent and he can keep the money.
Till now when he was taking my money, I was not so much hurt.
But now when my brother is giving money, I can’t bear it. He is a small kid who does a lot of hard work and even his money is taken away.
I cannot share this with anyone.
I keep asking myself if I’m a bad son who thinks like this about his father.
But I can see the reality which is very discouraging.
I’m not able to digest the fact that this is actually happening.
Please suggest what I should do.
Should I tell this to someone? But then the other person will think bad about my father which I don’t want.
I’m lost. Please suggest me something.

Dear RS,

If by now you haven’t figured out that you are being used for playing the role of a good son, then when is it going to dawn on you?

It feels unreal even if your father took all that money for himself without realizing that his son needs his hard-earned money to set up his life. But here, it’s going to relatives and everywhere.

And now, it’s the turn of your brother too.

There is really no need to set this example as an older brother to just bend over backwards for your father. Instead, change the role and let your brother do the same.

Take charge of your finances and share what you deem fit with your father that covers his expenses (assuming that he is retired).

This way, you will fulfil the duty of being a good son taking care of his father. Beyond this, save your money and invest it wisely and please spend on yourself.

What will you do when you marry?

You think your wife is going to support this flow transaction of money between you and your father?

And when she tries to reason out with you, either you or your father will blame her for being selfish. In fact, she will only be looking out for your wellbeing.

So, before this gets even more murkier, make a point by sitting your father down and asserting that you are taking charge of your finances and reassuring him that he will always be taken care of.

His need to please his relatives by giving away your money has to stopped.

This might be met with a lot of resistance from your father, but you know what is to be done. Else, this will grow even with your brother and get progressively worse. So, step in NOW.

All the best!

Rambo: Hi, Sorry, my story is long.
I’m 43 years old. My life’s been on a crazy downside since the last 3 years. I lost my job a year before Covid.
I worked with my last company for over 10 years. In my initial phase I developed and introduced a high-tech animated presentation that the sales team used.

This gave my career a boost quickly and I got timely promotions, more responsibilities.
I worked 12-18 hours on many occasions. When my boss came to know that my wife and I are going to have a baby, he even gave me an advance appraisal. From earning 3 lakhs a year, my last drawn salary was 21 lakhs a year.
Things were going good until I was diagnosed with diabetes. It gave me a real scare and I started taking all the precautionary measures like timely food, timely workout and my focus on the job was only as much as it was needed. I couldn’t go overboard working 12-18 hours like I used to. This didn’t go down with many of my seniors and especially my boss.
I remember, initially he gave me a long-term work from home opportunity. That too was going well but suddenly it was stopped as many colleagues started asking for the same and the company was not ready for this change on a large scale back then.
By then the company had ventured into too many online businesses and verticals and they got me to hire 40-45 designers.
Suddenly they realized that handling so many things wasn’t working for them as the profit margins decreased. Now they wanted me to fire people on the basis of performance. Unwantedly I had to do that. Laying off people who were marginally falling short than others was bad.

In between one of the incidents I saw my boss yell at me for no reason. He wanted the team to source a large number of images for the website. He had verbally asked me to utilize everyone on the floor to get the job done. Me being me, I wrote an e-mail officially assigning small tasks to a number of people on the floor. However there was no formal communication from the boss that gave me authority over others and to get others who were not a part of my team to get involved in that project. This was not an easy task as his perspective and other people’s perspectives didn’t match. The job went on slow and my boss got angry. He came to my cabin and gave me a big scare using foul language which must have been audible even outside to others. And mind you I was not at fault. This incident made me scared and doubtful of myself.
I could never face my boss again. Whenever he was in office I would not come face to face with him.
My interaction with him soon became zero. The appraisals were below par. The amount of work I used to get, got diverted to my juniors directly, bypassing me. And soon they asked to resign. I got 3 months compensation. But, after that, I couldn’t really find another job as I feel I am not capable of handling stuff. I feel I will fail. I have tried to psyche myself into positivity but I can’t.

While I have noticed that as a freelancer, I have successfully handled many projects in the past 4 years and clients have been happy. It’s only that I am very uncomfortable working in an office environment. That corporate culture for me is like a HORROR movie. Now the scenario is such that my projects in hand have reduced. I think I don’t have the business acumen. It’s becoming tougher to find new clients. I have applied to literally 1000 places but no one’s taking the GAP in the jobs well. That’s my guess. I’m more of a hands-on worker than a manager so I also applied for junior positions but I’ve had literally no luck.
My wife has throughout these 4 years supported me and my freelance ventures. We have one kid who’s 11 years old and can understand the situation even without us explaining it to him.
When we got married, my mother-in-law was much older than my parents were, we decided to stay with her initially and it’s been 14 years since we started staying here. We save on rent.

Things were good when I had a well-paying job but now my wife’s had to shell out a lot for the day-to-day expenses. Now, she keeps asking why I am unable to find a job. How much is she going to have to shell out?
My savings have depleted, now hers too. I am ashamed of asking her to pay for stuff every month but my situation makes it compulsory. I have two loan EMIs, and our monthly expenses which we pay through credit card usually. But I don’t have adequate income. Somehow, my wife thinks that the kind of lifestyle she has always led and what she has visualized is something she’ll have to stick to. Even though we stay in a bungalow, the finances are not exactly alright. The colony where we live is full of crorepatis and my wife thinks that she has to maintain her lifestyle otherwise the kids outside will not be fair to our kid. They will tease him. The kids here are such that they compare a lot — your house, my house, your car, my car etc.
Of late we have been fighting a lot. She’s always been stressed with my joblessness, my son’s studies. She ends up scolding him too much and generally remains in a bad mood. I won’t hide the fact that I have faced a lot of insults lately and some of them in front of my kid. Basically whenever my wife and I have an argument, she always ends it by mentioning the amount of money she has spent on the family and my joblessness. Add to it the fact that I am staying at her place. I can never have any further argument. It’s like her Brahmastra.
I used to be very patient when things were fine. Now, even I get agitated in no time.
I’m one confused soul at the moment. I’m not outgoing, I’m very shy when it comes to new people. I’ve been watching a lot of videos about gaining self-confidence. But practical things do not really work out the way I think. My freelance venture failed. My e-commerce venture failed. Basically whatever I do, fails. It’s that kind of a phase in my life when everything just goes wrong. I’m not a suicidal person and I want to spend a lot of time with my family yet. I’m just not sure now what to do. How to get my confidence back? Is there a thing called bad luck? Is this spiritual? Will things ever come back to normal?
P.S. I have personally spoken to many people in my friends’ circle and clients circle and told them that I am looking for a job. Hoping that something materializes. But in the meantime, whatever I wrote above are things that I can’t speak about to anyone.
P.S.2 There’s a pattern. My father was jobless after 40. So am I. He struggled a lot in his life and did whatever he could to give us the best. I’m trying hard too but I feel I am losing it. I don’t want my child to face these kinds of things in his future. I hope this bad luck doesn’t pass on.

Dear R,

Let’s bring it down simply into Health, Work and Marriage. And of course, your added element of superstitions that aren’t helping anyway.

You were absolutely right in taking care of your health and reworking your work timings.

If the boss doesn’t care about that, well then you are stuck with a boss whose appraisal on you will be based on the number of hours v/s actual output of work.

I know you cannot choose your boss, but being led by someone like this isn’t going to let you grow either. So, whether you choose to work as a freelancer or within an office, do make sure that you are surrounded by people that can fuel your growth.

If that’s not possible always, work your mind to a point of strength where you hold fort and not allow yourself to be a pawn like you did with you boss.

With your personal story, your wife did support you when she did and maybe the lifestyle is something that is used to.

Isn’t it time for the two of you to actually talk about the future. Instead of allowing life to take you over, ever thought of setting a strong goal as a family where everyone is involved in each other’s success journey?

So, she perhaps does not understand what it means to still live with her mother, what it means for her to have a husband with a steady job, what it means to you to keep your health at its peak!

When you both don’t understand what things mean to each other, you will be caught in crossfires and not support one another. So TALK and COMMUNICATE. And if all superstitions were to be believed, we could hunt all the black cats down and hold them captives OR not walk outside for fear of them crossing our paths.

It’s just your mind mapping on this low phase into today.

What happened with your father and you repeating with you and your son becomes true only when you don’t take charge of your life now and do something different. So, think and act different and more usefully.

Create a better life. All the best!

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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