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
Meanwhile, here’s the unedited excerpt from Anu’s latest offline session with readers:
S: Hi, I am working in a PSB. I married my girlfriend in 2017 after being in relationship for 10 years in which she always tried to break-up as we belong to different caste and Her family will not agree.
Me belonging to a lower caste was the major issue to her family. Both of us don’t have their father and in her case, she took her family from the ground level to a respectful level in society.
I have six sisters (three are married and others are not ready to marry) and a brother, whereas in her family she is the elder most followed by four younger sisters. I also have a brother.
Her family didn’t agree for our marriage and she showed a lot of courage to go against them and married me on 06/05/2017.
As both of us were working — she was posted in New Delhi whereas I was posted in Bihar — and we mostly met on Saturdays and Sundays.
After a long time, she got transferred from New Delhi to my location in 2021 and since then issues started to begin.
There is no issue between me. The issue is between my wife and my family.
As my sisters are doing household chores, they were expecting her to contribute to household chores or at least have some help. But as she is working, she said she doesn’t have that much stamina to do house chores along with office.
Every year during my father’s death anniversary she never participates in the events as she is also working.
She never took leave on those days and these things built up more anti-sentiment in my home.
My family too somewhere was expecting too much from her, like cooking food or other things which she was not interested at all. She didn’t respect my mother and sometimes became highly vocal during conversation which also led to her fight with my sisters.
I always took her side but according to her, I took my family’s side and for my family I took her side. I am not well since last year as Covid went unattended.
Post that I am suffering from low platelets, diabetes and nerve issue in left side.
She left home in November 2021 and I brought her back in January 2022. She again left home in January 2022 end and returned in Feb, left again in the first week of March and never returned.
Whenever there is an issue she leaves the house and goes to her home which also hurt my family and me.
She told my mother she is not feeling well so she will come back in a week but never came. She didn’t call me or anyone.
When I requested, she said she will not come and said ‘if you want to live with me we should live separately.’
Whenever she has to go home, she’ll say ‘you will not know how it feels to live away from own house as you are living in your house.’
My family is equally at fault and may have triggered some situations.
Later in June-July 2022 two of my elder sisters who are married came to Patna to pacify things but she started misbehaving with them also and started personal attacks on my elder sister and her family.
My sister wanted to know what she has decided, so I could encourage her to talk about the issues she is facing at home and try to be calm. But she started yelling on the call that they are here to pinpoint me.
She came with her younger sister who responded in very ugly and disrespectful language like ‘Ye aadmi apni behen ke piche hi ghumega and isne jabardasti shaadi ki hai dhamki deke’ and so many things. My wife never said what she said was wrong.
Till this date we are living in our respective houses and we meet once or twice a week. She is adamant about living separately with me.
But I don’t understand. I don’t want to hurt my mother neither do I want to hurt her. I don’t know what to do.
When I think I should go with my wife, I also realise that she was never there since a year when I was suffering through so much bad health.
She said she got married because she doesn’t want to be blamed for my life. Somewhere she agreed that she married me forcibly and I never did this.
I am not that kind of person. Now I feel she hates my family. Due to all these factors, the relationship between me and my family has been disturbed. I never speak to anyone. I have lost everything.
Sometimes I feel like killing myself. I miss her a lot but she is not there. And I am also scared to call her as like always. I will be blamed for forcing her.
She asked me to come home when she came to know about my bad health but after that she said I have to move out of my family to live separately.
I want to be with her but not by hurting anyone. For me she is also my family and it’s hard to choose a part of the family.
My mother stood up for our marriage. There was no one from her side and that’s why my mother gets angry when they involve me in their family function as she believed that her mother is hiding me due to our caste.
Her mother never talked to my mother and my wife insists that we should talk to her.
I am completely stretched. There are a lot of things which I cannot write here. If possible, please call me.
Both of you are stretched living within a joint family system and taking care of your own families and being responsible for others’ needs more than your own.
And then suddenly a marriage happens between the two of you despite strong opposition.
It hasn’t been easy for either of you, I understand. Before completely understanding each other, the responsibilities that stare at you, you got into a marriage.
It is important for any couple to know their partners’ family situation, responsibilities and above all any religious sentiments that roam around.
These must be evaluated as to whether either of you wants to compromise or not. Apparently, that has not happened and the pressure of ‘doing more’ is pulling you both down.
And sometimes to save a marriage, you are put in a position of choosing between two sides and you must make a choice else, it’s one foot here and one foot there.
Weigh in all your options and understand that your respective families have got used to your giving and doing things for them. That needs to be moderated.
If your wife had written this letter/email to me, I would be telling her the same; that now there’s a marriage and prioritizing every relationship over the marriage can only mean disaster.
Both of you listen to each other, value each other and most importantly take care of each other’s needs.
A solution will emerge from this basic conversation filled with patience and love. Focus on your marriage and yourselves first.
All the best!
MA: Dear Anu
I wish to be anonymous. I am being married for a period of three years now and have a one and half-year-old kid.
I married my love itself with whom I had been into a six plus year of relationship.
It was a pretty happy marriage with lots of sacrifices involved by me. I had to have an inter-religion marriage during Covid period.
Initially everything went on well between me and my husband.
The actual problem started when my marriage was fixed before the Covid lockdown and it got delayed due to Covid lockdown.
From the time the marriage was fixed I took a loan for the marriage as I come from a middle-class family.
I started paying off the EMI from the starting month itself which was a huge financial burden for me.
When it got delayed, my mother-in-law didn’t understand my situation. She was concerned only about the relatives from native for not being able to come for the wedding due to Covid lockdown. This created a bit of misunderstanding between me and her and eventually affected the bond we had shared earlier.
I was paying my EMI for almost three months without any direction or confirmation about the marriage which was even more hurting since I had waited for my marriage to happen with him for seven long years.
After much discussion all of a sudden, his mother came forward to fix our marriage the next month itself.
They eventually spoke to their relatives and they agreed to do the wedding.
Initially everything went on very well with us as a happy couple. Even he didn’t spare much time for me and I got used to it as days passed.
Initially the total atmosphere, apart from my husband, was new to me — a pretty small home with no privacy shared by six to seven people in a 1 BHK.
I adjusted everything for the sake of my husband. Everything I was promised before marriage remained unfulfilled, including going for a separate home.
Right from cooking, everything was decided by my father-in-law and the same would be served for us as well.
If I wanted something, I was allowed to cook only for myself not for others.
My mother-in-law started interfering for everything in our lives.
He behaved like a son and nothing like what a husband should.
There were major arguments and fights either between me and him or his parents or his brothers. There was no peace.
By God’s grace I conceived after three months of my marriage. My husband took very good care of me in those times.
From the beginning itself, his mother, I felt was not that happy with the news of my pregnancy.
Throughout the period of my pregnancy, she found only faults for all the decisions we took — like selection of hospital, my parents not doing any rituals for me along with constant dislike for the food items she bought of her taste for me.
All this created a misunderstanding between me and my husband on and off.
It became difficult when food was not made available in the morning.
Sometimes the food being prepared would be what I had to avoid during pregnancy. We had to share a common washroom as well.
I never shared any of this discomfort with my husband since I thought he may feel bad or misunderstand me. I wanted some peace since I was pregnant…
I was hopeful that after 7 months of pregnancy, I’ll be sent to my parents’ home.
I thought I will stay there after the birth of the baby and later, we could move out to a separate home with my husband.
But after I exited his home to my parents’ home, my husband totally changed.
After my delivery, my mother-in-law started dominating me, my parents, my husband and my son as well.
She feels everything she does is correct.
I am not at all happy and confident about the way she takes care of my baby or the care and concern she showers on the child.
I spent my entire post-partum period in tears, tension, frustration and depression etc.
My baby was just a month old and she wanted me and baby to travel in train to her native for which my father objected.
She insulted my parents that too in my dad’s home only. To avoid more damage, I had to agree to go to native forcing my husband as he was pinned by her from behind.
She has no knowledge of how to handle a small baby with care. My baby was three-months old and she wanted him to be taken in rain.
Many such instances have taken place in this one and half years’ time.
She behaves good in front of her son but eventually wants her son and my baby but NOT ME.
After I feed the baby, she takes him away for hours together. She doesn’t even change diapers on time.
My husband is totally a changed person now. What she says is always correct to him and whatever I say he always feel I am wrong or I am at fault.
After my delivery, almost a year later I went back to stay with him with much pain since I was never made comfortable there.
After 1.5 months I returned to my parents’ home because of mother-in-law. She used foul language for her son in front of me and baby.
Now my husband and I are not even on talking terms. We rarely speak for the sake of our baby.
Every few days, I get calls from my mother-in-law to take the child when she is on leave. She leaves him back to my parents’ home after I return from work.
Anu I am totally depressed to see my husband slowly going away from me. He is not able to stand by my side neither wants to help me in any way including financially.
I even told him that ‘I’ll look out for a home; you just come and meet your mother whenever you want.’
I have stopped going there to his home because the last time I had been there, I was very badly insulted by him and his mother.
Now I just send my baby to them, stay back home if am on leave and wait for them to return my baby.
I am in dilemma as I don’t know what to do since he is not agreeing to unite with me and baby… He wants to stay with his mother and I cannot adjust with her.
Now my baby is growing and I don’t want to give my baby a broken family but I can’t even live like this neither think what to do next…
At times I think of getting separated from him as I am not able to take this anymore.
Please kindly help… What should I do now to give my baby a happy life or family?
It is wondrous to know that girls this day and age also adjust to living frugally with so many compromises.
But of course, I can assume that both you and your husband knew what inter-religious marriage means, what living with an extended family means, the adjustments…the list can be endless.
I still wonder why these things were not part of the conversation before marriage. Nevertheless, a lot has changed as you have mentioned — right from the way your husband treats you to how your mother-in-law sees you.
Since the two sides can’t see eye to eye with one another, I do suggest, one last attempt at putting things back amicably.
Find a mediator within the family who can bring both sides to the table and bring a third person’s perspective into it.
Try again if things can be patched up…If your husband and you are adamant about your own versions of the story, it seems unlikely that he is going to give up his mother for you.
Instead of harping on him living away from his mother, bring to his attention the child that you both share and this can change anyone drastically.
The welfare of the child is most important in the growing years and this can be brought back to your husband’s awareness.
It’s possible that he himself might find a solution to the growing issue and things may resolve.
But at this point, from your letter/e-mail, all I feel is, the more you push for him living separately, the more he is getting adamant about it.
Find a more gentle path (I know it seems like a huge task, but in the long run, it’s for the best of the child).
You have it in you to do this…I can only suggest this…Do the best thing you can.
All the best!
UM: Respected Anu,
I got your connection via internet and as you are a real person and by reading your guide, I wanted your help.
My GF got pregnant with my child and it has been 8 weeks.
She is working and I don’t have a job. I am still searching for a job but nowadays it is getting hard to find even one.
Then the next problem is that we both told our parents that we want to get married by this January.
Even though we are Christians, our parents are totally against it. I don’t feel good about the idea that if I have the baby then I will have to go through lots of hurdles which I would love to do. But without any savings in my account and sacrificing my dreams, how am I going to give the kid a good life?
I wanted to get married by 35. This happened at 30 without any planning.
Moreover, I fear that if I give her up because of the baby, what will she go through and how will she be able to cope up with this loss.
I am really indecisive at this moment. Should I think about me or her or for the kid?
I know that kid is helpless. I want to save the kid as well. But at the same time, I think about saving myself. I am royally indecisive.
I need your help on this. I am penniless, I have no home and no one to support me other than her.
I hope for your thoughtful reply.
In a pickle, right? The baby has come and at a time when both of you haven’t planned or thought about it.
List down your priorities; and our mind can be very conniving.
When we want to avoid a situation, we find all possible explanations as to why avoiding it and doing something else is justified.
I gather that you are finding it difficult to find a job and your insecurities on raising the child under these circumstances. But don’t you feel that this requires you and your girlfriend to have a deep conversation on.
She is carrying your child and you don’t need to go through this dilemma alone.
Whatever it is, she will feel comforted that you trust her enough to talk about all of this.
Whatever be the decision, there is a moral and ethical compass attached to this but as I mentioned, list down your priorities and discuss them together and how the child can bring about a positive change to the situation.
Always try to see the positive side first in a not-so-comfortable situation, because the negatives are something that anyway weigh in the mind, right?
Once you try and see the light in the matter, a certain clarity emerges from where you can then both take the next steps…
Yes, I mean walk this journey together, no matter what…you two do need each other at this point.
Open up to her and encourage her to do the same. A lot of your challenges will find its way to ease making your life better.
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, Indian Association of Adolescent Health and Member, Quality Circle Forum of India.
She has authored the self-coaching book: The Secret of Life – Decoding Happiness.
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