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Agony Aunt helps you to deal with relationship problems


Aftermath of breakup

My elder sister is suffering from some emotional disturbances for the past 2 years now. She was in an abusive relationship for quite a long time and finally decided to call it quit when things got bad to worse. The whole giving up on the relationship has hit her too hard for which she is still in a constant state of unhappiness. At times she gets aggressive with all of us as well. My parents are worried that she might take wrong step if she is called out for her behaviour. But I feel she needs some help on urgent basis as she is non-responsive to any of us in the family. How do I bring her in for help?

Ans: One of the ways in which people who have certain emotional problems express it by being aggressive about it. The aggression is usually a defense towards the conflicting feelings. To tackle this as the primary caregiver, immense patience is required. Once your sister feels comfortable that the family isn’t reacting to her anger, her reactions might start to become milder. You need her to be calmer if you have to suggest therapy or help of any kind. Also avoid direct references to seek help so as to make her more amiable towards therapy.

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Bad experiences of relationship

A few years ago, I was dating a guy who was 4 years older to me. I was a minor at that time when we started dating. We were together for two and a half years within which I realised that he is suffering from some mental ailment which he refuses to accept. His behaviour would be very erratic, and he would always be abusive towards those who crossed his path. I developed fear around him and thus started distancing myself from him. He broke up with me one fine day stating he has found someone else. I couldn’t have been more happier. Recently I was asked out for a date by a close friend of mine. I really like him, but I am reluctant to give an answer as the past experience keeps haunting me. How do I stop letting this worry me?

Ans: The thinking error used here is that of over generalisation of a past experience to your current life situations. Over generalisation usually limits your options in terms of considering the situation individually. Your dating experience earlier if used a parameter today, the results would be skewed. There is a need to look at this opportunity as an individual one than comparing at any level with your previous experiences. Look at how this friend makes you feel in general and whether you are comfortable pursuing a relationship beyond friendship. This directed thinking in the here and now can help take a decision based on the current circumstances.

The hangout confusion

I belong to a family which is quite open minded and liberal in approach. I never misuse the liberties I have. And I also understand that other friends of mine would not be allowed for certain things. There is also a group of friends which is extremely outgoing and only interested in partying. I get confused and conflicted as to which group to hang out with as I am shy and but at the same time as being with people as well. I am not sure what to do without having to overthink about the whole thing. Is there something that I can do about it?

Ans: It is essential to first determine your needs in terms of being with friends and the kind of interactions you would like to have with them. The confusion that exists is probably due to lack of clarification on your part regarding which group of friends is more to your liking. Also investigate this option that whether or not your conflict exists because you have certain image to maintain or belong to a particular group to have a social standing. If you are comfortable doing both these things do so in moderation so that you can enjoy being with both the groups rather than having to make a choice.

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Running away from love

Last year I went through a bad breakup. It took me a lot of effort and time to come out of that zone and I got a lot of support from people around me. I didn’t seek any psychological help during the hard time. I find myself in a better space but at the same time I feel I might not be able to fall in love ever again. I keep debating with myself about this and also call myself ‘stupid’ at times but this doesn’t help for a very long time. I am not sure if this requires psychological help or I should just let it pass? 

Ans: Just letting it pass without addressing the underlying feelings has probably led to these feelings resurface and hit you with an intensity which is creating doubts in your mind. You have an insight about the flaws in your thought process but at times unresolved feelings might over power especially when there has been emotional connect involved in the process. In order to resolve this from roots it is essential to speak to someone who can point out these flaws clearly and also help you work on them as well.