Dr Anjali Chhabria, Psychiatrist and founder of Mindtemple, Mumbai, answers queries related to relationships in personal lives.
I am a 20-year-old girl and I just found out that I am adopted. I have two younger siblings who are the biological children of my parents. I have been living with this family for all my life. They have treated me with so much love and care and not even once have I felt as an outsider. However, I feel horrible for being in the dark for all these years and now I feel insecure. What if the biological children get more preference in the future? Should I try to find out more about my biological parents? I feel apprehensive.
Ans: Since nothing made a difference so far whether you are adopted or their own, nothing should be different in future as well. The insecurity is in your mind which is making you paranoid. Finding more about you biological parent is not certain how that will be of any help unless you plan to keep relationship with them, which might just complicate things further. The best option will be that you continue the relationships as they were and with feelings of gratitude be yourself with everyone at home just like before. It was a fact that you discovered that you are adopted but if you display no change after that your parents will not feel any change too and rather feel happy that you are not affected by it much. Your curiosities to know who your biological parents are, is justified but think before you take any step keeping everyone’s happiness in mind. There must be some reason why your family hide from you for so long, talk to them patiently about it, probably they were reluctant as they were uncertain of your reactions, they may not want to hurt you. Settle things with them and clarify any hard feelings you have, clearing the sir will help you maintain the comfort you had at home earlier.
My daughter is in the 7th Standard and since my husband keeps on getting transferred, we too keep on shifting every 3 years. My daughter can never make fixed friends in school and so now she does not like the idea of going to school. It is very difficult to convince her to wake up in the morning. She always stays alone and depressed in her room, but I want her to go out and when I ask her to make friends, she questions me by asking: “What is the point?” How do I deal with her?
Ans: If the environment is constantly changing it does become difficult for a person to keep adjusting, then at a point you feel like giving up and rather not take pains to adjust and leave the situation as it is. Same thing has happened with your daughter if she has to make friend and start fresh every few years and say good byes to the one that she has got close to, is a difficult process. Empathize with her and help her discover something constant in her life that she can always connect to emotionally when needed. For instance learning music and developing passion for some instrument, or developing some passion for a form of art whatever she is fond of. This will help her to channelize her emotions and energy in a positive way. Also what you can help her is with learning to keep in touch with all her friends from the past via emails or Facebook, this will help her to keep the relationships she makes, encourage her to invite those few close friends in her holidays to spend some time with her or she could go and visit the city again so she feels reconnected with her previous younger days. If you feel she is too depressed then seek professional help, let her know that problems can be solved even if the situations cannot be changed.
Wife’s alcohol woes
I am a married man with 2 small sons (7 and 9 years). I am having issues with my wife as she drinks a lot of alcohol and that causes tension in the house. Sometimes, she comes home drunk and my sons keep on asking me about their mother and I do not have answers. I am tired of this as I stay at home to take care of my kids when my wife goes out and now her outings are 4 times a week. I hardly go out anywhere as I am worried for my kids. What do I do? I fear my wife becoming an alcoholic.
Ans: You need to seek professional help immediately, not only for the sake of your wife but for the whole family, as it is very unhealthy for your son’s mental health to witness this state of their mother. Do not feel ashamed of her, she is sick and she needs treatment like any other disorder. Feel sorry for her state and help her as you may not understand what she may be feeling and going through emotionally to do this to herself. Take one step at a time and sort the situations out, call a doctor and start with the treatment, ask help from your in-laws if they can support you in this situation, by babysitting the sons while you can help your wife and be there for her. it looks all very overwhelming but it can be mended is you deal with the situation patiently.