Agony Aunt: My problems are too much to handle alone, I want to see a therapist

Burdened with problemsI am a 23-year-old girl. My parents are very strict. Recently, I have been going through some personal problems. I don’t think they have noticed but most of the times I am either sad or angry. I feel like my problems are too much for me to handle alone, and I want to see a therapist. However, I am too scared to tell them that as they will ask me questions and I fear they will judge me or start behaving differently with me. How do I tell them? I feel very alone.

I understand that it would be too scary to feel alone, specially when things appear to be difficult to handle. Parental support does help immensely more so emotionally when situations aren’t very conducive. At the same time if you feel approaching a professional at the moment is more viable as an option then beginning with few sessions and learning how to communicate better with your parents could be of help. This will also help in reducing your fear of being judged by them or being lonely.

Unsupportive sister My sister does not approve of the boy I am going out with. My boyfriend is not as wealthy as we are, and I think that could be one of the main reasons for her to judge my choice. She mocks me and my choices and looks down on me. I have started developing hatred towards my sister for not being supportive of me. I wish I never had a sister as my life would be much better without her constant bickering. She has always been an extremely judgemental person and I do not feel like speaking to her much. What should I do?

The point of contention here is your and your sister’s view on what qualifies for a successful relationship. Asking few pertinent questions to self will help you see the situation more clearly. For instance, begin by asking ‘why does it bother you so much as to what your sister thinks about your relationship?’, ‘is it necessary for your sister to approve of your relationship?’, and most importantly ‘what do you consider vital with respect to your relationship?’ you both can have differing views and yet not expect the other to concede.

Woes of a widow Someone in my family fell sick recently. All the other members in the family have started blaming the wife of the person who fell sick for not taking good care of him. From what I can see, the wife did everything that she could in her power to take care of her husband, but all the other family members still blame her. This could be because of them being so worried that it is coming out in the wrong way. I don’t think it is right for her to suffer in this way none the less. Why do you think is this happening and how can I help this?

Making the wife feel comfortable is of utmost importance here. Telling her that she is appreciated and that you understand that she is doing her best is the first step of making things better. Have a conversation with the other family members since you have noticed this behaviour highlighting how they can be more sensitive towards the wife. As you rightly said, concern can at times blind people, thus leading to unpleasant consequences. The wife also has to somewhere stand up for herself as she would be the right person to retaliate against the unjust treatment by the other members in the family.

Different from realityI am a very social person. I post pictures, do live videos and keep interacting with people on various social media platforms. To the outside world, I have the perfect life with all the vacation pictures, happy captions, etc. However, I do not feel this way internally. For a long time, I used to post positive things so that one day I started feeling it but that day has not come. Everything around me seems superficial. I do not have any major life stressors or changes. My life feels meaningless and empty at the moment and I hate this feeling. I do not know what to do. Please help.

Often, we use over- compensation as a defense mechanism. In your case, projecting a positive and a happy life on social media could be a result of this defense mechanism. It is important to figure out what is leading to such feelings despite things being good on your end. There seems to be disconnect between how you feel internally and what you end up projecting outside. In order to reduce this gap, introspecting is essential. Once you introspect, you will realise how you seek meaning in life and what is essential to keep that meaning intact.

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