TALK TO ME: Wise encouragements always help

Ambitious mum

I am 15-year-old girl who will be appearing for the SLC exams this year. I am good in studies but my problem is that my Mum is also appearing for the same exam. She has failed a number of times and she is very weak in studies. I have to teach her even simple things. I have no hope that she will ever pass the exam in her life. So I asked her to stop dreaming of passing it. But she says even she fails she will appear for the exam again. The teachers at the tuition centre have asked me to admit my Mum in grade 7 or 8 so that she can get good base in her studies if she really wants to pass the SLC. I am confused. What to do? — Ritu

Dear Ritu,

You must give your Mother some points for her ambition and tenacity. You have to understand that she is determined to pass her SLC exams in this lifetime and that she is not embarrassed by her previous failures. Why should she stop dreaming because you are uncomfortable with her reappearing for the SLC exams? I would take the advice given by your tuition teachers positively. Encourage you Mother to enroll herself in grade7/8 level tuition classes so that she has a better grasp of the SLC exam-based curriculum. You will also be less hassled during exam time if you do this. Once you pass your exams this year- you will be qualified to guide her too.

Friends first, then...

I am a school-going girl and studying in grade nine. There is a guy in my school. Last year we were in the same section, but now we are not. I know it is the time for me to focus on my studies. But I think I am in love with this guy. I am a shy girl and hardly talk to any boys. Even though this particular guy and me were in same section, I have not talked to him more than twice or thrice. Nowadays neither of us talks to each other. My friends also tease me by his name. I don’t know why do they do so. I have never told them about my feelings. I don’t want to be in love but I can’t help myself. I try to forget him and focus on my studies but cannot do so as my friends tease me with him and I can’t avoid seeing him as we are in the same school. Please help me. — Problem holder

Dear Problem Holder,

It seems that your problems are there because you are like to hold on to them. Learn to ease up and do not take what your friends say to heart, otherwise you will not be able to focus on you studies. Do you realise that you are getting utterly distracted by a boy with whom you have conversed just three times in two years? School-going children tease each other all the time about one thing or the other. Learn to take this in stride. If you are really keen on this boy, and it has nothing to do with peer pressure, how about just talking to him? Establish a friendship first and see what this can lead to.

Shy and lonely

I am a very shy person and I have difficulty in interacting with others. I am in love with a girl for seven years, but I am very scared of telling her. Even if we meet, she has to initiate the conversation. Because of my shy habit, my relatives scold me and some treat me like a small kid. I tried a lot to get over this habit but have not been successful. I even lost a job, because I wasn’t able to interact with the other staff properly. Is this a disease? Do I need to see a doctor? How can I approach the girl I love ? — Shy and Lonely

Dear Shy and Lonely,

Some people are very shy, ke garne? It takes all types to make this world. However, it is important to understand that in some cases, shyness can be an obstacle for making friendships or getting a point across.This can cause problems. Chronic shyness can lead to complex personality disorders, which can in turn, affect an individual’s performance in school, workplace and a variety of social settings. Before you approach the girl you love, it is important that you try and overcome some of the personal insecurities that are weighing you down and prohibiting you from feeling at ease with yourself. Learn to be comfortable with yourself, .then you can be at ease in the company of others. Set targets and goals. Make sure that you are not alone all the time. Seek out company and make it a conscious point to be vocal. Begin with your family and then with your friends. If you find that you still have problems interacting with people, seek professional counselling.

What is it with men?

I am an 18-year-old girl. I just broke up with my boyfriend. I met this guy and we fell in love with him at the first sight. He is very good looking and takes advantage because of it. He says he does not believe in love. We got along very well at the first meeting itself and became fast friends. We used to talk over the phone and flirted a lot. I proposed to him and he refused saying we would remain friends. I agreed but then we were very close and we used to talk about intimate things. When I don’t call him up, he calls up to find out if I am fine. This bothers me a lot. One day he called up and said why do I have to love him and that I would get better guys than him. I tried explaining the situation to him but he did not listen. My friends tell me to avoid him and stop thinking about him but I am not being able to do so. What do I do? — Woe

Dear Woeful One,

What is wrong with being friends? I think your friend has been honest all along when he said that he would just like to be friends with you. It is you who could not accept this. You are besotted by his good looks and charm. Usually boys do the proposing. In this case you did not wait for a proposal, you proposed instead. Considering that your proposal was rejected, why are you still hounding this poor man? Learn to let go. I suggest that you get involved in your studies or with a hobby, better still, adopt a pet. I believe observing gold fish can be very therapeutic.

Deep, dark secret

I am 18 years old. I used to live with my aunt, but moved on to Kathmandu to live with my parents when I turned 12. My parents are working in an INGO and they keep travelling all the while. When my mom was not around my father used to molest me. That happened for few months and then he stopped. I didn’t talk to my father. I hated him and I didn’t want to be around him, so I stayed away from him as much as I could. I never mentioned about it to anyone and went on with my life. I was confused, I had little idea about sex then, I felt guilty I condemned my self and thought I had to be punished. I hardly made friends and remained quiet and lonely. One of my friends gave me her email id and asked to me chat and make friends over the net. I found a whole new world there. I was happy and even met a guy who loved me and we went around for a while but the trauma did not leave me and I broke up with him. After completing Grade 12, I went back and I was quite happy. I talked to my parents and I saw a therapist. I did not say what I went through and he diagnosed me as clinically depressed and put me on medication. I have been on medication for the past five months and now everything is clear to me. I am not confused, insecure and angry as I used to be. I talk to my parents, I have lots of friends and my relationship with my father is okay. But I haven’t been able to stand up to my father and talk to him about it and this is killing me as I don’t want to live like this anymore. I don’t care if the whole world knows, I just want to talk to my father and get this over with. Please help. What should I do? — Anon

Dear Anon,

You are not alone. Molestations and rape are usually carried out by family members or a person known to the family. This means that such cases go unreported and the sexual offenders go unpunished. In a conservative and closed society like ours, the likelihood of people reporting such cases is miniscule. You have suffered the emotions that such victims usually do: confusion, shame, insecurity, guilt and depression. It is important that you tell the therapist the truth about your father. I hope the diagnosis of clinical depression is based on a revelation and inclusion of this fact. Confronting your father with his past misdeeds is an important issue. How you handle this delicate situation is vital. The chances that your father will admit to his misconduct is slim and his modus operandi will be denial. He could also say that you are clinically depressed and of unsound mind. Speak to your therapist. Tell him what you have in mind. Talk to your mother and tell her the truth. It is important that she supports you at this critical juncture in your life and come to terms with her husband’s flaws. Tell her that memories of the past have caused you much grief and pain and that it has affected your ability to carry out a normal relationship with the opposite sex. You have to understand that your revelation of this truth could ruin your relationhip with your parents and upset the equilibrium of the family unit, but I think it is important that the truth come out. Be strong. Don’t play the blame game. Learn to forgive and cast away the negative memories which festered inside you for so long.