ASK ANU: ‘My wife is possessive, insecure’

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!

As part of an initiative to help Rediff readers, 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?
  • Are couples fighting more in the lockdown?
  • ASK ANU: Do couples have less sex after marriage?

Dear readers, if you have a question for Anu, please e-mail it to [email protected] (Subject: Ask ANU) for her advice.

Meanwhile, here’s the unedited excerpt from Anu’s latest offline session with readers:

AK: I am 30 years old and am currently going through a peculiar phase in my life.

I was engaged to a girl but somehow it didn’t work out and we called off the relationship as we had compatibility issues.

It was an arranged setup and we met through one of these online matrimony portals.

But while being engaged to her, I also happened to bump into one of my ex-girlfriends who I always knew was the best relationship I ever had.

We broke up because it was a long distance. Six months ago, I shifted nearby and we started meeting.

Our meetings have increased and now we have been meeting and talking regularly.

We even went out together and got physical and one day I expressed that I want her back in my life.

Now the issue is she is dating someone else and she feels divided now.

They were planning to get married in a couple of years and I can sense that confusion in her but I also don’t want to give up on her as I have never felt this way for anyone ever.

Tell me what I should do?

ANU: Dear AK, well, you can respect her decision, right?

When someone is confused, give them space to sort it out their way as that will be most authentic for them.

Either that decision may include you in her life or it may not, whatever that is…do respect it…her life, her way…by being physical once, does not mean that it must lead to something that favours your feelings!

If she is committed to the guy that she is dating, as simple as that…give her time; let her make the choice!

Be at peace!

AKB: Dear Anu, I am married for 18 years. Have two kids, son (17) and daughter (9).

My problem is that though I am in a regular job at a PSU, my wife thinks that I don’t earn much.

She thinks so much and get stressed which in turn gets in explosive and when it burst I cannot control myself and I get physical (manhandle) her.

Due to this all fault becomes my fault and I have to apologise to her for behaviour.

Apart from this she is having some kind of problem which she keeps fuming at me or anyone for that matter for anything.

When I get irritated by such things she refuses that she didn’t even said so. If said so, I understood it in wrong sense.

I think I am having too many problems which I cannot explain here.

Sometimes I think of going to psychiatrist but don’t wish to go because then I will be certified as mad and thereafter all fault and problems will be due to me.

If I ask her to go to psychiatrist she won’t agree either.

Please help how to deal such situation in this stage of life.

I love her so much so there is no question of separating from her.

Please feel free to ask me anything you require for giving me a response.

ANU: Dear AKB, why does money ever come into a marriage; I wonder!

Well, we do need money to keep the family running, right?

Somehow, external happenings of someone earning more can get into the marriage cropping up as comparisons.

What started as a mere seed of comparison, slowly starts to become a huge tree with fruits of poison robbing even the small successes that you might have had.

Even that seems never enough leaving you with a feeling of inadequacy.

This affects marriage compatibility and comes out as anger, sadness, violent outburst, finger pointing which is evident in your marriage.

At the same time, I am sure your wife does not really intend to hurt you with these behavioural displays.

And that’s why externalising the situation to be your fault arises and she does not want to think that her perceptions are what are causing the situation.

Either you sit her down and bring her down to facts of the matter that this is how life is going to be and this is the money is what you can bring.

If it’s still an issue and she has a hard time accepting this reality, involve an elder member from her family to communicate with her.

Show her the mirror as to how her wants are unequal to what money is coming in and how this regular chatter might be affecting the children as well.

If anyone needs professional intervention, it’s both of you going to a therapist and not a psychiatrist.

The expert can help out things into perspective where both of you can rebuild your relationship with renewed mind spaces.

Happy rebuilding!

VG: Dear Anu, I have a ten year old daughter studying in 5th std in a reputed school of Delhi.

I think the Covid lockdown has had a negative impact on her behaviour.

She has become notoriously obstinate and her behaviour has become a real concern for us.

She has become a compulsive liar and lies mostly for no reason at all. Also she quarrels and fights with other children in the colony.

Please help us to get her back to what she was before lockdown.

ANU: Dear VG, the online structure has messed up the minds of many children and adolescents.

I don’t have much information from you and have to assume that nothing significant has happened after which her behaviour has changed.

Lying and hiding is common when children are scared of doing something that they have been warned against and it could be something that excites her and gives her immense pleasure.

Quarrels and fights is common assuming that your daughter must be around 10 or 11 which is when their struggles for creating their identity causes much ruffles in their minds.

It could also be because of increased usage of the internet as there is enough there to mess with the minds of kids; violence, bullying…the list is endless…

Also, I have been noticing that with the lockdown, kids have forgotten what socialising means and it has become convenient to live at home with free WiFi and food. Convenient pleasure…

Try and be out of home with her every day, good amount of physical activity is a great one too, dancing and pottery are good things for her to indulge in.

It will be a struggle initially; but persist and if necessary one of the parents can become her hobby buddy to help her transition into the ‘normal’ way of life.

Whatever you do, be really patient.

Happy transitioning!

VB: My wife and I have been married for 15+ years and we have two young kids (5 and 10 yrs old).

We are from northern India and sort of settled in the USA.

The issue is that our communication has been very poor and since the birth of our first child about 10 years ago, the problem has become significantly worse.

During the initial years of a kid’s life it is obviously understandable to have an infant sleep with parents in bed, but my wife decided to continue doing that years into the birth.

This continued till my first child was 5 or 6 years older. And then came along our second kid and the same thing repeated.

I was not in agreement with this way of having kids sleep in bed every night and I started sleeping separately and have been doing that for years.

I believe this in itself caused multiple cascading communication issues and our detachment from each other.

My wife does not take any time out for the two of us and instead spends almost all her time caring for herself or kids.

My wife is also very (extremely) possessive and insecure with kids and me developing any kind of meaningful bond.

I have to ask her permission for example to take kids out or else she uses sarcasm, demean etc., or other ways to intimidate me as if I am doing something wrong.

I need your help to understand if any of this kind of behavioUr can be considered ‘normal’.

Can I say to myself – ‘bad luck, but this happens in marriage and is not a good enough reason to consider separation and divorce’? Or the behaviour I am seeing is way out of the ordinary and cause for some action to save my mental health.

I feel lonely, depressed and deprived of emotional support, and really miss time with my kids as well as being a parent to them in ways I think is best for them.

Parenting style significant differences have further increased the rift between us, and since kids spend a vast majority of their time with mom, I see them develop personalities which I think is not best for them as they step out into the world and become independent.

I am really squeezed between many conflicting thoughts.

Should I work on leaving this marriage after years of trying to establish some minimum communication and mutual trust?

Should I stay for the sake of my kids, but if so what is the point, I am not able to parent them anyway in any meaningful way?

We have arguments and verbal fights a lot and that is the only communication we have left now and otherwise weeks and months go by without any calm and meaningful conversations.

I am very lost and hope for some advice that I can apply and clear my thoughts.

I will very much appreciate your help.

ANU: Dear VB, this is like kids becoming the third person in the marriage which is very common in a lot of couples.

Sex waning after having kids is something that many marriages go through, also the mother can be tired after caring for the home, work and the kids…sex is the last thing on her mind.

But, yes you do have a point when you mention that kids are still lurking in your bed which is not healthy for their development.

Just a thought, has your wife found this as a convenient option to avoid any intimacy with you?

If yes, what and why is she avoiding? These can be answered only when the two of you set aside your emotions aside and talk as civil adults.

If that isn’t a possibility, kindly take the help of a professional who will:

  • Help your wife transition from mother to wife and ease her into both roles
  • Bring to her notice that children need the love and care of both parents and that it is non-negotiable and a dampener for the kids to deny them the fathers’ support
  • Guide both of you to bring spark back into your marriage
  • Teach the family to discipline itself into conscious parenting that keeps the welfare of the children at the forefront

I would urge you to go down this path before thoughts of separation etc.

The kids can grow up in a loving environment; why not strive for that first?

Wishing you the best!

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