Saturday, April 28, 2018

The #Confrontationists :And how to deal with them

If like me you too abhor confrontations,then this is for you.From the time I can remember,I have disliked aggression,domination,accusations,showdowns,acrimony-and even debates.But I have come across people whose only way of communicating is to oppose others.They will not forego any opportunity to butt in with a contradiction to prove you wrong or  hold you responsible for whatever has gone wrong.

What do you do when you are face-to-face with such a person?Keeping quiet after he has had his say shrivels your ego and undermines your public image.But you don't want to be rude or spark long debates.Moreover,answering back requires the knack of serving quick,sharp retorts,which everybody may not be good at.What if you give a smart reply and are silenced with a smarter one?It is not easy to out-smart a confrontational person.

However,learning the best way to deal with such people is essential to conserve one's sanity and safety.How,and to which degree you react depends upon who the aggressor is.confrontationist could belong to either of the following three categories:

2-Close Interpersonal relationships
3-Acquaintances or colleagues

A Stranger
When an unknown person accosts you belligerently:beware.He could be a drunkard or a psychopath or simply someone in a terrible mood.Since he has targeted you without any provocation,he is either boiling with rage or not fully there.Make sure you are safe first.Be alert to his movements:has he increased his pace?Are there any signs of violence?Decide what you will do if the situation deteriorates. Whom can you call for help? The best course is to just nod and move away.As soon as possible.
Intimate or close relationships
Aggressive behavior of close friends or relatives is the most tormenting of all.They are the ones from whom you expect support, cooperation and empathy,but these qualities are rarely seen in dominating individuals.What compounds the problem is:you cannot break free from such relationships.If you did,you would also lose their favorable aspects.

On the other hand if you go on suffering in silence,then one day pent up emotions of anger,resentment and hurt pride will breach the dam to come out in an angry outburst which might even be untimely and out of context to the issue at hand;invoking more ridicule.

My way of averting such a crisis when I have had enough of belittling is,to say calmly when both of us are in a good mood,that this kind of behavior is not good for our relationship and it hurts me terribly.

If the other person is not amenable to my request.I would try to rope in someone whom he holds in high esteem.If even that does not work(it is not likely to have any effect on a narcissist)then I just shrug and tell myself"He is like that only,it is about him and not me.Got to accept the thorn with the roses."

Colleagues and Acquaintances
After the first two categories,dealing with the above is a walk in the park.A thumb rule is to avoid engaging with them unless it is absolutely necessary.It is not possible to avoid an overbearing colleague since you meet him every day but try to maintain a distance between between the two of you because if you are on chatty terms with him his behavior is bound to rile you till one day you give a sharp retort, and that would be the end of a cordial relationship.If you can envisage when he is preparing to aim his broadside at you,make a polite excuse and run away.

Casual,domineering friends can be very irritating.You don't want to dump them but you can also not suffer endlessly.You also don't want to be rude or get into an altercation. If the matter in question is of no import to you,then you can choose one of the frivolous replies given below:
" You think so?"
"Never thought much about it"
"Very interesting"
"Your views are very original"
"I wish I could carry this conversation further but I have to rush now"

Most of the times such answers will do the trick.If not,then a little bit of cold shoulder will help.

But there are occasions when you cannot take the easy way out.Like,when someone encroaches upon your rights or flings false accusations on  you.Then you have to make clear that such behavior is not acceptable.

At the end of the day we have to weigh out the benefits and the disadvantages which entail a relationship and act accordingly.

Saturday, April 7, 2018

गर्म हवाएं

तीखी चुभती  गर्म हवाएं 
दिल को कभी बहुत  झुलसाएं  
लाएं ऐसे ऐसे  बवंडर 
बिछुड़े लोग और भूले मंजर 

हर इक पल की साक्षी थीं ये 
तब तो मेरी साथी थीं ये 
लेकिन अब तो बैरी बन कर
आग लगाएं गर्म हवाएं

कर लूँ बंद सभी दरवाजे 
मैं न सुनूं इनकी आवाजें 
फिर भी कहीं से आती जाएँ 
तीखी चुभती ढीठ हवाएं

इक पल इनके पीछे भागूं 
दूजे पल फिर  वापिस हो लूँ 
पल में कहाँ कहाँ पहुंचाएं 
तेज बड़ी  हैं गर्म हवाएं 

दिल करता है बहुत सा रो लूं 
दिल के सारे ताले खोलूं 
कुछ  भी करूँ पर हल्की हो लूँ
बोझिल  हैं ये गर्म हवाएं 

तिनका तिनका कर जाएंगी 
क्या क्या छीन के ले जाएंगी 
घर से बेघर कर जाएंगी  
   बेपरवाह बेदर्द हवाएं 

आसान  नहीं होता है भुलाना 
छोड़ के सब कुछ आगे जाना 
चल ही दिए तो मुड़ना कैसा 
नादाँ हैं ये गरम हवाएं 

Saturday, March 24, 2018

Teens and Depression-All Facts,No Fiction-Last Part

You can read the first part of this case history over here.

My counselling sessions with Manish continued for slightly more than a year but the status quo did not change much.He was even scared of giving the class 10th,11th and 12th exams but he joined three coaching institutes,one after the other,hoping that one of them would prime him to sail through the JEE and finally,B.Tech from an I.I.T.The strain of this staggering load and the fear that he lacked the ability to attain his aim increased his anxiety manifold.

After having refused many a times to give the 10th board exam,Manish finally did give it and passed with 80% marks.He was now studying for only 2-3 hrs per day but this provoked adverse comments from his grandfather. Manish began to have angry outbursts and one day broke his mobile.

I asked him if his current routine,though minimal,was causing him such a lot of stress,what would happen when the pressure increased?The poor boy asked his lecturer if he thought he could pass the JEE and the teacher replied in the affirmative.

So he carried on valiantly,but he was uptight all through the 11th class.He would miss an appointment or walk in on the wrong day.Even the decrease in his study hours had failed to soothe his nerves.He gave the final exam for class 11th in this frame of mind and got a supplementary.

Till now I had only subtly hinted that his over ambition was the cause of this snafu because we counselors are not supposed to give direct advice or be judgemental as far as possible.But I had to change my strategy when one day he laid open his heart.He was afraid of ghosts and had been researching paranormal events.He talked about existential issues and claimed that he had done astral projection too.He had also gone to the Brahma Kumaris in search of peace.

All this revealed that he was exploring various avenues to gain a grip on his mind and get rid of anxiety.His behavior was quite ominous and I thought the time had come to call a spade a spade.I reminded him that all his problems had started after he decided to wear himself out for the JEE exams.His body and mind tolerated the strain for 4 months but cracked down after that.

He was motivated to evaluate the consequences of the decision which had ruined his peace of mind and also instilled many fears in him.I did not want to scare him about the onset of a mental disorder but I merely said that the unrest in his mind ought to be his first concern-it would not allow him to succeed in anything.It was for him to gauge what was causing that stress.And remove that cause.If he was mentally fit,he would succeed in any career and it was better to be a happy teacher,clerk or whatever,than a depressed engineer.

It was obvious that he was being goaded by his family to achieve a target way above his level.Maybe he had even internalized their ambition.After all who does not want to climb up the hierarchy?But all the rungs cannot be climbed in one leap.And if you put a gigantic load on your mind it is bound to give way.Both these misadventures had turned his world upside down.

Twice he was put on psychiatric medicines but the root cause of his stress remained unattended. Finally one day,he and his family could both read the writing on the wall:he dropped the idea of giving the JEE exams.

If only he had been allowed to plan his career using his own judgement or allowed to back off when he found the strain too much,he would not have had to endure so much stress and  confidence deficit.He was on the brink of succumbing to depression but I am glad he retraced his steps in time.Better late than never.