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Depressed because of my parents

02 Jul 2016


Some of us have read Gautama Buddha’s story. Fearing the prophecy that one day their son Siddhartha would leave the kingdom, his parents protected him and never allowed anything negative to come close to him. Finally one day when he did go out, the shock to see the realities of life, death, sickness made him question everything he knew. That’s where his journey to enlightenment began. But if he wasn’t shielded from the realities of life so vehemently, would he have learnt to cope like other humans and dealt with life differently? Did destiny play a role or was he the master of his destiny?

We aren’t taught to question our parents nor our beliefs. However I am going to be a father soon. Two weeks back I got to see the ultrasound image of my baby. The experience was that of exhilaration and fear. Exhilaration because, my wife brought to my notice that together we have created something, something we can call our own flesh and blood. Fear because I wasn’t sure what kind of a dad I was going to be.

I met my wife when we were in college, I was someone who never took initiative, she was the one who came up to me and told me she liked me. I often wonder what she saw in me. I never liked to take risks, or go out of my way to do anything. It was just the way I was. It’s a common misconception in India that it’s only the girls who are brought up in a protective atmosphere. For me I was the only son who was born after 8 years of marriage so my parents were always very protective of me.  I came from a business class family where my father believed more in luck and destiny compared to the belief in one’s own self. My uncle had taken over the family business and my father resented it. He felt betrayed and tried his best to keep me away from any kind of pain. He always would nag and blame my mother for the bad luck. My mother was a passive observer; she too just accepted her circumstances.

Other kids would go out to play the bicycle but my father would say there is no need to get my knees bruised; instead its better I sit with my books. In college he wanted me to join the family business and my dream of becoming an animator was laughed at. All efforts were made to maintain status quo, any knock of change was frowned upon. Most of the decisions were made for me. I wasn’t even aware of all these realizations, until I started with therapy two weeks back.

The reason to start with therapy was the fear I felt after seeing the picture of my child who was yet to be born. Though ours was a love marriage, it was my wife who took charge of all the decisions. They say opposites attract, she was completely different from me. The qualities I lacked she had them. She was chirpy, bubbly, outgoing, always took initiative and still has a positive outlook towards life. When we started staying together, it did prove to be challenging. The qualities that we liked about each other, the same started to cause fights. My parents too gave her a tough time. It was three against one. Our views of looking at life were completely different, the way she handled things in daily life were completely different. May it be about eating what’s in the fridge, or cooking up something new; talking about work issues at home or forgetting them in office ; making the decision to have a baby now or later. I liked that I didn’t have to do anything, and she took all the decisions. But that also meant I would blame her for the outcomes.

Just last month we came to know that she is pregnant, and she couldn’t take it anymore. It was her idea for us to seek couples counselling. And that’s where all the above realizations came to me. I realized why I am the way I am. The roles parents play in shaping your identity and beliefs. I want to be a good dad for my kid. But that first starts with being a good husband to my wife. Therapy is making me challenge my belief systems. It’s helping my wife as well to be patient with me through the transition, and providing a vent for her to deal with her emotions and feelings. I still am not sure if I will be a good dad or not, but I know along with my wife we will help each other to be good parents. After all life and destiny seems to be about balance between ourselves and those things that are bigger than ourselves.

A perspective of a client by Chetana Alex – Psychologist at EpsyClinic.

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Tags: #heart #anxiety