Vishali, 28 year old, is marketing head at PesiCo. She is an MBA from IIM Ahemdabad ( a premiere business school in India) and has been working for 3 years now. She has been divorced for a year now.She couldn’t trust her husband and always felt that he didn’t care for her. She wasn’t even comfortable when he tried to come closer to her. Due to her belief that he doesn’t care for her, she divorced him!
Vishali has been in a new relationship for 6 months now and again she is facing similar problems, so she decided to seek help. She becomes extremely emotional and demanding to her partner. She always keeps whining and has even attempted to harm herself. She regrets those actions later.
When I asked her what is causing this and she says — I can’t trust men, I don’t know why!!
I started asking her more questions and found out that her father died when she was 8. She has been brought up by her mother since then. She remained in depression for few years but did manage to complete her studies. At 15, she once cried out loud in class because of no reason. She got into her first relationship, which lasted for 2.5 years, when she was 21 but she was never really into it. She was focused on her career.
She keeps saying that she feels lonely and devoid of any meaning in life. She loves her mother but continuously fights with her. She thinks she ends up hating the person she loves the most!
After few sessions, I told her that it is her longing for her father that has led to such disturbances. She wasn’t able to relate her father’s demise 20 years back to her situation now and never believed me.
Early life traumas stay with some people for a long time.
Vishali wanted someone to give her that emotional warmth which she was deprived of in an early age. She went into relationships, but never felt that emotional connection. She loved her father a lot but felt hurt when he died. She believed that like her father, other men would also leave her alone.
Gradually I started helping her see how the feelings for her father are impacting all areas of her relationships. I helped her to change her perceptions of men, her beliefs about herself and more importantly to change the irrational style of thinking which gets initiated when she thinks a guy is not caring about her. She needs to look at the situation rationally, and tell herself what could be the possible reasons that he might not be able to care/help.
By finding new possible set of thoughts and behaviors, we suspend our instinct emotional reactions and give ourselves time to make a sound decision.
She is currently doing much better with new modes of thinking and reacting, However, on certain occasions old patterns do emerge. More practice will help her to gain more control over her thoughts and help her from not panicking.
Note: This story is based on one of the cases handled by Tarun Verma, clinical psychologist.