Tuesday, March 22, 2016

5 Relationship Advice Therapists Will Tell You

1.     Accept, Respect & Space– Your partner will have a difference of opinion on some issues. He is not your clone. Let him have his ideas. You don’t need to argue to prove you’re right and you don’t need to sulk because he disagrees with you. If there are serious health issues you are arguing about, find a way to convince him. Don’t try to change your partner but motivate them to look at things differently if it’s really important to you. Respect the choices he makes and give him space to deal with issues in his own way rather than telling him how it should be done says Dr. Shefali Batra psychiatrist and co-founder InnerHour.

2.     A Relationship Can’t Complete You - Don’t lose your identity in a relationship. Who are you? What are your dreams? What are your goals? What if your partner wasn’t there? What if he walks out on you tomorrow? According to Dr. Amit Malik, founder at InnerHour, women need to define themselves outside of a relationship. Only then will couples not take their partners and relationship for granted. When you are happy with yourself you will be happy within the relationship as well. And within the relationship women need to find boundaries. Just because you are a strong working woman outside, you don’t need to be submissive and apologetic for it within a relationship. A relationship he adds should enhance your life, not deplete it.

3.     Communicate About Expectations – You want him to come home early. You want to go for a drive. You want him to attend family functions with you. Every couple has expectations from each other. It’s important to converse what you want and then allow the person to do the things you want, or not when he’s ready. Don’t badger him into doing things as per your time schedule says Dr. Shefali Batra. Understand when he’s not willing to make certain changes. Let those go. Also many times women keep their expectations to themselves hoping the man she’s spent so much time with, to understand her. Men aren’t mind readers. You don’t always need to fulfil his expectations and desires. You need to voice yours as well and remind him occasionally if he forgets.

4.     Boost & Market Yourself – For most women when they enter a relationship, their entire life becomes the man and when married, the home. Soon they start questioning what they have actually done in their life. There get no validation in the house. Gitali Chatterji, Senior Psychologist at Inner Space says it’s very important to build your self-esteem. Even if you don’t have a job, understand what you’re doing at home is important. Recognise past instances where you’ve solved tricky situations and appreciate yourself for it. Sometimes it’s also important to remind your partner of all that you do for him. Boost yourself up a little in his eyes. Market your capabilities by saying something as innocent as, “I’m glad I could help you solve that situation otherwise it would have been a complete disaster.” Or, “Imagine if I wasn’t there to cook/ clean/ manage that for you. You would have taken much longer to tackle/ complete it.”

5.     Pause Before Reacting – One of the most important things anyone can do in a relationship, according to psychologist Gitali Chatterji is to pause before reacting to their partner. It’s very easy for women to be affronted by what the man says, or react to him in a negative way and then analyse where the fight began and how it all became sour. Suppose the man has said something that you weren’t expecting, instead of immediately snapping back, just pause and think if it’s important to react in a negative way and what else could he have meant. Maybe the man has behaved badly for some reason and your instant reaction is to scold him, tell him off, have a fight and prove how hurt you are. Pause. Is it the correct time to talk about it? Is it something that is very important? Can you change your tone if you’re about to speak? Gitali says that split second thought that have before reacting could save a relationship and two people from a lot of angst. 

Saturday, March 5, 2016

The Child, The Adult, The Parent

Have you ever felt that you’ve gone into a meeting and not known what to say or floundered too much? Have you ever scolded your child and felt bad about it? Have you felt that sometimes you’re not able to stand up for yourself in relationships?

Erik Berne, a psychiatrist in the 1950s created the theory of Transactional Analysis to explain human behaviour for situations that happen in our daily life. He said that we all have 3 ego states of Parent, Adult and Child that we constantly use.

A Parent state is: A response in which people think, feel and act like their parents used to with them. A sheer mimicking rather than an understanding. For example, a person may shout at someone out of frustration because they learned from an influential figure in childhood the lesson that this seemed to be a way of relating that worked. (Ref https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Transactional_analysis#The_ego-state_.28or_Parent.E2.80.93Adult.E2.80.93Child_.28PAC.29.29_models)

Adult: “A state of the ego which is most like an artificially intelligent system processing information and making predictions about major emotions that could affect its operation.” Used for relationships, work places and managerial duties.

Child: A state in which people behave, feel, and think similarly to how they did in childhood. For example, if they are praised, they will laugh and dance and if they are criticised they will feel upset and may cry.

This is Berne’s theory of Transactional Analysis for which he has written Games People Play and several other books.

So most of us would say, isn’t this obvious? Don’t people behave like this in any case?

So I had a slightly different take on the Child, Adult, Parent Theory.

Suppose the Child state in us is just a free, natural person who wants to be loved and gives love freely. Our inner child is someone who requires nurturing, pampering, adulation and is hesitant about the outside world, of all those people in a groups and is trusting of just a few who he really loves. The true 5 year old. Imagine if this person enters a work place and has to deal with powerful bosses and cranky co-workers. They’ll most likely throw fits at work, want special attention and may get terribly upset if criticised.

An Adult manages that.

The Adult state is the one where the person has power or control over their relationships, they’re able to balance their duties and responsibilities at work and stand up for themselves because they understand what it’s taken for them to be there. 

An Adult state of being is a person who doesn’t let fear rule their decisions. An Adult ego is someone who is more calculating, manipulative and figures out strategies that work best for him. An over active Adult state without the Child or Parent state could lead to someone who is selfish, narcissist, dominating and may not have balanced relationships.

A Parent state for me, is very different than what Erik Berne defined.

The Parent state is one of the ego or soul longing for more in life than wealth, fame and success. It’s the desire to just be searching, questioning, grasping for a higher light, a deeper meaning, inner truth, living in the moment, and extreme mindfulness. Most people who are just in this state will have given up most of the worldly pleasures to focus on doing something for humanity, or finding something deeper about themselves or the world in general. 

The Parent person is also a very giving person. If you’re in this state you’ll feel like giving advice, generally helping people, nurturing someone, or just being alone to meditate, seek answers from within, etc.

So how do we apply this in our daily lives?

First of all, we need an awareness that these 3 states exist within us and they can switch in a moment or take an extended period of time. Most people can behave in just a Child state in a work environment or in their relationships their whole lives, unable to understand why they are failing at both. 

If at work you are aware of these states you’ll acknowledge if you’re behaving like the Child, Adult or spending too much time as the Parent that is affecting your work.

Are your reactions immature (Child)? Are you just wanting to give up everything and go to the hills (Parent)? Or are you taking in the information and forming a strategy in your head before responding (Adult)? 

In relationships, are you over nurturing, allowing your partner to make many faults while you cover up for them? (Parent) Are you looking for attention, feeling insecure and fearful of what could happen? (Child) Are you dominating and emotionally unavailable sometimes because it’s a strategy to not be vulnerable? (Adult)

As a householder are you too aloof, into your own thoughts, not caring about the world and what is needed to survive? (Parent)

Transactional Analysis is then a way to alter your ego state to the situation to solve your emotional problem.

This comes through an inner dialogue of the different psyches.

Berne believed that these states are largely formed through childhood. I believe that childhood has a part to play in the formation but each moment that we have to choose the state plays in the development of which state becomes stronger.

You will find many successful people who are just in the Adult state. They have the Parent lacking in them.

Many people who have a very developed Child aspect in them but not the Adult state will not be able to fathom why they’re not taken seriously.

An over active Adult who doesn’t have a balanced Child ego will feel jaded and bitter with life. A Child ego brings wonder, happiness, hope and dreams and is the state that can tap into the subconscious level as well.

So the next time you’re going for a meeting, know that you need to be an Adult there. And when you’re in a relationship, maybe in that moment you can be a child. And find moments in your life to truly be the Parent and seek out a deeper truth and meaning of life.
And always be consciously aware of what you’re choosing and why!

(Inputs from Anuraadha Tewari, Writer & Director) 

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