After a relationship of two years, we broke up because we couldn’t get married and she got engaged to someone else. However, I met her a year ago and came to know that her engagement was called off. We still believe in our relationship, but I don’t know how to move ahead. Please suggest.
Since there’s no way to turn back time, you have to start thinking about the future. The best way is to win back the friendship. From her perspective, it would not be very comfortable to get too close to her former boyfriend romantically; not only because of the break up but also because of the broken engagement. If you can re-establish yourself as a friend, you will appear non-threatening to her. She won’t be worried about another heartbreak and by then you would have won her trust as a comrade and that will open the doors for the relationship again.
It is obvious that she is hurt and needs time to recuperate from the emotional wounds and societal pressures. Support her and provide her the space to think. Help her to get back her lost self-esteem, be a genuine friend and be with her most of the time.
Q. My 12-year-old daughter had gone to visit her grandparents in Mumbai when the terror attacks happened. She witnessed firings, gunshots and blasts. She has come back terrorised and is extremely scared of loud noises. She doesn’t talk much. How to bring her back to a healthy state?
There is evidence that children are the most vulnerable population during such disasters and need undivided attention. Being a witness to such sudden and intense trauma can result in shock, disbelief and emotional numbness. It is obvious that such a disaster is scarring but it is also imperative for children to overcome these fears and spring back to normal life. In all circumstances, be patient and understanding with your child and offer an empathetic ear. She would want to talk about the traumatic event over and over again. This is part of the healing process. Try to be a calming influence during family discussions that revolve around terror.
Don’t watch violent images for long hours and switch off the TV at least an hour before sleeping. If you are aware of what triggers cause an upsetting reaction, you’ll be in a better position to offer your support and help her restore the confidence. Let her know, however, that you’re there whenever she wants to talk.
Dr Jitendra Nagpal is Sr Consultant Psychiatrist, VIMHANS and Moolchand Hospital, New Delhi, and Programme Director, ‘Expressions India’ — The Life Skills Education and Community Mental Health Programme