This young girl was into her under graduation, and was slowly withdrawing into herself. She is a good-looking girl, but was disinterested in dressing up. She came in with her father and mother. She has a younger brother. The father came across as a very dominating character. The mother looked very resigned.
They were worried about their daughter’s behavior. They wanted to know what was to be done. The father did have his own theories, but they did not seem to help in diagnosing her problem.
Under counseling, it was revealed that her father has always decided what she should do and where she should go. His word was law in the house, and if anyone had a different opinion it was not accepted. He was a self-proclaimed best counselor, and a knowledgeable guy. He had a very commanding figure and the family was under his thumb.
His wife never objected to his domination, she felt she did not have the wherewithal to oppose him. She was very worried about her daughter. She was more attuned to her daughter’s moods and felt there was something missing in her daughter’s life. She knew her daughter was under the influence of her father, and felt she has to be more assertive. But when this lady has never been assertive herself with her husband, how could she expect her daughter to stand up to her father?
It took some time to make this girl comfortable, but soon the counselor found that this girl was terrified of upsetting her father. Her father had chalked out her future for her. He wanted her to appear for IIT entrance and get into a prestigious institution. That would make her life for her. He was not willing to accept she was not capable or that she did not have the inclination.
He never bothered to find out her preferences and what she wanted to be in life. What were her goals, what did she want from life, etc. He assumed since she was bright in school, she should do her IIT and be settled in life.
But this girl did not want to do her IIT, she wanted to study physics and later teach. She did not have any lofty ambitions but was terrified of letting her father know. She was under tremendous pressure to perform academically and so had a nervous break down.
She was advised complete rest and was asked to take a break from her studies. She was to bring in a discipline in her every day schedule, exercise and pick up some hobby. The girl in her was tapped and she was asked to take interest in dressing up. She appeared delighted with this suggestion. She had to undergo psychiatric evaluation and put was put on medication to handle her stress and anxiety levels. A young energetic girl was reduced into a placid personality.
Her father was not interested in counseling. He being a very forceful personality was not willing to accept his role in turning his daughter into this meek person. He always stated he knew her potential and was determined she do her IIT.
The mother was more amenable. She understood her daughter’s mental state and was very disturbed. Her husband was impatient and she was disturbed. She accepted her daughter needed some pushing and a fixed routine in her life. She was willing to involve her daughter in some household chores. And she also understood her daughter could not handle any more stress and had to be gently handled. Her medications were to be monitored.
This girl wanted to tell her father her wish to do physics. But was not sure how to go about it. The counselor suggested she consult a good career counselor and present the information to her father. He could get disappointed, but he has to accept he cannot rule his family indefinitely.
His son is already rebelling. If he does not recognize the signs, (he being the best counselor there is!), he will find himself isolated emotionally from his family.
I hope this girl picks up enough courage to confront her father. She had opposed him once in her childhood and nothing catastrophic had happened. When she was reminded of it, she realized she could talk to him. If she wanted it badly enough, she would have to fight for it. She seemed determined enough to do it.
I hope she gets to do what she wants to do. That way she will be under less stress, or stress that she can handle. She will pick up interest in life and hopefully achieve great things.