Ameeta Sanghavi Shah
Ameeta is certified in Family Therapy from Washington University at St Louis, U.S.A and has a double Master in Social Work from Mumbai University and Washington University, St Louis. She has an NLP Master Practitioner’s and Trainer’s Certification from National Federation of Neuro Linguistic Programming, U.S.A. & has done certificate courses in NLP from U.K. She is trained in clinical hypnotherapy, regression therapy, somatic experiencing and in EFT (Emotional Freedom Technique).
Ameeta has been practicing as a psychotherapist and trainer using the family therapy, cognitive behavioural therapy, rational emotive therapy, neuro-linguistic programming (NLP), meditation, creative visualization and hypnotherapy. She has written a weekly column for Pune Times for over 2 years and was on the Zee TV show Sangini.
She has conducted workshops for organizations on Self Development and Positive Living – adopting a proactive attitude to life and work, Strengthening Motivation, Communication and Interpersonal Skills - Assertiveness, Conflict Management, Managing Relationship Stress, Empowered Parenting, Reducing Co-dependency in relationships, Stress management and Relaxation Techniques.
She shall answer your questions on dealing with the emotional problems of life.
Ask Ameeta Sanghavi Shah
Question 76. due to my ignorance i fall prey to the wiles of my cousin .i was indifferent to it all till i got to know about carnal relationships and their meanings. i am firm believer in karma and hindu teachings.but i am not going to forgive myself for this act .please help me out.i can`t afford healing sessions. - Tapan Sanyal On 20 December 2009
I do not know from your mail at what age you had these problems with your cousin. It is clear that the older person and adult in such relationships – your cousin holds the responsibility for keeping the integrity of the relationship. When someone due to age or seniority and the nature of the relationship is in a position of power and trust and this person misuses their power in the relationship over the other person to satisfy their own views and self at the cost of the other powerless person – this is abuse. Additionally this is sexual abuse when power is misused and trust betrayed for their own sexual needs. In such situations the powerless and younger person’s ignorance is exploited and they are seduced with ‘bribes’ or intimidated into participation and secrecy.
Somewhere the victim feels guilty as if they have sinned or participated. The victim can often feel repulsed or sometimes may even enjoy getting attention from a person in power not realizing what is happening. Either way the victim is neither guilty nor ‘bad’. This is the first step for a victim to realize that it was not their fault at all and the other person is fully responsible for the wrongdoing.
Karma does not mean that the wrongdoer is justified due to any past life misdeed of the victim’s. Evolving means setting limits not taking revenge. Karma is also ‘learning’. In abuse situations the learning may be about recovering your own authority and power to say ‘no’ that you may have lost in the process or in some earlier karmic event. Your learning would be that you do not let the wrong doer define you, you reclaim your authority to define yourself and have your self esteem back. You realize what was done was not your shortcoming, it was the bully’s limitations.
Healing sessions can help this process of recovering lost energies, regaining self esteem and developing assertion abilities and stopping holding oneself responsible or guilty. Karma can help us know that the wrongdoer will have to face his misdeeds. You may also take action to stop or expose the person as is possible and suits you or you may let his karma do that work and you would focus on rebuilding your life.
Question 77. hi well i am 26 i have been sufferring from premature greying of hair, which gives me low self esteem , is there any technique or method to arrest and reverse the problem.
ashish - Paul Masters On 21 December 2009
I do not know about any nutritional or medical methods to stop this that may exist. Of course having healthy nutrition, hair care, sleep and food habits can be valuable. Greying is stress related and can also be in the family’s heredity.
To recover self esteem you would have to cultivate acceptance of your hair as it is. Often due to our non acceptance we have more stress which in turn increases the very problem – the ‘greying’ that gives us stress. Much like stammering – the more you do not want it the more of it happens. Being easy about it and focusing on the other aspects of our personality that can charm others such as humour and talking - listening skills can make us come across as lively and enjoyable company and attractive too. It almost makes the problem immaterial. Being less affected by our problem is an important stress buster and way of getting back what the problem makes us lose.
Using cosmetic methods to keep up the wanted appearance can be useful in reducing our stress and self consciousness as the ultimate aim is our self esteem. Finding safer and easier hair colouring methods is something you probably have used and could continue.
You can use other methods of reducing stress with managing goals and expectations, increasing coping skills and anger management skills, meditation, relaxation techniques, breath training, chakra balancing and this could stop further greying. You can experiment in using affirmations and intentions at alpha level in non-anxious ways to intend keeping your hair black and healthy.
Question 78. Dear Ameeta,
My problem is my husband.He is very caring and loving but he talks in such a manner which irritates me becoz it seemed as if he is passing some comments to me for which I also tried my best to answer those comments as a result fight starts.I am not independent may be thats the reason i am insecure too.please please help.
- Arzoo Tiwari On 22 December 2009
You have mentioned your insecurity due to not being independent. The first step may be to slowly build up independence. Take up small tasks and begin developing skills that can lead to income generation. You may be looking to create independence that is economic or social or even for practical tasks. With small things you can begin to learn to enjoy doing things by yourself such as shopping or decision of selecting some product for yourself. You can be part of some small ladies group or hobby class. You do not have to be totally independent, just begin cultivating it. This can help you be calmer with comments.
When you know that he does not like the answers to the comments you may stop those answers and just agree at that time. You can then take it up with him later when both of you are in a better mood and also when you are both alone and no one else is around. At such times you can tell him of your difficulty with his comments and not knowing how to answer them. Be sure to also tell him that over all you feel good about his love and caring. This way he will be open to your feedback and therefore guide you as to what he wants you to do or alter his ways.
Question 79. Dear Mam I remembered from starting in think age of 5 i m having some health issue but now i had severe health problems which i am feeling but my all reports are normal. some time headache, migraine, sinusitis,Cervical, always i have low self esteem, inferiority complex but now all problems has been increased. i m suffering from severe depression , anxiety , fear but if i am looking there is no reason of depression & fear.I am always having fear that i m & close to my all are in big trouble i don't know why.
I am in big trouble i have tried all antidepressant but nothing has helped me i have tried all yoga pranayam meditation but no relief now these days my condition is worse.can u help me? - Namit On 8 January 2010
Yoga and pranayam help in teaching us how to relax and how to manage our breath and the body movement exercises help us balance our neurological and energy systems. They do not help us in understanding and managing our thoughts, emotions and actions. You need to do added work in this area with communications and relationships skills training and cognitive training in making our thoughts more rational and balanced.
Anti depressants look after the symptom and give some temporary relief. However they too do not address the actual ways we are thinking and the way we make our choices. Anti depressants also can leave a person feeling worse in some ways. They sometimes affect your sleep cycle or make you feel drowsy. Each person reacts differently. These effects take a person further away from the efficiency needed for the day’s tasks. That can again make you depressed and disheartened that you are not coping and what could now happen as a result.
Sometimes we are in good homes and have grown up with loving parents too. However we have been brought up with advice and guidance that is too strong and that has not allowed us to handle our feelings or our difficulties in friendships or in studies. Messages like “Always be strong.” “Stop being a sissy and stay positive.” “Be the best.” “Never be angry” “Stop being whiny and get along with people” Many people feel overwhelmed and shut down by their emotional feelings especially when they have a tendency to feel guilt and shame about them. They may have learned these attitudes whilst growing up if parents disciplined their child by giving the messages as given above that are too strong or shaming the child or punishing too much. Such emotional feelings could then be experienced somatically as various pains and illnesses.
These parenting methods can create unrealistic expectations from oneself that one cannot manage and therefore you can feel low self esteem. This leads to feelings of disappointment with oneself and procrastination issues so you are not able to materialize your goals and from behaving reactively and losing the support and goodwill of others. Instead of these generalized rules we need to learn to know where our feelings stem from and how could we cope with that difficult situation. We need to learn instead good problem solving skills that would then automatically help us to be positive again.
You seem to be suffering from obsessional thinking that makes your illnesses feel worse and maybe even get worse. Obsessional thinking is when one’s worries and obsessions involve exaggerating the distressing situation with images and thoughts and exaggerating the consequences of the distressing situation. There are times when you know that your obsessions and the consequences one imagines are irrational. You try to resist your obsessions, but that only makes them worse. Obsessional thoughts or images provoke so much distress or fear and hence you want to get rid of them. You do all you can to suppress terrifying thoughts. But by fighting the thought, you end up encouraging its persistence. Obsessional thoughts are maintained in part through paradox: The more you fight them, the more difficult it is to dismiss them. The more you actively resist them, the more stubborn they seem to get. It is the same way that insomnia happens: The harder one tries to fall asleep, the less one is able to fall asleep. Whatever you try to resist makes you focus on and remember it more. The solution is to accept the distresses and fears, make them sound more routine and a part of life and exaggerate one’s resources - psychological, material and social to cope with them.
Obsessing starts with at transition or change times especially the teenage years. This is the stage when personal responsibility increases- getting jobs, marriage, and earning. With increased responsibilities it is possible to make mistakes that lead to serious consequences. You have a tendency to exaggerate the likelihood of such mistakes as also their significance and what others see as troublesome you would see as catastrophic. Dr Albert Ellis the renowned psychologist called this the “terribalization” process that makes us distressed.
Another reason we may worry is because one wants to avoid more unpleasant conflicted feelings and thoughts. The irrational worries cover these ambivalent feelings. Sometimes we can be upset over the unfairness of a parent or close person. We are obligated to this person and have been taught that it is against moral values to disrespect a parent. Then our anger or upset with them causes us guilt. The guilt locks in the anger. We feel troubled as we cannot love the person nor can we be angry with them. If we can sort out the two feelings then we can be free and not need to cover up our feelings with worry. We can think of our anger and our love in terms of behaviours we are angry about and behaviours we love – this way it is ok to have both the feelings and find ways to express them.
Media coverage can exaggerate our fears and obsessional thinking and fears too. Sometimes we may not have a bad experience directly. However we may have been watching someone else go through a bad time and this can also traumatize a person. This often happens these days with the news reporting that has become very sensational and seeing those trauma images we can be terrified.
Regression therapies can help you discover the root of these feelings. Soothing and healing the inner child part of ourselves that is still hurting and reacting could be beneficial.
The emotional freedom technique too can help. Learning relaxation techniques and somatic experiencing techniques can help you feel more in control with your emotions and this would prevent them from becoming somatic.
Question 80. Respected Madam, My wife is behaving like a negetively and revengful ways and is very suspicious, hyperalert, aggressive and easily could not return in normal mood.
Even she is not able to discuss for a long time. She says she has powers. Whatever I say she does negative. It is difficult to understand her as I find different personalities and moods at different situations.
Please help. - Raju Bhalerao On 26 February 2010
It would be useful for you to go for counselling. You can learn different ways to be non reactive to her. You can first get yourself desensitized to her rude behaviour. So you are less threatened and hurt. You notice what triggers her and her patterns of being aggressive. This can help you to avoid and prevent some outbursts.
Next when someone becomes negative with us we can be sure our communication becomes reactive. Being non reactive is being effective. It is not being sweet or calm or over tolerant. If the person is revengeful we are not doormats and trying to please her and cheer her. Nor are we trying to preach and plead to improve the person. Nor are we being martyrs that “Ok you do what you want and I won’t say anything.” All these in fact would be a considered a reaction. All of these communications sound like they are saying “I’m good and you’re not and you need improvement.” Even though it is the truth that you are good and she is behaving problematically, this type of communication makes the person with the problem more defensive. They then try to shift blame and thus become revengeful and negative.
Instead you would be firm in limit setting with her and you could get detached and get yourself less affected by her ways. And at the same time you could be able to convey to her that you care. The message is “You cannot do this. This type of behaviour is not acceptable. We need to find a better way for what your concerns are.” So the conversation moves from limit setting to recognizingher concerns to identifying the problem. Her concerns may not feel genuine to you, yet they can be recognized. E.g. “You feel I don’t give you time and I feel I try and this is a problem.” Thus you too are neither blaming nor defensive with her complaints. We can bring up her negative behaviours too as “You are shouting and that is not ok. It disturbs me. I am listening, say this to me nicely.” A firm tone works better than being superior, patronizing or pleading. Choose your tone of voice and words. And finally after defining the problem you may try to generate ideas for communications between both of you. You would ask her too her opinions. One has to have a dialogue with dialogue creating skills. “This is what is possible for me. Maybe when I ... you could do... and we could try this... what do you think?” The ideas can identify better caring or behaviour from each other around each frustrating situation that occurs in day to day living. Counselling can help you with these non reactive communications.
You may try to get your wife to go for counselling too. When a person’s behaviour becomes difficult it is important that you do not tell them they need to consult someone because they are not normal or that they need to improve. It is better to tell them that they are in need of support and they seem to be facing stress. You can even acknowledge to her that maybe the stress she faces she could be feeling from you or from some feelings or wishes that are not met. In reality her way of coping is actually stress to you! Yet one has to take a different perspective whilst talking to her that she can be feeling stress from the situations around her.
When people cannot handle their stress and they feel internal stress due to low self esteem, they use very hyper behaviours. This makes them lose support and good will of even their family members. This results in sometimes magical thinking and panicky behaviours as they begin to feel they are bad (inside themselves). So it is a vicious cycle. If one can with help of coaching sustain positive non reactive firm communications with the person long enough the problem can change. If this does not feel possible you may have to see a psychiatrist and begin medications. This is often more difficult with such a person as they are not ready to trust and they do not want to accept their part in the problem. Positive communications have great possibility.