Tarun Kanti Gayen, our clinical psychologist, will answer reader's questions about relationship crisis and mental health. Submit yours at [email protected]
Q: Coming from different social classes and background, my parents got married at a very early age. They fell out of love immediately after marriage and I was put in the middle of their broken relationship.
This made my entire childhood frightful. I could never receive their attention that I needed as a child.
In my mid-twenties, they are still unhappy in this unhappy marriage and never agreed to go for a divorce. Also, both of them are lonely and have no reliable friends or relatives.
I feel exhausted being stuck in this toxic relationship. How to make some changes, if possible, at all? — Anonymous.
A: Since divorce is not an option here, convince them to find a relationship counselor. Counseling will help them regain the lost warmth and value of their ties.
Talking to a counselor will help them open up and discuss their complaints. It may be hard for them to resolve the lifelong bitterness, but here you can work as a bridge.
It also looks like all three of you in the family are lonely and isolated. It might be helpful to have family dinners and outings to build a positive environment for the three of you.
The unhappy marriage of your parents inevitably affected your emotional health as well. Family therapy sessions can help you all live together in the same family.
Q: I am the son of my father's second wife. When I was 10 years old, my father was diagnosed with cancer. He transferred half of his land to my name, and the rest to my four step siblings. I had been treated almost as a slave at home after he passed away.
As soon as I started earning my own bread, I distanced myself from them. They have now seized the legal papers of the property. I can begin a legal war anytime and I know the law would go in my favor. But I always see them as my family.
Can I ever make things better and get my share of the property that rightfully belongs to me without going through court corridors?
A: Though this seems like more of a legal issue, I appreciate your courage for standing strong after going through a lot.
I would suggest you to move on from this unhealthy familial disharmony. I can understand your urge for family affection. But sometimes, to ease your own pain, you have to be tough and take a rational step instead of following your impulses.
Consult with a lawyer and battle the legal dispute to lawfully get what's yours.
Tarun Kanti Gayen is an adjunct faculty of the Department of Clinical Psychology, University of Dhaka. He is also the acting General Secretary of Bangladesh Clinical Psychology Society (BCPS).