Wednesday, January 17, 2018

WALK-AWAY SYNDROME By Dr. Pradnya Ajinkya

Lovely : My husband wants out of the marriage. It is so heartfelt because this is the same man who was once in that exact place. I am still committed in the marriage and would like to stay and look at the problems and fix it. 

Sabath : I don’t know how to salvage my relationship. She isn’t aware or doesn’t understand how her actions affect me. My anger drove a wedge so far between my wife and I, when she thought of even touching me, I wanted to vomit. "We have fallen out of love."

Lovely : I don’t mean to be harsh or uncaring. But he won’t talk to me positively about our marriage and remains as confused as I am and wants to quit. What should I do ? Is this domestic violence ?

Sabath : I may be confused because I live in the fear of the unknown all the time and my core is shaken. Feel controlled and judged all the time by Lovely.

Lovely : I love Sabath, but I have deep insecurities of losing him. Always feel confused and terrified by abandonment.  

Sabath : I am afraid of her unpredictable emotional state and high levels of jealousy. Giving constant approvals to everything is like a vocation for me. Our community social networks are big and cluttered and she can get angry before anyone for no reason. 

Lovely : I am hyper vigilant with money because I want Sabath to buy a home for us. When he is in the midst of women, I feel very anxious and say things which should not be and everyone around feel I am judgemental. For sure I feel terrified by abandonment, but if he decides to leave me like what happened to me in my previous marriage, I want no one’s help. I will turn into a ghost and haunt him. 

Sabath : The downside of this security (it’s just about impossible to live together as a family) happened since the last four months. Though we are both viewed as good people and secure in social standing, I am always worried about her stiffed speech, distrust and emotional-driven misinterpretations. I am not the same Sabath today. I feel mentally threatened and humiliated. I have moved into the adjoining bedroom without her consent. 

Lovely : Sabath is always ruminating on the past issues instead of reminding himself that marriage is a legal obligation. I will not spare him. He will regret this for what brought him to this juncture and the stubbornness he used to lash himself with and stop him from moving forward will be viewed as unfair and punished further.

1] The description of the way Sabath and Lovely operated while they were dealing with rejected suitors ended up with further anger issues only leading to desperation and extreme stress for both partners. 

2] If we knew our remarriage was going to end in disaster management, we are sure that we would not get into this marriage, they would keep saying very often. 

3] The sessions investigated the relation between spouses’ and styles of conflict resolution. Even though the couple recalled old and new conflict episodes they also made effort to observe different conflict conversations. 

4] The intimate couple were trained for different approaches to conflict resolution which included active listening skills, neutral language, and reframing techniques to understand the feelings that drive the other person. 

5] The troubling thing is the persistent fascination for fighting and arguing. Fighting became dramatic while peaceful disputing boring.

6] Intimacy requires high levels of trust. Vulnerability requires great transparency of feelings. Intimacy requires that the partners feel understood by each other as well as accepted, admired and loved. 

7] So when we analyze how people conduct disputes with each other’s approaches that may lead to resolution of the dispute, can leave the relationship damaged and may not work.

8] If someone feels wounded after a dispute she/he may withdraw from the relationship and the consequences for the relationship though negative, are not necessarily fatal. The person in conflict may leave for some time, but if they are fired or threatened further, then they quit. 

9] a] So, in the marriage of Sabath and Lovely, one partner experiences defeat at the hands of the other, or as that partner feels attacked and diminished in the eyes of the other and the relationship suffers. 

b] Lovely : If I lose my trust that my partner will not hurt me, I become more cautious which means I want to be less vulnerable. Thus I begin to reveal harsh feelings.

c] Sabath : If I feel it is dangerous to my self esteem to raise difficult issues with my partner, I will avoid conflicts even as I become more resentful and begin to withdraw.

d] Sabath : As I feel less connected I find myself with a diminished sexual interest in my partner. And so the marriage slowly erodes until one day I, typically say "We have "fallen out of love. There is no intimacy left between us and so there is no passion any more. We have grown apart. I think it can’t work and I can’t take this anymore.”

e] Both may be very dear to each other, yet the marriage for the current situation is in a chronic dysfunctional state due to threats (arising from lack of conflict resolution skills) and not because of any threat of domestic violence which can become more resentful, and there is a possibility of any one spouse withdrawing for safety (walk-away-syndrome).

Monday, January 15, 2018

Runaway Husband - By Dr Pradnya Ajinkya

1] After knowing each other for nine years we both agreed that, we are in love and happy to be tying the knot. 

2] But after a few months of the marriage, things changed. The decline was particularly steep because of non consummation of the marriage and the course of true love ran downhill.

3] The irony is that even as the marital satisfaction declined, the likelihood of wanting to divorce did not arise and instead declined and we wanted to seek help from a psychologist/sexologist. There were occasions to note that we were not miserable together and we were looking forward to a change in general happiness in spite of no sex. For me the biggest predictor of overall life satisfaction was my spouse. 

4] Not surprisingly, it is only me who currently bears the heaviest cost of becoming his wife. I can remember how he left me by bringing home a so-called-police to move him and his belongings out on a date we were scheduled to meet the counsellor. He disconnected me from my work place and friends and colleagues and left me alone in a foreign country. My core world was feeling like shrinking. 

5] His successful launch as a husband was when he invited me back to Canada to renegotiate and got all the necessary papers transferred in his name, after which he just disappeared and finally left me to struggle with all the responsibilities alone in a foreign country. He believed that once he left, everything ends, it is done and there is no need to talk about it.

6] This one act has done untold amounts of damage to my psyche. All of these acts/changes led to fundamental and long-lasting effects on me including my aging parents who rushed to Canada to bring home to India their emotionally and mentally broken child. 

7] The relationship strain became so serious that it associated with many serious physical health problems as well as symptoms of depression and other mental health problems. 

8] With all the problems and pain, I wanted to continue in the marriage and tried communicating with him over email, calls and what’s app and finally he rejected/blocked me. 

9] I am recovering from severe psychiatric disturbances and shocked as I remember my own symptoms and behaviour during the episode and tragic event when he left me alone. There is a common belief that ‘it can’t happen to me and there was no hint or sign that it could even happen.’ What can happen if we reunite?


1] Husband gets emotionally distant?

2] Living in emotional prisons because you tend to get disconnected from the spouse and self?

3] Before he decides to have sex, things have to be right?

4] Some couples wait and not allow pressures to stand in the way of marital bliss?

5] If non consummation is a manifestation of marital disorder, it is logical to direct treatment at the marriage. 

6] A proportion of unconsummated marriages are unlikely to be altered by any approach by those where one or both partners show gross psycho sexsual immaturity or deviation, complete lack of motivation, deliberate dissimulation or overt hatred and contempt.

7] (T) : Can this be a focal point of your life? Is it the total story? 

(V) : He seems to show no remorse and treats me like a total stranger. 

(T) : In an earthquake also one can get abandoned. It can be considered a major tragedy. 

(V) : I suffered a major tragedy, abandonment and rejection

(T) : In a remarkable twist of fate, we are with our loving parents in the current situation. 

(V) : I am alive because I get my will power from parents. I want to find true happiness by living with people who care, love and will never desert me.

Sunday, December 17, 2017

Is the anti-agenda holiday the detox you need? Ismat Tahseen | TNN

We've all had holidays that are packed to capacity when it comes to sightseeing and eating out. But that's passe. Say hello to a break that's actually putting the brakes on your stress and worries. It's a 'slow holiday' - the anti-vacation which is opposite to the usual rush and frenzy to do more, see more and eat more. Since a holiday is meant to relax and de-stress you, experts are hailing it as the real detox. And folks have been there and tried it...

'We used to end up fatigued while shopping for friends and family'
Andheri-based IT consutant Nishith Mehta and wife Rakhi embarked on the 'nothing to do' break last April and since then they said all their six getaways have been the most rested ever. "Can you imagine not doing anything but lazing by a pool or visiting a city and just stopping by any cafe we like with nothing to tick off from a notebook? That's what our breaks are like now," he says, adding, "Earlier, all I can remember of our vacations was a rush to see places and then shop, in fact we used to grow tired of trying to head out and shop for things for our friends and family members." 

Adds Tejas Shah a stockbroking expert, "I have a stressed job and when I go on a holiday, somehow I pack in too much to do, so I end up with another whirlwind schedule even though I am so far away from the office. A friend mentioned slow travel to me and I decided to try that on my last vacation. I opted to just go on a cycling tour of Vietnam. It was simple, laidback and so non-hurried. I think everyone should try this once," he recalls.

Expert speak: Slow down to enjoy yourself better
Doing all the touristy things you can may seem like fun but they're affecting you and you may not realise it, say experts. Psychotherapist Nita Jhaveri affirms this. "Think of over packing a bag, wont it burst at its seams? This is just like that. Fast-paced breaks can leave you feeling fatigued and frazzled, maybe even more than you were before you went on a vacation. So instead, do less and focus on being at the present moment and relaxing." Adds psychologist Dr Pradnya Ajinkya, "Keep the agenda minus any fuss. Slow down to enjoy yourself better. Limit other areas of activity such the number of hours of exploring. Immerse yourself in the moment and don't be in a rush to tick off things from a guide book."

Saturday, December 16, 2017

While Gurugram has 'anger rooms', Mumbai wants ‘peace rooms’ in offices - Times of India

When something upsets you at work next time, don't pull your hair out or bang your hand on the keyboard trying to unburden your mental load. Instead, how about walking into a special area in the office where you can fume, rave and throw things about all you like? You'll be forgiven for your 'behaviour' as you're in an anger room. Say hello to this new-age therapeutic tool that lets folks let off steam in a reasonable manner, without any fear of being punished. Such anger rooms or 'rage rooms' are popping up all over the globe and there's a first one in India too, at Gurugram, where one can smash TVs, microwaves, crockery (all junk, of course) and more. In a hyper, stressed-out city like ours, is it high time such cathartic rooms came about?

City mental health experts bat for 'peace rooms' instead

While they agree that therapeutic rooms would work in offices, experts want them minus the idea of breaking things. Says psychiatrist Dr Harish Shetty, "There are better, more creative ways to handle anger. The concept may be okay, but such a room should not be a place for anger and destruction. Breaking things to remove anger is a medieval process and may leave one angrier. Companies should be more creative to address issues that cause anger. Instead, why not have a 'peace room' where people can be emotionally nude minus any violence? It could be a place where they can paint, draw run around or even cry alone. Executives who are up all night on chat interfaces or in disturbed relationships tend to be highly irritable. How about a jogging track at the workplace or a gym to help them?" he asks. 

Psychologist Dr Pradnya Jayant Ajinkya also adds, "How you regulate anger is important. Venting out has its upsides and disadvantages. While release leaves the mind feeling lighter, anger rooms seem to encourage violent activity, which is wrong as it can end up as an exhibition of a learned helpless behaviour. Why not create a tranquil room, which offers simpler diversion games like stress balls etc?" There's also something deeper to this. Says clinical psychologist Dr Varkha Chulani, "What is important is learning how to manage our ideologies of how we should or should not behave. An anger room won't empower you and it causes more damage. Instead, develop an internal locus of control. Reconstruct the attitudes that form the basis of emotional upsetness. You may have a special unwind zone or zen room, but you can't be in that 24 hours a day." 

Don't go by the age-old tricks of counting down from 10 or having a glass of cold water. Sometimes, none of these work in volatile situations. Says Udayan Shah, a stock market analyst from Fort. "My work is fast-paced with client demands and keeping track of the market. I can't help getting stressed and annoyed. At that time, all the advice of taking deep breaths or taking a chill pill doesn't work. How often I wish that I could vent out on my own without upsetting anyone else around me."

If you too, find yourself impulsively flying into a rage almost every day, that's not surprising. In a '2017 Global Least and Most Stressed Cities Ranking', Mumbai is at an alarming 138. Any number of factors — from personal issues to security, unemployment, finance woes, traffic, public transport and pollution — act as a trigger to set off fury. And it wreaks havoc if unchecked. Affirms HR manager Makarand Gaikwad from a consultant firm at Mulund. "In Mumbai, one of the biggest workplace issues we deal with is employee dissatisfaction. Any number reasons can cause this — either people can't complete their work, or there are salary issues or even having to deal with a tough boss and management. People often bottle things up, which is unhealthy. So, having such a room at the workplace where you can yell out loud without being scolded, would be of help." 

Adds HR expert NK Ramesh, "We don't even recognise most mental health problems until they have reached a peak, so tools like this might really help. I think such a therapeutic room will help remove frustration and heat off the head if it's done minus breaking things. I know a number of organisations that actually keep punching bags on the premises as a tool to help employees de-stress; in fact, you can even put a photo of the person on the punching bag. Stress is a huge factor for wear and tear at the workplace and it starts right from the moment you leave home. It can occur to anyone, not just corporates. That said, a room that lets you unwind without building up your anger again should be the focus."

Wednesday, July 19, 2017


1] Mohini's psychological, psychiatric and neurological conditions are at risk at each of these stages because even prior to conception, Mohini was genetically predisposed to mental illness.

2] Fistal's delusional, paranoid, alcoholic, manic depressive symptoms consisting with a diagnosis of bipolar II disorder or with organic effective illness.

3] Chetna's struggle with alcohol and drug abuse with psychotic symptoms and a diagnosis of schizophrenia.

4] Sayoni's life filled with chronic torture. At an early age, she learned to use glue and other substances to medicate away her emotional response to the multiple trauma to which she was subjected.

5] Kemaya's school records which provide early indication of neurological impairment. She exhibited attention problems, an inability to learn Math, signs of organic brain damage and symptoms of depression.

6] Jiten's social factors which had a prolonged effect on development and his environment prohibited his development of an emotional or cognitive ability to cope.

7] Videsh's serious memory deficits and the neurological symptom of confabulation to fill the gaps in his memory.

8] Brij is reunited with his alcoholic and abusive biologic father who provided him with a chaotic and desperate life of hunger and instability.

9] Tara who was abandoned by her biological parents and was sent to live with her grandparents. The school records document learning disabilities, and give description to severe emotional and intellectual disabilities which were never adequately addressed by the school.


Breakdown in trust
Sexual problems
Jealousy and anger
Domestic  violence and abuse
Poor communication
Power imbalances
Extra marital affairs
Divorce counselling

Sayona’s story : What we all must know -- Dr Pradnya Ajinkya

1] Nine year old Sayona feels sick almost every day. Many days she felt ill and would avoid going to school. Other times she’d throw up in school. 

2] In the counselling sessions Sayona was wailing and feeling violently ill. She cannot hide her sadness and cannot explain her fears about losing mother. 

3] The counsellor held out hope that her mother was safe but Sayona was so restless that she would get up from her chair, cry and then go back and sit on her chair and cry.

4] In one session, Sayona opened her school bag and gave a big packet with several coffee sachets to the counsellor. The counsellor was not able to describe the contents immediately. She asked the child about the sachets and the availability in her school bag. 

5] According to Sayona, a tall fair lady came along with a small girl and placed the packets in her bag. She was not able to say from where and when they came. “Please ask Krupa Uncle. He is the attendant in the school bus. Uncle is not coming since 4 days. He promised to give me a big chocolate. But I don’t want to carry these packets. When I tell that fair lady she shouts and pushes me. I am scared they will kill my mother, she cried before the counsellor. 

6] Sayona’s mother explained to the counsellor that she married Ram 12 years ago. She didn’t know what any other life is like. She lived in an illusion that she was happy in her marriage and in control of her life. 

7] Two years back her husband committed suicide. “I cannot explain how frightened I was when I saw my husband hanging on the fan. I was unable to move and desperately needed someone to come and save Ram. I crawled to the family doctor who came home within minutes. The doctor declared Ram dead. Then I literally felt nothing. I could do nothing. My brain was not functioning at any level. I could not even bring myself to talk to anyone because I had no voice. I didn’t have any words to say. I woke up each day having spent in a state of anxiety, despair and fear. I wanted to kill myself. My recovery time was lengthened by months. The world breaks everyone and afterward many are strong at the broken places,” she narrated to the counsellor.

8] “Over the past two years after her father’s death, Sayona went through a lot. She is in constant fear of losing me. But I am not able to connect the fair lady, coffee sachets and bus attendant. I can’t connect why they targeted Sayona?” spoke the aggrieved mother. 

9] The special investigation team appointed uncovered drugs in the coffee sachets.


Sayona’s father had a tragic death. The current investigation ruled that Ram had committed suicide, but also attributed his death due to pressures from this unknown lady who was trafficking drugs.

It must have been incredibly difficult for Sayona to handle the lady, sachets and Krupa Uncle.

The fair lady must have threatened the child that her mother would also die in similar circumstances. 

Sayona is going through a double bereavement process and lot of conflicting feelings.

The lady singled out Sayona and not other children.

Q] Despite the best professional efforts at all levels why are children invariably being used for trafficking?
In the years of my working experience there have been important and time-sensitive decisions about the rise in drug abuse, trafficking and their personal safety. Many young children are becoming addicted too.

Q] Which population must be targeted as a vital part of the Prevention Strategy?
Drug addiction is a complex and pervasive health issue causing untold damage to themselves, families an
d communities. A population of age group 12-17 must be targeted for extensive education and prevention efforts along with treatment if necessary.  

Q] Effective treatment for many drug related problems?
Behavioral therapies remain the effective treatment.  In addition, a comprehensive system needs to be developed at all levels of education to improve the understanding of trafficking, drug abuse and addiction among children and adolescents.

Q] Difference in the brain activity?
The addicted brain is distinctly different from the non-addicted brain, as manifested by changes in brain metabolic activity, receptor availability, gene expression, and responsiveness to environmental cues.

Q] Role of care givers? 
Some couples even with children are at the end of their relationship (when one does and the other doesn’t) because of drug habits. Can drugs simply be a part of any relationship or family? What are families cultivating?

Case: Rising cases of drug abuse in women: A young lady explained John and I are raised in totally different environments. I am tired of his anti-drug propaganda. I cannot continue being his ‘good wife’ all the time. He has no idea what I am saying because he has not experienced. Is that my fault?

Case: Rising cases of Marijuana in schools and colleges: We are sure this rising problem is also a need of the hour. This is a tragic cycle. The corrections and treatment professionals must join in common purpose to break the cycle of drugs and crime by reducing drug consumption which will help the suffering parents and children from losing each other to a world of no return.


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