In love !



Dr Harish Shetty

[Dr Harish shetty is a psychiatrist at Dr L.H. Hiranandani Hospital]

[ names have been changed to hide identities]

Boys are not always bad. But sometimes girls fall in love with their eyes closed and lose their heart to the wrong ones. These are the boys who actually need help and not girlfriends. Parents need to trust their daughters completely but need to keep their eyes open. If the environment in the family is conducive to sharing difficult stories there may be accidents but catastrophes will be averted. Early identification of a crisis will occur thereby saving lives and damage. Social Media has been a game changer and has accentuated contact and proximity. Its innovative seductive technology also has caused a lot of heartache and caused girls and boys to take wrong decisions.

If you have a boy friend it is not about efficiency!

If you do not have a boy friend its is not about deficiency !

Accepting yourself exactly as you are is the first prerequisite for democratic relationships that thrives on liberty, equality and fraternity

Following are a few examples of boy friend disasters

Jigna a 15 year old sat before me with her head down. Her parents had found some gold missing in the house and jigna confessed of taking it and giving it to her 24 year old boyfriend from her building. ‘I gave him because he was in a financial mess as his mom was in the hospital.’ The man not a boy was an engineering drop out and had spun stories around her mother. It appeared that he wanted money for his fun activities. This girl fell for his sob stories for the last 6 months. she was a topper in school and was yet doing well. She had no issues at home and everything was perfect. Jigna would do all her schoolwork fast and never attended tuitions. She used to hang around her complex when this man befriended her. Both her parents were working and she was well behaved. so here this was a case of a ‘naive adolescent ‘ who lost her way. Parents need to understand that children are born with different temperaments and natures Some are soft, very helpful, and kind. Such kids are gullible to advances by others especially older men who can sense this vulnerability. Alert parents can preempt this by being open and and also by keeping the lines of communication open at home. Jigna recovered and understood her folly very early.

Being Naive as an adolescent can cause a disaster.

Sonia a 17 year old girl was all in love with a 19 year old boy from the college. She came with marks on her body often related to violence. ‘my boyfriend is an angry guy but deep inside he is very good’ shared Sonia. Here the girl would be abused repeatedly and yet she continued. He would not allow her to meet her friends, had all her passwords and kept her in tight control. In her family the girl was lonely as her mother was loving but her dad very aloof and quiet. Communication with the growing girl was scant. The girl also had no time to meet her friends due to a tight schedule of studies. She did not take a peer review about her boyfriends behaviour. She got caught in a web. I

only asked her to get in touch with her friends once again, increased the communication of her dad. Soon she realised and disconnected herself from the abusive relationship. Here, Sonia had abandoned her circumference of safety i.e her friends. Long standing friends who have stood the test of time are real buffers against disastrous relationships. But one also should be careful of a few acquaintances who are perpetual match makers and may encourage girls to move into relationships with difficult guys out of habit or motive. This boy threatened violence that was thwarted with the help of the police. He was referred to a counsellor.

Failure to identify obsessive suspicious guys who need help and not a girlfriend can lead to damage

Razia appeared very happy with her boyfriend. ‘He is my best friend and supports me everywhere.’ Yet her grades fell and at 18 she had very poor attendance in the college. Otherwise a good student she was lagging. Razia did not feel guilty at all and was overwhelmed by the prize catch her boyfriend. Roaming around with her was her favourite pastime. The parents were in pain. As conversations progressed Razia shared that she was upset about her weight. She was not mildly obese but never respected her body. It all began as a child when her grandmother began calling her ,’Moti’ [fat] out of love and not in a condescending manner. Many friends also teased her across her life. She began believing that ‘she was not good’. ‘My boy friend never teased me ever and always shared that I am beautiful’ she vociferously shared. In her frame of reference this boy whom she described as good looking accepted her exactly as she is. This boy was not interested in college and went around without any fear or guilt nor with any concern about the consequences the girl faced. As Sonia explored her faulty beliefs that began very early in childhood her acceptance of her body was better. ‘I am not beautiful’, ‘I am dark and not pretty ,’ are beliefs that lead to such girls falling for the wrong guys. Mental Health Professionals can work on these beliefs and repair their software in a Mind repair garage. One mistake parents make is coming down hard on the girl without understanding what led to this predicament. The change in one’s faulty beliefs take time and the old softwares do bounce back occasionally. Those who are looking for boyfriends who can double up as their only best friend also get very disappointed because the ‘circumference of safety’ of good friends is a must for good health and preventing emotional catastrophes. One of my maxims I use is that, ‘It is very easy to get a boyfriend or a girl friend but very difficult to get good friends. Invest in friendships’.

Those who feel not good about their bodies are vulnerable and may fall in love with wrong guys

Abhilekha had a different issue. She at 19 eloped with a boy living in a slum and wanted to marry him. She married this man who was a driver in one of the cab agencies. An alcoholic he would beat up his parents who also were involved in begging alms. Daughter of an engineer this girl was brought to me for evaluation after a local court intervened. As the facts spilled this girl was sexually abused by her uncle in the same house repeatedly and wanted to quit anyhow when the driver lent a shoulder. Her mom refused to listen to her when she complained. She refused to believe her and brushed it under the carpet. In such situations the girl child loses her self esteem and clutches at any straw she can ,oblivious of the consequences. This girl required a lot of psychological support and parents counseling. Needless to state that the uncle was thrown out of the house.

Sexual Abuse in childhood leads to very poor self esteem ,if not healed and treated in time. This may lead to a catastrophe

Sharon was hospitalised with an overdose of tablets. In the 12th std she lost her interest in studies completely and was deeply in love with a boy in her class. This boy was involved in cricket betting and Sharon felt that was cool. A rebellious boy his theatrics and his antisocial activities made him a hero. Sharon believed that he was misunderstood and was trying her best to correct him. She took the responsibility to convert him into a good boy till she realised that he was with someone else too. This news broke her and she attempted to harm herself. She felt let down. Here many girls get carried away with fast bikes, smoking joints and an attitude of rebellion. The hero is an attractive proposition and many girls take it upon themselves to help such boys to align them to studies and follow norms. Sharon was sad and asked me, ‘how did he do this to me ?’. Later as she met her friends she realised that she was just one of the girls he was dating. The issue here with Sharon was that she could not see that the bravado was not just rebellious adolescence but deceitful acts that were destructive. She just could not show her face to anyone. Ashamed, Sad she believed that life was not worth living. It took long for her to realise her folly and move out. I reached out to the boy and asked him to seek counseling.

Many girls take up the responsibility for repairing the boys who are on fast track and thrive on dishonesty. They get sucked and may drown in an abyss very soon.

Nafisa at 19 was so thrilled to go to ‘cool’ restaurants, sometimes five star and other expensive places with her bf from her class. Overwhelmed with the attention and the money splurged on her she let her guards down. All future plans with the names of their prospective children were decided. One day he invited her to meet his mom. There was no mom and they got intimate. If u love me, make love to me said the boy. The girl felt very guilty and was shattered and moved a little away from the relationship. After a week the guy showed her the video of what happened between them and forced her to repeat the act. She narrated this to her parents who were very understanding . Needless to say that an F I R was filed and the boy arrested. The family and the girl were scared that the boy may take revenge. A lot of assurance from the police, teachers and counsellors work. Digital hygiene and education is so important for kids. Parents need to hug their children a little longer and a little stronger when in distress. Rejection of kids during such events will hinder repair and reintegration with her mob. Many accidents happen as boys blackmail girls with their nude photos that were exchanged during intimate chats.

Getting carried away by those who splurge unlimited disposal cash is one big red flag.

Rishika in the Medical College had a lot of issues with her boyfriend. Needless to mention was that she did all his projects, handled his attendance and taught him during the exams. The boy friend was a sports person and mistreated her all the time. Insulting her, ignoring her in the class and in functions she was just someone who satisfied his academic and physical needs. Rishika yet clinged and clinged to him inspite of all the issues. She refused to let him go and always pleaded, begged and went on all fours to convince him, her parents and every one else. The parents were upset with her attitude and shared, ‘She was never like this. She was bold and confident. She walked with her chin up and even slapped eve teasers. We can’t recognise our daughter !’ Very distraught they were looking for solutions. On careful exploration I realised that she was losing interest in work, her concentration dipped, she was feeling hopeless and useless since 6 months. The boy friend landed three months ago. She had a clear episode of depression and as a consequence began clinging to a guy who exploited her. In depression girls may cling to a weak branch feeling that its the bark of a tree and than experience a mighty fall. Depression leads to wrong choices and subsequent exploitation. As Rishika was treated with medications and counseling everything changed. Many ask me what could be the cause for such severe depression and the answer is that every bout may not always have a trigger. Science has still not been able to tell us why some suffer from depression without any apparent trigger though those with family members having the same are more vulnerable.

Identifying depression early prevents boy friend calamities.

There could be many more scenarios and the list is long. This is not about girls vs boys and I do not mean to say that boys are bad as a gender. This is just to highlight situations for girls where they can be vulnerable. Difficult guys and girls need counseling for sure.

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