My elder brother treats me badly
I am a 23-year-old girl. I belong to a middle-class family. My father passed away some two years ago, and my elder brother, M, who is 29 years old, runs the house; in fact, he dominates the house. We are four siblings. Two of my elder sisters are married and I live with my mother and brother in our father’s house. Guru, my problem is my brother. He treats me very badly and leaves no occasion to insult me in front of others. As an elder brother I respect him but it really hurts me when he yells at me. He is a chauvinist. My mother is also afraid of him because of his temper. He runs his own business and we have no financial problems as such. I am a graduate. I want to study further but my brother is against it. He wants to marry me off as soon as possible. I really miss my father; he was very affectionate and caring, but my brother is just his opposite. Thank God my other sisters got married when my father was alive, otherwise they would have been miserable like me. M thinks that I am a burden whereas my father left a handsome amount for my wedding expenses. Guru, I like my best friend’s brother, K. He also likes me a lot and wants to marry me. My mother knows about K and she has no objection. The real problem is my brother who will raise a hue and cry if he comes to know that I like someone. He is not only authoritative but conservative too. Is there a way to persuade him?
Dear Scared Sister,
I can very well understand your problem, dear. Ours is a male dominated society where brothers have an upper hand over sisters. This is because parents give undue preference to boys and this is all their fault. Being the only son, your brother must have been very pampered and that’s why he is so stubborn. It is sad that you have to tolerate his harsh behaviour and rudeness just because you are a girl. Come on, girl, wake up. You are not a meek person. Be respectful to your brother but at the same time be assertive. If you keep quiet, then he will never mend his way. Next time when he misbehaves with you, just tell him politely but firmly that you are no more a little girl whom he can yell at whenever he likes. Secondly, it is your right to marry of your choice. If your mother has no objection, then you shouldn’t be scared of your brother. This is your life and you have to muster courage to stand up for your right. Take your mother in confidence and tell her to talk to your brother about K. If your mother tells your brother that you have received a proposal, your brother wouldn’t raise a hue and cry. So, play your cards intelligently. Sometimes it’s ok to be a little diplomatic to get things done. Good luck!
I like to spend my time alone
I am a regular reader of your column. I am a 19-year-old girl. I belong to a middle-class family. I am a student of second year. Guru, my problem is that I like to spend my time alone. I happen to be a quiet girl. I enjoy my own company and am more into reading than going out with friends. I care about my family and friends but am not good at expressing my emotions. Do you think my behaviour is normal? I want to come out of my shell but am afraid of facing the world. What should I do?
Dear Quiet Girl,
Your behaviour is not abnormal, but it is not healthy either. Reading is a good habit but going out will also give you exposure. At the moment it’s all right if you don’t talk much with your family and friends as you are living in a protected environment. But as you grow older and become independent you have to interact with people on a one-on–one level. Begin by taking small steps like initiating a conversation with your family and friends and then try to participate in group discussions. Go on the net and learn about improving your inter-personal skills. My dear, you can’t afford to live in your comfort zone forever and you need to face the world sooner or later. Good luck!
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