Tuesday, August 8, 2017

Toxic Negative Relationships- Get Out Of Them #NishaJamVwal

Breathe, Live, Laugh a Little More

In is my personal experience, to continue with a friendship or relationship with a negative person - who either blames you, is aggressive at the rise of any miscommunication, cannot control themselves when excited or agitated and is generally quick to misunderstand than make an effort to understand- is a losing proposition. Contrary to your wishful belief, time, kids, maturity does not heal or improve the manipulative aggression.

With a slew of only good friendships and equations behind me, I find it hard to cut off a friendship chord easily even when a relationship is not going positively. Part of me always works at it to salvage it, thinking it a challenge in working things and not copping out. But the smarter way to unclutter life is to weed out these ‘toxic relationships’. Just like you edit your wardrobe and storage, with every year of growing older, you need to edit life fearlessly in order to become lighter and free up time for life investing pursuits.



So what are toxic relationships and how do you identify one? You definitely don’t want to give up on a friendship which might be encountering minor hiccups in a long innings. There are bound to be some ups and hormonal downs, minor rapids are ok in long term friendships- but when but you are constantly explaining yourself, or you feel depleted every time you spend moments with your friend or partner; when you feel like you're defending yourself or justifying yourself too often; when there is that sense of losing who you are in trying to change too much for a friend or partner, then it’s time to re-look at the equation and gear to move out and away. I just did!!!

One has to realize that a friend or a lover is not an ‘asset’ but a part of life and of shared experiences which must be happy fulfilling ones, for the most part. When it is no longer about mutual caring, upping the game in terms of growth and learning with each other, or becoming better individuals then let go. Grow into a better equation in a relationship, but to fit into your friend or partners version of whom you should be is not how it should be. 

When a friend looks for reasons to catch you out or blame you, when it is no longer about finding reasons to laugh and share but about catching out each other; when you find that more often than not a friend is fussy, resentful, exacting, critical and complaining, have the courage to let go.

Letting go is not easy, especially when you're a committed friend or lover. You reproach yourself at giving up. You feel a lacuna before it’s even happened. You feel you will lose out and feel that sense of fear. I've realised over time that there is nothing wrong with admitting to yourself that that relationship is done with and you should be moving on big time.

Today I let go of a sour bitter girl whose general peevishness I’d overlooked very consciously- always making excuses for her in my mind!  – It’s PMS I would tell myself. She's dieting too hard, maybe I should have called her earlier- shes moody- and other such escapist excuses for not taking a stand and walking out. 

A few hours before penning down this article I finally took the plunge and told her where she gets off. I walked out and away at her last tantrum today, decided upon closing that door forever. As I arrived up into the locker room of the gym, a sunny warm friend walked in. The timing was prophetic- it was like the universe telling me that my decision should have been made a year ago than drag it out with vindications and the desire and hope to work it. 

Two things became clear to me at this landmark moment- firstly the well-known saying is true, that if you don't close one door anther doesn't open. 
Secondly, there are so many lovely people out there and we just have to be picky and choosy about whom we invite into our hearth and homes. It is common to err, given the plethora of choice around, but then correct your mistake before making long term investments into relationships. Because that’s what they are. Friendships and relationships involve time, effort and investment.


Don't castigate yourself if its not a first. Its okay to have break-ups and make mistakes. Its your life and life is a learning curve. Don't be apologetic and ashamed. In my opinion life is a series of learnings, like school, we grow and learn with troubles more than with celebrations isn't it? Cut yourself some slack, be kind to yourself just as you are to your family, your kids, your staff. Its time to be a little forgiving to you as well! 

 








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Thursday, July 27, 2017

Separate Bedrooms #NishaJamVwal


 It was yesterday that I stumbled onto an Instagram post by a cousin and close friend saying that separate bedrooms for a married couple or partners who choose to live together is a relationship bending route that shatters taboos and ‘works wonders for intimacy and sanity’. I am mixed in my views about this growing trend. The post speaks about how it also allows for hobbies, privacy and space. My first reaction on reading this is that the entire day most couples engage in own thing anyway and that bonding is oftentimes only at night. Intimate time together in a ‘cocoon’ like space cut off from the rest of the universe to grow your relationship is time bond in the busy schedules a couple normally keep.  So you have the entire rest of your time to pursue a hobby or a preoccupation in a den or an office in the time away from each other.

On further reflection I begin to realize that not all individuals are the same and couples can begin to get onto each other’s nerves after the initial romance. Maybe some individuals are better with each other in small doses? I have seen older married couples being rather off-hand with each other to the point of riding rough shod on each other’s opinions and conversation. Would some distance help the kind of relationship which has begun to see the ravage of long term taking for granted?

As I spoke to couples I began to see that different body thermostats also could become a serious issue in a marriage. I know of a childhood friend whose marriage fell apart because he wanted the room chilled with the air-conditioner and his wife couldn’t bear the cold, which had led to bitter battles. Differing body clocks is also a big issue with a husband wanting to see the match late into the night or the wife addicted to her sitcom.  But does all this mean that couples lose the ability to adapt and grow together into a unit that morphs and adapts ‘into one’. Is it archaic of me to expect love to conquer all and be the uniting force.

Time was that families lived together and now you hardly come across joint families. You see nuclear families and especially in the big cities an old lady stumbling along alone is a common sight. No family member to help her or be with her. An old man carrying groceries with none offering a helping hand. Will this further extend to couples fragmenting and marriage becoming an institution about two independent minded adults asserting rights and brandishing pre-nups at the drop of a pin? Changed values have diminished joint families and married couples often communicate in short notes matter-of-factly and many even place careers over having a child. Or worse singledom over marriage. Not because they wish to but because it's more 'convenient'. So how far will this convenience thing go? Will it finally arrive at separate homes? There is no end to the convenience lure.

In my book- with relationships- the best is the old fashioned way of making things work with love, meeting halfway and adjusting timings, temperatures, hobby timings and enjoying the journey savouring time together or the wedge grows bigger and wider with excuses and self-centred desires. The gap can gape bigger and wider with time until nothing is left. And yet the National Association of Homebuilders in the USA predicted that dual master bedrooms could become the new norm in custom-built homes.

Does this paint a rather pessimistic picture, reinforced by a changing psychology that's more about "me”, 'e-mail' and 'myself"? Somewhere in all this "advance" we seem to be defeating the joys of existence. Personal contact, warmth of unscheduled interactions, touch- the human feel! We don't need a psychiatrist to tell us that people, at least in cities, are often painfully lonely. They want caring, sharing people around.




It’s a paradox. I think while we want loving, caring, sharing relationships, yet maybe we are not prepared to extend these qualities ourselves in this ‘me myself and I’ trend that is taking over the world. The answer lies of course in realising that it is not only about sex and intimacy but about the warmth and caring that grows with sleeping together, hugs, caresses, adapting and sharing a space.  

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Thursday, March 16, 2017

NiceGirls Finish Last !!!












Sugar and Spice and all things Nice?

Recently I came across a case of separation for reasons that were jaw-dropping strange! As I heard out this friend the case got curiouser and curiouser!!  “Rishi, let me get this clear", I asked "You broke up because she was just too darn nice and too much a wifey little thing?" He took great verbosity and some time to get across what seemed an oxymoron when we’re speaking matrimony! "You mean you didn't want a wife who was a good wife candidate?" I asked, understandably befuddled. Between the no-no's and yes yesses and "not like that’s” what I deciphered was that a man can feel differently toward an intended wife and a steady girlfriend.


This difference is the romantically stimulating-desirable girl as opposed to the caring-too-much girl, and the latter in a suffocating kind of way of being fussed upon. I’d never have believed it, but there is a situation where being loved too much can also be a problem!? Seemingly so!
“Listen, there needs to be some fun and flair, and a little playful space. Even uncertainty that makes for pizazz. Quit the blandness lady. I think I prefer celebratory champagne over the goody-goody glass of milk.” Candid he was and it was then that a well-known saying came to my mind- “nice girls finish last’!

Accommodating and most of all that ‘too much of a "wife-thing" and a man can feel like a “dog on a leash!" Which meant -he felt the pressure of being domesticated already. It seemed to even take the edge off from flirtation - the most charming time before being tied down. The very acquiescing, accommodating and agreeing nature of the steady girlfriend even brought blandness to the relationship that made the comparison of milk to a heady whiskey seem apt!

Its quite clear to me now. Man or woman, when fussed upon too much, end up feeling hemmed in by so much over-agreement. It puts them on tenterhooks about doing, saying, suggesting anything. That they are not quite themselves and almost do not enjoy being with their loved ones on a one-to-one. My friend here even seemed to resent the copyrighted smugness that took over with this air at undue domestication. If he was in a group she took on the role of his official hostess and busied about his space.

The spice of a tiff, that thrill of making up after some playful light-heartedness, exciting "hunt", some "chase" that a partner enjoys in the challenge of getting the girl or man is missing!  Of course after marriage the mind-set is familiar and accepting of domesticity to a greater degree. Naturally all these things are individual things, and as they say "one man's food….etc." but one can perhaps understand that anything - even a good thing can be a bit much. As the French say -a bit "de trop".

It's wiser to tread a path where one is not unappreciated for good endeavours and is not taken for granted, or worse resented. Too much of a good thing can be too much. A toss of the coiffured hair and a naughty backward smile- and tell the gent where he gets off. - Way to go girl!! He may even come chasing behind!

At the end I think everyone must be their own self. After all, each relationship is an individual equation and one size certainly doesn’t fit all! If a girl likes being the "wifey" model -sure be that because there's the man out there who will love you for it but remember there are greater chances of being taken for granted if you are too giving without receiving too. The art of being a giver and a taker.

Or as his very married friend added with male sagacity, "’wife’ is the desi daal-chawal we love, but it is too homely before marriage! A flambĂ© sizzler gets the juices flowing!"

How mamma takes to the "sizzler" bit might be another story!


(All incidents quoted are real life experiences & not fictitious.)
Nisha JamVwal
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Sunday, March 5, 2017

When Insecurity Raises Its Ugly Head!


I'm around your side, shall I drop by for a cuppa?" I telephoned my friend in the suburbs?"

Please come soon Nisha!
-I need the company, some advise and the strongly caffeinated cuppa!" She replied. I found her bleary-eyed and disheveled though it was two in the afternoon. "Got to bed at four o' clock. We argued and argued " 
She thought he'd been philandering with that b-----* at that dinner, and he'd been exasperated- placating, reasoning, and finally apologizing so they could ‘kiss and make up’.

They are a contemporary twosome in a live-in relationship. What I learnt was that this sleeping at three and four I the night was a regular feature of their time together. And arguing and fighting? It was not necessarily about perceived roving eyes alone! It could be some small thing that had not been to her expectations or something said that conveyed wrong intent or anything amiss in his demeanor that went contrary to her mood even. I gathered all this, half by her own admission and the rest by insights that didn't need an Hercule Poiret to decipher.

To me she seemed the offending party. She even half-admitted that once she got a bee in her bonnet she just had to get the issue thread-bare even if it took all night! He loved her tenacious persona!  And invariably she had regretted her uncalled for insecurities, tiresome nit-pickings and the waste of entire nights in wearing out to-and-fros of a variety of accusations, fault-findings, and- generally going on and on till he bought peace and a semblance of comforting(?) togetherness. Even if he had to apologize for wrongs not done! She too paid the price with guilt and misgivings that he'd leave her and hate her and what-not!

“But then if you know this, why do you do such self-harming things? I can't seem to understand you?" I reasoned. She wept, "I can't seem to help myself, I think I've got this obsessive compulsive disorder! It certainly seems compulsive!"

I thought she seemed so normal. Maybe she was setting herself in a vicious cycle of guilt and ensuing insecurity and more a "controlling" need than a psychiatric thing. We talked. I asked her why she felt she had to be be "boss-lady" who had to be judgmental on a well-meaning partner.  She seemed to see some point in the observation but came round the circle to "I just seem unable to help myself Nisha, I wish you could be around to tell me to quit , you know. I think if I had someone I believed in around, my sense would not go for a six! Even as I speak, I know what a good thing I've got and how tolerant and loving he is- I want him for keeps -I'm scared I'll drive him away! How long can he endure a harridan?" She hoped they were going to marry eventually.

“Listen” I said, “what's wrong in starting to make things right this minute on?  As for needing someone you believe in around to knock some sense, you know what? You do have someone!" 

"Who?" She asked

“yourself!” 

Nagging and haranguing is a negative communication pattern that actually becomes the cause of betrayal and infidelity where it does not exist. Women are more prone to it according to statistics and couples actually fall out of love only due to this one ‘pattern’ that a woman takes up mostly because she is conditioned to ‘run’ the home and feels responsible for addressing all issues concerning the partner and home.

On his part the partner can also do his bit but checking his lady, not allowing it to happen, putting his foot down, and if the request is reasonable then acquiesce before it becomes an issue. People respond better to conversation and communication than loud voices and shouting matches. An interesting trick is to write post-its and leave them at strategic places or then email.

At school they had taught us that we have a better self within who tells us ‘Don't cheat!’ When we're about to! Or when we want to go the wrong way!


“Just think what your better self would want you to do when you want to loose it or berate and lecture when you can actually be rational and communicative!-I'm certain it'll make you stop!” I said to my friend.

And indeed I do believe we have that better self than we allow ourselves to believe we do. Pinocchio had his nose to stop him lying! 

I also offered- “either talk the matter with him or get a friend to discuss with both of you if necessary. It may give you such a constructive happy togetherness, after all valuable things need to be taken great care of.

Its not just school-kids who must train to listen to their better selves. We need it too. 
In adult language it translates to our "impulse control mechanism"!




Nisha JamVwal is a Columnist, Designer, Art Curator,  & Brand Consultant.
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