Home   |  Issues  |  The Daily Star Home | Volume 1, Issue 23, Tuesday November 4, 2003







Interpreter of Maladies

Dr. Nighat Ara, Psychiatrist

Q. I am a university student. We have lots of problem in our family. We never talk about these, rather maintain a superficial good relationship. My father always used to underestimate me and repeatedly told me that I would be a failure in life. He is always very critical and nothing is ever good enough for him. I can not stand him nowadays and feel like leaving home as I can never protest against him. I sleep poorly and dream of weird things happening in my life. Am I going crazy?

A. Your father's critical behaviour is probably affecting you negatively and lowering your self-esteem. People who receive this message (directly or indirectly) repeatedly in their childhood that their whole worth lies in achieving success in life (whatever be the measurement of that success!), feel void inside as human beings. Shame of failure haunts them always and the tortured real self tries to hide behind shame-based perfectionist behaviour who tries to perform more than is humanly possible (cannot accept mistakes as normal). Emotionally shame-bound parents cannot allow their children to have any emotion as their emotion triggers the parents' repressed emotions, which is quite overwhelming for them. It seems that, your father's own psychopathology has an enormous impact on you and is probably making you suffer the same way he did in his childhood. Unless someone takes charge and breaks this vicious cycle of toxic shame, it can be transmitted through generations. Dreams are actually the reflection of activities in the subconscious mind. The contents of dream can sometimes give you the hints of your unresolved issues e.g.: finding yourself naked in an awkward place, appearing exam totally unprepared or submitting blank sheets in an exam etc. are some of the dreams that manifest toxic shame. I don't think you are going crazy but the agony you are going through cannot be endured long. Eventually, other psychological defence mechanisms will come into play and may end up in some dysfunctional self- destructive behaviour. In order to understand your own mental process to undo its impact and replace it with a more functional one, you need support from a therapist.

Q. I am a very easygoing type of person. I love telling jokes and everybody appreciates my sense of humour except my wife. My wife says I take everything too lightly and is not serious in life. She probably thinks that if I were more serious I could have done better in my career. What is your opinion?

A. A good sense of humour is always a gift. If you can use it appropriately it can help you in different aspects of life. Humour is a good protection against stress and helps to preserve your mental strength. Research has shown that by the time you "get" a joke almost the whole brain gets activated to grasp the humour in it. This is a rare kind of mental activity that involves such a large area of the brain at a time. It also boosts brain chemicals and protects you from stress-induced chemical changes in the brain. People who take life too seriously are more prone to develop stress-related diseases. I am not trying to say that you take everything lightly and lose the ability to respond to the environment, which demands seriousness and concern. However, having a good sense of humour (non-attacking, pure quality) is always a blessing. Laughing with people is compassionate and is considered as the shortest way to reach another person. Without a sense of humour, people tend to burnout sooner than usual. Humour gives us a different perspective on our problem. It empowers us to face stress without the feelings of distress. With an attitude of detachment, we can feel a sense of self-protection and control over environment that seems to us funny but not threatening. On the other hand, laughing at people is immoral and destructive. People who take up the role of a comedian (role of a Mascot) in a family to avoid conflict or to hide their inner pain are not probably using it in their best interest.

Parlour wise

Broadway now bears a new name

Broadway has been recently renamed, Naina's Exclusive Beauty Parlour and Fitness Club. Besides putting a new label, this fashionable salon and gym has started a whole range of new services. From the upcoming Ramadan, a wide category of facial and body care products of different international brands will grace the shelves of this establishment.

Naina Khan related that she has a short while ago, brought a new Thai herbal facial crème, which gives superb facial treatment for women. Anyone willing to luxuriate in an impressive Thai facial massage should pay a visit at Naina's. Besides, she has also begun her sauna facility and has already managed to draw the attention of those women, who were looking forward to delight in a pleasurable steam bath in a hygienic location.

For the forthcoming Eid, Naina Khan has introduced chic shalwar kameezes and saris. At Naina's, you can now purchase cosmetics of celebrated brands like L'Oreal and Jordana. At the same time, face cleansing gel, facial crè me, body massage lotion, shampoo, eye gel, and hair treatment products from Green Touch, a notable Thai toiletries company will be available here. Besides the above-mentioned products, a wide array of women's day-to-day accessories (from hairbrush, earrings to bangles and others) will be available on the occasion of the approaching Eid festival.

Naina Khan now also conducts permanent hair straightening at her beauty parlour besides other hair

The fact that Naina Khan offers exclusive attention to each of her client has made her salon a difference in the crowd of so-called beauty parlors, who lack expertise and often end up ruining our sensitive hair and skin.

At Naina's you can rest assured to have maximal attention and not to mention, high quality products and services to pamper your delicate face, body and hair.

Address: 3rd Floor, Uttara Tower, Sector-3, Jasimuddin Avenue, Uttara, Dhaka.

By Wara Karim



Under A Different Sky

The ugly stick

Ever heard of the phrase "Beaten by an Ugly Stick?" No? Well usually people use that phrase when someone is lacking in the department of good looks. A very demeaning saying referring to the non-lookers, implying they have been beaten up with an ugly stick and turned unattractive. Sad but true, it is a commonly used phrase among different crowds in the USA.

So the other day I was minding my own business walking around the streets of DC, when it occurred to me how as days progress I am seeing less and less of the ugly stick victims. It's not that I am living among super models and physical trainers but in general I noticed how everyone looks if not average, better. I know I sound horribly superficial talking about looks but I know you and your next door neighbour, you all check out people's superficial assets, whether you admit it or not. No matter how open minded you think you are, sadly we are just trained to judge with the first superficial impressions of people until they shine otherwise. So stop judging me for dedicating one column on such a skin-deep issue.

As I was saying, I was pretty impressed by how well put together, well groomed and fresh everyone looked. I wondered why? Then I looked around to find about five salons and day spas in one block, three manicures and pedicure place on the next and in every corner a make-up store promising the everlasting glow. The magazine stands held magazines with 1000 tips of staying fit and gorgeous. I stopped to look, and bumped into three joggers running to get rid of their love handles.

It's so easy. You are a full-grown woman and you also have a full-grown beard every three weeks? So all you got to do is go to a salon and get your "Chin done." Your face is looking under the weather? You can get a Instant Radiant facial, and if facials and hair removing won't transform you from a frog to a princess, there are always options of the high priced make-up stores, with special agents working just to cater to your face, to lift up the chic bones and erase the dark circles. At the end you might not look like Miss Universe but at least look like the hero's sister from Hindi films, and for some of us that's a great improvement. You might cross the limit in your credit card, purchasing all the items the make-up women used on your face, but I guess some of us decide it is worth it to feel pretty at any cost.

Here we have a gym in almost every block if not building. After reading numerous articles on shaping up, people are actually using it and getting a close to perfect body if not face. Here fashion is easy to follow. Shopping at the safe stores "Banana Republic" "Ann Taylor" or "Nordstrom" one usually finds co-ordinated sharp enough outfits. All you got to do is follow the manikins or the hundreds of pages in fashion magazines to find your style and have a good flow of cash to support your attires. Looking well put-together is half the battle, and oh yes the use of deodorant and mesmerising perfumes always helps from being unattractive.

And mind you it's not only women; I was talking about men as well. They too are frequently seen getting their nails done, getting their European facial soothing their skins. Some who want to go an extra step are getting their body waxed, back hair removed and frequently visiting Spa's to get "Gentleman's Bath" (a mint bath with a cigar and snifter of Cognac served tub side). So after all that indulgence why wouldn't even the ugly duckling have a twinkle in the eye and glow like gold?

And if all this do not accomplish beauty, you have the cosmetic clinics, another blooming business, shooting rocket high. Liposuctions are as popular now as McDonald's Big Mac. And face-lifts will make you look 10 years younger for $12,000, and for those of us who are more worried about the behind than the front, a buttocks-enhancement surgery will cost you $9,000. You might be in excruciating pain for a few months, and will not be able to sit for three weeks, but at least you can turn your back to people confidently.

So the phrase "Naturally beautiful" is going instinct with the
phrase "Beaten by an ugly stick." The world is now full of unnaturally beautiful people. The black and white picture of my grandmother with no make-up, looking like Suchitra Shen is a myth. Now the self- made Barbie and Ken rule the world and the cosmetic industries economy too. I am just trying to catch up to the world of plastic, treadmills, wax and body sprays. Wish me luck!

By Iffat Nawaz



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