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Life Mantra
Anu Goel
Is guilt driving women off the edge of reason? 01 December, 2012
Samriddhi is a senior manager of a well-known MNC located in Delhi. She worked her way up to this prestigious post through sheer hard work and vision from scratch. The foundation of determination was laid in school itself. She is married and has twins. Such a woman has the world at her feet, is what you would immediately think. But does she?

The reality of her life is that she went through a stage filled with conflict and guilt of neglecting her children's needs. Her mother-in-law kept pushing her so much that she considered quitting her dream job. She took a break to consider her options during which she slipped into depression because of the stress of making the correct choice.

What is scary about this story is that the choices a woman has in our society really don’t look at what the woman wants neither do they make it easy for her to live with them. In India, women like Samriddhi constantly go through guilt trips especially when it comes to juggling career and family prospects, and most of them are not as equipped to seek professional help like she did. She has worked to establish clear communication with both her children, and has a realistic plan that enables her to balance work and home…
In a study conducted by Mitchelson et al of Auburn University (Alabama) it was found that a higher proportion of women felt they did not meet their own high standards with family and workplace commitments. Socially prescribed perfectionism, that is, believing that others will value you only if you are perfect, has been associated with depression and other problems, including suicide. 
Aashna's story is another example of how the feelings of guilt and inadequacy may impact the well being of women. Between Aashna and her husband, it was she who ended up being blamed for neglecting her daughter. Because of lack of good communication, and the stress she was under, she found the need to resort to a relationship outside her marriage. Her marriage has ended and her relationship with her husband is not yet resolved of its conflicts.
Basic Psychological Needs Theory argues that psychological well-being and optimal functioning is based on autonomy, competence, and relatedness. So women are in such a position that if she does not give her hundred percent to the job, her need for competence is thwarted, if she is made to believe that her duty to family is supreme, then her autonomy is compromised, and the strained relationships definitely don’t fulfill her need for relatedness.
Implications of such studies are not limited to women and their work spaces. It poses a need on the society as a whole on what they are driving the woman to do. Also, it’s an appeal to working women to reflect on the basis of their decisions regarding work and family. Counselors, teachers and employers also need to look into this matter as the extent of stress women face may often be detected and intervention may be provided before she actually is driven to take a drastic step.  

Editorial NOTE: This article is categorized under Opinion Section. The views expressed in this article are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent the views of In case you have a opposing view, please click here to share the same in the comments section.
About The Author
Mrs. ANU GOEL is a Counselling Psychologist. She has practiced in Mumbai for 5 years, and is currently practicing in Delhi since the last 7 years. Goel, who can be contacted at 9313320146 and, is a member of the Counsellor's Association of India, and has been a guest speaker on several occasions.
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