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My parents prevent me from reading and writing fictional books - how can I obtain my rights?

heart to heart Question
I was about 11 years old when I suddenly found that I had a passion for literature. I started to visit the library for story books. I was adopted by my uncle and aunt when I was 2. My aunt had no education and my uncle is just secondary school. Our family is Muslim. I was reading a book of stories and my aunt caught me red handed and I was beaten up by my aunt. My aunt just wanted me to stick with only school text books. But I used to read literature by keeping library books hidden within my text books.

I am 20 now and still my aunt's wishes are the same. I wrote a short story at the age of 13 but it was torn into pieces by my uncle. Up to now, I have written many poetry pieces and they were well applauded by my Urdu language professor. Now due to so many restrictions on me by my uncle and aunt I am feeling stressed. I feel a burden on my mind and I am not able to concentrate even on my regular studies, even though I was a brilliant student and my mind picks everything up quickly. Please do solve my problem as I am fighting a war in my own house for my rights.

Reply by Coach Phil Evans
Phil Evans Yours is not an easy request to answer, for quite a few reasons, but I will simplify how I see your situation. While you remain in that house with those two people, I can see no way that you can change your position to a position of strength and have respect shown to you by your aunt and uncle for your wishes to be fulfilled, and your potential and skills to be lived to their fullest. I am sorry to say that, but it is reality!

The fact that you were adopted at age 2 makes it even harder for you, due to the fear which lives within you that things are going to go wrong; that people will let you down; and that life is very tough! You said so in your own words and I have added the bit about living in constant fear due to my own experiences of being adopted at birth, which I describe a bit more below.

My strongest recommendation to you is that (somehow) it would be good for you to find a protective and supportive place to live, as soon as you can. Even though these people have adopted you, they have no rights whatsoever to treat your potential to succeed in life as they do! No rights at all! Yes, of course you could rebel and stand up to their abusive behavior, but what would that really achieve for you? Probably not necessarily good things. I do wish you well Muhammad - and seeking to feel empowered (as you wish to break these 'rules of restriction' you currently live by) is a great thing!

The 'Why' Factor
For a very large amount of years, and with a huge amount of time, energy and commitment, I was on a personal mission to find out why I felt like I did. Why did I feel so much fear? Fear which was so strong and controlling, that it was more like a deep dread that something was going to go wrong: and it felt like that every day! Why did I feel so much insecurity and doubt from a very early age?

If I hadn't been on such a determined quest to find out the 'why' behind my own feelings and emotions, I wouldn't have called my Mother last year and ask her if I was adopted, and discovered in an instant when she answered "yes," the answers to all of my questions! Suddenly, it all made sense!

I also then realized why I had been working so diligently in helping as many people as possible to unravel the 'why' knots in their lives. I became aware quite a long while ago that until people actually learn the 'why' behind their life's confusing behaviors, they usually can't heal or change them properly!

When we look at the children in our lives who are great learners, or look back at the children who we grew up with who were ahead of the pack, there is always one common denominator: they're the ones who never stop asking questions! They're the ones who often drive parents and teachers nuts with their persistent asking of the most common question for them: "but why"? Regardless of the answer, they will continue to ask the 'why' question until they are satisfied that they have the right (or most complete) answer. Asking questions is one of the foundations of learning.

In my work as a Life Coach I have found that being as intently focused as those clever kids, on exposing the 'why' factors behind behavioral patterns or habits, is the key to unlocking the real answers for most people! Discovering the why factor applies equally to both personal and business situations which don't seem logical or rational at all; but have a relentless way of just being there, and constantly getting in the way of good results!

Some examples of common questions are these:

  • Why can't I stop over-eating; and find it impossible to shed weight?
  • Why do I stay in relationships which don't serve me?
  • Why is it that most of my friends are clingy and needy, and drain my energy?
  • Why do you think that I feel badly treated and misunderstood?
  • Why does it seem that I'm always the bridesmaid, and never the bride?
  • Why isn't my business working as well as it should be?
  • Why can't I stop the drinking merry-go-round I'm on, and get off?
  • Why is it that my life is like a roller-coaster of high and low emotions?
  • Why do I stay stuck in a job which I hate more each day?
  • Why do I keep putting on weight, even though I exercise regularly?

They're just a few examples of commonly asked questions which people often ask themselves, and the answers are always lurking within our subconscious minds, and are based on our life experiences to date. They are based on what we've been taught about ourselves -- and life itself!

Note: Phil's own coaching website is at People Stuff.

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