In the spirit of NLP and its astonishing powers of transforming lives, I’d like to share the story of one of the many, many NLP participants who, not only actively learned whatever was being taught, but also brought in a beautiful transformation within herself in six days’ time. She has just been THAT strong and adamant.
She wishes for her story to be told out loud, so that others could learn from her experiences.
Our guest for this post is Shumaila R. Ghazanfar. Born and lived in Pakistan her entire life, Holds a Masters in Home Economics and currently is a Principal in a Girls College for Intermediate Education at Hub, an hour away from Karachi.
Without further ado, let’s see what she has to share with us today.
Q: Why are you in the NLP (Neuro Linguistics Programming)?
Shumaila: Before joining the NLP program, I was emotionally disturbed. Anxiety, stress, depression, relationship issues, negativity, panic attacks to name a few. I was put on medication for panic attacks or sleeping Disorder from time to time. I was fed up. Because those pills weren’t helping me or any of my problems. I joined NLP because I wanted to know the core cause of all this misery; I wanted to find out where I lack. I wanted to fix myself. I wanted to know where I stand in terms of my emotions, whether positive or negative, so that I may help myself first and then help others.
Another reason is my failing relationship with my husband. We’re not working together very well because there is a lot of misunderstanding and miscommunication going on. I would jump to conclusions way too soon without even thinking of the consequences.
I came to NLP seeking positive people and a positive environment, hoping to build good relationships with people I’d be training with for six days. I’d thought I would act and feel positive and make other feel so in my presence as well. I’ve succeeded in finding all that I came looking for and now I know what I want from life.
What did you expect before coming to NLP?
Shumaila: I was super excited before coming to NLP. The program would start in the coming 15 days and each night, I couldn’t sleep in excitement, thinking what would happen in NLP.
I’d thought there’d would be a magic wand. Like that of Harry Potter’s. I would think Arslan Larik would swish his wand and my life would take a sharp 180 degree twist.
- Would my anger issues be resolved?
- Would my negative thoughts come down to a reasonable amount?
- Would my life change at all? Would I begin to love myself?
- Would I become confident?
- These were some of the barrage of questions that would flood my mind each night.
“Self-Empowerment” is something that our trainer Arslan Larik strongly and repeatedly swears by, and that started becoming a part of my system. My life has miraculously changed. So, whatever I’d expected of NLP, turned out to be in fact true.
Q: Is there any life-changing story that you would like to share with us?
Shumaila: I do have a story. I was eight years old.
I was eight years old and I used to go learn to read the Quran (The Holy Book). I was sexually abused by the Quran Instructor. I cannot exactly call it rape. But to me, it’s nothing less traumatic than that either. Sexual harassment, sexual abuse, whatever you may want to call it.
He used to make all the little girls clean up the place of study. He would hand a broom to each one of us. Every time, he sent me to his room which would be deserted, no one would go there. He would then follow me, and touch me at places I wouldn’t like to be touched otherwise.
I have two younger sisters. They used to come to the same place to learn the Quran. Now, when they were told to do something by the instructor, I would strictly tell them not to do it. At times, I would even beat them just to get them to listen to me. I would forbid them to not leave the public area or go to a room where there is no one.
I tolerated whatever came up and put up with everything for some time. Then I started resisting. I would argue with my family that I don’t want to go learn the Quran. I would tell them neither I would like to go nor are you sending my sisters there.
I started lying in the house. Every time they would send us to that instructor’s house to learn the Holy Book, I would take my sisters out in the playground or elsewhere, basically anywhere but the predator’s house.
Since my sisters were little, they ended up telling everything at home. When my mother found out, she beat me up horribly. In retaliation, I became very stubborn, so much so, that my parents began thinking I am a bad, disrespectful child.
Another aftereffect of the harassment was my fear of physical contact, even if it was social. I would forbid anyone to touch me, even if it was a mere handshake. I wouldn’t let anyone near me, be it my father, sisters, grand mom, anyone.
This is an event of my life that has lingered with me since. Coming to attend NLP was to rid this CAUSE that has effected, rather spoiled my life. Other problems I have are stemming out of this one single event; they are effects. This event is a CAUSE. This was not MY fault.
The harassment has been part of every waking moment of life ever since. It was part of my vivid consciousness up till now. I would snap judge everything and everyone. I wouldn’t trust anyone.
I had generalized the masses and the problems altogether. All teachers are predators, all men are the same, mothers are forceful, and mothers beat up their kids to get their way.
MY questions are:
Why do parents act like enemies? Why don’t they make us into confident individuals? Why don’t they lay a foundation of friendship with their children?
I grew up with all these grudges and bitterness in my heart. And, I’d also like to add, it’s not that it’s a one-time thing for a girl. It happens several times over the course of teenage and tween age. It happened to me repeatedly too- someday it was a cousin, at another fine day it would be my father’s colleagues at work, people would touch you here and there…. Numerous times.
When I started retaliating and standing my guard, people started labeling me as disrespectful, arrogant, and short-tempered and every other odd label that you can think of.
Things stayed the same and the time passed by, my studies were ongoing and I was adamant on finishing my studies- I wanted to do M.Phil.
Another story that plays a strong part in my devastation is marriage. I was absorbed in studies, worlds away from the mere idea of marriage at that time. I wasn’t prepared to plunge into a marriage emotionally or mentally. My aim was different than other girls; I wanted to study and do something good with my life and marriage was the last thing I would get myself into.
My mother got me married to a divorcee without my consent or happiness. The man had divorced his ex-wife on the grounds of suspicion, rather, she left him which I got to know way later. The one thing I told my mother was
“This man has broken off his marriage because he was suspicious. Even if you DID get me married, how did you expect THIS person to take care of me like a good husband?”
It’s been five years… five years in the marriage and let’s just say I’ve gotten… patient with this relationship and its problems. I’ve known my way around it and I am steering it ahead.
Q: What challenges did you face during this phase of your life?
Shumaila: A lot of challenges. Because when I started arguing with my mother about not wanting to go to the instructor’s house, my mother started beating me up without even asking the reason. My father contributed in the regular beatings too, saying that I don’t want to learn and I am running away from it, followed by labeling me as crass and anti-social. My father thought I was his worst child. I still have marks on my body from those beatings.
I grew up with regular beatings. I would protect my sisters just as well. And when I finally got out of my shell and put together the courage to tell my mother about the predator in disguise of a religious teacher, my mother beat me even more. Why? Because why hadn’t I spoken up earlier? Because my parents would use a beating as a solution to every problem, I was too scared to tell them.
But, as an eight year old little girl, when I felt I was in wrong hands and nothing was right about whatever was happening, I simply told my mother. The way my parents reacted to the situation cost me a lifetime’s worth of loss of trust.
I wouldn’t even be in close proximity with people of the same gender- my sisters, my grand mom, my cousins… they would come over to meet us and I would avoid going up to them thinking they would touch me, shake hands with me or hug me. Failing to identify these issues building up inside of me, my extensive family would always curse and complain about my bad behavior. There were times when I had to repeat myself several times to prove a point, which got me the entitlement of stubborn and aggressive. Consequently, I became a victim of neglect.
It’s apparent that it effected my performance in studies too. Nonetheless, I would put in my best efforts, pass and score good positions, mostly among the first three positions in class. But I was still a bad child because I couldn’t score the FIRST position.
They did neglect and label me, but they never even tried finding out the root cause behind my behavior.
I spent my entire childhood in anxiety, aggression and depression. When I got married, I faced a man full of suspicion. In hindsight, that childhood event is the reason I never wanted a child.
I don’t want a child because I believe the same thing would happen to him/her too, you know. Maybe my husband wouldn’t make a good father, Maybe I wouldn’t make a good mother either…
Q: How did you overcome these challenges?
Shumaila: I raised my voice and my anger SO high, that people started thinking I am confident. Little did they know, it wasn’t confidence by any stretch of imagination. It was fear that had aggregated inside of me and gotten so big that loudness was the only medium through which it always came out, with hopes that someone would understand me one day and hear the cries I had disguised as my loud voice.
Q: What did you learn from this?
Shumaila: If I ever become a mother, then the first thing I’d ever do is build the foundation of friendship with them (we call it rapport in NLP). I’d train them into being confident since the start. Should anything happen to them outside the house, good or bad, they should come up to me and share everything with utmost honesty. I’d get back to them with a positive feedback on the problem, rather than beating them up for not sharing with me earlier. I’d love it for my children to come up to me with their concerns without any hesitation.
Q: What do you want OTHERS to learn from this?
Shumaila: Just one thing. To all the parents…
Nurture your kids in such a manner that they shouldn’t be terrified of speaking to you. If they are uncomfortably silent, ASK them WHY they’re silent. If they’re alarmingly aggressive, ask them WHY. Even if they’re laughing like a maniac, ask them WHY, What’s so funny? Is it really funny or this is an aftereffect of a trauma? If they’re isolated, find out WHY. And lastly, if they’re scared of something, ask WHY.
Q: Why is it important for you to get your story out there?
Shumaila: I wanted to get my story out there because sexual harassment happens to every other girl. It’s a story of every household. Sometimes it does come out in the open, sometimes it doesn’t. Be it by the hands of a cousin, a gardener, a servant or even a husband.
I want the little girls to understand that you must grow up to be fearless; especially while sharing with your own parents. Do not be scared of ANYONE. Whatever may happen, don’t hide anything from them.
To parents, I’d like to say that let that confidence thrive within your children. Teach them the difference between the good and bad touch. Especially to the boys.
I summed up the courage to tell my story out loud because if my story could change even one life, then the purpose is served.
Q: How would it make you feel when your story is shared with a lot of people?
Shumaila: I’d be more than happy. If my story benefits even one person out there, gets them to step up and do something about a problem like this, then I’d say it’ll be lot easier to hunt down the predator. We need to clean up this filth from the society- it has destroyed many lives.
If you’re sending your kids outside (especially girls), then take good care of them. Make them into a weapon in their own existence; ready to fight, ready to take on any hindrances that come in their way. But whatever you do, DON’T MAKE THEM SIT AT HOME. That’s not going to solve anything. Rather, they should be so strong that they’re able to face any challenge thrown at them by the outside world, than falling victim to panic and depression.
One of the strangest phenomena of our country is marriage. When parents see a child behaving unusually, they suddenly think he/she is keen on getting married. While there is nothing wrong with marriage, DON’T, PLEASE DON’T force your children into marriage.
Parents should focus more on seeding bravery into their children and less on marrying them. Life throws a lot of challenges at you; children should be strong enough to face those challenges with or without the parents.
I’m probably going to receive a lot of backlash for coming out and speaking about this. Because such issues are a taboo in our country. My mother forbade me to tell my sisters about my encounter with the Quran instructor. But whatever happened, I’m glad that I didn’t only manage to save my sisters, but the entire neighborhood. Upon finding out about the instructor’s pedophilic reality, my mother told all the other mothers to stop sending their children to the man’s house immediately.
Q: Any short message for our readers?
Shumaila: My message is to the parents.
- Let your children be self-sufficient and independent.
- Stop forcing them into doing things they don’t want to do and imposing your views on them. ESPACIALLY MARRIAGE.
- Stop deducing that the child wants you to marry them to someone if you see any unusual behavior on their part. Rather, try finding out the cause and the solution to the problem. Marriage is neither a solution, nor an achievement.
- Depression has been an epidemic and a taboo, and the cause is bad upbringing. First, identify depression in your child. Don’t expose them to learning that turn them into a depressive, or an addict.
- Fix yourselves before you go about fixing your children. Or bringing new children in this world.
- I have depression, and I don’t want a child for myself because I know my depression will ripple its way through my child as well. He/she will end up just as miserable as I am.
- I joined NLP because I wanted to strengthen myself and my belief system, so that if nothing at all, I can bring a child in this world and make it into a good human being. And what do you know? NLP did help me and now I AM READY! 🙂
I’d like to thank and congratulate Shumaila for sharing with such honesty. I, on behalf of all my readers, am sending a lot of love towards her and I want her to know that she’s not alone. We’re all in this together.
If you want to reach Shumaila, you can do so by commenting down below. She’d be really glad and would get back to you.