Mansi Poddar is one of the top Psychologists in India. She earned her Masters in Counselling for Mental Health and Wellness from New York University in 2009. She has counseling experience of over 10 years with issues such as mental trauma, anxiety, depression, women’s issues, grief, premarital issues, infertility, marital counseling, mood and personality disorders. But it is not because of her being a master in the field of psychology that I’m writing about her here. It is one of the reasons that she understands the importance of self-respect and self-love through her own hard experiences that I chose to write about her here on WonderfulWomen.
In her Josh Talk, Mansi Poddar spoke her heart out. She candidly tells with her eyes moist, how she never wants to be a child again and is happy to be a woman of 37! She narrates the first ever incident of molestation in her life when she was just a child of 6! At her very own home while her mother was away to take shower leaving little Mansi in the custody of her grandma, Mansi was called a carpenter working in her home ‘to play’ with him. He molested her for 10 to 15 minutes while Mansi thought he was playing with her. She told that she had been repeatedly molested until the age of 14. Some of these molestations continued for weeks and months while others were stand-alone incidents. She made another shocking remark by saying that she was molested by both men and women. Yes, women too molest young girls! As a young girl, Mansi felt molestation is a sort of connection she made with people as these molesters were often people ‘very close to her’. They made her happy as they were the only ones who appreciated her. All of them told her that if she told about ‘it’ to anyone nobody will believe her. Another reason for her to keep quiet was she was an introvert and shy child who was bullied by her classmates and even teachers at school! Since she used to be a ‘poor child academically’ teachers humiliated her every day. They called her garbage and made her stand in the dustbin and even asked other students not to talk to her if they wanted to pass in exams. As she was made to feel like a good for nothing at school, she felt being loved when being molested.
When she approached a teacher complaining her about the bully and molestation she was facing the teacher told her that ‘Mansi if you tell these things to anyone, nobody will believe you. You are a loser, a failure and making excuses not to study. Keep quiet about all this.’ This was the first time, Mansi Poddar had taken a stand for herself and getting this response made her quiet again. Soon to overcome her depression she turned to food and became an obese child. She was ridiculed for being obese by everyone in her school. In class ninth, for the first time in her life, Mansi Poddar got a nice compliment from one of her teachers who told her that she has a beautiful smile. This made her feel good about herself. In college, she made some good friends. She even entered into a relationship with a guy. But this relationship also eventually turned abusive. During this time, Mansi had got a volunteer job as a rape and domestic violence counselor. She felt she had got what she wanted in her life. Her healing journey began as she heard stories of other women like herself. She also took mental therapy which helped her regain her lost self-respect.
One day the man she was in a relationship, she stripped her down and threw her on dining table causing her injury on her rib cage. For the first time in her life, Mansi Poddar said, ‘No, you can not treat me like this. I’m not an object.’ The man got angry and threw her out the home. She again behaved like a victim and said sorry to him for having misbehaved with him. The next day, her therapist said to her, ‘Mansi, why are you demeaning yourself? Why are you betraying yourself by being in this abusive relationship?’ That’s the time, Mansi Poddar decided to end this relationship and raise her standard so that nobody could take her lightly and disrespect her.
Mansi Poddar as a leading psychologist in India, advises everyone to never ever be in an abusive relationship as it kills your self-respect and makes you feel good-for-nothing. You must stand up for yourself if you want people to respect you. Abuse is not only physical and sexual it’s mental too. If people around you tell you, you lack this and that, continuously taunt you and mock you it’s an abuse. Leave the company of all such negative people. Currently, Mansi Poddar is working in Kolkata along with 5 other psychologists who provide counseling to people on all issues like peer pressure, body image, mental and physical abuse anything and everything. She emphasizes the fact that ‘therapy is for everyone.’ Attach no stigma to this. Everyone who needs it must go for it. If you are not able to do this, at least talk your heart out to a close friend or relative who can actually heart you and counsel you. This is something extremely important for all of us to express ourselves, love, and respect ourselves.
Mansi Poddar’s story can change the lives of many people who feel they are alone in their battle. People who are made to feel and believe they are worthless and deserve to be abused. Nobody has right to abuse us, to make us feel useless. We all have to take care of ourselves, love and respect ourselves. Mansi herself suffered abuse but rose up against it to discover herself. She is an eminent Psychologist working to heal people who are victims of any kind of abuse and self-hate. Hope story of this wonderful woman will inspire you all.