Qn: My house help is very clumsy. She has broken almost everything in my house from ceramics to picture frames. What could be the matter with her? Is she jinxed or has a mental issue?
I can almost visualise your horrified face as you pose the question “is she jinxed or has a mental issue?” The simple answer is, I don’t know, and you must put in place measures that might help you get greater clarity of the matters in hand.
In a situation such as yours, a look into the past might inform and guide you on many things that you are observing in the present. For example, when did this “jinxed” behaviour start? Has she always been clumsy or is this new? When you hired her, was she steady and stable in her hands and feet or is this a behaviour she has developed in the recent past?
Talking to her mother and siblings, what kind of child was she? If the family tells you that the girl left school in Standard six because she was too playful and could not pay attention in class, then it is possible that she has other features of Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD). She might be a procrastinator who breaks things in the last minute rush to complete tasks. On the other hand, she might be impulsive in the way she does things without paying much attention to the present. If that be the case, then a specialist in mental health might be the right person to help you. Remember also that depressed people are clumsy and slow sometimes and it might be worth your while to check out if she might be depressed.
We saw a house help a few months ago and her story was rather interesting. Like yours, she appeared jinxed around the house. She broke things, seemed absent minded and seemed to trip over carpets and other minor obstacles around the house. She seemed hard of hearing and often, (out of her character) shouted at the children when their parents were not around. A four-year-old girl reported this fact when she was asked by her mother why she looked so sad. She also started to wet her bed all over again! (recurrence of bedwetting can be a sign of stress in children).
As we were to learn later, this house help had worked for the family for four years and had proved herself to be diligent, clean, and to all intents and purposes, she had become “a full member of the family.”
When the mother of the home went to the UK for a training programme for two weeks, she had no worries about her two children aged two and four years. The house help knew the routine in the mornings and evenings and the mother often said proudly to her friends that she was lucky and proud to have such a good house help. Indeed, her confidence that she could go away was thanks to her excellent relationship with her house help. They had planned to send her to a computer course as soon as the baby went to kindergarten. All was going very well at home.
Upon her return, the mother, (like you) noticed that the house help seemed jinxed; clumsy, distant and moody.
After she had attempted suicide, the 22-year-old house help told the story of the night she was forced to have sex with the woman’s husband. That night, the man had come home a little tipsy and talking rather loudly. The children were asleep and the younger one had a fever. The house help had come out of their room to ask if their father could let her have the medicine to help bring down the fever.
It was during this interaction that the man, in what he later termed as a state of inebriation, forced the girl to his room. In the morning he seemed to have forgotten his actions and went on as though life was not any different. For the house help all trust had been broken with her virginity. She could not reconcile what happened that night with her faith. She felt guilty and dirty. She had to be strong in her fear because she had promised her boss that she would look after the children. She also hoped the computer course would remove her from the job she was now doing! Her fear of a repeat of that horrible night kept her awake all night until her boss came back.
In the end, the jinxed girl came close to death but the truth of the ordeal she had gone through came out. Her boss separated from her “jinxed” husband who could not explain his behaviour. A stressful work environment can make a house help appear jinxed!