Talking tough

Boitumelo Maswabi

Shoshong-born Batsholetsi Zanele Gabantese is fast building an impressive following on social media, boasting over 11k followers on TikTok and 1, 500 on Facebook, with her content regularly attracting in excess of 60k views.

A family and marriage Christian counsellor and psychologist, Baitsholetsi studied counselling at Boitekanelo College, Psychology at Wesleyan University (Connecticut, United States) and also trained at Lifeline Botswana.

She is currently pursuing a degree in coaching online.

Voice Woman caught up with the 38-year-old married mother-of-two to talk about some of her most popular and controversial social media engagements, which explore how past experiences influence current psychology, choices in love, self-esteem and identity issues.

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What inspired you to become a counsellor?

I developed a keen interest in counselling once I realised how significantly our upbringing affects our current lives, future, and relationships, especially our relationship with ourselves.

The lack of understanding of our psychology can limit our destinies. My spouse encouraged me to pursue this field, appreciating my passion and natural gift for helping others, which I had been doing informally since my time at St. Joseph’s College.

The desire to understand my own psychology motivated me to share this awareness with others to help them overcome their mental challenges.

What does your work entail?

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My work primarily deals with individuals’ formative years, childhood issues, and trauma.

I strive to be authentic and raw in my approach, encouraging people to face their truths and confront what they usually avoid about themselves and their relationships.

You’ve racked up a whopping 32.2k views on one of your videos titled ‘An unemployed man is dangerous’! What advice do you have for couples grappling unemployment challenges?

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Some unemployed men can pose a danger to women who lack self-awareness, self-love, or self-esteem, as well as good women without an ideal reference for a healthy relationship.

These men are known to exploit women in transactional relationships, only to leave and marry someone else with the resources they secured from these women.

I have dreamed of modernizing training for both men and women, especially focusing on mental empowerment.

Some men have adopted feminine traits and forgotten their roles as providers, pursuing women merely for survival.

It is essential for men to fully apply themselves and find their own paths without preying on women.

With God’s will and the support of my business partner, who is a man, I pray that we can establish this training center sooner rather than later, as it is greatly needed.

What are the giveaway signs that one is being exploited in a relationship?

It is crucial to recognize the signs of an exploitative partner to safeguard your well-being.

Key indicators include a lack of genuine interest in your life and feelings, manipulative behavior, and financial exploitation.

An exploitative man may also display inconsistent communication, disrespect for your boundaries, and a tendency to make frequent excuses, especially about his financial situation or commitments.

Furthermore, watch for a lack of reciprocity in the relationship, where you find yourself giving more without receiving equal effort in return.

Unreliability, secrecy, and evasiveness about important aspects of his life are also red flags.

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Frequent neediness, blame-shifting, and a history of similar behaviors in past relationships should raise concerns.

Recognizing these signs can empower you to make informed decisions and protect yourself from potential harm.

You also warn against dating married men, that scorned wives can use witchcraft on side chicks, another hot topic… are these stories of witchcraft real?

Although I am a Christian, I will never discourage an angry, battered wife from seeking justice, knowing she will pursue it regardless of my advice.

I have encountered many women who have resorted to spiritual manipulation or traditional methods when dealing with infidelity.

Witchcraft is real, and some women seek help online daily, facing harsh consequences.

I support women in their chosen methods, whether it be prayer, traditional doctors, or warfare prayers in Jesus’ name.

It is not my place to impose my beliefs; the ultimate decision lies with each individual.

While I believe in God, I also embrace my roots as a proud traditional black woman and do not conform to societal expectations.

It is said we are the sum total of our experiences. Talk to us about the impact childhood trauma has on marriage or relationships?

As I mentioned in one of my videos, it is highly likely that in adulthood, you will live according to your upbringing and its programming unless you gain awareness of what shapes your life in the present.

You’ve spoken about the importance of studying a partner’s parents closely as you say they’re likely to turn out the same in the future, please enlighten us…

You are likely to attract a partner who mirrors the traits of your opposite-sex parent, whether toxic or dysfunctional.

What about post-marital counselling?

Post-marital counseling addresses issues that are often unseen but tend to emerge in marriage.

Minor differences can be resolved with the help of marriage counselors before they become significant obstacles.

We often hear of couples divorcing a few years into marriage, what are the usual causes of this?

Many people lack a true understanding of marriage, often focusing solely on the wedding rather than the lifestyle.

Entering marriage for different reasons and without a relationship with God increases the likelihood of its collapse.

Is couples counselling effective?

Counselling has proven to be very effective in nearly all the cases I have encountered.

For anyone willing to be open-minded and truly desiring change, committed effort ensures its effectiveness.

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