Latest update: April 1st, 2012
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Responses To ‘Embarrassed And Scared’
I’m just a 16-year old girl who reads your column every week. Regarding the woman who says she is falling off the derech (Embarrassed and Scared /March 17) – I don’t know how much you would value my opinion, but I think it would be beneficial if she would find someone whom she admires and looks up to. She should meet with this person at least once a week to learn something together, whether from the parsha of the week or the views of the Torah on the role of a Jewish woman. If she really likes the person, she will look forward to these learning times and it may keep her from falling off the derech.
Whoever you are, just remember that you are a gem in the eyes of Hashem and He loves you.
Go from strength to strength!
My heart goes out to Embarrassed and Scared. I believe your response was on-target and non-confrontational. As a woman who has been through her share of challenges, I wanted to share some words of chizuk with her. I thought you might either forward my letter to her or perhaps print it in your column; maybe there are other women who could also benefit.
Dear Embarrassed and Scared,
I’m writing to you simply to tell you that you are not alone – because I’ve been in that part of the world. I have no doubt that other women and men also question their marital relationships and try to solve their problems by looking elsewhere instead of within. So I can most definitely feel for your loneliness and feelings of confusion. Therefore, I’d like to share some information that helped me get through my situation. The two things that saved me are, that I didn’t act on my thoughts and feelings and that I found a trusting therapist who helped me sort my feelings and helped me understand my issues. As far as temptations are concerned, they are always out there, ready and willing to catch us when we’re weak and vulnerable. They don’t vanish; they only become weakened when we become stronger. And when we weaken, they become stronger.
You mentioned something that resonated with me big time; you felt that Hashem was disgusted with you. I felt the same way. I also felt that I was a horrible person. So in essence I assumed Hashem thought that way about me, too. The truth of the matter is that these are our own perceptions brought on by our inner confusion and self-disgust. We have a habit of projecting on Hashem what we, as human beings, think about others and ourselves.
I read Rachel’s response to you and I would like to echo her words. Hashem is kind and compassionate and always gives us opportunities to better ourselves. So here’s the other thing I learned. Sometimes we will find ourselves in the midst of a major disastrous situation that pushes us to the wall and makes us feel confused, alone and scared. Challenging and difficult as it may be, it doesn’t necessarily have to be viewed as a horrific situation. The reality is that “the situation” might be our window of opportunity that allows us look into ourselves and to begin thinking about resolving certain problems (which may have been around for a long time) that need our immediate attention.
You mentioned that you have a therapist but are uncomfortable speaking about this issue. I feel for your inability to be open and honest with someone who is actually there to help you. Based on my experiences, I can assure you that at times a therapist is simply not a “shidduch,” and you need to look further. Sometimes a therapist might be helpful, but for some reason you just don’t trust the person; maybe the professional speaks to you with judgmental undertones. Then there’s a third situation where the therapist may be the right shidduch but there’s another issue at stake – your embarrassment. With some people, the intensity of their embarrassment causes such discomfort that they can’t open up to even someone trustworthy and capable of helping. If this is the case, you might first want to try speaking to your therapist about your feelings with regard to trust.
Rachel’s suggestion of looking to Hashem was so on the mark. Look to Him for guidance and strength. I hope you find inner peace.
Your genuine concern is most heartwarming, and your sentiments serve to teach a vital lesson and then some – that no one is ever really alone, and that misery and loneliness can be assuaged by another’s concern and understanding. A caring voice or listening ear can make all the difference in the world to the troubled soul.
Thank you for your compassionate and wise counsel and for taking the time to articulate your thoughts and feelings.
About the Author: We encourage women and men of all ages to send in their personal stories via email to firstname.lastname@example.org or by mail to Rachel/Chronicles, c/o The Jewish Press, 4915 16th Ave., Brooklyn, N.Y. 11204. If you wish to make a contribution and help agunot, your tax-deductible donation should be sent to The Jewish Press Foundation. Please make sure to specify that it is to help agunot, as the foundation supports many worthwhile causes.
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