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September 3, 2014 / 8 Elul, 5774
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A Lesson In Self-Control


Herskowitz-Moishe

The objective of Pre-Marital Counseling is for couples to learn new skills on how to improve commu­nication, and resolve conflicts creatively. It would seem logical that the parents of these couples have learned from being together and through a lot of tough times that good communication is the single most important aspect of a satisfying relationship.

Take the case of Yoni and Dina, ages 22 and 19. The couple was referred to me by a leading rav in the community. Both Chassan and Kallah came from excep­tionally fine families and yeshiva backgrounds. Yoni was accepted to dental school and Dina was still in school. The wedding was only weeks away and the couple was getting a little nervous. As with all couples, I did a short intake and assessment in our first meeting.

Yoni’s personality is easy going — he likes quiet, uninterrupted time alone for reflecting, reading and studying new subjects.

Dina’s personality is outgoing — she likes people, she’s warm and friendly, and she likes organizing projects and events.

After the fifth session, I wished the happy couple Mazel Tov and off they went into the “sunset”!

It wasn’t until three months later, as I was rush­ing to get a haircut, that I met Dina standing outside the barbershop waiting for Yoni to finish his haircut. The timing was perfect. With every couple I do a three-month follow up. As we talked about married life, Dina explained that “Yoni is very busy in school and I knew how hard he was studying, but since he started school we never talked! It was just Yoni and that book! We didn’t go out anymore be­cause that would be a waste of study time.” But, as time passed, Dina said “I started feeling lonely. Yoni noticed that I was get­ting moody but said noth­ing, and with time, I started getting angry at him. The loneliness scared me, all I wanted to do was to release this rage of anger. But if I did, Yoni could no longer study. As I was just about to breakdown and cry, Baruch Hashem, I noticed that refrigerator magnet you gave us in our last session. It stated that ‘It’s not what you say, but how you say it’ and with that, I remembered what we talked about. At that moment, with all my strength, I stopped myself. I needed to talk to Yoni, not yell or cry. I did the most difficult thing I had ever done in my life, I waited until the next day. At that point, I was calm and relaxed enough to talk to Yoni. We took turns talking and listening to each other, as you taught us. We discussed our preferences and what I was feeling, and for the first time I felt that he was listening, which made me feel so much better!”

In the spring of ’76, Rabbi Moish Chait, shlita, stated in one of his lecture series at Yeshiva Chofetz Chaim that “Hashem held back a part of Himself in order to create the world. When a spouse holds back anger as a form of self control, that couple merits the Shechina to rest upon them.”

Moishe Herskowitz MS., CSW, is a marriage coun­selor and maintains his private practice in Brooklyn as founder of CPC. He is an educator, lecturer, consultant and adjunct professor at Touro College. He is the coun­seling coordinator for Career Services at Touro College and the At Risk Center in Brooklyn. Moishe is presently working as a licensed guidance counselor for the NYC Board of Ed. in Special Education.

For more information or to obtain a free brochure, please contact Moishe Herskowitz at 718-435-7388 or at Ladino23@aol.com.

CPC — Center for Pre-Marital Counseling, is en­dorsed by Rabbi Pikus of COJO of Flatbush, and leading rabbonim and Torah authorities in the NY community.

About the Author: Moishe Herskowitz, MS., LCSW, developed the T.E.A.M. (Torah Education & Awareness for a better Marriage). As a licensed clinical social worker and renowned family therapist, he guides new couples through easy-to-accomplish steps towards a happy, healthy marriage. He can be reached at CPCMoishe@aol.com or 718-435-7388.


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One Response to “A Lesson In Self-Control”

  1. In general, parents responsbilities to their children is no longer relevant in this high tech society. Young people get their information from the social media. I think that pre-marital counseling is useful to those young ones where parents are seriously involved in their growth.

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In fact Hashem sets up couples that have opposite traits as an opportunity for each to help, learn, and heal the other.

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Your husband seems to have experienced what we have described as the Ambivalent Attachment.

Many times when a couple is arguing they may, unconsciously, trigger childhood anger. So much so, that if we would stop and listen to what they are arguing about, it would sounds like two eight year olds fighting in the back yard.

In my last article I had mentioned that often one of the symptoms of autophobia, a fear of abandonment, is that as adults people suffering with this condition may become extremely sensitive to rejection.

In part one (Family Issues 04-29-2011) we mentioned that often a symptom of the anxiety disorder, the fear of abandonment, is a strong need to be in control. That is because the person suffering from the disorder has lost someone in their past – due to separation, divorce or death – and may unconsciously blame themselves for the desertion.

The fear of abandonment, also known as autophobia, is an anxiety disorder characterized by an acute fear of being alone. Often, one of the symptoms of this particular anxiety is a strong need to be in control. This is because one has previously lost someone close through separation, divorce or death and may unconsciously blames his or herself for the event. When this happens, any type of separation may traumatize the person, even the marriage of his or her own child can be viewed as a life-threatening event.

The following was a letter sent as a response to the article, “Children of Shame” (02-04-2011). The article addressed the fact that children learn at a very young age to disconnect their feelings as a mechanism to end their feelings of shame. As these children become adults, they find it difficult to reconnect those out of fear that once again they will feel the pain of shame.

Children who grew up feeling shameful for the most part will have also grown up without someone to talk to about how it made them feel.

Shame is one of the most destructive feelings there is. It is a feeling that something is wrong within us and has a negative affect on a child’s self-development.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/sections/family/marriage-relationships/a-lesson-in-self-control/2001/09/12/

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