web analytics
December 18, 2014 / 26 Kislev, 5775
 
At a Glance
Sections
Sponsored Post
8000 meals Celebrate Eight Days of Chanukah – With 8,000 Free Meals Daily to Israel’s Poor

Join Meir Panim’s campaign to “light up” Chanukah for families in need.



Countering Overreaction

Respler-040414

Dear Dr. Yael:

Married for three years, I am seeking advice regarding an action of my wife that upsets me very much.

My wife, whom I love very much, is very sensitive. If I say anything that she considers critical, she becomes silent for days – which drives me crazy. The more I beg her to make up, apologize to her, and even cry out for warmth and communication, the longer she continues to give me the cold shoulder.

I believe the reason she freezes up at perceived criticism is because her mother is a very critical person. It may be that she sees innocuous comments as criticisms because that is what she is used to; however, I find it very hard to deal with. Do you have any suggestions as to how I can deal with her silent treatment?

A Distressed Husband

Dear Distressed Husband:

Thank you for your honest letter. Unfortunately, many individuals who have been criticized as children tend to hear these negative voices in their heads long into adulthood.

If your wife’s mother has always been very critical of your wife, then you are correct that she has adopted these negative statements as “fact.” Thus, when you make a seemingly inoffensive statement, she hears: “You are a failure, a loser, a horrible wife and/or mother.” This will continue to make her feel terrible about herself, and may be why she appears to overreact to what you say. It is possible that as a child, she withdrew and became very quiet. She likely has much pent-up anger from her years of being criticized.

The Imago Theory purports that people tend to marry someone who is similar to one or both of their parents. If someone has a good relationship with a parent, his or her marriage usually has a good foundation and the couple is able to work through the typical issues that arise. But if that relationship was contentious, the person may try to repair it within his or her marriage by trying to change the interactions with his or her spouse.

When a spouse magnifies the issues in his or her marriage the situation becomes problematic because the spouse tends to hear his or her parent talking instead of focusing on what is really taking place. This may cause the spouse to overreact because he or she is hearing a magnified version of what is actually occurring. In your marriage, perhaps your wife is hearing her mother talking when you make these “innocuous comments.” This causes her to experience many built-up negative emotions, which may bring about an exaggerated response.

Now that you understand the basis for your wife’s feelings, don’t feel defensive the next time this occurs. This will give you the ability to react differently. When she gives you the silent treatment, you need to practice a “countermove” to your current unsuccessful reaction of begging your wife to make up with you and pleading for her warmth.

There are “moves” and “countermoves” in marriage. Many couples have the same conflicts repeatedly in the same manner. When their disputes become uncontrollable and threaten to destroy their marriage, they need to change their actions and rejoinders.

In your case, instead of begging your wife to make up when she is giving you the silent treatment, say to her, “I understand that you need your space now, but I would love to spend time with you when you are ready to speak.” Then, ignore the silent treatment that is taking place by acting warm toward her. Your wife will be surprised and will probably not know what to do. This may distract her from her negative thoughts, and she may retract from her shell.

About the Author:


If you don't see your comment after publishing it, refresh the page.

Our comments section is intended for meaningful responses and debates in a civilized manner. We ask that you respect the fact that we are a religious Jewish website and avoid inappropriate language at all cost.

If you promote any foreign religions, gods or messiahs, lies about Israel, anti-Semitism, or advocate violence (except against terrorists), your permission to comment may be revoked.

One Response to “Countering Overreaction”

  1. Totally agree, IF EITHER PARENTraised you in SUCH A DESTRUCTIVE PSYCHOLOGICALLY ABUSIVE HOME! GOOD NEWS IS Dr Yael is right – the damage IS REPAIRABLE & CAN BE HEALED!

Comments are closed.

SocialTwist Tell-a-Friend

Current Top Story
Feiglin - Ani Yehudi
Moshe Feiglin Drops Out of Likud PM Race
Latest Sections Stories
South-Florida-logo

Rav Dynovisz will be speaking in Hebrew on Wednesday, January 7, at 7:30 p.m.

South-Florida-logo

Rabbi Simeon Schreiber, senior chaplain at Mount Sinai Medical Center in Miami Beach, saw a small room in the hospital that was dark and dismal but could be used for Sabbath guests.

Eller-121914-Main

“The secret to a good donut is using quality ingredients and the ability to be patient and give them time to proof.”

I so desperately want to have a loving relationship with my stepsons.

The Liberty Bell is a symbol of American Independence.

Because you can’t have kids pouring huge jugs of oil into tiny glasses, unless you want to turn your house into an environmental disaster.

Try these with your kids; there’s something for every age group and once all the recipes are made, dinner will be ready!

You children will build the country and you will help restore Israel to her former glory.

Bais Toras Menachem is proud to welcome its new staff member, Yaakov Mark, who will be the Administrator as well as Ort College and GED class coordinator.

Because she is keenly aware that anti-Semitism may start with the Jews but never ends with the Jews, she makes the logical connection between the opprobrium for both America and Israel so commonplace on the political left.

In this narrative of history, it is the third world Palestinians who are victims of the marauding Jews, of course.

During 1939, anti-Semitic groups such as Fritz Kuhn’s German American Bund held rallies in New York and other major cities across the country.

More Articles from Dr. Yael Respler
Respler-logo-NEW

I so desperately want to have a loving relationship with my stepsons.

Respler-logo-NEW

Isn’t there anyone making a simcha who understands that loud music can cause hearing loss?

My mother thinks of herself as a superior person, has very little feelings for other people, and probably suffers from a deep lack of self-esteem.

Sometimes the most powerful countermove one can make when a person is screaming is to calmly say that her behavior is not helpful and then continue interacting with the rest of the family while ignoring the enraged person.

There are many people today with very little training who put out shingles and proclaim themselves to be marital coaches, shalom bayis helpers, advisers etc.

When one marries someone with children, all family members must accept them.

My mother-in-law is totally devoted to her daughters and their children. Her sons’ children on the other hand are treated like second-class citizens.

How can I help my wife learn to say “no,” and understand that her first priority must be her husband and family?

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/sections/family/marriage-relationships/countering-overreaction/2014/04/04/

Scan this QR code to visit this page online: