web analytics
July 22, 2014 / 24 Tammuz, 5774
Israel at War: Operation Protective Edge
 
 
At a Glance
Sections
Sponsored Post
IDC Advocacy Room IDC Fights War on Another Front

Student Union opens ‘hasbara’ room in effort to fill public diplomacy vacuum.



Couples In Crisis


Herskowitz-Moishe

(*Names were changed.)

Traumatic events are typically unexpected, and uncontrollable. If in the past a person experienced a traumatizing event – even if it’s been long forgotten – the brain will remind them of that time, should something similar take place. Memories to traumatic occurrences lie dormant in the recesses of subconscious memories.

In a domestic crisis experienced by a married couple, one or both spouses may become overwhelmed and vulnerable. If memories of a former traumatic event are triggered by the new crisis, a feeling of helplessness and of being unsafe will resurface – especially if this happens early on in their marriage.

As a result they will perceive the environment and marriage they are presently in as unsafe and in danger. The brain has an “Emotional Radar System” called Fight or Flight. Should a person feel unsafe or in danger the brain will send messages to the body to “get out of the house now!” Or, it may cause them to fight; back yell or scream – do what ever has to be done – to alert the person that they are in danger!

Many couples in crisis will always feel this way and will have problems trusting each other. Anything they say or do will trigger a Fight or Flight exchange, as they perceive their marriage as a re-traumatization of the past.  The “Emotional Radar System” we call the “unconscious” will process the information, and the past and present will become indistinguishable.

I recall a case where a newly married couple – both in their second marriage – was having problems. Between all the pain and blame, they wanted to know what was happening to them. They were frightened that once again they were going to get divorced, and for the most part they were correct. Unless this couple could move through the crisis stages of T.E.A.S. – a program that will provide insights on Traumatization, Exploration, Awareness and Safety, they would, in all likelihood end up divorced.

As we moved to the exploration stage, the husband, Michael* recalled an event he had long forgotten.  He had been about nine and his father gave him a note to deliver to his teacher. Feeling good and proud of himself, Michael handed the note to his teacher. His teacher (for some unexplained reason) took off his belt (a behavior unheard of today) and gave him a beating that he would never forget – or so it seemed. At that moment he felt helpless, and started to cry; he could neither Fight nor Flight. As the years the passed, even though Michael was traumatized by the event he did “forget.”

In time he grew up, and got married. It wasn’t long into the marriage when trust issues started to emerge and he began to fight with his wife Ellen, * a person he loved very much.  Michael ‘s “Emotional Radar System” reminded him: “Hey! You trusted your father, a person you loved so much, and look what happened. Have you forgotten what it felt like to feel helpless and out of control? How can you trust someone that loves you? Ellen loves you – can’t you see you’re in danger!”

Michael’s brain had processed loving someone and being loved by that person (his father), with being hurt and rendered helpless.  He transferred those thoughts and feelings into his relationship with his beloved Ellen. The unconscious brain shouts, “People who love you cannot be trusted not to hurt you and you should start a ‘Fight or Flight’ exchange ASAP. Do what ever you have to do to get back in control. Do something – yell, scream Fight or Flight – run for it. Hey wait one minute! I have a better idea – keep telling yourself you’re just not compatible, and just get divorced!’”

Michael and Ellen tried to convince me they were not compatible when, in reality, they were. They had been wounded in childhood and to needed to heal. However, they did not know how or where to start. Their Emotional Radar Systems did not have this information stored in their memory banks. There was only the “Fight or Flight” response, as Michael stated in the Awareness stage: “The lack of trust is all I have left in order for me to feel in control; I am afraid to give it up.”

But they did give it up, with a lot of hard work on their part. They had to give up the process of anger, hurt, and fear in order to avoid the triggers that had continued to re-traumatize them. As their unconscious minds began to heal, so did their conscious marriage. Baruch Hashem, as the conscious mind became less defensive, the trauma subsided. As a result, they were able to move in to a Safety Stage, and trust each other so that they can learn the communication skills in building Shalom Bayit.

 

Moishe Herskowitz MS., LCSW, developed the T.E.A.M. (Torah Education & Awareness for a better Marriage) approach based on 20 successful years of counseling couples – helping them to communicate effectively and fully appreciate each other.  As a licensed clinical social worker and renowned family therapist, he developed this breakthrough seminar to guide new couples through easy-to-accomplish steps towards a happy, healthy marriage.  Moishe Herskowitz holds a certificate from the Brooklyn Institute for Psychotherapy and Psychoanalysis in couples and marriage therapy.  He is an active member of the New York Counseling Association for marriage and family counseling. T.E.A.M. is endorsed by many prominent rabbanim. To discuss topics from an article, or ask  questions,  contact  CPCMoishe@aol.com or 718-435-7388.  Log on to CPCTEAM.org  to download past articles and for more information about the T.E.A.M. approach.

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.


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.

No Responses to “Couples In Crisis”

Comments are closed.

SocialTwist Tell-a-Friend

Current Top Story
IDF artillery fires on Gazan terrorists.
Two Soldiers Killed Overnight, Launchers Found Embedded Next to School
Latest Sections Stories
book-Family-Frayda

Written entirely through Frayda’s eyes, the reader is drawn by her unassuming personality.

book-I-Kings

Adopting an ancient exegetical approach that is based on midrashic readings of the text, thematic connections that span between various books of the Bible are revealed.

book-Unify-A-Nation

While Lipman comes from an ultra-Orthodox background and is an Orthodox rabbi, he offers a breath of fresh air when he suggests that “polarization caused by extremism and isolationism in the religious community may be the greatest internal threat to the future of the Jewish people”

Schonfeld-logo1

The Joys of Yiddish, Leo Rosten defines a mentch as “someone to admire and emulate, someone of noble character.”

Certainly today’s communication via e-mail, Facebook, Twitter and the like, including the ubiquitous Whatsapp, has reduced the need to talk with people and communicate at length.

These two special women utilized their incredibly painful experience as an opportunity to assist others.

Maybe we don’t have to lose that growth and unity that we have achieved, especially with the situation in Eretz Yisrael right now.

Sleepily, I watched him kissing Mai’s chubby thighs.

I have always insisted that everything that happens to anyone or anything is min Shamayim.

My teachers like me and they tell my parents that I am a great girl with good middos.

The chicken and waffle nuggets were fabulous and were like chicken in a dessert form.

“Have you forgotten your dreams?” The Hope Merchant asks a defeated and hopeless Lily when she “happens” upon his shop.

The universe was created by God out of nothing; it has not always existed.

He combined intellectual achievement with deep spirituality and religious devotion.

More Articles from Moishe Herskowitz
Herskowitz-Moishe-NEW

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

Herskowitz-Moishe-NEW

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.

    Latest Poll

    Israel's Iron Dome Anti-Missile System:





    View Results

    Loading ... Loading ...

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/sections/family/marriage-relationships/couples-in-crisis/2009/04/17/

Scan this QR code to visit this page online: