Domestic abuse is an issue that affects people of all religious and cultural backgrounds. It is for this reason that most communities today have organizations that will respond to abuse in a manner appropriate for its constituents.
Last week, a frum-from-birth mother in one of my classes thanked me for encouraging her to stay home with her last baby (which was her sixth). She said, "Until I met you, I didn't know it was important for babies to be cuddled or held. Thanks to you, I decided to nurse for the first time and it was a wonderful experience. Instead of rushing off to work in the morning, he got a calm mom - at least until I returned to part-time work when he was eight months old."
In an online article, Lisa Twerski, LCSW, identifies different types of tactics often used by abusers. This is only a partial list, but recognizing...
Here are some of the ways to know whether you are in a controlling relationship:
In most dating situations it would be highly unlikely for a person to act out in a controlling manner. For example, you would not see a young man rant and rave if his first-time shidduch is five minutes late for a date. Both parties are still in the illusionary phase of the relationship, where they are careful to limit any form of criticism and to maintain an air of civility during all interchanges.
Controlling behavior may be the #1 reason that your marriage needs first aid. If you are unfamiliar with the topic of control, it’s no surprise. Most people are unaware that control is a major topic for counselors, therapists and psychologists-at-large, which until recently has not entered into the public’s attention.
A friend of mine called me recently on her way home from a date. It was 11:30 p.m., and she was walking home from the subway, a 20-minute walk from her home. She said that she had a pleasant time, but was surprised when her date walked her to the subway at the end of the evening and said good night at 11 p.m. "Doesn't he realize that at this late hour he should be escorting me home?" she cried.
In marriage, it’s inevitable that sometimes couples will step on each other’s toes; especially during the first year of marriage, where newlyweds find themselves tip-toeing around their spouse’s emotional roadblocks. Don’t forget that it takes time to learn about your spouse’s idiosyncrasies and to learn how to respond in a way that makes them feel at ease.
Dear Mom and Dad, Yes, I am addressing you both in the same sentence, because even though you are divorced, to me you are still Mom and Dad. I just want you both to know how much I love you. Things have been really crazy and I need to get a few things off my chest. You being divorced has really been hard on me. I remember how you argued so much that most of the time I parented myself. I was so scared ... When you fought, I felt so invisible.
Some people are natural communicators. They know how to get across their point of view without damaging their relationship. Others (probably most of us) need some guidance on where to focus and what to steer clear of.
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.
To feel loved and nurtured, your spouses need to feel that you empathize with their emotions. The key is empathy. Empathy isn’t the same as sympathy or pity. It means being able to put yourself in another’s position, to feel what they feel and see what they see, without losing yourself in the process.
Mirroring is a good way to start actively listening to each other. To mirror, you simply paraphrase or repeat back to your spouses what they are saying to you.
David (name changed) and his wife had been married for 15 years and believed they knew what each other really wanted. While attending a marriage seminar on communication, David and his wife listened to the instructor declare, “It is essential that husbands and wives know the things that are important to each other.”
One of the most powerful dimensions of a successful marriage is a couple's ability to keep focused on each other's good points and unique personality traits. Too often, people become fixated on the negative. They "sweat over the small stuff," and forget about the positive points that brought them together in the first place.
Self-esteem is one of the most important factors influencing human behavior. Despite what some people believe, self-esteem can be a critical issue in marriage, where unresolved identity issues from childhood can place unwanted stress on a relationship.
Finding direction in marriage is similar to going on a long journey. To get to where you want to go, you will need to have a plan that includes directions, supplies and someone to navigate along the way.
I often share with my clients a simple yet powerful analogy: to think about their relationship as they do about their bank account. That's because investing in your relationship is similar to saving money; the more you put into your bank account or relationship, the more you can take out when necessary.
Mordechai, 36, and Chani, 35, were married for six years and came to ask me for advice on how to save their relationship. They seemed to have everything going for them. They were working professionals, successful and upwardly mobile; they shared many common factors including similar religious beliefs, intelligence levels, and were both pleasantly extroverted.
One of the reasons that parenting is so difficult is because parents are caught in a paradoxical situation. What every child wants most is to be loved as he is. However, the parent (horeh) is also a teacher (moreh), which comes from the word hora'ah - instruction. A teacher's job is to civilize the child, instill values, shape attitudes and correct negative behavior. We can't let our children go out into the world as pampered slobs or short-tempered bullies. We want them to be hard working, reliable, thrifty, considerate, patient and organized.
If you would like to know if your marriage is relationship centered or not, the way to find out is to ask yourself about your core values. For example, what is the most important principle of your marriage? Is it your desire for money or pleasure? Do you dream about being comfortable, being honored by your spouse and having a lot of fun?
Are you looking for emotional first aid for your marriage? If you are, you’re not alone. Today engaged couples, newlyweds and couples who have been married for years, are feeling insecure about their relationships and looking for advice on how to make their marriages work better or simply to heal their relationship wounds.
We have a stringent duty to honor our parents. But are there limits? A well-known Gemara praises a Roman officer for maintaining his composure even after his mother tore his clothes and spit in his face in public (Kiddushin 31a). Many cite this story as proof that a child must passively submit to abuse by a parent. This view is mistaken and can lead to terrible tragedies.
Dear Dr. Yael, I think it is imperative that you print this letter because this is an ongoing problem in many families. In these families, the children stay in their parents' summer home for the entire summer, and everyone is supposed to live happily under one roof. This can get difficult if a brother-in-law picks on his sister-in-law or vice versa. This past summer my brother-in-law called me names, causing many hurt feelings.
A few years ago I was invited to be a guest on a talk show. An interesting question came up from a young man who wanted some information on the topic of in-laws. He wanted to know if I had ever known of a couple divorcing because of their in-laws. My response was that although divorced people may blame the in-laws for the marriage failure, in most cases this does not happen directly, but indirectly- YES!