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Part 14 – How Control Begins and Breeds Resentment


Schonbuch-Rabbi-Daniel

Once she finally forced herself to get the words out, about exactly what had happened, and how awful she had felt about it afterward, her sister asked (just as any concerned sister would), “Is he always this controlling?”

At first, she felt dumbstruck. This was something she had never really thought about, at least not in those precise terms. She knew Meir was a bit of a “stickler” about certain things, but she figured that we all have our little foibles, and up until now, she had never really envisioned that this side of his personality could actually be emotionally destructive in any way.

But now she felt compelled to re-examine everything that had gone on during their relationship in a new light. And when she did start to think more deeply about his behavior, it slowly started to dawn on her that all of the little bossy, nit-picky things that he did, and all of the odd little “rules and regulations” that he had always insisted upon, might actually add up to an excessively controlling personality.

Next Week, Part 15, Understanding the sign of a controlling personality

Rabbi Daniel Schonbuch, MA, is the Executive Director of Shalom Task Force. For more information about Shalom Task Force, please visit www.shalomtaskforce.org. You can e-mail questions to him at rabbischonbuch@yahoo.com.

About the Author: Rabbi Daniel Schonbuch, MA, Marriage and Family Therapy, is an expert in marriage counseling, pre-marital education, and helping teens in crisis with offices in Flatbush, Cedarhurst, and Crown Heights. He is a certified PAIRS instructor, and trained as a Level 1, Emotionally Focused Therapist at the Ackerman Institute for the Family, and is a member of AASECT. He is the author of At Risk – Never Beyond Reach and First Aid For Jewish Marriages. To watch his free videos on marriage and parenting and for appointments visit: www.JewishMarriageSupport.com or call 646-428-4723


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Separation anxiety disorder is a condition in which a child becomes fearful and nervous when away from home or separated from a loved one – usually a parent or other caregiver – to whom the child is attached.

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I try to focus on the parents in a way that is not often addressed. As soon as the child gets anxious, the parent gets anxious;

Most people are not aware that anxiety disorders are the most common mental illness in the United States, affecting 40 million adults age 18 and older (18% of U.S. population).

Parental conflict affects children in varying ways, depending on their age. For example, teenagers around the age of fifteen or sixteen are most likely to involve themselves in their parents’ battles. Younger children may keep their feelings hidden inside and may only show signs of depression in late childhood or early adolescence.

When parents come to talk to me about a troubled child or teenager, I often find it helpful to explore whether or not their marriage is causing their teenager to be at risk.

Active listening is only one part of the marriage equation; learning what to say and what not to say is the other half. And, it’s not just about expressing your feelings, but doing it in a way that avoids hurting the other person.

Control may be the most destructive force influencing a marriage. Let me illustrate this point with the following story. About two years ago a woman named Bracha, 47, came to speak to me about her husband’s controlling behavior. This is how she described her precarious situation:

Controlling behavior may be the number one 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 issue for counselors, therapists and psychologists-at-large.

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