Dear Dr. Yael:
Your recent column on “The Burden Of Feeling Overwhelmed” (Dear Dr. Yael, 2-8-13) made me very upset. Instead of feeling overwhelmed, this woman should feel blessed. After all, she has over 10 children, four of whom are married and living near her. Additionally, they are financially comfortable with a large home and full-time help.
I wonder if she realizes how many people envy the position she’s in. I have married children who live far away, either in Eretz Yisrael or in California, and we hardly get to see them. And what about those without children? Or those without married children? Or those without grandchildren?
That woman’s view of her life enraged me. She should be grateful for all the berachos that Hashem has given her and for all the mazel in her life. I realize that you must be diplomatic in your answers, but please tell this woman to appreciate her life and to stop complaining about it.
You are correct in saying that we should all be thankful for the berachos that we have, especially when we are zocheh to have many of them. My response was geared toward the letter writer’s dilemma, as even though she should be thankful for her berachos she can also seek help in most effectively managing those berachos. While it is important for all of us to focus on our berachos, it is also important to recognize that everyone has different life challenges.
Some people with many children have a difficult time juggling the needs of every family member. Others do not have children living nearby and have a difficult time adjusting to the “empty nest syndrome.” It is not our place to judge which is the greater. Rather, we should all try to help one another deal with what Hashem gives us.
I appreciate your reminding everyone to be thankful for what they have. It is a beautiful middah to be sameach b’chelko and to enjoy all of Hashem’s berachos.
Dear Dr. Yael:
I try to be a very good wife, mother and homemaker. But although I am pretty sure that deep down my husband appreciates my hard work, he rarely acknowledges or compliments me. I wish that he would sometimes say a good word and tell me how much he appreciates me.
For my part, I try to be very emotionally and physically supportive of my husband, knowing how difficult it is to work and support a family. But doesn’t he realize how hard it is to be home all day with the children and keep the house running efficiently?
Here’s an example: I could have all the kids bathed and ready for bed, a delicious supper prepared, look nice when he walks through the door, and have the house fairly clean – but my husband will either not say anything or he may notice the one thing that I forgot to do, and comment on that! Why is he so quick to criticize but so reluctant to praise? When I ask him about this, he says, “The good is expected and the bad is noted.” Why should the good be expected?
I’ve told my husband that it is important to me to be complimented. He tried for a day or two but then retreated to his old ways. I know that he does not mean anything bad by acting this way and that he loves me, but I really crave compliments from him. They would give me the strength to continue day after day, even if my work is sometimes repetitive and boring. How can I make him understand?
Here’s an idea that may help you: Whenever you want a compliment, ask your husband how dinner was. He will probably say that it was very good. Then tell him to please let you know that dinner was delicious and that he appreciates your efforts in cooking dinner for him.
If you want to be complimented on your new outfit, ask him if he likes it. He will probably say that it is nice. Then tell him to please say that he likes your outfit and that you really look good in it, for such a compliment will really make you feel great.
If you did something special with your child, mention it to your husband by asking, “Do you think what I did was creative and effective?” Again, he will probably answer in the affirmative. Then tell him to please try to be more complimentary to you because you crave his compliments. Emphasize that he is a special husband and that when he compliments you it makes your day and life better. Continue requesting compliments from him and return his compliments with kind words of your own. The more positive reinforcements you give him, the more he will continue to compliment you. Ultimately, he will do so on his own.
As all women crave compliments from their husbands, please do not feel that you are unique. Many of my female clients express this deep need for a husband’s praise and validation. I hear this in my shalom bayis groups and in my private practice, as well as from the many people who pose questions to me in this column and on my hotline.
Please feel reassured that you are not unique in your need for praise. I hope my ideas are helpful. Hatzlachah!Dr. Yael Respler
About the Author: Dr. Yael Respler is a psychotherapist in private practice who provides marital, dating and family counseling. Dr. Respler also deals with problems relating to marital intimacy. Letters may be emailed to firstname.lastname@example.org. To schedule an appointment, please call 917-751-4887. Dr. Orit Respler-Herman, a child psychologist, co-authors this column and is now in private practice providing complete pychological evaluations as well as child and adolescent therapy. She can be reached at 917-679-1612. Previous columns can be viewed at www.jewishpress.com and archives of Dr. Respler’s radio shows can be found at www.dryaelrespler.com.
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