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October 1, 2014 / 7 Tishri, 5775
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Self Awareness. ‘Who Am I?’ (Part I)


Herskowitz-Moishe

Almost every profession has what we call the tools of the trade, and with marriage it isn’t any different. If you’re single, engaged or a newlywed, you need to have the tools it takes to build a successful marriage. Yet for many of us even when the chosen and kallah classes are over, they still find it difficult to use the tools that they have just learned. This is because marriage can bring out the best in us, and it can also bring out the worst in us. A person’s self is a complicated energy source with great potential for interpersonal and emotional growth. But if you don’t know who you are, how can you know some one else? It stands to reason that the more tools you have to obtain self awareness the more possibilities you have for a better and more satisfying relationship.

How do you acquire the tools for self-awareness? Interestingly enough you don’t the tools acquire you! At birth, Hashem provides each and every one us with four sets of tools, which we call preferences and non-preferences. Preferences means the way we naturally prefer to do things. Non-preferences means the way we naturally prefer not to do things.

Noted psychologist, Carl Jung, explains that the four sets of tools are set up like a scale:

Extravert vs. Introvert

Sensing vs. Intuition

Thinking vs. Feeling

Judging vs. Perceiving

Everyone uses both sides of the scale from time to time. Yet the side of the scale you feel most comfortable with will determine an important aspect of your personality.

It’s interesting to note that when we choose a mate, we often have an unconscious attraction to our opposites. The chemistry or friction that happens between opposites is often a desire to complete the missing parts of ourselves.

Rav Shternbach, shlita, states that an ‘ezer k’negdo’ is the man’s opposite and that if the woman’s nature is different from that of her husband, then she complements him. She is his helper. If, however, their personalities are similar, if their character traits are alike, then they will end up maintaining the same weaknesses and, in all likelihood, their opportunities for individual growth will be stunted. In a marriage, the ideal is for two people with contrasting or differing characteristics to join together and build upon one another’s strengths, very much like a puzzle where each of the pieces fit into place to form a complete mosaic.

As a four part series, “Who Am I ?”, I will begin with Preferences 1. Extravert vs. Introvert.

Extravert: People who prefer extraversion tend to focus on the outer world of people and external events. They direct their energy and attention outward and receive energy from external events, experiences, and interactions.

Characteristics of most people who prefer extraversion:

Attuned to external environment

Prefer to communicate by talking

Learn best through doing or discussing

Breadth of interests

Tend to speak first, reflect later-(thinking out loud sometimes get them into trouble)

Sociable and expressive

Take initiative in work and relationships

Introvert: people who prefer introversion tend to focus on their own inner world of ideas and experiences. They direct their energy and attention inward and receive energy from their internal thoughts, feelings, and reflections.

Characteristics of most people who prefer introversion:

Drawn to their inner worlds

Prefer to communicate by writing

Learn best by reflection

Depth of interest

Tend to reflect before acting-they are often reserves, quiet and need time to think things over (they may get annoyed by the extravert need for verbal communication)

Private and contained

Focus readily

A good example is a past case study of mine regarding an extravert married to an introvert. Breindy and Naftoli*, a young couple married for just over a year, tried to talk about their frustration, but their inability to reach each other only led to more frustration and misery. At 2:00 o’clock in the morning, they came banging at the door of their rav’s house. Breindy, in the heat of anger, insisted that he should prepare a Get (divorce) right there and then! When the rav finally calmed the couple down, Breindy stated, “I can’t live with someone who never says “I love you”! Naftoli then responded, “Must I verbalize everything? It should be understood.” Breindy did not know that Naftoli’s personality type tends to be reluctant to share inner thoughts and feelings. Naftoli did not know that Breindy’s personality type needs verbal communication to establish closeness and intimacy.

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.


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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.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/sections/family/marriage-relationships/self-awareness-who-am-i-part-i/2004/12/29/

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