In Part I of My Soul Is On Fire, I told my readers about Allan, a very distraught nineteen year old who, in a moment of dire pain, told me he felt his soul was on fire.
Dear Dr. Yael: I am a female driver dealing with challenges of derech eretz while driving in my community. Every time the light is about to turn green, the person behind me seems to immediately honk the horn, yet no one has a problem double-parking, making me feel as if I am driving on an obstacle course.
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.
Dear Dr. Yael: I am writing to you in regards to your article, “Easing The Trauma Of Divorce” (Dear Dr. Yael, 11-16). Now in my 30s, I am the product of a divorced home in which my parents made me, an only child, a pawn. Throughout my life the trauma and hatred I witnessed between my parents was unbearable. As a result, I am terrified to get married, despite the desire to do so in a normal and happy setting. I have gone for therapy, but this great fear is hard to overcome. I wonder if this feeling will ever leave me.
Dear Brocha, Thank you so much for your column and for shining light on this matter. Addiction has been gnawing at the souls of our community for a long time. Yet, it still remains a disease that is swept under the table.
Allan is a very troubled nineteen-year-old who has been coming to see me since August. Actually, I’m never sure if Allan will make it to the next appointment. Since we first met, I have been amazed at the amount of emotional turmoil and pain he is in. Every appointment seems to bring another “cry” for help. His anguish is noted by his constant crying and threats of harm to himself and others.
In a recent New York Times article, Robert Lipsyte, a sports author, posed the following question: “Boys and Reading: Is There Any Hope?” For years, I have been dealing with this question in my office. In fact, the U.S. Department of Education’s reading tests for the last thirty years show boys scoring worse than girls in every age group, every year.
Dear Dr. Yael: I have an issue and it is causing problems in my marriage. The home I grew up was not a warm one and I never received much love. For that reason, showing love to others is difficult for me – and for my husband. He is a warm and caring person and does not deserve my lack of affection. While I am working hard to change, I was wondering if you could offer some suggestions that might be helpful to both him and me. Anonymous
Creating direction in a marriage is similar to going on a long journey. To get to where you want to go, you need to have a plan that includes directions, supplies and the ability to navigate along the way. You will also have to be prepared for many possible factors that may interfere with your trip, including wind, rain, unpredictable mechanical breakdown and human error. Most importantly you will need a map to guide and help reorient you in case you lose your way.
Dear Dr. Respler: I am currently involved in a yearlong custody battle over my three children, who are all under the age of 10. I...
Sometimes you just have to wonder, "What were they thinking?" My wife and I speak on marriage-related topics to variant crowds. We know what we're going to say, but we have no idea what the audience may offer. So, when we speak publicly, before we open the floor to comments or questions (which we welcome), we always preface with a cautionary word not to make any personal or disparaging remarks about one's spouse.
It still amazes me how the Internet has completely changed our lives and how we view communication these days. My children hardly believe me when I tell them that there was a time when being in touch with someone, meant we actually saw them, spoke to them on the phone, or wrote them a letter and mailed it.
Dear Dr. Yael: I am struggling in my marriage after just five years. I am, by nature, a very outgoing person. I love to go out with friends and have people over for Shabbos meals. My husband, on the other hand, is quieter and would rather be home and stick to our routine. This causes a great deal of friction; between work and the kids, I do not have much of a social life and always want to invite people over or go out with other couples.
Dear Brocha, As I write this letter I am overcome with emotions. Relief, fear, trepidation, elation…the feelings are all jumbled up inside of me. Please allow me to back track. My daughter, who recently turned 20, just left to rehab. After four years of denial, lies, manipulation, anger and chaos she finally admitted she has a problem with alcohol.
He recognized me before I recognized him. We were in Yerushalayim on different sides of the street. He was six foot two waving and yelling my name. “Noach, Noach, Noach Schwartz, the social worker! It’s me Yechiel Klein! Don’t you remember me?” He was wearing a hat, white shirt and suit and looked like a regular bochur from the Mir or Brisk. He did not look like the Yechiel I had met ten years earlier at a clinic in Boro Park.
“It is a truth universally acknowledged, that a single man in possession of a good fortune must be in want of a wife.” Thus begins Jane Austen’s classic marriage-themed novelwork of marriage, Pride and Prejudice.
Dear Dr. Yael: I feel extremely guilty about my elderly father and am filled with anger toward my sisters and brothers in regards to his care.
Dear Dr. Yael: I am married and have a two and a half year old son. He is a wonderful child, but when he does not get his way, he often has a tantrum. Sometimes, I just give him what he wants because we are in public and his behavior is embarrassing. But I cannot always give in, especially when what he wants is dangerous or unhealthy. It is then that I do not know what to do.