web analytics
August 23, 2014 / 27 Av, 5774
Israel at War: Operation Protective Edge
 
 
At a Glance
Sections
Sponsored Post
Jerusalem Mayor Nir Barkat (L) visits the JewishPress.com booth at The Event. And the Winners of the JewishPress.com Raffle Are…

Congratulations to all the winners of the JewishPress.com raffle at The Event



The Price Of Nice


Family-logo

Kindness is such an essential Jewish trait that we are told to suspect that a cruel person is not really Jewish. The media constantly uplifts us with inspirational stories about saintly people who radiated love to their fellowman and did their utmost to avoid hurting others. Yet we are also told, “Those who are kind to the cruel will eventually be cruel to the kind” (Koheles Raba 7:16). It is not a kindness to allow ourselves to be abused, exploited or manipulated. By not taking protective action when possible, we encourage destructive behavior. The following stories are examples of naïve and trusting people who paid a heavy price for being overly “nice.”

1.Meir, in need of an accountant, immediately thought of his wife’s cousin Sam who had recently opened up his own office. But Sam had severe ADHD. His office was highly disorganized and each time Meir needed a document, he waited uneasily as Sam frantically looked through the mess trying to find it. The result was that deadlines were missed and Meir often had to pay fines. Although Sam kept reassuring Meir that he was saving him money, Meir was torn. He knew he needed to get a new accountant, but he was afraid to hurt Sam’s feelings. How would he face Sam at family simchas if he switched? What if switching hurt Sam’s confidence causing him to drink, or worse? The price of nice: Meir kept losing money and couldn’t even look at Sam when at family simchas anyway.

2. Sara liked to please others. When neighbors asked her to watch their children, Sara always said yes with a smile, even if though previously they had stayed out two hours later then they promised. She always loaned out various appliances, even though in the past some had not been returned. However, when her mother asked if she could take her elderly grandmother into her home, Sara hesitated. With her tiny, two-room apartment, this would mean putting her three children to sleep in the living room so that Bubby could have a room of her own. Furthermore, Bubby, who was always a very critical person, was showing signs of dementia and the children were afraid of her. In addition Sara had a full time job. However, Sara wanted to be like the saintly people she read about who would have welcomed the opportunity. So, she said yes. At first, she tried to be happy. When she told her husband that it was all too much for her and she wanted to quit her job, he reminded her that they needed the money. The price of nice: two weeks after giving birth to her fourth child, Sara was in the emergency room having experienced a full-blown panic attack.

3. Eliezer was proud of his ability to relate to mentally disturbed people; he was always inviting them into his home and showering them with food and compassion. The most recent person he invited home was an eccentric man in his 60′s who believed he is a prophet who could predict the future and heal the sick. His specialty is warning people about demons, which he claims, lurk in inanimate objects. Eliezer called me after his children said that this “healer” had told them not to look at trees, as looking would activate the demons. The man had also acted inappropriately towards Eliezer’s daughters. When I asked Eliezer why he did not ask the man to leave, Eliezer replied, “I can’t kick this poor man out of my house. He’s already been here for two years. Where will he go?” The price of being nice: His children feel they have lost their home and no longer respect their father who pampers a man they consider dangerous.

4. Although Miri is only twenty-four, she feels like she has been buried alive. Soon after her wedding she discovered that her husband was an Internet addict who sleeps all day and is up all night. When I asked her why she stays with him, she said, “I felt so sorry for him. He seemed like such a nebbuch. I was afraid that if I rejected him, he would be devastated and then I would feel guilty for having ruined his life.” The price of being nice: She has ruined her life and the lives of her three children, who are learning from their father that it is normal to be depressed and dysfunctional.

5. Michael had been married only a short time when he realized his wife had extreme mood shifts. She would be seductive and sweet one minute and then suddenly start screaming, angrily accusing him of not caring enough about her and not making enough money. There were even times when she struck him, especially if he was late coming home. His mother gave him pep talks, saying, “Your love will heal your wife. With patience and forgiveness, you will have a wonderful marriage.” He was too ashamed to admit, even to himself, that he was a battered spouse and most times he felt like a failure for not being able to make his wife happy. He was told by a therapist that his wife suffered from Borderline Personality Disorder and that such people are “unpleasable.” But when he told his wife that he could not go on, she became syrupy sweet, promising tearfully to change. Yet after a few fun-filled days, she found a reason to attack him again. As soon as he felt he wanted to leave, she became clingy and begged him not to abandon her. Finally he spoke to his mother-in-law hoping that she would be of some help. She basically told him hat if he left she would tell everyone that he had been abusive and make sure he would never be able to marry again. So he stayed, hoping that his wife would become more stable. And then, when the children came along, he stayed for them. The price of nice: a life of misery for both him and the children.

6. Zehava prided herself on being a patient and loving mother. Whenever her children asked for something she did her best to indulge them. When they spoke disrespectfully to her, refused to help with the chores or even kicked her when frustrated, she smiled and said, “I forgive you.” When teachers complained about their behavior, Zehava said, “I just don’t know how to say no.” Even when she found money missing from her purse, she remained in a bubble of denial; sure that time would solve all problems. When she asked her daughter where she got all the new clothes and jewelry she was wearing, she wanted to believe that her daughter was telling the truth when she claimed that friends had given these items to her. Zehava did not acknowledge the smell of alcohol on her daughter’s breath or the strange smell on her son’s clothing that made her head spin. Being such a nice person, Zehava kept trusting and forgiving. “Anyway,” she reasoned, “they won’t respect my rules even if I do try to set limits with them.” Zehava is a “pleaser” who feared losing her children’s love. But in her effort to be “nice,” she raised children who were narcissistic and manipulative, with no concept of what love means.

It takes courage to be honest, to stand up for our values and set firm limits with people who do not treat us with respect. When one’s physical or mental health are at stake, the Torah is clear that it is forbidden to do anything to harm oneself.

The Adahan Fund helps impoverished Israelis to buy food and other essentials, including medical equipment. Miriam can be reached at 011-972-2-5868201 or emett@netvision.net.il

About the Author:


If you don't see your comment after publishing it, refresh the page.

Our comments section is intended for meaningful responses and debates in a civilized manner. We ask that you respect the fact that we are a religious Jewish website and avoid inappropriate language at all cost.

If you promote any foreign religions, gods or messiahs, lies about Israel, anti-Semitism, or advocate violence (except against terrorists), your permission to comment may be revoked.

No Responses to “The Price Of Nice”

Comments are closed.

SocialTwist Tell-a-Friend

Current Top Story
4 yr old Israeli Daniel Tregerman, murdered by Hamas rocket on Aug. 22, 2014.
IDF: Israeli Toddler Murdered by Rocket Fired Near UNRWA School/Shelter
Latest Sections Stories
Teens-082214

As they fall upon us we go
To the WALL.

Twenties-082214-Girls

One minute you’re shaving shwarma off a pit, then the shwarma guy tells you he read a (fake) WhatsApp that the boys are dead.

Lewis-082214-Gaon

I probe a little deeper and Shula takes me into the world of phantom pains and prosthetic limbs.

Astaire-082214-Main

This went on until she had immersed eighty times, and then Hashem at last took pity upon her.

Because Menachem lives in Israel, he can feel the ruach in the air.

Perhaps you can reach a compromise during this news frenzy, whereby you will feel more comfortable while he can still follow the latest events.

Leon experienced the War of Independence from a soldier’s perspective, while remaining true to his Jewish ideals and beliefs.

Chabad of Arizona centers recently hosted an evening of remembrance to mark the 20th yahrzeit of the Lubavitcher Rebbe.

A CPE class at Kingsbrook Jewish Medical Center in Brooklyn was tailor made for Orthodox participants.

“I didn’t choose the landscape; it chose me.”

Woe to us that we have to be put to death like common heathen and murderers!

More Articles from Dr. Miriam Adahan

Chaim* was admired in yeshiva for his incredible diligence. His days were consumed with learning and he could be found in the Beis Midrash almost 24/7. For him, sleep was a waste of time. Great things were forecast for his future until neighbors found him lying in the middle of the street in Geula, hallucinating that he was Moshiach. Medications stopped his racing mind but made him feel like a zombie. He became depressed and shell of his former self. His parents thought they were acting responsibly when they had him hospitalized and then put in a hostel.

Lessons-logo

Since suffering from colitis as a teen, I finally adopted a strict diet in my 30s that ended my torment. It wasn’t easy to forgo white flour, white sugar and all chemical additives, but it meant that I spend the last 40 years pretty much free of doctors, medications and illness, thank God. Thus, I was surprised when two weeks before Rosh Hashanah, I began to experience increasingly severe stomach discomfort – until I was barely able to move. Despite what I was soon to endure, it helped greatly to focus on the moment-to-moment miracles.

As a teenager, I suffered from occasional panic attacks, social anxiety, and more than the usual amount of teenage angst. In today’s drug-obsessed society, I would certainly have been given psych meds; thankfully, back then, it was expected that maturity would bring greater resilience and awareness. And so it was.

Psychologist David Richo defines love in terms of five A’s: appreciation, affection, attentiveness (listening), acceptance and allowing (as in allowing others the freedom to fulfill their own dreams). Love is the opposite of control.

The couple had barely completed their brief intake papers, which included a small handwriting sample, when, her eyes blazing with fury, the wife pounded on the small table between us and yelled, “He has to grow up! I need a husband who is a real partner, not a lazy good-for-nothing who won’t take responsibility and is totally clueless about my needs!” Her husband sat hunched in his chair, looking like a hapless cat which had somehow survived the spin cycle in a washing machine.

Kindness is such an essential Jewish trait that we are told to suspect that a cruel person is not really Jewish. The media constantly uplifts us with inspirational stories about saintly people who radiated love to their fellowman and did their utmost to avoid hurting others. Yet we are also told, “Those who are kind to the cruel will eventually be cruel to the kind” (Koheles Raba 7:16). It is not a kindness to allow ourselves to be abused, exploited or manipulated. By not taking protective action when possible, we encourage destructive behavior. The following stories are examples of naïve and trusting people who paid a heavy price for being overly “nice.”

In a paper greeted enthusiastically at the May conference of the American Psychiatric Association, in San Francisco, a new name was given to a common problem, Post Traumatic Embitterment Disorder. My initial response: another excuse to drug people. However, upon thinking it over, I think that the word embittered does describe the essence of a serious problem. Many of us suffer from some degree of jealousy and bitterness about the injustices in our lives. But does that make us embittered? I would hope not. So, what characterizes embittered people? Here are some actual examples (the names have been changed):

Like medical doctors, every therapist is tormented at times with the question of the hopelessness or hopefulness of a marriage or any other relationship. Everyone is anxious to know if the “broken” spouse/child/parent/sibling can be fixed. With desperation in their voices, they ask, “Can medication, therapy or other interventions turn him/her around and stop him/her from being so depressed, anxious, addicted or angry?” How can a therapist say, “There is no hope.”?

    Latest Poll

    Do you think the FAA ban on US flights to Israel is political?






    View Results

    Loading ... Loading ...

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/sections/family/parenting-our-children/the-price-of-nice-2/2010/10/06/

Scan this QR code to visit this page online: