web analytics
November 27, 2014 / 5 Kislev, 5775
At a Glance
Sections
Sponsored Post
IDC Herzliya Campus A Day on Campus

To mark IDC Herzliya’s 20th anniversary, we spent a day following Prof. Uriel Reichman, IDC’s founder and president, and Jonathan Davis, VP for External Relations, around its delightful campus.



Embracing The Short Leash


         On October fifth, my article called “Choking on a Short Leash” was in the Jewish Press. The article discussed the need for compromise (as we age and/or are alone) with our children who may become very protective and want to monitor our whereabouts. Finding a middle ground with our protective children, without losing our independence, can be very difficult. The compromise, though livable for both sides, may be satisfying to neither.

 

         Last week, I shared a letter from a mother who wanted to call the whole compromise off as her children were not holding up their part of the deal. She had agreed to call when she was going out at night, only to find her children not bothering to pick up the phone or leave the answering machine accessible to her when she did call. She wanted to just go back to being independent and not be considerate of her children’s fears because of their insensitively toward her needs.

 

         This week, one of my readers presents a very different perspective.

 

 

Dear Ms. Novick,

 

         I have been a fan of your articles since you began writing. These articles have been moving and poignant (as was the Wife’s Dilemma), as well as informative (as with the information on banking, long term care insurance, etc.). I have agreed with most of your opinions, but I now feel compelled to reply to your recent article, “Choking on a Short Leash.”

 

         It seems that from Sydney’s activities, she is still a young woman. I am sure that she constantly lived with “waiting for the other shoe to drop” while her husband was alive. Her daughter must have been very young when her father took ill. How much more so did this “waiting for the other shoe to drop” affect her! I can perfectly understand her concern for her mother’s well being. While the concern for the surviving parents probably affects well children more, given the precarious times in which we live, everyone is concerned for loved ones.

 

         Sydney should not view this as being treated like an irresponsible child. A two-second phone call before Sydney left home, informing her daughter of her plans, could have saved the daughter hours of anguish, especially since Sydney was gone for five hours, her car was parked in front of her apartment, and she was not answering her cell. Who would not panic given these circumstances? Did Sydney use role reversal and think of what her reaction would have been if she had come to her daughter’s home and found the same set of circumstances? Why would Sydney want to cause her daughter one more second of “agmas nefesh,” knowing what she grew up with?

 

         Since we live in the time of instant communication, as well as constant danger, both Sydney and her daughter should have an understanding that while not wanting to control each other’s lives, a simple and fast phone call before embarking on any adventure would save the other a lot of heartache. I am sure that Sydney would agree to that.


Mae


 


 


Dear Mae,

 

         Thank you for your comments. I think you raise an interesting point and I certainly agree with you from the daughter’s perspective. However, I think you underestimate Sydney’s desperate need not to be accountable after so many years of having to let everyone know of her whereabouts, in case of an emergency with her chronically ill husband. Never being able to leave your home without telling someone where you are going and when you will return, always being on call if you will, for years and years, takes its toll. For Sydney, her newly found freedom may be as important as breathing and just as hard to give up.

 

         In a perfect world Sydney would just make the two-minute call, her daughter always ready for the information and no one would have any emotional fallout. But we are all products of our experience, and our emotions rule how we feel about what we do. To Sydney, being totally accountable to her daughter is something she (and I suspect many of us) cannot live with.

 

         And what about Sydney’s right to privacy? She may not wish to share with her daughter everywhere she is going. She may not want to deal with the inevitable questions of “Why are you going there?” or “Why do you need to do that?” Imagine if she is seeing a therapist and wants to keep it private. Or she may even have a date and feels that her daughter may not be ready for her mother to date. As an adult, she just may not want to go down the slippery slope of accounting for all her whereabouts.

 

         Put yourself in Sidney’s shoes. Do you tell your children everywhere you go and why? Would you want to? There is no perfect solution to the problem, and that is why I recommended a compromise. Perhaps if Sydney’s daughter never asks her where she is going, Sidney will not lose her sense of privacy and control over her life and be more comfortable with telling her daughter each time she leaves.

 

         But is that a realistic expectation? In the end, Sidney and her daughter will have to use trial and error to find a solution that both woman can live with. This solution must allow Sidney to maintain a sense of being in control over her own life and her daughter the feeling of knowing her mother is safe.

 

         What will work for Sidney and her daughter may not be something you would be comfortable with in your own life. The one thing that is true for all of us as we age is that we do need to reach a compromise between our children’s needs for us and our own needs for ourselves. And that compromise will probably change as we continue to age and our health needs change. Let’s toast the golden years.

 

         You can reach me at annnovick@hotmail.com 

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 “Embracing The Short Leash”

Comments are closed.

SocialTwist Tell-a-Friend

Current Top Story
Betar soccer fans pour out on the field at Jerusalem's Teddy Stadium, where Hamas planned to carry out a mass-casualty attack.
Hamas Planned Massive Attack at Teddy Soccer Stadium in Jerusalem
Latest Sections Stories
Rabbi Maurice Lamm

Creativity without clarity is not sufficient for writing. I am eternally thankful to Hashem for his gift to me.

Schonfeld-logo1

This core idea of memory is very difficult to fully comprehend; however, it is essential.

Sometimes the most powerful countermove one can make when a person is screaming is to calmly say that her behavior is not helpful and then continue interacting with the rest of the family while ignoring the enraged person.

“Two nations are in your womb, and two peoples shall divide within you.”

Divorce from a vindictive, cruel spouse can be a lifelong nightmare when there are offspring.

There were many French Jews who jumped at the chance to shed their ancient identity and assimilate.

As Rabbi Shemtov stood on the stage and looked out at the attendees, he told them that “Rather than take photos with your cellphones, take a mental photo and keep this Shabbat in your mind and take it with you throughout your life.”

Yeshiva v’Kollel Bais Moshe Chaim will be holding a grand celebration on the occasion of the institution’s 40th anniversary on Sunday evening, December 7. Alumni, students, friends and faculty of the yeshiva, also known as Talmudic University of Florida, will celebrate the achievement and vision of its founders and the spiritual guidance of its educational […]

The yeshiva night accommodates all levels of Jewish education.

Recently, Fort Lauderdale has been the focus of international news, and it has not been about the wonderful weather.

Rabbi Sacks held the position of chief rabbi of the United Hebrew Congregations of the Commonwealth for 22 years until September 2013.

The event included a dvar Torah by student Pesach Bixon, an overview of courses, information about student life and a student panel that answered frequently asked questions from a student perspective.

It is difficult to write about such a holy person, for I fear I will not accurately portray his greatness…

More Articles from Ann Novick

When one is blind one learns to use Braille to read. When one cannot walk, a wheelchair gives mobility. Sign language allows a mute person to speak and ocular implants assist in hearing when one is deaf. These are all compensatory strategies that help a person function despite his disability. But compensatory strategies are not just for physical problems. Understanding our psychological weaknesses and setting up our lives to ensure that we are not tempted to repeat our past mistakes, is as necessary as any aid to the disabled.

Well spouses have often discovered that their friends and relatives, despite their closeness to the situation, often don’t realize the tremendous emotional impact living with chronic illness has on the family. With the best intentions, suggestions, ideas and criticism are offered, based on the non-experience of those with healthy families. Even when the good intentioned get a taste of the difficulties, it is sometimes not enough for them to then identify and understand what the family of the chronically ill must face on a constant basis.

Over the past two weeks I have shared letters from a therapist and a well spouse. Both of the letters gave personal insights into the process of losing hope, how we react when that happens and some ways of coping when test scores, diagnosis and just simple repetitive behavior indicate that change for the better is impossible.

Dear Ann,

I’ve read your last few articles on psycho-neurological testing (Oct.8-22) with interest. As a therapist who has counseled couples dealing with chronic illness, I’d like to give you another perspective.

Dear Ann,

Your articles on the Neuro-Psychological Testing were right on (October 8-22). My husband underwent testing twice and your articles explained it things exactly the way they were. Besides the test, we also tried therapy.

Very often when we can’t face our big hurts or big loses we focus on the little ones. We can discuss those. We can cry over the small loses, be angry at the smaller hurts even though it may look trite and sound ridiculous to others.

Over the last two weeks we have been discussing one way in which well spouses can determine whether behavior displayed by their ill partners is caused by their illness or is a way they have chosen to act. We have focused on Psycho-Neurological testing, what it can tell us, as well as its pros and cons.

Last week I discussed a question that haunts many well spouses: not knowing if the difficult and often inappropriate behavior frequently displayed by their partners are caused by the disease and therefore not-controllable, or if the behavior is a choice the spouse makes and can therefore be changed. This doubt can be the source of much frustration and many marital disagreements. One way of alleviating this doubt is by having a psycho- neurological work up done. But that path is not so simple.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/sections/magazine/embracing-the-short-leash/2007/11/14/

Scan this QR code to visit this page online: