web analytics
September 20, 2014 / 25 Elul, 5774
At a Glance
Sections
Sponsored Post
Apartment 758x530 Africa-Israel at the Israel Real Estate Exhibition in New York

Africa Israel Residences, part of the Africa Israel Investments Group led by international businessman Lev Leviev, will present 7 leading projects on the The Israel Real Estate Exhibition in New York on Sep 14-15, 2014.



Stunted Souls

In this week’s Dating Primer column, Rosie Einhorn and Sherry Zimmerman write about the destructive nature of frequent, often unjustified criticism directed towards children and some of the repercussions of what they feel is unintentional but nonetheless genuine verbal abuse.

Like any kind of abuse, the scars last a lifetime and are a great impediment to the likelihood of the child having a fulfilling life socially and professionally once it is an adult.

Children who are constantly being told they are failures, or disappointments – no matter what they do – grow up with a low opinion of themselves and view themselves as unlikable
or unacceptable individuals. In many cases, these youngsters are berated because of their own parents’ insecurities, and need to relive their lives through their children’s achievements.

An example of unwarranted disapproval is when a parent scolded a student for not getting a higher grade in a test even though (s)he did very well. Girls may be told they are too fat and therefore ugly – even though they are barely overweight, if at all. Kids are being told they are stupid, or clumsy because they spilled their milk, or dropped a dish, or lost their gloves. They internalize this ego-damaging message if it is frequently given.

Whether they are bright, or talented, or good looking is irrelevant – their perception of themselves is their reality.

When babies are born, their view of the world is totally tied to their parent’s interpretations. For example, when a parent points out a danger such as fire, or falling down steps, the toddler accepts this view – especially if the child does fall down the steps, or touches a flame. The child trusts his parents (or caregivers). If a parent often ridicules a child, then why shouldn’t the child – who has no other point of reference – not believe the mother or father who is the center of his/her world?

If Mommy was right about the flame, and right about not climbing on the counter…. then she must be right when she says, “You’re stupid.”

These children have heard from the time they understood words and body language that they are inferior beings. The consequences of thinking lowly of themselves is devastating. Ironically, some parents disparage their kids thinking that this will motivate them to try harder. But the
opposite happens. Some kids just give up trying, knowing they will fail to measure up no matter what they do – so why even bother trying. Others become overachievers in a futile attempt to please their parents and elicit a compliment or praise.

These kids tend to grow up to have commitment problems – both socially and professionally, and are easy targets of abusive predators.

The young adults who are “accomplished” on the outside – are set up with “top shidduchim” who they eventually reject. They do so out of fear that their date will find out how “inadequate” they really are. They are always afraid of being found out as inferior beings (that is what they have been told all their lives). They end the relationship and stay single. They may be labeled as being too picky when the truth is they are terrified the other party will discover that they are
“frauds”. They feel that they are not good enough and are terrified of being “found out.”

Those who do marry often end up with spouses with dysfunctional personalities – those who are physically or emotionally abusive. If someone thinks they are ugly or stupid, they feel more comfortable with other “losers” like themselves. When their spouse yells that the meat is overdone, or the house is dirty (even when this is not true), this kind of unjustified criticism and denigration is familiar (these kind of negative judgments is what they heard from their
parents) – and is accepted as the truth.

These unfortunate souls often allow themselves to be bullied in the work place by their co-workers, or taken advantage of by their bosses – and they allow it – because deep down they know that they “don’t measure up”.

The only way to get out of this low self-imposed quicksand is for the individual to get therapy. Often the young people do not know why they can’t make a marital commitment- why they are rejecting good potential spouses. On a conscious level, they say they want to get married.
Subconsciously, buried deep in their fragile egos is the fear of failure, or the belief that they are incompetent, which prevents them from taking that leap into the unknown. People with a severe lack of confidence tend to avoid risks, since they are convinced they will not be successful.

That fear is why many stay single or end up in mediocre jobs that are below their capabilities. Fear of inadequacy and failure stops them from taking on a situation that requires any real measure of responsibility and efficiency.

Sadly, those who do marry and become parents are likely to repeat the destructive ego-busting habits of their parents, (A) because they don’t know any other parenting styles - and
(B) like their parents, they are hoping that being hard on their kids will “give them a second chance” – through their kids’ “achievements” to show that they weren’t total failures.
Unfortunately, that is unlikely to happen, and a new generation will be the latest victims of pathetic parenting.

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 “Stunted Souls”

Comments are closed.

SocialTwist Tell-a-Friend

Current Top Story
Protest rally against Metropolitan Opera staging Death of Klinghoffer on 9/22 at 4:30 pm at the Met.
For Grass Roots Klinghoffer Protest 9/22, Jewish Establishment MIA
Latest Sections Stories

Three sets of three-day Yomim Tovim can seem overwhelming – especially when we are trying to stay healthy.

Plotkin-092614

Is a missed opportunity to do a mitzvah considered a sin?

Teens-Twenties-logo

The sounds and scents of the kitchen are cozy, familiar, but loud in the silence.

Baim-092614-Plate

Everyone has a weakness. For some people it is the inability to walk past a sales rack without dropping a few hundred dollars. For others, it’s the inability to keep their house organized.

His entire life was dedicated to Torah and he became a pivotal figure in the transmittal of the Oral Torah to the next generation.

When you don’t have anyone else to turn to… that’s when you’re tied to Hashem the closest.

While we all go to restaurants for a good meal, it is dessert, that final taste that lingers in your mouth, that is the crown jewel of any dining experience and Six Thirteen’s offerings did not disappoint.

Today, fifty years and six million (!) people later, Israel is truly a different world.

There will always be items that don’t freeze well – salads and some rice- or potato-based dishes – so you need to leave time to prepare or cook them closer to Yom Tov and ensure there is enough room in the refrigerator to store them.

In Uzbekistan, in the early twentieth century, it was the women who wore the pants.

This is an important one in raising a mentsch (and maybe even in marrying off a mentsch! listening skills are on the top of the list when I do shidduch coaching).

While multitasking is not ideal, it is often necessary and unavoidable.

More Articles from Cheryl Kupfer
Kupfer-080114

Unpleasant happenings are quickly discarded if they do not affect us directly.

Kupfer-071814

I have always insisted that everything that happens to anyone or anything is min Shamayim.

It is so hurtful to heighten people’s sense of inadequacy and guilt in a matzav that is already horrendous and difficult to bear.

Make no mistake: in the wrong hands cars are weapons of mass destruction.

Where once divorce in heimische communities was relatively uncommon, nowadays every family has a son, daughter, sibling cousin who is divorced – sometimes twice or even three times!

Many go about the business of living frum, observant lives, but they are only going through the motions.

Lately I have been hearing quiet grumblings from people who admit that they regret not encouraging their sons to get a post-high school education after a year or two of learning.

While it would seem from his question that he is being chuzpadik and dismissive, I wonder if its possible, if just maybe, he is a struggling, confused neshama who actually wants to come back to the fold.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/sections/magazine/stunted-souls/2004/04/21/

Scan this QR code to visit this page online: