Ask The Therapist!


Read some of our previous questions:

Wondering to Wed

Dear Therapist,

I am 33 years old, and I have wanted to get married for a long time. I just never seemed to connect with anyone. Recently, I met a wonderful man, and I think he may be the one. However, he seems to have an anger problem, which makes me nervous, and I am not sure how to deal with it. One minute he can be so sweet and sensitive, and then the next, boom! he lashes out. I am not sure if this is something I should be concerned about. He tells me that he is trying, but, when people or situations get him upset, he can’t help himself. Should I continue dating him?

Wondering to Wed


Dear Wondering to Wed,

Thank you for taking the time to ask this very important question. You write that you have been dating a long time, and that you have always had a strong desire to get married. Finally, you feel like you have met someone, but, you are concerned about their anger. This is understandable, and something that you need to take very seriously.

Everyone has parts of themselves that they need to work on. Anger though can be potentially dangerous, and the fact that he has this problem is something you need to consider very carefully. The idea that he can go from being “sweet and sensitive” to angry so quickly, and, that he “cannot help himself” should raise many red flags.

Everyone has parts of themselves that they need to work on, but, for someone to work on something, they need to take responsibility for their actions. If he feels that situations force him to respond in ways he cannot control, then, it doesn’t sound like he is ready to take responsibility for his actions. This leads me to believe that he may respond in anger and, perhaps violence with you, (if he hasn’t already).

One of the most important aspects of a healthy relationship is that both members feel safe. No one should be in a relationship where they feel afraid of their spouse or their potential reactions. From time to time, couples may disagree, or, one partner may do something that upsets the other and these are all parts of marriage, but, when you write that you are nervous, this indicates to me that you do not feel safe, which is an internal warning that perhaps this is not a good relationship for you.

From what you have written, listen to your inner voice telling you about being nervous, and, consider ending this current relationship and finding someone else. I know that it is hard to think about dating again when you feel like you have finally found someone, but, you deserve to feel safe in your life and relationships.

I wish you the best of luck!

Beryl

 

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Wishing My Life Was Different

Dear Therapist,

I have a severe case of "the grass is always greener". However, I wish it was so simple! I don’t think there is anything in my life that is going well. I look around me and I feel like everyone has it better. If I look objectively, I know that things aren’t so bad, in fact, people may feel that I am lucky. But, for myself, I just look at all the bad. How can I get past this?

Wishing My Life Was Different


Dear Wishing My Life Was Different,

It sounds like you are very unhappy with the way things are going in your life. This is a normal feeling that everyone experiences from time to time. But, you say that you constantly look at the bad, and you want to change that. This is not always so easy to do, but, with a little thought and effort, I think you can do it. One of the most important things you said was that if you look at things objectively, you realize that things "aren’t so bad", this means that there are probably lots of good things in your life, you just need to relearn how to focus on them.

Most people only feel dissatisfied with their lives when they compare their life with someone else. Remember your life is yours, not anyone else’s. Meaning, try and focus on what you have, rather than what other people have. One can never really appreciate what is given to them if they are always comparing it to what others have. You raised an important point by saying the way that you think others think you have it good, is probably the same way other people see things with you; no one has it perfect.

If you find that you are really stuck with seeing past your negative feelings, you may find seeing a competent therapist helpful for you on your journey.

I want to wish you the best of luck!

Beryl

Beryl Tritel, MSW, is an associate at The Place. She specializes in the full range of Women’s Life Issues. If you would like to schedule an appointment with Beryl, or, another therapist, please contact The Place.

 

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My Wife Doesn’t Think That I Do Anything Right

Dear Therapist,

My wife doesn’t think that I do anything right. She is constantly criticizing me and putting me down. I try and try to do things the way that she wants, but, it is never good enough. Finally, I told her that I had enough and that we needed to go for marriage counseling, or, I was leaving. She agreed to come, but, now I am not so sure I even want to try. Do you think that counseling could work for us?

Finished Husband


Dear Finished Husband,

Wow, it sounds like you have been having a very hard time in your marriage. You describe how you have been really trying, but, your wife is not only unable to acknowledge all that you do, but, she is very critical of you as well. No one thrives under criticism, so, it is completely understandable that you would want to leave, but, I applaud you for considering marriage counseling.

One of most important things in marriage counseling is that both spouses want the marriage to work. A willingness to understand each other, improve communication skills and learn new ways to relate to each other are all parts of the work that you will do with your therapist.

And, when I say work, I mean work. It sounds like you and your wife will need to relearn many things about marriage, and, it will probably not be easy. But, like all things in life, anything worth having takes effort. And, a marriage that is continuously worked on, developed and nurtured can be one of the most rewarding parts of your life.

It sounds like you and your wife are ready for change. That desire will take you far in your work with a therapist. Take the time to find a skilled, sensitive and seasoned therapist to help you along the way.

I wish you the best of luck!

Beryl

 

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My Kids Never Seem to Listen

Dear Therapist,

I am having a real problem with my kids. They never seem to listen. I tell them to do something, they don’t listen, so I start yelling, which ultimately makes things worse, because then I start making lots of empty threats. I am really at my wits end! How can I do a better job?

Frustrated Mommy


Dear Frustrated Mommy,

I hear how bad things are for you right now, and how much you want to change your parenting style. As a parent, it is very important for you to take a step back and try to look at the situation in an objective way.

In the heat of the moment, even the smallest things can seem huge, so take the time to really assess what is going on. When you do this, you may find that some things aren’t as bad as you thought they were.

Once you have determined the real problem areas, try and imagine how you would like things to be different. You may find that you would benefit from taking a parenting class to learn new skills and techniques.

Often times, parents struggle when parenting their children, because they themselves were not parented well, so, they don’t know how to do things differently. The most innocent behavior of children can sometimes be a powerful emotional trigger for a parent, which results in an overreaction from the parent.

If you find you are responding more emotionally than you would like, then, perhaps you may benefit from seeing a therapist who could help you work through some of the reasons for your emotional reactions.

I wish you the best of luck!

Beryl

 

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My Husband Prefers the Computer to Me!

Dear Therapist,

I really think we need therapy. My husband spends way too much time on the computer and I keep getting angry with him. When I try to mention this to him, my husband says “I’m just fine”. What should I do?

Distressed Wife


Dear Distressed,

I hear this is very difficult for you. You want your husband to spend time with you but the computer seems to be more attractive to him. This must be painful for you. It’s especially painful because he doesn’t even seem to care.

Have you tried to talk with him about this when things are good between the two of you? This is especially good to do on Shabbos when the computer is out of bounds. Have you tried to write him a letter describing how you feel in a positive and clear way? This means you stress what you like about him and why spending time with him is important to you. You could also try to see if you can agree to set times during the weekday when the computer is off limits. At that time you could find something else enjoyable to do together. This doesn’t have to be for a long time. A 1/2 hour can be enough.

If you try all these things and nothing seems to work, you might consider coming into therapy by yourself.

It’s clear that you want to make things better in your marriage.

The Therapist

 

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