So Moody! 😤Apr 30, 2023
This happened last week. I received a phone call with “No Caller ID”. Thinking they wanted to “reduce my debt” or give me my “winning prize vacation” I wanted to hit “end call” – but I accidentally answered the call.
A cute sounding boy was on the other end. As he started speaking, I was sure it was one of my kids or their friends pranking me, because his voice sounded way too young to be in the predicament that he presented.
He began to say, in a quiet kinda whisper, that he got married recently and even more recently - they had a baby. He said his wife has a pristine reputation, she had been G.O., and went to a “top seminary.” But she had not stopped crying since they got married. She is so moody. Sometimes even mean. And since the baby, it’s only gotten worse. If that was even possible.
At the beginning of the marriage, she was able to control her mood swings better but as time was passing, she was losing herself more and more. And often in front of others in embarrassing ways.
He told me that Pesach was extremely difficult for them as a new family, especially for his sleep deprived wife. After YT, as he was preparing to leave back to EY with his wife and baby, his parents called him into a private meeting and said that they do not think that going back to EY is wise. He needs to get his new wife help. With 48 hours to go until their flight was scheduled to take off, he needed to figure this out.
I was curious where he lived and other similar basic questions, to help brainstorm resources with him, but everything seemed too trivial to ask at that moment when all he kept repeating, in his sweet, innocent voice was “how can you help my wife get better in 48 hours?”
We spoke for about a half an hour. I asked him what his in-laws think. He told me “my in-laws are NOT the type to believe in going for help. In fact, all my sisters in law also went to this “top seminary” and it’s a pressure for them their whole life. They look perfect on the outside. They need to. So does my mother in law. She would not believe we have a problem. Truthfully, she’s the same way. Always looking great and beautiful, but on the inside, she’s a mess. She screams a lot. I was so shocked to hear her when I got married. In so many ways — my wife is exactly like my mother in law.”
Changing someone and their mother in 48 hours is a tough ask. Probably impossible. Even for goal oriented, short term therapists (like myself).
(Disclaimer: For the critics reading this- I understand that I do not have the entire picture from only speaking to this husband. 🤨)
For a quick response, I asked him to try and find out if his wife is a candidate for medication. Could she get an appointment with a psychiatrist or at least her OBGYN to assess if medication could be helpful? If she qualifies, medication could be a life changing experience for this young woman. Hormonally and emotionally, she needs relief. And then - over the longer term - as she calms down, she will hopefully be able to develop crucial relationship and emotion management skills. The skills it seems she never learned at home.
“Never. A girl like this would never go on medication.”
“Then how about therapy?”
“Doubt it. She has too much pride. She would be too embarrassed to admit failure. You don’t understand. She’s so competitive to be perfect. She’s competitive with herself. She wouldn’t be able to admit she has a problem.”
“So how can I be useful to you?”
“I’m not sure. I don’t even know why I called you. I feel totally lost. I got your number and figured I’d call. My parents don’t want me to leave back to EY and I’m not sure what to do.”
As a last resort, I gave him the option of my SOCIAL SKILLS MADE SIMPLE. course.
For those who don’t know: SOCIAL SKILLS MADE SIMPLE. is a virtual course, jam packed with information that I created. It’s short videos, all about Social Skills, Emotion Management, Self Awareness and Relationship Skills to develop individually as a person, and together as a couple to build marriages. The course can be done in the privacy of their own home, without her mother knowing, and at her own pace. The course is more affordable than private therapy and way more convenient than traveling to a therapist’s office. And I would be available for them if they have questions along the way, as a perk of being a course member.
He sounded very intrigued and was thrilled with an alternative to therapy.
(I wish I could say he bought SOCIAL SKILLS MADE SIMPLE. And his life changed in a blink and all is perfect with his wife and marriage 😀.)
But no. Not yet. Unfortunately. Did they take off to EY? I wonder.
If only clients would know that we therapists get connected to every phone call we take.
I am so worried for him. So worried for her. And so worried that their baby does not have a mother who she/he can safely attach to.
What can I say? I say a tefila for a young, nameless couple and a baby I know little about.
Getting into a good seminary or yeshiva is great - but we simply need to do a lot better with our children.
I never thought I’d be anxiously waiting for a “No Caller ID” number to call…
… will keep you posted if I hear anything!