| Family First Inbox |

Family First Inbox: Issue 883

“The article ‘Out of Control’ blew me away, as it’s my story, too. Just on the receiving end. From my spouse”

A Younger Sibling Speaks [Inbox / Issue 882]

Dear Been There,

You wondered what it must feel like to be a younger sibling who got married before your older sibling.

I’ll tell you: It’s deeply painful, but something hidden far under the surface, covered up by our busy lives.

When I have a quiet moment to contemplate, I cry rivers of tears for my sibling left behind. As I put my three children to sleep, I cry for the ten years that have passed, ten years of waiting, of being “skipped” again and again.

To my older sister: You haven’t told us what it feels like to be you. You show up to simchahs with a genuine smile, showing such happiness for your siblings it seems you don’t even have the question, “Why my brother and not me?”

You accept your lot graciously and perhaps only cry in private, like we do.

Your name is constantly on our lips, even more than my children’s names, who don’t understand the pain involved when they ask me, “Mommy, is Aunt XYZ older than you or younger than you? But she’s still a girl....”

We think you’re the most special person in the universe, we admire you for your resilience, for your positivity, for your acceptance of your situation, which we know isn’t easy.

We know that when you choose not to spend too much time with your adorable little nieces and nephews, it’s only because it’s too painful, so we keep our distance, but in our hearts and in our tefillos, you’re as close to us as possible.

Our homes aren’t complete until you have one of your own.

A “Younger” Sister


Some More Points [Inbox / Issue 882]

Sara Eisemann’s column about younger siblings getting married before their older siblings, and the resulting discussion, particularly resonated with me as a few of my siblings got married before I did. My parents are an inspiration with what and how to do it.

I can’t agree more with what was written, and wanted to elaborate and add a couple of points. Regarding respect, some applications might be: If you always gave out Kiddush or challah in age order, the order doesn’t change just because the younger one got married. I was never asked to give up my room for a married sibling; on rare occasions, my school-aged sister would come to share my room, and her room would be used for a married. Although dating is generally private, my parents were fine with me discussing it with close friends who could support me through this nisayon.

Also, if a single shares with you that her younger sibling is getting married, the correct response is a genuine mazel tov! If you’re close to that person, you can then ask how she’s doing. And then please follow her lead and attitude.

May Hashem bentsh everyone with finding their zivug hagun b’karov.



Money Well Spent [Out of Control / Issue 881]

Thank you for the article on mothers losing control. I just want to point out that Nechamie said that when her husband came home and she had an extra hand, she never felt a need to yell at the children. So much of the issue of a mother losing control comes when a mother feels she can’t hire or ask for the help she needs.

I remember when afternoons with my young children were very difficult. We were in a tight financial situation and I felt bad spending money. Well, yes — then I yelled. When I sat down and wrote how I wanted my afternoon with the kids to look (without comparing myself to other mothers who seemed to be fine staying home all afternoon juggling housework and childcare), I made a few changes.

We went on a trip (like to the library, out for ice cream or pizza, or the science center) at least once a week. I changed my schedule so I could make supper in the mornings, or something super simple, since I realized that I couldn’t handle the sensory processing needed to make supper and attend to several young children (who all wanted to help and stuck their fingers in the pot, while the baby would pull on my skirt and cry).

I got a DVD player and showed them frum children’s videos (within certain boundaries, that I decided), which let me take a break in the afternoon to have a hot drink or a snack.

Once or twice a week, I’d schedule a playdate, and then I also had adult company. I bought projects and stickers more often and got more cleaning help so I felt less compelled to clean the house with my kids around.

Yes, it did end up costing more, but the payoff was huge: a happy mommy who could spend more quality time with her children.

Sometimes, a mother shuts down creative solutions out of fear of spending money, or out of fear of making lifestyle changes that may mean making difficult decisions and facing difficult feelings.


Sit and at least dream and write down ideas, and then see what you can do to start implementing them.

Name Withheld


Taking the Next Step [Out of Control / Issue 881]

Upon glancing at the Family First cover, I was flooded with emotion. The title “Out of Control” shook me to the core.

I had just begun acknowledging the rage I have toward my innocent little children. I first tried denying it, excusing, and deluding myself into believing that it’s just a thing I need to overcome and this behavior is okay. I knew and saw the negative effects it had on my kids, but I was too afraid and not fully ready to take the next step.

After reading the entire article, I was blown away and deeply affected. I fully recognized myself in the descriptions you portrayed.

The article helped me realize the full repercussions of my deeds, to my kids and to myself. It opened my mind and clarified what my next step should be.

My husband and I bravely decided to commit to the next step in helping our children grow up in a positive, warm, and healthy home, no matter what inner, challenging work it might entail.

Thank you, Nechamie, for inspiring me with the courage to do what’s right, even if it means to embark on the difficult but worthy trail.

Inspired to Brave the Rage


A Marital Issue as Well [Out of Control / Issue 881]

The article “Out of Control” blew me away, as it’s my story, too. Just on the receiving end.

From my spouse.

I wanted to write in and make mention to all those who have been affected by a spouse suffering from this, as I’m sure I’m not the only one.

My husband had been struggling with major anger issues for quite a few years. It reached traumatic levels, although instead of lashing out at the kids, he lashed out at me. Too many times. In all different ways. He hated himself for it and felt such deep shame after it happened, but even with firm boundaries and consequences in place, he still wasn’t able to control it.

With a lot of support, he eventually started to take an SSRI. The difference has been astounding! When he gets triggered and stays calm, I’m completely blown away at the way he is able to control himself.

The article gave me an insight into his struggle, especially the part about not having the few seconds in between getting angry and doing something he deeply regrets.

Like the mom in the article, the SSRI has taken away a lot of my husband’s fire and passion in life, and it has been uphill work for him to find his way, but it has given us the beautiful gift of a peaceful home where everyone feels safe and loved, and both my husband and I wouldn’t exchange that for anything.

Name Withheld


Read It and Reread It [Tempo / Issue 881]

It’s been a long time since I’ve read a fiction story of this caliber. I read every line once, and then again and again. There was depth and quality and art and wit and laugh-out-loud humor combined in one powerful piece. Ora, keep ’em coming!



It Will Pass [Medical Mystery / Issue 881]

I’m the mother of one FPIES child and one MPIES (the milk-only version) child. One thing is for sure, FPIES is a monster.

The point I want to bring up is that a few doctors I discussed this with agreed there seems to be a spectrum for FPIES. Some children present with few trigger foods and very strong reactions, while others present with a bigger range of trigger foods and a less intense reaction, but in all cases, the reaction is delayed.

In my case, even predigested formula triggered a reaction that landed us in the emergency room for excessive vomiting and fear of vein collapse. The only available option was Neocate. As our child grew older, we used other Neocate products such as splash and baby cereal. Baruch Hashem our FPIES child outgrew it before the age of three. Dr. Schulman and our GI both said it’s typically outgrown by three and rarely does it continue past five.

Another interesting point is that at times it seemed like my child had learned to tolerate certain trigger foods (based on charts available online on trigger categories), but then we’d attempt a new food he didn’t yet tolerate and experience a setback with the foods we’d already established as okay, taking us back to square one.

We’ve tried many, many refuos, conventional and holistic, normal and crazy, sensible and not so, out of desperation.

For anyone dealing with this, my heart is with you. Easy to say, but it’s for real —this, too, shall pass.

Name Withheld


Postpartum Social Anxiety [Family Reflections / Issue 881]

Thank you, Mrs. Radcliffe, for once again being on point with your article. After having my second child I was hit with social anxiety. I never experienced these feelings before and I suddenly had to learn how to deal with a whole new part of me.

Thank you for bringing up so many validating and important points to keep at the forefront of our minds. By saying Good Shabbos, waving hello, or starting a friendly conversation, you might think you’re just “socializing,” and you may be unaware of how you’re helping eliminate social anxiety for someone who was scared to leave her house that morning.

When you see me at social gatherings, I may look happy to be there, but there is a storm inside of me, and I appreciate that you went out of your way to welcome me into the circle of women talking.

Yad Rachel and S.P.A.R.K.S. are two organizations that have helped me with my postpartum journey and are worth reaching out to if you find yourself dealing with any differences in your mood or personality before or after giving birth.

I can be contacted through Mishpacha.

The Social (Anxiety) Butterfly


You Really Do Gain [Tempo / Issue 880]

The story about giving to a boy with special needs but receiving so much more in return warmed my heart.

Children with special needs are a gift to the world.

As an educational director in both regular and special education settings, I feel there is much to be gained by integrating our children with special needs more often into mainstream society.

Reading, math, and science are all integral parts of our school curriculum.

The real values we want our children to graduate with are loving others, patience, kindness, giving of oneself, and valuing people for who they really are.

I can’t think of a better way to impart those important ideals than by teaching them and modeling those skills hands-on.

In my opinion, schools that “agree” to have a special education class on their premises are not only doing a favor to those precious neshamos who are gaining invaluable functional skills — they’re giving their own students a gift for life.

Why don’t you try to invite your neighbor or cousin with special needs to your child’s birthday party or for a simple playdate? You’ll be surprised by not only how much you’re giving, but by how much you’re gaining.

Y. Rabinowitz,

Educational Director of The Hamaspik School


Get Help! [Know This / Issue 879]

I’m currently recovering from OCD and depression, and I felt deeply validated by the descriptions of the author as well as those who wrote in the week after. Thank you so much for featuring this article. I never knew that others went through the same thing I did. If only I had seen this article a year ago!

For me, the worst part was I had no loving Father in my life. I had it deeply ingrained that Hashem was a dictator Who punished us and sentenced us to Gehinnom. I’d walk into a room and see living convicts destined for eternal suffering. Life was an inescapable nightmare. I often felt like I was living upside-down in a barrel of water, utterly emotionally paralyzed but unable to cry for help.

After months of therapy and medication, as well as one conversation with Rav Refael Schorr shlita, I was a new person. I learned that it’s very possible to have a sweet, enjoyable, and tension-free Yiddishkeit as well as a close relationship with Hashem without compromising even one iota of one’s standards of Yiddishkeit.

Now I look forward to the future instead of agonizing over the past (OCD causes a lot of that).

I have some points to share with anyone out there suffering from this.

First of all, you aren’t alone. There are people who understand what you’re going through; you just have to find them.

Secondly, although it may be impossible for you to accept it right now, there are deeply satisfying answers to your questions. Although now the world seems cruel, one day im yirtzeh Hashem you, too, will find clarity.

A third important point: If you have OCD, you must go for therapy. Rav Yosef Elefant said at a convention for rebbeim that bochurim with this issue can’t be healed without professional help. This presumably applies to anyone of any age or gender.

A word to friends and family of sufferers: If your friend/relative seems uptight and extremely machmir in halachic areas, they may possibly have OCD. Refrain from making snide comments. This will just cause them to become very self-conscious, and they may start taking drastic measures to hide their OCD behavior.



(Originally featured in Family First, Issue 883)

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