Feb 10, 2013
Tonight: Dealing with "Control"

Tonight, Adai Ad presents an empowering lecture on recognizing potentially controlling behaviors and attitudes during dating and early marriage for bochurim.

On Feb 10, 30 Shevat, Adai Ad presents.... Recognizing potentially controlling behaviors and attitudes during dating and early marriage with Dovid Kohn, LCSW, CASAC and Rabbi Levi Garelik.

This session is relevant to bochurim, young married men and those who want to learn more so that they can be a support to someone who is in this situation.

In a 'please do not include my last name' email to Adai Ad, Menachem X painfully described the details of his debilitating fear of his controlling wife. He is excited about Adai Ad’s programs that provide the necessary tools and insights to assure a successful marriage. He writes, "If you help prevent even one case of an abusive marriage, you are saving so much tzaar. But honestly, I think that there are quite a few cases of such abusive marriages, and I know that workshops like the one Adai Ad has presented for women last week [about recognizing controlling behaviors - see here], and the one planned for Feb 10 will make a difference."

With clarity of hindsight, Menachem now sees that had he known what to look for he could've spotted it during dating. Or he at least nipped it in early marriage. Unfortunately he missed both opportunities. He commends Adai Ad for bringing this important workshop to Crown Heights.

This workshop is not about scaring people about marriage, as much as providing the awareness and tools to recognize that this really does happen – even to very good people. And to empower young people to deal accordingly if they feel this might be what is going on in their lives.

Awareness in empowering! Education and awareness of these behaviors and attitudes, which sometimes can be detected early, is an important tool for daters. It is also important for those who are in early marriage to be able to recognize if this is becoming a pattern in their marriage, and to know how to deal with it early, and to whom they can turn.

No plans to be in an abusive relationship. And (almost) no one plans to be a controlling spouse. In many cases, she or he may not even realize that their behaviors and attitudes are detrimental to their marriage. Learning what controlling behaviors look like and how those behaviors are perceived by the spouse is also important when setting up a marriage. This will also be addressed in this session.

Dovid Kohn, LCSW, CASAC will describe the profile and some of the tactics of abusive spouses and explain various warning signals of potentially controlling relationships that may surface during the dating process or early in marriage. Dovid Kohn is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker and Addictions Counselor, and is a Clinical Supervisor at The Safe Foundation, Inc. He has done important work in the frum community, including working with cases from the Crown Heights and Lubavitch community.

Rabbi Levi Garelik will address the crowd with a Dvar Torah. Rabbi Garelik has dealt with unfortunately too many cases of controlling spouses and domestic abuse.

This event will be held at the Rubashkin residence at 1349 President Street, Sunday, February 10, 8:00 pm. Suggested donation $5.

The Adai Ad Institute, co-founded by Moshe and Faigie Rubashkin and Devora Krasnianski, was established to provide programming and education to strengthen marriages and ease the Shidduchim process. To find out more, visit adaiad.org

Most Read Most Comments

Opinions and Comments
If it's free anyways
Can you please record and post it online?
(2/10/2013 5:26:13 PM)
I am a great example.
When I was dating I was in such a lala land that I was swarmed up like a tornado into a mess a can't get out of. Bochrim and Girls, listen to these classes and advice so you know what to look out for when you are in shidduchim. Thank You for reading. Moshiach Now
(2/10/2013 7:49:06 PM)
Will thy have this for girls too?
(2/10/2013 8:21:05 PM)
is this recorded?
Is there anyway to get a recording of this class or notes? I understand the issues of privacy but as a woman I am curious to know where the lines are drawn between abuse and controlling Jewish woman syndrome.
Thank you

-future wife who wants a healthy relationship
(2/10/2013 8:23:23 PM)
much thanks
Fantastic.Thanks for the awareness.I do feel that statistically this is more apparent in men...Would love sessions like this for girls as well.
(2/10/2013 8:28:34 PM)
David Kohn is amazing
Can you have Mr.Kohn speak for married women as well?
(2/10/2013 8:30:14 PM)
These seminars hide their true nature, to throw the sanctity and importance of marriage down the drain. They teach people not to fix things or live with any problems and countless kids (and their parents) have had their lives ruined. Of course married couples need to learn respect and honor for each other, but the emphasis shouldn't be on shocking people into divorce or encouraging it in any way. Divorce is almost always far worse.
(2/10/2013 10:02:07 PM)
i'd like to reiterate number one please
if its free anyways, please post online?
(2/10/2013 11:40:34 PM)
so important
As a victim of a controlling, manipulating wife and now lying manipulating ex wife, I can say 100% - these classes are so so important. I beg every bochur to go to such classes.
(2/11/2013 1:18:46 AM)
why only for men????
as much as im sure there are many controlling wives, how much more so are there controlling husbands! it takes two to tango. both men and women need such a seminar as both men and women can be controlling and/or abusive
(2/11/2013 5:21:33 AM)
what are you talking about?
(2/11/2013 9:56:46 AM)
#7 you are WRONG!
Divorce is NOT always worse - you don't know what you're talking about!!!! Obviously you have never been in an abusive relationship - the damage from abuse if far worse than divorce! Shame on you!!!! and how glib and naive!
(2/11/2013 11:13:52 AM)
Those pushing divorce
R"L indeed and what a generation.
Most divorces can be avoided with work and it's always worth it - and an obligation for kids. What generation are we growing when people are taught that it's ok to leave marriages. Those who do almost always inevitably regret it. Those who scream recognize that they are wrong. The more exclamation marks and hysteria, the more they usually recognize deep down that they are wrong like the Rebbe said about mitzvos. And sorry, but there's more than "shame" on anyone pushing divorce - it ruins children's lives and those who push for it most are usually the most harmed by it. Sometimes it takes decades (wisdom and actually seeing the damage) to realize. There's a reason why ChaZal said that anyone who pushes divorce - including the destructive get on demand people - have no chelek in Olam Haboh.
(2/11/2013 2:24:04 PM)
sooo true
i remmember when i was dating everything wasy rosy iwas so bubbly inside but i missed key signs of an abusive person now im stuck
(2/11/2013 2:59:58 PM)
so basically your solution is to tell that person just to shut up and endure it no matter what. That is ridiculous.
(2/11/2013 5:37:00 PM)
one possible solution
ChaZal had a solution for a wife who disrespects, screams at, whatever at her husband. That solution is to be extra kind and smile and realize that she's your bashert, she only wants you to pay attention to her needs and also that as a reward for this, you're guaranteed "to not even see the face of Gehenom H"Y (eino roeh penei gehenom). The Rebbe also told a man to have his wife read the Freierdiker Rebbe's zichronos (as a side note - those Zichronos and Likkutei Dibburim help us understand what a real great world view would really be). Do this and pray and I can bet that in little time the situation will be much better. Of course, like anything else, the more Torah and mitzvos one keeps, the more room for Hashem's miracles, which show themselves in marriage time and again as so many of us can attest first hand.
(2/11/2013 8:09:29 PM)
There's also another point
If each person focuses on the negative then he or she will only feel the positive if all is Ch"V gone. Ask anyone who's been divorced for a while and those who don't have an ax to grind will confirm it.

If the man wants to be treated like a king, he needs to treat his wife like a queen. If there are problems, they can be surpassed with extra kindness and then at the right time, in the right way, with skill and balance, bring up the issue.

Some people are so careful to do this at work and know that handling a sticky boss situation is always better than quitting, but they won't do this for their marriage.

To 15 - Sorry but what's truly ridiculous is to throw in the towel, give kids an uncertain life when even if there's good will on only one side, with patience and determination things can improve vastly in a matter of mere weeks.

Btw, I'm young and unfortunately know quite a bit about modern philosophy. It doesn't work and those who take the quick way out harm themselves and can cause great harm to their children too. It's worth sticking it out and working on it - like all things good, there's a process that leads to good.

All men in a situation should read Sholom Arush's Garden of Peace. It's not all Torah MiSinai and we can disagree with much in it, but it brings pertinent teachings of our Sages that are far more helpful to a person's overall life than today's 'throw away' attitude. And of course, the Rebbe's letters and directives on marriage are an unmatched treasure of practical guidance that should be studied. Rabbi Akiva Teitz also has some great talks on the web that are available on a google search.
(2/11/2013 8:21:34 PM)
Correct name for marriage tape
Sorry, Rabbi Akiva Tatz - His two part audio on marriage is very good and practical, although in truth nothing holds a candle to the Rebbe's advice in countless letters on marriage.
(2/12/2013 2:01:17 AM)
Not everyone is taking the "quick way out"
Seriously, to say that divorce is the quick way out is so out of touch with reality - does that happen?- sometimes yes. No one is "pushing" divorce,but to suggest staying in an abusive relationship is better than divorce is also not in touch with reality. Not everyone is capable or willing to change - most especially abusive people, who invariably don't own up to their problems...it isn't always doable. You need to understand that. To suggest that someone enduring an abusive relationship just isn't quite giving it "enough effort" is so hurtful - are you suggesting that he/she is asking for it? - that it is a failing on their part and therefore....? Let me be clear - abuse is not a shared responsibility. You can stay with someone for years, seek advice and help, endure the pain and destruction, try and TRY so hard, and yet it is all for nothing, because the abusive spouse is not a normal person, and the normal platitudes and advice DO NOT WORK with them. I heard it all - "treat them the way you want to be treated", "be kind and nice", tehillim, check mezuzas, etc...nothing helped, all it resulted in was being walked all over, being taken for granted and basically enabling the spouse to be even more comfortable with their abusive behavior and mindset. Yes, divorce is horrible, but it doesn't compare to the total destruction and soul-destroying damage of living with an abusive person. And unless you have been there, you cannot possibly fully understand - why is it that when it comes to abuse in a marriage people are so quick to judge and suggest tolerance and "stick it out" attitudes, but abuse in any other scenario is unthinkable and intolerable? My kids have suffered tremendously, and will tell you that as much as they hate divorce, the need to get away from abusive behavior was much greater. No one is suggesting that divorce is great....but there really are situations where there is NO other choice - smiling and being kind and "doing more mitzvos" does not always change the scenario. Would you suggest that a child continue to endure abuse - would you tell them they need to say more tehillim, more mitzvos, but take the abuse? Obviously children are on a different level, but abuse is no less destructive or fixable when dealing with adults? Not every marriage can be fixed, and to stay in a bad one just for the sake of "staying married" - why? - it's the antithesis of what marriage is all about - why maintain a non-marriage - it's a contradiction of terms? When a marriage is filled with suffering and pain and real destruction, when your husband has zero respect for his wife and children, when his love is conditional on his needs before all else, when his treatment of his children is predicated by what status and benefit he gets from them, basically when you are married to someone who is totally dyfunctional and narcissistic, and believes it's his entitlement - how, HOW do you dare to suggest that staying is better? Better for WHO? And we went to countless advisers, rabbis, therapists - he wasn't interested in hearing it! He wanted to maintain the status quo, and that was unacceptable. My indignation and "exclamation marks" are not an indicator that "deep down" the divorce was wrong- it's outrage at such a glib, pretentious, condescending and sanctimonious attitude.
(2/12/2013 10:43:42 AM)
furthermore #13, #16...not the quick way out
There are other elements to this as well - having been treated with abuse, disrespect, namecalling, demeaning, controlling behavior - both emotionally and physically - why would anyone want to stay with such a person? In what merit? For the mere sake of the title "Mr. and Mrs."? And what lesson are you teaching your children - that it's okay to be treated as such, and the doer gets away with it? I hope that I've taught my children to try as hard as possible, and to give marriage your complete all, but that when and if that fails, you do not have to put up with abuse or stay with someone who doesn't treat you right - that there are consequences to abusive behavior for the abuser. I would rather they learn that lesson, as painful as it is, than go through life with the destructive belief that the consequence of abusive behavior falls only on its victims, rather than the perpetrator of that abuse. If the abuse is wrong - and is there anyone suggesting otherwise? - than, having exhausted all means possible, without success, the only option left for getting away from and dealing with abusive behavior is to leave. You said about divorce that, "it ruins children's lives and those who push for it most are usually the most harmed by it.".....even more so does abuse - it ruins children's lives, and makes one wonder why you are pushing for it - because when you suggest that divorce is worse, or a copout, then you are essentially supporting abuse in such situations where abuse exists. There are no generalizations applicable - each situation needs to be treated individually, and not make the general assumption that all divorce is "a quick way out" or a lack of trying, etc.
(2/12/2013 11:19:23 AM)
there are disorders that people have also, w hich arent so simple to deal with which people need to no about, they affect many parts of a married cuples lifes and upset lots of people. please cover that too. sometimes people dont know theyre being abused, a man wouldnt no he was being abused if his wifemakes him feel little he would not no its abuse. educate us thanks this is smart idea
(2/12/2013 3:00:52 PM)
but abuse is a word used way too commonly now
There are situations which halacha points out in which divorce is allowed, though one shouldn't rush to it even then. There is real abuse, which is tremendous. Today everyone claims abuse, often both sides claim abuse and abuse seems to run an awfully big gammit. There are problems that need to be dealt with. Divorce is almost never the way to deal with it. In those cases the ones divorcing usually recognize the need and don't seek to label anyone against the divorce crisis as "supporting abuse." And I don't know anyone who values marriage who thinks it's for the "mere sake of Mr. or Mrs." I have noticed that many who divorced promote it very quickly for others. That's very sad and unfortunately the Talmud is clear that such promotion forfeits one's chelek in Olam Haboh.

If a person's life is at risk, that's obviously another story. And I mean really at risk, because unfortunately I've seen professionals who try to convince both that they are at great risk and scare the living daylights out of any couple coming to them with problems. Their excuse when confronted?: "If they tell us a little then there must be a whole lot more." (Actually the opposite is usually true, as people usually vent their frustrations at therapists and leave out any good - which is useful, but means that decisions should be based on it). The fact that they readily admit that they'd rather end 1,000 salvageable marriages than save one that comes with risk, says all that needs to be said.

Study after study shows that children from divorced households are exponentially more likely to commit suicide, substance abuse, crime and drop out of school/be unemployed than children of parents who quarrel. If one's life is actually at risk, memaint nisht dir (then that's another story). Each situation does need to be treated individually, and probably over 90% of the divorces in the frum world shouldn't be happening and the "koch" to fight against those who rightly point out this terrible crisis definitely shouldn't be happening.

So much energy spent on justifying divorce (even when warranted or necessary) and none spent on encouraging others to save their marriages. What does that tell you?
(2/12/2013 3:58:11 PM)
To 19-20
I'm sorry that you went through what you went through. That said, I wouldn't assume that your husband just "loved his wife and children" for the status. I've never seen an ex who's still upset correctly understand the other ex-spouse, and that's true of both men and women. You can now encourage people to value and preserve their marriages, and to give it a try when both are willing to change. And when it's necessary, there's still no place for vengeance, which only hurts everyone involved, even if things were done to justify it in a system that even earned revenge destroys society (not just in marriage, the same is true in business and friendship). How wise is our Torah and how far away we are today.
(2/12/2013 4:06:26 PM)
Contrary to popular belief, divorce isn't always negative for kids
(2/12/2013 5:25:14 PM)
unhealthy marriage and unhealthy spouses simple create a system of family dysfunction.
(2/12/2013 5:52:06 PM)
The constant tension and infighting that takes place between two people who don't want to be together is much more destructive to all involved. Parenting tip: Most children know the exact state of their parents' relationship, regardless of how well you think you're hiding it. They're not idiots, they're just smaller than you.
(2/12/2013 5:55:52 PM)
Please read:
Hey #3, 5 etc
If you read the article you will realize that a session for women has already taken place.
I'm glad of that, I'm also glad that the reality of women to man abuse is being given attention.
I am an employer (not in NY state) who has an employee (not Jewish) who was being abused by his girlfriend/fiancee. What a mess, and he was at a real loss for resources because he was male, and every program was set up for women. We have had women also in this position, and at least we knew of places we could refer them to. Our employee is okay now, but it was really rough for a while.
(2/12/2013 6:27:59 PM)
both sides of the coin
well said
(2/12/2013 6:31:46 PM)
#22 correction
Actually, those studies show that children from divorced homes, when handled with care, thrive exponentially better than children who grow up in "intact" abusive homes - abusive, not the simplistic description of "parents who fight" - how condescending. Yes, divorce has a tremendous impact - but the studies show that the impact of growing up in a home where there is abuse - either to the children or to the parent, or both, is still more harmful than divorce. And no one is promoting divorce, G-d forbid, on the contrary - marriage is and should be beautiful and healthy. I wanted marriage and all it's supposed to be, and stayed for far longer than i should have for the sake of trying to make the marriage work. But sometimes it doesn't - and to suggest staying in such a situation is the answer, no matter what, is wrong. I have to hold in my heart the pain of divorce, for myself and my children, but also the pain of how much they went through because i stayed for so long past the point when it was obvious that my spouse was not going to change - it was my job to protect them, and i failed because i held on to the "belief" that divorce was worse. I would give anything, and in fact gave 20+ years of my life, to have a good marriage, and to stay married...but my life was at risk, and so too the kids'. And i'm not talking about physical risk - the emotional damage can be far more intense than physical abuse. I see it in my older children and it breaks my heart. If i could go back and do it all over, i would have married a better person (but who knew?), barring that, if i could i would have left sooner to spare them all the pain and hurt THEY endured, forget about me. And honestly, you just don't know what you are talking about, because it is so obvious that you have never lived through it...firsthand experience would modify your judgementalism...and again, I do not advocate divorce. But i do know that it's easy to judge and criticize what you don't understand, or what you observe from a distance. If these educational seminars can educate young adults to detect the warning signs - a blessing beyond words! No one should have to live in a marriage that isn't a marriage, or live through a divorce with all the pain that entails....and then have to deal with the attitudes from all the naysayers who judge you without having a clue as to what you have gone thru or what you put up with, hoping to save your marriage for your kids, only to realize you didn't save them at all. And the indignity of anyone suggesting staying, living, breathing and having a marital relationship with someone who has treated you and your children so wrongly, and habitually...its nauseating and demeaning. Do you have any idea what it's like living on that rollercoaster? How debilitating it is? No, you don't.
(2/13/2013 10:51:33 AM)
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