A difficult wife

December 24, 2021 by No Comments

This may be familiar.

I am Jewish and we all know stereotypes of the Jewish wife and mother.

But one disturbing real life example was from a coworker. He told of growing up with a domineering mother. She was depressed, swore everybody was against her. Hardly a day went by without her bawling out her husband.

She dominated everything. Nagged till her daughter found a husband and her son a wife. When the kids married she planned every detail to suit herself. (Her son-in-law pays to put her up in the Holiday Inn when she visits).

No matter how much you do for her, she’ll carp. Yells at her quiet husband he’s driving her crazy and if she jumps off the bridge he won’t even care, the selfish man.

I met this woman at a Bar Mitzvah. Shook hands. Noticed she had numbers tattooed on her arm.

I learned the woman had been arrested and sent to Auschwitz for two years. Her mother and siblings died there. She survived. The soldier she eventually married was in a unit that helped liberate the camp. He was her savior and I think he still is. I suspect after 60 years they have strong ties however crazy.

I don’t have much sympathy with difficult nagging people but sometimes you don’t know their story.

Difficult nagging people

Some years ago, when my sister was doing homecare for disabled people she looked after a woman who was crippled with Multiple Sclerosis. This woman had the most malignant form of the disease, the one that creeps slowly up the body paralysing as it goes. The woman was very clever and interesting but also bitter, catty, snide and immensely critical of everything and everyone, nothing ever satisfied her.

One day my sister remarked to the woman’s husband that it was no wonder she was bitter, given her circumstances. “Oh no” the husband said “She’s mellowed a lot since having MS, she was much worse before” They’d been married for 30 years, and he’d known her a long time before they were married, they started going out together when they were both about 15.

Auschwitz might have something to do with the way this woman is, but on the other hand she might just be like that naturally.

Grumpy, difficult people tend to rub everyone up the wrong way, so they tend to experience a lot of negativity from others (even though it is they themselves who are the cause of other people’s negativity). Whether the person has a good reason for being truculent or not, giving him or her the benefit of the doubt – for example, by imagining that perhaps he or she has a story that explains the cantankerousness – can make it possible to be kind to the person despite everything, and kindness can make a huge difference.

Henry, I think you have a wonderful perspective of people. I took care of my mother-in-law in her last years of life. She was blind, bed ridden, had multiple health problems, and was down right mean. However, her health was not the problem. She was mean before getting sick and caused my sister-in-law to have a mental break down due to the abuse she receieved from my mother-in-law. However, when I looked at my mother-in-law’s life, I could understand her bitterness and harshness to people because that is the way life had treated her. Of course, I think as humans we should take the higher road and overcome the cruelities we sometimes receive in life. We should overcome these things with kindness and good character, but if another person is not strong enough to do that, then we should be as merciful, tolerant, and kind to them as we can. It sounds like you have done that and I applaud you for it.

I liked your post. In 1997 my mother had a global stroke. She had fallen over her telephone wires and fallen breaking her hip. She called late that night and asked my husband if she should call 911 and yes of course and we will be right there!

My mother had been a teacher for many years , she married and my dad had left her less than a year after their marriage (she was madly in love him for years after that) Then and she had me a few months later.

I love my mother so very much but for many years she was not happy and she was very authoritive and didn’t always have the understanding that she could have had for others. I know that she loved me , my husband and our children but she wasn’t very pleasant to be around because she always knew it all and I mean about everything! She was a great debater.

Then one day she fell, went to the hosital and between surgery and recovery she lapsed into a coma. It just broke my heart. Early one morning I was told by her doctor that she would die there was nothing more that they could do. I was devastated and we had to call family in from all over the United States. It was a very intense time as we all took vigil in the hospital. Anyway after much prayer my mother came out of her coma. For us it was a miracle !

My point to this story is that my mom was authoritive , she knew it all,and I didn’t feel as close to her as I would have liked. She was clearly lonely and unhappy. But since her accident and stroke she is so wonderful to be around. Even our children will say how much she has changed through this and they enjoy being around her and buying her coffees and taking her out to lunch.

She is older now and we don’t get to shop together as much because she is quite old and tires easily and I miss shopping with her. However, it has been 9 years since her accident and she is pleasant to be around and she has such a sense of humor these days. She is really quite funny! She did indeed have a reason why she was such a grump in the past and it wasn’t easy for any of us but she has overcome alot of obstacles and I am blessed to have her as my mom.

I would like to add that I agree with you about kindness. And might I add to that “grace”. Grace goes along way in our relationships with people and to extend that and kindness it helps to pour alittle bit of “Life” into someone who might not have it otherwise. And who knows what a difference it might make.

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