An Electronic Mental Health Newsletter from Joel I. Kimmel, Ph.D., P.A. & Associates
Volume 12, Number 8
Well the Eclipse has come and gone and so has the summer. Even though we are in the waning days of August, our attention now turns to beating the late summer heat and preparing for the holidays and the Fall. Hurricane season is far from over and college/professional football starts soon. The world seems like it is full of hate with almost daily reports of terrorist events. Opposing sides seem to have gotten stronger with much more media attention. It is important in these days to let cooler heads prevail and to practice understanding and emotional restraint.
Our August E-Letter is about Understanding Hate. Dr. K’s blog continues with its eleventh installment and our email of the month is about The Seed. We hope you find the enclosed information helpful and interesting. We also thank you for reading our E-Letters and for the numerous positive and compassionate comments we have received.
Practice Addition. We are very pleased to announce that Akiva Daum, MD has joined our practice. Dr. Daum is a multiple Board Certified Psychiatrist who will be seeing patients eighteen years and older for a limited number of hours a week. He specializes in Addiction Psychiatry and will also see patients who are in need of general psychiatric care. His special interests include treating patients with co-occurring mental health and substance use disorders as well as chronic pain and addiction disorders. He has taught and supervised other psychiatrists, medical students, residents, and fellows. For more information or to schedule an appointment with Dr. Daum, call our office at 954 755-2885.
Low Cost Therapy: We are now providing lower cost therapy. Tara Passaretti, LMHC, is a Licensed Mental Health Counselor and Nationally Board Certified Counselor who has extensive experience working with children and families in private practice and in the court system. Returning from maternity leave, she is providing counseling at a much lower fee. If you are in need of a therapist but do not have insurance or are unable to afford the high copays, Tara would be willing to see you. For more information or to schedule an appointment, call our office at 954 755-2885.
Testings. Our practice does different types of psychological or psychoeducational assessments to help answer questions about school and test accommodations, gifted placement, ADHD, and psychological diagnosis. Information regarding the tests can be found on our website. If you have more specific questions, please contact Dr. Kimmel or Paul Dolnick.
Support groups. Our ongoing weekly therapy groups have been quite successful and have been running for well over two years. A men’s support group and a women’s support group are run by Dr. Jim Kaikobad and meets for one and one-half hours. This confidential group is educational and supportive and is limited to 8 people.
Benefits of these groups include significant cost reduction, time effectiveness, and the support and understanding of other members experiencing similar issues. If you or a family member would like to participate in either of these groups, please contact Jillian in our office at 954 755-2885.
Downloads of handouts from our previous E-Letters can be found on our website, www.kimmelpsychology.com/e-letters/. We invite you to read and download them if desired.
Hardly a day goes by when we are not exposed to some hate filled action. In fact, haters, hate groups, and extremists seem to be all over the news, social media, and politics. Our country is truly intensively divided without there seeming to be calming rational voices. For many of us who have lived through similar times, it is very, very scary. The access to distortions, lies, propaganda, and misinformation has never been easier. This is true not only within our country but globally. The internet has allowed extremists to band together, at least online, to spread their messages of hate and terrorism. Haters now have a global soapbox on which to gain strength and spew their hatred. Even though what they say are clearly lies, there is some news agency eager to report what they are saying rather than disputing the lies. For reason to prevail, we must understand hatred.
According to the Southern Poverty Law Center (2017), there are 917 organized hate groups in the United States. Most haters do not hate alone. They belong to groups of other haters as it gives them a sense of belonging, power, and identity. Hating allows these individuals to distract themselves from their brokenness. They often feel helpless, powerless, forgotten, inadequate, unfairly treated, and unimportant. They perceive themselves as threatened and look to others to blame so they are distracted from their own pain. They believe that the only way for them to regain power is to unify with other haters and strike out at others. They have learned to hate as a way of life. They have errors in thinking which include assigning blame to others when bad things happen, stereotyping and dehumanizing others, misattributing good behaviors to the malicious intent of others, being defensive in response to criticism, and having a polarized me-against-you attitude. Haters tend to resist facts and positive information about those they hate no matter how accurate or overwhelming the information is.
The first step in dealing with haters is to understand them and why they hate. In fact the cure for hatred is understanding, compassion and empathy. Yet it is difficult to have these qualities when you feel attacked or blamed. One must stand up to haters and hate groups recognizing that facts and information will not change their rantings and ravings. The news media, social media, and other organizations have to stop giving these groups a soapbox to get attention and power. Political, fraternal, and religious organizations need to stand together to combat hate. Terrorist groups need to be stopped and eradicated. People need to practice love and caring and these acts need to be reinforced on television, in the movies, and on the news. A determined action by compassionate and fearless individuals and organizations will do much to decrease the influence and power of haters.
If you are a hater and want to overcome your anger and hatred, first recognize your feelings and acknowledge that you are angry. Make a commitment to wanting to stop your hatred and blame of others. Secondly, try to identify why you are angry. What irrational thoughts are causing you to have these feelings of anger and blame? Seeking out a good therapist may help you to identify your thoughts and self-defeating patterns. Third, recognize that you are not alone. Break down feelings of isolation. You can find others who are willing to show you compassion and caring. Identify who you are blaming and why. Allowing yourself to relax will give you clearer vision about people and your own feelings. Fourth, take appropriate steps to resolve your emotional issues by changing your perspective and letting go of irrational thought patterns. Fifth, recognizing that resolving your anger will lead to better physical and mental health and a much more fulfilling life.
We offer the following information on Understanding Hate!
Too often it is easier to hate than to understand
WHAT TO KNOW!
- Hate is one of the most powerful of emotions and causes great sorrow and suffering
- It is a deep and intense loathing towards people, groups, ideas, behaviors, etc.
- Our culture today seems to be angrier and more filled with hate than ever before
- The opposite of hate is love and the key to eradicating hate is in education through schools, community, television, movies, and social media
- One reason people hate is because of a fear of those people who are different
- Many haters feel alienated, lonely, depressed, misunderstood, unimportant and devalued and become easy targets for recruitment by hatred groups
- Hatred can give people identities by breaking down isolation and providing an opportunity for them to have connection and solidarity with like-minded others
- Haters often feel threatened and victimized by society and thus justified in their hatred
- Creating fear and intimidation of others strengthens haters sense of power
- They are threatened by changes in cultural values, society, religion, gender choice, lifestyle, and the acceptance of minority groups and social movements
- Because our society is a competitive society, it also creates a “me-against-them” attitude which often leads to dislike, manipulation, and in the extreme, hatred
- Hate basically comes from how we think, what we have learned, and who have been our role models
- Thinking errors include:
- assigning blame to others when bad things happen
- becoming part of the in-group by being hostile to the out-group
- stereotyping which dehumanizes other people
- misattributing good behaviors to the malicious intent of others
- needing to be right in a competitive society
- polarized, black and white thinking
- defensive response to criticism
- Most people who hate do not act upon it; however, participation in a group of haters will increase the likelihood of acting on it
- Haters usually do not hate alone and look to peers for validation and encouragement
- Social media/internet makes it very easy for those who hate to affiliate with other haters and express themselves to millions who can and will encourage them
- The cure for hatred is understanding, compassion, and empathy
- Recognize that hatred is a major problem in our society
- Understand that people who hate are angry, broken souls who need to flaunt their power or intimidate others
- Do not take their comments personally and try to ignore what they say
- Stand up to haters and use their hatred to motivate you to grow and be better
- Reduce your negative interactions with haters and set your boundaries
- Seek professional help if you are unable to cope with your feelings about haters or find that you are hate filled
WHAT TO DO!
WE CAN HELP!
Call us at 954 755-2885 or email us at DrKimmel@KimmelPsychology.com
Joel I. Kimmel, Ph.D. P.A. and Associates
5551 N University Drive, Suite 202
Coral Springs FL 33067
Copyright © 2017 by Joel I. Kimmel, Ph.D.
Dr. K’s Blog
August 21, 2017
I am in the eleventh month of mourning for my wife. During this month, my family and I held an unveiling for the inscription at her grave. A number of family and friends joined my family and it turned out to be a heartfelt and beautiful experience. In some way, it made acceptance a little easier. I can’t say I have closure but I can say I have somewhat more acceptance.
One year ago, last August, my wife went in to the hospital never to return. Each August day is a reminder of the days and nights I spent at the hospital, who I told about her illness, the daily updates, and the hope that she would get better and recover although I truly know the ending. Each day is an anniversary of sorts but I am looking forward to the one year anniversary.
I am feeling somewhat better. Maybe better isn’t the correct word but getting accustomed to being a widower might be a better description. We would have celebrated our 45th anniversary this month.
I am sustained by the frequent messages of caring from her friends, “sisters”, and others who have loved her and who hurt like my family does from losing her.
July 20, 2017
It is now ten months from the day my wife passed. I think about last year at this time when we were planning to celebrate our anniversary on a trip to Oregon and Washington. Instead, we spent those days at Holy Cross Hospital hoping that she would recover from her illness. What a terrible time. She was so full of life one year ago and so excited to be going on vacation and yet in a few short weeks, she would pass.
I am filled with so many emotions and think I am coping better than I have before. I continue to keep busy at work which helps greatly. Maybe I am just getting used to being alone. I am trying to see her passing differently in terms that she did not suffer long, that she did not have to live on a ventilator, that she had a wonderful life, and that she was loved by many, many people. This helps and maybe it is a part of the grieving process. I know the next six weeks will be tough but my family and I will make it through because what choice do we have?
I miss her greatly and often find myself wanting to tell her things that have happened to me or experiences that I would ordinarily share with her. But she is not there. I tell her anyhow. I frequently hear from her friends who are also grieving and have a difficult time accepting her loss. They miss her and somehow I think their telling me this helps them. I still feel her presence at times which is comforting but her absence is huge to me. I am often asked how am I doing and what does one say?
I tell them I just keep going on.
June 20, 2017
This month marks the ninth month since my wife has passed. I still find it hard to believe that she is gone. I think of her frequently and remember many of the great moments we had together. I still expect her to be home when I get home or to pick up the phone and hear her voice. Some days I think I am getting closer to acceptance and other times, it is as painful as the first day.
This is the time of the year when we planned our vacation. I always looked forward to traveling with her which we did every year since we got married. Now vacationing doesn’t really interest me. I do not want to travel by myself yet there is no one I want to go anywhere with. I will visit others but do not look forward to going on any adventure vacations we used to have, by myself. I am sure I will come up with something.
I continue to take yoga classes and feel her presence especially when I let go. There are times at home when I let myself relax and be open that I also feel her presence. I can’t describe it and it is not in words but somehow I know she is there. I am sure she is visiting me and I feel great comfort when this happens. Yet I know that I still have great hurt. I hope that it will heal in time.
May 20, 2017
This is a hard entry to write.
It was a difficult month for me as my wife’s absence was highlighted due to several events.
I was out of the country for two and one-half weeks. Before I left, I did all the preparing and packing. But, we used to do it together. I would usually bring home a present for her but not this time. And when I got home, she wasn’t there for me to share my experiences. I just missed her more.
This was also the first Mother’s Day without her. Again, I could not make it special for her. She was on my mind all day. This was difficult for my children which made it even more difficult for me. Not only do I hurt but so do they and we all miss her.
We also had a Bat Mitzvah to attend. This was the first family event without her and she was missed by all. It just didn’t seem the same without her. How does one participate in a joyous moment when they are grieving?
Finally, the school where my wife opened, developed, and ran the Media Center held a dedication for her. They named the library after her and posted her picture and her favorite quote above the entrance. Colleagues she worked with and former students shared their memories of her. My family and I endowed a legacy award to be given each year in her name to a student who loves to read. The dedication was beautiful and it was very significant to hear how she affected the lives of so many and the future of her students. She would be happy to know that many of her students love books and love to read all because of her love for reading. Her presence was everywhere.
So I have great pride but it is mixed with missing her greatly.
April 17, 2017
I don’t know if time really does help but the pain is not as intense or as frequent. There are moments of intensity where I really miss Jill but they are less frequent. Maybe I am just coming to terms with her being gone. Maybe it’s what we call resilience. Or maybe I am just used to being alone.
Do I miss her? Yes greatly. But not as desperately as before. I think I am just getting used to being on my own. Spring has brought many firsts. For the first time in fifty years, she was not at our Seders. She is not here to plan our summer trips. She is not here to celebrate the birthdays.
But I believe she is with us in spirit. In fact, I don’t know how to explain this, but I have felt her presence. I cannot put it into words as it is just a feeling but I do believe she is with me and that I feel comforting. I miss her greatly but I am determined to go on for myself, for my children, for my extended family, and for my patients. She would want nothing less.
March 20, 2017
First, I would like to thank all of you who read this blog and have been moved to reach out to me. People who I have not seen or spoken to in decades have sent me their heartfelt wishes and their personal memories of my wife. She had a great, beautiful impact on people and she truly had a well lived life.
I question myself sometimes whether I should put my personal experiences out there yet I hope that by reading what I am going through, others can be helped. Our society does not prepare us to deal with the death of loved ones. So in some small way, maybe I can help.
As time passes, the grieving continues. It has changed a bit but there are moments which are still very difficult. The most difficult part now of the grieving process is the loneliness. It is over six months now and I still have difficulty in accepting that she is gone. I still expect her to walk through the door or see her curled up in her favorite position reading a book. But I painfully know that will never happen again.
The house is big and empty without her. I find myself filling my time with chores just to keep busy but when I am alone, it hurts. I miss her and our lives together. I feel so powerless that I cannot bring back those days. We think we are in so much control of our lives. And we are for some things, but for the most part, we are not. We just have to accept what is and what will be. Accepting what you don’t want to accept is quite a struggle.
I am dealing with the loneliness by being with friends, taking a yoga class, and seeing my son and daughter. Yet there are always those moments where it truly hurts; words cannot describe it. But what else is there to do? I have been told by others who have lost loved ones that with time, it will get better. I hope they are right.
February 20, 2017
I wish I could say that it has gotten easier but it hasn’t. Another month has passed and the hurt remains as strong as it has ever been. This month brought the first Valentine’s Day without my wife and my daughter’s first birthday without her. I now realize that there will be many, many “firsts” most of which will be painful.
It is still so hard to believe that I will never look into my wife’s eyes again. Never kiss her or touch her like I always did. Never hear her advice or support again. How does one accept never, especially when you don’t want to?
I go out a little bit more. I see friends for dinner but for the most part, the evenings remain empty. The house also feels empty. My life is different. What I thought was important before is much less so if at all. Death changes your perspective but you cannot give in or give up. I continue to work and feel the satisfaction of helping others figure out their lives.
I am fortunate to have friends who keep in touch to see how I am. I am fortunate to have children who despite their own grief, check in with me. I am fortunate to have had 50 wonderful years with my wife.
So I try to count my blessings.
I now believe that the only thing that will help me in this grieving process is just the passing of time.
January 20, 2017
It is now four months since my wife has passed and I can’t say that it has gotten any easier. I have gotten busier and in that sense, I have been preoccupied and am not dwelling on the sense of loss. But those moments when I am alone and are not doing anything are the most difficult moments. Friends have called me and invited me to make sure I am busy but you always have moments of aloneness which still hurt. I rationally know that my wife is gone but I still haven’t accepted it nor do I want to. My life is different. I am different. And it will never be the same.
I don’t know how long it will take, if ever, to heal from this grief. People constantly ask me how am I doing and I find it a very hard question to answer. I know they mean well and are interested but what do you say. I am doing fine? I am not doing well? I am really just doing okay and keeping busy. That is probably the best I can say right now.
Everywhere are constant reminders of the life I used to have. Some are poignant and other very sad. We dedicated the new office in my wife’s memory and seeing her picture gives me the feeling that she is with me all day long. I am glad we did that.
I also went to the cemetery with my daughter and it was emotionally, one of the most difficult things I have ever done. Yet when we left I felt some comfort.
I think my period of grieving will be over when I can truly accept that my wife has gone and that she had a wonderful life. I hope I can do that one day.
December 19, 2016
Another month has gone by and it doesn’t get any easier. In fact, the holidays highlight the emptiness and the loss. These are very difficult times and the powerlessness of not being able to change what happened is overwhelming. Keeping busy helps as it distracts from the grief yet even around people I feel alone. I grapple with acceptance and I am not there yet and probably won’t be for a long, long time.
I also realize that I have changed. No longer do I have my best friend to travel with, to talk to, to learn from, and to share my private thoughts. My wife and I grew up and grew together and we shared many, many wonderful experiences. Now those experiences are over and all I have left are the memories and the possessions. Yes, my children are wonderful and we have a very good relationship. But they too have their own grief to deal with.
I have found that death is the hardest part of life. Rationally, I understand that we will all pass at some time. But are we ever prepared for it? I give thanks that my wife did not suffer long; that is a blessing in itself. But I miss her.
I have learned that despite all we control in our life, we are never really in control of what matters the most. I am glad that we had such a close and warm relationship yet, precisely because of this, it hurts now that she has passed.
November 21, 2016
It is now 2½ months since my wife died and the transition to acceptance is extremely difficult. Cognitively, it sounds like an easy task. But emotionally, it is one of the most difficult tasks I’ve ever faced in my life. I have spoken with others who have lost loved ones who seem to be the only ones who can understand what I am going through. They know the depths of emptiness and loneliness that one can only experience when one loses one’s partner. It is almost like a club of grievers who never ever really stop grieving. They just seem to put it aside to go on with their lives for the sake of themselves and others. They say that it gets better but the pain never leaves.
How does one go from sharing everything with another to being alone? Things we were going to do, places we were going to travel to, renovations to the house, movies we were going to see, friends we were going to visit, and new experiences we were going to learn from are now all gone. They have to be done by me alone and yes I will do some of these but it is not the same. Ideas that I usually bounced off my wife or opinions where I needed her input now have to be decided only by me or by family and friends.
Everything has changed internally since I am now a “me” and not a “we”.
Thanksgiving is just around the corner and it has always been a family holiday for us. Yes I will be with my adult children but our loss will be paramount. As we always do, we will give thanks for our health and everything we have in life. We will also give thanks for having had my wife in our lives for as long as we had her. We will also give thanks that she is suffering no longer and we will remember her joy, her wit, her love for people, animals, and books, and her love for us.
Email of the Month
We would like to thank Roberta S. for the following email:
A successful business man was growing old and knew it was time to choose a successor to take over the business.
Instead of choosing one of his Directors or his children, he decided to do something different. He called all the young executives in his company together.
He said, ‘It is time for me to step down and choose the next CEO. I have decided to choose one of you. ‘The young executives were shocked, but the boss continued. ‘I am going to give each one of you a SEED today – one very special SEED. I want you to plant the seed, water it, and come back here one year from today with what you have grown from the seed I have given you. I will then judge the plants that you bring, and the one I choose will be the next CEO.’
One man, named Jim, was there that day and he, like the others, received a seed. He went home and excitedly, told his wife the story. She helped him get a pot, soil and compost and he planted the seed. Every day, he would water it and watch to see if it had grown. After about three weeks, some of the other executives began to talk about their seeds and the plants that were beginning to grow.
Jim kept checking his seed, but nothing ever grew.
Three weeks, four weeks, five weeks went by, still nothing.
By now, others were talking about their plants, but Jim didn’t have a plant and he felt like a failure.
Six months went by — still nothing in Jim’s pot. He just knew he had killed his seed. Everyone else had trees and tall plants, but he had nothing. Jim didn’t say anything to his colleagues, however. He just kept watering and fertilizing the soil – He so wanted the seed to grow.
A year finally went by and all the young executives of the company brought their plants to the CEO for inspection.
Jim told his wife that he wasn’t going to take an empty pot. But she asked him to be honest about what happened. Jim felt sick to his stomach, it was going to be the most embarrassing moment of his life, but he knew his wife was right. He took his empty pot to the board room. When Jim arrived, he was amazed at the variety of plants grown by the other executives. They were beautiful — in all shapes and sizes. Jim put his empty pot on the floor and many of his colleagues laughed, a few felt sorry for him!
When the CEO arrived, he surveyed the room and greeted his young executives.
Jim just tried to hide in the back. ‘My, what great plants, trees, and flowers you have grown,’ said the CEO. ‘Today one of you will be appointed the next CEO!’
All of a sudden, the CEO spotted Jim at the back of the room with his empty pot. He ordered the Financial Director to bring him to the front. Jim was terrified. He thought, ‘The CEO knows I’m a failure! Maybe he will have me fired!’
When Jim got to the front, the CEO asked him what had happened to his seed – Jim told him the story.
The CEO asked everyone to sit down except Jim. He looked at Jim, and then announced to the young executives, ‘Behold your next Chief Executive Officer!
His name is Jim!’ Jim couldn’t believe it. Jim couldn’t even grow his seed.
‘How could he be the new CEO?’ the others said.
Then the CEO said, ‘One year ago today, I gave everyone in this room a seed. I told you to take the seed, plant it, water it, and bring it back to me today. But I gave you all boiled seeds; they were dead – it was not possible for them to grow.
All of you, except Jim, have brought me trees and plants and flowers. When you found that the seed would not grow, you substituted another seed for the one I gave you. Jim was the only one with the courage and honesty to bring me a pot with my seed in it. Therefore, he is the one who will be the new Chief Executive Officer!’
If you plant honesty, you will reap trust
If you plant goodness, you will reap friends
If you plant humility, you will reap greatness
If you plant perseverance, you will reap contentment
If you plant consideration, you will reap perspective
If you plant hard work, you will reap success
If you plant forgiveness, you will reap reconciliation
So, be careful what you plant now; it will determine what you will reap later.
The information provided in this electronic newsletter is not a substitute for professional treatment. It is the opinions of the writers and is provided solely for educational purposes. For mental health care, seek a qualified professional.
If you no longer wish to receive future E-Letter reminders, please send an email to DrKimmel@KimmelPsychology.com requesting to be removed from this list.
If you find this information interesting or helpful, please forward this E-Letter to your contacts and friends. Copyright © 2017 by Joel I. Kimmel, Ph.D. P.A. and Associates.