Henry Makow Ph.D. — August 14, 2014
I wondered why a recent family reunion was not more relaxed and enjoyable. I felt I was under a microscope. My siblings and in-laws scrutinized my every word and deed, anxious to provide unsolicited help. My nephews seemed to show off and need praise. My nieces were struggling.
I concluded that feelings of inferiority and insecurity run in the family. Everyone bares the scars of a period of emotional deprivation. Is this characteristic of just my family or Jews in general? Is it universal?
I felt “unloved” when I was younger. There were some family-specific factors. As a baby, my dad wouldn’t let my mother feed me except at designated meal times. He read it in some book. He was training a wild animal, and so let a hungry baby cry. In general, dad wasn’t emotionally ready for family and saw us as a burden. He did his best but some children have an insatiable need for love and affirmation, especially when they don’t feel it.
My mother loved us unconditionally. But the father’s role is crucial in the development of a child’s psyche. He channels God’s love in terms of building character and self confidence. You can’t phone it in.
We listened to the news at supper; my dad would be lost in thought. Now, almost 90, his mind is somewhere else most of the time. But he has never been sweeter and more good natured.