Losing Our Identity

Commentary by Dr. Ursula A. Falk

A Child's Promise

“Liebe Mama glaub es mir, wenn ich gross bin helf ich dir; dann kannst du im Sessel ruhen und ich werde die Arbeit tun.” (Dear Mama please believe me, when I grow up I will help you.  Then you can sit in an easy chair and rest, while I will do the work).  This is an age old feeling wherein children who love their Mom express their true feelings and sincere intentions.  Life changes, as do feelings, dependence, beliefs, energy, responsibilities, altered responsibilities, and actions. The adoration and total love for the woman that has produced, nurtured, and protected her offspring becomes an object of analysis, criticism, and an undesirable commodity.

Unfortunately she can become the victim of narcissistic children who want the parent figure to do for them and give them without standing in their way.  They are desirous of the omnipotent figure as long as she does not interfere with their actions, right or wrong. She should be an invisible being who appears only when needed to carry out the wishes and needs of the once loving child.

 Mother can never forget the big expressive eyes of the once helpless infant whose tiny fingers clung to her, whose little legs were wrapped around her, whose very being was a miracle, a human who can never, not ever, be replaced.

Somehow the adult has forgotten or does not care to remember what the now “old” woman has expended in energy, deeds, emotion, encouragement, financial and other support throughout her child rearing days.  Once the adult child has succeeded in his/her goals, he prides himself with cutting the “umbilical” cord. The thought of an “unpaid debt” does not enter his conscious mind. On the other hand, if he does not reach his alleged potential, or what he believes he should be, he readily holds his parents, especially his maternal parent, responsible for his lack of status or achievements. He rarely holds himself accountable for anything that might have been in the way of his frequently grandiose opinions, of what status he should project in his world. Thoughts of gratitude or reciprocity are rarely a part of his conscious mind.

Our pseudo religious Jewish population has forgotten one of the ten commandments:  “Honor thy mother and father so that you may live long on earth.”  They forgive their adult children for almost any unacceptable deed that they do.  Whether it is simply domineering the parent, giving unasked for advice, going against what was instilled in them like keeping the Schabbath, eating kosher, etc.  Worse than that:  Marrying goyim, becoming nonbelievers, agnostics or atheists, and much more.  Instead of honoring their parents, they dishonor them.  The childhood promise that was made of taking over parental work, parental labor, has been turned around to the expectation that “children,” now grown, have of their parents.

As Jewish people we have lost much of our uniqueness by following the proverbial “sheep,” the masses of humanity.  We have joined the culture which has few ethical strictures.  We have taken on the once unacceptable: Living with the opposite sex in an unmarried state, joining in and accepting unions between homosexuals, ignoring our coreligionists, not recognizing our brothers, and much more.  Our need to be accepted has cost us our uniqueness, our special qualities!!


Dr. Ursula A. Falk is a psychotherapist in private practice and the author of several books and articles.

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