Commentary by Dr. Ursula A. Falk


Vergessen und Vergeben Aber im Hertzen Bleibst Kleben

Forgotten and Forgiven but in the Heart it is Attached/Glued

It is possible to forget and forgive a traumatic experience that occurred in our life but the feelings never disappear.  They may attach themselves to other incidents or project on to a more current situation, but the pain that was caused rears itself when least expected.

A wife who was deserted as a young woman will always suspect her spouse of desertion or of not loving her.  She will never feel safe or truly loved.  She may repay her spouse by having a secret relationship with another male to "even the score," or feelings of anger may arise without cause toward her spouse.  A person who has experienced a traumatic situation will remember that the remainder of her life and will be fearful when there is the slightest of a possible reoccurrence of such a trauma.  An example is that those who have lived in Nazi Germany during or at the beginning of the Holocaust, when hearing denigration or prejudicial words directed at the Jewish people, will believe that a reoccurrence will take place in their beloved America, where they are fortunate enough to live.

The late psychoanalyst Sigmund Freud cited cases in his books in which adults were severely emotionally damaged as children and brought their unfortunate experience into their adulthood.  They were reliving their experiences and were unable to function as mature normal adults. Freud discovered that dreams people have can reveal much that has occurred in the past, and what their psyche has taken is expressed in their dreams at night, often in a very perverted fashion. Free association can occasionally bring out a reality, a situation that was long forgotten in everyday life, and conscious thoughts.

Fears as well as dislikes can have a history in experiences that occurred in the long ago and not in current life.  When questioned, the individual thus plagued is often unable to recall from where or how his feelings originated.

Ideally, all children from infancy to adulthood should be raised with love, kindness, understanding, and caring.  They should not be coerced to achieve that which they cannot do or comprehend.  Inabilities should be expected and praise given for what they can accomplish at their age and stage. A child should never be pushed or called unacceptable names, nor should he or she be minimized.  Jewish children are unfortunately too often the targets of anti-semites who have been taught to leave out their aggressions and hatreds toward them.  Also, the Jewish child should not be expected to be badgered to be an achiever beyond his capabilities.  This type of behavior has a history in the belief that we have to excel to prove our worth and acceptance as human beings.

As a result of the rejection and unjustified hatefulness and annihilation we have received in our past and present lives, a significant number of the Jewish people who have survived have intermarried, given up their identity, and are unfortunately an infinitesimal part of the world population.


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

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