My Childhood Trauma and my parent’s role // Should I go to therapy while I’m still in their home?

with Rabbi Shais Taub & Dr. Janina Fisher

Dear AmiLiving Magazine:

I have a question that I think would be appropriate for your “Navigating Life” column that I would love for you to answer. I really enjoy the column (as well as the rest of the magazine) and gain a lot from it. My question is as follows:
I experienced difficulties in my childhood, mainly terrible bullying. My parents didn’t know how to handle it correctly and I was left in a lot of pain, as both school and home weren’t safe spaces for me. I was able to continue functioning by suppressing most of my memories of those years. Baruch Hashem, things have improved with time. The bullying stopped, I made wonderful friends, and home became a happy place as well. I was able to help myself on my own, enough to be able to function well on a day-to-day basis. However, when I get in touch with my deeper, inner self, I am aware of the deep pain that is still inside me. I believe I would benefit greatly from therapy, both to heal the pain from the bullying and the pain from my parents not being there for me.

However, the issue is that I am still single and living in my parents’ home. I imagine that therapy, although healing, will bring up some very painful memories. I don’t feel ready to be able to handle that while still living with my parents. First, they will realize that I am going for therapy, seeing my comings and goings, and will wonder why I need it. Second, although they are wonderful people, I experienced (and probably still experience) emotional neglect. They have no idea how much pain I hold buried inside, and that a large part of it comes from them. They believe that they gave me a wonderful, happy childhood. I cannot have them know about this, at least not yet. I always assumed I would wait until I was married and deal with it then. However, that comes with other issues, and I was advised that it might not be the best plan. So I was wondering if you could guide me how best to proceed.

-A daughter in pain

Rabbi Shais Taub
Rabbi Taub is a popular author, speaker and the director of

What’s the first thought that comes to mind after reading this question?
My first thought is that everything is b’hashgachah pratis. Hashem’s timing is impeccable, and the fact that she’s even thinking about working on this at this point in her life is certainly mil’maalah. It would be a tremendous gift to her future husband and children for her to deal with these issues before she gets married.

So you are saying that she should go for therapy?
Let me begin with a disclaimer. Not only am I not a therapist and not trained in therapy, but I don’t claim to even be knowledgeable about different types of therapy. This needs to be stated clearly, because I don’t want people to read meaning into my words that I don’t intend. I’m a rabbi, and my only intention is to speak within the realm of my expertise. If anyone needs more information about any kind of therapy, he should speak to a knowledgeable expert.

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