This is true for every new immigrant, for every divorce case or for anyone having difficulties adapting to a new situation, as I will try to demonstrate in this short article.
A New Place, A New Life
Mira was in her mid-twenties when she made Aliyah – all by herself. She left a big family and many friends in the UK. Mira felt empty in her former community in London. She felt it was time to start fresh as a real Zionist.
The first months were wonderful, full of joy with new friends, new people, a new language, new mentality, new costumer services and a new job market. After six months, it was already too much new for her. She was now having a hard time – crisis time!
Mira couldn’t understand the Israelis, their rudeness and lack of empathy. She felt lost and depressed when she came to our offices looking for advice about a job related problem (not being paid what they promised her) and a dispute with a cell phone company.
Mira sat with me after I reviewed her two-page email explaining why she felt the cell phone company should be sued for millions by her and why I should sue her employer for not paying her salary on time.
I tried hard to explain to her why she didn’t have a case and therefore could not sue the cell phone company. I also told her that I could solve the problem with the employer with a simple phone call but she wanted more, Mira wanted to “fix the system so others would not get hurt”. That was too bad because we don’t believe in fixing or changing the system with law suits.
I tried to tell Mira we are here to help her, to make her life in Israel easier, to show her the way to a better absorption. I told her we can make her life much easier if she can just be more flexible and realistic!
Mira refused to listen. She was now “giving me the famous speech” I’ve heard so many times from so many others from so many different countries. We call it “The let me tell you how it was back in my country” speech.
I already know everything about the great service in the big American chain stores, I know a lot about the best legal service in the world provided by the Australians, I’ve heard what a great place South Africa is, what a great community and life they have in Canada and of course the wonderful life in South America.
The only problem, a tiny one: We are in Israel! In Israel we go by the Israeli way, the Israeli legal system and even by the Israeli almost nonexistent customer service. If you want to change this country you will have to work hard, pay a price sometimes and stop living in the past.
We must be realistic and living in past is the antithesis of realism.
We can all contribute and make changes by using the knowledge we have. We know better, we know it is possible to have better customer services, to interact better with clerks from the different governmental institutions, to be given more respect and consideration from those receiving a salary to serve the public.
It is up to you to use the knowledge you have to make changes happen and not to complain.
Divorces can be Avoided
I’ve succeeded many times in convincing couples to reach an amicable divorce agreement instead of fighting in court. But not once have I succeeded in convincing them to reconsider not going back to family therapy – not when they are stuck in the past! When both are telling me over and over again the same old story: “He did this, she did that, I remember when he did that, and I can’t forget when she refused to do that, etc.”
In order to start fresh you must let it go and I am not asking you to live in denial ignoring the past – just leave it aside for a while and try to “start from zero”.
The more “advisers” you have the worse, the more supporting family you have telling you “it won’t be hard” the faster you will be divorced and learn how hard it is!
One more (probably unpopular) option: If you are a religious couple, try consulting a Rabbi before a therapist. There are many Rabbis well qualified, better than most therapists. If you don’t have a Rabbi, try a family therapist or a psychologist – but never go to a psychologist ALONE if your goal is to save the marriage. Choosing this path is most probably the best and fastest way to end the marriage because there is not a chance a “professional” who is listening to only one side of the story can save a marriage.
It is not possible to save every marriage, it is not easy to let it go, it is extremely difficult to forget all those moments you were hurt by your partner, but in spite of all this it is still worth giving the marriage another chance by using this new tool. I like to call it the “amnesia tool”. You should try it before making the final step of obtaining a GET.