Dear Goldy:

I’m writing you because I don’t have the same self-confidence that you do. You’re not shy. You’re outspoken. You write your opinions and what you’ve said to men that you dated (I read your book). I want you to give me the confidence boost that I need in order to date.

I’m 20 and have been on two dates. The reason is because I doubt myself and my abilities – all because I grew up in an emotionally abusive household. I’ve been in therapy for years. To make a long story very short, my mother emotionally abused my siblings and me for years. It was one of the reasons my parents divorced. My father couldn’t stop how she spoke to us. He saw her for the cruel person she is and wanted to get us away from her. Unfortunately, he was unable to get sole custody and so began many years of the joint custody. My father was loving and encouraging and supportive of all of us. But when you spend half your days with a woman who always ridiculed whatever you did and told you that you were good, but never “good enough,” it takes a toll on a young teenager.

The good news is that I have cut my mother out of my life. I can’t live with that type of toxic and abusive person. I started therapy when I was 15. That’s when my father realized that all of his positivity and love wasn’t enough for me (and my siblings). Here I am feeling better about myself, but now I am faced with dating issues. I went out with two guys when I turned 20 but things didn’t go well. Besides the regular shidduch issues you write about, I am dealing with low self-esteem and self-doubt. I ask myself if every little thing I do or say on a date makes sense or was it stupid. I question it all, especially if I will be a good wife and mother. Will I know how to do it because I had no role model, etc.

Is there anything you can do to give me the boost I need? My therapist suggested I contact you, since I have spoken about you a couple of times. I don’t need another therapist; what I need is another woman to give me a pep talk or something like that, something that a mother or an older sister or someone else should do; but I don’t have a female in my life who can do that. I want to be able to face each date with the regular worries everyone else has, and not allow the damage that my mother did affect me anymore than it already has.




Thank you for your email, “Bracha.”

You do not need my apologies, and they’ll mean nothing to you, but I am sorry that your mother wasn’t the encouraging, supportive, loving mother that all children should be blessed to have. Your father did the best he was able to, by seeing your mother for what she was, divorcing her, and trying to get sole custody of you and your siblings. He did his best to try to remove you from the toxic environment. I’m sure he did fight for sole custody for you and your siblings, and although it was denied, he did all he can to give the love and positivity both parents should shower a child with. He probably did his best to help you and your siblings get through the emotional abuse your mother inflicted. Starting therapy is great, and the best way to help you work through these feelings and issues you have. You wrote that you began therapy when you were 15, when your father realized the severity of how the abuse affected you. I don’t know when the emotional abuse began, but there could have been more than a decade of the abuse.

But you wrote that you didn’t want therapy; you wanted a pep talk. So here I am with my pep talk:

I don’t know you, but you are just like the rest of us. You’re trying to get through life. That’s hard enough as it is without bringing to the table what you have been through. We all question ourselves if we are doing something correctly, or yell at ourselves about something: “Goldy, you’re an idiot. Of course it’s not done this way. That’s why it’s not working.” Add to this, others around us making side comments (or as some refer to it as “giving shade”); even if they think they are helping, it just makes everything harder. I’ve written too many times about those who think they are helping us by telling us what they think is the truth or a fact, so that we can go about fixing whatever it is to make us more appealing to the opposite sex, while their words just make us feel worse.

I may not know everything, but I know this for a fact: No one is perfect. Some aim to be perfect, but how can one be perfecting an imperfect world? We can plan everything to the very last detail and then boom! Hashem had other plans for us. Don’t look at the Martha Stewart or the Barefoot Contessa types out there, because it’s all an illusion. You don’t see the five pie crusts they screwed up just to show you the “perfect and easy pie crust.” You don’t see the six cracked eggshells off camera, only the one perfectly-painted Easter egg they chose to show the camera. Don’t beat yourself up or question yourself if you feel that you did something wrong or “stupid” on a date. There is no right and wrong in dating, no matter what anyone tells you. All we have are our feelings and instincts.

Thank you for writing that I’m confident and an extrovert. But the Goldy that you read in this column every week is not the same person she was ten years ago. Confidence takes work. Yes, I had a good foundation to build on, but I wasn’t gifted with confidence. Life experience has shaped me into who I am today. I trust in myself. I go into every situation with my head held high because, at the end of the day, I don’t care if my actions or words have people rolling their eyes thinking I’m crazy, because I believe in me. But it did take time to get to this point. You won’t get there unless you allow yourself to.

Believe in yourself and all the good qualities that you have. You wrote that you have cut your mother and her toxicity out of your life.  Don’t let her win by second-guessing everything you do on a date or by thinking you won’t make a good wife or mother. Was she a good wife and mother? It’s hard, but you can’t let her words affect you this much about something so important. (I know people will argue with me, but that is something that Bracha and her therapist will discuss, and I’m sure have discussed. I’m a friend here, not a social worker.) I made some big mistakes on dates. I have put my foot in my mouth plenty of times. I laugh about it now. I especially laugh with my husband about what went awry on our dates, when I was trying hard not to make any mistakes.

Your bashert will see you for the wonderful, fun, beautiful person you are, and it won’t be because you gave tz’dakah to a homeless person while on a date or if you plan a date after you had a Sephora makeover. He will see the true you, just as you will see the true him. It may take time. People have their guard up in the beginning and that’s natural; but the more the guard is let down, the more comfortable a person is with someone else.

Bracha, have you ever considered that whoever you are dating is trying just as hard not to “screw up” or say something “stupid”? Everyone wants to impress the other person on a date. We all have our own insecurities. Try to go with the flow and not listen to the critical voice in your head. Don’t be self-conscious about everything, because you’ll drive yourself crazy. Go out and have fun. Don’t put too much thought into it; if you did, you wouldn’t have a horribly funny dating story to contribute when the rest of us tell ours! Go out and knock ’em dead. If you need a mantra or something to rev you up, like Bon Jovi did for me for single events, then here it is from one of my favorite songs: “Unleash your ferocity upon an unsuspecting world.” Rise up and repeat after me: “I’m beautiful!” And you are worth it. You really are.

Hatzlachah to you all.

Goldy Krantz  is an LMSW and a lifelong Queens resident, guest lecturer, and author of the shidduch dating book, The Best of My Worst and children’s book Where Has Zaidy Gone? She can be contacted at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..