Interest in the War Effort

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“Suzanne Gelb Image”

”War – Does it Supersede All Else?”


Dear Dr. Gelb:

I had intended to write to you about a problem I’m having with my tantruming child, but as I started to write about this, I began to feel so selfish with the war going on, and then my problem seems trivial. How do I find the balance between feeling like my problems are important, even though they are not life or death issues like those of the war in Iraq?

Feeling Selfish

A: Dr. Gelb says . . .

Dear Feeling:

When self-esteem is intact, it is not difficult to conform to the notion that “after me, everyone else can come first.” Some people may construe this as selfish. I consider it self-preservation. In terms of the dilemma you describe, is not uncommon for caring, loving people to experience such a conflict. However, it takes more than love to support someone in feeling like a whole person. It is important to not be like the T-shirts with the footprints on the back. Instead, I believe that it is so important to be involved and engaged in our personal lives, and let the generals fight the war, while at the same time, of course, our hearts go out to those in war-torn areas, as well as their loved ones,

”Operation Iraq – Why Am I Glued to the TV?”

Dear Dr. Gelb:

I don’t like war, but I think our leadership is correct for putting our country’s foot down, because enough is enough. I am so glued to the TV now, watching the coverage of the war. I wonder why this is so fascinating to me, almost like a fixation?

TV Viewer

A: Dr. Gelb says . . .

Dear Viewer:

You are probably one of the many millions of people all over the world who, thanks to our high tech communication, are able to join our fighters in their battle for peace even though we are watching it thousands and thousands of miles away. Many of us experience the natural curiosity you describe, and I believe that a large percentage of our nation is in support of our leadership and the necessity of bringing this corrupt dictator to his knees. In that regard, it is not surprising that many television viewers tend to be fixated and even obsessed with the outcome of this mission, and watch with fascination as this country’s advanced technology engages in a dispute whose primary concern is achieve its mission with as few casualties as possible.

In terms of the curiosity that feeds the preoccupation you describe, I believe that in such a situation, our aggressive nature is stimulated. This can be explained by analogizing to watching game of sport, whether it be prize fighting, football, or baseball for example. In such instances spectators choose an opponent to root for and the natural hunger to win keeps them preoccupied with the action.

”’Suzanne J. Gelb, Ph.D., J.D. authors this daily column, Dr. Gelb Says, which answers questions about daily living and behavior issues. Dr. Gelb is a licensed psychologist in private practice in Honolulu. She holds a Ph.D. in Psychology and a Ph.D. in Human Services. Dr. Gelb is also a published author of a book on Overcoming Addictions and a book on Relationships.”’

”’This column is intended for entertainment use only and is not intended for the purpose of psychological diagnosis, treatment or personalized advice. For more about the column’s purpose, see”’ “An Online Intro to Dr. Gelb Says”

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