Monday, December 1, 2014

Grateful for Some Recent Lessons About #Parental #Alienation (#PAS)



A year ago, I would not have been grateful for certain things I have only recently realized.  This may sound a bit strange, but I am beyond grateful for some conclusions that I have made.  My sons may have been ripped out of my life by my ex husband in his warped sense of revenge, but I will always be the mother of my sons. Always.  Not even the evil doings of an abusive ex can undo DNA. And I will always have my natural instinct to love and care unconditionally for them. No matter what. However, the company they keep will either seek to resolve this alienation or will promote it.  If my sons' spouses and their families are not part of the solution, they are definitely part of the problem.

I know with all my heart that I will always be a mother - even when my grown sons refuse to be in my life. Even when one adult son refuses to let me meet my 4 year old grandson.  Even when my younger son denied my attendance at his wedding last June.  After being alienated from them for over a decade, I didn't quite know how I would feel should I see them again, if it would all come back - those feelings of ultra protection, heart bursting with love, a caring that only my soul knows......I had the opportunity to find out only months ago.  Yes, I am still who I always was.

And as I met my younger son at an arranged meeting last May - I knew for sure that some things don't change, even while much is not the same. I will love him forever. He became everything I always hoped he would never be - but I will love him forever. And believe me, he has put me through quite the test!

I have also come to the realization that if you hang around with chickens, you begin to cluck like chickens.  The influence of those you keep company with, truly affects your own life, mannerisms, outlook, behaviors and state of mind. Even values are influenced by the company you keep. This was clearly exhibited and another lesson  I learned in my May meeting with my younger son.  I am very grateful I had the chance to see this first hand. I will never be settled with the fact that the father of my children was able to erase me completely from their lives, but I do realize that who my sons associate with has a huge impact on their their mindsets and emotions. 

The alienation of a child during a high conflict divorce, can obviously become the alienation of an adult child - and for the targeted parent, you may be alienated for the rest of your life if no one steps in to end/undo the brainwashing.   And it doesn't end there as the poison extends to another generation, where grandchildren are born into this hate.  But life goes on. If these alienated adult children are surrounded by people who do nothing to help end the alienation, then they are essentially supporting it.

In 2009, my younger son was 24 years old and sharing his life with a wonderful young woman.  This young woman had been told many lies about me by both my sons and their father. My younger son had told her that I had abandoned him when he was just a child, because I didn't want him anymore.  She was told that I wanted to start a new life and create a new family without including my younger son or his older brother!  She was also told that the father of my sons was my childhood sweetheart  - which made me want to puke!  If you know anything about me - you are either laughing right now, or getting sick to your stomach over such lies.  I did both when I heard them.  Especially the part about my rapist and abuser being my "childhood sweetheart."  Now that's a hoot.

One day, in 2009, I had sent my younger son a text message (I was just learning how to text and use social media), and it read, "I still love you."  I texted the word "still" because my son had sent me emails telling me to die, called me a cunt over and over again, messages of how he wanted me to die ("buy a gun and blow your brains out because pills are for wusses"), had hit me one time, and worse.....but "still", I loved him. I wanted him to know that. It was important. You may think that is victim mentality for me - but I assure you it is not.  It is motherly compassion for a son who was used as a pawn by his father, to continue a form of abuse that only my heart can know.

My son's girlfriend saw the text I had sent my son and must have immediately thought I was "the other woman", as I heard from her within hours.  When I told her I was "the mother" , she was shocked and confused.  Remember, she thought I had abandoned my son. She was under the assumption that I never reached out to my son and wanted no relationship with him.  When in fact, nothing could have been further from the truth! Beginning with my first communication with this young woman, I had a sense that she was a sensitive, loving, caring human being.  I did not know then that she would become an angel in my life.

She and I developed somewhat of a relationship via emails and phone conversations.  I cleared up so many lies and told her wonderful stories of my son, the way I wanted to remember him.  And as the angel she was, she was able to soften my son's heart.  He began talking to me again, emailing me kind words this time, on the sly of course - his father and older brother would only interfere to end it if they knew. My younger son, the son I had known, the one who had hidden his kind, compassionate loving heart so deeply, was coming to the surface.  I was getting him back, a little at a time.  As long as this young woman was in his life.

She told my son, "Everyone needs their mother."  I will never forget that.  And as she reiterated those words, the ice around my son's heart began to melt.  She arranged for the three of us to meet (I had not seen my son in almost 6 years, since the last time my ex husband dragged him into court as a pawn).  The three of us met at Starbucks in Mount Kisco , New York one early evening....

I was already seated, heart pounding, anxiety through the roof...when my son and this angel of a girlfriend entered the cafe.  And I froze.  I couldn't get up to run to them, I couldn't move my hands, and I don't think I even blinked for quite a few seconds. Talk about "be still my heart!" All I did was get all teary eyed.  And in my son's eyes, as he approached my table, I saw hurt, shame, and vulnerability. And I swear on all that is holy, I saw his love for me.  All those emotions I had not seen in him since 1999 when his father ripped him out of my life.  All that was suppressed and almost destroyed - in a decade of hate - was still hidden there, all in farthest part of his existence, deep in the windows of his soul.

As they sat down across from me at the table, I reached for and touched my son's hand.  Part of me just wanted to make sure he was real.  I moved with caution.  He held my hand back. It was a mutual desire.  Perhaps, he had wanted to know the moment was not a fleeting dream, too!  Oh, how my heart was so full in that moment.  Then he noticed some writing I had on the bottom of my left palm.  He read what I had written on my hand with a Sharpie marker, as a reminder for our meeting:  "Do not talk about the past."  He chuckled when he read it, as I told him I wanted to focus our energy on the present - and the future.

His girlfriend watched us quietly.  Yes she was an angel.  I saw how sensitive she was. And if it weren't for her, we never would have met for this time, for these moments.  As considerately as possible, she stood up and went to stand on a coffee line (even though she had no intention of getting coffee at 7pm that night), just to give my son and I some time alone. Space. It was then that my son said, "How did we get here?"  We were still holding hands - mutually- as I looked into his beautiful but sad eyes, I replied, "I think you know."

I refused to mention his father at all.

A bit of sadness fell onto his cheek, leaking from his eyes - as it did from my own.  So much so that I couldn't see him clearly, my vision was getting blurred by tears.  I remember thinking "Oh, my G*d, I have to let go of his hand to wipe my eyes with a tissue."  You see, I never wanted to let go.

We spoke a bit about my new car, his new car, racing cars, my artwork, and his girlfriend (who wanted a puppy at the time).  I began to call his girlfriend my Angel.  And my son agreed.  She was one.  Soon, it was time to leave.  My son had to get home for his difficult hours of work in the wholesale food industry.  Night had fallen along with my heart when I realized it was time to depart.  We walked outside, still talking rapidly.  I didn't want to leave.  He looked at my new car. We stole a few more moments together. And I went over to see his new car also parked on the street.  We stole a few more moments.....and it was time to say goodnight.

We stood, the three of us, under a streetlight.  It could have been a scene out of a movie.  I hugged my beautiful Angel goodbye.  I thanked her, but no words could ever express my gratitude.  She not only arranged for this meeting, but she was undoing the hate my son had held on to for a decade. The evening was truly magical in that way.  I felt hopeful.

Then it was time to say goodbye to my son. We hugged. It was the kind of hug you can only dream about, when someone hugs you so tight it puts all your broken pieces back together.  It was the most wonderful hug I had ever experienced in my entire life.  It felt like we were standing there forever. He was hugging me back!  And then it felt like time disappeared.  I could not stop the flood of tears that escaped me at that moment.  I'm talking Noah like flood.  I drenched the shoulder of my son's jacket with my tears. 

And as he pulled away, separating us, through my sobbing, he said," Mom, you don't have to hold on to me so tight.  It won't be the last time."      

But I had this feeling.  And I knew, as I stood under the stars and my heavens - that it would be.

And....he called me "Mom."  Priceless for the ears of a targeted parent in the hell of parental alienation. Although my heart ached from having to depart, I was floating on a cloud at the same time. I hadn't been called, "Mom," in ages.

My son and this girlfriend parted ways within the following year of 2010.  Each went on to new loves.  Much happened in that year of 2010, life changed.  And as predicted, when my ex husband and my older son learned of that 2009 meeting - it was never to be again.  Only a memory.  A memory that I cherish to this day. Along with that Angel who worked such magic, but was up against the toughest of odds.  I saw the compassion, the thoughtfulness (in 2009, my son even remembered me on my birthday!), the love was back for only a short time. I witnessed that underneath my son's stiff armour was the heart of the boy I raised and adored.  However brief the time was, I credit our short lived relationship reunification to this Angel.  I was back in my son's life for a little while - but only when she was there, too.

When she left my son's life, his hate returned.  I continued to email him, call him, and text him.  But now, the vicious replies were back - and that is only if he did decide to reply and not ignore me.  He soon wrote me that he was "just waiting to read my obituary."  He wanted me to die, again.    

Fast forward to 2013, when I received a call from a Foodirect jobber (someone who works for my ex husband as an independent delivery person of sorts, as Foodirect is a wholesale food distributorship business in the Bronx, NY).  Over the years, many Foodirect (my ex husband's company) employees kept in touch with me.  And this man told me, on this fall afternoon of 2013, that my younger son had just become engaged to a young woman from Millburn, New Jersey.  I was in shock.

One thing led to another and I'll jump right to the chase here.  The most important part that I wish to share.  Millburn, New Jersey is only 10 minutes from my new hometown.  And I'm very active in my new hometown.  So, it turned out that I knew many people who knew the family of my son's future bride!  Small world.

In May of 2014, I had the opportunity to meet with my younger son, briefly - only weeks prior to the June 21 wedding that his future father-in-law told me I was not to be invited to.  But, I got to see my son - 3 days before Mother's Day!  A dream come true? He was 29 years old now.

You can look at things as a lesson, or a blessing.  Our meeting was both.

I did not get to meet his bride.  But I did meet my son. And this meeting was nowhere like the one where my Angel was involved.

My son looked hardened. As he entered the designated room - I did not sit frozen in my seat, but jumped to hug him, hold him and kiss him.  He did not return any of my feelings of joy.  He was essentially the ice prince.  As I looked up into his eyes, I saw daggers.  The daggers he probably wished he could use to end my life, right then and there. You know that expression "cold as ice"......he was colder.

In a meeting that his future father-in-law had arranged, I was bullied.  I was insulted.  I saw hate in my son's eyes and felt it in the unresponsive coldness when I reached for his hand.  I had approximately half an hour to spend with my son alone.  My first comment to him  - "Make sure you put this young woman first in your life, before anyone else."  It was something I felt that no one else had taught him to do.  Something that he failed to do with the Angel.  I told him that there were so many important things I wished to tell him, to teach him - he was lost to me when he was only 14 years old.  He answered me, with a bit of anger in his voice, by telling me he had plenty of people raising him in his life.  I did not like the tone with which he was addressing me.  I told him not to talk to me with disrespect, reminding him that I was his mother. Then he snapped at me.  Just to make sure he twisted the knife into my heart, with a distorted expression he replied that I was "only his biological mother."  He said that as though he rehearsed it over and over again - it didn't feel real.  Not to me.  And didn't sound real coming from him.  Next, I asked him if he did mitzvahs (mitzvot) with his life.  Random acts of loving kindness.  Did he forget all I had taught him?????

My son laughed at me in response.  And it was all downhill from there.  He spent the rest of the time badmouthing the Angel and her mother, as though trying to convince me that she wasn't an Angel at all.  He did not like how fond I was of her and her mother, so he threw some dirt in there to attempt to tarnish my views. Well, it didn't work. I don't understand why he had to do this at all.  Why did it matter? What truly got to me was how he said such cruel things about his former girlfriend.  I told my son I did not want to hear any of it.  It was not what we were there for.  So, then he attacked my significant other, a man who has been there for me when no one else was.  I had thought that this meeting would be about reunification or making peace.  It was not.  It was not about the present or the future. It was about demands, lies, and hate.  What a fool I had been.  My son was venting pure hatred and disgust.  Not a word of concern or kindness left his lips. Only his prediction that I was going to have my "ass out on the street one day".  My son was doing what his father always did - instill fear to accomplish control.

And here is the kicker.  When I did not understand something that was said, my son didn't believe me.  And then, my son looked me in the eyes and said, "I am just like you."
That baffled me.  I had no reply.  I was speechless with tremendous sorrow. My 29 year old son had convinced himself he was just like me. He was delirious.

My son is nothing like me. He once was.  As a child, he had the most loving, compassionate and giving heart....But now, he is nothing like me.

There is not a day in my life that I don't try to bring a smile to another person.  I have volunteered with hospice patients for 2 decades, volunteered with senior citizens for a decade- typing their  Holocaust stories for them, a Soldiers' Angel for over a decade, a spiritual person dedicated to my Jewish faith and learning, with my strong values, my participation of Tikkun Olam (repairing our world), assisting at a local food pantry, healing through art and at the same time, using art as a message to end domestic violence and bring awareness .....and then there is my blog. I tell my story for not only my own healing, but to bring healing to so many others suffering in our world.  I try to comfort others, with words of encouragement and understanding.  No, my son is nothing at all like me! How wrong he was. Right here, I write of horrors, tragedies, survival and resilience. I seek to inspire others, so that someone may one day say that because of me they did not give up.....  My son has no idea that, in fact, he is nothing like me. 

During our little meeting, neither he nor I mentioned his upcoming wedding. I couldn't stand the pain of him telling me that I was completely excluded.

And as we left our meeting, I had a request.  Well, two actually.  I begged him to stop hurting me.  The other - "Please, call me, email me, something....on Mother's Day."  It was only 3 days away.

Nothing.

I never heard from my son again.  He did not reply to numerous messages, nor to emails.  On June 21, he married his Millburn bride. And I survived not being included in any way.

There exists a fine line with parental alienation. One I have finally figured out through learned lessons.  The question that bothered me for so long:  When does that victimized child of parental alienation become an adult of parental alienation who is accountable for his/her own actions and behaviors?

You learn life's lessons in strange ways sometimes.  The company one keeps truly does make a difference in one's attitudes and adaption of personality. I once read that you become most like the 5 people you hang around with in your life.  I saw firsthand how the influence of a good soul could influence the heart of another.  I have not yet met my son's new wife, nor have I met her own mother. They had refused to meet with me.  It's difficult to draw any positive conclusions about them, as neither have ever responded at all when I had reached out to them with all my heart.  I still can't fathom how a family stood by during this wedding, causing so much heartache to me.  I was the mother of the groom.  And I always will be.  Ah, yes, but life goes on.  My son showed no love, no desire to ever have me in his life. What he did express was a desire to rid himself of me. He made demands, which I acknowledged and would have gone along with - had he allowed me to share in his life again. 

Looking back, on this Thanksgiving I was grateful for the lessons I have learned in the last year, and the conclusions which I drew from these experiences.  You see, a year ago, I cried over the innocence of my younger son, this 29 year old.  As a result of our May meeting, I still cry over this child, now an adult, my son forever.  But not over his innocence.  Now I cry because he became everything I never wanted him to be.  

I will always worry about his health and well-being. I may not like who he has become, nor his behavior, but I will always hold him in my heart.  Unconditional love.  I will always be his mother.  But when parental alienation is involved, where one parent destroys the relationship of a child with the other parent, that doesn't matter.  My love for him doesn't matter.  Just because I will always be his mother, does not assure that he will always act as my son.  

Love shouldn't hurt like this.          

Friday, October 24, 2014

Healing With A Dog Named Ascher

The Hebrew meaning of Asher is "happy" (fortunate; blessed). Biblical: In the Old Testament, in the Book of Genesis, Asher was the 8th son of Jacob and the second son of Zilpa, the maid of Jacob's wife Leah and was promised a life blessed with abundance (See Gen. 30:13).


The way I imagine it happened:
 
G*d had His weekly Friday meeting before Shabbat. Gathered in a serene place that I can only dream about, He requested the presence of all the doggie souls.
And it goes like this.....
 
 
"I have a very serious position open on earth. The placement, though one of the toughest I have ever assigned, is really quite rewarding - should you decide to take it."
 
Standing amidst all His canine creations,  G*d spoke and the doggie souls listened attentively, their ears perched high.
 
"A woman on earth has been through more than what I had ever wished for one of my children. Your job will be to help her heal."
 
"She had a childhood of things - not love. Of material gifts, not hugs or kisses.  But her then adult years are what is most troubling to Me. And the earth almost lost her."
 
"She was a victim of extreme abuse. Violence, emotional and psychological abuse, and has had so much pain in her life.  She was raped, beaten, and almost destroyed by someone close to her. A man. I am ashamed to say this man is of my own creation. I cannot control what free will those humans have so I had to watch this and wait...."
 
"This woman is no longer in that abusive relationship. The awful man keeps at her in court with legal and financial abuse, but she is hanging in there. Thank goodness she left him, but she did not leave unscarred. This man hurt her with all the vengeful ways a human is capable and in the worst way - he took her children, brainwashed them and taught them to hate."
 
G*d paused. Even G*d gets choked up sometimes. Wetness rolled down His cheek, as sadness leaked from His eye.
 
"So, this woman who made her children her life....well, her children were ripped out of her life when they were 14 and 17 years of age.  And you can only imagine the hole that has left in her heart."
 
"Your job is to fill that hole with every ounce of love, hope, trust, and kindness that I have created you with.  You will be a blessing to this woman.  You will help her heal."
 
"You will teach her to trust, where there was only disillusion.  You will teach her to love, with every ounce of her being.  You will teach her that she will be okay.  That there is life after abuse.  And it can be wonderful."
 
"It's certainly not going to be easy for whoever decides to take on this huge mitzvah.  You will have help, though.  I will be with you every bit of the way. And I have already put many of my best people in her life's path.  Oh, and she has a special person in her life that you will have to share some attention with. But that will be fine - you can have some learning time, too - everyone should learn how to share."
 
"She has severe PTSD from all she has been through. You will have to be very protective of her.  She truly needs you.  She is sometimes afraid to go out in the dark, afraid of noises outside the house, and a bit cautious of strangers.  When you hear the slightest sound or disturbance on the property - you will have to alert her and bark like crazy. She needs to know you are her safety net.  When she takes you places, you must check out the people around you with your extra senses - if they seem a bit off or dangerous, you must let this human know and guard her."
 
"You must bring her joy.  Every morning when she awakens, you must let her know that she is so very special and the center of your own universe.  But also make room for that other special human in her life - and be kind to that man,too.  His name is Steve."
 
"Make her laugh.  Make her smile. Other dog souls may enter your family with her - but know you are the blessing she so needed. You know what?  Let your tongue hang out - it will make you more unique and she'll smile a little more."
 
 "This woman is called Julie - but she will refer to herself as your Mommy.  She is one of my strongest survivors. And she is doing her best now to spread My work of repairing the world and helping others. I pray her past will not become someone else's future." 
 
A doggie soul stepped forward.  G*d smiled with pride.
 
"You will not be sorry, little guy. For she has more love in her heart than most.  And she is going to love you more than you can imagine!"
 
"And you will be named - Asher.  A true blessing for healing and all wonderful things in My world.  Wait, she is a bit of an unusual one....let's change that spelling. For you, too, will be unique.  Ascher with a c."
 
"Thank you, Ascher with a c.  Now get to work down there on earth.  Love and be loved.  And know G*d is with you."  
 Ascher - a blessing in my life for 6 years now.....
 
  

Friday, October 3, 2014

Yom Kippur - Quiet, Never Silent


Tonight, the world will be quiet for me. Erev Yom Kippur. It is a time of reflection, remembrance, forgiveness and accountability. All shall hush in my soul.

On the holiest day of the year for the Jewish people, Yom Kippur is the Day of Atonement. I have always held a passion for my Jewish studies, but respect the beliefs of others. However, it is my strong belief that every soul on earth should have a Day of Atonement. A time of repentance, of wonder, and of evaluating their own behavior.

To those who I have offended, I ask forgiveness.
I strive to be worthy of all that G*d has in store for me, in the year ahead.
And I commit myself whole heartedly to my mission. A mission where others are changed in some way, situations are made better, and forms of injustices are corrected - because of me.
We all have a mission. The thing is - not everyone realizes it.

On a night where quiet will encompass Jews all over the world - I will stand in my own quiet.  Quiet - not silence.  You see, the most integral part of my mission - is to end the silence.

In the year ahead, may the silence end regarding our world's tragedies. May hunger, homelessness, and disease be unsilenced until remedies for all are incorporated into existence.  And on a very personal level, may the silence that surrounds domestic violence be resounded. Yes, my mission. In the year to come, may I prevent my past from becoming someone else's future. Parental alienation? May I assist in being the voice, not only of the loving parents who grieve each and every day over children who are still alive....but may I shout out for the children. The unheard voices of the children, who have been the true victims of parental alienation, when one parent turns a child against another parent (usually in high conflict divorce).  Children need both parents and should never be used as a pawn.

I pray that I will be heard.

In a time of quiet, may there never be silence again.


Saturday, September 27, 2014

Domestic Violence Database - We've Come A Long Way, Baby!



In a world where a victim's silence is the abuser's greatest asset, changes are being seen on a daily basis. There is power in voices - voices are speaking up and being heard.

With the recent news about the NFL 's connections to domestic violence, people are finally waking up to the tragedy in our country that is domestic abuse.  The term "domestic violence" is being googled, researched, spoken of and exposed for what it is - an epidemic in our world.  A world that rewards sports figures for their aggression, NFL is finally getting tough on it's players. It's time for all sports organizations to join forces to end domestic violence. It's time for our world to join forces and end domestic violence.

And that seems to be happening in baby steps.  The very first searchable online database of domestic violence agencies is now available.  It's called domesticshelters.org. At this time, it includes roughly all 3,000 agencies in the United States.

Last week I was humbled and honored to have been contacted by Chris McMurry - the Director of Theresa's Fund (an agency founded to assist victims/survivors of domestic violence).  I gave Chris my word, that I would share the information....that was shared with me. It is with great pride in our land, that I can finally say there is help for victims of domestic violence - readily available.

When someone visits the database site, that person can find the help closest to them based on their location, language, and service preferences.  In a partnership with the National Coalition of Domestic Violence, The Theresa's Fund has made this possible.

Many years ago, back in the 1990's - I was referred to a domestic violence shelter via word of mouth.  It was as though there existed an underground network system for victims of domestic violence. And if you didn't disclose your situation to others who could network you to the proper location for assistance, you were pretty much stuck not knowing where to go.  Now, in the privacy of one's own home, you can find the support system you need to go from victim to survivor.  The only thing I recommend, after viewing the database for such information, is that if you are still in a domestic violence situation - erase the history on your computer, your cell phone, or your other device. As any victim/survivor knows - it's all about safety.

Go to www.domesticshelters.org

My heart and prayers are with you.

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Shake it Off ? CAN'T!



Some things happen to you - that you can't wash off.  And some things happen in the world that you can't shake off.  Through all of life's encounters, phases and journeys, that which has happened to you shall become your history, your own story and much of who you are.  Should you ever try to ignore truths in an attempt to deny your past or just to cope with it, the end game will not change. It's just a matter of how deep you want to go into the realm of reflection. 

Whatever has happened to you, will translate into who you are and who you become.  Consciously or subconsciously.  Not being of the medical or psychological profession, I can only surmise my conclusions from what I've seen around me, in my own life and the lives of others.  

In a week encompassed by media coverage of celebrity suicide, international siege and small town unrest, I can't help but reflect on how all this effects me.  And it certainly has effected me.  Too many people would like to shake it off - turning the page of the newspaper or changing the news channel of their television sets.  With me, it brings things up on a regular basis.  It makes me think of life in general and in detail.  It also reminds me to pray.

Actor comedienne Robin William died.  May his memory be for a blessing.  News reports proclaimed it a suicide.  For days, the media leaked bits and pieces of a life most did not know - one of addiction, depression and Parkinson's disease.  Labels were thrown at us as we searched to make sense of a death.  Reading of what had transpired in the all too lonely life of this public figure, I was reminded of my own experiences.  How could I not be?

People suffer.  Some in numbers.  And some people suffer in solitude.  You can carry a pain in your heart that overcomes any physical pain imaginable.  And you can just want that pain to end.  I was there.  At that low point in my life.  I remember a time when I thought I could not breathe, nor survive a day, without my sons in my life.  At 14 and 17 years of age, my sons and I became victims of Parental Alienation.  Their father was able to manipulate them out of my life during my divorce proceeding, via lie after lie after lie.  Unable to defend myself against so many untruths, never given the chance, the estrangement was deafening. Once in their late teens and early twenties, the abuse by my sons was unbearable.  I was sent emails and private messages daring me to kill myself.  One son told me to buy a gun and shoot my brains out - that pills were for wusses and that I did not deserve to live.  Another blackmailed me for thousands of dollars in order to "possibly" see him again -  yes, this was a time of hell on earth. I was afraid to live with the pain and disappointment that swelled in my heart. I almost didn't survive it. And I can't wash off the memories or shake them.

I did learn to live with them.  Hearing of Mr. William's publicly exposed suicide reminded me all to well of how strong I have become.  The need to expose suicide, eliminate the stigma of depression, is all too real for me.  It is imperative to talk about it. What we can take away from this tragedy is of utmost importance.  Hear your friend, your family member, your neighbor, and even that stranger you encounter.  Listen for their need of help or assistance.  Tell them you care.  And if you are suffering through an insurmountable amount of emotional pain, I find that the best way to lift your spirits - is by bending down to lift up someone else's. Isolation and withdrawal will not rescue someone's soul. Years ago, when I thought my own life didn't matter (if I wasn't a "mother" - what was I?), I began volunteering as a Soldiers' Angel.  I gave emotional support to our troops, as well as organized care packages sent to them in Iraq and Afghanistan.  And with a letter writing team, I learned the importance of just being there.  I also volunteered with the elderly, mostly Holocaust survivors.  It was there that I truly learned the importance of just listening.  As they told me their Holocaust and WWII stories of survival, I realized the miracle of strength they all had - and the importance of telling their histories.  They knew that I cared and admired them.  Just by listening.  I volunteered in food pantries, domestic violence shelters (where I was once a client), and in children's programs (oh! to see those young faces!).  Spirits can be lifted in the most unlikely places.  I was helping others, as I helped myself.  I re-invented myself as a warrior of sorts, too. And in learning to reach out, I realized I was never alone.   Life really is a two way street. 

All these thoughts and more resurfaced during the news barrage surrounding Robin William's death.  I couldn't shake it off.  I didn't want to. I was reminded of all the lessons I had learned and all the good that came from them.  

And today I read more about the siege - as airstrikes were claimed to be within the constraints of a limited campaign to break the siege of stranded Yazidis on Mount Sinjar.  I pray not only for the protection of American personnel and all the innocent people stranded in the siege.  I pray for the freedom and safety which is so at stake.  Evil is all too evident in our world.  As the days progress, what is happening to those people on Mount Sinjar?  Dropping water, food and supplies is not enough.  What next?  We cannot look away.  We should not shake it off.  Remember....first they come for the Saturday people.  Then they will come for the Sunday people.  Who is next, in this disaster of evil takeovers?  Involvement is key, support of the good and innocent is imperative.  No, you can't just shake it off and ignore it.

Then there is Ferguson.   Ferguson, Missouri.   Had you even heard of that town until the murder of a young man occurred there?  A death by a gunman - a police officer.  This is especially difficult for me to deal with.  Unjust, prejudice, descrimination?  Or self defense?  I'm reading and registering the facts that are disclosed.  Most disturbing these days is the way in which their local police force has dealt with their other citizens - those who want to have a voice in the pursuit of justice.  

If it weren't for my confidence in my own local police department - I would not be writing.  As a survivor of domestic violence, my safety is always an issue.  As long as my ex walks this planet, I will always have to look over my shoulder.  I never feel safe, but the officers in my present town are the best.  It wasn't always like that for me.  I can remember a time when I lived in a Westchester suburb of New York, and the police were called to my home regarding the domestic violence.  With a bruised neck, and a child clinging to me - an officer of that police department looked me in the eye and told me he was not there to solve domestic disputes, he spoke to my then husband, and left. I did call his superior to complain - and was given an apology. But then the violence continued for years - I had learned that the police were not there to help me. It was an awful way to survive.

I relocated during my divorce proceeding.  Now a proud New Jersey resident, I give praise to my present police department every chance I get.  People don't always know how that comes from my heart.  Without such honorable and brave men and women, I may not be here.  And I certainly would not have the courage to share my story of surviving domestic violence in order to help others.  When I first came to New Jersey, I registered an order of protection (restraining order) against my ex husband with them - and had to explain my situation and safety concerns.  They were nothing less than understanding, supportive and patient.  With the confidence they award me, I am able to do my best in educating others so that my past does not become someone else's future.

When I read of the police enforcement, behaviors and actions in Ferguson - I thank goodness I don't live there. And for those civilians who want their voices heard - may they forever find the strength to continue in their fight for justice and truth.  A life was lost tragically.  That in association with Ferguson, Missouri, should never be shaken off and ignored.  May justice prevail.  I have learned that there is power in voices, ever since I found my own voice.  We all must keep speaking out and speaking up in the name of justice.    

We all get the same 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.  What we do with it, what we take away from it, and how we are effected by it  - is all unique.  We see good and evil.  We hear of joy and heartbreak.  We can participate in "tikkun olam", a concept referring to repairing our world.  Or we can try to ignore so much of what demands attention.  I will continue to be sensitive to all that surrounds me, and participate in tikkun olam to the best of my ability.  My past has made me that way. How do things effect you?  We can choose to make positive changes from negative experiences and information.  The most important thing is that we don't try to just shake it off.  What takes place in the world, really does effect each and every one of us in different ways. We should deal with it.  And most importantly, learn from it.

Monday, August 4, 2014

I Chose to Walk Away


I walked away- but will never disappear. Let me explain, briefly. On June 21, 2014, my younger son was married. I was not invited, nor included in any way. I knew where the wedding was to take place, I knew when it would take place. Some... people suggested I just show up, others offered to take photos for me - as they would be there......I chose to "walk away" that day. Instead, some wonderful friends made a dinner party for me on June 21. It was a difficult heartwrenching evening - but I was even able to laugh once or twice with my friends (in between a few tears, as I did not deserve how I was treated by my son the groom)....
For 15 years of his life, I was the one who raised him - pretty much single handedly. I loved him with every breath in me. But on this night of June 21, I knew that the bride deserved her special night - drama free. Even though my phonecalls and emails to her went ignored. I walked away that night - in order to give the groom and bride their special evening - a fairytale that did not include the mother of the groom. My letter to the father of the bride is on my blog - I wish he had organized a dinner/lunch where I could have met my future daughter in law - and the mother of the bride. Nothing was done. They just wanted me to disappear. Well, I walked away with dignity. But I will never disappear. I pray our children have much happiness in their future. And some day, compassion and peace in their heart.

Thursday, June 19, 2014

Bashert - Without the Mother of the Groom, for the Father of the Bride



(On June 21, 2014, my younger son, at the age of 29, was married. It was a lavish wedding. There were so many people in attendance at the New York Public Library extravaganza.  But not the mother of the groom.  I was not invited.  Below is a heartfelt letter that I wrote to the bride's father, only days prior to the wedding day.  I wrote it and posted it on my blog, as it was the only way I might be assured that he would see it and read it.......)


Dear Father of the Bride,

I'm guessing that as I write this, you are probably enjoying all the festivities leading up to your daughter's wedding - when she is to marry my son. In only two more days, you and I will be related.  Amazing.  Isn't it?

According to Midrash, after God created the universe in six days, He began arranging marriages.  According to Talmud, 40 days before a male child is conceived, a voice from Heaven announces whose daughter he is to marry (in Yiddish, such a heavenly match is called "bashert," a word meaning destiny). It is with all my heart and faith that I believe our families are going to be joined for a greater purpose.  People come into our lives as either a blessing or a lesson. 

Growing up in Bedford, New York, what were the chances that my 29 year old son would meet your daughter, a young woman from Millburn, New Jersey (only 15 minutes from my new hometown).  And the mere fact that you and I share so many friends and acquaintances?  Amazing.  I can't speak for your wife, as I have never met her, but I do think our paths will cross one of these days.  The world is getting smaller each and every day.

After you and I met, I was hoping things would play out differently.  Most often, parents play a key role in organizing and planning their children's nuptials.  It is an occasion of tremendous emotional magnitude. A wedding is one of the most significant of all lifecycle moments that a parent will experience.  Or not.

In this profound time, you may think you have merely inherited a situation.  I think differently.  It is my belief that if you are not part of the solution, that you effectively become part of the problem.  When, as a parent, you walk your daughter down the aisle on Saturday evening, the mother of the groom will not be present.  You have chose to exclude and shun me. Yes, I know my alienated son instructed you on that issue - but we all have choices to make.  If someone robs a bank, the guy driving the get away car is charged with a crime as well. 

My son is no longer a child.  He may think I don't know that.  But every scar in my aching heart tells me that he is now an adult.  You see, every Mother's Day, every birthday, every Chanukah, every Passover, every illness and every joy has been quietly calculated in the crevices of my heart.  And it all adds up to years of alienation.  Time that will never be regained. Every one of those moments when the fall out of our histories bled into the pain of the present. Today, he is my son.  And on Saturday evening, June 21 - he will be someone's husband.

As you walk your daughter toward the Chuppah, on that trail that may seem endless but takes only a minute.....you may shed a tear or two.  As the wetness trickles down your cheek, I ask you to think of me.  Your daughter's mother-in-law.  And my own tears.  You see, I've been shedding them for days over this wedding.

My son is committing to a partnership with your daughter.  May it be one of blessed happiness and good health.  In a moment that will no doubtfully include feelings of great joy and celebration, will you not be reminded of the sadness and loss I feel?  The moment will never come again.  You could have done so much to change the circumstances.   It is easier for you to ignore me and hope I fade away. Sometimes the right decision is not the easiest.

Neither you nor your wife will acknowledge me, nor reach out to me regarding this blessed event that is to take place. This is my only way to communicate with you at this time. The bride - I wish I could meet her, but she has had no interest in returning my phone calls or emails as well.  I'm not going anywhere.  And every time you look at my son, I will be a sparkle in his eyes.  The good your daughter sees in my son, comes from me.  And I have the references to back that up.

Think about the way our children came together. Bashert, then it was always meant to be; it was fate.  Perhaps you can be the catalyst to bring peace between us.  Or perhaps your daughter will be the one to melt the ice surrounding my son's heart.  When my son was born, I held him in my arms and imagined his future - a life that always included me.  I never would have thought that a child who adored me so - right up until his 15th year of life, would turn on me as he did.  Hate has to be taught.  So, when you say that Parental Alienation is only a word - I beg to differ with you.  It's funny how I have all the documentation exhibiting a paper trail of estrangement, and you never asked to see any of it.  There isn't a day in the last decade that I haven't missed my son.  Even through his most unacceptable of behaviors.  For I remember the baby, the little boy, the young teenager - the one with the old soul and the heart of gold.  The young man who will be waiting for your daughter at the end of the bridal entrance, will forever be my son. And he knows that no matter what, he has his mother's unconditional love.

So, as the father of the bride, please relay a message from the mother of the groom.  I wish our children all that they wish for themselves and so much more.  May they find everything in each other that brings out the best of them. The goal of a great marriage is to go beyond the idea that you treat the other person the way you would like to be treated yourself.  I hope my son always puts your daughter first.  That is something that needs to be emphasized to my son. Unfortunately, he could not have learned such things by example.  May our children both treat each other better than they each want to ever be treated. I'm sorry, there is so much I wish I could write - but my own tears are getting in the way.

My present life partner teaches me something special every day.  So many times, I've heard him say, "It makes me happy to see you happy."  I pray that our children have reached the point where they achieve more joy making each other happy than in pursuing their individual happiness.

And as you "give your daughter away" on Saturday evening, you will no doubtfully feel a loss and bit of sorrow letting her go. Your eyes may become watery, should emotion take over such a sacred particle of time.  I will be crying with you.  Differently of course.  Remember, how you have the chance to feel that. To experience that with the young couple.  And how you have participated in denying me that - my own experience in seeing a lifecycle that will never come again.

Julie Levine
Mother of the Groom

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

If You Think Parental Alienation is Just a Word....Here's Proof in a Paper Trail

 

Below, is an old blog entry.  An important entry about Parental Alienation.  Someone just told me that it is "just a word."  Well, it's not.  It's not just a word.  It's my life for the last 14 years. And it's all documented. Read the evidence, share it, expose it and speak out against it.  Combat Parental Alienation. Those committing this crime should be stopped.  But can we ever save the children?  My sons are adults now.  They were taught to hate.  The alienator, their own father, was a good manipulator and teacher of hatred. 

 

Tuesday, June 12, 2012


The Trail of Parental Alienation : An Email - Regarding...an email

Keep a paper trail.
That is excellent advise. It really is important in so many aspects of divorce, custody, and all legal communications.

I kept such a paper trail. And the one that seems to console me most these days, is the evident journey of destruction related to my sons. Parental alienation is a form of child abuse. It should be prosecuted as such. Maybe some day, I will see that happen.

For now, via old emails, cards and letters - even phone messages I saved! - the visible effects of an abusive father brainwashing children is clearly exhibited through the history that is my life in the legal system - since I followed through with my 1999 divorce filing (it was the third time I attempted it)....

Part of the brainwashing of such children involved the concept of "independant thinker." The children are made to believe they are drawing their own conclusions and thought processes. Even when the targeted parent, such as I, know differently.
My sons always thought they were making up their own minds....to hate me. From loving me "over the moon"...to now wishing me dead.
What would make children turn like that?


My ex husband also told my sons that I was being abused by another man. It wasn't true. False information was fed to my sons in order to further denigrate me.

Click on the emails below for a better view.  You really should read the words!

I found this today:


I emailed it to my son....and wrote the below comments.....


Subject: JARED EMAIL - 2007.JPG
Date: 6/12/2012 1:05:45 P.M. Eastern Daylight Time
From: jhlstyle@aol.com
Reply To:
To: jlxxxxx@aol.com

Sent from the Internet (Details)
Internet Address Card Attached

Listen, not going to write you again about all this - but where there is breath, there is hope. Would love to clear up all the distorted facts you were told. Not to bring up the past, but correct it.
In my heart, I know you can never be whole until you heal - and you can't heal properly without confronting things. I've come a long with all that! It isn't easy.
Jared, be the best Jared you can be. Always.
I may not be able to help you - if you don't let me - but what we went through is helping so many others in our world -
with pride,
Your Mom
nwgp



found another old email....from 2003:

Monday, June 2, 2014

When Someone Tries to Keep You Silent - It Makes You Want to Sing , in memory of Maya Angelou




Her book, written in 1969, was groundbreaking. Dr. Maya Angelou was a legend.  "I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings" was an account of Dr. Maya Angelou's childhood in the Jim Crow south. Her memoirs and poetry brought her to universal acclaim.  She was an advocate for all that is wrong in our world - speaking out and exposing oppression, prejudice, racism, domestic violence, rape and more. Sadly, Dr. Angelou passed away Wednesday, May 29, at the age of 86. 

Years prior to her 1969 memoir, African American poet Paul Laurence Dunbar wrote a poem, titled "Sympathy," also referencing the singing of a caged bird. 

He wrote:

 I know why the caged bird sings, ah me,
When his wing is bruised and his bosom sore,—
When he beats his bars and he would be free;
It is not a carol of joy or glee,
But a prayer that he sends from his heart's deep core,
But a plea, that upward to Heaven he flings—
I know why the caged bird sings!


Reading the above stanza, the image of Dunbar's caged bird struggling with its confinement is vividly displayed.  The bird yearns for freedom, as the bars of the cage separate it from the world.  Wounded from struggling against the iron barriers, the bird does not give up.  The wounds heal, the bird continues to sing and struggle. The bird sings a prayer, wishing to be free. The metal bars of oppression, of  abuse, of racism, of poverty are not enough to silence the spirit. For the spirit cannot be broken as long as it does not give up.  And singing keeps this creature alive as much as the breath within its being. 

Dr. Angelou knew why the caged bird sang.  And she revealed her own song through words contained in all the volumes of her writings.

As much as Dr. Angelou was that bird - in her roots of the deep south, I also feel an affinity for the small creature.  As a survivor of domestic violence, having lost children in a high conflict divorce to parental alienation, overcoming disabilities and injuries, I, too, have a story that needs to be told.  And as Dr. Angelou's books and poems were her own song, my blog is mine.

I know what it is like for someone to try to cage you. And do all in their power to silence you. Literally, and metaphorically speaking. The human spirit is capable of many things.  Especially when trying to survive. Literature gives voice to those struggling to be heard.  You don't have to sing, just write.  Write the untold stories, share the personal experiences and claim your own history. A history of anguish, injustices, and abuse tends to seem more tolerable when given purpose. And exposure lends way to strength. It can also be a way of preventing one's horrible past from becoming someone else's future.

Angelou wrote her own poem about the caged bird singing in "Caged Bird."

Here is the last stanza:

The caged bird sings
with a fearful trill
of things unknown
but longed for still
and his tune is heard
on the distant hill
for the caged bird
sings of freedom.


When someone is trying to silence the voice of another, freedom is lost.  A boundary is crossed.  Even though Dr. Angelou's bird is trapped, it still has hope.  It does not succumb to the domination of those who wish to leave it caged.  I believe the message is clear.

Stand up, and speak out.  Always.  Even if your voice is shaking.  There will always be someone who doesn't like what you say - that's their problem.  Freedom is worth singing about.

May Dr. Angelou's memory be for a blessing.  She has taught me to keep rising, and tell my story.  Quieting a story that needs to be told, is like trapping the caged bird all over again.  








Monday, May 19, 2014

Blog status : Public vs Private/Restricted

 
To All My Friends and Blog Followers....

I am thinking about making my blog, UntilYouSayUncle.blogspot.com, private with restricted viewing access; but first need to figure it all out! I do not want to lose all my old blog entries and am technologically challenged when it comes to figuring out these specifics!

If you wish to continue following my blog when it is set to private status, you will be able to request access ...You would send me your email address so I can place you on a private viewing list. I promise the only purpose for your email address would be to allow you access to my blog, and nothing else. I'll keep writing, and healing....However, it will be restricted from public viewing and only accessible to those requesting access.

Please do not hesitate to contact me with your own opinion regarding this.  I'd love to hear from you - so post, private message, or email me your thoughts and comments about this suggested change. Your feedback is always appreciated.
 
What do you think?
 

Sunday, May 11, 2014

Mother's Day, 2014



To Mothers who are not with their children (of any age) today...Dr. Joshua Coleman has many suggestions. He states,"My experience is that most estranged parents err in the direction of not talking to their friends enough about their estrangement. They're so worried about burdening people with the ongoing, unrelenting tragic tale that we don't say anything. We assume that our friends are sick of our problems, feel guilty that they don't know how to help us, worry that their empathy isn't enough, or are frustrated that we haven't fixed it already."

Reach out to others if you find you are struggling on your own today. Silence is isolating. One good friend may make all the difference on a difficult day such as Mother's Day. And if you are reading this, and know of a Mom who is alienated/estranged from her children (of any age), please call her today...pick up the phone....reach out to her today. Perhaps an email or text to say you are thinking of her. For she will always be a Mom. Someone's Mom. And validation is priceless. Your voice may just be the one she needs to feel better today.

Happy Mother's Day to all. Stay strong.

Friday, April 4, 2014

WARNING: Contains Adult Content - Testing the Waters



A victim may be defined as anyone who experiences injury, a loss, or misfortune, resulting from an event or series of events. Trauma can trigger this and send the person's mental stability and self esteem into a downward spiral. The experience one may muddle through allows for the emergence of a somewhat victim mentality. A sense of victim hood. Always feeling that they deserved their bad luck or harmful situation, a person can be conditioned to take the bad....over and over again.

I did just that. However, with all my writing, I hope you realize that I was able to transform victimization into a victory of survival.  I'm alive and kicking, a voice against all the injustices done to me. I am a survivor. All that I am is clearly exhibited in Until You Say Uncle. Right here for me to share.  And it has been quite a journey.  I still catch myself when I'm scared to fight back and stand up for what I believe in against an aggressor. And then I remember...things are not what they used to be. I will not be silent.

In 1978, I did not believe in myself.  I was easy prey for a predator.  I will not dwell on the what ifs...but know surely with all my being that had I a parent who believed in me, my life would have turned out differently.  Sometimes, I still imagine what it would have been like.  Me, as a child, with a mother who loved me, and told me just that.  But that was not my lot in life.  I was dealt a Mom who told me the contrary.  She also told me she should have had a miscarriage when she was pregnant with me, wished I would die from cancer, and how I ruined her life.  I was told I was never going to amount to anything - and that is what I held on to. The nicknames my mother had for me were wielded like a sword to cut through any self esteem I could have had. When you are constantly told how ugly you are, especially from the one person who can shape all you hold dear, well - it becomes who you are - the way you see yourself.

So, in 1978, I was not in the most confident of mindsets.  I was a senior in college - seeking employment and housing (my mother said that I could not live at home after college), with little to no self esteem.  Then along came a young man, someone whom I knew since childhood, and he lavished me with attention.  That is, until July 4 of 1978 when he raped me.  

We all have a moment in our lives when we know we are changed forever. I can tell you that at 11:30 pm on July 4, 1978, was mine.  Most victims of rape don't talk about it.  I didn't. Who could I tell?  My parents were not the kind of people I could go to. Instead, I internalized the crime. I withdrew. Became silent.  I isolated.  I felt branded by this incorrigible young man who stole my future in that one act of sexual violence.

And after this life altering night, it was as though he owned me.  The only way I can describe it is to tell you that he stole my dreams. Every single one of them in his selfish act.  Branded.  I remember watching Bonanza shows, and seeing how they branded their ranch's symbol on the cattle.  That is what rape did to me. And more. This young man - Bob, at 20 years of age, saw me as a body he was able to control, manipulate, use and abuse. I couldn't fight back. I didn't even know how to. 

I became a perpetual victim after that.  I continued to "date" my rapist, if that's what you can call it.  And he escalated his abuse on a weekly basis. Bob, the abuser,  became Bob, my "boyfriend."

My victimization empowered him and he become more brazen.  I guess he figured if he could get away with rape, he could get away with anything.  It no longer mattered what he did to me in public.  We went out to eat with another couple at a yacht club once.  When our meals came to the table, I saw that Bob asked for a side order of macaroni salad, which I loved. When I asked him if I could have a taste, he turned to me with a look of disgust on his face and spit into the bowl of macaroni salad. Right in front of  the other couple, Evan (may his memory be for a blessing) and his girlfriend,Leslie!  They were shocked. I was numb. Evan took Bob aside to talk to him.  I did nothing.  I no longer wanted any macaroni salad.  

Another time, my friends from college came down from Connecticut for a visit.  We were all set to go out to dinner, with Bob and I in the backseat of their car.  Headed to a nice restaurant in New York, Bob brought up the subject of my religious faith.  He didn't like my relationship with my Rabbi - I admired the Rabbi alot and it infuriated Bob.  Bob was probably fearful that I told the Rabbi about all the abuse.  I never did. I didn't tell anyone back then. When I opened my mouth to defend myself - whack! Bob smacked me on the side of my head.  Then again - all while my friend was driving us.  But seeing this in his rear view mirror, my friend stopped the car, screamed at Bob to cut it out...Silence. And we continued like it never happened.

1978 was quite an eventful summer.  It was my first summer of being a victim of sexual assault and violence at the hands of someone I was dating.  I was sucked into hell at a slow pace.  A pace which was speeding up at all costs toward the end of the summer.

The warm summer weather left us. However,in September, Bob still wanted a few more weeks of taking out the speedboat he owned. The name of his boat was Foreplay.  Distasteful, but I never saw the signs back then.  I was oblivious to anything - except accustom to being scolded, criticized, demeaned, and hit.  One chilly afternoon, Bob demanded we go out on the boat.  I thought the weather was not accommodating, but I had to accommodate "the boss", as he liked to be called.

Well, we took the boat out that day.  We left the Castaways Yacht club in New Rochelle, NY, and headed to Mamaroneck's Orienta Point.  It was so cold that afternoon, that I wrapped myself in the two huge bath towels that we brought with us.  It was not the kind of weather for a boat ride. I was about to put my sweat pants and sweatshirt on over my bathing suit, as the breeze was overwhelming and chilled my bones.  His voice loud and ringing, Bob told me not to touch my clothes.  His face was red, about to go into rage mode? I thought.  We were alone in the middle of the Long Island Sound. Anchored off the shore of Mamaroneck's coastline. I could see Orienta Point Beach, but not another soul was out on the water.  Or on the beach.

"Get in the water!" Bob demanded.  "I want to see if it's cold or not.  You're going to test the waters!" 
I don't know what got into me, but I refused.  Huge mistake.  But I didn't think that until the second after I said, "No.  I don't want to."

Bob pulled his penis out of his swim trunks and peed all over me.


And then the what I call hyena laugh.  There was the wicked laugh and evil smirk that he became known for.

"Now, I bet you'll go into the water!"  "And let me know what you think the temperature is - I might want a swim."

Okay - so how disgusting was that?  I don't remember crying.  I certainly don't think I said another word.  What I do remember is getting up, feeling like I was going to puke from being drenched in Bob's urine - and I jumped off the boat, and into the water.

It didn't end there.  Demanding my opinion on the water temperature, I said it was too cold.  He helped me back onto the boat and took out a joint.  Then he had another thought.

"Take off your bathing suit and get down on the floor (of the boat)."
It was time to be his sexual victim again...

I didn't fight, I didn't yell. I had already lost myself and my voice.

Do you know the story of the frog that dies in boiling water? 

If you drop a live frog into a pot of boiling water, it will immediately jump out of the pot. To escape and save itself from sure death.  However, if you put this frog into a pot of room temperature water, and then slowly, steadily, bring the water to boil...the frog will stay in the water until it dies.

I was a frog in a slow boil.  Rape, public humiliation, denigration, and mind control were the tools Bob used to bring the pot to that slow boil.  Thinking I deserved what I got, who knows what else went through my mind back then...I married him. After all that he took from me, my dignity was shattered. I didn't think anyone else would ever want me, as the remains from Bob's torments left me a broken person.

I didn't think anything could get any worse. However, in married life as husband and wife, the hell got hotter than ever.

Why am I telling this story, my history? 

If you ever think my voice comes from the soul of a victim, I wish to correct you right now.  At this moment, I can tell you differently.  I don't know who I was back in 1978.  After that July 4th evening, I lost who I was.

And now I feel like I have finally found her.  Me. But how many other girls end up being abused during the dating period, not knowing the signs from the very beginning?

Bob lavished me with attention.  He would call me several times a day in the beginning.  I thought that was sweet, showed that he cared. Wrong.  It was a means for him to know where I was at all times.  And is all part of the control these perpetrators need to have.

The gifts I was given? I came from an affluent background, so Bob had upped his out-of-the-blue surprises to Gucci handbags, a Louis Vuitton briefcase, flowers, jewelry....He'd hit me, buy me gift.  Rape me, send me flowers.  A cycle that was tumultuous in and of itself. Beyond damaging!  Crazy making. 

And this all happened PRIOR to my marrying him.  Of course it is with a huge amount of humility that I share my experience.  I was not shallow, being swayed with gifts - but I did always believe that Bob was sorry and could change.  I ended up thinking that for 2 decades - and it never happened.  Never any remorse. 

My concern now is for young women everywhere.  I never had any daughters.  But I pray for daughters everywhere.  Young women need to believe in themselves to a point where no one can take their dignity away from them.  They need to be taught the differences between a man who truly cares for them, and a man who needs them like every prison guard needs a prisoner.

And young women need the unconditional love of their mothers.  Mothers should nurture their daughters, guiding them to develop into strong women in their own right.  

Teen dating is much like testing the waters.  In order to end domestic violence, women must escape situations whether the abuse is swift and unyielding...or slow and unassuming.  Young women need to learn the signs of abuse at an early age, so they don't have to learn how to undo the victim mentality like I did.  It's not an easy road to transform the v for victim, into the v for victor.  Not everyone is as lucky as me.  Not everyone ends up finding their voice. 

Teach your daughters the difference between a man who considers her property, and a man who views her properly.  The difference between a man who wants to control her, and a man who wants only the best for her.

Teach your daughters the difference between a man who needs her as a means to an end, and a man who cherishes her until the end of time. 

And we must teach our sons to be the better kind of man.


      

Friday, March 28, 2014

Making an Entrance



Why is it we learn so much in hindsight?

I would like to ask you to view this video that a friend shared with me this morning. It brought tears to my eyes. My reaction was due to my past, my present, and the future.  After taking 2 minutes to watch the video linked below, I'll tell you more about my association with it.

http://youtu.be/zUrqEoeJ1DA

http://www.thisblewmymind.com/bride-makes-stunning-entrance-thats-good-gone-viral-video/#lPDmo8vmd3vWwrZH.01

On February 16, 1980, I entered a room without my parents, without my sister, without my grandparents....without any family...and faced an audience with a Rabbi whom I had just met, and the young man with whom I was to marry - standing under a chuppah.

My parents would not acknowledge nor approve of my wedding (I did always believe they would finally show up - but they didn't), my grandparents were afraid to go against their daughter (my mother), and my sister...well, she was 21 and could have been my maid of honor.  I had purchased a dress for her, which hung wrapped in plastic in a dressing room - paid for and never touched.  Until the very last moment,  I had hoped she would show up. She never did.

But not even the Rabbi I knew since childhood would approve and officiate at this marriage.  He contacted a friend of his from California who was in town for the week, who officiated.  I should have known better.  I didn't even register all this back then.

When it came time to walk into the ceremonial room of the Fountainhead in New Rochelle, New York, I had already had 2 glasses of wine. The young man who was to be my husband was high on cocaine.  As was his groomsmen.  Did anyone notice? Only moments after the ceremony, the "best man" passed out cold, in a plate of food. 

And as the music started, signalling the bridal entrance, I stood outside that huge wooden door, with my future husband's family on the other side, and I wanted to run.  Not down the aisle to a man I was to marry - but run away!  I wanted to escape.  The hall's manager gave me the cue to walk into the room as his hand was on that door's handle.  I then said I didn't want to.  He opened the door, and literally gave my back a little push - a shove.  And there I was - a single young woman, 24 years young, who had already been raped and beaten by the young man waiting on the other end of that aisle....walking into a life that would be nothing less than hell on earth.

By the time of my wedding day, I already had the mindset of victim mentality. My future husband had given me many first experiences, like having a gun held to my head in order to coerce me into doing something I didn't want to do.

Well, I made my entrance.  Nothing like the bride in that video as viewed above.  I don't remember wanting to sing, I don't remember love in my heart - I'm sorry but I don't. I felt branded. I remember regret and sorrow.  Fear and humility.  Sheer panic. If I ran, and embarassed him - I thought for sure he would kill me. How I wished I could have run away.

And if I had, what were the possibilities that could have lay ahead?  I stayed in that marriage for almost 20 years, and it was ugly. The only light I had in my life was giving birth to two sons. They kept me going. All the luxuries I appeared to have - a beautiful home in Bedford, New York, fantastic automobiles, going to the best restaurants and hotels, only designer clothing, high end jewelry - it all was paid for with my life.  With broken blood vessels, bruises and emotional torment.  If only I had never made that entrance.

It was all about taking the one step beyond the door's threshold. And giving up all my childhood dreams. I didn't trust my gut.  I never believed in myself.  Now, I'm getting there.  And the second I feel an usettling feeling in my core about anything - I listen to my body, and contemplate with my brain.

At 7PM on that February 16th, of 1980, I made my grand entrance, wearing an $83 sample wedding gown that I purchased off the rack of a White Plains bridal store.  I made the entrance which led me to who I am today.

I survived those wedded 20 years - barely at times.  I made a final exit in filing for divorce from my abuser. 

When I saw the video of this bride's entrance, I cried.  Not only for how wonderful her heart must feel.  Thinking they sure look too young! to make such a commitment....

But because of what was taken away from me when I made my own entrance in 1980.

(I'm also quite in tuned to weddings these days....my younger son's wedding is coming up on June 21...I hope the bride's entrance is a grand one, with only love and peace in her heart. I'm not sure that will be possible, considering how I am being treated.  As of this time, neither the bride nor my son have included me in their lives/wedding plans - and I am the mother of the groom.)

Monday, February 17, 2014

A Musical Memory




My older son always liked to play the "cooler" one of my two boys. It was a facade for everyone else, but not me - his Mom.
 
My older son was the one who would cry quietly, tears rolling down a cheek in the shadows. In 1992, when I was hospitalized for having a miscarriage (one of several I suffered), my older son was the one who cried for his mother when staying over at a friend's house.
 
It is only now, years - a decade - into not having my sons in my life, that I reflect... and realize so many things. My older son ran out of rooms, fled the house, when his father raged so many times. My older son was too sensitive to witness it and process it. As no child should. My younger son would remain witness to more than his older brother, thus has had so much more to deal with.

 I remember when the song "Tears in Heaven" came out. A ballad written by Eric Clapton and Will Jennings, it was about the pain Clapton felt following the tragic death of his 4 year old son. My older son at 11 years old was so moved by this song, that he would cry whenever he heard it. It was amazing that this tough kid, the one who tried to hide so much emotion from everyone...understood the pain in every lyric and note. Every time the song played over the radio in the car during carpools, etc. I made sure to change the station. And my older son knew that I knew. The power of the word, and how that music went right to his heart. Even at so young an age. 


As you know, parental alienation took over my relationship with my sons. That song that moved my older son at 11 years of age....I wonder how he would feel about it now. Now that he has cut me out of his life since 2000, only to hurt me time and time again. You can say that the alienating parent, my ex husband, is to blame. My older son is now 32 years old. I pray that he be brave enough to put the pieces of our lives together again. 


 And if he is reading this,  perhaps with his own 3 year old son on his lap, ....

this is for him. My first born.

I just wonder if he feels anything anymore. Or if becoming a father has brought him new insights.

Now I am the parent who lost a child. 

Two to be exact.
 
Pleae click on the you tube link and take a listen.  And if you know my son, play it for him.  Maybe it will open his heart.