Thursday, February 11, 2016

Dear Tatty,

I don't know why you molested me.

 I don't know if you're a pedophile, or if you lack an ability to empathize, or you're a guy who gets off on a power trip over a weaker person.
 Or, maybe all of the above.
I just don't know.
  I do know that because of your terrible choices you lost a daughter, and  I don't envy you.
I feel sorry for you, Tatty.
I don't judge you as a person, although I abhor what you did to me.  We all have to live with our choices, and you are living with yours.
 I love and care about you.
I do not want to hurt you.
You are my father.
You are a complex person,who has made good and bad choices in your life.
 You loved me, and almost destroyed me... Nothing can change the confusion and devastation that you caused.

It would be easier if I hated you, and you had never loved me.
It would be easier if I knew you were a horrible person.
I know you are not.
You had a traumatic and abusive childhood, just like me.
Your mother beat you with a broomstick.
She would hold your nose and force food down your throat.
She also tirelessly collected tzedakah for hachnasas kallah.
As we both know, people are complex.

I would like to think that if you would have had any idea of the damage you were causing you would not have done what you did to me.
 I would like to think that at this point, because of the damage and pain that you are suffering, you would never do it again.

 But I don't know.
I may never know.
 I do not know what went on in your head when I was so little and vulnerable, and I do not know what goes on in your head now.

 You won't speak to me, or my therapist about this, or invite anyone else to, either.
You refuse to go with me to a rav or a gadol, or even a trauma therapist who does not have a vested interest in your innocence.
You are very comfortable allowing people to think I'm crazy.

We both know I am not.

Tatty, you continue working with vulnerable children. You repeatedly lie, and deny what you did to me.  You avoid me, and hope everyone else in our family and your community will do the same.
You hide behind the ignorance and naivity of the Rabbonim in Baltimore, and their blind trust in you and your psychologist friend Aviva  Weisbord.

Tatty, I think you are afraid of me, and for good reason.
You are afraid of the truth.
You know I am not crazy.
You know I speak the truth.
Truth is stronger than lies.
The truth always comes out in the end.

Your daughter,
Genendy

Thursday, February 4, 2016

Powerful words from Rabbi Steinsaltz

Mishpatim’ – Judaism Abhors Child Abuse
Mon, 02/01/2016 - 17:12

Read more at http://www.thejewishweek.com/editorial-opinion/opinion/mishpatim-judaism-abhors-child-abuse#LTFfT5eK1xOHWs30.99Rabbi Adin Steinsaltz:

"There are some objective reasons why such things happen quite often in religious institutions. Children are taught and trained to be obedient and to accept their elders as authorities – which makes it so much more difficult for them to resist abuse or to report it. Unfortunately there is no sex education in some of the schools; nor is the subject discussed in some homes. So when something like this happens, it takes time for a child to understand it and even more than that – to talk about it.

Child molestation almost always causes enormous, multi-level damage to the victim's soul: it may make the victim unable to form healthy relationships. They may lose trust in people, because the molesters are often those who were supposed to be their caretakers and protectors.

It should also be stressed over and over again that this crime of child molestation is not just a civil offense: it is also a very severe religious crime. Under Jewish law, it may even deserve capital punishment. Offenders may also be liable for the most severe punishment of karet (untimely death by the hands of the Almighty).

It is important to say all that because there is a tendency to cover up such incidents, especially in institutions, and sometimes even to protect the perpetrators. Partly this is so because those in charge are often more in touch with the molester – who may be a colleague or a friend – than with the children. This is especially the case since children hardly ever express their hurt. And, of course, institutions do not want their reputations to be harmed.

The first and foremost duty of any educational institution, and the prime responsibility of its heads and leaders, is to be rid of anyone who causes such great harm. Good reputation or personal friendships must by no means stand in the way of investigation and clean-up.

We must make sure that such a person will never again be in a position to repeat such offenses. It is therefore not enough to fire the perpetrator from his (or her) work place: it is both the organization’s and society’s duty to make sure that the crimes are known and punished."

A New Reality

I'm tryng to adjust to a new reality.

 I don't know where it's going to take me. 
 It's a place I have never been before and I don't recognize the landscape. 
 It's slightly familiar, and yet completely unfamiliar at the same time.
 I know I have seen something like this.
 But not this.
Never this before in my life.
 Inside I am different.  Changed.
 I have rewired my brain.

My relationship with my therapist, Deena, is what caused this change. A reparative relationship. A healthy, connected, and respectful relationship, that we built together over a long period of time.  Deena has given me tremendous doses of love and patience. She makes it possible to heal parts of me that were so wounded I could not own them as mine. It took me eight years to begin to trust her. She has given me all of the space and time in the world.

  I sit with Deena and I connect with her in a way that I should have been able to connect with my mother. 
 Every child needs to be able to connect with a safe mother.
Mother is safe and strong.  
Unconditionally loving and accepting.  
Mother wants to protect me. 
She wants to hear me and to know me intimately, the good and the bad.  
And it is safe to let her in.
 She wants what is best for me in a real way.  Deena can not take away the bad that happened to me, but she holds it and contains it with me.

And the biggest miracle of all is that I let her!

 I let my therapist be a "do-over" mother and come close.
 And I let the hurt parts of me close.
And I let her hold me.

It is a role play I call,  "If you were my mother."

It makes me think of the children's book, Are You My Mother?, I have read a thousand times to my own children.

I ask Deena scary and risky questions.
Scary, because I don't  know the answers and I need them.  
Risky because the parts of me that did not have a safe mother are right here, 
 listening and hoping for an opportunity to heal.

"If you were my mother what would you say to me, the little girl who was sexually abused?"

 My real mother could not, and did not want to know about the sexual abuse.
 She didn't believe it happened when I finally told her twelve years after the abuse ended.
She said, "If it really happened I would have known."
 Children know instinctively what is not OK to talk about in families.  I was a bright kid.
  I knew my mother could not protect me.  I knew that she could not see that I was hurt, nor hold my pain.

But my therapist can.
  My therapist is. And she does.

We walk together on a breathtakingly beautiful and dangerous ledge...I, somehow trusting that I won't fall because she is with me.

  When a child has a parent who is safe and strong, it makes her safe and strong inside of herself.
From my therapist, I am borrowing safety and strength I never got from my parents.  And I'm beginning to understand on an emotional level how some children actually feel safe inside their bodies, and in their lives.

At a very early age I was intolerably hurt and hopelessly alone.
 I was not safe.
There was no one I could trust.

Now, I am allowing something completely different to happen.
 I am allowing safe connection with another human being, a safe mother figure.
 I am allowing trust in a way I never knew was possible.
 I am not alone, and I do not have to ever be alone again.
 Ever.

Deena tells me things that I often tell my own daughter, but have never heard from my mother.
 She tells me that every part of me is precious.
 She tells me she wants to hear what happened. 
 She wants to hear about everything that makes me happy and sad. She wants to know all of my questions and all of my thoughts.  
She tells me I am good and wonderful and beautiful. 
My body is good. The bad things that were done to me do not make me bad.  
The shame I feel is because shameful things were done, but it is not my shame or my fault.  She tells me I am lovable, and safe, and real.  She encourages me to be connected and present in my world, and in my life, with people who are good and safe.

My therapist has a question for me.

 "If I was your mother what would you need from me?"

The question catches in my chest.  It is an unexpected and wonderful and dangerous question, because I don't know if she can give me what I need until I take the risk and tell her..

 I need so much.
I need everything I didn't get.
I need to tell her everything that I could never tell my real mother.
 Everything that happened and everything that hurts.
Everything that sometimes feels like it is still happening, even though I know that it is not.

 I need her to know how scared I was of my father and my grandfather.
I need her to find a way to protect me somehow, even though I knew it was impossible.
 I need her to understand that something was very wrong, even though I don't have words to explain what it was.
I need her to believe me that it hurt too much, and I blamed myself.
 I need her to help me understand what happened to make it hurt so bad, and tell me she will take care of it.
 I need her to see where and how I was hurt.
I need to know that my body is not shameful, even though it was shamed, and that she can look at me and see me, and know that it hurts.

I need my therapist to hold me. 
 All of me.
 Including the parts that my mother could not look at, name, or know of.

Most of all, I need her not to disappear, as my mother did, when I needed her the most.

Friday, January 22, 2016

My Father Is Still Working With Children Every Day

Tonight, I will take the pain in my body, in my heart and mind, and stab it into this paper
 with words.
Words that I hope you will share publicly.

I am a survivor of father-daughter incest.

I have healed to the point where I am no longer a fragmented self.  I finally feel real on a regular basis.
 For me, this is a new reality.  And It took me over twenty years to get here.
It is like regaining my sight and hearing, after years of living in silent darkness.

This has been my theraputic goal for years, and I have finally arrived at this place.
And It is something to celebrate.

It's a great accomplishment, after so many years of living in a fragmented fog, wondering whether a person, a child named Genendy ever really existed.

I thought integration would be a beautiful and happy occasion.

  But it is not so simple.
It's overrated in some ways, integration.

 Being real and present in my life, in my body hurts so bad I want to die.
It's sensory overload.
 How do people who don't dissociate deal with the pain?
 How do they deal with knowing, feeling,all of the parts of who they are, and how they were hurt as children, with no defense?  No escape?

How do you get away, take a break from the trauma, when you are no longer fragmented and dissociated and can no longer pretend it didn't happen?

Please tell me, if you have been here, help me understand how you re-adjust your life, and go on?

I need to know.

I want to stab myself, to kill the pain, the reality but I won't.
I can't.
 I have too much to live for.

Instead I am taking my pencil and stabbing this paper with its sharp point,
..Like the sharp point of the needle I used to stab my hand with, when I was two-years-old.
 I was self harming at two.
I was trying to fix myself.
My mother fixed holes with a needle and thread,
so why couldn't I fix the holes in me that shouldn't be there?
The holes that my Tatty stabbed into me.
With something sharp.

 My mother told me the story many times.
I tried to yank the needle out, it broke and I had to be taken to the hospital to have the other half of the needle removed.
 I got stitches in my hand.
I was so cute.
I commented that the nurse's hat was too small.
The doctor told me to shut my mouth and stop crying, so I cried with my mouth shut.

  Adorable.

 What kind of a family do I come from, where it was normal for a two-year-old to try to sew herself?
I have worked with young children for years.
I have never yet, met another child who tried to sew herself.

I was creative then.
And I am creative now.

I will use my creativity to survive this theraputic victory, this being real and whole.

 I no longer have hope that I will wake up from this nightmare of having a father who raped me repeatedly when I was so small, who allowed others to abuse me as well,
and who allows an entire family and community to turn their backs and walk away...

 Because they too wish I was not, and never had been real.
Because real, I now know first hand, is just too painful.

I can't get away from their cruel, painful messages...
Words I grew up with.
 Words sent to me as annonymous comments on my blog four years ago, when I first started it to try to protect children from my father.
 I couldn't post them then, because they were too hurtful.
 I was too traumatized.

"...Your story is always changing.  Your story never stays the same.  You are sick and evil.  You are a liar.  You do have a personality disorder.  You told me so.  I think you need to tell people about yourself so they can decide if you are believable.  Us old time friends of yours who you turned your back on because we know the truth have a job to expose you.  We will figure out a way.  Not because we are vicious, rather to even the playing field.  Your family won't stoop to answering you.  We will."

And this. Another gem:

"Oh Genendy you have had such a tough life.  The saddest thing is, you did it to yourself.  I told you not to when you spoke to me about it.  People got into your head, and made you feel good.  It is so sad that you chose this path.  You told me you were making things up because "it is the only answer to whats happening to me."  I am sure by now you believe yourself, but it may help to remind yourself that you were convinced by others, about what "had to have happened"  I hope I have jogged your memory.  I daven for you always.  I also think it's important to publisize that your family misses you very much.  You did not give them a choice.  You treated them like animals, and tried to manipulate them to help your agenda.  May Hashem grant you a Refuah Shleaima.

I wonder at the reality of the world I live in.  How did I become such a threat simply for speaking my truth?
I am known as a kind, loving, truthful, compasionate person to those who know me.  Yet, my existance is so scary to my family and the Baltimore community that they want me dead.  They take the very damage caused by sexual abuse, that I have worked so hard for so many years in therapy to heal and repair,and use it to try to hurt and discredit me.

Incest casues damage.
 Mental, psychological disorders, addictions, suicide.
It breaks up families as it did mine.

 Today, I no longer have a dissociative disorder, to help me survive.
 I can no longer numb my mind, my body, and my heart from my family and my reality.
 I can no longer float away in my mind, and imagine I am dreaming and will soon awake and find it is all just a horrible nightmare.  That someone in my family actually cares about what was done to me and what is still being done to me.
I always was, and I still am dead to them.
To them my pain was, and is, never real.

It is a wonder, a miracle that I survived and continue to survive.

Something else is real and won't let me rest.

My father, is still working with children every day as the principal of Torah Institute in Baltimore.  A staff member told me, as recently as last year, that my father was taking children off campus alone in his car. This same staff member shared with me that he witnessed a child taped to a chair in my father's office.
And these are the behaviors my father is not hiding.
This staff member will not come forward for fear of losing his job.

And, I don't want him to lose his job, because he cares, and he would never do what my father did, and he is keeping an eye on the children in Torah Institute.

Hashem please bring Mashiach TODAY and put an end to the world of suffering, pain, and confusion that we live in.
A world where we perpetrate evil on our children and call it love and truth.
 A world where we kill someone off because they were sexually abused.  And, we do it in Your Holy name and in the name of Torah.

Reveal your eternal Love and Truth openly and save us from our greatest enemy.

Our inability to take an honest look at ourselves.


Thursday, November 26, 2015

Prepare For Mashiach!

Chanukah is coming, and Mashiach is coming. 

 It is time to reenter our BaisHamikdash, our holy temple, clean it up, and prepare it once again to serve our Creator.

During the time of Chanukah,  the Chashmonaim recaptured the temple and witnessed  a devestatingly painful sight; the violation and defilement of the holiest place on earth, the Bais Hamikdash.  

Imagine the deeply painful scene.  Imagine, finally reentering the Bais Hamikdash after so many years and finding it broken and defiled with dead pigs and avodah zara...etc. 
They must have cried at the sight.  
They must have wanted to flee, but the Chashmonaim had no choice.  They faced reality.  They were resilient. They entered the temple and cleaned it up, shaking, crying at what they found, tirelessly searching for a flask of oil that was still sealed, untouched and pure so they could use it to serve God.  

Our sexuality is our personal Bait Hamikdash, our kadosh kedoshim

 When used appropriately, It is the closest possible connection, that we can have with Hashem in this world.  
When our sexuality has been violated and debased, it takes tremendous courage to witness the destruction and damage to something so holy and precious.  

We, the Chashmonaim of our generation, must draw from our anscestor's resilience.  We are being called upon to heal ourselves and our community from the destruction of childhood sexual abuse

We must find the strength to witness the violation and defilement of our holiest place on earth; The kedusha of ourselves, and of our children. 

I can tell you from personal experience it is so hard to go back inside and clean up the mess.

It is so hard  to believe that there is still a pach shemen tahor somewhere  to be found within all the desolation.

But I can also assure you that  it can be done, and it must be done, in order to prepare for Mashiach.

 We can and we will find the courage to go into our own violated and debased kodesh kedoshim and keep on searching, until we find a pach shemen tahor that has not been touched and defiled. 

 ...We must not give up hope!

   "Elokai neshama shenasata bi tehorah hi."

Chanukah Sameach!

Thursday, October 29, 2015

Denial and Trauma

I was mentioned in this article about Denial and Trauma

http://blogs.timesofisrael.com/trauma-of-betrayal-sex-abuse-victims-and-israel/

Sunday, August 16, 2015

(Part Two) TOO MUCH PAIN: IS THAT TRUE?

  The Work is a tool for self awareness and personal development.  It is not a subsitute for trauma therapy.

Here is a harder example of The Work, at work.

 I could barely breathe, and I couldn't move.
I was having a flashback of my father molesting me. 
 I've been having these flashbacks for over twenty years. While I am reliving the abuse it is as if it is happening right now.  Back then, I desperately needed help, but I was alone.
No one in my family knew or helped me when it was happening, and no one in my family believes or supports me now. 
Would the flashbacks ever stop?  
Would I ever heal?
 I wanted to die.

I called my Thought Coach, Evelyn, who does The Work with me.
I told her, "Evelyn, I need help.  It's too painful.  I can't handle this."
"What is too painful?" She asked. " What is going on?"
"Why do I have to keep remembering this?!" I gasped. "Why do I have to feel this happening over and over!?  And why can't at least one person in my family support me. I feel so alone! It is too painful!"

Evelyn asked me the first question of The Work,
 "Is it really true that it is too much pain?"
"Yes!" I responded
It really was at that moment.

Evelyn did not deny my reality.
She asked, "Are you willing to look at this belief, "I can't handle the pain" more deeply?"
I was.
"And whose business is it that you are in so much pain?" Evelyn asked.  Do you want to be in so much pain?  Did you plan it? Did you cause it?"
"No." I said.
"Than whose business is it?", She  asked again.
"It's God's business. I didn't want it then and I don't want it now." I answered.

"Let's look at this pain."  Evelyn said.  "What does it look and feel like?  Where do you feel it in your body?"
"It's a lot bigger than my body.  It's bright red.  It's burning me." My body was shaking, as it does when it remembers the abuse.
"How big is it, really?"  Evelyn asked. "Let's take a look.  Don't be afraid of it. Is it bigger than a country?  Is it bigger than earth?"
"Yes!  Way bigger.  It's bigger than all the planets.  It encompases everything and fills the universe.  Nothing else exists. Just this pain. I can't do this!"  My body hurt and I felt like I would throw up.

"How do you feel when you believe the thought that it's too much pain?  What do you do? What kind of a person are you?" Evelyn asked.
"I am dissociating." I answered. "I'm shaking. I want to die to get away from it.  I feel helpless and trapped. I want to smash my head.  I feel like God hates me and wants me to suffer."
"And what do you do when you believe this thought?" Asked Evelyn.
" I'm lying here flat on my back talking to you. I can barely move. I can't function." I answered.

 "Are you breathing?  Can you keep breathing?" Evelyn asked.
 "Yes." I responded.
"Are you feeling the pain." She asked next.
 "Yes." I responded.
Evelyn continued, "Now, what would happen if you believed the opposite thought? Can you try on the opposite thought? Can you say, " The pain is not too much.  I am feeling it.  I am holding it. I am breathing it."
I say it.
"Is that true?" Evelyn asked.  "Are you feeling, holding, breathing the pain?"
"Yes." I said.
"So is it really true that it's too much pain?" Evelyn asked.
"Well, I guess not. No." I responded.

How do you feel when you believe, It is not too much pain. I am feeling this. I am breathing through this pain?" She asked next.
"I am just feeling it."  I said. "I'm crying.  It hurts."
What kind of a person does that make you, when you think and believe that it is not too much pain?" Evelyn asked next.
"A strong person." I responded
Evelyn agreed, "Yes! You are a very strong person!"

Although I was still in pain, I was aware that I was no longer suffering. The pain was intense, but it was not going to kill me. I was no longer desperate. I was no longer fighting reality.
It was just pain.
It would pass.

And it did pass,like a wave on the beach rises and then falls.

And I was left with this truth:
 I am a very strong person.