Suicide Of A Different Kind

I don’t know how to begin this letter because I don’t even know who to address it to.

But whoever ends up being the recipient
Please stop for a few moments to hear my hearts cries and be with me as I share my agony and truth. And a message for my fellow Jews.

I grew up abused
Degraded by my family, ridiculed, mocked, and in an environment of yelling, fighting, name calling, cursing and zero marital harmony
The pits, gas lighting, psychological games, pathological lying and more.
But you would never know!

I spent all my life trying to hide the pain, the trauma and the experiences. I never let my friends in and justified whatever they did pick up on, extending crazy amounts of koach protecting my abusers.

My Father is the one the Rav wouldn’t believe could be capable of the silent partner, standing idly by as I was shot down bullet after bullet.
Mother, the one who’s involved, doing for everyone, loads of friends but possesses a brain and mouth of derangement, lies and fire.

They decided when I was born that I was a disgrace to the family, unlovable and not worthy of respect and a good life. Of course they don’t see their shortcomings and blame it all on me. They have failed at parenting because their home was built on strife.

I differ from other abused kids because I spoke up and fought back but that just escalated the tension and increased the abuse. But at least for myself I know, I never accepted the lies and tried to defend my fragile self.

Life has always been a living hell
Hopeless, nightmarish and toxic etc

And no one reached out to extricate me from this dark dark hole and today I’m a shadow of my former self.
I am not capable to get out of this on my own.

Society can be cruel.
I try to focus on all the good, all the charity and benevolence.
I see it all around me.
I’ve reached out too many times.
I am dismissed. I have been turned away. Not believed. My parents are community people. It must be me. But in my heart of hearts I know the truth.

The leaders and helpers want to see the scars to believe me.
My pain, my tears, my rips and bruises are not physical so you will never “see”.
But please believe me it’s there.
The trauma, the broken heart, the endless days of excruciating pain.

I’m aware that my profile of abuse doesn’t fit the standard one. The one the professionals have made known.
This news will likely upset the equilibrium.
It’s easier to detect abuse with a learning disability, anxiety, social awkwardness, unkempt appearance or decline in religious observance. I have none of that.

I was actually a top girl in school
Aced through my classes
Graduated close to being Valedictorian
Teachers pet, social butterfly
capable, talented, innovative
Head of GO, school newspaper, color war and plays.

Not exactly the poster child of abuse that one would think.
But to be brutally honest with you, I am the poster child of a “Child Called It” in the emotional and psychological sense. Ironically I was never sexually abused.

I know this must be hard for Readers to accept. How could I be all that with such extreme abuse and neglect?
You have to trust me, it took me years to accept the truth myself because I kept not fitting the profile of what causes and leads into abuse, so I was at first confused.

Finally, after I could no longer bear the burden alone, I went to a Rabbi for help.
He increased the abuse. That’s another book of its own.
I also did try Therapy which was helpful on and off but without the means to pay, I had to stop mid breath and cut off the only glimmer of hope I had.

So I tried to continue with my life but it’s been one pain filled experience after the next.

My oldest sister refuses to acknowledge this reality and has lived in denial for years. I have 6 brothers. 5 younger and 1 older and they too in their own way are suffering from the ramifications of childhood abuse and neglect. I wish I could help them, but some are estranged.

Today I read about boys and girls suffering from mental illness, drugs, going off the derech and having eating disorders.
While, interestingly, for reasons I don’t even know, I have none of these, however I relate to the pain and feeling there’s no way out other than just taking their own life.
I don’t agree with their ultimate and final decision but I understand where they are coming from.

I too have nothing to live for!
But suicide goes against my moral compass.
God is the only one who can give and take life.
Even though I feel like I wasn’t helped properly, I know that others can be helped. Maybe one day I will be helped too but in the mean time…

All I want is to spread the word to the world, to young couples about to embark on marriage and to men and women already married with kids.
If you are not a healthy person and your behavior is harming your child, you may be silently killing your child.
If you don’t know if you are healthy or not, Look online at checklists of the abusive personality or call the organizations geared to mental illness, emotional self help and shalom bayit. I was too afraid to call a few years back and it cost me a large part of my life but don’t be a coward. Call!

If you degrade your child and constantly criticize and yell, if you and your spouse don’t help each other, don’t show respect to each other, fight, name call, engage in pathological lying and play the game of silent treatment- these are all very sick patterns of behavior that can have serious ramifications on your children, even if you don’t see it. Even if, like me, they are doing well in school and have friends.

No one is immune to the heartache abuse causes. It may not be showing up now, but it will later. And it will be bad!
I plead with you
Whoever is reading this
Get yourself help
Or if you see someone with these destructive patterns, show them this letter and try to get them to help.

Just as you need a license to operate a car or practice medicine, so too all parents are obligated to learn healthy techniques of parenting. It is unfortunate that no board is regulating who is fit to become parents. Who is capable of loving.

It is a HUGE responsibility and achrayut to be a parent. You owe it to your child to give him/ her the best life possible, believing in them, building them up, loving them, respecting them and being there for them.
I see many parents who aren’t even affectionate to their young children.
That is a terrible crime. Children are the most priceless gift, an extension of God himself and he trusted you to care for them. Don’t abuse the privilege.

You need to kiss, hug and embrace your children.
Sure, parenting is challenging, little kids are demanding, teenagers are frightening and the expenses Orthodox families have all put significant pressure and tension on marriages and homes, but none of these can ever be an excuse to absolve yourself of your responsibility to be a parent , to love, respect, guide and ultimately give your children wings and tools to fly on their own. With you providing a loving and stable home, no matter what they weather, they will always come back and feel secure with you. Your love will enable them to lead a successful life and continue giving life to our future generation.

If you are not capable of loving,
If you are not capable of respecting,
If you are not capable of making good decisions that take your child’s well being into account,
You need to stop everything and put your business on hold.
Put your social obligations on hold and reach out!
This is not something to push off.

I am begging you
I am speaking from experience
I am a victim
Your children don’t have to be.

Please get yourselves help if you are already a parent and it resonates within you that you have unhealthy and destructive patterns of behavior. ( I believe there really are good people and good organizations out there ready and available to help. There has been tremendous strides in recognizing and preventing abuse. And I realize my specific story was much harder to detect)

And if you are not yet married, only look for a spouse who values love, respect and emotional well-being
Not just as nice virtues but as oxygen for their lungs. make the commitment to do everything and anything to have good marital harmony and a joint effort and partnership to raise children. It’s not a joke! It’s huge effort and huge self sacrifice but it’s the only way and of course the Torah way. You will reap your rewards if you do it right.

Children cannot survive without shalom bayit
Children need to see their parents as a strong unit in order for them to succeed. Children refers to little children and even adult children.
The after affects of marital discord is suicide of a different kind.
Take it from me. I am a living example.
You still have hope.
I hope this letter is circulated to the wider Jewish community. I hope this letter has the power to get even one family or couple or single to be self aware and take the necessary steps that will help prevent childhood abuse. We are all in this together
Kol Yisrael Areivim Ze lze
Let’s stop the suicide of real and of a different kind. They are both death sentences.

Best wishes to all for a lifetime of inner peace and healing and happiness.

3 Comments

  1. Journeyman November 29, 2017 at 9:39 am

    I believe you! I really do.

    I know all too well about the silent by deadly (deadlier?) abuse that only the one experiencing it can possibly know of.

    Several of my therapists over the years have encouraged me to attend ACA meetings (www.AdultChildren.org – you do not have to have Alcoholism in the family to belong). After finally listening and going, the meetings have helped me tremendously.

    Reply
  2. Robin Ziino November 29, 2017 at 5:37 pm

    You’re brave and beautiful. But I want you to know that you are a poster child too. Abuse takes many forms and many children grow up looking “perfect “. Different poster. But you’re a survivor with a strong voice and that is again a different kind of poster. Keep talking! Keep telling your truth. Others need to hear you; learn from you. I hope your today and tomorrow bring you to a place where you are no longer vulnerable to abuse, but can be the mouth piece that champions the cause of those who do not dare to speak.

    Reply
  3. 900windows November 30, 2017 at 4:00 am

    ”I know this must be hard for Readers to accept. How could I be all that with such extreme abuse and neglect?
    You have to trust me, it took me years to accept the truth myself because I kept not fitting the profile of what causes and leads into abuse, so I was at first confused.”

    Oh, dear Neshama, not hard for me to accept. Thank you so much……with slight differences, my story, too. I’m 62 now and there are still people who don’t believe……the only one who truly did was my husband, of blessed memory.

    So much I would like to say but just had to write a quick thank you and send a hug of empathy. What you wrote helped me feel less alone.

    Reply

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