Sometimes, but not often I worry about what will happen when my father dies.
He is currently elderly and suffering from alzheimers disease. But he could still live for many years- or not- for as long Gd wills him.
Even as I talk so callously about the impending death of my father, I realise how disconnected I am from any feelings towards him.
I feel nothing.
I try to will some feelings to enter my heart - nothing - neither good nor bad, just emptiness.
I worry about his death only because I will not know what to do.
I have been told by a Rabbi that I do not have to sit shivah for him.
Do I want to?
When I feel nothing?
When he dies will I have the impetus to travel to Israel to attend the funeral and then sit shivah together with all my brothers and sisters?
It scares and worries me.
Because it is the unknown and I may not know how to act or do what I want.
It scares me because of the idea that maybe once he is dead he will be able to hear and read all the terrible things I have said about him.
And what if my memories are untrue?
And then I ask myself why would I lie about such a thing?
Why would I make it up?
What did I gain except alienating myself from my family and feeling abandoned and alone.
And if I made it up where did all the nightmares come from?
Why did the nightmares begin from such a young age?
Why do I fee dissociated sometimes?
Why do I have all the classic symptoms of trauma?
I hate doubting myself, and I have been fortunate that I have believed in myself for a long time now.
I don't know why the doubt is creeping up on me at this time.
I wish it didn't.
And maybe I wish that I had made it up and that my father didn't really rape me.
I actually ended up having a really nice Shabbos.
I didn't have the house full of guests that I dream about, but my sons were home from Yeshivah and their friends came over to hang out, and I went over to my neighbor who is a genuine and friendly person. She has been open and inviting since we moved onto the block and I feel very unjudged by her and her husband.
I still feel discomfort and perhaps guilt that I am not doing what I used to do- but thats my thing, not hers.
We ended up talking while the kids were outside playing and I confided in her a small portion of my story.(not my childhood history) She seemed to understand a little about abuse but her knowledge is limited to a couple of Mishpacha and Bina magazine articles.
I am glad that she does not openly judge and she has not shunned my kids.
And I still feel as though I don't belong.
Not here or there or anywhere.
I feel unattached and disconnected.
It is not a comfortable or happy feeling.
I feel so far beyond the experiences of normal people such as my neighbors and even my own children.
I am not sad
And I am not happy.
Single mom, divorced twice, not as religious as I used to be, history of child sexual abuse, child abuse activist, searching for a job..........
Where in Gds name do I fit in this community in Brooklyn?
Or any community which is a community.
I am not depressed or unhappy, I am just curious and confused and wonder what and where I will be.
I am trying to act as if we are a normal family on the block- which we are on some level, but there are so many levels which we are clearly not.
When I first moved my fantasy was that I would have a full house every Shabbos. My door would be open and anyone who wanted a good shabbos meal would come to me.
Has not happened yet.
Why? I blame my kitchen and the fact that I don't have an oven, or a basic kitchen for that matter.
But is it really the kitchen?
Perhaps it is because I feel that I don't fit in, and who would want to come to my house anyway?
Or that I feel judged and talked about?
People judge a lot over here.
They talk and wonder and gossip and make things up.
I think I should put a sign on my front door; TAB
I am not OTD....I am just taking a break.
Does Gd allow that?
Do people allow that?
Does the community allow that?
I doubt it and that is why there is no sign on my door.
I am trying to come to terms and accept the fact the X will never really change.
A leopard doesn't change its spots.......
Last year I made a conscious decision not to allow small things to upset me. By small things I mean the things relating to my children and their father and how their relationship plays out, ultimately having an effect on me.
The following two incidents are unfair and very upsetting and I am trying very hard to understand and accept and move on.
I have had my own food stamp case since my marriage dissolved and I must admit that without this money for food we would have been in a bad situation. All of a sudden 2 months ago the money stopped coming in. I waited until I realized there must be a problem and then I went down to the office.
To cut a long story short, X decided he wanted to include the 2 kids who are legally in his custody (but live with me) on his food stamp case. The result was that my food subsidy got cancelled and his remained.
The problem is that all our kids live with me- the boys come to me on their free shabbosim. And I have to find money for food for shabbos. They do go to x every few weeks.
Why am I upset?
Because I feel as though he tries to thwart me at every opportunity.
They are his children too.
He should want them to be well nourished.
It seems that these things come up and not only do I have to deal with them but I also have to forgive, accept and go on.
Its hard when it feels so unfair.
Second incident is that X allowed one of my sons to borrow his bike to ride to Yeshivah. This was a very important step for my son, who had become very quiet and unsociable. I was grateful that he finally decided he would ride his bike together with his friend.
Well that step in the right direction was very short lived.
The very next day X called my son and said that he had changed his mind and that he wanted the bike back.
X told him that he would pay half for a new bike if I paid the difference.
No money for a bike right now.
And besides my son has returned to his familiar angry and sullen attitude.
I feel helpless and don't know what the right thing to say or do.
I am angry at X who always has to have his own way even if it is detrimental to his own children.
Yet I don't want this stuff to bother me.
I want to pretend its not happening.
And I want to act as if X does not exist.
I am unsure though how effective that may turn out to be, considering the fact that X is not only alive but he is the father of my children.
I was not sure if I would ever be writing again. Its been so long and I feel as though so much has happened since I last wrote that I don't even know where to begin.
I am not really sure why I have not been able to blog. I have had the time, but when I would sit in front of my computer the words refused to emerge.
Is that writers block?
I am so relieved that my words have returned.
I don't really know what I want to write about tonight. I know that when I sit down on my therapists couch and tell her that I do not know where to begin, she usually tells me to start anywhere.
So I will heed her words and I will start with whatever comes to mind.
The thing that is uppermost on my mind is that recently I lost a good friend.
I don't want to go into detail about the friendship itself, but rather about how I am feeling now.
Yesterday I was feeling sad and also angry. (I think) It is difficult for me to identify because I very rarely express anger.
I am sure there must be anger deep inside my being but I cannot connect to it.
I must feel anger about my father raping me and I must feel anger about my first husband punching me, and I must feel anger about my second husband humiliating me.
But where is it?
And so I feel tiny bits of it from time to time, here and there at inopportune moments.
I miss my friend and I am angry and hurt that she no longer needs me.
She warned me numerous times that our friendship wouldn't last because she would be moving away and we would not be able to see each other. But I didn't care, and I didn't listen because I was happy being her friend and I did not want to think about how I would feel when she left.
She finally left on Sunday and I felt devastated.
I felt terrible anger deep inside my soul.
I could not talk to her to say goodbye, because my tears overwhelmed me.
I know that my sadness was as much my fault because we both knew she would be leaving and that our relationship would not be the same.
I feel guilty for feeling angry.
And I feel guilty for feeling hurt and betrayed.
But I am
I thought she would be my friend forever.
But that was an illusion.
Relationships are always illusions- they never end up being what you think they are
or what you wish they were
or what you would like them to be
They are always something else
and you always get hurt
one way or another.
I called my psychiatrist this morning to re- schedule an appointment for after Pesach after having cancelled my previous session. He did not sound pleased on the phone. In fact he told me that "this was not working for him". He felt that I had been cancelling too often and that I was asking him to call the pharmacy for refills too many times. I was taken aback since I did not feel that was the case.
I had called him right before my therapy appointment. As soon as I walked in to my therapists office I told her that I had just finished speaking to my Dr. and how annoying the conversation was. To my surprise she told me that he had called her and told her that he was unhappy with the way things were working.
My therapist was very concerned and told me that she got the feeling that he was going to refer me to someone else. I just shrugged my shoulders and told her that I didnt really understand why, but what could I do about it anyway. My therapist got really upset. She did not like my response and she told me that I was being very passive and that I was creating a crisis.
She wanted us to understand why I was so passive about my own self care. I did not understand what she was getting at since I felt that I was doing self care much better than I ever had been in the past. But she asked me to think about it and do some introspection which I did and all of a sudden I became aware of a connection to the past.
Growing up my mother viewed illness as an annoyance at best and intolerable at worst. Whenever I or my siblings became sick with childhood illnesses there was a clear message from our parents that being ill was not allowed in our family. I remember that if we felt sick enough that we needed to vomit, it was not allowed in the house. We had to go outside into the back yard and throw up inside the grate. My mother could not tolerate the smell and the cleaning she would have to do if anyone vomited in the toilet.
I learned not to vomit.
And I learned to ignore pain of any sort.
I rarely got sick or perhaps I did get sick sometimes but chose to ignore it.
I recall a small car accident when I was 10. I was riding my bike across the street and a car knocked into me. The car was driving slowly so I was not hurt badly. My first thought however was not the pain in my leg, but rather what was my mother going to say. I knew she would ask me why I was stupid enough to allow a car to hit me. When the police and ambulance arrived I begged them not to tell my mother. I convinced them that I was okay, and I limped home myself pushing my bike at my side.
I think there might be a connection to my indifference to self care to how illness was viewed in my family.
It is not easy being a single mother with a limited income. And it is not easy being a single mother of teenagers and dealing with all the ups and downs all by myself.
On Monday I was driving on the Brooklyn Bridge on my way to pick up my son from school. I was suddenly hit by a terrible searing pain in my stomach and back. The bridge has no shoulder and I couldnt stop so I kept on driving. The pain got worse and I started vomiting. I drove through the pain until I reached a place where I could pull over. The pain subsided but then all of a sudden I began to feel like I was about to pass out. My daughter who had been on the phone with me called Hatzolah. By the time they came my head was on the steering wheel and I was on the verge of fainting.
They gave me oxygen and told me to breathe.
It was hard to follow instructions, and I could not even tell them my name.
One of the guys told me that it looks as though I am experiencing a panic attack.
I could not take in what he was saying right then and there, but afterwards when I was lying in the emergency room (for 5 hours) and I was feeling all better, I had time to contemplate what the EMT had told me earlier.
Was it a panic attack?
Am I so anxious about single parenting and the fact that so many people are dependent on me to put food on our table?
If it was a panic attack then my anxiety must be much more apparent than I ever thought.
My worries must be more unconscious than otherwise.
I think I must be really afraid now that reality has set in, and I am aware of how dependent my family is upon me.
It is very scary.
I need to breathe and keep on moving ahead one small step at a time.
I am free at last.
This is as much as I can write today.
I will be telling you the story of my Get as soon as I get my internet access set up in my new home.
The important thing for today is that:
I AM FREE!
P.S I paid $6,000 for the GET. I have heard from other women that this is a small sum to pay in exchange for a GET.
Some good news finally.
I will be receiving my Get on Thursday January 24, 2013.
I will be moving simultaneously- which means as the get is being given the movers will move our belongings to our new house.
I have a lot to share about how this long awaited change occurred which I will do as soon as I have a few minutes to gather my thoughts and write.