Girl Talk

(dedicated to my granddaughter, Lara Levine – age 3)

A few months ago, I was watching a local NJ news program on the television.  Steve Adubato came on and announced an interview of two guests.  I cannot begin to tell you how surprised I was to see that one of those guests was my daughter in law, Kerri! 

My younger son married Kerri in 2014.  I was not invited to their wedding.  But my ex husband held the honor of being present and a featured guest among hundreds in attendance at the New York Public Library affair.  Since that blessed event, I have met my daughter in law on 2 occasions.  I mention this because I recognized her face on the screen as soon as it appeared.  Her beautiful beaming face. 

I watched the interview as Mr. Adubato asked her questions.  Kerri was cool, collected and calm.  And as I watched her lips move, not paying attention to all the words at first – all I could think of was does my granddaughter look like her.? Yes, that was what I was thinking as my heart ripped open a little more every second the television screen captured my attention. 

I have never met either of Kerri’s children, Chase nor Lara.  And they are both my own grandchildren.  My adult alienated son and my daughter in law forbid these young souls from knowing that I exist.  Chase is 5 years old.  Lara is 3 years old.  It is a tragedy that stems from a cycle known as domestic violence by proxy, or parental alienation – tragically seen orchestrated by abusive spouses in high conflict divorce. 

I am many things. A domestic violence survivor, a mother, an artist, a preschool teacher,  a woman who believes in equal rights, an animal lover and rescuer, a vegetarian, ….and Kerri made me a grandmother to two children.   

After the initial shock of seeing her face on my tv screen, I listened to what she had to say.  Very carefully.  She spoke of such topics as the rights of young women, the opportunities young women should be afforded in our world.  And I kept thinking of all the irony that echoed in those words. 

As proud as I am that my daughter in law is involved in a program called “Girl Talk Takeover,” as well as her philanthropic stance in so many other avenues, I kept thinking how my granddaughter deserves so many opportunities that her own mother is prohibiting.  Children deserve more love, not less.  Lara should know her grandmother Julie.  My daughter in law’s father once told me that Kerri is protecting my grandchildren from me.  How absurd – but common warped thinking when parental alienation is passed down generation to generation. 

A few months after first viewing the television segment, I decided to sit down and write to Kerri about it. It was not the first time I have written her. In all the years, she has never responded to me – so as much as my letter meant, I sadly knew all too well it would likely go unanswered.

The television segment can be seen online at GIRLTALK #Takeover Exposes Young Girls to New Opportunities 

I praised her, commented on how wonderful her work is, and never heard a reply. 

I stayed positive, did not mention my broken heart, and focused on the wonderful effect she has on the future of my grandchilren. 

It’s never an easy situation when you are faced with the choice between confronting a situation, speaking your mind, or taking the high road.  And damn, that high road is a lonely place so often!  But as I sat with this video clip, watching it again, I realized that my pain required action.  The kind of action where Kerri knew I saw the interview, and I shared some positive thoughts as a viewer.  A viewer who is her mother in law, none the less.  Someday, perhaps Lara will come across my writing here and know that she was always in my heart.  She is the young girl I think of…when I hear about Girl Talk Takeover. 

Life’s a balancing act. 

I choose to respond intelligently, even to unintelligent treatment. 

Below is the letter I sent my beautiful daughter in law last summer, and never heard from her. May she continue to do good and spread her good will throughout our community.

July 8, 2021 

Hi, Kerri, 

I hope all is well – or at least as well as can be during this pandemic.  I think of you, Jared, Chase and Lara always.   

There are not many days when you aren’t in my thoughts or prayers, and I am finally gathering my emotions to write to you at this time.  Chances are you will toss my letter in the trash without so much as reading a word, but what is life without taking chances? I hang on to the possibility that you may actually read my words. And feel what they try to convey. 

I’d like to tell you how proud I am of you.  Over the last year, I have repeatedly seen your name and face in the local New Jersey media.  You are an amazing woman as you raise two young children, pursue a career, and still take on so many charitable causes. On so very many occasions, I have said I am beyond proud to have you as a daughter in law and the mother of my grandchildren.  

I’ve thought so much about what I wish I could say to you – for too long.  All through the pandemic and even before that….All the days I’ve contemplated writing this, are turning into years. 

I’ve read various articles on your achievements and have even seen you being interviewed on the Steve Adubato show, New Jersey News 12.  I can’t help but look at you on the screen and wonder what my grandchildren look like.  I wish I knew – and I wish they knew me, too. 

Just last month, I was invited to a ceremony on Zoom.  It was to award a local rabbi with the Jewish Heritage Award of Essex County, New Jersey.  An honor.   

And I read that you, Kerri, were a previous recipient of that award only 3 years ago.  An honor that encompasses so much.  

Your face is shown proudly on Essex County pages as you accepted the county’s award for Jewish Heritage.   

I’m positive your philanthropy regarding our Jewish faith has benefited many.  “Heritage” – a legacy.  It’s our past, our present and our future as Jews.  Our lineage. 

And as life only moves forward, I have followed your wonderful volunteer work during the Covid pandemic.  All you have done for the essential workers in our hospitals and communities is to be applauded.  Outstanding work. 

Last January, I observed you on New Jersey television discussing the program you installed to afford “young girls opportunities.”  You referred to a program you developed in Newark.   

You are setting an extraordinary example for so many girls…especially my granddaughter.  Lara has a wonderful role model, may she follow in your footsteps.  

You spoke of the importance of exposing young girls to various experiences – opportunities they should have.  I believe the goal was to empower these young girls whom you were referring to.  That is without doubt an integral and important endeavor.  Kudos to you for realizing that and trying to act upon it.  I wish I had such a role model to have influenced my own life.   

As you spoke, so many thoughts ran through my mind.  You understand that the voices of young women everywhere matter and are vital to a healthy outlook and future.  Choices.  Not under control of others demands and opinions.  But knowing they have choices – that is their right.    

Those are wishes and prayers that should be afforded to young girls everywhere, as they are exposed to endless opportunities.  What someone may consider their ceiling, let these young women consider their floor.   

Kerri, you are a very strong role model for my grandchildren.  That is absolutely wonderful.  You are teaching them so much.  

As I watched your beautiful persona being interviewed by Mr. Adubato, I carefully listened to each and every word you spoke.  The importance for personal growth and exposure to different venues affords the young girls in your program “opportunities” that all young girls should experience.  It should not be looked at as something rare, but should be normalized.  What a wonderful world it would be.    

Well, I thought of these points many times over the last few months.  I guess I can’t talk to you at this time, but I can write.  Whether you are receptive or not, all I can do is try.  And hope.   

Thank you for reading this far.  This letter is essentially about all that we are and the next generation. 

Children do not learn by words alone, but by example. In so many ways, I am grateful for the examples you are setting.   

Yasher koach. 

Stay well.  

Lovingly, 

Julie  

Hello, It’s Me

I want to leave something behind when my life is over; some small legacy of truth and triumph. Sharing my knowledge, my experiences and my past has given me strength and wisdom. I’ve also got a new story to write and it looks nothing like my past.

Maybe my legacy is what I’ve done with my life. All I can tell you for sure is that silence will not be my legacy, despite those who have insisted on it.

I have written and spoken openly about rape, domestic violence, and parental alienation (domestic violence by proxy). There have been several lapses in my writings – sometimes years, times when I’ve needed to take a break from all I remember, times when I’ve tried the silent route (thinking it would promote my alienated sons coming back to me, or I’ve been too fragile to feel certain feelings). A decade ago, when I was writing my original blog, entitled “Until You Say Uncle,” I credit it with saving my life. One word at time. Never judge someone by the way they had to survive. I went through over 10 years in the New York court system that retraumatized me, rather than grant me any form of justice. I had my heart broken over and over again by 2 then-teenage sons who parroted their fathers behaviours to such an extent that it was so much more abuse. And I would sit down at my laptop and write it out.

I tried journaling at first. That just didn’t do it for me. I’d fill the pages in a book but still carried it with me in my essence. After seeing the movie, “Julie and Julia”, I got the idea of creating a blog – and sending my voice out there into the universe.

It worked.

Sometimes, when you share things – things you carry around in your heart, soul, and mind – it makes them less heavy. That is the only way I can attempt to explain it.

And in the process of healing through writing, I have met a community of the finest and strongest people you could ever wish to meet. It’s sad how we have come together by our common adversities, but the strength we award each other is priceless. Courage, dear heart. I’m talking about women and men who have endured situations and continue to hold it together in spite of the things they endured. We share our stories to hold each other up. And we share our stories so they don’t have to be someone else’s future.

A legacy is etched into the minds of others and the stories we leave behind. It is who we were, are and are becoming. By the way, each of us is always “becoming” every day – no matter how old or young we are. Each day brings a new version of me. A piece or plot twist is added to my story, the story of me.

Rather than struggle with certain thoughts and feelings in silence, I’m back. On good days, and the not so good days. I’d like to re-continue my word sharing. And if it helps just one person (aside from me, of course) , well that is a win in my book.

Today, after a day teaching preschool, I’m tired. But in a good way. I realize that I’m making the most and best of each day God gives me. I’m doing things that matter to me and to others. And every time I smile, I laugh, I dance (lots of dancing with children every day in preschool), I sing….that is my triumph. My legacy of finding joy.

Just last week at the school’s carpool drop off, a parent watching everything came up to me and said, “You are the happiest teacher.” I’ll take that for the win!

It’s not easy sometimes – the finding joy. I can tell you that after almost 20 years of mourning my 2 sons from parental alienation, there is not a day I don’t think of them and send a prayer out to the universe. I’m not going into the whole definition of what PA is here – if you know you know – and my heart goes out to you. What I do want you to know is that it just may be the one thing that is forever. My sons were alienated by their abusive father when they were in their teens. And they never got away from their father’s control, influence, lies, and manipulation. Not all alienated children escape. I will not give anyone false hope.

What I will tell you is that you, as a targeted parent of this abuse, must build a life of your own. Courage, dear heart. Fill it with small things that make you smile. And yes, you will smile again – even when your heart is being ripped to shreds.

Years ago, I spoke to Amy Baker, PHD, who specializes in parental alienation. My sons did not get college degrees and went to work for their father in his family business. A very affluent business with many financial perks. Dr. Baker had told me that unless my sons separated from their father (left the business), there pretty much was no hope in undoing the lies they were told and breaking the cycle of the alienation.

So now my sons are in their 30’s , still working in their father’s business. Both married with children of their own – my 4 young grandchildren. And the four young children are not permitted to know that I exist. It is all part of the domestic violence by proxy. A continuous cycle of abuse. It matters not that children deserve more love, not less. It is not about the children at all. It’s about control. And this sickness goes generation to generation.

So here I am telling you that there may be a chance where the cycle is not broken. I’m begging you not to let it break you. It is a mourning that never ends. A struggle that I do not wish on anyone. But know that you can survive it and create a new narrative.

When I didn’t know how to breathe without my sons, it took me years to figure out a way to keep going and actually look forward to tomorrows. It was a lot of work. And I struggled, believe me! Boy, did I ever. I remember the days I was immobile and didn’t want to go on. And then one day, I just did.

I started helping others in my community. I volunteered at a senior center, I dedicated days to volunteering at a food pantry…I returned to my art work, I assisted in animal rescues. The things we do for others remains as part of one’s legacy. And every time someone told me what a difference I made in their life, it gave me strength to put one foot in front of the other another day. Purpose. Life became purposeful. Eventually, through therapy, I was able to give speaking engagements where I shared my story in the hopes of inspiring others to overcome difficulties and break cycles of abuse. I helped raise thousands of dollars for domestic violence shelters, so others would be safe and rewrite their own narratives.

All this did not stop my heart from aching, though. At this point in my life, I realize it is just something that I have learned to live with. Kind of like a constant bleed.

But I’m not bleeding 24-7 anymore. With a BFA in art education which I earned before I was married, I finally put my teaching skills to use.

And sometimes the best way to help yourself, is by helping others.

A Moment

In Judaism, we are taught that each and every moment is sacred. There are many things to be said about the weight of a moment. And so many things that a moment can say to us. It can alter our self thoughts and determine our path, change our views of the world and lead to a different set of possibilities.

A particle of time consisting of an event, or a situation, can be so shattering and alerting – that you might begin to see life as a “before” and “after.” Somewhat of a transformation may even occur, changing the direction of thoughts, beliefs, and emotions.

I no longer let my moment define me, but there will forever be that before and after. Everything went to shit in a handbasket afterward. Until I decided to stop saying Uncle. I took back my power – I took back ME!

Let me tell you about a time in 1978. I was just graduating from the Hartford Art School with my BFA in art education. Not much to say of my four college years – I flourished in many ways. But as the end of my education passage came to a close, I found myself back home in New Rochelle, New York again. Back on Surrey Drive. Searching for a teaching job, I returned to live in my childhood home until I could afford my own residence.

Richard (remember, I said I was changing names here) also lived on Surrey Drive in New Rochelle. A year my junior, I knew him since I was 6 years old. Our mothers even played Maj Jong together. It wasn’t unlikely that I would run into him when I was home from college. We lived 2 blocks away from each other, my family had a boat…his family also had a boat – at the very same marina on the Long Island Sound, the Castaways Yacht Club in New Rochelle.

June of 1978, I would see Richard on occasion and eventually agreed to join him for a meal and a movie. I had no desire to make the relationship anything other than a friendship. I didn’t have any other friends in the area and it was something to do. However, Richard had his own ideas. After going out to movies and dinner three times, Richard informed me that it was time to “consummate” our relationship. I don’t even remember kissing him and was caught off guard by such a statement. He said it after driving me home, as we sat in his car in front of my house. I remember thinking he was joking – so I laughed, not knowing that my reaction would trigger his fury. His facial expression went stone cold as I opened my car door and said goodnight.

There was a time lapse here of a few weeks when I then heard from Richard again. Since he realized I had no romantic feelings toward him, he approached our next meeting as saying it was merely a dinner with a few friends and then going to see the fireworks. It was the fourth of July.

The friends he referred to were another couple. Tod had also attended New Rochelle High and was with his girlfriend, Lynn, from nearby White Plains. And we all went in one car.

Our first stop was a restaurant directly across from Harbor Island in Mamaroneck. I wore white jeans and a navy and white striped t shirt. I had a glass of white wine with my dinner…a second glass appeared but I did not drink it. I used to wonder if my life would have turned out differently had I not drank that glass of wine. But because of and through my healing, I know it made no difference and was not to blame for what followed.

We crossed the street from the restaurant and sat on the grass, watching the fireworks after dinner. Afterward, Tod was driving and decided to drop Lynn off at her home in White Plains first. Then Tod drove to Richard’s home on Surrey Drive, while I thought that was strange. I had wanted to be dropped off next. When the car stopped in the driveway of Richard’s home, there were no lights on and it appeared deserted. Richard said he wanted to show me his stereo system (I had told him how much I loved music). I wasn’t interested. He persisted, telling me that his stereo had unique features. Like being able to tape his older sister’s phone calls. Very strange. But I did not know what a red flag was back then, needless to say I didn’t see them.

I had known Richard and his house for most of my life, as his sister was my age and a former friend in elementary school. So here comes my moment….

I went in. I entered Richard’s bedroom to briefly catch a glimpse of his stereo set-up on the right wall, twin bed on the left. No one else was at home. I thought nothing of that at the time. As soon as I walked into that damn room, he shut the door. Immediately pushing me down on the twin bed, he grabbed at my clothing, forcing himself on top of me.

I remember yelling “No!” And I remember yelling stop. His friend was outside in the driveway waiting to drive me home – I wanted Tod to run in and rescue me. No one came to help me.

Air conditioning blowing, windows closed, door shut….and I remember a lot of plaid. A plaid bed spread. Blue carpet. Dark walls. A stereo system behind glass when I turned my head. But no, he wouldn’t let me turn my head anymore. He was holding down my hands over my head. He was so strong. I remember hearing crying. Someone crying. It was me.

Tod was just beyond the window, knowing about Richard’s plan – as Richard raped me.

I could not stop crying, shaking. I’m feeling it all again as I write this. And Richard got off of me telling me next time he wanted me to shower first.

I told no one. I had no one to confide in. No one to understand. Only Richard, Tod, and I knew. For a very long time.

Ashamed and feeling branded, I had no support at home in my family. My mother was far from the motherly type. All I kept telling myself was that it was because I had wine. Maybe I would have been stronger and able to defend myself if I didn’t have that one glass of wine.

I had one glass of white wine. Blaming my drink was me trying to make sense of something horrible that happened. But there is no way to make sense of rape. And the only cause of rape is a rapist.

I isolated for a while. I also started believing that no one else would ever want me after that “moment.” Eventually, I saw Richard again and the brutal sex act was never mentioned. He stole from my soul that night of July 4th, 1978. A holiday that was to celebrate independence marked my life with loss of self, destroyed spirit, and shame.

I went out with Richard again. I don’t remember much about those times as I believe it was the beginning of dissociation, a coping skill mechanism in response to trauma. At 22 years old, I cannot now fathom who I was back then. There was a time when I thought I had my whole life to look forward to, and then a time when I wanted it to end. There were too many terrible times, as Richard treated me as though he owned me. And as though I was as important as yesterday’s trash.

There was the time at the marina when we were having lunch with another New Rochelle High School graduate who was a deep sea diving friend of Richard’s. Evan stopped at the marina for a quick burger with his girlfriend and Richard and I joined them. Richard ordered a burger and macaroni salad. I told the waitress that all I wanted was a macaroni salad and thanked her. When our order came to the table, she put down only one side dish of the mac salad, and she put it right in front of Richard. She proceeded to tell us that was all macaroni salad they had left in the kitchen before she walked away. Evan suggested we share it and offered me his bread plate to split it on. Richard immediately took the bowl of macaroni salad and spit in it. Yes, he spit on it – and then announced he didn’t want to share it. I sat there with no food. Evan took Richard aside, spoke to him, then sat down again. No more words were spoken.

Richard, or Rich as I’ll sometimes call him here, didn’t think twice about hitting me in the presence of friends. There was the time he smacked me in front of my visiting college friends, who remember it to this day. Richard felt entitled and omnipotent. His anger was easily expressed physically. He’d hit me, shove me, push me…. It’s sad what you can get used to. I was a victim of his physical violence, emotional abuse… and then, he raped me again.

Richard had bought himself a little 18 foot speedboat before I returned from college. He had it when I met up with him at the beginning of the summer of ’78. He named his boat “For Play.” We were on his boat that September, anchored off the shores of Mamaroneck’s Orienta Point. It was cold out, as summer was drawing to a close. I had a bathing suit on under my clothes, it was that chilly. Funny how I can remember some facts, and others are locked away deep within me. Just the two of us were on the boat.

We were all alone, no boats around us, anchor thrown in off the shore. Richard wanted to know if the water was cold, as the weather had already begun to change. “Get in and tell me how the temperature is,” he said sternly directing me to jump off the side of the boat. My reply, “No, I don’t want to,” was not met well. He pulled down his bathing suit trunks and peed on me. He pissed all over me. Literally. Laughing, he said, “Now you have to jump in, bitch.”

And I did. I needed to wash his urine off as I tried not to puke. I was shivering when I got out of the water, returning to the back of the speedboat. My clothes were soaked and stuck to my skin, but he still managed to pull them off me and push me to the floor of the boat. He raped me. I call it rape when a woman says she doesn’t want to do it. I call it rape when a woman says “no”.

Again, I told no one. All I did was cry. And blame myself for trusting him on the boat alone with him. What was I thinking?

I wasn’t. I grew up in home where I was hit consistently by my abusive mother. I was always told I was ugly, good for nothing, and much worse. The nightmare of July 4th confirmed what I was drilled about myself – I was worthless. And no one else would ever want me.

I ended up as Richard’s property. Repetitive bouts of physical , emotional and psychological abuse continued. We married without a single member of my family in attendance. I was no longer the hopeful college graduate and artist with the world to conquer. Richard had destroyed all that I was. In a moment.

With no support of any kind, I was locked into a life determined by rape. There were no domestic violence shelters back then. There was no access to therapists. I was beaten and raped prior to marrying Richard and no one knew how much worse it would get.

After college graduation, I never found out who I was and never knew the possibility of who I could become. Until now. Decades later, after marrying, having 2 sons, and divorcing – I am becoming. I was married to a monster for 20 years, and left almost 20 years ago (the divorce itself took a decade). And I’m still becoming.

Choice is the most powerful tool an individual has. It allows one to exist amongst a field of infinite possibilities. My choice to say, “No”, was stolen, disregarded, and abandoned. Consent is voluntary. Consent is enthusiastic, non-coerced, sober. Any lack of consent is rape. Rape takes away your safety, your confidence, your energy, and your voice. The rapist steals a part of you that can never be returned.

I have learned to be there for others in a way no one ever was for me. I advocate against rape and help educate teens against dating violence. But most of all, I know how very sacred a moment is and how everything can change drastically in the blink of an eye. Was the moment I was raped – sacred? It was a particle of time where my own free will was taken from me. Without that, we can lose who we are, who we were, and who we can become. I did not have a choice in that moment. My attacker did. And some day, I do believe that he will have to answer to a higher power for his actions.

Please do not judge me for marrying my abuser. We live in a culture that too often thinks its more shameful to be raped than to be a rapist. It wasn’t until I heard actress Joan Collins speak of her own ordeal – how she described rape, then marrying her rapist – that the shame began to heal. I don’t know who I was back then. All I know is that I was damaged beyond measure by a moment that drew a line in the path of my life. There will always be a before and after.

And now it is all about what I am doing after. I am very active and outspoken regarding dating abuse. Many programs are available to educate teens in recognizing the early signs of abuse. Dating violence is a type of intimate partner violence that is prevalent in our society. It occurs between 2 people and includes behavior such as physical violence, sexual violence, psychological aggression, and stalking. In my community, you will often see me and hear me at engagements supporting local organizations who bring awareness to this much needed education.

I am a lifetime member of the National Council for Jewish Women. In our Essex County, NJ, location, we have a program entitled, “Teen Dating Abuse”, or TDAA. Teen dating abuse awareness project is a multi media presentation for high school students as well as a community awareness program. The goal is to educate teens early enough to avoid domestic violence in the future. I tell teens my story every chance I get. I survived 20 years of domestic violence that began with rape. And now I’m hoping to change the stories of others.

Unhealthy relationships can start early but they don’t have to last a lifetime. Know the signs.

No means No!

Flip It

I’ve been told that you will not understand my victories if you don’t know my past. That makes sense. However, I decided long ago that I was not to be anyone’s victim ever again. It’s something I work on, as nothing progresses in a perfect line. There will always be those bullies out there. And mine have not yielded.

There’s so much to be said about learning from what you have been through and survived. So I am going to share some past experiences with you. And then I will tell you what I’ve done with them. It’s been a while since I’ve told my story – especially parts of it that are so very difficult for me. I know what happened to me is real history, but I don’t recognize the person that I was. I’ve changed drastically. And for the better.

My voice refuses to come from victim mentality, but if I don’t tell you how I was a victim, you will never get me. And another benefit to sharing my life, is to remind myself all I have been through and all I have bravely become. I’m going to change the names in my writings. Honestly I’m not sure why – it’s just a gut feeling. I do my best to try not to knowingly injure, defame, or libel anyone. But bear in mind, I was married to a really bad dude. I’m going to tell you some things that are far from pleasantries. Please know that everything I’m going to tell you is the truth; my truth. And I own it.

Some people want me to be silent about my past – but that serves no good purpose. Until You Say Uncle Again is my personal blog. Opinions expressed are exclusively mine. My intent for this blog is to bring awareness to topics.

I won’t let my past ruin today, because I flip it into inspiration.

Living Bravely

Anyone can give up. It would be so much easier than the struggle to hold it together sometimes. But life is way too short to be a victim of days gone by . I’ve got a new story to tell and it doesn’t look like my past.

Without forgetting all the adversity and things I’ve overcome, I will remember the days I doubted my ability to survive. The days when the hardest thing to do was to continue living. Those memories serve as components to my strength. I write not as a victim – but as a survivor. I will not give up on life. I will not give up on myself. And most importantly, I will not say “Uncle” again.

The expression, “say Uncle”, is used to indicate submission. You might think it pertains to wrestling or even a game. I know differently. It was an expression I heard for 20 years of my former marriage. An expression my perpetrator always demanded, a submission, a begging for mercy as he abused me…he would not stop on so many occassions – until I said “Uncle.” The perpetrator was my ex husband.

This isn’t going to be a blog sob story about yet another victim of domestic violence venting and character bashing. Here is the story of ME. I only tell you where I came from so that you can better grasp the jubilation of how I have evolved. A few years ago, I had a very popular blog (thank you), titled “Until You Say Uncle.” In the course of a 6 year period, I took that blog down twice. Both of those times, I considered every measure of what to do. It all had to do with my two sons…I said Uncle. I had heard that they – most likely their father- wanted the blog down. I backed down, lost my voice in the desire to regain my relationship with my sons. Let me tell you, giving up your voice is like giving up your soul.

I told a story back then, too. I think the worst part was related to and about my two boys. Telling of Parental Alienation, explaining it’s signs and steps, I transferred my personal heartache out to the land of social media. It’s because of them that I wrote, took down my former blog, then reinstated it…only to remove it again. Each time, I did so hoping that it would bring them back to me. I didn’t understand what to do or what not to do. I have finally came to the conclusion that my actions were neither a cause nor an effect of what transpired. But back then I hadn’t figured out that whether I wrote or not, whether I told of domestic violence, shared my history of abuse and tribulation, didn’t matter – briefly, I was foolish enough to think that perhaps the blog kept them from me. It didn’t. When I was silent, the alienation continued. I will tell you more of that in days to come.

My ex husband had told me that if I pursued my quest for a divorce, I would never see my children again. They were 13 and 17 years old at the time. A divorce proceeding I started in 1999 was not finalized until late in 2006, with another decade of legal abuse in addition to those high conflict court-filled years.

And so, I wrote. In 2009, I wrote to grieve, I wrote to heal, and sometimes I would just write so some day my sons would know how I fought for them with every ounce of my being. I didn’t write of the horrors related to my marriage until my sons were well into their twenties and could perhaps handle the so many truths. Meanwhile, during the battle of divorce court, my ex was telling my sons I broke up our family and filled their minds with hateful lies.

When I first learned how to blog in 2009, after seeing the movie “Julie and Julia”, my words came from a victim mentality that I knew only too well. A victim may be defined as anyone who experiences injury, a loss, or misfortune, resulting from an event or series of events. I wrote experiences of horror – from a voice describing rape, beatings, humiliation and worse. Yes, so much worse. I wrote of a mourning that to this day, has not ended – parental alienation. Now you can add grandparent alienation to the roster as both of my sons continue a cycle of hate. I have four grandchildren I have never met.

Trauma would often trigger my writing in the past. Experiences would be shared as I muddled through life. It took me a great deal of time to realize that life is not meant to merely survive – but to find your way through all your challenges and thrive.

I hope you will join me on my new blog journey and come to realize that I was able to transform victimization into a victory of great joys. I’m grasping the strength to rise up. Not every day is a good day, but my soul tells me to live every day with as much hope and faith that I can muster.

It also tells me to Never Say Uncle Again.