Saturday, July 30, 2005

Dear Family - By the daughter of Rabbi Eliezer Eisgrau

Dear Family - By the daughter of Rabbi Eliezer Eisgrau
The Awareness Center's Daily Newsletter - July 30, 2005

Dear Family,
You have all turned your backs and walked away from me. My father, my mother, and eleven siblings. All gone.
This reality is very sad. It is disturbing, and incomprehensible all at the same time.
What is the terrible crime I committed that warranted the loss of my entire family? What could cause parents to abandon a child? Siblings to abandon a sister? And a community to collectively turn its back in silence?
I committed a terrible crime. My unforgivable crime is that I spoke the truth about my childhood.
I could no longer keep secret the years of fear and pain. The molestation by my father, and the emotional abuse and neglect of both my parents...
I did try hard to keep it in the family as I had been taught to. I tried so hard to be the daughter you wanted me to be. To be "good" To let it go, and just forget, and somehow be OK... But I was in too much pain. I knew I couldn't continue without help.
I came to you first, remember? But you made it clear that you did not believe that I was really hurt. You made it clear that you would not, and could not, believe me that Tatty molested me nor could you support me. You denied that I had a reason to be in so much pain. I had to go elsewhere for help.
Going outside the family for help and support is a major sin. The louder you shouted that it just wasn't true, that Tatty could never do such a thing, that nothing really happened to me, the louder I had to shout to hear myself over the clamor of your thirteen desperate voices.
Oh, if only It were true, as you say, that a therapist somehow convinced me that the memories are true!!! I would sue the therapist and have my family back!
If only it were true, as you say, that the books I read on the subject of abuse are what put these horrible ideas into my head!! I would burn the books and have my family back!!
If only I were truly sick, or truly mental!! I would then pose no threat and I could have my family back!! Oh, if only I were truly evil and out to "get" my father! But I still love my father in spite of myself. I don't believe that my father is an evil monster. He has caused a lot of pain and refuses to take any responsibility for his actions. He is a human being who has done much good and also much bad. He has a serious problem and I wish he would get help.
Unfortunately It is true that I was sexually molested and abused in our family. If I am real than this did happen. I am a product of YOUR family. Thankfully, there were others who heard and I got the help I needed. I survived and I am doing well! To my siblings and my fathers supporters I say I am none of the things you accuse me of. I am just a women. I have my strengths and limitations just like you. I am a wife, a mother, a teacher, a friend, and neighbor just like you. I play with my children, hug them, kiss them and love them, just like you do. I laugh and cry and feel as deeply as you do. I have a life that is rich and joyful and completely separate from my past, as I hope that you do too. And I have many close friends who truly know and appreciate me for who I am...and know nothing of my past.
But there is no substitute for my family. I miss you. In spite of your denial of my experiences. In spite of your blame and accusations. In spite of you saying that your childhood was idyllic and wonderful...and therefore mine was too. I am truly happy for you that this was your experience and I can not take it away from you. I can only envy you. My childhood also had wonderful moments and happy memories, yet the good memories are overshadowed by pain, sadness, and fear. I wish there was a way you could accept our different experiences, and reconcile.
Perhaps there are those of you who would like to be in touch with me and believe that you can't because Rabbi Hopfer advised you to cut me out of the family. It would be going against "Daas Torah" to speak with me. I am so sorry for your pain. I am so sorry for us that you have chosen a rav who apparently believes that you have more to gain by breaking up our family than by encouraging its healing. Any thinking, intelligent person can see that Rabbi Hopfer's cruel advice, which hides behind the guise of "Daas Torah," sadly, has nothing to do with either.
Tatty, I miss you too.
You have hurt me terribly and I can't fully comprehend what you did to me. I understand why the people who have trusted you do not want to believe me. It is just too overwhelming. I also do not want to believe...I still want to believe that I am wrong. I still want to believe that I have a father who is safe. You loved me and hurt me. You gave me life, and you almost killed me. You will always be the only father I have. I will always need you.
Mommy, I think I do understand why you walked away... You made it clear from the time I was young that Tatty was much more important to you than I was. I believe that on some level you know that my memories of him are true. I believe that you needed him, and still need him more than you ever needed me. You have not been able to let yourself truly see me from the time I was very little. And that hurts. Because I needed you desperately. You are my mother and I needed your protection. I will always need you.
I am a women who was terribly abused as a child. I deal with this reality every day of my life. And because I did not keep the secret, I am now a women without parents or siblings. 
With tears and always... hope for the future,
Eisgrau's Daughter.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

What a beautiful letter. I cannot imagine being a member of your family and not being profoundly moved by this letter.