Friday, April 4, 2014

WARNING: Contains Adult Content - Testing the Waters



A victim may be defined as anyone who experiences injury, a loss, or misfortune, resulting from an event or series of events. Trauma can trigger this and send the person's mental stability and self esteem into a downward spiral. The experience one may muddle through allows for the emergence of a somewhat victim mentality. A sense of victim hood. Always feeling that they deserved their bad luck or harmful situation, a person can be conditioned to take the bad....over and over again.

I did just that. However, with all my writing, I hope you realize that I was able to transform victimization into a victory of survival.  I'm alive and kicking, a voice against all the injustices done to me. I am a survivor. All that I am is clearly exhibited in Until You Say Uncle. Right here for me to share.  And it has been quite a journey.  I still catch myself when I'm scared to fight back and stand up for what I believe in against an aggressor. And then I remember...things are not what they used to be. I will not be silent.

In 1978, I did not believe in myself.  I was easy prey for a predator.  I will not dwell on the what ifs...but know surely with all my being that had I a parent who believed in me, my life would have turned out differently.  Sometimes, I still imagine what it would have been like.  Me, as a child, with a mother who loved me, and told me just that.  But that was not my lot in life.  I was dealt a Mom who told me the contrary.  She also told me she should have had a miscarriage when she was pregnant with me, wished I would die from cancer, and how I ruined her life.  I was told I was never going to amount to anything - and that is what I held on to. The nicknames my mother had for me were wielded like a sword to cut through any self esteem I could have had. When you are constantly told how ugly you are, especially from the one person who can shape all you hold dear, well - it becomes who you are - the way you see yourself.

So, in 1978, I was not in the most confident of mindsets.  I was a senior in college - seeking employment and housing (my mother said that I could not live at home after college), with little to no self esteem.  Then along came a young man, someone whom I knew since childhood, and he lavished me with attention.  That is, until July 4 of 1978 when he raped me.  

We all have a moment in our lives when we know we are changed forever. I can tell you that at 11:30 pm on July 4, 1978, was mine.  Most victims of rape don't talk about it.  I didn't. Who could I tell?  My parents were not the kind of people I could go to. Instead, I internalized the crime. I withdrew. Became silent.  I isolated.  I felt branded by this incorrigible young man who stole my future in that one act of sexual violence.

And after this life altering night, it was as though he owned me.  The only way I can describe it is to tell you that he stole my dreams. Every single one of them in his selfish act.  Branded.  I remember watching Bonanza shows, and seeing how they branded their ranch's symbol on the cattle.  That is what rape did to me. And more. This young man - Bob, at 20 years of age, saw me as a body he was able to control, manipulate, use and abuse. I couldn't fight back. I didn't even know how to. 

I became a perpetual victim after that.  I continued to "date" my rapist, if that's what you can call it.  And he escalated his abuse on a weekly basis. Bob, the abuser,  became Bob, my "boyfriend."

My victimization empowered him and he become more brazen.  I guess he figured if he could get away with rape, he could get away with anything.  It no longer mattered what he did to me in public.  We went out to eat with another couple at a yacht club once.  When our meals came to the table, I saw that Bob asked for a side order of macaroni salad, which I loved. When I asked him if I could have a taste, he turned to me with a look of disgust on his face and spit into the bowl of macaroni salad. Right in front of  the other couple, Evan (may his memory be for a blessing) and his girlfriend,Leslie!  They were shocked. I was numb. Evan took Bob aside to talk to him.  I did nothing.  I no longer wanted any macaroni salad.  

Another time, my friends from college came down from Connecticut for a visit.  We were all set to go out to dinner, with Bob and I in the backseat of their car.  Headed to a nice restaurant in New York, Bob brought up the subject of my religious faith.  He didn't like my relationship with my Rabbi - I admired the Rabbi alot and it infuriated Bob.  Bob was probably fearful that I told the Rabbi about all the abuse.  I never did. I didn't tell anyone back then. When I opened my mouth to defend myself - whack! Bob smacked me on the side of my head.  Then again - all while my friend was driving us.  But seeing this in his rear view mirror, my friend stopped the car, screamed at Bob to cut it out...Silence. And we continued like it never happened.

1978 was quite an eventful summer.  It was my first summer of being a victim of sexual assault and violence at the hands of someone I was dating.  I was sucked into hell at a slow pace.  A pace which was speeding up at all costs toward the end of the summer.

The warm summer weather left us. However,in September, Bob still wanted a few more weeks of taking out the speedboat he owned. The name of his boat was Foreplay.  Distasteful, but I never saw the signs back then.  I was oblivious to anything - except accustom to being scolded, criticized, demeaned, and hit.  One chilly afternoon, Bob demanded we go out on the boat.  I thought the weather was not accommodating, but I had to accommodate "the boss", as he liked to be called.

Well, we took the boat out that day.  We left the Castaways Yacht club in New Rochelle, NY, and headed to Mamaroneck's Orienta Point.  It was so cold that afternoon, that I wrapped myself in the two huge bath towels that we brought with us.  It was not the kind of weather for a boat ride. I was about to put my sweat pants and sweatshirt on over my bathing suit, as the breeze was overwhelming and chilled my bones.  His voice loud and ringing, Bob told me not to touch my clothes.  His face was red, about to go into rage mode? I thought.  We were alone in the middle of the Long Island Sound. Anchored off the shore of Mamaroneck's coastline. I could see Orienta Point Beach, but not another soul was out on the water.  Or on the beach.

"Get in the water!" Bob demanded.  "I want to see if it's cold or not.  You're going to test the waters!" 
I don't know what got into me, but I refused.  Huge mistake.  But I didn't think that until the second after I said, "No.  I don't want to."

Bob pulled his penis out of his swim trunks and peed all over me.


And then the what I call hyena laugh.  There was the wicked laugh and evil smirk that he became known for.

"Now, I bet you'll go into the water!"  "And let me know what you think the temperature is - I might want a swim."

Okay - so how disgusting was that?  I don't remember crying.  I certainly don't think I said another word.  What I do remember is getting up, feeling like I was going to puke from being drenched in Bob's urine - and I jumped off the boat, and into the water.

It didn't end there.  Demanding my opinion on the water temperature, I said it was too cold.  He helped me back onto the boat and took out a joint.  Then he had another thought.

"Take off your bathing suit and get down on the floor (of the boat)."
It was time to be his sexual victim again...

I didn't fight, I didn't yell. I had already lost myself and my voice.

Do you know the story of the frog that dies in boiling water? 

If you drop a live frog into a pot of boiling water, it will immediately jump out of the pot. To escape and save itself from sure death.  However, if you put this frog into a pot of room temperature water, and then slowly, steadily, bring the water to boil...the frog will stay in the water until it dies.

I was a frog in a slow boil.  Rape, public humiliation, denigration, and mind control were the tools Bob used to bring the pot to that slow boil.  Thinking I deserved what I got, who knows what else went through my mind back then...I married him. After all that he took from me, my dignity was shattered. I didn't think anyone else would ever want me, as the remains from Bob's torments left me a broken person.

I didn't think anything could get any worse. However, in married life as husband and wife, the hell got hotter than ever.

Why am I telling this story, my history? 

If you ever think my voice comes from the soul of a victim, I wish to correct you right now.  At this moment, I can tell you differently.  I don't know who I was back in 1978.  After that July 4th evening, I lost who I was.

And now I feel like I have finally found her.  Me. But how many other girls end up being abused during the dating period, not knowing the signs from the very beginning?

Bob lavished me with attention.  He would call me several times a day in the beginning.  I thought that was sweet, showed that he cared. Wrong.  It was a means for him to know where I was at all times.  And is all part of the control these perpetrators need to have.

The gifts I was given? I came from an affluent background, so Bob had upped his out-of-the-blue surprises to Gucci handbags, a Louis Vuitton briefcase, flowers, jewelry....He'd hit me, buy me gift.  Rape me, send me flowers.  A cycle that was tumultuous in and of itself. Beyond damaging!  Crazy making. 

And this all happened PRIOR to my marrying him.  Of course it is with a huge amount of humility that I share my experience.  I was not shallow, being swayed with gifts - but I did always believe that Bob was sorry and could change.  I ended up thinking that for 2 decades - and it never happened.  Never any remorse. 

My concern now is for young women everywhere.  I never had any daughters.  But I pray for daughters everywhere.  Young women need to believe in themselves to a point where no one can take their dignity away from them.  They need to be taught the differences between a man who truly cares for them, and a man who needs them like every prison guard needs a prisoner.

And young women need the unconditional love of their mothers.  Mothers should nurture their daughters, guiding them to develop into strong women in their own right.  

Teen dating is much like testing the waters.  In order to end domestic violence, women must escape situations whether the abuse is swift and unyielding...or slow and unassuming.  Young women need to learn the signs of abuse at an early age, so they don't have to learn how to undo the victim mentality like I did.  It's not an easy road to transform the v for victim, into the v for victor.  Not everyone is as lucky as me.  Not everyone ends up finding their voice. 

Teach your daughters the difference between a man who considers her property, and a man who views her properly.  The difference between a man who wants to control her, and a man who wants only the best for her.

Teach your daughters the difference between a man who needs her as a means to an end, and a man who cherishes her until the end of time. 

And we must teach our sons to be the better kind of man.


      

Friday, March 28, 2014

Making an Entrance



Why is it we learn so much in hindsight?

I would like to ask you to view this video that a friend shared with me this morning. It brought tears to my eyes. My reaction was due to my past, my present, and the future.  After taking 2 minutes to watch the video linked below, I'll tell you more about my association with it.

http://youtu.be/zUrqEoeJ1DA

http://www.thisblewmymind.com/bride-makes-stunning-entrance-thats-good-gone-viral-video/#lPDmo8vmd3vWwrZH.01

On February 16, 1980, I entered a room without my parents, without my sister, without my grandparents....without any family...and faced an audience with a Rabbi whom I had just met, and the young man with whom I was to marry - standing under a chuppah.

My parents would not acknowledge nor approve of my wedding (I did always believe they would finally show up - but they didn't), my grandparents were afraid to go against their daughter (my mother), and my sister...well, she was 21 and could have been my maid of honor.  I had purchased a dress for her, which hung wrapped in plastic in a dressing room - paid for and never touched.  Until the very last moment,  I had hoped she would show up. She never did.

But not even the Rabbi I knew since childhood would approve and officiate at this marriage.  He contacted a friend of his from California who was in town for the week, who officiated.  I should have known better.  I didn't even register all this back then.

When it came time to walk into the ceremonial room of the Fountainhead in New Rochelle, New York, I had already had 2 glasses of wine. The young man who was to be my husband was high on cocaine.  As was his groomsmen.  Did anyone notice? Only moments after the ceremony, the "best man" passed out cold, in a plate of food. 

And as the music started, signalling the bridal entrance, I stood outside that huge wooden door, with my future husband's family on the other side, and I wanted to run.  Not down the aisle to a man I was to marry - but run away!  I wanted to escape.  The hall's manager gave me the cue to walk into the room as his hand was on that door's handle.  I then said I didn't want to.  He opened the door, and literally gave my back a little push - a shove.  And there I was - a single young woman, 24 years young, who had already been raped and beaten by the young man waiting on the other end of that aisle....walking into a life that would be nothing less than hell on earth.

By the time of my wedding day, I already had the mindset of victim mentality. My future husband had given me many first experiences, like having a gun held to my head in order to coerce me into doing something I didn't want to do.

Well, I made my entrance.  Nothing like the bride in that video as viewed above.  I don't remember wanting to sing, I don't remember love in my heart - I'm sorry but I don't. I felt branded. I remember regret and sorrow.  Fear and humility.  Sheer panic. If I ran, and embarassed him - I thought for sure he would kill me. How I wished I could have run away.

And if I had, what were the possibilities that could have lay ahead?  I stayed in that marriage for almost 20 years, and it was ugly. The only light I had in my life was giving birth to two sons. They kept me going. All the luxuries I appeared to have - a beautiful home in Bedford, New York, fantastic automobiles, going to the best restaurants and hotels, only designer clothing, high end jewelry - it all was paid for with my life.  With broken blood vessels, bruises and emotional torment.  If only I had never made that entrance.

It was all about taking the one step beyond the door's threshold. And giving up all my childhood dreams. I didn't trust my gut.  I never believed in myself.  Now, I'm getting there.  And the second I feel an usettling feeling in my core about anything - I listen to my body, and contemplate with my brain.

At 7PM on that February 16th, of 1980, I made my grand entrance, wearing an $83 sample wedding gown that I purchased off the rack of a White Plains bridal store.  I made the entrance which led me to who I am today.

I survived those wedded 20 years - barely at times.  I made a final exit in filing for divorce from my abuser. 

When I saw the video of this bride's entrance, I cried.  Not only for how wonderful her heart must feel.  Thinking they sure look too young! to make such a commitment....

But because of what was taken away from me when I made my own entrance in 1980.

(I'm also quite in tuned to weddings these days....my younger son's wedding is coming up on June 21...I hope the bride's entrance is a grand one, with only love and peace in her heart. I'm not sure that will be possible, considering how I am being treated.  As of this time, neither the bride nor my son have included me in their lives/wedding plans - and I am the mother of the groom.)

Monday, February 17, 2014

A Musical Memory




My older son always liked to play the "cooler" one of my two boys. It was a facade for everyone else, but not me - his Mom.
 
My older son was the one who would cry quietly, tears rolling down a cheek in the shadows. In 1992, when I was hospitalized for having a miscarriage (one of several I suffered), my older son was the one who cried for his mother when staying over at a friend's house.
 
It is only now, years - a decade - into not having my sons in my life, that I reflect... and realize so many things. My older son ran out of rooms, fled the house, when his father raged so many times. My older son was too sensitive to witness it and process it. As no child should. My younger son would remain witness to more than his older brother, thus has had so much more to deal with.

 I remember when the song "Tears in Heaven" came out. A ballad written by Eric Clapton and Will Jennings, it was about the pain Clapton felt following the tragic death of his 4 year old son. My older son at 11 years old was so moved by this song, that he would cry whenever he heard it. It was amazing that this tough kid, the one who tried to hide so much emotion from everyone...understood the pain in every lyric and note. Every time the song played over the radio in the car during carpools, etc. I made sure to change the station. And my older son knew that I knew. The power of the word, and how that music went right to his heart. Even at so young an age. 


As you know, parental alienation took over my relationship with my sons. That song that moved my older son at 11 years of age....I wonder how he would feel about it now. Now that he has cut me out of his life since 2000, only to hurt me time and time again. You can say that the alienating parent, my ex husband, is to blame. My older son is now 32 years old. I pray that he be brave enough to put the pieces of our lives together again. 


 And if he is reading this,  perhaps with his own 3 year old son on his lap, ....

this is for him. My first born.

I just wonder if he feels anything anymore. Or if becoming a father has brought him new insights.

Now I am the parent who lost a child. 

Two to be exact.
 
Pleae click on the you tube link and take a listen.  And if you know my son, play it for him.  Maybe it will open his heart.
 

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Faith : What good is it?



Recently, I heard someone say, "Faith begins where knowledge ends."

I strongly disagree.

I had faith, even when knowledge existed.



Here I sit, contemplating, reflecting, and questioning.  I have the knowledge of who I was, who I am, and who I strive to be.  I also have the knowledge of how close I was to both my sons throughout their childhoods, how I never put myself first (not even before an abusive husband), and  how I did mitzvot every chance I got. Of course, I have and had my faults, did and said things that were sometimes not the best choices...but I never did anything to be mean to another living creature and always focused on acts of lovingkindness. I grew up in an abusive household and swore to never be cruel like my mother, or indifferent like my father. I modeled my life on the theory of "opposites."

I lost both my sons to parental alienation (brainwashing and manipulation of one parent - turning children against the other parent), my abusive husband is now an "ex husband" who continues his torture of me via legal abuse and prohibiting me from having a relationship with my sons (including now a 3 year old grandson). All that mitzvot I did...donating what I could gather to drop off at food banks and serving people at soup kitchens as a married woman, always done on the sly (the husband forbid such things) - well, in the last decade I was found on the other side of the server's in similar establishments - with food stamps for a while, as I became a victim of an abuser's economic abuse (my ex husband owes me alot of money - for years he did not abide by orders for financial support as a means of punishing me further).  

I have resided in shelters, gone without food, and even remember a fall season when I had no socks or warm jacket.  I have lived in my car, washing up in local hotels' rest rooms for a time - Arrowood in Rye was the best. In America, you get as much justice as you can afford.  Married, I had no access to all the money we had.  It wasn't until I met someone, after I had already begun the divorce process, who was so compassionate that he lent me his life savings - enabling me to retain counsel in the legal process.  And all that happened simultaneously to when my husband lived in our Bedford estate, drove the new Bentley convertible , the Jag, and traveled to exotic places on vacations. He would throw money around like there was no tomorrow.  And he threw alot of that money at my sons, too. The court system left it that way.  There was the inequitable distribution during my divorce -  and my abusive husband's hidden assets and money galore never entered a courtroom. 

I have shared my experiences of being the victim of brutal rape, being locked in dark closets, and having endured horrific suffering orchestrated by that husband.  Through it all, I had faith.  I guess I did.  For when I was limited to the isolation of a darkened closet as punishment for whatever I may have said or done (and many times just because the husband felt like it), I prayed.  My Higher Power was the person I spoke to. G-d!  So, would you not say I had faith? 

And shouldn't I have lost it then?  Lost all faith?  Bad things happen to good people.  Do those good people continue to believe in G-d?

I did. But you know, it is getting just so hard on some days.

I cannot say my G-d is all good and loving anymore.  How can He let such awful things happen on earth?  And if He is "all knowing," wouldn't he know who was evil and who was good? Even I know that. Wouldn't horrors be corrected?

Did you ever walk into the children's ward of a hospital?  I have.  Every time I go to a hospital, I make sure I do that.  I'm disclosing this for the very first time.  I walk through the halls and peek in to see the children who are awake.  I grab a nurse to assist the children who are crying.  A little over two years ago, I was visiting a friend in the hospital, and took the time to go to the children's wing.  I saw something that haunts me to this day.  A small child standing in a crib, crying - bandaged head to toe.  Only her eyes peered out at me when she noticed me near the door.  I smiled, said hello...she may have been 3 years old.  I made funny faces, funny noises - the crying continued.  I got a nurse to see her, and pain  medication was administered.  The nurse told me that the young girl had a pot of scalding water poured on her - by her mother.  On purpose.

I went back to the hospital, to see this child again.  I brought her some toys and a very soft pink blanket.  I didn't know what else to do.  I sang a silly song to her for a few minutes, and she just peered out at me through her bandages.....A few days passed, I went back again.  She was gone.  The nurse told me that they were hoping the mother would be jailed for a long time, and that social services came for the child. They had no information on a father.

Now, did I stop believing in G-d?  And what of my faith?  I wondered what the nurses who tended to the children in such situations believed in......

Logically speaking, I should be mad. Mad about so much and at so many.  I have a hard time with that emotion.  Therapists tell me that "mad" was literally beaten out of me during my 20 years of domestic violence.  And they are most likely correct.  I don't want to be anyone's victim anymore, but my tolerance level for people doing the wrong thing by me was higher than the average person's.  Battered women's syndrome can do that to you. Now, things have changed.  I bet that's part of my healing.

Now what do I do with this idea of faith?  

I'm hurting in a terrible way..  There was a time when I thought I could not live through such a period.  When I thought I could not survive losing my sons during my divorce, I did not want to survive.  Then was the time suicide first entered my thought pattern.  Escape from the pain.  Leave the mess in my life behind.  Stop my heart from hurting so.  But that is not the answer. That would not be acceptable to G-d. It is also against the law....

So, what is the answer to ease a heart that hurts? Faith is?

I have seen children dieing in hospitals, and as a Soldiers' Angel for a decade - I have received letters from mostly 18 to 21 year olds telling me how shooting someone for the first time changed them forever. Many of my soldiers lost their own young lives.  Senseless.  I have gone through a cold season with no socks nor winter jacket. I have awoken on the back seat of a sedan that was my home, for another day.

And through all that, I had faith.  I had this idea that there was still hope in the world and something greater than I was watching out for us all. 

I grieve on a daily basis over two beautiful boys who grew into hurtful and heartless men. My own sons. Now no matter how they treat others in their lives, how do you make your own mother suffer so? I met the Aunt of my younger son's fiancee. She told me how wonderful my son was.  "Really?" I wanted to say, but did not......and I continued in thought..."Then how could he be so mean to me, his own mother?"  I'd say that is pretty far from being wonderful!

"G-d, I need my faith.  Now more than ever.  Please, find me."

I am floundering.  I need something, a lifeline. In the last month, I have been extremely disturbed by a representative of my own faith (I want to make it clear : this "man" was not of my congregation), bullied by people who don't even know me, and still my court actions are delayed as my ex husband amuses himself with me as his hobby. Five weeks ago, I had major surgery to correct injuries inflicted on me so long ago - when I was a victim of domestic violence, as doctors missed the proper diagnosis until recently. I was scheduled to speak at a local event, bringing awareness to domestic violence...then silenced as someone canceled my few minutes of awareness. The woman who canceled my speaking appearance did not even think enough of me to tell me the truth.  On another note, my son became engaged to a local New Jersey girl...and they will not speak to me nor meet with me (parental alienation is forever?).  Disappointments have not been scarce this month.  What a month January has been.

I need faith. 

Faith is not something that approves or disapproves of G-d.  It doesn't pick up when I have no defined answers, or knowledge.  For me, faith is something that is necessary to face the turmoil life throws at me. On a constant basis. All the time. It is a feeling enmeshed in the belief that there absolutely must be a bigger picture involved here.  

Faith may just be the only tool I have to help me survive right now.



  

Tuesday, February 4, 2014

My Son, My Heart




I find it is always better to "sit" on things that bring you conflict.  And I also find that going with my heart is usually the best solution for any sort of resolution.

Have you ever held a newborn in your arms?  And for all you women out there,Moms, try to remember what it felt like when you held your own flesh and blood in your arms for the very first time.  You Dads, too - remember?

I had a scheduled C section when my younger son was born.  It was scheduled for 8 AM on March 22, 1985.

During my entire pregnancy, I sang to my son.  I talked to him.  I prayed for him. I gave him his name as soon as an ultrasound revealed I was having another boy.  But with all that I had imagined, nothing could ever have prepared me for the joy in my heart when this little guy met me - face to face.

Although this wasn't the first time I gave birth, it kind of was.  My first son was born after 11 hours of labor and an emergency C section - prematurely.  With a due date of January 26, 1982...my first son was born on December 19, 1981, weighing only 4 pounds.  Rushed to the Intensive Care Preemie Unit in a well known NYC hospital while I was still sedated, he was born with underdeveloped lungs. And I developed a fever in the Bronxville hospital where he was born.  The two of us did not meet until he was already weeks old.  I loved him with all my heart, when I hadn't even seen him.  That was one of the worse times of my life. I prayed with every ounce of my being for his survival. And my prayers were answered. Baruch Hashem.

So when I saw my younger son for that very first time, after I awoke from the anesthesia and he had already been cleaned up...I truly realized that having a child is like having your heart survive outside of your body. I loved him with all my being. I melted, I cried, I thanked G-d.  Mostly, I thanked G-d.  This child was a miracle.  A true living miracle. And when I looked into his face, his little eyes told me he knew it.  And he loved me back just the same. 

During this pregnancy, I lived with my parents for the last 6 months until my baby's birth.  I do not want to soil this wonderful memory I am reliving by the fact that I left my husband for the safety of my unborn son. My older son and I lived with my parents through months of reflection, as I knew I had to protect this unborn child at all costs.  My husband did not want another son and when I delivered the news after my 12 week ultrasound, he went into rage mode.  He did not want 2 sons, he couldn't fit 2 sons in a Ferrari, he didn't want 2 sons in his business, etc.  I was bruised and battered. My parents packed up my 2 year old and me...not a pleasant memory at all. The only time my parents were ever there for me.....

Getting back to the sacred meeting of this baby boy.  I will refer to it as a sacred meeting.  He was a holy one from the moment of his conception. I don't know if this has ever happened to another Mom after delivery, but I already saw his future - or what I had hoped it would be.  I immediately thought of his becoming a Bar Mitzvah.  I thought of his wedding under a Chupah some day.  And I felt my heart mesh with his as we would be together forever. Or so I thought.

My Nana, of blessed memory, came to the hospital to meet her second great grandson and proclaimed that his hair had a circular motion on the tippy top of his head.  According to her, that meant that this newborn was going to be a Rabbi some day. It was indicative of the Yarmulke he would wear, she said. And she,too, felt that he was an old soul.

And I believe he was.  As this child grew into his own self, his compassion, understanding, and empathy for others was overwhelming.  Way beyond his years. Often times, he would astound me.  He would come home from elementary school, always missing his Transformer gloves, or a hat, or a favorite pencil case.  I'd ask him where these things were, and he would tell me,  " oh, ____, liked them and I gave them to him so he could be happy today."  My little old soul.  And the times that we would take left overs from a NYC restaurant, to see homeless people on the streetcorners as we walked by, when he would go up to them - even at 5 years young - tell them he wanted them to have a good meal...he would take the leftovers we were carrying and hand them over, without another word.  This little boy was amazing. 

My son.

I can go on and on with those kinds of stories.  He was the one who felt so much for others. He was always concerned with the wellbeing of other people, asking of the elderly and ill. And no one had to even tell him to.

My son.

In second grade, his teacher, Ms. Damien once asked the class, "If you were to find a treasure at the bottom of the ocean, what would it be?"  This son answered her without thinking, "My mother."  I recieved a phonecall that day, and was asked to come into school.  It was the first time a teacher picked up on the possiblity of domestic violence going on in our home.

This little boy saw too much.  It wasn't like when his father would hit me, like I could ask him to take it to another room.  Where my older son would flee the surroundings during his father's acts of violent rage, this younger son would remain. Crying and begging his father to stop hurting his mother, me.  Many times, he would tug at his father's shirt to make him stop pulling my hair or choking me.  And this was the child to always bring me ice packs and bandages, tending to my wounds.

My son.

I am not proud of what I am telling you.  I exposed my children to domestic violence. I had no where to go. Frightened out of my own skin.  When I had reunited with my husband, after my baby's birth, my husband decided there was no room in our lives for my parents. (There was a huge blowout between my husband and my mother at one point. My parents "disowned" me.  My mother always said she didn't want me anyway.) I had no one, as the isolation of an abuser is only part of the plan.  No money, nowhere to go - my goal was to survive and keep these children safe.  I did the best I could.  I swear.  And I am sorry about so much.  Especially not getting out of that situation somehow, someway - but I just didn't know how.

We had all the finest material things you could ask for.  My sons grew up.  My older son became a Bar Mitzvah.  Not shortly afterward, I fled to a domestic violence shelter while my boys were away in sleep away camp.  I went back to my husband, though.  My husband said he would not allow my younger son to become a Bar Mitzvah if I didn't.  

Many of you might judge me for that.  All I can tell you is that my Jewish faith was of the highest order.  And I could not let this man take that away from my younger son. My younger son became a Bar Mitzvah. Then, I tried to get us out of the violent atmosphere 2 more times...but with the new threats of never seeing my sons again....I always went back. 

When I knew the man I had married was going to literally kill me, as he promised me he would - it was the last time.  He had his hands around my throat and said, "Should I kill you right now, or see if you gasp for breath?" In 1999 I filed for divorce for the third time, and kept to it despite the threats that I would never see my sons again.

Never see my sons again? Who could believe such a thing?  I was so close to my boys.  Although I am focusing on my younger son here for a reason, my love for my older son was the same.  My boys were my world and my life.  We played basketball together (their father was not interested in them), we played soccer together (I was even an assistant soccer coach - and their father was not interested in them).  I went to every play, every game, every milestone.  And almost always alone.  Their father was not interested in them.

Not until I followed through with the divorce proceedings and it would cost him money for support.  But better yet, he thought, it was a way to torture me for the rest of my days....taking my sons from me, their mother.

For a while, my younger son would remain in my life during our divorce proceding.  His father had literally told the boys that if they stayed with me (custody) they would end up on the street, like he said I was going to.  Scaring his own sons into submission, they said they had to live with their father.  I still saw them.  Visitation was diminishing though.  My husband would call them constantly during our time together.  My younger son's visits would always be interrupted by at least 4 phone calls from his father, demanding he get home for a haircut, or some other lame excuse.  The phone line dedicated to my communicating with my sons....their father transformed that into a computer line so I couldn't contact them anymore. The therapist visits that were court ordered to strengthen the relationship with my sons, the one that their father was destroying with lies, well....those appointments were canceled so many times by my husband that they became non-existent.  He told my boys I didn't want them anymore, that I didn't love them anymore.  I tried to combat that, but eventually my sons would not see me anymore.  They were fooled in two ways: 1. by believing their father's lies and 2. by not giving me a chance to tell my truth.

And I reflect on that moment when I looked into the eyes of my newborn on March 22, 1985.  With every hope and dream a mother can have for a child.  He had a little red mark on his forehead, which eventually faded.  But I believed he was touched by my Higher Power.  I saw something in him I had never seen before.  And at the time, I couldn't describe it.  Now I can.  Hope. He appeared to be the entire theory of Tikkun Olam in one vessel.  He looked like he was not only going to repair hearts, but the world.

How wrong it all turned out, though. The pain that little soul brought into my life, almost killed me.  Via a planned course of manipulation, the father of my sons destroyed much of the spark within both my boys.  A child will never cut a parent out of his/her life.  A child has to be taught to do that.  And my sons had a psychopathic teacher, their own father.

Over the years of 2003-2008, I would receive vile emails from both my sons. I saved each and every one of those emails.  Now imagine this.  That little soul you loved so grows up into a teenager and sends you emails - telling you to get a gun and shoot yourself.  Telling you that pills are for wusses and that you should kill yourself the real way - a bullet to the head.  And an email calling his mother a cunt.  Another saying that he is waiting for me to die alone. My older son, he took another route.  One of less expressive anger.  He, too, has made hurting me a hobby - I have a 3 year old grandson he will not let me meet.

If you were ever to tell me, so many years ago, that my sons would not be in my life some day - or that they would hurt and abuse me in any way....I would have said you were crazy.  It couldn't happen.  But it did.
In 2004, my younger son was court ordered to see Dr. Paulina Koernberg with me (I never stopped fighting for them in court).  In our documented meeting, my younger son told Dr. Koernberg that he thought his mother was a goddess (yes, he said that exactly).  The kind Doctor looked at him surprised, as I sat on the other side of her.  She looked at my son and asked, "So, what happened?  Now you don't want to see your mother at all?"  You know what my son answered?  "My father opened my eyes."

Here I sit, contemplating what to do about  a current situation.  My younger son is now engaged.  Hope, right?  That was my first thought.  For in 2009, he had a wonderful girlfriend who contacted me and believed that everyone needs their mother.  She was trying to make ammends between my son and I after she told me what this son had explained to her.  She said my son told her his mother abandoned him as a child because she didn't want him anymore. Incredible!  And she had believed him...until she got to know me.

Well, that relationship did not work out.  And my son is presently engaged to another young woman, one whom I have heard so many wonderful things about.  I didn't find out about this until only weeks ago.  Someone who works at my husband's company of Foodirect (many people don't like him) called to tell me of this news. My sons both work there, for their father. 

With one son married already, I would lay up at night worried about my younger son being alone - after he broke up with his former girlfriend in 2010. When I heard he was engaged, at first my heart hurt for not being included first hand in his life.  Then, as I think any loving mother would feel?  I was ecstatic that he was not alone.  That he had love in his life.  And perhaps someone who could melt the ice around his heart.  The ice that keeps me out.   

The wedding is scheduled for June 21, 2014.  And here is what I call the real kicker.....are you ready for this? I'll have to give you some background first.  An insight into this mother's soul. 

Last October, of 2013, was the most amazing month of my life.  My faith has kept me alive in so many ways.  I try to abide by Jewish ethics and values every day of my life.  And for the first time I traveled to Israel.  I not only took that journey, but I became a Bat Mitzvah - ON MASADA!!! On October 15, 2013.  And here is what I did, only moments prior to that extraordinary ceremony.....

I sat alone on a ledge of rock, holy rock, and spoke to G-d.  We had a conversation.  And no....G-d did not speak to me - well, I didn't hear Him at least.  But I felt His presence in every part of my being.  And I asked him to please, bring my sons back to me.  In some way.  And let  us know the greatest gift of all.  Shalom. Peace- I want peace. I prayed for nothing else.  I thanked Him for all my blessings, especially for making my pilgrimage to the Holy Land happen.  I told Him of a few special blessings that I was so happy about - the wonderful man in my life, a Rabbi that is amazing, a commmunity of wonderful people....and then I asked.  Please, G-d.  Bring my sons home.

With that said, when I learned of my younger son's engagement...I was also told of his fiancee's name.  I googled her.  And almost fell off my chair. My younger son, now of 28 years old, was engaged to a young woman from MILLBURN, NEW JERSEY!!!!!!  My son, who lived in Bedford, New York, and worked at Foodirect in the Bronx, found the love of his life from a town only ten minutes from where his mother relocated!  What were the chances?  That was a gift from G-d. Her family lives only minutes from my home, of West Orange, NJ!

I have since learned much about the young woman who is to become my daughter in law.  She is kind, smart, loving, compassionate, and lives a life of mitzvot.  And, she has brought a glimmer of hope into my life, though I have never spoken to her nor met her.  I have reached out to her - but she has yet to respond.

I'm waiting.  And hoping.  And praying.
I'm also thanking G-d for making this happen.  

And in order for miracles to happen, I believe we have to take a bit of action upon ourselves.  I'm not going to be quiet and just sit back about this.  I have already reached out to this young woman and much else has transpired.  It's been difficult. Her father has had a middleman contact me, and tell me that he wants to have my situation remain quiet.  He does not want this matter "exposed." Does my history of domestic violence upset him?  Or is it that fact that my son has tried to erase me for so many years?  I am not exposing anyone, merely being the mother of the groom.   A groom who might not invite his own mother to his wedding. How can anyone sit back and let that happen?

I pray that this young lady is brave.  May she have the courage to speak to me, meet me, get to know me...and perhaps, have the understanding - that everyone needs their mother.  And if she doesn't realize it now, may she one day understand. I know it might not be until she has a child of her own....

Maybe that will be what it takes for her to realize that when you do have a child, it is like walking around with your heart outside of your body.  Maybe she can help me reunite with my son. And just maybe she will understand my heart.   

With love.















Saturday, February 1, 2014

Never Give Up!



                                           -News Alert- 

I have created a new Facebook group. It is appropriately titled,
"Never Give Up!"  (with an exclamation mark)
https://www.facebook.com/groups/270294246455073/


Please join the group if anything on my blog has resonated with you. The group's mission statement reads as follows: 
May this group offer support for all those effected by Parental Alienation. You may be a friend ...of someone who is suffering from the wrath of Parental Alienation; you may be a family member. Or you may be the targeted parent in this mess. Let's hold each other up, and get through this - one day at a time. Stay positive. Never give up!
 
When bad things happen, they can defeat you, destroy you....or you can let them strengthen you!  Let's stand together and support each other through the hell that is Parental Alienation.  The mourning that never ends.
 
Never Give Up!
 
 
 

Monday, January 20, 2014

In memory of MLK, Jr.



This pretty much sums up what I have to say today, a day reserved in memory of a man who lived his life to bring change into our world.  For the good of all.


"Our lives begin to end the day that we become silent about things that matter."
                                      -Martin Luther King, Jr.


Friday, January 17, 2014

UNBROKEN


 

 
Well, here I am at home again - I survived the brutal spinal surgery - and rehabilitation stay - yay!  But it is a long road to recovery. This entire journey has made me stronger in my quest to end domestic violence. The injuries to my spine were caused by my abuser, my exhusband, beginning in 1985 (the first time I remember him kicking me in the back after he threw me down on the ground). However, the domestic violence had started earlier in our relationship.
 
When I mention back surgery, I hear the complaints of others - "Oh, I have a bad back, too - I take a bath.".....well, that is not in the same realm as what I have suffered. After almost 30 years of physical therapy (my body was battered constantly by my exhusband)...I am now UNBROKEN - at least my spine is repaired. The 2 fractures that I have lived with (in agony) are repaired with metal plates, spacers and screws and bolts. I even had to have part of my spine removed.  I am now the bionic woman, hardware and all:

Saturday, December 14, 2013

Domestic Violence and Everlasting Injuries



If any of you know a woman who you suspect of being abused - please do not turn the other way - please do not ignore your gut suspicions. Please help her. 

I was a victim of domestic violence when married to my ex husband. I did not get out soon enough - was badly beaten over a 20 year time period (I did try to leave 3 times, but he always threatened that I would not see my sons again, and Jason and Jared Levine were my world). Because I did not leave soon enough (not until my sons were 13 and 16 years old, and ex kept his word ripping my sons out of my life)....I now have severe physical pain every day of my life from injuries I sustained.

Last week, doctors found that I have 2 broken bones in my back from a very old trauma injury. I need spinal surgery - will be in Morristown Hospital for 4 days....then Kessler rehab for 3 weeks. The domestic violence injuries are everlasting. Please, help anyone you think is a victim.....

Please - save them from this.

If you don't know how to help a victim of domestic violence, here are some pointers:


• Let the victim talk. Just having someone who will listen will help her or him take stock of the situation. Do not judge.

• Let the victim know how important his or her safety is to you, and work together to develop a safety plan that may be put into action. Recognize that the victim's safety might be more of a priority to you than it is to the victim at first. Survival, not safety, may be their focus. Try not to push too hard. Go at your friend's pace.


• Respect the victim's right to make decisions. Even when you feel frustrated, but don't give up on them. Try not to take over responsibility for your friend's life. Your friend is the one who will live with the consequences of decisions she or he makes and is the one who must take responsibility for them. Let him/her know that you understand how difficult it is for her/him to make the necessary changes. Tell your friend that you are there for them and care about them. Repeat this often.

• Let the victim know that he or she is not alone. Abusers isolate their victims.  It is horrible.

• Share information about available resources in the community. Google it! Ask your local police department for suggestions. Offer to go with your friend the first time to pursue any of the resources.

• Stress that the violence is not the victim's fault and that she or he does not deserve to be abused.

• No matter what your friend has said or done, the person who becomes violent is the one responsible for the violence.

Friday, December 13, 2013

I Love You To the Moon....and Back




I haven't felt this way in the longest time....like floating on air, happy, proud, beaming inside.

It doesn't take much.

Today, I heard from someone that my Jared is a fine young man.  Lots going on - but had to shout out to Jared - that it makes his mother so proud. And my son is marrying a wonderful young woman from Millburn, New Jersey - a woman who knows what mitzvot are, and lives them.  There really is such a thing as tears of joy.  I'm elated and tearing up at the same time. I wish they would include  me in their lives.....

This photo is from Jared's Bar Mitzvah celebration.  It is the image that I see right now, that I feel at this moment. I was "dancing on cloud nine" with my son - the old soul with the heart of gold.  I chose a gold dress so appropriately.

There is nothing better than being happy for your own child.  And I am so ecstatic over my son ! 
Jared, I am your Mom - and I will always love you to the moon ....and back.

With such joy in my heart, I am sending you and your fiancee wishes of much happiness.


PS.  Jason, I love you to the moon and back, too!

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Directly from Foodirect Victims



Tomorrow is my court date against the abusive ex husband!  9:30 AM before Justice Duffy in the White Plains, NY, courthouse.  All are welcome to show support! And offer prayers.

Sending out a special thank you to all the employees and former employees of Foodirect (my abusive ex's company!). Even customers and competitors of Foodirect have contacted me through this blog....You all have offered me support and shared priceless information with me - God bless you all. I'm staying strong - and you have given me even more strength to stand up to Robert Levine. Will keep you all posted....after tomorrow! It's sad when a malignant narcissist psychopath like Mr. Levine hurts so many people . 

And special thanks for the pics and info about my sons, Jason  Ross Levine and Jared Austin Levine! It is so appreciated. 

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

The Storm After the Calm - Heading Back to Court



I haven't written for a few weeks.  Haven't done my artwork, my volunteer work, or much of anything else.  And when I'm not active, all the physical pain I endure from bodily damage, a result of the domestic violence, seems to get worse.

After the fabulous month I had in October, reality strikes yet again.  November has been a month of legal work and emotional distress.  It has already proven to be a month of severe triggers for my PTSD. Perhaps it will help to keep writing.  I am reminded of how I named this blog. 

"Until you say Uncle," was a phrase I heard all too often during my marriage to the ex husband.  He would be sitting on my rib cage, pinning me down, or holding me under a bed sheet.  Sometimes I would hear it from the other side of a locked bathroom door - as I sat in the dark, on the side without control, with no escape.  Locked in. 

My ex husband would not stop whatever torture he was dispensing until I said it - he always wanted me to say "Uncle."

Well, it's not so easy for him anymore. I was conditioned to cave when he bullied me in the past.  And just last week he tried to bombard me with all his legal paperwork in an attempt to destroy me, as he is able to afford unlimited attorneys' fees  - but I'm not throwing in the towel.  I am pursuing what is rightfully mine.

In 2006, I received a threat from him that is documented in the District Attorney's office of Westchester County.  They wanted me to press charges at the time, but I was petrified.  My ex scared me over the telephone wires - enough to be unable to function. He said that if I pursued trying to collect the money he owed me....I "would end up on the street."  Dead. 

I laid low for a while after that.  My attorney died in a mysterious car accident.  I had surgery for damage that the ex did to me, and was confined to a wheelchair for 3 months, lots transpired.....time kept ticking.  But I did not say "Uncle."

I began this blog and started speaking out every chance I could. Writing has been my way of fighting for my sons, warning the world of what can happen in high conflict divorces with a narcissist psychopath, hoping that it doesn't happen to you, and of course - there is the disclosure for healing. My writing may sometime seem a bit jumpy, but that is due to my flashbacks and severe Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. I'm not a professional writer. I only write from my heart and experiences. I don't see things or remember things in smooth flowing waves.  My waves are choppy and turbulent.  Flashes of a scene embedded in memory, senses all highly aroused - I relive it all when I write.  Many times it takes me hours to recoup after a blog entry.

Like now - I seem to be jumping around a bit.  There is alot of turbulence in the ocean of my mind today.  I'm going back to court on December 11, to the Westchester County courthouse.  To once again stand up for myself and seek a bit of justice.  Believe me, it is only a small particle of justice in the vast world of what I've been through.  

As my ex husband continues his attempts to destroy me financially and emotionally, it wasn't enough for my ex husband to take my sons from me.  To involve them in every aspect of our legal divorce. The initial forensic psychologist's report came back suggesting I get full custody of my boys, then young teens.  However the ex had already gone into full blown brainwashing mode when I had decided that I wanted a divorce - and would no longer tolerate the abuse. Lies were told to my boys. He even threatened them.  My ex prolonged the divorce procedure to drain me in every way possible.  Another forensic psyche evaluation was ordered.  My ex refused to pay for it, so I borrowed monies to have it completed. This report emphatically proclaimed my ex to be a diagnosed psychopath, sociopath, having anti social personality disorder, and as being morally bankrupt. I continued to fight for my sons.  The financial debt swallowing me up, just regarding the custody issue, was in excess of $250,000. Time was of the essence, and my ex knew that.  He used the years of delaying court procedings to further manipulate and control my sons.  I sought a custody trial, then withdrew it when a judge told me it would be futile if the boys wanted to stay with their father. Therapy sessions were going to assist in reunifying me with my sons, but the ex cancelled them so often that they eventually became nonexistent.  The phone line I was to use to contact my sons was changed into a fax line.  On the few visits I had - the ex would call and interfere with visitation.  I was living a nightmare worse than any beating I survived.  My ex was ripping my heart out.

But I'm still here.  Some days barely.  I need prayers for strength now.  I was left with many physical issues from years of abuse.  I survived, but not without it taking its toll.

I'm headed back to a courtroom in a matter of weeks. Although he boasts of his financial success, his multi million dollar company of Foodirect, etc.,  the ex decided not to pay me what the court ordered.  Well, he always did say he was above the law. 

I don't want to say "Uncle."  Unable to support myself, legally disabled, I so want to live.  What happened to right and wrong - do you get only as much justice  as you can afford?  I wish there were some sort of peace with my sons, but that doesn't seem likely. They, too, were victims.  They were decieved in two ways: 1. By believing lies, and 2. By not believing the truth.  Their hearts are hardened.  That is probably the worse thing that can happen to any soul.  And I don't know if that will ever change.

So, for now - I'm trying to figure out how to keep going.  I'll go to court, I won't give up, and I'll always wonder.

As much as professionals describe Parental Alienation, predicting the wrath of a diagnosed psychopathic ex husband, and the consequences of breaking the silence of abuse - it all seems so surreal. Is this my lot in life?  To just keep seeking to correct wrongs done to me in the court of law? Enabling my ex husband to continue his abuse in other ways.  

It isn't over "Until You Say Uncle."  I don't even want to whisper it.  


Evidence of legal abuse:  (If the ex would have just been decent, forests could have been saved! He spends more $ in legal fees, than if he would just give me what he owes me.)



Sunday, October 27, 2013

Survivor Joy

 
 
I have had the best month of my life! October has been pure joy. So much good stuff.   I am blessed.
 
October is Domestic Violence Awareness month. I share my happiness in remembering there was once a time when none of this was possible. If you know someone who you suspect is being abused, tell that person that there really is the possibility of a good life for them out there. And if you know for sure that someone is abused....send them to the Rachel Coalition in New Jersey; Hope's Door and My Sister's Place in Westchester County, New York.....or tell them to speak to me. 
 
It is never ever too late for a happy ending.

No, my sons and grandchildren are not in my life. But I can still feel joy.
 
 
 


The next time you're in a room with 6 people, think about this:

• 1 in 4 women experience violence from their partners in their lifetimes.
• 1 in 3 teens experience sexual or physical abuse or threats from a boyfriend/girlfriend in one year
• 1 in 6 women are survivors of sexual assault.
• 1 in 5 men have experienced some form of sexual victimization in their lives.
• 1 in 4 women and 1 in 6 men were sexually abused before the age of 18.

These are not just numbers. They are our reality.  Mothers, girlfriends, brothers, sisters, children, co-workers and friends. The person you confide in most at work, the guy you play basketball with, the people in your book club, your children's babysitter, the checkout clerk, the woman or man seated next to you in a restaurant, your teenager's best friend - or your teen, herself.


The silence and shame must end for good. I was a victim of domestic violence.
Silent no more.
 

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Trophy Wife Plot Twist



Now there's a tongue twister - "trophy wife plot twist."  Can you say that ten times, real fast?  I'll bet you don't want to.  I don't.  I had to live with it as a threat for 8 years. 

 
It was August of 1991.  The weekend after my 35th birthday to be exact.  My ex husband and I were in Pebble Beach, California - at the Pebble Beach Concourse D' Elegance, the ultimate of all classic car exhibitions.  We were walking the grounds as private guests, among other car collectors.  The famous and infamous were among us.  We were included in the top echelon of the collector car hobby, and we were just starting to get involved.  As we walked the golf course grounds one evening, in between being served champagne and caviar by intermittent waiters with white glove service, I noticed how many of the men brought their daughters and grand daughters.  Innocently, I made a comment out loud.

My ex husband immediately expressed words of annoyance.  He told me how stupid I was - and that the younger females with the financially successful men....were their mistresses, girlfriends, or second wives.  I remember feeling dumbfounded.  I lived quite a sheltered life in many ways - and never really saw this before.  As my ex husband demeaned me for my reference of assuming they were happy families together on a vacation, he turned to meet my gaze, and looked me right in the eye.  He said that was going to be him.  He said he wanted a trophy wife and he was going to find one.  Trophy wife.  I had never heard it before.  Then he elaborated on it - all in a matter of minutes, my life turned upside down again....I felt a plot twist coming on.  I was an abused woman, having already sustained numerous physical injuries from beatings, but this was going to be something that I would not know how to survive.  I feared for my children.

Bob Levine, the ex, told me he was going to find a woman who needed him.  He further explained how it was best for him to have a younger woman who "came from nothing" , was uneducated, unworldly and would appreciate anything he threw her way. He especially wanted a woman who was in his own word - desperate. Bob Levine, the abusive narcissist, wanted to be worshipped.  I did not fit this bill.  I was one year older than him....and although I obeyed him most of the time (yes, I am using that word obey), I doted on our two sons.  I never did, never would and never could worship Bob Levine! And coming from a prosperous family in my own right, I grew up with luxuries.  A lifestyle of the rich and famous was not new for me.

1991 was the first time I heard that threat.  And it was not to be the last.  We became more involved in the car hobby, joining the Classic Car Club of America and going on trips called caravans - all over the United States.  The more we participated in their events, the more Bob threatened me with his desire for a trophy wife.  I just wanted to keep my family together at all costs.  My sons always came first.  It just so happens that a majority of the CCCA members have those "trophy wives!"  Bob never loved collecting the classic cars like I did. My favorite was our 1933 1006 Custom Dietrich Packard Convertible Sedan.  I loved loved loved that car.  Bob was extremely jealous of that car!  Every time I "acted up", he would threaten to sell it.  So, as we took classic automobiles on the road and to car shows, Bob was able to try and scare me - with an uncertain future.  

I came to dread that most famous of car shows - that Pebble Beach event which still takes place every August. We attended for several years, even had our cars in the show.  I'm proud to say my Packard was in the same class as a Packard that Jay Leno enrolled. The best of the best in the car hobby attended. the cars were superb, like rolling art.  And it was where the men were the most flamboyant with their young counterparts.  It enabled Bob to  hurt me where it hurts most - in threatening my life with my children.  My sense of security as a Mom was questioned as he would point to the younger women with stepchildren almost their own ages.  I reacted by withdrawing much of the time - realizing that my exhusband was cruel enough and more than capable of throwing me away like yesterday's garbage.  I was never going to put him on a pedestal for beating the daylights out of me, locking me in bathrooms and closets, and controlling even the food I ate.  No, he was not going to get his worship from me.  I save "worship" for my religious faith.  

As the years proceeded, he would be chasing other women - younger women.  And I just tried to survive.  I knew about his secretary (young, came from less fortunate background, uneducated) who met all his criteria.  Bob's cousin, who worked at Foodirect - the ex's business, told me about their affair.  Then Bob's own brotherinlaw confirmed it.  With his family's intervention, the affair ended.  Only to lead to another.

Janet was Bob's sister's sisterinlaw.  I know this may be hard to follow - but it felt almost like incest.  Janet had socialized with our family for years.  She was much younger than me.  She was married to a man who openly cheated on her.  All I heard for years was "poor Janet" as my former motherinlaw was privy to the saga that was the Torre family.  Bob's younger sister, Debbie, was married to Janet's brother, Mark Pohl.  Eventually, Bob would bring her food from Foodirect, delivering it at night - because her husband had left her alone again, periodically with her young son.  So picture this - my ex husband telling everyone he was doing a good deed by bringing this helpless young scorned woman food.  Right.  And I have a bridge to sell you.  It was already into the year 1997.  I had been forewarned.  Janet would appreciate any crumbs my ex threw her way, she never even graduated high school, she loved to get high and experiment with recreational drugs (something I would not do in all the years Bob tried to force me to)....Janet was putty in Bob Levine's hands. 

By the mid 1990's, I had already contacted the local police regarding domestic violence situations.  I was growing as a woman in so many ways. And I was learning about abuse, not just living in it. I did not know it then, but Bob and Janet sneaking around at the "lakehouse" in Mahopac, meeting in restaurants saying that it was just a coincidence...did me a favor. Janet had another baby, a *daughter, during this tumultuous time. It would be part of a catalyst - for me to get out.

My involvement with the car hobby pretty much expired by the late '90's as friends never liked my exhusband. Bob was boastful and showy.  Self centered and cocky.  You would think he would fit right in with the other show offs - but narcissists are competitive.  And they don't play well together! Too many egos involved.

By the late 1990's, the abuse became unbearable. The violence had escalated - especially when both sons were in sleep away camp and the household staff was on vacation.  Summers were dreaded.  Bob had even started threatening me with his guns. On March 22, of 1998, I knew the end was near. It was around 9 pm in the evening.  A night like most others, except it was my younger son's birthday.  I heard crying coming from his bedroom, as he lay in his bed - in the dark.  I walked into his room only to see my son sobbing uncontrollably.  His father had just walked out.  "What happened?" ,I asked my son.  He looked at me and told me.  His father had just told him that it wouldn't be much longer until he left us. Way to go, Bob Levine.  Using fear of abandonment as control. Why would a father tell his child that?  A 13 year old child? The alienating had begun, for to stay in his father's good graces and avoid being abandoned, my son was forced to always side with his father.

Bob Levine was setting the stage. Hellbent to make my life miserable, the beatings were amplified.  My punishments were taken up a notch, too.  I believe the guy wanted me to end my own life and he tried to get me to that point.  I survived for my children.  Knowing that a huge gulp in life was happening, I rode it out - one day at a time.  The trophy wife plot twist .

Not to get too involved in the sequence of events,Bob was eventually arrested, I was granted a divorce for cruel and inhuman treatment - Janet's ex husband had already filed to divorce her...so Bob and Janet remarried immediately.  I will never forget my son's discombobulated thinking.  Jared had once mentioned that his father never met Janet until after our divorce had started!  Strange what brainwashing can do to a child's kidnapped mind.  My sons had already known Janet for years.  It's scary just remembering how that young mind of my son was manipulated.  Or is it because he couldn't face what had transpired.  


That is the trophy wife plot twist in a nutshell. But it doesn't end there.  Okay - so these two adults, Bob and Janet wanted to go merrily on their way into the sunset .  What really baffles me is how a woman, Janet Levine (Janet Pohl Torre Levine), has been a tool in the alienation of my sons.  I had begged her to help me remain in the lives of my sons. I will not write the language with which she responded. 

Isn't there some sort of obligation a woman has?  to help other women?  Or is it not applicable when that woman is a trophy wife?   



“There is a special place in hell for women who don't help other women."    -Madeleine Albright, 2006

****Important note:  My divorce attorney requested a paternity test of the baby girl born to Janet (then Janet Torre, today Janet Levine).  Both Janet and Robert Levine refused to partake in a paternity test of the child born while I was still married to Mr. Levine.