The Moth Story Slam: hair

I participated in a Moth Story Slam this week.  This is an open mic forum which takes place in major cities all over the U.S. Each story teller has five minutes on stage. The theme of this one was “Hair”. I told the story of my alienation from my mother and in particular, how having hair similar to hers was a reminder that she existed.   Although I was nervous to do this (it’s not like I do this sort of thing on a regular basis), it went very well. I declined to have my story added to their pod casts (the Moth is sponsored by WBUR) in order to protect my privacy (my name would be attached), but of course I am conflicted about this.  In time, my complete memoir will, hopefully, be out in the world, privacy be damned.  But for now, I am keeping it rather anonymous so that I can complete it without feeling the need to defend myself from people who most certainly object. Anyhow, here is the mini memoir, the condensed version that I told to an audience of about 200.

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I removed this story because I signed an agreement with a (online)magazine where it will be published soon. After six months on their site, I will be able to include the link to it here.

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18 thoughts on “The Moth Story Slam: hair

  1. This is great writing, I also hope that your completed memoirs are published soon! I imagine they will because you are really telling your story so well. It’s exciting and emotional without being overly sentimental or insincere. It’s gripping, fascinating, and I’m really caught up in all the mysteries. Sorry this sounds like a book review but, it’s just such great story telling and yours is an important one to tell.

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  2. Thank you. I think the most difficult part is that my father would tell you today he was justified in his actions, that he was wronged by a wife who ruined their marriage w/ an affair, and that he did what he thought was best for us. His second wife, my sister and all of his family members have accepted his version. Which leaves me unable to discuss this w/ any of them. And so I continue to write..

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  3. Awesome and powerful as usual! I feel a kinship with you when I read your words, although our stories are different. I’m a father who is fighting against alienation attempts the mother and grandmother of my three young kids are perpetrating. The alienation attempts go over my younger two children’s heads, but not my oldest. She is confused and caught up. Yesterday, I found a note she wrote in my portfolio: “Dear daddy, i hate you…” The words hurt terribly to read, but I reread your blog “A Message From Your Estranged Child” and it encourages me to press on and realize this is something that is put on her. I won’t give up! Thanks for your writing! It helps a great deal 🙂

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    1. I have reached out to a site of alienated adult children. It can be a lonely place to not be able to discuss this w/ my sister who I think will forever hold firm to her view and her loyalty to our father. I don’t think she can psychologically handle the truth, and I cannot force it on her. I will likely be rejected from my family or origin when my memoir is published. The truth sets you free though.

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      1. That is so sad, and hopefully not true. I wonder about my own kids who are so angry with me, if they will ever let the truth set them free. They have suffered and sacraficed so much as a result of going to live with their father and the more you giveup for a cause or a cult or an abusive relationship the harder it is to admit it was a mistake. My kids left at 15 and 17 to live with their dad to attend better schools in America and they quickly became hostile toward me, their step dad, and even their baby sister. Your situation is different because you had little contact with your mom wich left you sad but it sounds like your sister went with angry. My kids were astranged for 5 years and we have had 4 years of working toward reconcilliation but its tough because their anger is so intense that they are sometimes violent towards me and their little sister. They also slander us with frivilous lies and constantly change their stories, thier truth isnt constant. I was wondering if any of this behavior is something you understand or could speak too? They are willing to spend time with me but make jokes at my expense and comment negatively on my appearance, for example. They havent come home for xmas in 7 years. Their father on the other hand can lift a pinky and they do his bidding, for example my 24 yearold dropped out of an ivy league school where she had a scholarship, just to please him. The level of controll he has over their psyche and daily lives is terrifying and unhealthy. For your sister have you considered exit type counseling, like what is used to get people out of Scientology for example? We have as a group to figure out how to free our loved ones from an abusive personality cult? Right? Dont accept losing your sister, how can she be reached??

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      2. I’m so sorry. It sounds like your children have been so affected and molded by their father and it is not in your control to ‘undo this’. I hope you let them know you love them and regret ‘letting them go’, but also that you will not tolerate abuse from them. I don’t think I will ever take it on to try to get my sister to get help for this. She is 50 yrs old and for now I just accept that we have a loving but limited relationship. I do think we will have the discussion again fairly soon because of my memoir, but I don’t expect any change.

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      3. Is your father still living? Would his death change anything? I have read probably a dozen books on cults and no one stays forever. But your sister has so many years invested and so much loss she would have to realize if she changed her mind and heart.

        My kids are 24 and 27 and I am hanging on, I visited them on dec 22 and brought a tree and gifts, they were nice for a day but on the second day there was some needless aggression on their part and I started using non violent active listening skills I have been studying with a therapist and it pulled them out of it. The active you message listening and I message boundary setting led to a new level of conversation right after I had been shoved up against a wall and screamed at, at point blank range. The communication skills really diffused the situation and my daughter said “why don’t you just go away? we are so horrible to you, how could you like being treated like this.” and I told them that I really dread our visits but that I am their mother and they obviously need me and need help and that I will never give up on them. They were really happy with this, so I hope we will be in a better place when I go again next week. If you are interested in the communication strategy I could probably scan it and email it.

        Your story keeps me anchored in reality,I sent them your letter to your dad, I hope your words can reach them even if mine don’t.

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  4. Thank you for so eloquently sharing your story and your pain. My son has been alienated by his dad for 3 years now. Brokenhearted. You might reach out to radio host Dennis Prager whose personal cause is alienated adult children and parents.

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  5. It is heartbreaking and so very interesting to read your blog. Here you are, here you all in the comments are, trying to find ways to reconcile with estranged parents or children; while I am striving to separate from a mother who has emotionally, psychologically, and sometimes physically abused me for 62 years (I am chronologically not yet 62, but she abused me in the womb by using amphetamines in order to keep her petite figure). I’m working very hard to get away from her. I really do hate her. So it is the opposite situation! When I was a little girl, I used to pray that my daddy would leave her and take me with him. That didn’t happen, so I ran away when I was 16. Bad things happened, but they were better than living with her. Then I moved to the other side of the world, and that was much better; but then my dad got sick and I came to help him exit this world, which he did, four years later. Now, I am in the process of re-inventing myself, since after four years I am someone else entirely. I have begun standing up for myself when my mother starts in putting me down or screaming at me. I have even bought a camper, and now I’m planning my first cross-country trip. Somehow, though, I don’t think I’ll ever really get away from my mother. As a pediatrician, I have observed that children who are abused before the age of language acquisition have no way of healing from that, because they had no language to think of it in when it occurred. I remember awful things that she did, but they are visual and kinesthetic memories. I have done a lot of therapy in those areas, but nothing has really cleared them. So I will once again do the Geographic Solution, and this time try to communicate as little as possible.

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    1. Wow, I am so sorry you went through all that! One of my thoughts when reading your comment was that you were very generous to come home to your father when he was dying. In my opinion, a parent who has allowed the other parent to abuse, is every bit as guilty. It is no surprise you were happier when you moved far away from both parents. I hope you gain the much needed distance again somehow. Forgiveness, with healing, is so worthwhile, but if the abuse is not acknowledging the abuse, I think the victim is often better off with limited to no contact. I know each situation is different, and believe me, I empathize.

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      1. Sigh…. I knew he was a “flying monkey,” but I loved him so…. And when he got close to dying, we had many conversations about the abuse situation, and how he had not protected me from her. I think once he became helpless himself, subject to her rages, and he experienced what I had gone through, he was overcome with guilt. For a couple of years before that, though, he clearly had Stockholm Syndrome, backing her up when she raged at me and agreeing with her when she asserted that a parent has the right to do anything they want to their child! I did return to Israel for a while after that, but as he got more and more sick, I wanted to be with him regardless of the cost. Now I’m working on cutting loose again, very much looking forward to finding my way to freedom. Thanks for your support and kindness!

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