Survived a hell

Survived a hell
Wednesday December 02, 2009

I am 29 years old, almost 30 (next week) and many things have changed in my life since last February.
I always lived a life that did not belong to me aimed at meeting to the expectations of third parties and my father in particular. It has been an extremely hard task because it was never enough.
My dad lost his father and 3 brothers in 10 years and even before these tragic events he was the fourth of 7 children (6 boys) grown up with a military education. Their father was a naval captain who was forced to leave the navy during the second world war as he was jewish. After the war he kept the religion far from his family and married an aristocratic catholic woman who was 20 years younger than him.
I am the first of 3 children and since I was borne my father wanted me to be strong, clever fearless and obedient. He was tough because he wanted to spare me the pain he had suffered when he was a child. Both my parents were very young and without experience about rising up children. My mum told me she abandoned me right after she delivered me and she went to party with friends for a week during my first 8 days of life because she needed “to breath”. I was left to a nanny.
When I was 8 years old my dad decided to convert the whole family (me, my sister and my mum) to Judaism so as to take back what his father had abandoned years before. My sister and I did not understood that change also because we started to see many incomprehensible rules but could not see love in them.

My mother just followed him as she always does in the name of love or whatever it is but notwithstanding her children. She has been keeping justifying my father saying that we must understand him and forgiving him for him having suffered a lot.
When the oldest brother of my father died in a plane crush two years after our conversion a real nightmare started for me. I was forced to fast 3 days per year, to eat only strict kosher food, to go to the synagogue every Friday night, Saturday morning and Saturday evening – on foot obviously because during Saturdays as well as during the other thousands days of Jewish holidays it is forbidden to drive a car, a bike, to watch TV, to turn on a hairdryer or other electrical equipment, to switch on or off the light, to set up the room, to carry something in a pocket (not to say a bag!), to pay and use money, to smoke, to play a music instrument and even to write…etc.
It is worthless mentioning what would have happened if I had refused to obey. Since I was a kid I used to be kicked by him if I dared to be “respect less” and, once older, I had to face economic black mailing.
What is more, he did not allowed me to date non Jewish guys and this caused me a great pain considering that I have been in love with a non jewish guy for 8 years. We now live together and are planning to marry and having a family. My dad accepted to see him and to have him in his house only last summer(after 7 years) but he has no intention to attend our wedding nor to support it with any financial contribution.
As a result of my education I tried to meet my dad expectations by brilliantly achieving in my studies: I was the best student of my law school, I have been hired by most important law firm in my country that even financed me a master in London sent to London, I published articles and case comments, and, in February, I finally became a lawyer after having successfully passed the bar exam.

And then, after all that I realised that all my efforts were not worth my parents’ love.
I was still feeling empty and week and scared…. I was still experiencing panic attacks I have been suffered from for many years and I became aware that I have always allowed my self-confidence to depend on others’ opinions and comments.
I wanted it to stop. My body asked me to stop it.

I quit smoking (I used to smoke 30 cigarettes per day) and I started to practice yoga and to design and create bijoux, taking pictures… and I have also started a CBT therapy. Moreover I red 4 of your books.

I cannot say I sorted out my problems yet and I am aware this is going to take time but I am glad I started to open my mind to my feelings and emotions and feel that this is the most important and positive thing I have ever done.

Thank you for giving people like me the opportunity to write on your website and feel supported and stronger. Thank you for your courage and for having disclosed your ideas and theories to the public.


I allow the publication of this letter UNDER the PSEUDONYM “Joe” on your website should you believe it can help other people just like many letters helped me.

AM: I congratulate you on what you have done. We are publishing your letter because it shows that we are able, if we really want to see the truth, to save our lives even when we were forced to bear the terrible madness of a father. You survived a hell.