Friday, August 18, 2006

"I Was Not Created In Your Image of God." - Eisgrau's daughter responds to Yonanna

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Eisgrau's daughter responds to Yonanna
For any Rabbi's reading this I want you to respond.

Yonanna,
I used to have this great pin that said, "I WAS NOT CREATED IN YOUR IMAGE OF GOD."

The Jewish "frum" version of God that I grew up with leaves me hating Hashem, myself, and my parents, who abused me and taught me about Hashem at the same time.

They taught me that Hashem is constantly judging our every word, thought, and action very strictly... ...So I am always judging myself strictly.

They taught me to "love" Hashem by doing the Mitzvot (commandments), and that we do not question Hashem's ways.

...They expected me to treat them the same way while they were abusing me.

They taught me that Hashem made the Holocaust happen because people were leaving Torah.

...So when I left, I blamed myself for Hitler's Holocaust as well as for my parents.

When my family abandoned me and I was truly alone in a psychiatric institute, tied to a bed to keep me from hurting myself (the way I "knew" I deserved to be hurt),...I suddenly had an Ah, hah, moment about God.

I realized that I had been relating to God as a person.

God is not a person.

God is the force of good and beauty and love in the world.

The other force, the one that causes me to hate myself, question my goodness, hurt myself
(ie. my parents when I was a child, and now, myself, as an adult).

THAT is the force of evil.

And in that moment in the hospital bed, I allowed myself to recreate my image of God to be the parent that I always needed but never had.

God is my (imaginary?) all knowing and all loving/accepting parent.

I want God to be real in that way.

I NEED God in this way, but does that make God real??

At times I feel it must be true and at times I just feel sad and confused.

I was taught that God's love is very conditional. If I am "good" Hashem will bring blessings to me, and if I am "bad" Hashem will punish me. It is written very clearly in the Torah. My parent's taught me that I am intrinsically bad.

How can my parents be wrong?

And if God loves me unconditionally, and He/She is truly God, than why wouldn't He/She love and accept my parents the same way even though they abused me?? (Yuck!)

If there is justice in the world than WHERE IS GOD when children cry alone and in pain????

Where was God when I was an alone and crying child for so many long years??

I can only hate a God who is all powerful and let's children suffer.

So maybe God is not all powerful?

But then He/She is no longer "God" and becomes "god"!

Or maybe there is a good reason for suffering, that we just don't get, because we are human and limited in our view?

In that case we are justified in being angry at God for Her/His apparent abandonement of us as hurting children and adult survivors.

...Like a two year old who doesn't understand why mom takes her to the doctor to get a shot...and in pain, fear, and anger, screams at mom, and pushes her away...???

Does mom fault the small child for her anger? No, she comforts and accepts the intense feelings because she knows that they are VALID, and that the child is not expected to understand.

I want to believe that this is what God is.

So I allow myself to HATE God and I scream at and push God away and I know that it is ok to do that. Because if God is a REAL God than He/She is not going anywhere.

You can do it to, Yoanna.

And when you are finished yelling at God, ...remember to cry because you are HURTING and God will be right there to hold you.

I struggle with this issue every day Yoanna, and I want you to know that you are not alone and it is not your fault that Rabbi's allow themselves to be so stupid and uneducated.

I wish you healing and peace, Yoanna.
Eisgrau's daughter

13 Comments:

Anonymous Yoanna's Struggles said...

Yoanna's Struggles
© (2006) By Yoanna

When I was a little girl my parents never really ever spoke of God. All I knew was what I heard on TV.

I often thought of God as being sort of like Santa Claus, "if your good, then good things would happen to you."

I've been told over and over again that "the first perception one has of God comes from the way we perceive our parents". I guess this has been one of my biggest problems connecting with the idea of there being "a loving God."

My childhood experiences tell me that "God" rapes children. Because of this I have never been able to understand why anyone would want to go to a church or a synagogue to worship a sex offender.

I know that I'm not the only person in this world who "just doesn't get it." I have a great deal of difficulties separating out what happened to me (physical and sexual abuse) as being actions of a human vs. something "God" decided should happen to me.

For a long time I thought that I must have been born bad. It was the only explanation I could come up with.

I was always trying to figure out how to make myself be a better person so that bad things would stop happening to me.

From the time I was a young girl until my late teens I would volunteer a great deal of my free time. If someone needed help with something I would be the first to jump up to do what ever it was. The problem was that no matter what I did my father would still come to my bed late at night.

When I went away to college I started searching for something spiritual. I had no idea what that meant, yet I was on a sort of quest.

I never felt at home in any of the Jewish youth groups, so I dabbled with the Christian ones. I still couldn't connect. The only place that felt authentic to me was within the Buddhist community. For some reason the philosophy felt empowering and healing, yet it was still lacking something. I still had the issue of having to worship something that I felt was abusive.

I have called many rabbis over the last few years in hopes of finding someone who would help me work though my "God issues." The problem has been that it seemed none of them could relate to what I was feeling. The only thing they all said was that I had to separate out the actions of my father from the actions of Hashem. I've asked them how do I do this, yet none had an answer.

I've gotten tired of banging my head against the wall. I've just given up on the concept of a "a loving God". It all seems to me to be like a fairy tale.

August 18, 2006 8:57 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I want to thank both Yoanna and Eisgrau's daughter. Both of you made me do a great deal of thinking.

You are right, I also am not created in the image of my parents "God". I have no idea who God is, or what it's all about. But I am definately nothing like my parents or the rest of my family.

It's hard to imagine "an all loving God". It's hard to think of a parent as being a safe person.

thank you again for making me think.

August 18, 2006 11:40 AM  
Anonymous Rivkah said...

There was a famous psychologist by the name of Eric Ericson. I remember when I was in school a professor telling us the story about how Ericson got his name.

You see he was not born Eric Ericson. I don't know his birth last name, yet he changed it as he healed.

The story goes like this. Eric was severely abused as a child. I don't know if he was also an incest survivor, yet he was abused.

As he grew up he realized he had to "re-parent" himself. Because of this he decided to change his last name to "Eric Eric's - son. He became the son of himself.

Over the last several years I've realized I also had to do the same thing.

I've become Rivkah Rivkah-daughtger.

It doesn't sound quiet the same when you are a female. But I'm sure you know where I'm coming from.

I also no longer tell people my mother's hebrew name when they want to say a prayer for me. I just say I'm Rivkah bat Rivkah

August 18, 2006 11:49 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Has the blog moderator verified that these writings come from "Eisgrau's Daughter"?

I don't see why anyone should accept the authenticity without some proof.

But then again, this is the world of the blog where literally "anything goes" as long as the moderators are okay with it.

August 18, 2006 12:21 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Anyone who knows Eisgrau's daughter can vouch for her writting. It sounds just like her.

She's a wonderful, loving, kind person. She deserves only the best. B'H' she was able to escape the clutches of her father, and those who attempted deny her rights to survive.

August 18, 2006 2:54 PM  
Anonymous miriam said...

Eisgrau's daughter said so much of what I feel. Does it matter if she or someone else wrote it? And why would someone else use her name? I really am glad to find this site. I now know I am not alone and I am not the only frum woman who doesn't understand G-d. and we all are here to listen and support each other and maybe it is time to start parenting ourselves.
Also maybe it is time to think of a different name to use because you are not who you are because of being born Eisgrau's daughter you are you inspite of it. You are a very courageous frum woman who has not only faced her abusers, but has publicly spoken out about them. We are such a close community that to speak out is so very hard. wE KNOW we will not be accepted in our families and community if we do. You have helped so many just by being an example.
I use to wonder when will I be thru this when will I be finished healing. I now understand that there is no finish. We will always have what happened a part of us . But I have changed thru this healing journey and I will continue to grow and change and someday i will no longer be a victim or a surviver but I will be a Thriver and help those who are behind me on this journey. Just as I was helped by those in front of me. Miriam

August 19, 2006 9:07 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

God is a woman. God understands.

August 20, 2006 11:29 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thank you for the suggestion. I also go by the name Naomi. Using my maiden name actually feels somewhat empowering. Every time I use it I validate myself. Yes, I DO come from this family. Yes, I was abused. No I am not afraid to say who I am. No, I did not hatch from an egg, as my family would like people to believe.

August 20, 2006 3:12 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

This is so silly.

Why does Eisgrau's daughter have to prove who she is?

Why should she have to be ashamed of being who she is?

As a survivor I am proud of who I am AND because of all the healing I've done of the years.

There are times I choose to be public about my abuse and healing journey, and there are times I choose not to share.

One of the most important aspect of healing is having choice.

I think it's great that Eisgrau's daughter has found the courage to speak out. It's her choice to use her name.

If you know who she is in real life, next time she walks in a room you should stand up and give her a round of applause. She deserves much more then her father does.

August 21, 2006 8:05 AM  
Anonymous R. roberts. said...

We all know the problem. We all know of the horror stories. We all know of the coverups. The real question is what we can do to help these unfortunate victims. It does something when the victims hear about people who identify with them. I imagine that these victims might be going through other things as well. Trouble getting out of the rut. trouble paying bills. Getting a Job. See, Victims of abuse might have other side effects which make them unable or not want to take part or have ambition to work to be productive. If we can help these people financially, or getting jobs, with their health, and treat the especially well, this would be more than all the identifying with them. Instead of giving money to tzedakah to some organization which will line their own pockets with the money. Waste it on elaborate buildings. Give money to victims, to pay rent, to go on a vacation, or to just have a little better life.

August 21, 2006 8:38 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

you are such a beautiful person, thank you for sharing this.

August 21, 2006 12:38 PM  
Anonymous penina said...

I have to tell you I don't like being called a victim. While I was being abused I was a victim. As soon as the molestation stopped and I started in counseling, I no longer was a victim. That is when I transformed into a survivor.

I can only speak for myself when I say this, but I think many survivors feel the same way as I do. When I think of myself as a victim I carry myself completely different. I feel shamed and blamed. When I feel like I'm a victim is only during the times that I feel suicidal.

When I think of myself as a survivor I carry my head high. My shoulders are not hunched over.

I beg of you, please stop referring to people abused as children as "victims." We are survivors. The only victims are those who are locked away for life in mental institutions, committed suicide, or those who repeated what happened to them on others and are locked up in prison or at least should be.

August 21, 2006 9:13 PM  
Anonymous Yehudah said...

r.roberts,

You are right that many SURVIVORS may need financial assistance, yet there also NEEDS to be funding made available for organizations that advocate for survivors.

I know of one such organization that does so much work and needs to be financially compensated for what they do.

I'm curious how many people who read this blog would work full time without getting a paycheck?

This is what everyone is expecting those connected with The Awareness Center to do.

August 21, 2006 9:20 PM  

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