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“The damage done has never left me.”

While visiting my 97-year-old mother at the Jewish nursing home, I picked up a copy of your magazine. On seeing the article about relationship abuse [“Misery Beyond the Mezzuzah” by Letty Cottin Pogrebin, Summer 2005], all the memories of my childhood came flooding back. My father was considered a pillar of our community despite being a public alcoholic. He was at times a good father but most times horrible to live with. Lie tormented my mother and me, saying he would put us in a mental hospital for disagreeing with him.

Although I am now 60, the damage done has never left me, even after years of help. I remember well as a teenager when the head Orthodox rabbi of the town I grew up in came to the house and told my mother that she must obey my father, that he was a good man. After my father died I asked my mother why did she stay and put us through such hell. She said for security, for the money. Yes, we had the money but we also had the horror, the missed normal childhood and lack of trust of others forever.