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Abuse Neglect and Eating

Losing Yourself & Losing Weight

personal independenceThe reflection I have done recently has helped me understand things that many adults may take for granted. Being a truly independent human being is not an inherent skill.  We come into this world and leave it very dependent upon other humans for all our needs to be met.  Regardless, I believe it an important skill to learn.  Many species give birth to their young  and leave them to fend for themselves – that is not the human experience.  As a parent you hope that you raise your children well enough so that they too will learn this skill as they mature into adults.

As a child I had to be independent to emotionally survive. This necessity created an insatiable need to be emotionally dependent, and cared for.  Unfortunately, this insatiable need left me vulnerable to the sexual abuse I suffered as a teen.   It has taken this new awakening to realize that I must return to those necessary survival and self taught skills of independence in order to truly become the person I was meant to be.

This is a very difficult emotional journey. Questions that may be simple for others are less so for me. Continuously allowing myself to become lost in someone else, in a relationship – created an individual who was not an individual, and caused damage to my soul that I am now repairing.

Losing yourself in another makes it easy to no longer care for, or take care of you. I am certain many people can tie their personal weight loss journey to such a feeling of emotional dependence. Once you begin to find yourself again, be the independent person you were meant to be, both the emotional and physical weight will slowly disappear.

It is very hard for me to be alone, or simply by myself. But these past few months have taught me not only how to cope with the difficult moments, but to embrace many of them as productive opportunities for growth.  Sure, I still have many difficult times, but when the emotions (loneliness, sadness, fear, anxiety) rear their ugly heads, I am able to work through them more easily with each instance.

Eating a meal out by yourself, seeing a show on your own, just sitting still with your thoughts and no outside influences, are all skills for me to learn or more accurately re-learn.  New circumstances present themselves daily, and as they do I am learning to find myself, my strength and joy, individually from others.

Although it has been difficult, I return once again to gratitude. I am so very thankful for the opportunity to grow as an independent individual, an independent woman. This opportunity has allowed me to reflect and really look at simple, basic questions like: who you areWho am I? Why was I created? What is my purpose? What can I give back? What are my passions, talents and skills? How can I use these to be the best person I can be, help others along my journey, and both attract and reflect positive things?

This is kin to a rebirth of sorts. Trying to remember how I found the strength as a child to be independent and answer similar albeit less sophisticated questions as I grew, has not been simple. Certainly the coping mechanisms  I turned to as a child are very different from those I have learned as an adult.  Not only are they different, but they have matured, and become healthier, more efficient and more mindful.

So here I sit, ALONE – writing, reflecting, enjoying the sunrise, the birds singing, the breeze blowing (a very productive use of alone time in my opinion – LOL).  I can be happy and not need to share the joy.  I can be sad, and not need a shoulder to cry on.  I must admit, for myself the most difficult one is anxiety. I am working on being able to say: I can be anxious and not need someone to help calm me down.  Certainly it is easier to have someone there during difficult moments, and even preferable at times. But wanting someone there and needing them there are two very different things.

I am learning. I am growing. I am so thankful for this opportunity – this fresh start, this new beginning – this rediscovery of me.

 

The Power To Make Things Happen

the universeWell the universe and I are certainly working in consortium recently.  I try very hard to listen to what is being asked of me, and why I am here. I sit quietly with my thoughts because I have been granted a lot of time to do that. The process has been somewhat rejuvenating and awakening. Really listening is a challenge. I believe the gratitude is what brings about the positive forces along with positive directional thinking and mental imagery.  Believing in what you need and want, seeing it in your mind’s eye will bring about just that. It may not come at the particular time, or in the particular manner you would like or would’ve chosen if been given the choice, but it does come.

Since very early childhood I asked to be reunited with my birth mother and although I put much personal effort into that search the universe brought us together seventeen and a half years ago when I was 28 years old. Many people search for years and even if they are successful they are very painfully turned away.  I was one of the lucky ones. The universe helped me find my mother in a total of 28 weeks with a lot of help from others all of whom were brought into my life in the strangest of ways only to be explained by the powers that be wanting things to fall into place the way they did.  The number 28 as I have mentioned before is very significant in my life. There were many more instances of this number during my search and at other times as well.  I find it very interesting because the number 28 in Hebrew corresponds to the letters Chaf Chet כח. These two letters when placed together spell the word koach which translates into English as strength. inner strengthI find this both amazing and truly miraculous. It has taken much strength to get to the place I am right now and I know it will continue to require strength to keep going forward.  This is one of the things I ask the universe for daily after expressing gratitude, is to continue to give me strength.

Recently I have asked for a fresh start, for my house to sell quickly so that I could embark on a new path.  Just yesterday I signed the contract on my home and we will be closing quickly. For 30 years I asked the universe to please stop the abusive behavior of Mordechai Winiarz aka Marc Gafni, so that he could no longer hurt anyone else.  And now, only months ago thousands of people signed a petition on change.org supporting the truth about this sexual predator and his direct ties with John Mackey of Whole Foods.

Like I said, things don’t always come when you ask them to.  I pled as a child for my mother; and it took 28 years.  I implored the universe to protect others against a sexual predator who abused me; and it took 30 years, but positive thought and action will come to fruition if you keep the proper mindset.

Asking for a fresh start and being granted one is another proof positive in the universal connection to your hearts’ desire, and seeing it in your mind’s eye. I can picture myself granted with success, writing, creating, being in love, being loved, friends, family and giving back to the world in a positive way. Some of these have happened, or are happening or will happen at some undesignated point in time. But I can see it and feel it all.

Living in the moment and being thankful for just that moment makes the process easier. When I am writing I am so thankful that I am being given the time, space and mind set to be doing do. When I am talking to my children I am thankful that they are around to listen.  When I am meditating I am thankful for the time I have, the gifts I’ve been given and the nature around me.  meditatingWhen I am exercising I am thankful for all the strength I was given to persevere, and get to a place where my body is healthy and able to exercise and participate in active undertakings. When I am working around the house I am thankful for the roof over my head and what it took to get this roof all on my own almost 8 years ago.

You may not even know what it is you are seeking, silence and alone time may help you figure that out.  Once you do, YOU have the power to convene with the universe to make it happen; through gratitude, through belief in the universal power that exists, through positive thinking, mental imagery, then strength and action.

Following Your Heart & Living a Genuine Life

“Your time is limited, so don’t waste it living someone else’s life. Don’t be trapped by dogma – which is living with the results of other people’s thinking. Don’t let the noise of others’ opinions drown out your own inner voice. And most important, have the courage to follow your heart and intuition.” ~ Steve Jobs

heart and mindThis is a great quote.  Never thought I would quote Steve Jobs, but “having the courage to follow your heart and intuition” is something I have struggled with for years. People think I have so much courage for speaking out, and continuing to speak out.  When I originally spoke in 1986, it was from fear not courage – I was terrified of him.  The courage came over the years, as did the awakening that listening to your heart and intuition is of utmost importance.

You can push the feelings down for just so long. You can ignore them, you can pretend they don’t exist, you can compartmentalize them, but regardless they are still there. Good or bad they need light shining on them and they need to be realized in your heart. I still have not let all these emotions come into the light, although more and more of them appear with each ticking hour these past two plus months.

By letting some of the emotions out, I’ve been able to let others in so there is always a silver lining.

decision-making_0Some people are so afraid of their emotions, afraid that their heart will not lead them in the “right” direction, so afraid they just refuse to look at them at all. I know, I used to be that person. Most of my choices in life have been made by weighing pros and cons, writing lists, asking opinions, drawing and graphing charts, planning and preparing until I feel “certain” that I am doing the “right” or “correct” thing. The one choice I know I made from true emotion, was the choice to speak out.  It may have been from fear, but it was real, not calculated, not weighed or measured.  It was the best choice I ever made in my life even though the immediate aftermath was horrific; because now that choice is helping and inspiring so many. That choice, born from emotion and feeling – is what will bring about healing for myself, and so many others.  This in and of itself reminds me to listen to my heart, to use the analytical as necessary, but to make my decisions from a place of true emotion.

It’s funny really because there are thousands of people who support me now, who know the truth and see Marc Gafni for the narcissistic sociopath he is.  Again, this has all come to fruition for me because I made a decision to respond to a real emotion with an instinctive reaction.whisper heart

You would think it shouldn’t have taken me this long to learn such a basic life lesson, I am 45, but it did. The reemergence of this now has brought the importance of living a genuine life – one genuine to your heart, soul and spirit to the forefront. This is not the way I would have chosen to learn this life lesson (by being victimized as a teenager by a very pathological individual), but it is a very important one to learn – and I am grateful that I can use this power to continue to make true genuine heart healing decisions moving forward.

How Do You Catch a Sociopath?

sociopathsI haven’t had the strength to write these past few days.  Thirty years of speaking out and telling and retelling the same story to rabbi after rabbi, and now more recently reporter after reporter takes a toll quickly. I have read all the articles that have been published and so many of the supportive posts, and although they are encouraging and vindicating, they are equally exhausting.

The spiritual community who has been harmed so deeply by this man now leads the charge against him, and it is appreciated.  I hear and share your pain. What everyone needs to understand is that the two underage victims were “practice” for Marc Gafni, test runs so to speak – learning tools used to refine his pathology. We are all victims of this man and I feel for each and every individual he has hurt and manipulated.

We can all thank all those who came before and silenced those of us who were his playground and training field – and that includes many people who now stand against him.  Now you believe? Now you see and want to hear and listen?  Why?  Because now it has affected you and crept into your sphere of reality.

This disturbing yet highly accurate rendition of Mordechai’s “abilities” penned by Terry Patten is right on target. There will be no justice for those of us preyed upon as teenagers, nor will there be for any of his other victims because the law has no punishment for the “disarmingly charming, incredibly warm and affectionate, and devotedly attentive” sociopaths in our midst. The law cannot charge an individual whose crime is being “outrageously diabolical…(with a) unique way of getting inside people’s heads and subtly casting a spell on them, and then using that influence to influence or manipulate others.”  As of now the law has not progressed to this deeper understanding of criminal behavior. “Our community needs a way to protect itself from talented sociopaths with histories of unprocessed shadow and violating others’ hearts, souls, and bodies.”

“To be used in this way is a form of abuse. To add sexuality to it, is even more hurtful.” The law does not yet see this either.

The information provided in the Times of Israel was particularly disturbing, hurtful and entirely false.

“Additionally, Gafni said he finds Mitzner’s continued re-telling of the story for more than three decades particularly painful. He calls her testimony “categorically false.”

‘Judy is not acting alone. She is a part of well-organized and funded social group’

“For 31 years she has been encouraged to be a victim. Judy is not acting alone. She is a part of well-organized and funded social group. She received strong social approval and reward for being a hero breaking the silence, which is ironic because she has not stopped talking about this and attacking me for decades in so many different ways, causing me and my children and friends a massive amount of substantive damage and pain,” said Gafni.

Gafni claimed he has taken a polygraph test that proves his innocence, and that there is “significant other information which supports that conclusion.”

Additionally, he claimed he has repeatedly tried to contact Mitzner “to create resolution.”

“She has always refused,” Gafni said. “I want reach out right now, as I have many times over the years through third parties, and invite Judy into a mediated conversation where we could transform this from hatred to goodness and truth and beauty.”

I would like to make something PERFECTLY clear I have always acted alone. I have never been part of a “well-organized and funded social group”. Please, if that is the case why am I the one struggling to make ends meet while he sits “looking out of his home office on Monterey Bay”?

You want a polygraph test? You think that shit would hold up in a court of law? Give your under age victims a polygraph test… oh and let us write the questions… as he did for his “exam”.

As for his claims that he has repeatedly tried to contact me to “create a resolution” – this is as well entirely false.  I have never heard from him nor would I want to.  He victimized me, and no mediated conversation “could transform this from hatred to goodness and truth and beauty”.

I think I am just really exhausted. I am doing my best to maintain my inner strength and resilience.  I DO NOT want to be: “Judy… isn’t she the one that was one of the underage victims of Marc Gafni?” I am so much more than that.  I just need to find that again.

Oops? Really???

I feel like every new article I read about Mordechai Winiarz/Marc Gafni I have some reaction to, and when I have a reaction, I need to write. A new article came out today in The Forward thanks to Sam Kestenbaum @skestenbaum.  It is very well written, and like The New York Daily News article by Larry McShane @lmcshanenydn, I am very pleased with it overall.

The hardest paragraphs for me to read were the following:

“In that same 2004 article Rosenblatt cites another example, from 1986, when Gafni was accused of having relations with a 16-year-old female student from a youth group he led who was staying at his home in New York City. Gafni “was then 25 and married” and Judy Mitzner claimed that he “abused her sexually on two occasions.” At that time the age of consent in New York State was 17.

Charges were never filed in that case either and Gafni also claims that the relationship was consensual, although he concedes, including in an interview with the Forward in late December, it was a “mistake.””

mistake-600x300So I was a “mistake”, just a mistake, an “oops”. Really?  And all the other the victims, lies, manipulation, plagiarism, physical, psychological, and spiritual abuse in every community he touched, were all those just “mistakes” too? Things that can be erased and “done over”??

And, as I have mentioned numerous times before and Mr. Kestenbaum so eloquently restates charges were not filed because:

“[The] rabbinate at the time told us all to keep it quiet – that it would be handled internally … [They didn’t] want to cast a disparaging light upon the Jewish community.” – And we can’t turn back time.

Now the statute of limitations have run their course so there may be no legal remedy. He can just call me a “mistake” and get away with it.

Back when Mark Oppenheimer @markopp1 from The New York Times contacted me, I knew this would snowball. I knew there would be an avalanche, and I knew I’d have to relive the experiences and cope with a whole new barrage of emotions.  Thankfully I am older and have had enough life experience to more easily deal with this than back in 1986 when I was 16 and virtually alone.  It’s still not easy, but I now know I will make it through – now I have a support system and thousands of people who are not only listening, but believing, confirming and validating my experience. Once again to all of you – Thank You! You are helping make this experience easier by standing in solidarity with me.

1986 and forward…A mix of extreme clarity and tumultuous emotion

flashback2Flashbacks are happening more frequently now. I assumed they would. Seeing his photo on all these articles is part of what triggered it all, I’m sure. I see and hear the same thing over and over again.  Mordechai standing in the door frame of my basement bedroom in his white undershirt and tighty whities (to be exact). And that one phrase that won’t leave my head: “You know what you want.” It’s something I will never forget. I am almost 46 years old now and half the time I don’t know what I want. How is it possible a naïve vulnerable 16 year old back in 1986 when asked such a question by a man in authority – her Rabbi, mentor and father figure no less standing in front of her almost naked to have an answer to such a question. I wanted him to take care of me. Not sexually, but spiritually and emotionally.

Why is it that that scene above all other traumatic ones repeatedly return? That scene and everything following up till my fetal position on their dining room floor in front of the rack stereo system with a knife by my side – ignored entirely by his second wife when she literally walked right by me – having already been brainwashed to believe that I was crazy – making up stories –and delusional.

flashbacksEach of these scenes play in my mind with perfect clarity down to the clothing we were both wearing. I can’t remember all the years that my 5 children were born mind you (I have to think about it), but this shit stays perfectly formed in my long term memory.  How fucked up is that?

I can almost picture the very modest outfit I was wearing that day as I had already adopted the Jewish law of modesty.  The long straight skirt, the white knee highs, the ¾ length sleeve shirt and the over shirt I put on for some color.  It had a turquoise pattern on a white background. By no stretch of the imagination was my outfit inviting sexual advances or seductive.

And why do I still feel the need to justify myself?  Because I had early release from school for the holiday weekend that day? Because I was a scared, vulnerable, needy teenager?  The adult knows none of this matters. I was a child. I see my now 16 year old daughter and understand. And 16 in 1986 was not what 16 in 2016 is either.

So here I lie awake once more wishing when I closed my eyes I didn’t see him standing in that door way. Running and rerunning those scenes in my head certainly doesn’t help, but it won’t stop once the rest of my brain stops and tells me okay it’s time to sleep – that’s when they creep in. Or in the middle of the night as a nightmare which then has me awake till the morning because I don’t want to close my eyes and see it all again.

I was stronger back then than I realized, and poor Susan I guess was not as strong as she presented to me so that I would have someone to count on. It was just too much for her, his behavior and the rabbinical response. We stopped talking a few years later because I was still so needy and broken after everything.

I need time to process alone. But I know that’s probably not ideal either. I’ve been in and out of therapy since the abuse and keep thinking I’ve compartmentalized the memories that I know will always be there.  It’s just that my story and the stories of other Winiarz/Gafni victims emerge and reemerge every few years with the hope that finally someone is listening – so again I speak out and it all comes back. Maybe this will be the last time. With people like @DavidIngber1, @Markopp1, @lmcshanenydn, @StephenDinan,@EMSorvillo, Rabbi Shai Held and so many thousands of others now supporting the victims it feels like the universe is finally on our side. My blog has been viewed over 10K times by people from 81 countries since it began. I once again want to express my gratitude to these people even if it took 30 years, the wait will be worth the outcome I hope.

Karma is a Social Media Bitch

First all I could think was “holy shit”… a two page spread in the New York Daily News with my name all over it.  Then it was “holy shit”… a two page spread in the New York Daily News with my name all over it, and THANK YOU Larry McShane (@lmcshanenydn) for exposing the truth with such eloquence and accuracy.  I cannot thank you enough for the powerful article you wrote and I know I speak for all of his victims when expressing such deep gratitude.

I’d like to address directly one of the quotes Marc Gafni aka Mordechai Winiarz provided Mr. McShane.

“What they are doing is social media rape.”  Guess what? Real rape, real molestation, real stalking, real manipulation, real threats are far more criminal than an online battle of words.

So many bizarre memories are slowly returning (some positive, some definitely not).  Apparently when I was in University a professor gave me an article of his to read; I turned around, handed it back to her and gave her an education on Mordechai Winiarz; apparently one she never forgot – and then never assigned articles written by him again. I only have a vague recollection of doing this. But I gotta tell you, I was pretty bad ass to stand up for myself back then when I was still so terrified of him.

His cycle described by so many of his victims is what is so indicative of the sociopathic nature. The same story again and again, just altered ever so slightly so he is perceived “less guilty”, so he can more easily turn the tables.  Altered all the more so over the years – avoiding under age victims, because although possibly easier to manipulate they were too dangerous of skeletons to have in his crowded closet.

eliz pic
Elizabeth Sorvillo

If you are a victim of this man (under age or otherwise) I encourage you to contact Elizabeth Sorvillo who is advocating on behalf of his victims. She has offered her time, energy and support to help stop his abusive behavior once and for all.  The victims owe her more than she will ever know.

As for the other anonymous underage victim (who I personally know and send my love and suport); your quote ended this fantastic article and spoke volumes for all of us who have suffered over the past three decades. “And he is still the same guy who molested a 13 year old. He is not a different person.”

PLEASE PLEASE sign the petition linked to below. Get this man’s funding stopped before he hurts more people. The link also appears to the right on my blogs side bar.

http://change.org/p/whole-foods-www-esalen-com-stop-marc-gafni-from-abusing-again

 

With Gratitude and Overwhelming Emotion

Countless acknowledgements are in order, and although many of them are to be extended to my close friends and family, the majority of them seem need to be directed to those I have yet to meet. It took 30 years of repeatedly trying to be heard, never wavering, or changing my story, to finally reach people who listen and believe. The following particular Facebook post brought tears of vindication to my eyes.

shai's thankyou
An AMAZING Sentiment from Someone I Have Yet to Meet

I want the world to hear my THANK YOU, my THANK YOU for finally listening. So here is my public THANK YOU – a follow up to my thank you on Facebook. After everything I have been through the value of all the supportive “comments” on this blog, and the incredible explosion of readership since the release of the New York Times article has just blown me away.  As of this moment there have been close to 6,500 views on the blog.  This may seem inconsequential to some who have thousands of friends and followers on their Facebook pages alone, but to me the value cannot be measured. The comments and the readership mean more than anyone will ever understand. I could be crass, – say “too little too late”, or “long time coming”, but no, I understand that EVERYTHING happens when it does because the universe has a reason for things to transpire the way they do. From the bottom of my heart, soul and spirit I am truly humbled by all the support and immensely thankful to each and every one of you. (I know much of this is redundant from Facebook, but I wanted to be sure to reach all who deserved a thank you.)

Thank you note with smiley face , isolated on white

Getting my hopes up is not something I am willing to do after years of frustration, silencing and disappointment, BUT I feel like the universe is starting to line up, and karma is starting to catch up.  And, when that does…beautiful, holy things can happen.

Maybe Mordechai Winiarz or Marc Gafni or whomever he is right now will no longer hurt others – maybe the universe will see to it.

If some influential powerful person(s) is out there is reading this blog, please make sure my story reaches the right people.  The right people could be the media (press, television), politicians, high powered CEOs (Mackey comes to mind), etc.  There are already such people working in the background Elizabeth Sorvillo who has helped beyond measure, but continuing to get my blog out there can only be positive.  Here are links to the relevant posts:

http://wp.me/p6RHtL-6X       Not Just a Man with a “Troubled Past”… A SEXUAL PREDATOR

http://wp.me/p6RHtL-3s        The Cycle of Insanity a Brief Follow Up

http://wp.me/p6RHtL-3A       Don’t Silence a Cry for Help

http://wp.me/p6RHtL-3M      Reopening the Wound

http://wp.me/p6RHtL-3Z       Returning to Me & the Beginning of the End

http://wp.me/p6RHtL-4k       The Time For Change is Now

http://wp.me/p6RHtL-5s       Achieving “Closure”

http://wp.me/p6RHtL-72       Some Time to Process and Respond

Some Time to Process and Respond

Well I suppose a response/reaction to the New York Times article is appropriate at this juncture. Needless to say I am not happy with the gestalt of the article.  He was given not only the first few paragraphs (during which many readers will lose interest), but he was also given the last word. Publicity for a pedophile! He admits to the abuse of many, and blames the victims. Surprise??

He states I was “highly initiatory”.  I had just turned 16. He is 10 years my senior. I NEVER initiated ANY sexual contact with this man. I was not capable of consent – I was underage, he was an authority figure, my teacher and at that point my guardian. Hell, I said “No”.  The article indicates that no charges were filed. Do you know WHY no charges were filed? Because the rabbinate at the time told us all to keep it quiet – that it would be handled internally we don’t want to cast a disparaging light upon the Jewish community.  Does this sound familiar? Catholic Priests come to mind?

Scream But No One Hears
Scream But No One Hears

He admitted (his own version) of what had occurred to his third wife.  Here is a direct quote from prior testimony given by her in another blog (I believe roughly in 2004). Insert my name into “Name Withheld”.

“Before we got married, Mordechai shared with me that he had indeed had a sexual encounter with a minor. Her name was (Name Withheld) – a teenager who was in his JPSY youth movement He explained to me details of their encounter and how he went about covering it up and discrediting her. He told me that she had seduced him. He said that they did not have intercourse, but that they had at least been undressed, sexually physical and that he had ejaculated. After (Name withheld) reported this, he lied to everyone involved, saying that she was emotionally unstable, jealous and had made it all up. He even received a document signed by a Rabbi attesting to his innocence. (Name withheld) was under-age, a student of his, and were it not for the statute of limitations, he could go to jail over this.”

I wish I could say I was shocked by things that he was quoted as saying in the article, but I’m not:

“She was 14 going on 35, and I never forced her.” Huh????

“I did not” he said “represent myself as someone who didn’t sleep with students.” WTF???

He ADMITS to doing these things (blames the victims) and continues to not only get away with past atrocities, but moves from one realm to another piling up additional ones.  He repeats the same pattern time and again, learning with each indiscretion how to better manipulate and cover his tracks. Now obviously this man is intelligent enough to continue to do this, but I find it hard to believe that over the past 30 years there hasn’t been someone out there equally intelligent and influential who could stop him in his tracks.  No one cared as long as there was money to be made.

He sits in “his home office overlooking Monterey Bay” while his victims relive their abuse once again.  The survivors relive this each time this man reinvents himself, and moves on to another community of followers. His past is paraded publicly with each transfiguration – but nothing ever changes.  He continues to abuse, manipulate and hurt – somehow using his spiritual enlightenment as a defense. Now he’s “polyamorous”.

Facebook and Twitter are blowing up in response to this fluffy spineless article. I do want to thank all those out there on Facebook and Twitter who are supporting me! It is a LONG time coming (30 years!), but nonetheless it does help me feel somewhat vindicated and relieved. In today’s world of social media maybe finally people will listen, not only the global community in general (which is greatly appreciated), but maybe influential, powerful people who can put a permanent stop to his reprehensible behavior.

If I had a dollar for every lie he told, every individual he hurt, manipulated or controlled I might be sitting in a home office overlooking Monterey Bay myself.

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