My Teenage Daughter is Attacking Herself! Transcript

Caller's Letter

My teenage daughter started pulling her hair. Within a couple of months, she pulled all of it out. We still do not know why. Therapy, reverse behavioral training, and hypnosis didn’t reveal a root cause nor any of them helped her stop. When the hair started growing again, I started to notice that she is pulling again. I do not know what else to do. My heart is broken for her, and I feel helpless.


[0:00] Hello.

Introductions and initial conversation

[0:01] Hey, how's it going?

[0:02] Hi, Stefan. I'm okay. How are you?

[0:04] I am fine. I am fine. I'm glad to be able to have the chance to chat and appreciate you taking the time.
And of course, if you have any childcare stuff to do, feel free to do it.
That's no worries and so on.
So, gosh, let's hear about what's going on and how I can best help.

[0:21] A year ago, beginning of December, last year, I noticed that I was sitting in front of my my daughter's hair. She's 15.
So I asked her, what happened here? And she said, oh, it was itchy.
So I told her, if it's itchy, go ahead, itch it. Like, why did you pull the hair?
She didn't say. She's like, oh, it's just itchy. I didn't take any of it.
I said, okay, wash your hair, you know. And I got her dandruff shampoo and all that.

[0:52] The next day, I noticed the gap a little bit wider. So I asked her, I said, what happened, mom? Why are you pulling your hair from here?
And then she said the same thing, I took her to the dermatologist and he checked her scalp and he didn't see any like eczema or irritation, but he still prescribed me like a hydrocortisone cream.
I put it for her every day. So whenever she was pulling to the front, I didn't know that she was sick.
So that's how it started. And then about three days later, I went to pick her up from school and the teacher called He called me to the side and he said, I was walking between the desks and I saw that she had clipped a big chunk of her hair and she had it on the desk in front of her.
And he's called it to her and he's like, that's gross. Take it away in the trash.
I was like, why did she do her hair?
And I was in shock and I told him my daughter, he took her to the dermatologist and he prescribed her some cream.

[1:54] Maybe I need to take her some of that. Right away, I took her to another dermatologist.
They think I don't see any irritation. I don't see any skin issues.
I think she just needs to wash it more frequently.
It's fine. In less than a month, she pulled all of her hair, all of it.

[2:22] I tried to talk to her nicely, and then the damage was more stern with her.
And right away, I started calling around her therapist to see what's wrong.
She saw a problem. I could take some sedative for a therapist.
Nobody. It's been a year now.
Nobody figured out the reason why she's doing this.
But if there's a treatment or a solution, nothing works.
And I feel helpless to help her. I don't know what's wrong.
And here in California, they don't allow you to know what conversation happened between the therapist and the patient, like, that's my daughter, she's a minor.

Frustration with limited information from therapists in California

[3:10] Is there something significant that I need to know about? They will not say to me, they will not tell me.

[3:17] So at this point, I even had to enroll with a therapist from the Netherlands.
He had made a program for habit reversal because they classify it as an obsessive disorder, kind of like nail biting.
He finished that program. Also, no improvement. improvement, and recently her hair started growing, as soon as it was long enough for her to hold, she started pulling.
So I grabbed the trimmer that I should, this order I can, all the way down.
And believe me, I tried my hardest to keep from not crying in front of her.
As soon as I finished shaving her head, I went to my room and I cried for hours.
I don't know what to do anymore.

[4:13] That's very, very tough. Boy, that is really, really tough.
And I just really want to express my sympathies about it first and foremost.
That is really, really a horrible thing to be going through.
Obviously, I'm no psychiatrist or anything like that, but I guess I could ask some questions about, you know, what's the history of your family, your childhood and all of that kind of stuff would probably be helpful to know.

[4:44] I'm from Middle Eastern.
My dad was really tough with us.
More tough on the boys than me. You know, I had a good childhood.
And then I married and I came to the States about 20 years ago.
There is some issues in the marriage between me and my husband.
But we kind of like, we're not really, on the terms, we don't fight in front of the kids, we don't argue in front of them, it's just me and him have a very dry relationship. And that started- I'm sorry.

[5:26] A very what relationship?

[5:28] Like a dry relationship, we don't really, you know, we don't sit with each other, we don't talk much other than, i want some food or give me a drink or anything like my relationship with my husband got really like uh we were very distant for the last i would say eight nine years um he he started taking xanax to sleep and so i think xanax made him so numb that he doesn't really, have any feelings whatsoever towards me or the children. He's just, he's there, but he's not really there.
When he comes home from work, he just goes straight to the bedroom and he takes the pills and he just falls asleep. He never quacks.

[6:18] What do you mean? Sorry, what time does he come home from work?

[6:21] He comes at around 5 p.m.

[6:23] He goes to sleep at 6 p.m.?

Husband's absence and the impact on the family

[6:27] Yes.

[6:27] What do you mean?

[6:29] He doesn't he doesn't engage with us at all and I spoke to him about it and we had arguments and fights, and then he promised he would he would stop and he said to rehab two times to quit the Xanax but as soon as he leaves rehab he comes back and he starts taking it and I told him it's causing you erectile dysfunction it's causing you to be distanced you're missing out on your children you're growing up you're missing out on your relationship with your wife like what's wrong with you why do you not see what's happening?
And I think that plays a role.

[7:02] Wait, so for eight or nine years, your husband's been kind of like a half zombie? Yep. What?
I'm shocked. I'm shocked. What the heck?

[7:18] I can't even tell you how bad things are. At one point, My brother-in-law, he passed away about three years ago.
He was also on opiates, and so he wanted to detox.
So my husband told him to come, and I'll take care of him because he didn't have anybody to take care of him. He didn't want to go to his parents.
So I said, fine, I don't mind him staying around, you know, to detox. That's fine.
You know, he just, and so he stayed for about a couple of weeks, and I took care of him.
He got really sick and all that. And then he started coming more frequently because he loved the kids.
And every day he would come, and my kids got attached to him a lot.
And he passed away. He overdosed. And so that was the first fun blow on my kids, especially my daughter, because he really spoiled her.
He would even come in during bedtime, and he would touch the men, and he would help them with homework.
And he was basically kind of like the father to my children. I'm sorry.

[8:30] This was your brother?

[8:33] My brother-in-law.

[8:34] Your brother-in-law, so your husband's brother.

[8:37] And he literally became the father. When my husband is mentally absent.
And so, when he passed away, that was the best thing for my children.

[8:50] Sorry was your your brother-in-law was clean though when he was around your kids is that right yeah.

[8:57] He was clean yeah.

[8:58] So when did how long was he clean before he relapsed.

[9:02] Um about a year and a half something like that and he just, He overdosed. And he was only 43 years old.

[9:15] Wow.

[9:17] He looked like him so much. And they loved him a lot, too. So that was the first blow. And then... Well.

[9:25] He didn't love them enough to not overdose.

[9:28] I know.

[9:30] So your brother's... Sorry, your husband's brother overdosed, and your husband is still... I mean, I don't know much about Xanax, but I thought it was more for a generalized anxiety rather than a specific sleep aid.

Husband's addiction to Xanax and increasing dosage

[9:46] I guess it puts him to sleep. He takes eight milligrams.
I think the most you should take is two. And he's taking eight because he's been taking it for so long, his body got used to it.
And so you have to take more and more. But I think the more...

[10:03] Sorry, I'm just reading here. So it says here, Xanax is commonly prescribed to treat anxiety.
Though it can quickly ease symptoms, it should generally only be used for the shortest time possible.
Right, and he's been on this eight or nine years?

[10:24] Yeah.

[10:24] Where's he getting it?

[10:27] He buys it off the street. No doctor would prescribe it.
Here in California, they're very strict on opioids and stuff like that.
So he buys it off the street.
And I don't even know if it's genuine or not.
And it seems to this point, like I told him, you are now suicidal.
It seems that you just want to numb yourself and to like take it away because you're not enjoying life.

[10:49] So, sorry to interrupt, but what do you think happened to your husband and his brother that may have given them a susceptibility to this kind of extremely dangerous addiction?

[11:07] I think part of it plays with their own parents. They are very materialistic.
They care about money more than anything.
For my brother-in-law, he was hit with a baseball bat while playing baseball in the park.
And so they prescribed him opiates at the time.
And they had pulled his jaw shut for like six months because he completely broke his jaw.
As for my husband I have no idea when he started he just said I need to sleep I'm not sleeping well I don't know who one of his friends gave him some and he liked it and he hasn't stopped ever since.

[11:49] Yeah that's how both of them started but I think there's a part of it also the neglect from their parents parents are they don't really care much much.
About them and uh my husband and his father worked together and so my husband was 16 years old he was working with his father and so he's the only one you know my father-in-law was illiterate so my husband is basically that does everything talking to the customers doing the sales and all that and um they got audited by the irs and um so um they owed like a hundred thousand dollars And so my father-in-law refused to help him.
He put all the blame on him.
And so my husband, you know, we sold everything that we had.
All the savings were gone.
And then my father-in-law passed away. And his mother will not give him his inheritance.
And she rubbed it in his face all the time. Wait.

[12:56] So sorry, sorry, your husband's father died and there was an inheritance.
Why, if it was an inheritance and it was in the will, why would it be up to the mother to give it or not?

[13:10] She says, after I die, I will give you.

[13:13] No, no, but if it's in the will, that's a legal document. I'm no lawyer, but isn't it the case that if you are left some money, you should get that money and it's not up to someone else to say whether you should or shouldn't.
You know, if your father-in-law left your husband, I don't know, $50,000, then it's not up to his mother to choose whether that goes to him or not, is it?

[13:42] Correct.

Husband's reluctance to ask for his rightful inheritance

[13:43] So I don't understand why you're not getting that. Why would he roll over with his mother?
Why would he just not get what his father gave him?

[13:53] He won't even ask her, Stefan.

[13:56] I'm sorry, he won't what?

[13:57] I knew he was a mama. He won't even ask her for it. He is such a mama's boy.
And he would not even upset her, even though he saw what they did with his brother, right? They didn't care about him at all.
And I told him, this is your right. What are you doing? Why don't you ask for your right? And he would not even ask her because he doesn't want to upset her.
It's crazy, Stefan. I'm telling you, this whole thing, I think, for him is the Xanax.
It's just completely numbed into everything. Like, he doesn't care. He's careless.
Everything will be fine. Don't worry. It's just fine. He's so numb. There's no emotion.
Even in the most dire situations, if you see me sometimes crying myself to sleep over what's happening with our daughter, and he doesn't even face them like nothing.
Like, why are you crying? I'm lonely.

[14:47] So, sorry, tell me a little bit about how you met your husband, what attracted you to him in the first place, just if you can give me that sort of history.

[15:01] Um um he came uh to where i was working and uh i guess he liked me and then his sister came in uh and then we exchanged numbers and we sat down and started talking and, you know he was a really sweet guy um that's about 20 years ago and very respectful very different from the men and from where I was born so he's, good-looking and all that and so we started talking and then he left back to America and then we continued on talking through emails and phone calls about a year and then he came back and we got engaged and within like six months we We were married. And I came here.
Of course, I'm from a very traditional family, closed society.
I wouldn't even dare to wear a short-sleeved shirt walking in the street.
So to me, coming to America was like a dream come true, of course.
I could have my freedom here. I could finally pursue whatever I wanted to do with my life.
So I thought of it as a win-win situation. And as soon as I came here, two colors showed.

[16:25] I realized how he was not what he said he used he was and uh i told my parents at the time and, they said give it time you know until you used to be each other or whatever, there was many signs for me to leave you know but i didn't and um it took me about 40 years to get pregnant and as soon as I had my first child, he didn't touch me, he hasn't touched me for since.

Strained relationship after having their first child

[16:58] And I stayed quiet and I told my family and everything and I decided, okay, I'm going to just stick with it.
I don't want my kids to grow up in a broken home. So I stuck to it.
I'm not saying I'm perfect to fund. I'm sure I've made a lot of mistakes.
But I put up with a lot, especially with this family. I don't have any family here.

[17:28] I'm sorry for all of this. It's very heartbreaking.
But can you tell me a little bit about, you don't have to tell me the country, but what culture did you come from that was so conservative?

[17:42] Middle Eastern.

[17:44] Ah, okay, so you came from the Middle East, and this guy was, you said respectful, right?
So there's that sort of cliche that the Middle Eastern guys are kind of dominant and aggressive and so on.
So this guy was more sensitive, and that was appealing to you, right?

[18:01] Yes, exactly.

[18:03] And did your parents or your family, did they meet him before you got married?

[18:08] Yes, they did.

[18:10] And they approved of him?

[18:11] Him as wonderful. They thought of him as wonderful.
He was very respectful, he talked in a, you know, sweet manner, and he, you know, he just, like, swooped us off of our feet.
But then when I came here, and every day-to-day interactions with him proved the exact opposite, and I was in shock, you know, and I was 21 years old.
I had no experience. Sorry.

[18:43] Is he the same age as you, more or less?

[18:45] No he's six years older.

[18:47] Okay so help me understand this because i i've heard this before right this sort of chameleon right he seemed perfect and then he was the complete opposite now that's i mean i get that you were a young woman and all of that but that seems hard to imagine that he could just have a complete personality switch and you know maybe this was the case but there were there were were no signs of any dysfunction before, so did he change after you got married, is that right?

[19:18] Yes, yes.

[19:19] Okay, so, and you were talking and back and forth for how long, I know it was long distance for some of it, but how long did you know him before you got married?

[19:28] About a year we talked.

[19:30] Okay, so you talked for a year, and then you moved to the States, is that right?

[19:36] Yes, correct.

[19:37] And when you moved to the States, you did so to marry him?

[19:42] Oh.

[19:44] You married in the Middle East, is that right?

[19:46] Yeah. Okay.

[19:47] So you married in the Middle East and then he was totally fine.
Although now for all the time that you knew each other, how long was the long distance part of it where you weren't face to face?

[20:03] About nine.

[20:05] So you really only had three months of face to face before you got married, is that right?

Initial Impressions and Family Approval

[20:10] Correct.

[20:11] Okay. And did you know much about his family history, his family life, his childhood, his upbringing and so on, before you married him?

[20:22] My family, my mom, has some relatives here in the States. They live in the same area.
And so she asked them to ask around, right, to know if their family situation is good.
And everybody they talk to, they give them much praise on how they are.
And, of course, for the most important thing to people, they say, oh, they have money.
Oh, they are good. They have work. They go to school.

[20:53] So he was a wealthy, good-looking guy.
And did that sweep you off your feet a little bit and lower your judgment a little bit?

[21:03] It's not even about that. It's more like, because I come from a good, you know, socioeconomical family.
So it's not about that. It was for me about, okay, he's different than all the guys in my country.
He's not rude. He actually opens the door for me. He doesn't yell at me.
Oh, my God, he brings me flowers. like nothing yeah so he's charming men in my country are very very charming it's not.

[21:35] Always bad but it can be a warning sign right if somebody's really charming they might be pulling a number on you right.

[21:41] Oh my god what a number oh wow if i only knew right.

[21:49] So there was no indication of problems before you got married and then what happened you know sort of wedding day honeymoon like how how quick did.

[21:59] He flip I said in the kids with the state so I come here it's new culture I'm in culture shock I don't know how what to do how to drive here where's the store how do you shop the money nothing I come here and first thing is I said he said go shop contract from grocery I said okay are you gonna come with me I didn't know where the store is I don't know how to buy seats here but he takes me in the car this is the first thing that he did to me and he drops me off at the in the street he says cross the street right there there's a store go go grab some groceries and i sat and i looked at him i was like i don't know what to do like we don't have big stores like there in my country can you come with me he said no go he yelled at me so i I got out of the car, and I'm walking to the front of the store, and I just looked around, and I just said, okay, I don't know what to do.
So I just walked to where the fruit and vegetables, and then all of a sudden, he walks in behind me.
He's so mean to me. We grabbed whatever, and we went home. Wait.

[23:12] Wait, sorry. So, sorry. He told you to go into the store on your own, and then he followed you into the store and was mean to you? What happened?

[23:21] After like 15 minutes, yeah, after like 15 minutes, he just walked in behind me and he started yelling at me.
He's coming, he's got this, da-da-da.
And so I just kept my mouth shut. I was just embarrassed. I didn't know what to do.
We go home the first time. The second time he did to me.
We go to a friend of his, and so he gets down from the car and runs into the house, his friend's house.
I was still getting out of my car, putting my jacket on, and I looked around, and he was gone.
I didn't even know which house it was. I'm like, what the hell?
I started looking around, like, where the hell did he go? We didn't have cell phones back then.
And so I started across the street, and I'm looking to see if an open door, then I saw like a door open on the side of the house.
I kind of looked in, and then I saw people inside, and I said, hi, is this the party play?
And I walked in, and I said, hi, I'm on the way. And then they said, oh, he's in the backyard.
And I walked in and I didn't see him. I sat in the backyard all alone for an hour, he didn't even come look for me or anything.

[24:38] Where was he though?

[24:41] He was just smoking with his friends on the other side of the house.
He didn't even like walk with me.
So I said, hey, my new wife, this is this person.
And this happened every single time. So finally I decided I'm not going with you anymore. I think my old...

[24:58] Sorry, sorry, back up. So he turns out to be kind of an a-hole, right?
Like he's mean, he's cruel, he puts you in these impossible situations, he's lording it over you, and he's kind of humiliating you, he's mean to you, he ignores you, he takes off on you.
Like just really, just terrible behavior, right?

[25:22] Right.

[25:24] So why, why did you stay?
No no no that's not an answer that's no that's not an answer and you're not because.

[25:36] I want i didn't want my kids to grow up in a broken home and i i had to make the decision.

[25:42] But you didn't have kids to go back i know you said sorry you said if i understood sorry interrupt thank you sorry i don't mean to interrupt but as far as i understood it didn't you say it took you four Four years to get pregnant?

[25:55] Yeah, it took me four years.

[25:56] So what? So no, no, no, there's no kids in broken home for four years. There's no kids.
So why? And I'm not trying to be mean to you. I'm genuinely curious.
Because listen, I mean, I've stayed in dysfunctional relationships, so I'm not like, I'm not lording it over you. I'm not better than.
I'm just genuinely trying to understand. stand, this guy turns to be a horrible person, and you stay with him for four years trying to have babies, what's the thinking behind all of that?

[26:30] Number one is that if I go back, I will be a prisoner of my parents' house for the rest of my life.
For the rest of my life.

[26:41] Why would you be a prisoner? Because nobody else would marry you?

[26:46] Nobody else. And of course, I would be a disgrace to my family.
No man would want to marry me. So I'm a damaged product, basically, to them.

[26:55] Well, but sorry to interrupt. But, I mean, could you not find another man?
I know it might be tougher to stay in the States, but could you not find another man in the U.S. or something like that?
I mean, this is still post-internet. Maybe you could meet a man online or something like that.
So, I mean, wouldn't there be some kind of options?

[27:13] If I did that, they would disown me.
If I left my husband on my own accord and just stayed in the U.S., they would disown me.
100%. So if I were to leave, I would not go back.

[27:25] Okay, but if that means that they're going to lock you up and shame you and disown you for trying to get out of an abusive or terrible relationship.
And again, I know that's easy to say, but isn't it kind of like good riddance?

[27:39] I mean.

[27:39] They're not living with him, you are.

[27:44] I know. They always say, because it's about traditional marriage, oh, you get used to each other, oh, this is just, you're getting to know each other.
Just be patient. Or sometimes, you know, he's making stress out.
All kinds of excuses. And I took it all in. I took it all in.
I listened to them, and they told me. that he will get better, you know, things will get better. And so I did. I did.
And do your parents.

[28:09] Sorry, do your parents have a good marriage? A marriage that you would be happy to, if something like that happened to you, you'd be happy with your parents' marriage?
What are the issues with your parents' marriage?

Escaping Oppression: From Mother to Daughter

[28:23] With my mom. My mom ran away from her old family to marry somebody from a different country to get away.
From the oppression, right, of the family.
And so she came to a village in, He was not how he claimed also to be.
So I did the same mistake like my mom did. I repeated the same mistakes. Well.

[28:50] She helped you to do that too, right?

[28:53] Yeah, she did. And I blamed her for it. And I told her about it.
I said, you should not let me do that.
You should have told me to repeat the same mistake that you encouraged me to.
Thinking that he's from a different country, maybe he's better.
My husband was from a different country. And look how your life was.

[29:14] Wow, okay. Yeah, so she, I mean, she did kind of sabotage your life, right?

[29:20] Encouraged me to get out, you know.

[29:24] Right, okay. Sorry, go ahead.

[29:28] Yeah, after that, my parents and him were like, okay, you need to have children, time to have children enough.
And so I was not on birth control, never took any birth control, But I never got pregnant either, so we went to do in vitro, and it did not work.
And the last try, I was there, the doctor walked in with a team of interns, maybe seven or eight of them.
And so he looked at me, and he said, you know what?
I don't think this method is going to work for you. You're going to need to do the IBS, the one that costs $25,000.
Otherwise, you're not going to get pregnant. Just like that.
Just like that while he's doing the procedure for me and so the very next day i got my period and then i told my husband this is it if god is not going to give me children no man is going to give me children i'm not going to try again i'm done if you want children you can let me go back to my family you go marry i'm done he said no i don't want kids i don't want kids whatever remember, we're fine like this, I'm fine, I don't want kids.

[30:38] And so we just let go, we let it go. And then this is my first time I go back to my country and while I think we were there, it seems that I got pregnant, because we came back here and I was not feeling well.
I went to the doctor and he told me, you're pregnant.
So everybody was happy for us.
Like I was ecstatic that I was pregnant And so we had our first child and after the first child, he got so bad with me.
And it's now like six months or seven months and he hasn't touched me.
And I told him, what's going on? Like, why are you not touching me? What's wrong?
You know, I did not gain that much weight. I look okay. And then, I don't want to say this. I'm not going to say what he said to me so far.
But you can just imagine what he said. the more you can say to him that he doesn't.

[31:32] Find you attractive anymore.

[31:36] He said, I don't like having sex with women with a loose vagina.

[31:45] Oh, gosh.

[31:46] I said, oh, my God.

Teacher Troubles and Struggles with Kids

[32:01] I'm very sorry. I mean, obviously, that's just, you're right.
I mean, that's just absolutely appalling.

[32:07] I let it go okay okay move on to kill the kid.

[32:13] I'm sorry you had your first kid and then you just had kids so.

[32:17] Yes and then after about a year and three months I was pregnant again and after my my daughter we completely became just a group we grew up, even though I tried so hard the fun to make us like intimate again nothing no amount of lingerie no amount of point again sweet talking nothing I tried it all and finally I gave I was just forget forget it he doesn't want me at you can't push someone to love you they don't like I let it go and I'm focusing on the kids, and I'm planning on that too that she's killing me and I feel a big amount of guilt you know my daughter, she it took her a long time to be portrayed so she's almost nine years old and she's still in her bed and I did not just you know I took her to the doctors the specialists and they did all kinds of studies they prescribed her medication and they gave her like a a machine that that you put in your undies at night, if there's a little bit of moisture to an alarm, the alarm would ring and so to get her, you know, get up and go at night.
So finally she got clean and everything.

[33:44] Then this is, this is a key point. When she was in fourth grade, The teacher would ask me to come in, and she would tell me, well, your daughter is doing this weird hand movement during class.
It's very distracting. I was like, what hand movement? She looked like she flutters her hand out of the blue, the candle. I said, okay, what's wrong with that?
She said, I don't know. I just want to let you know that she's doing that.
I said, okay. Maybe she was excited about something.

[34:18] Every day she would ask me that. and then I started talking to my daughter and asking her what's going on and she said nothing she's picking on me every day she picks on me she's so mean to me and I was like what really so I went to school and I talked to the principal and I said can you please move my daughter to a different classroom I think the teacher is not being friendly with my daughter and it's stressing her out so he said let me talk to the teacher and see what's going on And the next day he tells me, you need to take her to a doctor.
Without a doctor's note, I'm not going to move her. And I said, doctor's note? For what?
He said, well, the teacher says that your daughter has some kind of mental disorder.
And I said, excuse me? Are you serious?
So I went and I took her in the same day. I took her to the primary care doctor.
And he referred her to a neurologist. He told me, the PCP, that there's something wrong with your daughter. if you want to do more intensive or deeper diagnosis take her to this.
He made that appointment I call in and I say okay so what do I need to do he said this is a neurologist you need to deprive her from food and water and sleep.

[35:32] After 6 p.m., you can let her fall asleep. Then around 2 a.m., you bring her to us.
We're going to do a stress test. We're going to put her on a treadmill, and we're going to flash light in her eyes to try to induce a seizure.

[35:47] So I told her, you want me to deprive my child from food and sleep and water?
Then I'm going to bring her to you in the middle of the night for you to do a stress test. If she doesn't have seizures, she's going to get one.
And I refused to take her. We canceled the appointment. And I went back home and I was telling my friend what happened. And he said, what to do?
Like, I don't want my daughter to continue with this teacher.
Yet the principal would move her without a doctor's note. Like, I don't know what to do.
And she told me, let's write a letter to the superintendent and send it to her and see if we can put pressure on the principal.

Taking Action to Address Teacher's Behavior

[36:23] So I took the letter by hand and I registered mail, you know, sent the mail, registered mail.
Two days later she calls me the superintendent and she can i three-way the principal and i said please she said what's happening i told him i told her the situation i told her this is what that requirement is from a neurologist to do to my child you know can i just move the teacher, maybe it's a teacher and so she told the principal can you please move her daughter tomorrow And right away, the next day, we go to school, the principal, the new teacher has a welcome party for my daughter.
All my daughter's grades went up, all of them. She was the happiest you could ever be.
So I figured, okay, that was the teacher. She's speaking about my daughter.
Maybe because I'm Middle Eastern, I don't know. I don't know what it was, but I was happy she was moved.

[37:19] And then, the year after that, lockdown came.
Lockdown. So, she lost contact with her friends.
They were not able to do the online schooling thing. So, I just put myself to...

[37:38] Sorry, your daughter wasn't to where her friends weren't?

[37:42] I'm sorry? Yeah, she lost contact with them.

[37:45] No, I know that. that but you said they.

[37:47] Weren't able to do.

[37:47] The online schooling thing and i'm not sure who they refer.

[37:50] Oh yeah and my children okay your children so but why couldn't they do the online thing, they they were not able to sit down and just listen to the teacher and whatever it was so uh copy and the timing was not correct and so they were unable to focus like at all at the thing so i took it up on myself i went to that about curriculum for her grade and his grade and i started doing the homeschooling with them and so uh during this time so they said two weeks now it's two years but they missed two years of their life from social interactions and everything and i promised just to find nobody fought harder than me to stop the lockdown and uh, I spent most of the time, while they are at home, protesting.
And I feel a certain guilt when it comes to that, too, because I didn't change anything. All the protesting I did, it didn't change nothing.
It was nothing. I should have spent that time with my children instead.
You know, I feel a big guilt when it comes to that.

[39:03] Did you, sorry to interrupt, did you talk, did you think, I'm sure you did think, did you think of moving to a place with less lockdowns?

[39:12] I hope he refuses to live here.

[39:16] I'm sorry, say that again.

[39:17] It's more than when he refuses to leave California.

[39:20] Okay.

[39:20] He does not want to live here. I tried that many times.
He doesn't want to move. And so even though he doesn't have any family here, but he doesn't want to. So I'm stuck.

Challenges of Staying in California Despite Husband's Reluctance

[39:33] And so, yeah, she was left alone a lot during this time.

[39:41] Oh because your husband was working and you were protesting right okay.

[39:49] Then, after that, time passed.
Now, we go back to school after two years.
My son is now going to high school and he was fine. I did not want my daughter to be messed up.
And I figured it would not help her at all, you know, especially two years without, you know, being locked up.
I wanted her to have face-to-face interaction. action so um all the public schools that were forced and they were trying to push the back thing on them too so i told my husband i'm going to find a private school for her and i'm going to put her in a christian private school and i found one and the school is amazing in every single way you can think and uh so she was there for two years and uh everything is right there It's a little bit more homework, so she felt bestest.
But, you know, like, I'm home. I'm always helping her and everything.

[40:50] Then comes the last, so towards the end of the last year she was there, that's when this pulling started.
And I spoke to the principal and all the teachers, and I said, Tal is going through this, and I don't know what happened to you.
Is there something that you guys can tell me?
Something happened at the school? Some kids, like, harassed her?
Her anybody like any clue why she's going through this nobody listen she's good she plays she has her friends and uh it's a little bit like closed off she doesn't really like mingling with the girls too much she likes the company of the boys more but not really anything that's noticeable and so um.

[41:34] That's how we got to the point where, you know, towards the end of the lesson, she was there.
So, and I had to ask the principal because she didn't want to be there because she has a bull spot.
And they allowed it and they were very grateful with everything.
Like, I think if she was in a different school, things would have been much worse.

[41:55] They made homework load much less for her.
They gave her more time to do homework and everything. so they were very helpful in her situation and that did not help that's homeward and all that so I still could I put my finger on why you know she started pulling and and I was afraid that she was maybe molested or something so I talked to her and I said somebody that she never briefly did anybody like possibly at school anything no no no and um so i think maybe hypnosis we can get up okay maybe she will not tell me she's afraid to tell me so i found a hypnotist that would try to hypnotize her and of course because uh he uh no uh clinics were allowed to have patients and so on skype, And he said to me, you know, she laid on the bed and you tried to hypnotize her, which I don't think it worked. But he started asking her questions.

Exploring different therapists and treatments, no success in finding answers

[42:58] Has somebody like that, anything and everything she told him?

[43:02] Because I watched the tape afterwards. Everything she told him was a lie.
He asked her, when was the last time you pulled your hair? And she said, oh, I was in my room.
He said, what were you feeling back then? And she said, I was happy.
He's like, really? You were happy?
Who did you see before you went into the room? She said, oh my God, he came in and he kissed me.
And he said, how are you? And I said, okay. And then I was happy.

[43:30] And I said, I told him, I said that to the guy. I said, no, this does not make any sense.
Like you should have pressed her more. That doesn't make any sense.
You can't be happy and you start hurting yourself.
So, by the way, I found somebody else different, about six or seven different therapists.
Then I found this therapist from the Netherlands, and I purchased his book, and I was reading, and he had a program.
It's like habit reversal, right?
Kind of like nail biting. You have to stop that habit. So kind of like one of the therapies for this.

[44:10] It did not work nothing worse all these therapists not one of them was able to reach the core reason why she started pulling nobody and then uh my brothers came here, and uh they were telling me your daughter is not normal you know that and i told them what you mean they're like other than the hair pull she seems to be autistic you know that right, And I told them, I see some ticks in her, okay, that's fine, but I don't trust doctors here.

[44:47] If one of them says something to social services or anything, I would not be able to get her back.
All the lawyers in the world would not be able to get her back if I lose her to the system here. I'm scared to put her through that.
Look at what they want to do.
I don't want to go on psych meds. Look at her father on site.
What's happened to him? I'm scared.
I'm scared of them. I'm scared of the doctors. I don't trust them.
I don't want to get her diagnosed. She's fine. I'll work on her myself. It's fun.
I don't know if I'm crazy or not.
But I'm scared. I'd like to take her to the psychiatrist here.
I'm sticking to therapy. Okay. We should be all hands-on with her.
Okay. We should all just be present with her, keep her engaged, keep her happy, not stressful. She doesn't need to be in a stressful situation.
I took the phone away from her, no tablet, no internet.
Take her out for sports.
Make her go out on camps and everything. And I'm going to teach her how to be responsible and take care of herself and help with the house chores and all of that.
And I'm being judged. But no, you're not doing enough because you're not taking care of your psychiatrist.

Fear and distrust of doctors, focus on hands-on therapy and engagement

[46:06] Sorry, what did you think, what did your brothers say about her behavior that they expressed these concerns? What did she manifest?

[46:17] That she's autistic.

[46:19] No, I know, but that's what they're saying. But what behaviors were they observing that you think might have led them in that direction?

[46:28] That she has that hand movement, the fluttering of her hands.
That she doesn't focus. Like when they ask a question, they have to ask it to her twice. First time she says, huh?
And then she'll ask it again and then she'll answer. She's not like, if she's zoned out, she's repetitive, like in her movements, for example, like she'll get up and just like jump up and down, like five times.
She has certain body movements that she repeats, not throughout the day.
Like in the morning when she wakes up is the most, like she'll bounce up and down.
If she's bored or if she gets excited about something, she'll jump up and down.

[47:29] When it comes to schooling her grades are excellent she's an artist uh very creative um she has a little hard time with math but she you know like a's and b's they're great, um so uh she doesn't have a disability when it comes to learning she writes the most beautiful she won a poem she wrote a poem and she won over the whole district um so educationally she's excellent um, friends wise um she has one best friend and she talked to a couple other students in the in the school but one one mainly like close friends, and um, he loves her brother even though her brother is distant not from her he's like ashamed of her uh he doesn't like to walk with her to school he doesn't talk to her or talk to her to school he's also blaming me uh, for not taking her to a psychiatrist.
He tells me that he has his whole life ahead of him and he doesn't have time for her.
And that as soon as he's out, he's out. He's not going to care for her whatsoever.
It broke my heart. And I said, this is how you talk about your sister?
What happens if I die? He said, yeah, that's what I'm trying to tell you.
If you die, you'll be able to take care of her. You need to put her in an institution or something.
That's my son. And I could not believe he started talking like that about his sister.

[48:57] Wait, sorry, your son, who's been raised by a non-empathetic, cruel, and emotionally distant dad, is himself cruel and non-empathetic?
Of course. Isn't that how it works?

[49:15] Yeah.

Husband and wife in disagreement about seeking professional help

[49:24] So I explained to him that I don't trust the kind of things you do.
I understand. I'm scared of them. I don't want them to hurt her with medication.
And he says, well, you need to know what's wrong with her.
I told him, the therapist told me, don't expect her, okay? But she's not as bad as the rest.
It's just a hair-pulling thing. I need to figure out why she's doing it.
And so he said, do whatever you want. And he went into his room and shut the door.
And I'm looking at my husband and he says, yeah, he's right, you know. And I said, fine, do you want to take a strike at his school? Go for it.
I'm not going to get the one. Just get him a purple flag. Okay?
What are you doing? Go for it. Of course, she's not going to.
I know he wasn't going to.

[50:11] I sat down with her last week, and I said, can you explain to me, because I saw a new patch.
As soon as the hair grew a little bit long, she's pulled. And I got me to think, I said, did it hurt to pull your hair?
She said, no. What do you mean? If I try to pull one hair, it hurts.
You're pulling like many chunks at like one time. It's not one hair you're pulling.
I was like, how do you pull? And she said, she puts like about maybe 50 or 60 strands between her fingers.
And she twists her fingers and then she pulled like viciously, vicious way over.
Pull it. And I said, oh my God, that hurts a lot. And she said, I don't feel it.
I was like, what do you mean? I don't feel any pain when I pull her hair. I was like, really?
Okay. So I grabbed like a handful of her eyebrow and I pulled a little bit.
She's like, ow. I was like, yeah.

Concerns about Hair Pulling and Sensitivity

[51:18] I said, why do you think you have the need to call so much? And then she said, i just it's bothering me i was like okay if it bothers you we'll keep it short but if you keep pulling from the root you're gonna kill the follicle and then you might not grow a head again in your scalp you don't want to wear wings for the rest of your life you have beautiful hair, and she said i don't know i just i i i don't i can't feel myself with it it doesn't hurt, And I can't tell Mr.
Fong, that's how hurt she is, and he, I don't feel, so my brother told me maybe she has something, maybe she really doesn't feel pain, she pulled, maybe that's why she's pulling it.
It's kind of like if they say it's a habit, it could be just a habit.
Maybe we should do like a neurological test on her and I could see if she has like the nerve endings in her head.
I don't know if I'm doing her wrong, if I'm to blame. I don't know what I'm lost. I'm lost.

[52:32] Sorry, I'm not sure what you mean when you say that you're lost.
I'm not disagreeing with you. I'm just not sure what you mean.

[52:41] I can't find a therapist that really can get to the core of it. No.

[52:48] No, no, no, no, no. Forget about your daughter for a second.

[52:53] So for me, why am I lost?

[52:56] You're in a loveless, dysfunctional, non-communicative relationship with a drug addict.
Help me understand what you mean when you say that you're lost.
This is one of the most miserable marriages I've ever heard of.
I mean, from what you're telling me.

[53:24] Yeah, I would get into work for that.

[53:28] So, I'm trying to sort of help you understand your focus on your daughter.
When you're as miserable a person, and I mean this with sympathy, I don't mean miserable like mean or bad.
You're as unhappy a person as I've ever heard.
And how are you going to fix your daughter if you're miserable?

[54:01] I tried to hide it.

[54:04] I don't care. No, honestly. See, now we're back to talking about your kids.
I'm not talking about your kids. I'm talking about you.
What are you doing in this miserable existence?

Fear of Leaving and Inability to Be on One's Own

[54:22] I don't know. I'm scared to leave.
I'm so scared to leave.

[54:30] In what way?

[54:32] I've never been on my own all my life. I went to my parents' house.
I don't know how to do it on my own.

[54:39] Come on. No, no, no. What do you mean you don't know how to do it on your own?
What do you think you don't know how to sign the lease or pay bills or like i don't understand what you mean no.

[54:49] I can i have a college degree i can.

[54:51] Yeah you're just listening i would have to move every every listener every listener to this show gets for me the top one percent of intelligence, so you don't get in my view you don't get to roll over and play dead intellectually because you listen to this show yeah.

[55:09] I'm not i'm honestly telling you.

[55:12] So you're a highly I would have to move. I'm sorry?

[55:16] I would have to move away from what I live right now. I would not be able to afford paying rent here.

[55:23] Okay.

[55:24] And that would make the children have to choose between me or their father.
And I'm sure my son would want to go with his father because he's not there.
He allows him to do whatever he wants.

[55:35] Well, hang on, hang on, hang on. Have you talked to a lawyer?

[55:42] No. I have not.

[55:44] So, hang on.

[55:46] So.

[55:47] Listen. Have I listened a lot? I've listened for like an hour, right?

[55:51] You did, you did.

[55:52] So, you need to let me talk a little, because every time I start to talk, you're talking over me.

[55:57] Sorry.

[55:58] I don't mean to be mean. It's just we're not going to have a very productive conversation if I can't get a word in edgewise, all right?
So, if you haven't talked to a lawyer, how do you know what the outcome of a separation would be?

[56:15] It's just based on what my son would choose.
And that he would choose to be with his father because there is no limitations on what he can do, how long he can play up or play video games.
But to me, I know my daughter would come with me, but my son, I would lose him to his father. Sorry.

[56:35] I'm sorry, I'm sorry, I'm sorry.

[56:37] No.

[56:38] Hang on, hang on. How do you know that?

[56:42] When I went back to visit my family. No.

[56:45] No, legally. No, legally. I don't mean like in terms of they choose.
Legally, how do you know? I mean, isn't a share, I don't know what the law is.
I mean, I have some idea if the law is in California, like there's a 10-year marriage rule, at least from what I've heard.
And I think that the courts in America try to help the children continue as undisrupted as possible, right?
So how do you, I don't think that the kids just get to choose who they live with.
I think there's shared custody. I think there's all kinds of things right also I don't know I mean if you can convince the court and I'm not giving any legal advice here right I'm just saying that if the court understands that your husband is coming up for 10 year drug addict, I mean I assume that's going to have some effect on that deliberation so again don't talk to me I'm not a lawyer but I don't understand, this sort of fear and you're creating all of these ghost stories to scare yourself with instead of talking to somebody who would actually know. I don't follow.

Concerns about Raising Children in a Broken Home

[57:53] Well, my first reason is that I don't want them to grow up in a broken home.
That's my first reasoning, right? Okay.

[57:59] Tell me what you mean by broken home.

[58:04] The parents are divorced. Okay.

[58:07] But hang on, hang on, hang on.
What do you mean by divorced?
I mean, do you mean like the legal thing or the fact that you barely talk to your husband and he drugs himself when he gets home from work?
Aren't you letting your children bond and get modeled by a drug addict?
Again, maybe I'm missing something here, but I don't know what you mean by broken home.
You know, if you bought a dog for your kids and it kept biting them, would you say, well, I don't want to separate them from their pet?
It's like, it's not a pet, it's an attack dog.
And your husband is not fathering, it sounds like. He's not parenting.
He's not being a husband or a father. He's a drug addict. So I don't know what you mean by broken home.
Isn't it broken already?
I'm happy to be corrected. I'm just telling you what I think. Oh, my questions.

[59:27] Please don't be sad. I need this. I need this, please.

[59:32] I'm sorry?

[59:36] I need this from you.

[59:41] No, I'm just honestly asking questions.
You have this boogeyman called divorce that has kept you in a loveless, abusive marriage for over 10 years.
But it's not about you, right? You're a mother. Who is it about?
What's your one goal as a mother? What's the one thing you absolutely have to do as a mother?

[1:00:15] No.

[1:00:15] You have to keep your children safe. You have to expose them to the best things in life, right?

[1:00:21] Okay.

[1:00:24] So having your children grow up with a drug addict in the house, who's cold and mean and I assume abusive to some degree, right?
Is that what's best for your children?
It's what's best for you because you've defined yourself into a corner right you've defined yourself into a corner so that well i have to stay married and i have to do this and i can't move and i'm going to lose my son and right so you've you've but this is not real this is all just stuff you've made up to justify the fact that you don't want to make a decision, Does your husband drive the children when he's on drugs?

[1:01:19] He doesn't go anywhere. Oh.

[1:01:21] He doesn't go anywhere? He's never in charge of them when he's high?

[1:01:26] Never. He's just staying in the room.
And so he doesn't take us anywhere. I take the kids and do stuff with them.
He doesn't engage at all.

[1:01:40] So they effectively have no father from what I understand Is that right?
100% Except he's in the room and he's in the house Do they feel comfortable having friends come over with a drugged out dad in his room?

[1:02:01] They don't My son's friends And they come, but they go straight to his room, and they don't sit with us in the family.
They just walk and say hi. They go up to the room, and they close the door.
They stay for a little bit, and then they leave.
They don't stay for long.

The fear of losing custody and children blaming her

[1:02:20] I don't know, Stefan, what I need to do, but I'm scared.

[1:02:25] So tell me what you're scared of. That's what I want to understand, because you're making up all of these stories.
Maybe they're right, maybe they're wrong. I don't know, I'm no lawyer, but help me understand what you're scared of.

[1:02:40] I know they're going to say, okay, he's on drugs.
You're going to have full custody. And the kids are going to blame me.
Oh, you deprived us from our father? That's another thing I don't want.
That's why I keep telling myself, okay, I don't want to fight with him over the kids.
I want to have a relationship with their father. I don't want them not to see him, so they don't blame me in the future. Why did you do this?

[1:03:05] So it's still about you.

[1:03:06] No.

[1:03:07] It's still about you.
It's still about you. Well, I don't want my kids to blame me, and I don't want to be criticized, and I don't want this. But you're a mom.
It's not about you.
It's about what's best for your kids. Now, I don't know what's best for your kids, obviously.
I'm not there. I don't know. I mean, I just know what you've told me, so I don't know what's best for your kids.
But you can't be acting out of fear of any kind of criticism.
Because then it's about you. It's about protecting yourself, not your children. Am I wrong? I mean, I could be wrong. I'm happy to be corrected.

[1:03:50] I don't know.
I'm staying here for them. That's what I tell myself.

[1:03:57] No.

[1:03:58] No.

[1:03:58] No. You haven't said... No, no. Let's be honest, man.
You haven't said one thing about what's for them. You've said it's all about you. I don't want to move. I don't want to be criticized. I don't want this. I don't want that.
You haven't said anything about them. What you've told me is that it's all about you.

Children's Imprint of a Bad Relationship

[1:04:38] Every day that your children are in a household with parents who hate each other, they're digging themselves a little deeper into being imprinted with a really bad relationship. Right?
How long is it going to take for them to dig themselves out of that hole when they get older or are they just going to end up in marriages like yours.
Does your daughter know how miserable you are?

[1:05:29] I'm sure she thinks so. I'm sorry?
I'm sure she knows.

[1:05:36] Okay, so I'm sure your daughter knows how miserable you are.
And would you say that you are now, but particularly when you were younger, when you were 21, were you very physically attractive?
Yeah yeah okay so to some degree you chose your husband out of looks and money and to some degree your husband chose you out of looks and money right, yeah now I have no idea what's going on with your daughter obviously right I'm nowhere competent to talk about any of that sort of stuff but let me give you a theoretical scenario not involving your daughter right, now now.

[1:06:23] In a girl's eyes, physical attractiveness will lead her to the life her mother has.
So if you were chosen for your looks, then if you're miserable, a girl could very easily in her head say, Today, good looks, being attractive, leads to misery.
Being good looking attracts dangerous men.
Being good looking gets you married and miserable.

[1:07:12] So it's, to me, theoretically possible that a girl would say looks lead to absolute misery.
Being good looking. Now, a primary attribute of a woman's good looks is her hair, right?
And you said your daughter has very attractive hair, right? Nice hair. Is that right?

[1:07:41] Very thick and curly hair.

[1:07:43] Beautiful hair, so if you if your husband chose you for your good looks and you're miserable and you have been miserable for for how long have you been miserable.

[1:07:58] 10 to 12 years.

[1:08:00] I'm sorry.

[1:08:02] About 10 years 10 to 12 years.

[1:08:04] So for 10 to 12 years you've been miserable And was it 12 years ago that you married your husband? No, it was longer than that.

[1:08:12] Okay.

The history of misery in the marriage

[1:08:13] So hang on. So you come over to the States. Your husband drops you at a grocery store, and you have no idea what to do.
And then he comes in 15 minutes later and starts yelling at you.
And then he takes you to a party, disappears.
You don't even know where the party is. He leaves you alone in a new country with strangers.
So, if your daughter's 13, took you four years to get pregnant, that's 17 years ago, isn't it?

[1:08:48] Oh, 17. Oh.

[1:08:52] Or 18.

[1:08:55] Oh.

[1:08:57] Okay, how long, I mean, how long ago, how many years ago did you, how many years ago did you get married?

[1:09:02] 20 years ago.

[1:09:03] Okay, 20 years ago.
And what is the, what is the longest time of truly sustained happiness you've had in your marriage?
How long has it, for how long were you and your husband, like, was it a week, a month, six months, a year, that you and your husband were very happy? Or just happy?

[1:09:26] The longest? Oh, my God. I would say maybe the longest was about a month.
And I would say that came the second year when I started working.
So, I was at home and then I was happy at the work because I started making friends and all that.

[1:09:48] No, no, in your marriage, like in your marriage, you've had a month's sustained happiness.

[1:09:55] I've never been happy, never.

[1:09:58] So, you've never been happy in your marriage?

[1:10:01] Never.

[1:10:01] Okay. So your daughter, or again, can't speak to your daughter in particular, a girl who looks at her mother and says, my mother was chosen for her beauty and it led to 20 years of misery.
So my beauty is dangerous.
And the best way, to not be chosen for my beauty is to destroy my hair.

Reflecting on Physical Appearance in Relationships

[1:10:50] I mean, let me ask you this, let me ask you this. If you go back 21 years to when you met your husband, would you have preferred, in hindsight, would you have preferred to be bald when you met him?
I'm not saying bald forever. I'm just saying that when you met him, would you have preferred to have a really bad cold to have some giant pimples or something right that made you unattractive to your husband.

Struggling with self-image and weight gain

[1:11:38] I wish that every day the fun.

[1:11:41] Right so you curse in a sense your youthful beauty right, because the panic got you snubbed right sorry go ahead i.

[1:11:54] Let go of myself the past five years.

[1:11:58] And have you like gained weight or or what is it that you mean yeah and how much weight have you how much weight have you gained.

[1:12:07] I'm now 210.

[1:12:09] And your height?

[1:12:11] I am 5'4".

[1:12:13] Right. Okay, so you have wrecked, in a sense, your physical beauty, and to some degree your health, right?
So you are trying to get your daughter to preserve her attractiveness while modeling the destruction of your own.
You were saying, it's better for my life if I'm less attractive.
And then your daughter is making herself less attractive, right?

[1:13:02] It just clicked in my head. Because she always calls me, Mom, why are you so fat?

[1:13:08] Right. And what's your answer?

[1:13:14] I always joke and say, that's beautiful.

[1:13:17] You joke and say what?

[1:13:19] Now it clicked in my head. It's a beer belly. Oh.

[1:13:22] It's a beer belly.

[1:13:22] Okay.

[1:13:23] So what's the honest answer to your daughter as to why you've gained so much weight?
If you could be perfectly honest without consequences, what would you say to your daughter?
She says, why have you gained so much weight? Why are you so overweight? What would you say?

[1:13:42] Because my husband doesn't touch me. He doesn't care for me.
He doesn't love me. So why should I even worry about it? He's not going to touch me either way.
You're not attracted to me why should I care.

[1:13:56] Right, and then she would say but wouldn't you care because you want to stay healthy for us kids, Or stay healthy for yourself.
Or, of course, it could just be another way of staying in a bad marriage, because if you're overweight, then maybe another guy won't choose you or whatever.
And has your husband said anything about your weight gain?

[1:14:57] I'm sorry?
He doesn't care. Oh.

[1:15:01] He doesn't care.

[1:15:01] He doesn't care.

[1:15:02] Right.

[1:15:03] Yeah.
Without that, my most wishes are not what I wish.
After I had my daughter a couple of years old, like when I was 20, I don't know, 32, And I, my best friend was, you know, my kids, who were good and healthy and took care of me and everything else, but like, to me, and how I felt, was my best.
And then I slowly started letting go, especially after my brother-in-law passed away, and the responsibility all fell on my shoulders, right, because the father is the last.
And so I played both the mother and the father role, which confused the kids, by the way.
And, uh.

Fear of Consequences and Difficulty in Decision-Making

[1:16:10] I'm sorry, I'm having a little trouble understanding you.

[1:16:14] I thought about leaving many times. It's just, I'm afraid of what could come after the consequences of deciding to leave.
From my family, society, his family, my children.
I'm afraid. I was always, I'm always afraid to take the big decision.

[1:16:37] Do you think that I want to, hang on, do you think I want to go down this road of your fears again?
You've said this to me about half a dozen times, hang on, hang on, you've said this to me about half a dozen times about your fears and I'm fears and I'm sobbing and I'm sad and I'm upset and I'm crying and I'm this and I'm that?
What do you think my reaction is to you after I say you've got to focus on your kids, you talking about your own fears again?
You've got to focus on your kids. But I, me, me, I. What about your kids?
But I, me, me, I. Well, what about your kids? But I, me, me, I.
What's best for your children? Not what's best for you, not what's easiest for you, or less fearful for you, or what's best for your kids?
I don't know the answer to that. But what's best for your kids isn't you talking about, I'm EMI.
My fears, my feelings, my this, my that, my the other. I mean, you've been doing that for 20 years.
How's that working out?

[1:17:53] Oh, good.

[1:17:58] That's good.
What do your friends say if you've talked to them about your marriage?

A Mean Husband and A Family's Concerns

[1:18:15] They understand that they need to buy a stay And they also understand that he's the father.
He's a good guy, you know, in general, right?
He doesn't beat them up. He doesn't yell at them. He doesn't, you know, so...
Kind of like do whatever you want to think you you want to do you know we're here for you but either way, And my family wanted me to leave the kids and him and just go back home. And I said.

[1:19:12] No, I'm going to be my children.

[1:19:17] About four years ago, they wanted me to leave.
And I said, no, I'm not going to be my children here. Sorry.

[1:19:25] What happened that they changed their mind or rather than saying, work it out, or you'll get used to each other or these are adjustment pains.
What happened in your marriage that your family knew about that they said come home or at least leave him.

[1:19:37] Well wow you have another hour to find um his mother and sister traveled to, and they saw my family there and they went to my parents house and they started saying that i am a whore uh i don't cook or clean or feed my children uh i forced my husband to do a the gastric bypass surgery.
So he didn't say, I'm hungry, so I have to cook for him. Now, why did they decide to do all of this? I found out later.
Of course, my parents, my father called me immediately. He said, why are they saying this about you?
Are you okay? Is everything okay? Are the kids okay?
I said, yeah. I don't know why they said that. I don't understand.
So I went to my husband's work and I said, why is your mother and sister talking all that stuff about me? And he said, I don't know.
Well, it turns out that he decided to say all of this bad stuff about me, make up all this stuff to his mama.
For some reason, I don't know what the reason was, honest to God.
Until today, I don't know. I even asked everybody in his immediate family.

[1:20:53] I'm sorry, who on earth cares what the reason is? I don't understand.
What does the reason matter?

[1:20:59] Yeah, because I don't know why would they go and say that about me to my own family.

[1:21:05] Hang on, so sorry. So he got gastric bypass surgery, and then he said you made him get it so you wouldn't have to feed him?

[1:21:14] Yes.

[1:21:15] So is he saying that he wasn't overweight?

[1:21:18] Oh, he was overweight. He was like 350 pounds. And I did not start to do the surgery.
I told him if he was unable to lose the weight, you know, I saw a lot of people did.

[1:21:27] Hang on, hang on, hang on. Sorry, sorry, sorry. When did he hit 350 pounds?

[1:21:33] When my daughter was two years old. 350. And I was then, like I said, I was...

[1:21:41] Hang on. How much did he weigh when you met him?

[1:21:44] No, he wasn't. He was like 180 when I first met him.

[1:21:48] Okay, so he doubled his weight? Yes.
And how did he do that? I mean, what was he eating?

[1:22:00] He was just eating a lot, a lot. And he doesn't exercise.
And so he gained it pretty fast. So when he went and saw the doctor and he encouraged him and he did the surgery, which was painless.
He did not feel any pain. Of course, it was the shock of the amount of how much you can eat in the beginning.
And so he dropped the weight fast. within like a year he had lost uh uh almost all of the excess weight and uh he felt like a brand new man he felt great afterwards i don't know why he would say that like what pushed him but again i don't.

The Cruelty of the Husband and Irrelevant Reasons

[1:22:39] Care i mean he's a cruel guy right.

[1:22:40] Yeah very cruel okay so he's a mean guy so.

[1:22:44] When we say why are people why mean people mean it's sort of pointless right they're mean i mean we We don't care.
The origin doesn't really matter because the only person who knows for sure is the person who's mean and they'll never tell you because they're mean, right? So that's...

[1:22:57] Yes. Okay, so hang on.

[1:22:59] So two years into the wedding, sorry, two years into the marriage, he doubled his weight.
And then how long did it take for him to get the surgery?

[1:23:14] Yeah, so it was... He was maybe for about a year at the maximum weight.
About a year.

[1:23:23] Okay.

[1:23:23] And he reached to the point where he was unable to tie his own shoes.
And that's when I suggested that, you know, it's good to do that surgery.
You know, talk to the surgeon and see what he tells you about it.
If it's like minimum risk, you should go for it, you know.
It's not good to be this heavy.

[1:23:40] So you got married. I'm sorry, go ahead.

[1:23:44] Yeah, I was 130 pounds, which is my average weight.

[1:23:48] Right. Yeah. So you got married to a mean guy who very quickly became morbidly obese. And you're like, I've really got to stay.
See, I mean, you have a thing that you're, like, the crying and the victimizing the sadness and all of that.
Like, how much do you feel like a victim in your life?
How much do you feel like you had no choice and things were done to you and all that?

[1:24:24] I don't feel like a victim. But I think just because my mom stayed through all of it, she was in a worse position than I am.
At least I have the freedom to come and go I have my own car, my mom doesn't have that so I have myself in a better position than she is and why is that?

[1:24:48] Why is yours a worse position?

[1:24:52] As like I'm in America, she's over there you know, I have more freedom to come and go if I want to work you know, I can do whatever my mom was in a worse situation so why did I stay?
I don't know what to tell you so far. I'm scared.
But I want the best for my children. And I don't seem to get the best advice on what to do. I cannot make that decision.
I don't know what it is. And I can't seem to get the right advice.
Like for my family, they said, leave everybody and come home.
I can't leave my children. What are you talking about? Like, I did not, that was the wrong advice too.
And nobody's giving me the right advice to continue on the right path for this thing of my children. I could care less about myself, obviously.
I let go. But I was what I missed from my children.

[1:25:51] But you're, hang on, hang on, hang on. You're in your 40s, right?

[1:25:57] Yes, I am.

[1:25:58] Why do you need people to tell you what to do? You've been an adult for a quarter century.
Why are you just running around like a lost little lamb saying I need someone to tell me what to do, if you orient yourself by what's best for your children, right you feign a lack of knowledge but you know, you know what's best for your children right, In your current environment, your daughter, it seems to me, or it sounds like she's going half crazy, and your son is going half cruel, right?

Impact on Children and the Need for Change

[1:26:43] No.

[1:26:45] Is that an unfair way to characterize it?

[1:26:48] No, it's just thought out. Okay.

[1:26:50] Okay, so this current environment, is it good for your children?

[1:26:57] Absolutely.

[1:26:58] Okay, so you don't need anyone to give you advice.
You just don't want to make a decision. I understand that. I understand that.
But don't tell me you don't know what to do or you just don't get good advice or like, you know, I just, I asked you two questions and you had the answer right there.
Yeah does your daughter want a life like yours.

[1:27:37] No I would not wish it on my worst enemy.

[1:27:41] Well that means that you are your own worst enemy because you've wished it on yourself right yeah absolutely okay so if your daughter doesn't want the life you have, then she's going to do the opposite of what you did right if going north is the opposite direction that I want to go, then I'm going to go south.
I'm going to go the opposite of north, right?
So if your daughter doesn't want the life that you have and the life that you had was founded on physical attractiveness, she's going to do the opposite of physical attractiveness, in my view.
If I overeat and don't exercise and I get fat and I have a son who wants to not get fat, what's he going to do?
If I overeat and don't exercise, what's my son going to do if he doesn't want to be fat like me?
Are you still with me?

[1:28:51] I'm with you still. Okay.

[1:28:53] So...

[1:28:53] I'm holding it. I'm taking it all in.

[1:28:55] No, no, I'm asking you a question. Yes.
If I get fat because I overeat and I don't exercise, and my son desperately doesn't want to get fat, what's he going to do?

[1:29:16] He will...
Probably he will seek drugs in the future.

[1:29:24] What? No, no, hang on, let me try this again. Okay, so I get fat because I, overeat and I don't exercise, and my son doesn't want to get fat like me, so what's he going to do?

[1:29:42] He will exercise. Yeah.

[1:29:43] He will not overeat, and he will exercise, so he will do the opposite of me, right? right?

[1:29:49] Yeah. Yeah.

[1:29:52] So when you were younger and you were beautiful and, and, and sexy and all these kinds of things, I'm not saying you aren't now, but you know, back in, in your heyday, right?
So when you were younger, your physical attractiveness was probably your most noticeable aspect, right? Right.
And it led to multi-decade misery, right?

[1:30:17] Yes.

[1:30:18] So your daughter...

[1:30:19] My mom was really attracted to it.

[1:30:21] I'm sure. And everyone looks at beautiful people and thinks, man, they've got it made.
Like everyone looks at rich people or famous people and say, they've got it made, man.
I wish I were like them.

The Danger of Beauty: A Lesson Learned the Hard Way

[1:30:36] But beauty is a great danger.
Beauty is a great danger.
Did your husband choose you did your husband choose you for your virtues your strength of character your integrity, your strength did he choose you for those attributes, why did he choose you yeah why did he choose you for the looks yeah for the looks yes being attractive leads to ruin.
And you wonder why your daughter might be pulling her hair out.

Concerns about Physical Attractiveness and Self-image

[1:31:32] You know, it's really, well, I'm so blind.

[1:31:39] Well, no, it's a little tough to see, isn't it?
And you and your daughter are both harming your attractiveness, your physical attractiveness, kind of at the same time, right?
And you put on 70 pounds, and you're saying to your daughter, why would you want to be less attractive?
Why would you want to be less attractive?
And I assume your son is modeling himself after your father with contempt for women.
Scorn at his mother, scorn at his sister, aligning himself with the patriarch.
And, you know, I mean, I assume all other things being equal, well, he's going to end up much like his father, isn't he?

[1:32:54] 100% that I already see the signs. And that's what's scaring me the most. No.

[1:32:58] It's not what's scaring... No, that is not what's scaring you the most.
That's just a word people say.
Particularly moms. How do I know that's not what's scaring you the most?
Because you say, well, I can't even think about leaving or even talk to a lawyer because I'm so terrified of what might happen after.
If you were the most scared that exposure to your son's father is turning him into his father, then you would try and figure that problem out rather than wallowing in your self-pity and your sadness and your fear and being paralyzed.

[1:33:42] And I'm not trying to be harsh. I have genuine, deep sympathy for your situation.
I really do. I do. I have genuine deep sympathy for your situation.
But you sound kind of paralyzed to me. Like you sound like you just, the anxiety rises up.
And you just get paralyzed, right? And then you get paralyzed, you go limp, you go rubber bones, and then you say, well, people have to tell me what to do, and nobody's telling me what to do, and I'm afraid of this, and I'm afraid of that, and I can't talk to this expert, and I can't, like...
So then you end up paralyzed.
But when was the last time that you genuinely felt loved for who you are?
You felt treasured, respected, adored. Desired.

[1:34:50] I ever had that Right.

[1:34:53] I mean people often Feed their bodies Because their hearts Are starving.

[1:35:03] Yeah Yeah.

Children as Observers: Soaking up Everything in their Environment

[1:35:22] If you and your daughter observe, the children soak up everything in their environment. Everything.
You know, we have lives, we have taxes, we have friends, we have plans, but our children just have us. So they notice and see everything.
They're like obsessive archaeologists or anthropologists simply studying their parents.
And, your daughter like all same-sex children your daughter looks at you and says do I want what she has?
Do I want what my mother has? Now if I don't want what my mother has I can't be like my mother.
And if I really really really don't want what my mother has I have to be the opposite of my mother, again I don't know I don't know it's just a possibility I mean it seems to fit the facts but that doesn't mean that that's certainty.

Overcoming past trauma and finding inner strength

[1:36:40] Thank you so much thank you.

[1:36:43] You're welcome i mean she may say that she may say to herself pulling my hair out is less pain than what not pulling my hair out is which is my mother's life, Yeah.

[1:36:57] And now I see why she said to the therapist that the first time I put my dentures to my room and I was happy, I was getting happy.
It's the masking of me pretending to be happy, but I'm not. Now I see it.

[1:37:13] Now.

[1:37:14] I see it.

[1:37:18] Yeah, I mean that this is like where my sympathy is enormous, right?
So I mean and I've had, you know, countless phone calls or calls like this.
And I think of, it's probably close to, if not the top three or five, of all the people I talked to, you were the saddest right at the beginning.
The most unhappy right at the beginning.
And for that, I have massive, massive sympathy.
And listen, of course, growing up in the Middle East, as a woman, as a girl, you're not exactly trained to have will and power in your life, right?
And certainly your mother didn't model any of that. She was helpless, pushed around by fate's men law.

[1:38:13] We are trained to be subservient, you know, and the society against Christians as well is very harsh.
If you're attractive on top of it, going to school is a risk every day.
I was groped, harassed, you name it, Stefan. Right.

[1:38:36] Right.

[1:38:36] It was horrible. So getting out of that country was, you know, a life-saving thing.
It was a very, very harsh society.

[1:38:46] Yes, that I understand. But there's leaving the country and then there's leaving the mindset.
To accept that you have some power, strength, and authority, is tough when you've been raised in this kind of harassed and brutalized and groped and aggressed against kind of way, right?
As you say, as an attractive Christian girl and woman in the Middle East, that's not an easy life at all.
And that's why I can understand like yeah going back would be would be awful.

[1:39:30] And divorce on top of that oh my god.

[1:39:33] Right my.

[1:39:34] Nickname would be the whore.

[1:39:35] In that country right but you in America now, and that means you have allies that means you have, people you can can talk to who will help and i don't know what that help means again i'm no lawyer or therapist or psychologist or psychiatrist or anything like that i don't know what that help means but there are people who will help you unlike when you were growing up unlike your family who as you say said said, stay with him, it'll be fine.
And then, when their reputations took a blow, leave him and your kids.
Like, yeah, I get that. That's terrible advice on both sides, right?
But you are going to need to try and find some way, in my humble opinion, you are going to need to try and find some way to become a person of strength, that your children can admire.

[1:40:45] Not someone who feels this, you know, this much pushed around and helpless and so on.
And again, I sympathize with all those feelings. I really, really, really do.
But I know it goes against what you were raised with and so on, but I think it's probably quite important for you to try and find some way to be a leader in your family.
I mean, it doesn't sound like your husband's doing it. In fact, he's kind of leading everyone in the wrong direction, it sounds like.
But you're going to need to find some way, to become strong.

Encouragement to become a person of strength for her children

[1:41:24] I'm honestly smiling right now. Thank you so much.

[1:41:27] You're welcome. You're welcome.

[1:41:28] Thank you.

[1:41:33] And listen, I can't, I mean, I had my own rough background, whatever, whatever, but I can't imagine what it was like for you.
I can vaguely picture it, but obviously the genuine experience experience of being that preyed upon as a girl and as a young woman i can't i can't imagine, so i i with all huge humility, you know i sort of bow my head in your direction and say that the burden that you had to carry is more than i can genuinely imagine and i have sympathy for what i really can't, deeply understand in the way that that you've experienced it so i just want in all humility i want to sort of provide that perspective as well because i don't want you to feel like, i'm just you know oh you gotta be strong it's like no no no it's a whole different world out there in in that part of the world and with those sexual and gender and racial and, religious tensions it's a whole different world and i I can only feel around the edges of what you went through, and I just have huge sympathy for all of that.

[1:42:49] I try to stay, you know, strong and strong-headed, you know, and steadfast. But I'm falling apart.
I have to be the leader again. And I'm willing to, I'm ready to take that step. And I see it clearly now.
Because if I don't, I'm going to lose everything. And I don't want to lose my children.
The future for me is, like, I want to know if I go, I pass away, that both my kids are able to sustain themselves and living a good life.
They're making the right decisions.
And I need to do it right now before it's too late. And that's why I reached out to you. I wanted to reach out for so long, Stefan. Well.

[1:43:29] I think, I mean, it sounds wise insofar as the teenage years are the last stand of parenting. Like that's where you get your last shot, so to speak.
And so it sounds wise to get involved in that way.
But I think definitely getting the facts about what your options are is probably quite important. Again, I don't know what you should do, right?
Even if I did, I wouldn't tell you, because you have to make these decisions yourself.
But I don't know what you should do, but I do know that gathering information about your possibilities, your options, is really, really important.
Otherwise, you're just going to make up scare stories and paralyze yourself further.

[1:44:08] Yeah. Well, I absolutely don't know what I need to do with now, Stefan. 100%.

[1:44:13] All right. how's the how's the conversation been for you as a whole I want to obviously make sure of that because it's been quite intense in a way.

[1:44:24] I've learned so much from you throughout the years and the following years could be happy how about peaceful parenting and all of that and I modeled a lot of that from you, especially the conversations and with the kids and make them understand instead of just giving orders.
It helped a lot. Also, this phone call is what I was praying for for the past couple of months.
Thank you for getting back to me fast.
I was really anxious.

[1:45:03] It sounded kind of urgent.

[1:45:05] So.

[1:45:05] Yes, I moved some things around. Yeah, yeah.

[1:45:08] It was. I felt like I'm running out of time. I'm in. And I know you're the only one who's going to help me out.

[1:45:20] I appreciate that. No pressure, no pressure, but it's you or nothing, Steph. You or nothing.

[1:45:25] You've always impressed me, you know, with your perspective on things.
I love to listen to the calls of other people, and the points you shine a light on always surprise me, like, oh my God, I've never even thought of that.
So, I know you're going to have a unique perspective on the whole situation, and I appreciate your time and everything.

[1:45:46] You're very welcome will you keep you posted about how things are going as a whole.

[1:45:51] I will i can't.

[1:45:52] All right listen sister big hug big virtual hug big hug and you know your strength of this call should not be underestimated and i really do appreciate i mean the trust that you put in my little mind to to try and provide a few shreds of wisdom i i'm really humbled by and i'm glad it sounds like it's been helpful and i absolutely wish you the best but yeah big hug hug from me up here thank.

[1:46:14] You and i'm fine about all the emotions.

Emotional Support and Appreciation

[1:46:15] No no no emotions are fine we we welcome the emotions here we are big we are down with the feels all right well listen keep me posted and again thanks again for a great call and i absolutely wish you and your children the very very best all right take care.

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