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Allison Nazarian Talks New Memoir ‘Aftermath: A Granddaughter’s Story of Legacy, Healing & Hope’

Read The First Two Chapters Here

Maybe my family would have been just as idiosyncratic even without the Holocaust in the picture, but it’s not possible to know. The reality was that it was not just part of the picture; it was the picture itself. The entire thing.

As a young girl of five or six, I spent many hours of at least several years staring at the wall in the waiting room of my mother’s therapist. One hour, maybe more, sitting still and quiet, without book or television (and long before the days of handheld lectronics or anything portable that could remotely entertain a kid of that age) or any other diversion a kid might need. Confused, bored beyond words, wondering why I wasn’t somewhere else. While I can’t say for sure,  since my mom isn’t here to confirm, I do believe I was there in that waiting room for every single appointment, which would have been weekly or even more frequently. Every. Single. Appointment.

Mom, generally unable—or perhaps unwilling—to break any cycles or move forward, used her time with this doctor and others to befriend and convince them why her victimhood was so insurmountable, all the while having a child in tow who could, and hould, have been elsewhere. She was with that particular therapist, Dr. Feldstein (not his real name), for years, eventually leaving him because he urged her to take some responsibility and learn to forgive. I couldn’t  hear it all through those walls, but I got the gist: He wanted her to get her stuff together, and she preferred, instead, to dwell on it indefinitely. Even at that young age, I knew on
some level that I wasn’t supposed to be there, and that what my mom was doing there wasn’t something positive or productive.
This was one of the earlier instances in which my view of myself as more of a caretaker, as the more mature one, as someone who could fix things, began to form. If I could control this and make it better, the problems would go away. But only if I could make sure I was perfect and without any issues, could I fix everyone else. It was a burden I treated like a strength. As a kid, I didn’t know how inappropriate or unrealistic the situation or my thinking around it was. And like so many other things of this nature, it took me decades to begin to unravel my faulty thinking around this so that I could begin to undo it.

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