September 11….What a heartbreak of a day.  Immeasurable loss, fear and grief.  I recall watching the news, alone, in tears, from my home in CA, as I was getting ready for work.  Crying … stunned, I answered a 7am call from my aunt in NY, calling to touch base, as did a few friends.  THAT just made us want to check in.  Right?

Well, I did not hear from my mother or sister(though we were on our usual fractured terms, I kinda thought as my mom and older sister, I might), I group emailed to say how hurt I was that either they didn’t think to call me or they collectively decided not to.  In response to that email, my brother in law sent me a lengthy scathing missive, proudly copying my mother and sister, telling me all the ways I do and will always suck and…. that his secretary’s brother was at the pentagon, so why should they be concerned about me and and and.  JILAN GHONEIM CATHERINE WHITNEY

So, with the blessing of my mother and sister, he came after me for having the nerve to say I was hurt (which is against the rules and upsets everyone).  That is the family tradition.  I directly and openly express sentiments of no or ouch and I get my well earned character assassination and reminder “Who TF do you think you are?”.

I filed for name change the following day.  I thought why TF am I shackled with a name like GHONEIM (mid nationwide assault on terror/”arabs”)which binds me only to people who do this?  It has always been this way.  The collective agreement/need to silence, banish and shame me.  The desperation of that made me louder, not more effective, just louder, terrified, and insane-ish.  Recovery helps me to cope in sane ways to that which is not sane–to see what my options are for self care. I can distance myself, speak my truth without fear, shame, or profanity.  I do that now, here and also in my real life.  Ok, so I am known to still lose my shit with my sons and react with volume and profanity. I do promptly and genuinely apologize and try harder. PTSD makes it difficult to respond and act right, though.

When I visited NC a decade later with no resolution around that email exchange, I was charged with being a bully(not bending over as I am told to, makes me THE bully) for not wanting to join my sister and her husband for dinner.  I offered repeatedly to make time to work things out so we could gather for dinner.  I basically was told to go fuck myself in all of the ways.   Blamed and shamed. OH—And told that I manufactured chaos…because apparently(in sick fkn families) requesting to resolve conflict is the same as creating it. My unwillingness to move TF on and show up for more of the same was the designated problem.

And since I was not to have a voice or say or any impact on the narrative, my sister had me de-indexed on google.  You can still find me on a few rando search engines though. So… if you search my name, Maggie Ghoneim or Maggie Ghoneim Fayetteville NC or Manhattan Beach CA, not even my FB profile pulls up.  Not an article from when I was teaching or did well in beach volleyball tournaments…Only my mother’s obit— another lovely choice by my female sibling to include my ex husband as a survivor.   He literally did not like, respect or care for my mother or sister and only knew them after divorce and was charmed by their proximity to affluence– and the pain, which aligning with them brought down upon me. My sister used my ex to help further divide me from my mother(as if help were needed), at the end of her life and then discarded him once finished. His elevated ability to inflict more financial damage to me without the help of my mom to offset and manage that— and for my sister I am certain she had some greed issues driving that scenario. I imagine them high fiving now—Ew.

I will continue sharing.  I will not forget, pretend, deny, feel shame or allow myself or story to be erased. Perhaps it is a blessing, maybe someone has written ugly truths about me which now cannot be seen. But I am ok with my ugly truths. I am not afraid of what I have said and done. Many many things I feel less than great about, though. My image has never been a horse I would bet on. I am now a person who knows and does better and people who have known me well and for any amount of time in the last 15 years would agree, I am a person who can be trusted. A fierce truth teller with badass integrity. I do as I say I will and I own all of what is mine. When I make messes, as I do, I clean them right up—out in the open. I am not afraid to be openly wrong or to expose a person or situation begging for illumination. Am I emotional? Totally. Can you make me lose my shit? Probably. But do my words and actions on the daily reflect honesty and goodness? Ab-so-fucking-lutely. Do I often look like a mess of a person who has utterly given up? Also, yes. Again, my appearance is just one of sustained exhaustion at all levels. Am I kind? Yes. Freindly and social? Not in the least. Do people with things to hide feel very uncomfortable with me? Of course. Do I blame others for my behavior? Nope? Do I own my bullshit? YUP–100% #transparency 24/7. Will I lie to cover my ass or save my face? Nope. Will I lie to cover yours? Also No.

When toxic types can’t control the way you see yourself, they intiate efforts influence how others see you; they play the martyr under assault. A smear campaign is a preemptive strike to slander and sabotage reputation to reduce possiblity of support network and validity. Designed to silence or to render the victim’s statements, sentiments, objections unwelcome and inadmissible. JiILAN GHONEIM FAYETTEVILLE MARRIED TO FRANK WHITNEY

I do not think sharing the things which my sister can easily have been observed doing to me is smearing her. Her active interference in the lives of my boys, their father, and me is a legit situation—of her doing and deciding. It is literally undeniable and deliberately harmful in ways that will last.

Much Love,
Magda Gee

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