The Personal Denial System of Sex Abuse Victims

When I read this heartfelt blog post on Evil Sits at the Dinner Table, I immediately thought of Lara, the main character in How To Climb The Eiffel Tower. Denial is a powerful defense mechanism. So many survivors of abuse deny their memories in order to continue living their lives. I wish I could write a happy ending for every little girl or boy that has been abused.

EVIL SITS AT THE DINNER TABLE

For my new readers, this is a re-post from 2012, with one small addition at the end:

“It is understandable that some would choose to deny their memories, preferring to endure the anguish of symptoms rather than the anguish of the remembering process”~Anne Hart

Stacey Lannert’s father sexually abused her for years, and her mother ignored it. Stacey ended up protecting herself by killing her father. After she was incarcerated, (Stacey has since been released from prison) Stacey spoke of needing to remember the good side of her father.

redemption-stacey-lannert1

Stacey said, instead of remembering that her father had raped her, she remembers when he would, “just be my daddy and he’d hold me, talk to me, or just call me his tiger in a loving voice.”

Truddi Chase suffered sadistic abuse and rapes by her father. Her mother also physically abused and threatened her.

In her book, When Rabbit…

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Depression TED talk

I have been researching different forms of depression and how they are treated for one of my current works in progress, and came across this wonderful TED talk.  It is a bit long but it was well worth the time.

I feel it is important to hear him say “The opposite of depression is not happiness, but vitality, and it was vitality that seemed to seep away from me in that moment.” when he is talking about the debilitating depression he experienced. I don’t think the general public appreciate how difficult it is for a depressed person to get through the daily chores of regular life. It is not about feeling sad, it is about not being able to get out of bed to brush your teeth because it sounds like too much work.

Depression is a serious illness that has been treated in many different ways over the years. I am fascinated by how the same illness was seen at the turn of the twentieth century versus today. I am still very much at the beginning of my research process, yet I have already learned a great deal. I will bring you tidbits as I learn more. If you know anything about the treatment of depression either in the 1910’s or in the 1950’s, I would love to pick your brain as background for my current work-in-progress.

What Does Happy Look Like

Emotional intelligence needs to be developed in order for a person to successfully navigate the social world. I find that many parents don’t think to talk to their children about their emotional lives. We assume that kids can and do correctly identify what they are feeling. This is not always the case. Unless we talk to our children and help them identify what they are feeling in a situation and how to express that, they may grow up to be emotionally stifled adults.

In my writing, I spend quite a bit of time with some seriously stifled people. Lately, I have been exploring what happens when a woman can’t express anger and resentment on a day-to-day basis. The results end up being explosive and fatal for her relationships. I am also interested in how a lack of emotional self awareness could contribute to bullying behavior, especially in girls. Could a better sense of appropriate and inappropriate ways to express negative emotions lessen bullying behavior? Could children and adults live more satisfying lives if they had a better sense of what happy looked like? What do you think?

Being Kind In a Bullying Situation

I stumbled across this clip while researching bullying for the third book in the Overlook series. I appreciate the speaker’s sensitivity to how difficult it is to act in the moment when another child is being bullied. It is still meaningful to the bullied child if another kid says something kind  at a safer time.

Exposure to Violence as a Child

I learned about this excellent video from Zoe over at Behind The Mask of Abuse. It is a bit long at 15 minutes, but it is time well spent.

The main character of one of my works-in-progress is the victim of child abuse and I wanted to get her coping strategies right in the novel. I studied psychology and philosophy in school, so I tend to go at research from that direction. As they discuss in this video, a child’s brain is physically changed by their early experiences. They will see the world through the lens of their early life. Change and recovery are not impossible but they are difficult.

Watch the video and think about the children you know. Do any of them show signs of early childhood trauma?