Friday, October 05, 2007

Quotes from Torey Hayden book "Twilight Children"

A friend of mine was sexually abused as a child, and she has never talked about it. She doesn't want anyone to know. She has been reunified with her mother after a stint in foster care, but doesn't trust her mother to be able to handle the knowledge.

Her counselor is ready, willing and able to help her -- but she finds it difficult to open up her mouth and speak about what happened.

After a traumatic experience, when you discuss these things, it is painful, because you find yourself reliving it all over again. The violation. The fear. The feelings of powerless.

This is because traumatic experiences encode themselves in the brain via images and emotions, not words. We remember the taste, the touch, the sight, the sound...

But it is by giving them words, verbalizing the experience, that we are able to lasso these huge, powerful, scary experiences and get them under control.

After our phone conversation, I sent this young woman the following quote by Torey Hayden, from her book Twilight Children. Torey is talking with a young girl named Cassandra, and she says:

"What's wrong with you is inside of you. So, wherever you go, your trouble goes inside of you...

"Some really awful things have happened to you. Things children shouldn't have to experience... (Now) you are just trying to protect that troubled place inside of you, because it hurts so much, and you don't want it to get hurt again."

Torey continues:

"Unfortunately, there is a really big problem in doing this. And the problem is: You've protected your troubled place so well that you've ended up taking its side."

"Our minds are kind of funny things. When something big happens to us, it tends to stay really big in our minds and won't become a proper memory unless we talk about it. Our minds, on our own, don't seem to be able to get big events sorted out enough to squish them down to size with our other memories. We need to talk about it.

"Talking helps our minds to organize what happened... It lets us put away things that have happened to us, so they aren't in the way every time we are thinking.

"We talk about them until our mind gets organized about what happened. Then, they're not such a big deal anymore. Finally, they start to feel like ordinary memories and we can stop thinking about them all the time.

"We don't forget them, (but) they stop taking up all our thinking... (so) we can get on with what's happening now in our lives and not worry any more about it."

"BUT just the opposite happens if we have to keep something big a secret. First of all, we have to create a special place in our minds to keep it... chock full of all the stuff we can't tell...

"You have to lock it up really tight, so even you can't get there very easily. And if you don't, then you don't have any room in your mind for other thinking."

"When you first do it, first create a Troubled Place and manage to get it locked up, it's easy to think you've made it go away.

"But the fact is... just the opposite is true... Everything you put in there, it keeps really fresh, like its just happened. So, if you accidentally crack open the door... everything will hurt horribly all over again."

"What happened to you... didn't happen to you because you are a bad person. It didn't make you a bad person because it happened. It just happened.

"And now it's time for it to be OVER. It's time to open the door on the troubled place and clean all that junk out. Not to throw it away, because those memories are a part of your memories, part of what makes you 'you.'

"But it's time to make them ordinary. To talk about them until you understand how you felt, what you feel did, what other people did.

"To talk about them until there aren't any secrets left in your Troubled Place to stay fresh and scary, to talk until you're bored with them. That will turn them into ordinary memories, like all the rest of memories in your life."

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Blogger GirlSpeaks said...

I love this post... Why? Because I feel the same way. I can blog/write about them, but opening my mouth about them is totally different. For this reason, on my blog ( I did a "PostSecret" type of video... and in many ways, I feel better.

10:04 AM  
Blogger Camilla:] said...

Torey Hayden is my ispiration<3

4:59 PM  
Blogger Camilla:] said...

Torey Hayden is amazing, my inspiration=]

5:01 PM  

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