What is the best way to overcome abuse and trauma?

Use this forum to discuss the April 2018 Book of the Month, "Ironbark Hill" by Jennie Linnane
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cristinaro
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What is the best way to overcome abuse and trauma?

Post by cristinaro » 01 Apr 2018, 16:23

The protagonist in Ironbark Hill is sixteen-year-old Natalie Chapman. She has to cope with verbal, physical and psychological abuse from an alcoholic stepfather. Her answer is fighting back mistreatment and finding a refuge in art.

What is your view on the matter? Is the alcoholic father the only responsible in the family equation? Which are the best means of responding to abuse and other traumatic experiences? Do you think it is difficult for a writer to describe abusive situations?
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Post by BDTheresa » 02 Apr 2018, 03:36

Natalie fighting back mistreatment and finding a refuge in art is one way to overcome abuse and trauma. The alcoholic father is not the only one responsible in the family equation. The mother is equally responsible. Instead of letting her eldest child raise up to the challenge of protecting her and her siblings, the mother should have done that instead. It's her responsibility as a mother to protect her children. The best way to respond to abuse and other traumatic experience is to seek professional help or check out https://www.helpguide.org. I don't think it's difficult for a writer to describe abusive situations if the writer follows the right method which are : (1) experience. If the writer doesn't have experience then the writer should seek out experience from those who overcame their abuse and trauma. No knowledge is small. (2) Seek out understanding from the professional. Those who study these kinds of things (Psychologist).

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Post by cristinaro » 02 Apr 2018, 05:33

I agree with most of the things you mentioned. I have only one small remark regarding the difficulty of describing abusive situations. I have in mind Toni Morrison's novels Beloved and The Bluest Eye. In Beloved, a mother prefers killing her child for fear of sharing her fate as a slave whereas in The Bluest Eye, a girl is abused and finally raped by her alcoholic father. I watched a video with an interview taken to Toni Morrison about Beloved - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RP6umkgMRq4. What she says is that it was incredibly hard to find the language to describe the story of a mother who was so desperate as to kill her child and that precise moment is so buried in the text that you have problems finding it. For me, Toni Morrison is an incredible writer and she did find the words to touch anyone to tears.
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Post by lesler » 02 Apr 2018, 14:26

Natalie does a good job overcoming her own abuse, by fighting back. I don't think there's any specific best way to overcome abuse, as everyone is different. Talking things out, and learning is an excellent way, though.

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Post by rcarr13 » 02 Apr 2018, 16:06

Everyone is different and every situation is different, so I think there are many different ways of responding. Now, victims of this type of abuse can seek professional counseling and there are many non-profit organizations to help people get out of these types of situations, but in the time period the book is set in that wasn't the case. It would have been much harder for the mother to find a means of supporting herself and her children if she decided to leave. That being said, no the father isn't the only one responsible. The mother should be standing up for her children, not the other way around. Her father also lives with them and allows his daughter and grandchildren to be treated that way? Either of them could seek help outside the family to get out of the situation and they choose not to. I think it would be hard to write about abusive situations, but not impossible. This author does a good job, in my opinion, of showing the different responses from the different family members in Natalie's home.

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Post by Mjgarrison » 02 Apr 2018, 23:20

I feel like the best way to overcome abuse is to get away from and learn the signs so you can stay away from it. I was badly abused by my ex-husband and I didn't start to heal until I took myself and my kids far away from the situation. It still took about 10 years to forgive my abuser and start to really trust people in my life again.

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Post by NL Hartje » 02 Apr 2018, 23:42

As an introvert and someone who was emotionally abused for years, I found solace in quiet time: running, yoga, reading. :reading-3:
“So the writer who breeds more words than he needs, is making a chore for the reader who reads.”
-Dr. Seuss

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Post by cristinaro » 03 Apr 2018, 02:22

lesler wrote:
02 Apr 2018, 14:26
Natalie does a good job overcoming her own abuse, by fighting back. I don't think there's any specific best way to overcome abuse, as everyone is different. Talking things out, and learning is an excellent way, though.
I have just started reading the novel, but I know that Natalie becomes emotionally involved with her employer's husband. I was thinking that she passes from one abuser to another in this way. You are right about talking things out. In her case, it would have been great if her mother had supported her or if at least she had confided in other persons of her own age.
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Post by cristinaro » 03 Apr 2018, 02:29

rcarr13 wrote:
02 Apr 2018, 16:06
Everyone is different and every situation is different, so I think there are many different ways of responding. Now, victims of this type of abuse can seek professional counseling and there are many non-profit organizations to help people get out of these types of situations, but in the time period the book is set in that wasn't the case. It would have been much harder for the mother to find a means of supporting herself and her children if she decided to leave. That being said, no the father isn't the only one responsible. The mother should be standing up for her children, not the other way around. Her father also lives with them and allows his daughter and grandchildren to be treated that way? Either of them could seek help outside the family to get out of the situation and they choose not to. I think it would be hard to write about abusive situations, but not impossible. This author does a good job, in my opinion, of showing the different responses from the different family members in Natalie's home.
Unfortunately, there are still so many countries in the world where things happen exactly as in Natalie's case in the '50s or even worse. I am thinking of a wonderful novel I've read that made me cry - A Thousand Splendid Suns by Khaled Hosseini. I only wish there were more professionals or organizations to help people in Natalie's situation.
"The madness of writing is the antidote to true madness." (Hanif Kureishi)
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Post by cristinaro » 03 Apr 2018, 02:36

Mjgarrison wrote:
02 Apr 2018, 23:20
I feel like the best way to overcome abuse is to get away from and learn the signs so you can stay away from it. I was badly abused by my ex-husband and I didn't start to heal until I took myself and my kids far away from the situation. It still took about 10 years to forgive my abuser and start to really trust people in my life again.
You were really courageous to do this. So many people are afraid of radically changing their lives and continue to live in an abusive situation. I am happy for you and your children. I still have my issues with trusting people. I was recommending a novel earlier - A Thousand Splendid Suns by Khaleid Hosseini. You may check it out. It's a sad story, but it teaches us so many things about life and people. Thank you for sharing your experience! I can understand how hard it must have been to see the beauty of life again.
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Post by cristinaro » 03 Apr 2018, 02:43

NL Hartje wrote:
02 Apr 2018, 23:42
As an introvert and someone who was emotionally abused for years, I found solace in quiet time: running, yoga, reading. :reading-3:
I have trouble admitting I was emotionally abused too, but I think this was the case. I guess reading, writing and dancing were my getaway in many cases. To make you smile, I can add that I am too lazy for running and much too impatient for yoga. :D
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Post by rcarr13 » 03 Apr 2018, 07:24

cristinaro wrote:
03 Apr 2018, 02:29
rcarr13 wrote:
02 Apr 2018, 16:06
Everyone is different and every situation is different, so I think there are many different ways of responding. Now, victims of this type of abuse can seek professional counseling and there are many non-profit organizations to help people get out of these types of situations, but in the time period the book is set in that wasn't the case. It would have been much harder for the mother to find a means of supporting herself and her children if she decided to leave. That being said, no the father isn't the only one responsible. The mother should be standing up for her children, not the other way around. Her father also lives with them and allows his daughter and grandchildren to be treated that way? Either of them could seek help outside the family to get out of the situation and they choose not to. I think it would be hard to write about abusive situations, but not impossible. This author does a good job, in my opinion, of showing the different responses from the different family members in Natalie's home.
Unfortunately, there are still so many countries in the world where things happen exactly as in Natalie's case in the '50s or even worse. I am thinking of a wonderful novel I've read that made me cry - A Thousand Splendid Suns by Khaled Hosseini. I only wish there were more professionals or organizations to help people in Natalie's situation.
That is true. I was mostly thinking about here in the United States today, and I agree there should be more help available to people and children in these situations.

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Post by Mjgarrison » 03 Apr 2018, 07:58

cristinaro wrote:
03 Apr 2018, 02:36
Mjgarrison wrote:
02 Apr 2018, 23:20
I feel like the best way to overcome abuse is to get away from and learn the signs so you can stay away from it. I was badly abused by my ex-husband and I didn't start to heal until I took myself and my kids far away from the situation. It still took about 10 years to forgive my abuser and start to really trust people in my life again.
You were really courageous to do this. So many people are afraid of radically changing their lives and continue to live in an abusive situation. I am happy for you and your children. I still have my issues with trusting people. I was recommending a novel earlier - A Thousand Splendid Suns by Khaleid Hosseini. You may check it out. It's a sad story, but it teaches us so many things about life and people. Thank you for sharing your experience! I can understand how hard it must have been to see the beauty of life again.
Thank you I will check that out.

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Post by AnnaKathleen » 03 Apr 2018, 13:26

cristinaro wrote:
02 Apr 2018, 05:33
I agree with most of the things you mentioned. I have only one small remark regarding the difficulty of describing abusive situations. I have in mind Toni Morrison's novels Beloved and The Bluest Eye. In Beloved, a mother prefers killing her child for fear of sharing her fate as a slave whereas in The Bluest Eye, a girl is abused and finally raped by her alcoholic father. I watched a video with an interview taken to Toni Morrison about Beloved - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RP6umkgMRq4. What she says is that it was incredibly hard to find the language to describe the story of a mother who was so desperate as to kill her child and that precise moment is so buried in the text that you have problems finding it. For me, Toni Morrison is an incredible writer and she did find the words to touch anyone to tears.
I am so glad you mentioned Toni Morrison! I think she is an incredible writer with an incredible way with words. I do not think a writer has to have personal experience to write about certain topics. In fact, personal experience could hinder a writer if they are not ready to address the experiences and thoughts. I think it just depends on the writer the same way I think everyone is different and the paths for overcoming abuse and trauma varies from person to person.
"I became darkness, shadow and wind." - Sarah J. Maas A Court of Mist and Fury

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Post by NL Hartje » 03 Apr 2018, 13:47

cristinaro wrote:
03 Apr 2018, 02:43
NL Hartje wrote:
02 Apr 2018, 23:42
As an introvert and someone who was emotionally abused for years, I found solace in quiet time: running, yoga, reading. :reading-3:
I have trouble admitting I was emotionally abused too, but I think this was the case. I guess reading, writing and dancing were my getaway in many cases. To make you smile, I can add that I am too lazy for running and much too impatient for yoga. :D

Ha, you DID make me smile! It's the little things right?! :D
“So the writer who breeds more words than he needs, is making a chore for the reader who reads.”
-Dr. Seuss

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