Quotes Tagged "trauma"
Some people with DID present their narratives of sadistic abuse in a quite matter-of-fact way, without perceptible affect. This may sometimes be done as a way of protecting themselves, and the listener, from the emotional impact of their experience. We have found that people describing trauma in a flat way, without feeling, are usually those who have been more chronically abused, while those with affect still have a sense of self that can observe the tragedy of betrayal and have feelings about it. In some cases, this deadpan presentation can also be the result of cult training and brainwashing. Unfortunately, when a patient describes a traumatic experience without showing any apparent emotion, it can make the listener doubt whether the patient is telling the truth. (page 119, Chapter 9, Some clinical implications of believing or not believing the patient)
Truth for anyone is a very complex thing. For a writer, what you leave out says as much as those things you include. What lies beyond the margin of the text? The photographer frames the shot; writers frame their world. Mrs Winterson objected to what I had put in, but it seemed to me that what I had left out was the story’s silent twin. There are so many things that we can’t say, because they are too painful. We hope that the things we can say will soothe the rest, or appease it in some way. Stories are compensatory. The world is unfair, unjust, unknowable, out of control. When we tell a story we exercise control, but in such a way as to leave a gap, an opening. It is a version, but never the final one. And perhaps we hope that the silences will be heard by someone else, and the story can continue, can be retold. When we write we offer the silence as much as the story. Words are the part of silence that can be spoken. Mrs Winterson would have preferred it if I had been silent. Do you remember the story of Philomel who is raped and then has her tongue ripped out by the rapist so that she can never tell? I believe in fiction and the power of stories because that way we speak in tongues. We are not silenced. All of us, when in deep trauma, find we hesitate, we stammer; there are long pauses in our speech. The thing is stuck. We get our language back through the language of others. We can turn to the poem. We can open the book. Somebody has been there for us and deep-dived the words. I needed words because unhappy families are conspiracies of silence. The one who breaks the silence is never forgiven. He or she has to learn to forgive him or herself.