“The Courage To Heal” – Ellen Bass and Laura Davis
This book is a genuine comfort, and it provides proactive information for those trying to heal from the trauma of childhood sexual abuse.
The premise is that “you’re in a world of pain, but that pain will lessen.” There is full recognition of the damage that was done to you (“it can permeate everything: your sense of self, intimate relationships, sexuality, parenting, work and even your sanity,”) but there are many suggestions about how healing is possible.
In topics ranging from how to heal and ‘remembering,’ to lingering anger, getting in touch with your feelings, and even your ability to parent, the content is compelling.
The overall message in this book is equally important, albeit challenging. It comes from a survivor: “Don’t run away from it [the abuse.] Don’t bury it. Don’t try to produce a different reality getting all strung out on something, or eating your way through your feelings. Don’t slash your wrists. Just deal with it.”
Another survivor adds, ” Give as much commitment to healing as you did to surviving.”
As a person who suffered incest, who “ran away from it,” buried it, and therefore lived a life (instead) with chronic depression and anxiety, I’m the first to admit that this message is incredibly important. Essential, actually.
This book is well worth the read for those who don’t feel that anyone else understands them or their lengthy struggle to heal. These writers do. And the forthright messages from survivors who offer their perspectives adds a level of credibility that is both honest and deeply heartening.