Perhaps at no other time in my life have I needed to focus so hard on saying exactly what I mean. Fortunately my upcoming book is not held in the grip of a butchering big publisher who I know would not only kill my title but would kill my book, as well. Yet while my book is not in the hands of strangers, it is under the critical editing eye of my very knowledgeable and skilled daughter, Ramona. And she asks questions, tough questions, for which I have to dig deep to find answers.
A main question at this point has to do with my book’s title. There are many versions flying back and forth via email right now. I am awaiting Ramona’s response regarding these. At the moment this is my latest version:
Story Without Words – A forensic study of my family’s unresolved trauma
(Oops? Subtitle may be morphing again to – A forensic study of family trauma)
Is this even close to the title we will publish this book under? I am adamant about the main title, Story Without Words. This IS the book I have written. I can defend my choice even to myself in many, many ways. I know I could write an entire new blog under that title and would not run out of things to say.
If any direct reference to ‘abuse’ is dropped from the subtitle I have to ask, “Is the intention of my book being diluted?” I don’t think so. At this moment I think what I most MEAN to say is that it has always been exactly the unresolved trauma coming down through my family that has fed, fostered and fueled all that has gone wrong.
Some of what went wrong turned into abuse. Some of it turned into patterns that allowed the abuse (of me) to continue unchecked. Some of it turned into patterns that allowed people to turn the other way (my grandmother, my father), to believe as reality the delusional madness of a psychotic Borderline Personality Disorder woman (my severely abusive mother).
Some of what went wrong turned into a frozen kind of perpetual despair that paralyzed joy in members of my ancestry. I would be willing to bet that not one of my most immediate ancestors was able to get through their lifetime without unresolved family trauma eventually overtaking them and beating them into the ground.
I see some kind of pattern of people in my family being able to turn all the way around to look the other way while the real truth, the actual truth about what had hurt and continued to hurt people flew right on by and disappeared. Why? What purpose does it serve for people to IGNORE the truth about trauma in families? Do we think ourselves weak if we name the truth when what is true doesn’t quite please us? Even when what actually happens is that these unspoken silent invisible truths end up destroying us?
I don’t know right now what I think of the implications of my title. I don’t need to know right now. I know the book itself has been written and now is being turned into a book — well, whatever a book actually IS in today’s epublishing market.
Today I am honing in on my title in such a way that my wording feels right. In spite of the 18 years of horrendous and bizarre abuse I experienced, it is not the abuse itself that matters to me at this point. I want to understand the trauma that bit my mother in the first place, that infected her so that she became the brutal raging crazy monster she turned into. I know she was not born that way. Something in the conditions of her own childhood MADE her that way.
And whatever that something was, my best guess is that it had to do with unresolved trauma that had been in her family — just as had been in my father’s family — long before either one of my parents were born.
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