ABUSIVE RELATIONSHIP ENDED, LEAVING SCARS

:
Ella & Susan,

My relationship with a man suffering from manic depression recently ended. Unfortunately during this time I endured abuse, mainly in the form of manipulation, and verbal abuse, and am therefore now working through post traumatic stress. I am seeking help from a range of therapeutic & psychological outlets, and am mostly okay (I consider myself to be strong, generally), however a lingering effect from my experience is an uncertainty surrounding self, as well as a hesitation to trust in individuals (particularly males).

I am looking for a literary prescription - something that will inspire self-worth & motivation to live and love after a hardship such as psychological abuse from a loved one.

Yours,
The Wounded Healer
Dear Wounded Healer,
We are most sad to hear about this experience, and heartened that you have such a strong and positive response. We are glad to hear that you are seeking help from a range of therapeutic outlets, and that bibliotherapy is one of them. We feel that you should begin by adding to the strength you are finding in yourself by reading Gunnar's Daughter, by Sigrid Unset. This turn of the century Norwegian novel describes the rape of a girl by a man that she wanted to love, leading to her single motherhood and opprobrium from her community. Vigdis is toughened by her experiences, not weakened, and she is one of the most courageous women in literature that we know. Be emboldened by her resolution, her physical and emotional power, and her refusal to bow to convention.
Then we urge you to read a book that may seem an unlikely choice for your predicament, as the chief protagonist is male. It is The History of Mr Polly by HG Wells. The reason we prescribe it is that the eponymous hero is himself abused, emotionally, by his wife. He lives his life in a 'beastly, orrible, 'ole", because his wife keeps him subjugated to her despotic power. Mr Polly can only escape by faking the destruction of his shop by fire, and eventually running away. His slow rediscovery of freedom and self-respect is what makes this such a great book - you yourself will grow with him, as you watch him achieve a perfectly attainable happiness through living in his own shadow, not anyone else's.
Finally, we hope you will read a novel that will be lighter in tone but nonetheless empowering. Mr Vertigo by Paul Auster depicts the kidnap and training of a boy who becomes a prodigy who can defy gravity. Walt is an orphan who has no great desire to stay with his aunt and uncle, and when the mysterious Master Yehudi comes to his town and lures him off on an adventure to learn the arts of showmanship, he can't resist. Yehudi then breaks the boy down in a series of cult-like activities designed to strip him of his inhibitions, and reform him as a boy who can walk on water. The extremity of his training will strike a chord with you, for it is not simply physical, but mental manipuation. Walt's rise and fall is a fascianating portrayal of self-destruction followed by a from of revitalisation that will remind you of the brighter possiblilities awaiting you.
Yours,
Ella and Suse
We prescribe - Gunnar's Daughter, by Sigrid Unset
The History of Mr Polly by HG Wells
Mr Vertigo by Paul Auster

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A SLUG WITH VISIONS OF HUMANITYABUSIVE RELATIONSHIP ENDED, LEAVING SCARSADULT ACNEAFRAID OF FAILUREALCOHOLIC DAUGHTERALONE ON A WIDE, WIDE SEAAlways wanted to be a writerANOREXICANXIOUS ABOUT SINGLE FRIENDAT A FORK IN THE ROADAVID READER, LACKING BOOKBEREFT OF A CATBORED IN ALABAMABOTHERED AND BEWILDEREDBRAIN SHRINKING MOMMABROKENBROKEN HEARTBROKEN HEARTED - TORN BETWEEN MALE AND FEMALE BEST FRIENDSBROKEN UP WITH GIRLFRIEND; FEELING BURNT OUTCAN’T MOVE ONCANDIDA REVOLTAIRECan’t afford to go on holidayCAST ASIDECHEATEDCHRONIC PAINCOLD HANDS AND FEETCONCERNED ABOUT DAUGHTERCONFLICTED PARTNERSCRAVING FOOD CULTURECYNICAL STEPSONDAILY ABUSEDARK NIGHT OF THE SOULDEPRESSED AND UNABLE TO READDEPRESSED DURING CHRISTMAS, AND LONELY NOWDESPERATELY WANTON GIRLDIRECTIONLESSEASILY BORED WITH NOVELSEMOTIONALLY SABOTAGED BY MY MOTHEREMOTIONS IN EXTREMEEVER THE FRIEND AND NOT THE PARTNEREXTREME ANGER AND FRUSTRATIONFADING AWAYFALLEN OUT WITH MY FRIENDSFALLING IN LOVE WAY TOO FASTFAZED AND CONFLICTEDFEAR OF CONFRONTATIONFEAR OF GETTING OLDFERTILITY PROBLEMSFOMO (FEAR OF MISSING OUT)FORGING A BRIGHT NEW FUTUREFRIEND WHO HAS LOST A CHILD LATE IN PREGNANCYFRIENDS DAUGHTER LOST TO SUICIDEFrightened of lifeGAPING HOLEGetting over a break-upGIRL OF UNCERTAINTY, BOUND BY RULESGIRL WHO DOESN’T FIT INGRIPPED BY LOSSGUILTY FRIENDHOPELESSNESSHOUSE AND LIBRARY DESTROYED BY FIREI love music more than booksI no longer commute – and therefore I no longer readI PEEK AT THE END OF NOVELS BECAUSE I WORRY THE CHARACTER MIGHT NOT MAKE ITI wish I were famousIN MOURNING OVER LITERARY DEATHSINABILITY TO SIT STILL AND ANXIETYINCONSISTENT AND NON-STUDIOUS- BUT AMBITIOUS NONETHELESSINDECISIVEINSECUREINTERESTED IN EVERYTHING BUT ACHIEVING NOTHINGINVISIBLE WOMANITALIAN NOVEL CURESJILTED AND UNSUREJOB IN LIBRARY UNDER THREATKICKED IN THE HEADLEADENLIVING ON THE MARGINSLONE RANGERLONELY AND DEJECTEDLONELY IN LOVELONELY IN MONOTONOUS JOB, LOSING SANITYLOOKING FOR A SENSE OF PURPOSELOOKING FORWARDSLOSS OF A SISTERLOSTLOW WATTAGELOW-ENERGY PESSIMISMMAD SCIENTISTMARRIED TO A MAN, ATTRACTED TO WOMENMISSED THE BOATMISSING MY MOTHER-IN-LAWMUM GOING BACK TO WORKNEED TO LET GONEW CITY, NEW LIFE -BOOKS FOR 12 YEAR OLD BOY?NEW FRIENDSHIP WITH HOLOCAUST SURVIVORNIGHTMARISH COLLEAGUENOMADIC FLANEURPOST NATAL DEPRESSIONPREGNANT AND ALONE