I just finished reading another survivor's memoir this afternoon. I could relate to a lot of Tammy Gagnon's life as an incest survivor - the feelings of shame, no self-worth, fear of rejection from her parents especially her mother, anger at her abusers and anyone in authority. I can understand the need for addictions to numb her feelings. My addiction is food, even today. I never did alcohol or drugs because I was too scared of getting caught.
I can also relate to how Tammy finally had what she calls a "spiritual awakening" where she felt her connection to God, to her angels and finally to herself. Tammy finally started to heal when she realized that she needed to love herself in order to make any lasting changes.
The name of the book if any of you are interested in reading it is No Longer Silent, written by Tammy Gagnon, Printed in the United States of America, 2011. In the Foreword which is written by Patrick B. McGinnis, PhD, he says that No Longer Silent "is a story of victimhood and recovery."
Dr. McGinnis goes on to say, "A child who is sexually or physically abused suffers extraordinary additional harm. Children who are traumatized by an form of abuse do not have the cognitive capacity to recognize that this has happened to them because the caretaker is ill or misguided, rather they come to believe that something is wrong with them; that something essential in them is missing, and they are damaged and not good enough. Some children believe they are incomplete and feel as if there is a void at the center of their being." (page 4-5)
I felt the void that Dr. McGinnis speaks about inside of myself until I started to love myself. Many people, like Tammy, try to feel this void with alcohol, drugs and other people. Some teens have their own children early wanting to believe that a child will love them and fill the void. Nothing fills the void until you learn to love yourself. Anything else is just a temporary fix.
I read most of the book in one day. Tammy's book is about incest, domestic violence both physical and emotional, teenage rebellion through alcohol, drugs & running away to escape the pain of her life, having babies when she was too young, wanting to trust someone so badly that she fell for whatever lies the men in her life came up with, being hurt repeatedly by her mother whose love Tammy felt like she never had.
Tammy was taught before the age of six that her family had secrets that she wasn't supposed to tell anyone else because her mother cared more about how the family looked perfect than she did that her own daughter had been raped by her husband's father. When Tammy tried to talk to her mother several times during her adulthood about the rape by her grandfather when she was six years old, her mother told her to stop exaggerating, that it happened a long time ago.
I want to thank Tammy for writing and sharing her story of incest and domestic violence, rape and abandonment and for sharing her story of therapy and jail time and finally healing through finding herself and loving herself. Tammy didn't want her daughters to repeat the same mistakes that she did so she decided to quit drinking and doing drugs and to be the role model that her daughters needed. Tammy's story of incest becomes a story of triumph over tragedy instead. Thank you, Tammy for being brave enough to share your story. You give other survivors hope that they can heal too.