Getting both a visceral and intellectual sense of what it feels like to be traumatized
Learning about the dynamics of child sexual abuse and abusers
Understanding the short- and long-term effects of abuse and trauma
Discerning how to find the best help to heal
Scared Selfless: My Journey From Abuse and Madness to Surviving and Thriving is completely unique. It is a hybrid between a memoir and a self-help book. So, on one hand, it is an exciting, emotional, and inspiring personal story that is nearly impossible to put down. On the other hand, it is a psychology book that puts all of the action in the story into context. The combination works incredibly well, because the reader gets to both feel and understand abuse, trauma, and mental illness.
When Stevens was just eight years old, her mother started living with an elementary school teacher. Unbeknownst to them, Gary Lundquist was also a sadistic pedophile who molested hundreds of children. The minute Stevens moved in, Gary turned her into his personal sex slave. He tortured her, trafficked her in a child sex ring, and forced her to perform in kiddie porn.
As a result of the abuse, Stevens developed a lot of mental problems. She was depressed, attempting suicide for the first time at the age of thirteen. She also developed PTSD and multiple personalities.
After she escaped from Gary and the child sex ring, Stevens tried to lead a normal life, but the psychological effects of childhood trauma got in the way. Stevens tried for years to find help through the mental healthcare system, but her efforts were thwarted by a lack of money and lackluster therapists. Eventually, Stevens found the therapist who helped her heal–and inspired Stevens to become a therapist herself.
Scared Selfless is a gripping and inspiring book about overcoming adversity that also manages to teach the reader a lot about psychological trauma. It is a must-read for anyone who was abused or neglected as a child, as well as anyone who wants to understand them.
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