Not literally glow-in-the-dark...Although, that would be cool. If they have books that do that, send me links. I've wanted glowing blue eyes since reading Dune...
I normally post book reviews on a different blog, but this was so personal that it needed to be here. It's also the last time I'll talk about it. As you heal from stopping the abuse, you desire less and less to open the wound you cleaned out. And, the more time you spend away from it, the more distant the memories of it become. I think that is where it belongs. You have to face what happened, but forcing yourself to relive it doesn't reveal anything new.
For those who've had to be their own light in the shadows, who had to learn figuratively to Glow-in-the-Dark since their earliest years, Dr. Susan Forward (with Craig Buck for "Toxic Parents) has two excellent novels that read like survival guides for those of us born into toxic families.
These are some of the best books on the subject I have come across. The offer examples from real cases (obviously names changed to protect everyone) and are filled with exercises you can complete to get a better picture of what is going on, and who you are in all of it, and what you want.
Both come with a warning. It's one I hope you do not take lightly.
You NEED a guide. No matter who you were in your disordered family, you will need a guide. Sections of both books are marked off with the advice that if it becomes too rough to read through-or you know that it will-you should speak with your therapist.
A therapist won't do this work for you. They are just there to make you you don't get lost; to make sure you get out of the darkness you must willingly enter. Bilbo and Frodo needed Gandalf, you need your
wizard therapist. It really is too bad that they don't just show up exactly when they are meant to the way wizards do, but you can find a good one. Ask about how they deal with the specific situation you are facing, hire only someone you are comfortable with and trust. If you can't find the time for in-office visits, there are many offering online sessions. If money is an issue or your insurance is lacking in mental health support, check your city's resources. Somebody should be able to point you to low or no-cost services.
Without the help of a professional, you can easily find yourself right back in the hell of your childhood. You will find the voice of person who tortured you in these pages. I'm not sure anyone can or should face that without the support of loved ones and a guide.
Nobody can decide for you what you want your life to look like, and these books leave it up to you to determine the appropriate level of contact. You are first drawn to recognize what is going on, and then the choices belong to you. There are some nice metaphorical exercises, such as writing down all the things your toxic parent bludgeoned you with, and then writing the truth out beside them. You'll burn their words (and take the ashes out of your home) and set your truth up with a helium balloon to the sky. You can probably do a more eco-friendly take on this exercise, but the idea stands. And it's important.
I was a scapegoat. I'm convinced, though I don't have evidence, that we are assigned these roles in disordered families based on our strengths.
I found myself atop the altar of the scapegoat-one a disordered family must erect and bleed you dry on to hide their problems, and avoid attacking each other. They never once looked back to see that their lamb to the slaughter was really a wolf.
Remember, these are just two books in a sea of hundreds dealing with this very topic. And, if you get the help of a therapist, they may have their own recommendations.
Don't stop reading there, either.
You feel down? Grab a comedic novel. You feel like you can't be strong anymore? Get a heroic yarn. A huge part of my healing process revolves around the written word. There is even evidence writing about what happened and re-framing it can help you overcome it.
Whatever you choose (and it is a DEEPLY personal choice) I wish you the happiness you deserve. Build a strong support system of people who love you, and cherish them.
May your New Year hold that and much more greatness in store for you.