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Paperback Secret Survivors: Uncovering Incest and Its Aftereffects in Women Book

ISBN: 0345419456

ISBN13: 9780345419453

Secret Survivors: Uncovering Incest and Its Aftereffects in Women

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Book Overview

"A resource of excellent caliber...Highly recommended for those who suspect that they are unconscious survivors of abuse and especially for therapists to dig into the darkest shadow part of human existence."ELIZABETH KUBLER-ROSS, M.D.SECRET SURVIVORS is the first book to expand the definition of incest to include any adult abuser and to focus on what incest does to survivors. E. Sue Blume shows how incest is often at the root of such problems as depression,...

Customer Reviews

5 ratings

Your Guide to Diving into the Abyss

Dear E. Sue Blume, I recently had the opportunity to read your book, Secret Survivors. In short, I have discovered a hell within myself that I did not know was there thanks to you. You see, I had no idea that the after-effects of my incestuous past ran so deep. You originally intended your book to be for those who could only remember their incest in part, or maybe not at all... in my case, it has been the opposite. Most of the memories have remained clear for me, it was the resulting damage that was vague or unrecognizable. I did not know that in being molested by my family of origin, and having them interchangeably argue that there was nothing wrong with it to justify its continuance... my entire life, my identity, was so deeply fractured by its ugly roots penetrating so deeply. What an incredibly rude awakening you had in store for me. For example, your checklist... there are 34 items on there. I checked off 28 of them. Eating disorders, wanting to change my name, unable to sleep at night, guilt and shame, psychic numbing, those are just a few of them. About the only thing it seemed I hadn't developed was a multiple personality. That was just the beginning of my plunge into that internal abyss. Oh no, I hadn't even been that rudely awakened yet. It wasn't to say I didn't know something was there. But I was looking at it through a thickly frosted and smeared pane of glass. You simply lifted this so I could see, and I was shocked. No, it wasn't until I began reading chapter after chapter of the after-effects, in detail, that I felt my guts wrench. For it was then that I had my eyes opened to just how much they stole from me. Your incredibly accurate descriptions of what goes on behind the compulsions, the fears, the rage, walking around feeling permanently defective and marked, the way it affects adult relationships, dropped my jaw. There were days I had to simply put your book down and walk away, it was so much to take in. It took me months to finish it, I even had to buy my own copy because my library wanted theirs back and I didn't finish it in time. Here I had thought I was doing okay... when in truth I had merely stayed in a "safe" place where I couldn't - didn't want to - look any deeper. A place I know now was illusionary and would not have served me a long-term purpose, for a transparent sheet cannot keep down the demons that claw away at it. They will burst the membrane and come spewing out, and they would have eaten me alive if I hadn't been alerted to them. Then you threw me another curve ball: These things in themselves, did not mean I was crazy. They were actually normal ways of coping in the abnormal and evil environment sexual abuse conceives. But once out of that environment I was left with coping mechanisms that don't work within healthy functioning realms... something I had already discovered within my marriage and in my relationships with my children. He deserves a better wife, they deserve a better Mommy. But

"Thank You" seems so inadequate sometimes

Secret Survivors is one compelling book. The first time, I read it straight through and was sure I'd found the User's Manual to my brain. And perhaps I have. The knowledge packed into this little powerhouse of a paperback is vast and dense, and covers a huge amount of ground. You won't find any fluff, either - every word counts. The writing is tight, clear, and intelligent. And the jewel so carefully packaged within this book's pages is this: it gives the incest Survivor a way of understanding herself from a whole new orientation, one that assumes she is not a nutcase, and that there's a very good reason she acts and thinks the way she does. Blume is fearless when it comes to confronting the lies and misconceptions surrounding incest. She does it simply and powerfully by stating the truth, the kind you feel in your gut. She is believable. She exudes integrity. This is important because when you begin reading you may feel, as I did, that she's been walking around inside your head, pulling out thoughts - even whole sentences - you've probably never shared with another person. When she says, "The Survivor feels...." or "The Survivor thinks...", or "The survivor may do/act/be this or that..." she's not speculating. She knows, and she's dead-on right. This sense of being known and seen makes the book an intensely personal experience, but never once have I felt exposed or invaded, or, even worse, like someone's science experiment. Instead, I felt respected and validated, enormously relieved that I'm a lot more normal than Mom thought I was, and sometimes even a little overwhelmed by all of this goodness. But I can learn to live with that. I have gotten so much from Secret Survivors! Blume's belief in our own strength and ability to heal helps me feel stronger. I feel like I have an advocate, and a mountain of one at that, standing between me and a (mostly) unbelieving world. It doesn't matter that I don't know her personally. It just matters that she's real, that she exists someplace. I have something solid to hold on to in this book, that reminds me, over and over, "You aren't nuts - you were hurt in the worst possible way, and this is what it did to you. But you're strong, too, you're gonna make it, kid." I now know it's possible to be told, and to hear, the truth about myself in a way that is life affirming. And I know that the man who hurt me doesn't get to win anymore. All of this is why Secret Survivors remains on the top of the bedside reading stack, why it's all marked up and dog-eared, and why, in the middle of the night when it's too hard to believe I can do this and everything inside feels so broken, it's what I reach for first for comfort and encouragement. Thank you indeed, E. Sue Blume.

Why didn't someone give me this book years ago?

I am a no nonsense person, as I believe most survivors turn out to be. Secret Survivors is a no nonsense book - to the point. This is not for the squeamish. Also, I don't believe this is the first book a survivor should read. I think it's better to walk in gently, even if you are in therapy. Books like "The Courage To Heal" are good for anyone no matter what the depth of the abuse may have been. Secret Survivors gets to the heart of every issue. You will see yourself, feel yourself, watch yourself, cry for yourself and finally relax knowing you're not crazy, this did happen, and you can have a life after your insanity. The journey through this book is magnificent. I have just recommended it to a therapist who is starting a practice to work with abuse victims. It would have been worth many more dollars to me just based on the questions and answers it provided. YOU ARE WORTH THE TIME IT TAKES TO READ THIS BOOK, but don't be surprised if you are a bit withdrawn as you make your way through it. It takes your breath away!!!!

More than surviving

This is a wonderful book on the after effects of incest. It is healing and validating to know that my reactions are normal given what I have endured. I like that the after effects listed in this book are specific, and accurate to incest survivors (other books have lists that are too vague or universal). I have found this book to have a great balance between focusing on transcending our pasts while also acknowledging all of our feelings, troubles and after effects. I did not find this book to be angry or harsh (as some others are). Healing from incest is quite a journey. This book is a valuable resource that I re-read, highlight passages, and lend to friends who seek to understand incest. This book has so much in it: a section for partners, understanding and forgiving our mothers, honoring our survival skills, learning to understand and stop blaming ourselves, handling flashbacks and much more. This book has been a blessing in my life. It honors and re-educates us, who have been silenced, hurt, and disbelieved for far too long. E. Sue Blume has done a great service to us, and this world. I wish I could thank her myself. I will end this review with a quote from Secret Survivors: "Facing a problem is a rebirth. Frequently, I am struck by the perfection of this symbolism with regard to many types of clients, but none more than the woman who is working to resolve the aftereffects of incest. Purifying a sin that was not hers, she becomes her own parent. How can we fail to celebrate the incest survivor? Through healing and finding her power, she is, like the phoenix, reborn." (p. 299) Good Luck to you all on your journey towards peace and wholeness.

Read it once. Then read it again.

Read this book. If you are a survivor, or the partner or non-offending parent of a survivor, a sibling or a friend, this book provides powerful insight that can only enhance the healing process. I have now read it twice, and only got more out of it the second time. I did so much reading when I was first in recovery, 12 years ago, that I forgot where I learned what. I now know that the roots of my healing and the basis for the healthy, fulfilling relationships I have today can be attributed, primarily, to the truly valuable, readable and useful information in Secret Survivors. Read it once. Then read it again. You will not be sorry.
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