Focus Friday: Broken Places: A Memoir of Abuse

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By Rachel Thompson

FINAL FINAL BROKEN Places COVER  (1)I’m Not Sorry

I don’t forgive my abuser. Not because I’m angry or because I’m not healed (which is a process anyway). It’s simple really—as a survivor, I’m in charge of my recovery, not you. Not her. Not him. I don’t have to do what you tell me. Just because you tell me that in order to heal I have to forgive the man who invaded my body when I was eleven years old, I don’t have to agree with you.

Besides, why must I take action for something that wasn’t my fault to begin with? I’ve taken on enough already.

It’s extremely personal, it’s my business, and I flat-out reject the notion that in order to heal I have to forgive him. In fact, it’s not anyone’s business but my own whether I forgive anyone for anything! Yet, survivors are constantly asked if we forgive our abusers. Why?

Asking a survivor of something so invasive as sexual abuse of any kind (but particularly of something that happened to us as children), if we are able to grant grace to someone for something so egregious, unlawful, and horrific, something that filled us so deeply with confusion and anger and shame—I find to be almost as invasive. It again puts the onus on the victim of the crime to DO something, when we were not at fault to begin with.

There’s also a pervasive religious dogma in our culture that is thrust upon us—an assumption that healing cannot begin or move to completion without forgiving the monster. This often comes from clergy or non-survivors, which reeks of hypocrisy, like a truck driver instructing a brain surgeon.

It Doesn’t Always Work

Survivors each walk their own path, and many will share their stories of recovery, which may or may not include forgiveness. One friend (a single mom) tells of being forced to continue to work in an office with the man who raped her because her bosses told her she’d be fired if she reported his crime. Not only that, but she was told to forgive him in front of her superiors as well as HR, so it would go on record that she would not be pressing charges.

After a failed suicide attempt, she quit her job, brought charges against both him and the company, and is now working as a freelance artist. She’s not angry anymore, but also says she’ll never forgive him or the company for the emotional damage.

Do It Only For You

Another survivor friend (who is religious) shares that she forgave her abuser because it helps her get through the day. She didn’t want to carry the guilt and shame anymore, so by forgiving him, she let all that go. Forgiving him helped her forgive herself, and that’s the only reason she was able to get to that point.

In fact, part of her recovery is group therapy with recovering pedophiles. I have the ultimate respect for her for being open to that. That’s not something I feel I could do.

Or Don’t Do It At All

Many therapists will tell you that forgiveness is not a required step to healing, despite what religious leaders will tell you. For me, religion has no place in my personal recovery. I am a spiritual person, but I rejected organized religion long ago. It doesn’t mean I don’t pray or believe in certain things—it also doesn’t mean I don’t believe in forgiveness as a general rule.

About Broken Places

  • IndieReader Approved
  • Chosen as a book of the month for Association of Independent Authors, April 2015
  • Honorable Mention at the 2015 San Francisco Book Festival

Award-winning author Rachel Thompson courageously confronts the topics of sexual abuse and suicide, love and healing, in her second nonfiction book of prose: Broken Places. The sequel to Rachel’s first nonfiction book, Broken Pieces, Rachel bares her soul in essays, poems and prose, addressing life’s most difficult topics with honesty. As you follow one woman’s journey through the dark and into the light, you will find yourself forever changed. Rachel’s first book in this series, Broken Pieces, has been a #1 best seller on Amazon (eBooks) on Women’s Poetry and Abuse. Please note: this book discusses serious topics, and is intended for mature audiences only.

About Rachel Thompson

Rachel Thompson copy

Rachel’s Bio:

 

Rachel Thompson is the author of newly released Broken Places (2015 Honorable Mention Winner, San Francisco Book Festival), and the multi award-winning Broken Pieces, as well as two additional humor books, A Walk In The Snark and Mancode: Exposed. Rachel is published and represented by Booktrope. She owns BadRedhead Media, creating effective social media and book marketing campaigns for authors. For affordable group sessions check out Author Social Media Boot Camp, monthly sessions to help all authors! Her articles appear regularly in The Huffington PostThe San Francisco Book Review (BadRedhead Says…), 12Most.com, bitrebels.com, BookPromotion.com, and Self-Publishers Monthly.

Not just an advocate for sexual abuse survivors, Rachel is the creator and founder of the hashtag phenomenon #MondayBlogs and the live Twitter chat, #SexAbuseChat, co-hosted with certified therapist/survivor, Bobbi Parish. She is also the director of the Gravity Imprint for Booktrope, bringing stories of trauma and recovery (fiction and nonfiction) to life.

She hates walks in the rain, running out of coffee, and coconut. She lives in California with her family.

Visit Rachel’s:

And follow her on Twitter @RachelintheOC

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Focus Friday: Broken Places, by Rachel Thompson

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Broken Places is the new book from the award-winning Rachel Thompson, author of Broken Pieces.

FINAL FINAL BROKEN Places COVER  (1)

Shame 

Shame doesn’t like to talk. She prefers to walk through a room, the center of attention, the girl that all the boys dream of, all eyes on her, flash and heels and lips and eyes, and hair. 

Shame is the one everyone talks about but nobody talks to. 

Shame wears pretty, tiny bits of clothes, fancy makeup, and drives a cool, red, fast car, the kind all little girls dream of when they play with their Barbies. She has all the hottest boyfriends, and even the occasional hot girlfriend, who shows up late to the cool kids’ parties as if she’s too good to be there anyway, and besides, “this place blows,” she tells her jock hottie of the day as she sashays her tiny hips poured into her “$1200-a-pop-paid-for-by-daddy” jeans out the door to the next coke-fueled gig. 

Shame has a secret. Shame saturates herself with distractions, partying all day and all night because she’s desperately sad, filled with the loneliness of the lost, her heart a shell scraped so deep because she left it in an alley one night with her pride and her virginity when one large man pinched and shoved and filled and grabbed in in ways she cringes to remember, in tears and rages, in nightmares and flashes she can’t ever discuss with another human. 

Because he was an animal and that makes her one, too. 

Shame carries this animal in her skin, unable to shake his eyes boring into hers as she fought and kicked while he held her down, sticking his furious cock into her. As she watched from above, she wondered aloud why he even need to bother with a live girl; if all he wanted was a hole, he could have just as easily found some sort of household appliance to stick it in. A hole was a hole was a hole. 

But he didn’t hear her mumbled words. 

Nobody hears Shame. They follow her, watching her every move, but they don’t see her. They don’t see her terror, how she shakes alone in her room at night, how she wakes up covered in the slimy sweat of the animal, smelling his stink, flashing on his fetid breath, his flaccid penis finally moving away from her face, forever wiping his semen from her lips in the hour-long, skin-burning hot showers she takes 

every night, 

every night, 

every night 

scrubbing away that which will never fucking die. 

Nobody talks to Shame. They look at her, they stare at her, but they don’t embrace her. She’s this creature, this thing nobody will ever love or soothe, or even acknowledge. Shame knows this. 

She was born out of fear and terror and hurt. She knows that she is nobody’s friend. 

Because, after all, who wants to be friends with Shame?

About Broken Places

Within one week of its release in January 2015, Broken Places, reached the Top Five in Women’s Poetry and #1 on Amazon’s Hot Releases List. Thompson courageously confronts the topics of sexual abuse and suicide, love and healing, in her second nonfiction book of prose and poetry (her fourth book overall). The author bares her soul in essays, poems and prose, addressing life’s most difficult topics with honesty. As you follow one woman’s journey through the dark and into the light, you will find yourself forever changed.

“A stellar achievement” — Tracy Riva (Top Amazon Reviewer, Tracy Riva Reviews) 

About the author

Rachel Thompson copyRachel Thompson is the author of newly released Broken Places and the award-winning Broken Pieces, as well as two additional humor books, A Walk In The Snark and Mancode: Exposed. Rachel is published and represented by Booktrope. She owns BadRedhead Media, creating effective social media and book marketing campaigns for authors. For affordable group sessions check out Author Social Media Boot Camp, monthly sessions to help all authors! Her articles appear regularly in The Huffington PostThe San Francisco Book Review (BadRedhead Says…), 12Most.com, bitrebels.com, BookPromotion.com, and Self-Publishers Monthly.

Not just an advocate for sexual abuse suvivors, Rachel is the creator and founder of the hashtag phenom #MondayBlogs and the live Twitter chat, #SexAbuseChat, cohosted with certified therapist/survivor, Bobbi Parish.

She hates walks in the rain, running out of coffee, and coconut. She lives in California with her family.

Visit her:

Connect with Rachel Thompson on:

Read her:

And follow Rachel on Twitter Twitter @RachelintheOC
and her consulting business  @BadRedheadMedia.

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Focus Friday: Broken Pieces by Rachel Thompson

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Broken Pieces by Rachel Thompson cover

This week has a special Focus Friday: three poetic essays  from Rachel Thompson’s Broken Pieces.

Caged

The right answer is to turn and walk away. But his arms are so strong and his words caress her soul. In his heat she abandons her resolve.

She’s unsure how it started, moving from found to lost. One day she watches birds fly on apathetic wings, the next he stands behind her—his hands inside her heart.

He damages her new home, where she now lays her head, the place where guilt and lust meet.

But she cannot leave. His eyes hold her captive.

“You are mine,” he tells her. “I own you now.” She doesn’t disagree.

Her breath quickens, her skin burns from the real and imagined hold he has on her. He whispers promises of life together, as long as all the pieces of her are his.

Pieces of her—

all he needs.

China Doll

I felt the storm break my heart.

Maybe I knew he had taken his life before I got the call; perhaps even before he left, his words a warning I didn’t know to catch.

I can admit that now.

Before he died, when we spoke a storm brewed in his words. He had lost so many people—some he hated, some he loved. But still. So many deaths. Drinking ruined him; alcohol killed his marriage, twisted his relationship with his young son into sadness. He only told me bits and pieces. His language, sparse, as if he had created his own. I gleaned as much as I could from every conversation, trying to understand unspoken words, held breaths.

If only I had read between his lines.

If I closed my eyes, could I have touched his words??

“SEE WHO I AM NOW!” he angrily shouted, though his rage was couched between desire and love.

“I’m not that man anymore who would hurt you. You’re my china doll, baby.”

He carried me for twenty years, freezing me in time; taking me out, looking at me, before putting me back on his shelf. Who he thought I was. Not realizing I would grow and change, becoming a different person. A stronger person. A doll who didn’t break quite so easily.

The mind warps what time can’t forget. But I will never forget.

And I am not his doll. I am not fragile.

Then again, I’m not the one who broke.

Light

Allow me to drape my limbs over you; my secret murmurs soothing fears that keep you awake as the rays of the day fade on borrowed rest.

Grasping your hand to keep you from losing your way back to me, you meet my eyes with a rush of desire that slams me in a hard, brilliant flash.

Do you hear me? I whisper along your skin, cooled by the night air. Crossing this wide river to you, I pray you’ll reach for me as I pass by, drowning in your depths.

You, my only salvation.

Will you save me?

Waiting for the sun, I barely breathe so as not to wake you, unable to turn away from the glare of what we’ve wrought.

I bathe in our entangled gleam, where love lives inside the knowledge that tomorrow fades again.

Illumination only lasts until darkness decides to fall.

Broken Pieces is an award winning book about relationships, a study of women, and a book with heart. Vastly different in tone from her previous essay collection, Broken Pieces is a collection of pieces inspired by life: love, loss, abuse, trust, grief, and ultimately, love again. While still non-fiction, this best-selling book is not humor at all. In Thompson’s most intensive work to date, she opens her soul and invites the reader in for a visit. Thompson goes into those long buried rooms we lock up deep inside and shares a bit of her soul. Broken Pieces is vulnerable, raw honesty, and no-holds barred.

 

About the author

Rachel ThompsonRachel Thompson is the author of the award-winning Broken Pieces, as well as two additional humor books, A Walk In The Snark and Mancode: Exposed. She also owns BadRedhead Media, creating effective social media and book marketing campaigns for authors. Her articles appear regularly in The Huffington Post, The San Francisco Book Review (BadRedhead Says…), 12Most.com, bitrebels.com, BookPromotion.com, and Self Publishing Monthly. She hates walks in the rain, running out of coffee, and coconut. She lives in California with her family.

Visit her

  • website
  • BSR Author page
  • Amazon Author page

and follow her on Twitter @RachelintheOC.

 

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Monday Musing: Writing to Heal

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RachelsWrite something you’d never show your mother or father. Lorrie Moore

This quote is at the beginning of my latest release, Broken Pieces. I (Rachel Thompson) share it because this particular quote had a huge impact on the writing of this, my third book, on me as an author, as well as a woman. As a nonfiction writer of two previous and bestselling Amazon books on humor, I fully intended to write the third humor book, covering relationships and love in my normal satirical manner. And yet…when I sat down to write, what surfaced were stories from my childhood.

About the sexual abuse I suffered at age eleven. About the attempted date rape in college. About the abusive relationship I had with a man whom I loved with all my heart – whom I dumped eventually…who later killed himself. I poured out stories of love, loss, grief, abuse, and trust. Yet, I struggled mightily with which direction to take: write and share these deeply personal stories in the form of prose, poetry, and essays, or continue on with my ‘brand’ of nonfiction humor, essentially ignoring everything I had written.

Writing about the hard stuff is something many authors choose not to do in a nonfiction format – mostly because of fear of repercussion from family members, or even the person(s) who committed the crimes. Giving ourselves permission to address normally ‘taboo’ subjects isn’t easy. For me, I feel as if this book was inside me for years, waiting patiently for me to write it all down and share with others.

What difficult subjects would you like to write or read about?

To read Rachel’s full piece, visit the original post on SheWrites.

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