The Trauma Myth Epub ß The Trauma Epub /

The Trauma Myth ➚ [KINDLE] ❄ The Trauma Myth By Susan A. Clancy ➤ – Few would argue that the experience of sexual abuse is deeply traumatic for a child But in this explosive new book psychologist Susan Clancy reports on years of research and contends that it is not th Few would argue that the experience of sexual abuse is deeply traumatic for a child But in this explosive new book psychologist Susan Clancy reports on years of The Trauma Epub / research and contends that it is not the abuse itself that causes trauma—but rather the narrative that is later imposed on the abuse experience Clancy demonstrates that the most common feeling victims report is not fear or panic but confusion Because children don't understand sexual encounters in the same ways that adults do they normally accommodate their perpetrators— something they feel intensely ashamed about as adults The professional assumptions about the nature of childhood trauma can harm victims by reinforcing these feelings Survivors are thus victimized not only by their abusers but also by the industry dedicated to helping them Path breaking and controversial The Trauma Myth empowers survivors to tell their own stories and radically reshapes our understanding of abuse and its aftermath.

10 thoughts on “The Trauma Myth

  1. Carrie Poppy Carrie Poppy says:

    In many ways I wanted to give this book five stars but there are some issues that needed addressing that fell by the wayside so I am ditching one star I should say that throughout this review I will refer to the abuser as hehim and the victim as sheher but obviously abuser and particularly victim can be any gender though the vast majority of sex abusers are men Now then the bookFirst the goodClancy clearly and compellingly makes the case that child sexual abuse hereafter CSA while an absolutely unacceptable crime that often permanently harms victims doesn't happen the way we think it happens From her research mostly interviewing adult victims of CSA she concludes that the vast majority of young child victims initially don't find the abuse frightening or upsetting Instead she finds most child victims find the encounter strange and confusing and ultimately forgettable the exception is when the abuse is physically painful but this turns out to be relatively rare Then later as the child rounds the corner of puberty they start to awaken to sexuality learn about their own sex drive and sex organs and have an ah ha moment where they realize now years later that they were being used for an adult's sexual gratification as a young child While they thought they were having a platonic encounter the other person was doing something much different; they've been tragically manipulated This realization becomes INCREDIBLY traumatic as the victim must now reframe all her memories to account for this horrendous discovery To make matters worse the attacker is almost always someone the child knows and he is often still in her life perhaps an uncle or teacher or minister who is beloved by the parents and extended family Not only is the child now adolescent suddenly the survivor of sex abuse but she now feels she can't trust her own brain to spot an abuser Clancy finds that victims of this type of abuse in which they weren't initially disturbed but later are may actually suffer WORSE than those victims who endure terrifying andor physically painful attacks that they resisted at the time Though violent attacks obviously have horrific and perhaps permanent effects including potential PTSD the victim can at least trust her own brain to spot abuse and abuser; after all she did so when she was a child By contrast the victim of long game manipulation grooming and fondling may have initially responded with confusion or even pleasure many victims report this so she must deal with intense shame guilt and regret for not having stopped what a child of three or four or five can't be expected to understand much less stopThis all rang true to me from the first page While I haven't survived CSA I have friends who have and who have shared their experiences with me This exactly mirrors what I usually hear that the touching was not painful that the victim didn't physically or verbally resist because she didn't understand what was going on or because she liked the feelings though she didn't identify them as sexual at the time I recently read I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings for the first time and Maya Angelou recounts her own CSA including a penetrative rape at the age of eight She fearlessly shares what others carry in secret for entire lives that at first when her mother's boyfriend was fondling her she liked it and thought it was a form of platonic intimacy Only later when her abuser threatened to hurt her brother if she told did she realize that the behavior must have been bad The horrifying situation escalated to the point where Maya was violently raped at which point she was able to uneuivocally identify the abuse as abuse despite her very young age and report it Because this mirrored what I have learned about CSA from first person accounts the first couple of chapters were a bit repetitive for me I felt she spent a bit too much time trying to convince me that CSA delivers its trauma years after the original crime is committed I expected to come here and find many reviews calling out the repetition But instead I find reviews filled with shock and horror at Clancy's findings that kids typically don't resist the initial abuse; some people clearly still didn't buy that premise whether because they didn't find it compelling or didn't want to Clancy then was right to spend so much time on itThe much bigger issue is what isn't in the book As I read I kept thinking Oh man pedophiles will use this to say that if we just decriminalized CSA it would cease to be traumatic for survivors The thinking would go like this These kids don't experience anything worse than confusion during these sexual encounters so long as intimidation and physical pain aren't involved They only come to identify it as 'bad' once they are older because they live in a society where we demonize kids experiencing natural sexual urges If we simply stop doing this then as the child grows up she won't suddenly reframe her healthy childhood sexual experiences as abuse I could feel this interpretation hanging over every line in this book and I kept waiting for Clancy to address and eviscerate it Given the incredibly sensitive subject matter and its high stakes Clancy and her editor would have done well to foresee this interpretation and nip it in the bud But the book never does It's a shame because a single paragraph could have cut off this line of inuiry Perhaps even a line saying something like These survivors began to reframe with horror their experiences not simply because they learned about sex abuse but because they learned about SEX Simply realizing that they have budding sexual urges and having an innate concept of consent they are horrified to realize that an adult who was supposed to protect them instead fooled them into being an object of sexual gratification Even before they know about abuse they know something terribly unjust has been done to them I am assuming that this is the conclusion Clancy came to since she vehemently states again and again that CSA is an unforgivable crime that should be thoroughly prevented and punished But she simply never puts this fine a point on it and this missing piece of the puzzle turned out to be pretty critical you can find a mostly positive review of the book on NAMBLA's pro pedophile website There are also some issues with language that might partly be due to me reading this 2011 book with 2018 eyes For example she speaks of children consenting to fondling because they didn't fight it Of course now we know that children can't consent because they don't have enough information to do so A better term might be didn't fight it which most children don't Of course the point here is not that the child should have fought it The point is that the adult abuser is wholly responsible; he is taking advantage of a trusting child while he has way information than his victim does The power imbalance makes it impossible for the child to meaningfully consent hence our age of consent laws But again this missing attention to language subtleties was unfortunate There are other similar language issues that came up but I tried my best not to be too distracted by them Regardless while this handful of ill chosen terms muddied the water the book taken as a whole is completely clear on child sexual abuse it is inexcusably bad and the child is never at fault Yes even if they liked it at the time Yes even if they told their abuser they wanted it Children don't always understand the ramifications of their fleeting curiosities and desires and a responsible and loving adult steers them away from those things which will harm them now or years laterBack to the good Clancy is a memory researcher her other book Abducted is a fascinating look at how people come to believe they were abducted by aliens and even build false memories around that narrative I am fascinated by the faultiness of human memory and especially by false memories and repressed memories Believers in repressed memory say that a traumatic event can cause the victim to dissociate to the point that her brain refuses to build and keep a memory of the incident to protect her from future harm the harm of living with a horrifying past The memory then is buried deep within the subconscious and either never released or released suddenly and unexpectedly Or in the truly far out cases recovered with the aid of the much discredited recovered memory therapy This therapy has been shown to be merely an invitation for morbid daydreaming causing patients to conjure up imagined scenarios of terrible events not just sex abuse but Satanic abuse or alien abductions and Despite having read multiple books and articles on the subject I had never uite gotten one thing clear Clancy and her fellows such as Elizabeth Loftus have repeatedly said that trauma doesn't make our brain hide memories; to the contrary it SOLIDIFIES memories The abject fear we experience during a robbery or a rape or a natural disaster has the effect of slowing time down allowing our brains to react faster than they normally would but also allowing us to build incredibly detailed memories Counter to repressed memory theory traumatic events are less likely to be forgotten not Yet I also heard these experts say that abuse is sometimes forgotten and then remembered This sounded like a contradiction but I could sense that I was missing something Clancy cleared up that something for me Abuse she explains is often forgotten but that is because it may not have been traumatic initially Once we understand that most CSA victims were confused but not afraid or in pain during the initial acts we can see why the whole thing was forgettable to them until they arrived at their pre teen years recalled the events and realized that a precious thing their first sexual encounter had been stolen from them by someone who knew exactly what they were doing The memory had been forgotten because it was forgettable Now imbued with tragic meaning it will never be forgotten againThe last couple of chapters of Clancy's book might be the most important She explores the reactions to her findings and how well meaning defenders of children and feminists and other scholars attacked her insisting that she must be a pedophile or a pedophile defender if she would release her data By the way it is literally impossible to come to this conclusion if you read the book I reckon these people saw the same gap I did and ran to the unfair conclusion that Clancy left that part out not because of oversight but because of malice I think this is deeply unfair Yet this attitude is still alive Check out the comments on videos of Clancy interviews and behold the people calling her a pedophile despite that very interview featuring her repeatedly calling CSA an inexcusable crime Witness even those trying to write her off by calling her a kook She even believes in alien abductions Nope She doesn't These people haven't read a word this woman's writtenOne thing that is very clear is that Clancy is writing this book in order to protect victims The trauma that they endure and it is trauma in the vernacular sense though her clinical definition of this word can become a bit of a distraction can be life long even if it is delayed It may blunt their abilities to form connections have healthy sexual relationships and as mentioned above trust their own brains It was this particular element that struck close to home for me For 35 years I had a boyfriend who was carrying on multiple relationships at once I thought I was his one and only but I was like his one in ten I didn't find out until much later and had to reframe all of my memories The hardest part to deal with and to explain to others was the way in which the realization made me not trust my own brain I wanted any explanation of what had happened any red flag I might have missed so that I could protect myself in the future Friends found this perplexing but supported me as I dug through old letters and emails and photos Likewise but worse I imagine that these CSA victims must paw through their old memories for most of their lives looking for a red flag however faint that they can point to Ah ha There it is Next time I will knowAs Clancy's book ends she makes a heartfelt plea that we listen to the data because the victims need us to By building a narrative that CSA is always painful and frightening we drive MOST victims into silence They look back on their former selves and see a confused child who didn't fight back as their beloved uncle touched them in a way they didn't understand They think How come I didn't fight back or scream or even know it was abuse? Other kids do So they live in secrecy in silence And yet they are the majority Of course this all comes from a society that wants to protect children from abuse We imagine that if we give people the idea that kids aren't horrified every time they are exposed to sex too early that abusers will find an excuse to abuse at every turn And this is a fair concern especially given the aforementioned NAMBLA review But this concern is so pronounced that we aren't listening to victims A truly tragic picture in which victims are thrown under the bus in order to protect them It's worth noting that while this book focuses on CSA with delayed trauma because this type is the most common it does not disregard the existence of sex abuse which is horrifying and traumatic in the moment Children are violently raped children are made to be terrified or to freeze up to the point that they cannot fight back These things happen and can never be dismissed simply because they are the minority Clancy's objective is not to judge which kind of abuse is worst but to broaden our understanding of what abuse can look like and make room for the majority of CSA victims to look back on their abuse not as a shameful reflection on them but as a tragically common experience for which they hold absolutely no culpabilityThis book is important even with its flaws I hope a future edition will clear up the relatively easily addressed issues because there is so much important information here But until then anyone who cares about CSA should read this book I imagine it will be tremendously comforting to victims who imagined they were alone You aren't alone even if you didn't resist the manipulation of a conniving adult You couldn't have You were a child

  2. Alex Alex says:

    As a survivor of sexual abuse this book really spoke to me It helped explain a lot of the unresolved feelings that I have been dealing with for the past 25 years The feelings of guilt shame confusion anger sadness all make sense I encourage anyone who has been a victim of childhood sexual abuse to read this book I hope that you find some comfort and understanding within the pages

  3. Judi Judi says:

    i have never read a book that made me so angry and crushed Did the author really mention the book Lolita??? I'm not getting the no trauma thing If something is happening to a child and they have no way to process it because there is no point of referrence that is trauma that is why they have problems throughout their livesIf you take away the molestation you wouldnt have those problems All of the participants in her study speak of knowing it was wrong but didnt know why it was wrong; or that you just didnt disrespect an adultTo me this is trauma From the time I was molested my entire life turned upside down and my form of abuse was not violent or coerced By the time i was old enough to process what had happened to me I had sooo much baggage of bewilderment guilt not only from the act itself but the way i handled it In the 40 years since it happened there has been only one time in foster care group homes group therapy or support groupsthat i have ever encountered anyone who reacted to the abuse in the way that the author presents her case study subjects This book was disappointing to me in that she speaks of the Harvard studies going on for 9 years and then doesnt present their stories both before or after the abuse takes place except for one or two lines that SURPRISE back up what she is trying to sell It feels too edited

  4. Rachael Rachael says:

    I debated on what rating to give this book and finally decided to skip that part The Trauma Myth was certainly a thought provoking book but a like don't like scale doesn't capture my feelings I'm somewhere in a triangle of befuddled intrigued and disturbed I walked into this ready to be convinced I have a lot of respect for Susan Clancy who has a knack for successfully tackling career killing issues such as alien abduction and child sexual abuse Both of these topics arose from investigations about memory recovered false trauma memories etc In her first book Abducted she explored why and how people come to believe they were abducted by aliens In that book as in The Trauma Myth Clancy portrays herself as greeting counterintuitive data with annoyance and skepticism followed by a reframing of her assumptions and ending with a deeper understanding of the problem and a new framework in which to understand it Clancy's alien abduction framework was convincing and well reasoned and I expected the same in The Trauma Myth I wasn't entirely disappointed but I was also left feeling profoundly uncomfortable and unsettled Part of that is the nature of the topic but a lot of it was her approachHer main goal is to turn sexual abuse research and understanding on its head It seems that she has made little progress amongst researchers so she released a popular book to make her case Her point is NOT that sexual abuse is in any way acceptable or that it does not have devastating effects on its victims She argues that 1 sexual abuse is often not traumatizing when it happens because it is perpetrated by trusted individuals at a developmental stage when children cannot appreciate the betrayal and violation; 2 as individuals get older they come to realize they were violated and feelings of guilt and betrayal begin to form; 3 the belief that sexual abuse is traumatic when it happens leads the majority of sexual abuse victims to believe that their lack of resistance understanding was abnormal and thus they are partially or totally to blame for the abuseThere is no doubt in my mind that Susan Clancy has profound respect and compassion for victims of sexual abuse and she believes the view she presents will do to help victims than the current trauma model will However she makes semantic choices which were likely conscious carefully reasoned choices that come perilously close to blaming victims regardless of her arguments to the contrary She argues repeatedly that children are unlikely to resist sexual abuse particularly when it involves genital touching and not painful penetration Even when children have some vague recognition that what's happening is wrong or are confused they may also appreciate the attention from the trusted adult and they may feel physical pleasure Further these reactions are perfectly normal and adult survivors should be made aware that there is nothing wrong or aberrant in the way they respondedI'm with her on this but it's her language in making these arguments that is uestionable She uses words like complicit and consent making the argument that although legally there is no consent most people do not live in a courtroom Language is extremely important and there are other ways to convey the same exact information without using an inflammatory word like complicitThe title of the book itself is exceptionally inflammatory a choice that was I imagine completely conscious Most people reading the title would assume that she is arguing that sexual abuse is not harmful Choosing such a title virtually ensures an uproar leading to press and a higher readership I choose to believe the goal of a higher readership is to increase the likelihood that her argument will gain traction and not for financial gain but for every person who picks up the book and manages to read it all the way through the most compelling compassionate arguments are made in the second half there will be perhaps hundreds who read the title and form their own opinions about the facts within the book Authors cannot be held responsible for every ignorant person who misconstrues their argument without actually reading it In this case however that outcome is predictable inevitable and perhaps even encouraged In short it is a book whose arguments will stay with you and will continue to challenge you afterward

  5. Sarah Sarah says:

    I really enjoyed the authors uniue perspective on childhood sexual abuse Her commitment comes from really listening to survivors and adds an interesting layer to a complex issue without ever becoming cheesy or exploitative As someone whose former partner has experienced childhood sexual abuse I found her insights to be right on for what my ex experienced In discussing the book with my ex she confirmed that many of Clancy's findings and interpretations matched her own thoughts and feelings about her abuse Clancy never claims to speak for all victims but it is clear that she has tapped a framework that makes sense to many

  6. Shelley Shelley says:

    I had been avoiding reading this book because I assumed the author was trying to imply that childhood sexual abuse is not traumatic However I'm glad I finally read it because the author has done very important research and her work deserves recognition The only problem is that she has framed the conclusions in a confusing way that interferes with acceptance of those conclusionsThe results show that childhood sexual abuse IS traumatic but usually NOT at the original time of the abuse The trauma only manifests itself later in life when the child is old enough to understand what happened The original abuse is often not experienced as traumatic at the time simply because the child doesn't understand what is going on and doesn't recognize it for what it is Plus there are usually mitigating factors of the abusive adult trying to coerce the child by being nice and kind despite the abuse So that's confusing to the child and interferes with their perception of the situation I think the author makes a mistake by trying to eliminate the concept of trauma just because it isn't usually experienced that way at the original time The author does acknowledge the traumatic impact of the abuse later in the person's life so I'm not sure why she insists on claiming it's a myth of trauma

  7. Kate Kate says:

    A complete review can be found at I found this to be a book about a psychological researcher's point of view who wasn't armed with the right uestions or understanding of trauma from the onset due to her lack of field work She confuses the adjective traumatic with the medical definition of trauma and all of its lingering physiological and psychological effects from the event itself She makes assumptions based on a control group which is relaying their incidents many of which are not seen as violent often felt good physically at the time and did not feel in physical danger as they new their perpetrators for the first time Additionally they are doing so without any benefit of therapy or processing of the event That is a biased control groupWhat Clancy does unveil is an epidemic in our country of sexual abuse and many people who still do not understand they have been abused While I don't agree with her conclusions I think the overall study does have a benefit She points fingers at the medical establishment while I think further education on the nature of trauma is what is actually necessary

  8. Alida Alida says:

    Do yourself a favor and read this book Why? Because if you or anybody you know has been a victim of sexual abuse youthey need to read this book

  9. Michelle Cahill Michelle Cahill says:

    Very thought provoking A should read for anyone in the field

  10. Samu Samu says:

    Not sure how I feel about this book Maybe it's because it's ten years old already that most of this feels kind of like old news I'm no expert on sexual abuse of children but even I knew the basics the abuser is usually someone close to the child a man non threatening often the child doesn't realize it is abuse until later because it is confusing and doesn't physically hurt they are rewarded for being good etc So perhaps the point of the book is that we should stop talking about the physically traumatizing sexual abuse abuse where physical violence occured the child was physically injured and start talking about the common form of abuse which is everything else Sure But isn't that what is being talked about mostly? Maybe it wasn't ten years ago? Most of this book kinda feels like a play on words The author doesn't think the word trauma describes the actual act of child abuse she studied but doesn't really disagree with the most basic things that are being told to children who were abused like it wasn't your fault and I'm sorry this happened to you She talks a lot about the fact that sexual abuse of children is conceptualized through adult eyes and thus does not meet the actual reality of what it feels like for the children that are being abused She goes on to discuss consent and the fact that most children do not fight back and in fact 'allow' the abuse to occur doing exactly the same thing she accuses adults of doing when discussing abuse with the abused kids putting adult lenses on the whole thing A child cannot consent due to their emotional and cognitive development and if we accept that as truth than how could a child possibly 'allow' the abuse? This is different from fighting back which children rarely do for many reasons they didn't know they could didn't know it was wrong were taught to do as grownups tell them to do wouldn't have had a chance anyway as the grownup was most likely physically bigger and stronger etc but just as relevant a point Even adults that are raped rarely fight back for different reasons but that doesn't mean they 'allowed' the rape to happen any than the child who was abused did The author does seem to agree children cannot consent but at the same time says children comply and allow the abuse Much of this book is like that play on words and their meanings while saying the same thing others have been saying about abuse for years So I'm not really sure why this book was written and what the point is Except of course that we should listen to the survivors of sexual abuse when trying to help them

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