Conquering Incest: My Life as a Trauma Survivor
List Price: 24.95
Available: March 2011
The tragedy marking seven-year-old Diane Champbreaux’s life is already set by the time she starts the second grade in 1954. She has to navigate her parents’ (Sam, age 27) and (Carolyn, age 25) twisted world to survive unconscionable abuse the first 21 years of her life. Her brother (Ray, age 6) and newborn sister Joanne both are abused as well when growing up.
Sam rises from an enlisted man in the Navy to eventually being in command of his own ship in 1964 by accepting any training or overseas assignments, even though it involves moving his family 29 times in 15 years. Each time he returns home, though, he savagely beats Ray to keep him under control, ignores Joanne, and molests, rapes, and almost kills Diane to get his sexual needs met denied by his cold wife. What began for Diane as a secret game of affection with Sam became a world of psychological warfare.
After Diane gets married and leaves home, she works to make a success of her life, keeping her emotions tightly controlled as she successfully climbs the corporate ladder to an upper-management position. The fall from her lofty peak occurs in stages. First, when she discovers Ray is sexually abusing his daughter, next, after assisting Joanne only to be traumatized by her behavior, and finally when the corporation fires Diane two years from retirement with no severance pay. Diane reaches rock bottom and sees no hope for the future.
With the constant, loving support from her therapist, Diane drops all her inhibitions and begins the grueling work of confronting her savage past. She discovers she developed about 20 personalities as a child to survive. Diane grovels in her rage, the staggering reality of the abuse and neglect perpetuated upon her by her parents, and her fears of never being successful again. Diane is hospitalized several more times but eventually integrates all her personalities into one and triumphantly recovers from her painful past. She puts the blame squarely where it belongs—on her parents. Diane learns self-management skills, ways to establish healthy boundaries with others, and understands that she has reenacted her whole life the dynamic she experienced as a child: anticipating abuse from people and expecting no one to help her. The revelation of this dynamic she has played out with everyone she has ever met, finally releases Diane from her traumatic past. Diane, the Survivors Champion™, now embraces self-love and acceptance and works toward improving the lives of other adult survivors.