My first book, published in 2010, was a sorry child of neglect. At that time, I lacked the knowledge, the wisdom, and most of all the confidence to do any promotion at all. Ironically, there is also a measure of humility required, it would be a magical belief to assume that “my child, however exceptional, will raise itself!” Oy vey! A recipe for tragic neglect, which is what I did. The book languished in semi-obscurity, although those who read it seemed to like it. It stayed in print and I continue to get an annual accounting from the publisher of some meager number of copies that went out each year. That is not bad, for an eleven year old book, but nothing like it would have been, if I had given it a good start in life. It is an apt metaphor for the shame, grief, loss and anger that so many adult children of childhood trauma and neglect are often bathed in. “What would my life have been like?…”
The two key tasks of recovery from neglect, are “getting a spine and getting a voice.” I learned this from Stephen Johnson, a brilliant pioneer in somatic therapy who wrote a series of wonderful books on character theory. Getting a spine means emerging from shame and hiding, and standing tall and visible. Neglect, with its primordial solitude and the accompanying assumptions about “why” one is “unwanted;” worthless;” “untouchable;” “hopelessly different and alien;” etc, etc, etc, makes for a perennial withdrawal into crouched shadow, and the well recognized stooped posture of shame. It is no way to begin the life of a book, or any life of course, and most especially a book that touts hope.
Voice means having the willingness, again the confidence and the humility to speak up. The child of neglect imagines, if I am not the natural recipient of attention, there is nothing to be done about it. (For an infant that may indeed be a tragic fact of life.) In fact, when I fist began collecting my anecdotal data about neglect, way back at the turn of the century/millennium, a signature or marker that alerted me to a client being a neglect survivor, was the shrugging, default refrain, “I don’t know what to do!” Or “there is nothing I can do!” I had no science back then, but it was a dead give-away. And I also did not realize then, that I too had that gene.
Voice, is besides standing up, using not only spoken language, but certainly using spoken language, to call attention to oneself. In the case of an infant, it is often about essential need. For an adult, it could be anything, even “hey, have a look at my new book!” even if I have not “earned” the attention.
With my new book, that came out on August 31st, I resolved to do it differently. I found myself a rock star marketing person, who has begun to inundate your in-box with unsolicited mail. I hope it does not drive you crazy, but I am also well acquainted with the invaluable “unsubscribe” button that I am not ashamed to liberally use when I receive unwanted mail. Of course I invite you to do the same, should you see fit.
Not one for advice giving, there is one piece I will readily dispense. Any measure of success I have ever achieved, was facilitated by this: find the best consultation money can buy, tell them everything, and do what I am told! So that is what I have done. She said, “write blogs!” Initially I always believed, “who the hell wants to hear it, my random mind wanderings?” But here we are, and I even discovered that I love it!
Some of my close people have long said, “resuscitate the first book!” As you can most likely see, this is what she has done. It is never too late to heal from neglect! She has culled chapters from it that may seem of interest, packaged them anew and sent them out into the world. Again, the child of neglect later in life, comes to experience the world, perhaps later then one would have hoped, but yes, at last.
So here I am practicing what I preach, and modeling what I am trying to inseminate: I am very pleased to announce my new book will appear on August 31st. Although it is first and foremost a clinical book, devoted as I am to teaching therapists to recognize and help the long neglected population of neglect survivors, all my reviewers, have offered the unsolicited feedback, that it can certainly be of interest and utility, and is accessible to the sophisticated psychotherapy client. Meanwhile I am preliminarily hatching the blueprint of the lay-person’s version, which will follow before long.
Should you buy the book on Amazon, please do take a moment to post a review. It is helpful to me to know what does and does not “work” for people. And my friend and colleague, Deirdre Fay, whose excellent new book Becoming Safely Embodied, sprinted to best-seller status in seeming no time, advised me, the reviews that post in the first few days after publication show the most powerful and speedy results. You don’t have to read the whole thing before you say something.
And finally, those with visual impairment, or who simply like to “read” while walking the dogs, or stirring the cheese vat, have requested an Audible version. If you are one of those please do say so in your review, or let me know. My publisher has said if there is sufficient demand they will consider adding that to the roster of offerings. So there, I did it! If you are a child of neglect, you might try this. It didn’t hurt at all!