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Mar/Apr '18: Heart Berries > A woman who loves too much?

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message 1: by Devin (new)

Devin | 10 comments Maybe it's because I just finished reading Women Who Love Too Much: When You Keep Wishing and Hoping He'll Change and The Body Never Lies: The Lingering Effects of Cruel Parenting, but I just couldn't shake the feeling that Terese doesn't value herself very much.

She makes excuses for her mother and for the man in her life that I don't think are healthy for her.

On the mother issue, it's one thing to recognize that the way our mothers are is not their own fault, but it's another to say that this absolves them from all responsibility for their own actions.

I think it's also especially important to realize that as adults we can accept and understand things about our mothers that as children we could not. We cannot just forget our experience of being a small, terrified, dependent child.

As far as Terese's relationship with the man in her life, I just couldn't accept it. This guy does not treat her with dignity or respect.

These observations really overshadowed the rest of the book for me.

Did anyone else notice these things?


message 2: by Zaruhi (new)

Zaruhi Surmenyan | 1 comments I just started the book and i have the same feelings. I am definitely gonna read it , i have friends who think and behave same way in their relationships NOW and as a woman raised in different more conservative country, i was taught and raised to act this way as well. It drives me crazy, BUT i fully understand where its coming from. Another reason to be loud and try to change it!


message 3: by Cyn (new)

Cyn | 80 comments I also think that she's a woman who doesn't value herself as a worthwhile person, and because of that she has low self-esteem.
On one hand, it's understandable because of what she went through as a child.
On the other hand, I still can't believe that she stayed with the guy even though she didn't trust him that much AND even if he didn't treat her right.


message 4: by Candice (new)

Candice Roesch-Brueckman | 4 comments Yes, I feel the author has self esteem issues. Her story is all too familiar, several friends I had growing up dealt with self esteem issues just like this and would obsess over a man who they thought would complete them.


message 5: by Rachel (new)

Rachel Wilson-Powell | 9 comments Yes this is definitely familiar and needs to change. It’s far too common for women (and I include myself in this as well as many of my friends) to be made to feel like we are ‘too much’ and that we want too much. I think it’s part of the socialisation about how women and girls should behave as well as personal self-esteem issues.


message 6: by Winston (new)

Winston | 180 comments I think it's a commonplace problem that doesn't discriminate by gender.

Toxic masculinity is in part caused by men not thinking they are manly enough. Instead of engaging in activities they actually find interesting, they is this social pressure to act "as a man"

It's really a self confidence problem. We all ought to be kinder to ourselves and each other


message 7: by Devin (new)

Devin | 10 comments That’s an important point to make Winston, thanks for sharing! I completely agree that the shoe can also be on the other foot.

There are many instances where I’ve seen men suffer needlessly in relationships because they do not consider themselves worth better.

Perhaps it is a general self esteem issue. If we do not care for ourselves, we simply can’t care for anyone else either. It is sad that so many people do not consider themselves worthy of respect or compassion.

This is why I think feminism stands to greatly benefit men too. Once men no longer feel compelled to live up to an impossible masculine stereotype, perhaps they may finally feel comfortable in their own skin.


message 8: by [deleted user] (new)

I understand that some of you do not understand why she stayed with this man. However when you are going through psychological and moral pain you try to reassure you and what is unknown is scaring even if it could help/cure/save you.
Sometime people who are suffering prefer pain because they know it and in a way it is reassuring. That is reason why trauma and psychologic suffers are so viscious.


message 9: by [deleted user] (last edited Mar 18, 2018 02:51PM) (new)

Like @Winston said previously, I think it's a problem of toxic masculinity. The man think he is "superior" to the woman and has power over her (really often because he hasn't got any real power in his life).

From the woman point of view, I guess it's a problem of self-confidence. As the man try to always pull her down, she is stucked in this situation and has the fear to leave him by wondering herself "Am I strong enough to face life without him?" or "If I leave him, might he hurt me more?" and as @Florian said, we know what we have but are not sure of what we might have (something worst maybe...).

As a man who suffered in his early life, I can say forgiveness is the best way to make the scars less painful. Hatred is just something which eats you from the inside without resolving anything.


message 10: by Whitney (new)

Whitney | 7 comments I used to volunteer at a women's center that focused on domestic violence. The entire time I read the book I could not stop thinking that she has the typical "battered women syndrome." A lot of the ugliness she experienced seems to stem directly from this.


message 11: by Pam (last edited Mar 19, 2018 07:31PM) (new)

Pam | 1085 comments Mod
Florian wrote: ".I understand that some of you do not understand why she stayed with this man. However when you are going through psychological and moral pain you try to reassure you and what is unknown is scaring even if it could help/cure/save you.
Sometime people who are suffering prefer pain because they know it and in a way it is reassuring. That is reason why trauma and psychologic suffers are so viscious ."


Slow clap.

Thank you for saying this Florian.

The cage you know is sometimes more comforting than the pain you cannot predict.


message 12: by [deleted user] (last edited Mar 20, 2018 05:26AM) (new)

Pam wrote: "Florian wrote: ".I understand that some of you do not understand why she stayed with this man. However when you are going through psychological and moral pain you try to reassure you and what is un..."

@Pam: Your welcome I guess ;) I know that when people have not witness psychological trauma or not experienced one they do not know how it is difficult. However, I know for sure that every single person who has faced such a trauma and overcame it/them uses to develop a strong will.

Psyche is as wonderful and complex as human body or maybe more complex since it is not physical (even though it is related, more than we can imagine, to the physic). Due to this lack of understanding we tend to skip or lower the impact of psychology. Usually people have this little sentence "How a human can feel pain if it is not physical? Pain comes from nerves isn't it?" this, too often, results in not believing the pain of the other just like the author mentions it in her book.

I am not ashamed to admit that this book gave me a hard time! 'The more opened to psychology, the more sensitive one is". However, I think I will really enjoy the discussion about and around this book.

Edit: I'd like to finish my post with a positive note ;)
"Overcome trauma made me better."


message 13: by [deleted user] (new)

Florian wrote: "Pam wrote: "Florian wrote: ".I understand that some of you do not understand why she stayed with this man. However when you are going through psychological and moral pain you try to reassure you an..."

@Florian, you make a very good point here ! : )

Psychological pain can be more painful than physical pain and there isn't a really efficient treatment to it. It's a kind of pain which can last a very long time as well.

I like your positive note by the way, it could be mine. ; )


message 14: by [deleted user] (last edited Mar 21, 2018 08:10AM) (new)

Hello Lewis!

Well, there are treatments for morale/psychologic pain but just like you mentioned "physical" treatment, and I am guessing you are talking about medecine such as antidepressant, cannot solve the problem. The solutions are inside oneself, one can help (relatives, friends, psychologists, psychiatrists etc...) but in the end you are the master of the keys to unlock your chains in order to breath :) and to breath is so good !!! :D

I do not want to make any generalization but I believe that psychological pains usually result in a poor self-esteem and lack of confidence and we sometime become one of our persecutor. I think that by achieving little challenges to show ourself that we are stronger that we could expect may help. I am still an ignorant (but a curious one! :p) so I may be wrong.

It could be everyone's note since it has several meanings :)
"When I overcame my trauma, I finally felt better."
"Overcoming my trauma made me a better woman/man in terms of development of myself."
Or it is even possible to extend it to humanity by thinking discriminations and injustices are mankind's trauma and by facing it and finally overcoming them humanity will be better :)
I'm happy you liked it ;)

I guess this note (a bit subtle and enigmatic :)), which is the result of let's say experiences that belong to the past, has a main message : hope :)


message 15: by [deleted user] (last edited Mar 21, 2018 04:18PM) (new)

Florian wrote: "Hello Lewis!

Well, there are treatments for morale/psychologic pain but just like you mentioned "physical" treatment, and I am guessing you are talking about medecine such as antidepressant, canno..."


That's exactly what I meant. : )

And yes, I'm agree, to breath is good and live happy is even better. ; )

Low self-esteem is a common problem to a lot of psychological pains but this issue is almost everytime triggered by bad people we meet along our journey...

The restoration of our self-esteem is done by good people we meet along our lifepath, people who care about us and like us for who we are, compliment us for our real strenghts.

Once we can overcame our psychological pain, we are certainly stronger than before. I really like a quote from Gandhi about that : "Nonviolence is the weapon of the strong." Once their minds can support hard things, strong persons can deal with difficult situations without using violence, by controlling their nerves and thoughts and acting in a smart way.

You're not an ignorant 'cause you're a curious one... ; )

I understood your note like the 2nd meaning you gave (I like subtle and enigmatic things ; ) ).

Hope is life.


message 16: by Kelsey (new)

Kelsey Drotning | 4 comments Something to consider, few words from Brittney Cooper: "If every woman and girl learned to love herself fiercely, the patriarchy would still be in tact." http://time.com/5192170/domestic-viol...


message 17: by Elizabeth (new)

Elizabeth (makbeta) | 11 comments I found it a bit hard to read the book and had to do so in stages. With the logical brain it's easy to diagnose, label and solution the way out of the problem. And while it's may be meaningful and helpful to a logical brain the problem is fundamentally emotional and needs a different approach.

When I looked at the narrative from the emotional perspective I realized that Terese's stories brings up all my trauma of behaving exactly in the same way. Of not valuing myself and of observing many of my loved ones being stuck in the viscous cycle of low self-worth and shame. Of feeling completely helpless in that state and not seeing a way out. The knee-jerk reaction is just to push that pain away.

After sitting with my discomfort and digesting the book, my reaction now is empathy and compassion.
I commend Terese for having the courage to share her pain with a world for daring to be vulnerable.


message 18: by Elizabeth (new)

Elizabeth (makbeta) | 11 comments Kelsey wrote: "Something to consider, few words from Brittney Cooper: "If every woman and girl learned to love herself fiercely, the patriarchy would still be in tact." http://time.com/5192170/domestic-viol......"

Kelsey, you bring up a very good point. In a big scope of things we need to evolve individually and collectively. We need environment that supports the building of self-worth and each individual needs to to work on their self-worth so there can be such an environment.


message 19: by Anna (last edited Apr 08, 2018 09:01AM) (new)

Anna | 3 comments I agree with a lot of the things mentioned here, but I'd like to play devil's advocate. We only really see Casey (the man in her life) through her eyes. Which mean's we are really only seeing a person through the eyes of someone mentally ill. It's not to excuse any bad behavior but more so to say two things. One is that she may be catastrophizing or remembering things differently than they actually happened. Also, she doesn't tell him about her past or the things she suffers yet she expects him to treat her gently based on them. He really doesn't know her history because she has kept it to herself or even erased it in her own mind so it's hard for him to be sensitive to issues he doesn't know about.


message 20: by Pam (new)

Pam | 1085 comments Mod
To me, part of the power of her book was to show how much damage she did while showing you that she is still a sympathetic person. I think it in turn asks you to look at the other villians in her story. Her abuser. Her family. Her tribe. Even white people.

Judgement is easy to pass.

But what happens after the verdict? How do you live with yourself after - both as the abused and the abuser? How do you make atonement?

I love how she talks about how her family all hated her abuser. And yet she would still talk to him. She hung his artwork up. And couldn't understand why there was a wedge between her and her family.

What happens when your judgement differs from the judgement of people closet to you?


message 21: by Devin (new)

Devin | 10 comments Children are vulnerable because they are entirely dependent on others for emotional bonding and physical protection. Children make accurate judgments about their caregiver(s), these judgments may just be unbearable for the child because it jeopardizes their survival needs. For this reason, they are likely to deceive themselves about the character of their caregiver(s) in order to survive under their control. This situation of total direct subjugation to another human being does not often persist into adulthood, but it is a reality for everyone in childhood. Patriarchal families do serious damage to the most vulnerable.

As far as the author’s story goes, it is not her fault that her family and surrounding community (and white over-culture) failed to protect her or facilitate her healing. However, it is her adult responsibility to break the cycle of abuse.

While reading the book I didn’t want her to apologize or explain, I wanted her to step into her righteous anger and act on her own behalf. That’s the point I wanted to make.


message 22: by nil (new)

nil (nilnil) I got the impression that a lot of the pain that she was experiencing in her relationship came from her own doubt about the security of the relationship. I also think that it comes from a very common problem with interracial couples, particularly in situations where the person is dealing with intergenerational trauma as well as personal trauma--he just does not understand her pain. And I think she makes pretty clear through repeated statements of, "I don't have the words to explain my pain to you." This is also common with those dealing with Bipolar II as well as PTSD.

I don't know, I think that there is no fixing a person and that it is very difficult to progress forward. I recognized a coming to terms with the very human person that her mother was in my own experiences. I love my mother but also deal with my own trauma. It is easier when they are gone to see what you appreciate about them. Clearly, Terese had periods of breaking that cycle--she left the reservation and didn't see her mother for years. Periods of no contact with an abusive parent are difficult and can be really necessary for healing.

As far as Casey, I think he mishandled a lot of things. Living and loving someone with Bipolar can be challenging beyond reasonable expectation (my authority on this comes from having a brother that I help care for with debilitating Bipolar II, and I am diagnosed with Bipolar I) and I think that he clearly came from a very privileged background--stability in both family, education, and career; no history of mental illness; whiteness--and so I am not really surprised that he felt like he needed out of that relationship. I do think with the level of pain that they clearly caused each other it may have been wise for them to remove themselves from that relationship wholly, but I also trust that the progression of growth and understanding are enough for Terese. She covered a specific part of her own growth toward where she is now--a successful, educated, stable woman that is a mother to her children and has created space and understanding in a relationship that may not have had it before. Before she couldn't explain it to Casey or even herself.

@Pam - I think those are all excellent points. :)


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