What a very powerful book! Multiple personality is still somewhat of a controversial subject, which helps to make Silencing the Voices so interesting and unique. It is written by a lady who was diagnosed with multiple personality disorder. The author jumps around from present to past quite a bit, yet the plot is easy to follow and she does an exceptional job at not confusing the reader. Here is a true story of the day to day struggles she endures to learn about her diagnosis, to understand it and her struggle to face what caused it. Her biggest struggle is to accept it and work with her psychiatrist to overcome this monstrous disorder that is destroying her marriage and her life.
Jean married to Hank at an early age to try and escape from her father's explosive personality. She doesn't remember a lot about her childhood, but she remembers her father's anger and the lashings he gave. Hank is good to her at first, but then after the children start coming and he has trouble holding a job, things begin to worsen and Hank becomes violent. They move around the country, and end up in Florida. She is brutally raped there. She finally moves to Seattle and she finds a psychiatrist, Jack. For several years he tries to help her with her depression, but nothing seems to work. She has many time-loss spells and her marriage disintegrates. Fortunately, she has a very good job in the computer industry, so she is able to provide for herself and her three daughters. One day she is under a lot of pressure and very confused--she goes to her appointment with Jack, but can not remember going there.
As Jean begins to talk with Jack, he notices that she is very different, even in the way she looks. After a little discussion, he finds out that it is NOT Jean, but her second personality, Jody. For the next year they work together along with one of Jean's sisters to try and bring Jean and Jody back into one personality. Jody does not like Hank, and eventually takes control long enough to get a divorce from Hank. This is very hard on Jean, but she continues to work on her problems. Finally, Jean thinks she has achieved her goals and that Jody and Jean have become one personality again. Right when she thinks she is finally returning to a normal life, out jumps J.D. This is Jean's child personality. Jean is not at all ready for what happens next. J.D. brings up real childhood memories, a little at a time, of the physical and sexual abuse that her father inflicted upon her. By a happy coincidence at this time in her life, Jean meets a very kind and understanding man. Don becomes a very important part of her healing. He is able to call J.D. out at certain times and eventually gains her trust. Jean and her sisters all get together to talk about the recent memory flashes that both Jean and one of her sisters is having. The two youngest ones don't think anything happened to them, but they are in full support of their two older sisters. The sisters come to the decision to confront their mother and tell her what her husband had done. Not surprisingly, their mother is in total denial, and stands up for the father. This really creates some anxiety between the sisters and mother. In the end, Jean/Jody finally join J.D. and Jean becomes one whole personality again.
The details in this book are very graphic. One must have a very strong stomach to read the second part of the book. If you can handle it, the book will be of immense learning to you. This is written in a novel format, as a very touching story of one women's triumph over her mental disorder and her struggle to get her life back together. I would recommend this to anyone who wants to know more about multiple personality and dissociation. After reading this book, you will understand how it is possible to have more than one personality in a single body, and how to get the personalities to merge with each other.
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