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#450663 - 10/19/13 10:46 PM The Casual Vacancy, Triggered by Jk Rowling
dark empathy Offline

Registered: 11/26/07
Posts: 2688
Loc: durham, north england
I don't know why, but I feel I just need to get this off my chest, especially with all the talk about humour and the media.

From when I first went to university, I have loved the Harry Potter series, indeed to me, Harry potter represent the best time of my life as an undergraduate in early 2001-002. New films were just coming out, I discussed the books endlessly with friends etc, heck a friend of mine even insisted! on getting together to read first the sixth, then seventh novels when they came out together.

Thus for me, apart from everything else, Harry potter has a huge nostalgia factor.

A few months ago I got a copy of Jk Rowling's first adult, none fantasy book, "the casual vacancy" I knew the book wasn't a fantasy, but I'm quite prepared to read other things especially when they are by authors I like, (susan cooper, best known for her wonderful dark is rising series wrote a beautiful account of childhood during the second world war).

My dad read the book, and discussed some aspects with me. He said "you probably wouldn't like it" where upon I explained I was quite happy reading stuff that wasn't fantasy so long as it was well written and not mundane.

I started the book yesterday and Well Jk didn't disappoint there. the character writing and situations in the book are absolutely and perfectly drawn, so vivid they're almost real. That however is the problem.

The Casual Vacancy concerns a small, closed in conservative community in the south of England, and their conflict with a nearby run down housing estate. Part of the book revolves around the school kids from both the town and estate, and one particular estate girl, Crystal weedon.

The problem is, as my dad said Jk got Crystal so exact it was frightening. Her attitude, her mode of speech, her denial of everything! and yet cclinging to "I didn't lie!" her use of "fuckin'" as a casual word in conversation, heck even the descriptions of her smoking. It was like meeting one of my abusers all over again. it also didn't help that Jk's descriptions of s/x, particularly what crystal did at school are pretty extreme! they make STeven King look like my little pony! there is nothing emotional, indeed it seems Jk was almost reveling in describing such things as graphically and explicitly as possible.

Usually I can protect myself, can zone out, can say "yuck that is disgusting" but this really got to me. Jk's descriptions of classes running riot over weak teachers while crystal stood in the back giving boys turns to squeeze her breasts, ---- my god! the same thing happened to me, though in my case it was forced squeezing of my peanus, and I didn't get a choice (plus it was more than one person).

I can't really describe the realism here, I've never read something quite as exact as this. What just made it more confusing though was that I found myself feeling sorry! for crystal since just as rowling portrayed all her worst and most ghastly faults, she also showed all aspects of her life. Her love for her baby brother, her distrust of all authorities since they might take her brother away, ---- heck even how she was treated by her heroin adict and prostitute mother. Still more because the book begins with the death of the one person who tried to help Crystal out of her mind set and circumstances and Crystal's genuine sadness about this, for all she sees most teachers, social workers etc as the enimy.

This I found really! difficult to handle, since how could! I feel sympathy for anyone involved in my own abuse. Yes, I know probably many of those girls had lives much like crystals, ---- but well that was something I determined myself not to think about, I don't care! about their intentions after all, it doesn't excuse what they did to me. I still have that "you think your fuckin better than us but your diseased!" running in my head, and yeah, someone with a brain probably was! threatening to such people, but hay that's a cause not a reason!

Yet here Jk had shown in stark detail, someone who had all the faults and flaws and failings of my abusers, was violent, a criminal and s/xually promiscuous if not actually predatory, ---- yet by showing the reasons why I felt unsettled. It also helped that nobody else in the book was particularly likeable either, indeed compared to Harry potter which is full of reasonable and decent minded characters, casual vacancy felt just too! depressing. Emotionally needy social workers, dissimissive, pompas authority figures, ineffective, psychologically unstable head teacher, not to mention the middle class teenaged boys in Crystal's class who were obsessed with s/x despite coming from nominally better background.

For all this triggering and unsettling,k for coming closer to a person and their atttitudes and way of life that was so very much part of my abuse I couldn't stop! reading. Stopping would be in some way week, admitting I was affected, that the book had summoned my own demons. I read all last night unable to sleep, and most of today. Finally, I got to the section when crystal's mother's drug dealer rapes crystal, ---- and my feeling was horror, and a kind of disgusted, exhausted pity.

thankfully I saw some of my friends for an rp game this evening and a few hours away from the book told me I was being an idiot. yes! I always make it a rule to start what I'd finish, but this was no good for me, and continuing just to continue made me a fool.

I therefore have made dam sure the book is finished with. I have deleted it from my harddrive and mobile phone, I've read
myself. I made dam sure I couldn't read the thing again, I have deleted the thing from my harddrive, and my mobile phone, and read the wikipedia plot summary (just so I'm not tempted to try again and know how it ends), and if my dad ever asks I'll tell him I've not read it better than discussing the reasons why I couldn't.

I don't know what to think now. Sorry for my abusers? ---- sorry! I don't want those terrible memories anymore! I don't want to be this way anymore, to have such a stupid thing as a book put me right back! to square one or to carry this switch to the bundle of dynamitearound with me for anyone to push!

I thought I knew how to protect myself, I thought I knew what I was doing, ---- wow I was wrong!

And how the hell! do I ever read harry potter again without the spector of that other book by Rowling peering over my shoulder like a ghost. Part of me will always hink "yeah, you let us have it easy there didn't you"

Part of me wants to write to Jk Rowling and tell her exactly what I think of someone who uses their skill of a writer to do this to me. Another part knows that it is that very skill which! has put me in this position, since usually I can just zone out over explicit material and characters like my abusers don't crop up much even in the worst and most sadistic fantasy. I'd rather read about the thought police of 1984 breaking Winston Smith's mind than just one girl like Crystal weedon, still less making me feel sorry! for her.

I've not been so badly triggered in years! indeed, I think that's why part of me still wants to finish the bloody book! just so I can say I'm fine, only I'm obviously not.

I can do something else of course, I'll be better tomorrow or the next day, ---- until something sets me off again that is! God, why is the hole bloody world obsessed with s/x! and why does is still hurt! so much!
Of course I'll be okay tomorrow, that's how it usually works. okay until next time.

But I hate! these feelings, and don't want them anymore!

Why am I genophobic? why do I flinch at even themention of the word s/x? why can't I rid myself of these feelings! and why do I still worry about what I feel! towards my abusers.

Me! the great interlectual, Mr, together, the oh so rational, in control, the one other people trust!

God I'm I'm just hate filled and pathetic, ---- and even as I say that I know it's my worthelssness that says so, and I am just venting for the sake of venting.

It'll be better tomorrow as usual, ---- just another tomorrow.

Edited by dark empathy (10/20/13 04:34 AM)

#450696 - 10/20/13 04:25 AM Re: The Casual Vacancy, Triggered by Jk Rowling [Re: dark empathy]
focusedbody Offline

Registered: 02/03/13
Posts: 541
Loc: NY
Hey, DE.

You have been clearer and more upfront in this post than in any other I have read. The book seems to have been your undoing, but in doing so it has let you relinquish some control over an aspect of your experience.

One thing that held me back for many years was the fact that I only let particular feelings rise to the surface. When I could finally allow myself to accept that all of them were valid, it felt like a sign of health.

Lately experiences of discomfort have acted as a kind of barometer for me of what I am willing to take in. Although they can be unbearable at times, these truly awful moments also let me know that my capacity to deal with the memory may be expanding. That is reassuring and helps reduce some of the fear that holds me in suspended terror.

The book has touched a wound in you, but perhaps its impact is greater because you are ready to let the wound be felt more. Hope you can find support to attend to this, even as you share the struggle to do so.

Lose the drama; life is a poem.

#450698 - 10/20/13 04:57 AM Re: The Casual Vacancy, Triggered by Jk Rowling [Re: dark empathy]
dark empathy Offline

Registered: 11/26/07
Posts: 2688
Loc: durham, north england
Well Fb it's true that this is the worst I've felt for a while, but I thought I was bloody over all this! Yes, I might still be alone and without a relationship, and yes, I still hate s/x but hay there's a way around that, that's how I am there's nothing else to be done.

I'd got all the anger, all the tears, all the depression and sleepless nights and self hatred out of my system and the last few things were just, ---- well sicknessess! like someone who'd had their legs cut off and it didn't hurt anymore.

Now though I just feel like there's a fire in my brain, hell i can't sleep for all I've tried. My hands are shaking and I can't get rid of the sounds of insults, ---- the insults I learned to like because insults were better than anything else.

I just want to scream, or cry or crack my head against the wall, to punch someone in the face or to hug someone as hard as I can. I'm procrying as I write this and I don't dam well even know why because after all shouldn't all this be finished!

I don't want these memories anymore! I don't want to be me! anymore! I'm sick of who and what I am and where this is, since for all the dam recovery, for all the mr. together and eloquent and strong and everything else, ---- wel I'm just not!

I can't stand the thought of being with anyone right now, yet I feel so bloody alone! I want to appologise to lucyand corina and antony and everyone else who near to raped me for lying about the rape and making such a big deal out of it, and I want to smash their heads in with an iron bar, just like I dreamed ---- and yet the thought that I once dreamed of literally commiting murder disgustes me, me! the great pasifist, mr. compassionate who always just stood and froze and didn't even try to run because I couldn't!

God I don't even know why jk's stupid book makes me feel this way, heck it's gone and I never have to read or speak about the bloody thing again!

God I hate this! and I hate myself for feeling this!

After all it was just a fucking joke! and why should jokes hurt so dam much!

#450699 - 10/20/13 04:58 AM Re: The Casual Vacancy, Triggered by Jk Rowling [Re: dark empathy]
ALIVE 3n1 Offline

Registered: 12/24/11
Posts: 76
Loc: Throne Room of God
I have been gone for awhile, but I think I can identify with what you are communicating. I have noticed in my own growth that there has to be some ripping and tearing to encourage growth and strength. I really don't know how this applies to our mental state but I think that the physical growth of muscles can be applied in a similar fashion to the triggering of our thought processes.

Heal Well,


#450701 - 10/20/13 05:27 AM Re: The Casual Vacancy, Triggered by Jk Rowling [Re: dark empathy]
dark empathy Offline

Registered: 11/26/07
Posts: 2688
Loc: durham, north england
If this is growing I'd rather stop, it hurts too much, particularly since I have no idea why or what is hurting or why that stupid book affected me like this.

Maybe it's that anger I never felt at my abusers, I once screamed at a teacher who told me off for swearing back when one insulted me "those! aren't! people!"

But if it's anger why do I feel so bad about it? and what reason have I to be angry?

Is it knolidge that my abuse didn't matter? is it just self pity again! I do't bloody know!

I do know i've been feeling very resentful lately, of always being excluded from groups, of always being treated as the outsider, of my so called friends who've buggered off and got married with their own partners and in many cases kids and so don't even contact me anymore! Hell why does nobody! accept my brother ever phone me?

I know all this goes back to being the but of the groups jokes, whether it was something simple like knicking on sock during pe so I had to walk round with one bare foot, or have a used tampon stuck in my mouth or a boy pull down my trousers while everyone made comments about my peamus, and yet I've never felt those so sharply! I can feel that sodding girls fingers, her nales, I can taste that bloody tampon! I remember how cold the wind was!

God I want I to stop!

I hate! people! and yet at the same time I can't do without people and I just want someone! and all of this is the same bloody self pittying crap I usually do! for gods sake! shouldn't I be over this by now? Really! I just want to pull the memories out of my head and have done!

#450702 - 10/20/13 06:02 AM Re: The Casual Vacancy, Triggered by Jk Rowling [Re: dark empathy]
tbkkfile Offline

Registered: 09/16/13
Posts: 391
Loc: Surrey, United Kingdom
DE I wish that I could find the words to help, you have frineds here, your erudite, intelligent, your posts have been of great help to me in my healing and I'm sure to lots of others, and wish that my post here to you could offer the same in return.

#450705 - 10/20/13 08:26 AM Re: The Casual Vacancy, Triggered by Jk Rowling [Re: dark empathy]
don64 Offline

Registered: 10/09/13
Posts: 1106
Dear DE,
This sounds like a very powerful and poisonous place inside you has opened, perhaps a place that you have managed to keep under control and not fully expressed before. I am sending you lot's of love and support. This volatile venting and raging you are doing seems very healthy to me and this web site feels like a very safe place for you to do it. For me, you can do all the venting and raging you need to do here, and I will do my best to check in and see what you are up to. Hang in there. You are worth it and these deep emotional expressions are important for you. You're only job right now is to keep yourself safe. You are in my thoughts.........Don
Divine Law is not judgment or denial of self truths. Divine Law is honoring harmony that comes from a peaceful mind, an open heart, a true tongue, a light step, a forgiving nature, and a love of all living creatures. Jamie Sams & David Carson, Medicine Cards

#450716 - 10/20/13 07:19 PM Re: The Casual Vacancy, Triggered by Jk Rowling [Re: dark empathy]
dark empathy Offline

Registered: 11/26/07
Posts: 2688
Loc: durham, north england
and don, thanks for the support and for reading.

I really don't know even where I am or what to do now. Today I've just been cold, fragile and alien, stuck on the other side of the glass.

All this finished half a life time ago, and I've spent at least a third of the time sinse supposedly! fixing myself, why can't it just finish! I'm not a teenager anymore, I'm into my third decade, I just want to stop! having this lirking around the corners of my life all the time! I want to sodding well grow up! I want to stop being afraid, I want to stop all the hurt and self pity and jealousy and resentment and anger, but I just don't know how.

I suppose I'm just adicted to being a victim.

Edited by dark empathy (10/20/13 07:36 PM)

#450720 - 10/20/13 10:07 PM Re: The Casual Vacancy, Triggered by Jk Rowling [Re: dark empathy]
Bluedogone Offline

Registered: 07/03/13
Posts: 1123
Loc: Southern US
Hi Dark Empathy,

I'm sorry to hear this book has unleashed such a tornado of pain and suffering for you. I don't have any quick fix solutions to offer, only that my thoughts are with you in this struggle. Even now in my seventh decade I know there are still mine fields just waiting to be tripped up by something I have absolutely no control over, and don't even know what they may be. But I know they're still there, sort of a foreboding that recovery is a life time job.
I can only emphasize with your question of why would something as simple as passages from a book affect me in such a terrible way.

I recall so vividly an incident over 50 years ago that had nothing directly to do with my CSA, but I'm sure it caused so much stress for me because of the earlier feeling of aloneness during the abuse. Someone basically said, "well I'm going to make a formal complaint and let the chips fall where they may, good luck CJ." For some reason this simple statement got to me so bad I broke down, cried for hours and finally had to leave for another job rather than work with this guy. If I tried to explain it to anyone else I couldn't, I couldn't even explain it to myself.

I guess what I'm trying to say is unfortunately this isn't rare, these hidden time bombs can go off at any time, and they just have to be dealt with as best we can. If I know anything it's you're not addicted to being a victim, and sometime soon you're not going to be stuck on the other side of the glass. Whether it's the third decade or the seventh decade, we are victors.
Whether you say, "i can't do this," or say, "I CAN DO THIS" You're Right.

#450735 - 10/21/13 08:13 AM Re: The Casual Vacancy, Triggered by Jk Rowling [Re: dark empathy]
dark empathy Offline

Registered: 11/26/07
Posts: 2688
Loc: durham, north england
Thanks Bluedogone.

I feel slightly better this morning, just due to sleep and distance, but really that's the worst trigger I've had in years.

I can completely understand why an attitude set you off. The absolute grand daddy of all triggers, the one that landed me in recovery in 2007 and told me I wasn't fine involved me mustering the courage to hold the hand of a girl I'd fallen in love with, then her telling me "I'm flattered" (the third time in my life I'd been told that).

That was all, yet I felt literally stunned, almost incoherent with tears, and that was the impetus that told me I wasn't! fine and had me first register on ms.

What is difficult is I don't even know what! exactly I was feeling, "storm" is about right, since that's all it felt, an incoherent mass of negativity, heck, it is so physical I've not eaten anything since saturday night and it's now monday morning, ---- I just have no appetite at all, (adrenalin is of course an apetite supressant, though I suspect this will ware off today, I'll make sure to eat something either way).

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