Special Notice from The Institute–Colleagues latest survivors book
Dear Institute Reader;
Rarely do we send an extra email besides our weekly newsletter but it isn’t often that one of our colleagues writes an extraordinary book that can help millions of domestic violence and pathological love relationship survivors. It is also unusual that the author is not available to do her own promotion of her latest autobiography of pathological torture.Our colleague Susan Murphy Milano has Stage IV cancer so we are part of a ‘virtual’ online book tour that will help bring her book in front of millions of other survivors.
Susan’s father a decorated Chicago police officer was a child abuser, wife beater and ultimately a murderer. Holding My Hand Through Hell is a personal autobiography, a true crime memoir of a life of service to survivors. Below is a book review I wrote about the book. I hope you will consider reading this book–not only to understand the woman behind the work but The Institute has consistently encouraged our survivors to find their place in public pathology education and to serve and educate others. Susan’s life is a testament to how a survivor can change an entire field. What Susan did is unusual but it’s not impossible and I am challenging all our readers to follow in her foot steps to shed light on pathology.
Book Review of ‘Holding My Hand Through Hell’
Author Susan Murphy Milano
Review by Sandra L. Brown, MA
The Institute for Relational Harm Reduction & Public Pathology Education
What does an early childhood of alcoholism, sexual abuse, and the witnessing of violence in the home produce? For decades psychology has been studying the effects on victims of these impactful early beginnings. What psychology discovered was for some victims they would succumb to addiction, repeated patterns of victim/abuser relationships, or crippling mental illness. These early impressionable years in children’s lives often marred their adult futures with the scars of abuse.
And while childhood is the fragile soil from which traumatic imprints can sink deeply into the emotional roots of a victim, what about trauma in adulthood? What happens to adults when unthinkable traumas invade? Or worse—when both a victim’s childhood AND adulthood are contaminated with overwhelming pain? What does the trauma tonics of childhood abuse and the added experiences of a murdered mother and a suicided father do to a victim?
From the surface, psychology would ‘predict’ the victim of these combined traumas would likely develop the emotional catatonia produced from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. Early childhood coping mechanisms that were not fully developed because of trauma, gets a double dose as an adult forcing an adult to call on coping mechanisms that were never produced in childhood. This is often the kiss of dysfunction for a victim.
But for the resilient, these trauma tonics produce pioneers.
In the unusual cases of hyper-resiliency, too many traumas often create a metamorphic response turning terror into a piercing intensity of determination. Where the cruel hand of victimization normally would turn an adult into a fetal-positioned ball of anxiety, the resilient phoenix rises out of the ashes riding the horse of advocacy out of the apocalypse.
In this victimology- trilogy Susan Murphy Milano morphed from abused child to adult survivor to victim advocate before her super hero cape ever unfurled. What would scorch most adults psyches merely ignited a flame of indomitably in Susan’s mind to somehow prevent further intimate partner homicides.
That is a simple analogy for a complex career spanning decades of saving people’s lives in the most unorthodox of ways. Seeing your parents blood splattered across a house has a way of changing the playing field…and the rules. So there were few rules for Susan in saving people’s lives. And there weren’t any she wouldn’t consider breaking if it meant keeping one more woman alive. When you aren’t playing by anyone else’ rules the possibilities are endless and thinking outside the box for answers becomes the norm which is why her extraordinary thinking produced extraordinary results and why years from now much of her work will still be considered revolutionary.
For every survivor who wondered if she could ever take the pain of violence and put it through the grist mill of experience and help others because of it–you won’t want to miss reading Holding My Hand Through Hell by Susan Murphy Milano who will do more than convince you that God recycles pain–it will show you a magnificent life lived in the service of others, that we may all heal.
Sandra L. Brown, The Institute