veen recommended The Body Keeps the Score to me.
It's the doll the shrink gives you and says "point to where the bad man touched you" in book form.
I'm doing it as an audiobook. I can do it about 20-30 minutes at a time before intense woolgathering hits and pretty much leaves me incapable of thinking. I've debated buying a hard copy and going through it with a highlighter to point out the stuff I relate to, then give the book to my wife. It's one thing to casually say 'my ACE score is a six' because nobody knows what that is so you can toss it out and move on and not have a conversation about it. To toss off a line about how according to the statistics I should be dead and then change the subject. It's quite another to read, over and over and over, "normal people aren't like this. Normal people don't think like this. Normal people never had to do this. Normal people don't understand this." Suddenly remembering your mother telling you that you are only allowed to refer to your parents by their first names and then two years later when your sister starts talking "mommy" and "daddy" happen and nobody says shit. Suddenly figuring out that your 2nd grade teacher sent you to the guidance counselor not because she was pissed off at you mouthing off but because she knew something was up, which is probably why your father gave you "keeping it bottled up so you don't get noticed" tips. "Whatever you do, don't get caught." "Swing first, swing hard, make them pull you off him, we'll sort it out later." "Any weapon short of a knife isn't technically a weapon."
I was talking about leprechauns with my daughter yesterday. I guess you wear green now so the leprechaun doesn't pinch you. I explained to my daughter that growing up, you wore green so no one could punch you. She thought that was barbaric. I laughed and said "well when I went to school we still got paddled by the principal." Then I had to explain paddling.
And I mean... the lunchroom aide threw Holly to the ground and sprained her elbow. So we all piled on and beat the shit out of her. Sent her to the hospital. She got fired, Holly got a sling, and nobody ever talked about it again. Nobody even got in trouble. Fifth grade. Sixth? It seems like it was the year before Travis' brother blew his brains out so fifth.
I'm coming to terms that the little anecdotes I share are the highlight reel of an objectively horrific childhood. It's rough 'cuz bad shit always happens to other people, we're always thankful for what we have. And I'm realizing I hated Running With Scissors because that dude was a pissy little bitch who lied about his rough childhood and not even the lies were that fucking rough. Fucker never stood his dad down with a machete.
The fucked up thing is the stuff that doesn't make for pithy anecodotes comes back to you when you look at it. I didn't remember my mother telling me I wasn't allowed to call her "mommy" until yesterday.
They kicked my friends out of high school to keep their SAT averages up