Thursday, April 2, 2015

Tolson 4 TEARS* Reviews "Learning to Love Myself: A Memoir of Rebirth"

Learning to Love Myself: A Memoir of Rebirth and Recovery from Child Sexual Abuse Through Love by Viga Boland is a sequel to her award winning book No Tears for my Father: A True Story of Incest. In this follow-up memoir, Viga writes about her adult experiences after a childhood of torture perpetrated by her abusive father. Of significance in both books is the fact that Viga kept her traumatic childhood a secret until her sixties; For about forty years, she did not reveal her painful childhood to her husband. Then, upon hearing a news report about child abuse, Viga made the courageous decision to tell her family. In Learning to Love Myself, the reader sees what her life was like before the disclosure, and reads about the conflict of wondering to tell her husband what her father had done to her.

As with the writing style in No Tears for My Father, Viga tells her story with clarity and flow. The reader learns along with Viga how to maintain relationships, conduct business, and raise children in the aftermath of child abuse. She has to navigate the processes of life while operating under arrested development. Her father had possessed her body, mind, and spirit well beyond her childhood, and with every adult decision she made, he undermined her choice. Imagine your own father questioning your choice of names for your own daughter! The high level of dangerous narcissism via the father infiltrated Viga’s psyche even when she lived thousands of miles away. Yet, Viga is a survivor, determined to thrive on her own terms, fueled by the love her husband John. He supports and respects her, without judgement or criticism, with the only expectation being to love and be loved. Viga also perseveres in her desire to sustain a relationship with her helpless mother, who was fearful of her husband all the while being utterly dependent upon him. Therein lies a bittersweet mother-daughter bond that touches the reader’s heart. The reader is also charmed by Viga’s stories regarding raising her daughters to be independent women. Despite the hateful actions of the father, Learning to Love Myself is indeed a love story.

As an advocate for victims of child abuse, I appreciated that Viga Boland has shown readers that hope and healing is possible. She generously reveals her vulnerabilities for the benefit of others who have suffered as victims. She has also shown survivors that it is possible to break the cycle of abuse while offering unconditional love to a spouse and children.

You can purchase both books here. All printed copies ordered from this site are personally signed and shipped by Viga Boland.

Viga Boland @vintageblogger is active in the advocacy network, sharing her knowledge and experience to help facilitate recovery for those affected by trauma. She's developed videos that offer information about incest and abuse, which can be viewed here.

As if this is not enough work, Viga Boland has developed a Facebook group to support others in their stories, along with a printed magazine for memoir writers, available for purchase at her website. You can request to join the group Memoirabilia here. 

*Tolson 4 TEARS: Telling Everyone About Rape & Suicide, so no shed tear is wasted.
Review completed by Lynn C. Tolson, author of Beyond the Tears: A True Survivor's Story
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