Image by Noah Silliman

POINT OF VIEW

 

POINT OF VIEW AND SEXUAL TRAUMA

The narrative voice is the point of view, the way in which the reader will hear and experience the story. The first person point of view invites the reader to see the story through the author’s perspective. The narrative voice is a reflection of the writer’s personality, a reflection of who they are. The writer displays their voice in the way they tell their story, the words they use, the aspects they highlight, the feelings they describe. Through the writer’s voice, readers can experience an event in a unique way.

Sexual trauma often requires us to dissociate from parts of ourselves. The frightened parts that lived through the trauma are cut off and hidden away. It's as if our souls have been shattered into dozens of pieces. We may personally reject the traumatized parts of ourselves, creating chronic self-loathing and harsh, negative self-talk. Each of the abandoned parts of ourselves carry specific stories, pain, and roles to play. 

Storytelling becomes a way to bridge the gaps between our warring selves. We collect all the uncovered pieces of our personality and figure out where they intersect. Writing reunites them into a whole and realistic version of ourselves: first, by having those different perspectives interact together through the third person point of view, and eventually, merging them into one solid and confident first-person point of view.

 

EXAMPLE OF POINT OF VIEW

"Girl/Thing" by Anna Vodicka
Brevity Magazine Issue 37/Fall 2011

How does this author use the identity of "girl", "babysitter", and "thing" to tell this story?

 
Image by Hans-Peter Gauster
 

WRITING WITH PARTS OF OURSELVES

Each of us is made of parts, different aspects of ourselves that work together to make our beautiful whole self. We identify ourselves in many ways: the relationships we have, the places we live, our jobs, our hobbies, our experiences, and so on. We may also have parts related to the past: our small child, our teenager, our young adult. Some of our parts may get along well and other parts of ourselves may be at war with each other. Learning to navigate the parts within us allows us to understand ourselves as complex and wondrous human beings.


In The Body Keeps The Score, it states, "How well we get along with ourselves depends largely on our internal leadership skills - how well we listen to our different parts, make sure they feel taken care of, and keep them from sabotaging one another. Parts often come across as absolutes when in fact they represent only one element in a complex constellation of thought, emotions, and sensations."

Sources:
van der Kolk, B. A. (2015). The body keeps the score: brain, mind and body in the healing of trauma. New York: Penguin Books.

 

DIALOGUE WITH PARTS

1. Make a list of self-adjectives or identities you identify with. For example: parent, writer, daughter, outdoor enthusiast, introvert.
2. Make a second list of ages or time frames that have had a significant impact on you. For example: when I was six, when I started puberty, when I started college, when my baby was born, and so on.
3. Look over your list and choose two parts. Write a short description of each part.
4. Dialogue is a powerful way to develop characters. Consider what these different parts of you needed to hear from a loving and trusted person, and what they needed to say to a loving and trusted person. How can your different parts speak to each other that would create healing? Write a dialogue between the two parts you have chosen or have one of the parts write a letter to the other part.

 
Image by Leon Rojas