Book: "Twilight Children" by Torey Hayden

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Hope67

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Book: "Twilight Children" by Torey Hayden
« on: April 12, 2018, 09:16:25 AM »
I have started reading this book by Torey Hayden called 'Twilight Children' because I think it's a book that Little Hope can enjoy - and already it's helping me to communicate with Little Hope - who is enjoying seeing how the therapist is working with some children who were referred to her with Elective Mutism. 

The book has on the front the quote 'Three Voices No One Heard - Until Someone Listened' - and Little Hope liked that quote because I think she felt noone listened to her when she was a child.  She wishes that a lady had come to talk to her, and try to help her. 

I just wanted to start a thread here, to maybe reflect on things that might come up whilst reading this book.  I hope that if anyone else has read it, or is reading it, that they will also write in this thread - or even if you just want to reflect on things yourself - I hope you'll join me, as me and Little Hope always appreciate anyone's comments, thoughts, feelings.

Torey Hayden is a "special-education teacher... and has been a light in the darkness for severely troubled children."

On the inside of the book, it says about Torey Hayden "While working in the children's psychiatric ward of a large hospital, Torey was introduced to seven-year-old Cassandra, a child who had been kidnapped by her father and was found dirty, starving and picking through rubbish bins to survive.  She refused to speak, so Torey could only imagine what she'd been through.  Drake, by contrast, was a charismatic four-year-old who managed to participate fully in his pre-school class without uttering a single word.  Last, there was Gerda, eighty-two, who had suffered a massive stroke and was unwilling to engage in conversation with anyone.  Although Torey had never worked with adults, she agreed to help when all other efforts had failed."

I think this book will be helpful both to me as an adult, and also to Little Hope - because of the case studies of the children and the older lady too - I can already tell from the way the book is written, that she writes with authenticity and understanding.

Already, it is evoking memories from Little Hope - and that is what I wanted to do by reading this book - to enable my communication with Little Hope, and to help her.  Helping myself - to live alongside my wounded parts - so I'm feeling hopeful that this book will be helpful in that journey.

She also wrote 2 other books - 'One Child' and "Tiger's Child' - so maybe I'll read those - but this book "Twilight Children" was in my library, and I was drawn to it - and Little Hope chose it for me to read.   :)

Hope  :)

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Hope67

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Re: Book: "Twilight Children" by Torey Hayden
« Reply #1 on: April 14, 2018, 06:57:44 PM »
I finished reading this book yesterday - it took me a couple of days  - but I kept reading, because it was very readable, and also I felt as if I was 'in therapy' with the author - like she was speaking to me at different parts of the book - as she worked with 3 different clients who were all electively mute - 2 were children and the third was a woman in her 80's who had had a stroke. 

I thought it was a really good book - I copied many of the things that she had said - as they were so meaningful to me - and my younger parts were hungry to hear the words - and I also felt that the contents of the families depicted in the book had some elements in common with my FOO experiences.

It took me a while to come out of the triggered state of EF's that I experienced as many many parts of the book were triggering, and I had such an awful headache - really bad.  Then I experienced very heightened anxiety feelings, and had to try to ground myself and do some more relaxing things - I found my dot to dots helped. 

There were excerpts of her other 2 books at the back of that book, but somehow I didn't relate so much to the excerpts and Little Hope told me that she didn't want to read them.  So I won't be getting hold of them, but I do think that Twilight Children was a really good book - I am really glad I read it.

I feel like Torey was a kind T to me and Little Hope for the time we read her book, and it was helpful.

I couldn't hope to write about it yesterday - I was too emotionally affected - and today I think I'm distanced from it - hence writing about it now feels more 'academic' - but yesterday I felt 'in touch' with and 'raw' from the experience of the book.  Now I feel like it's an intellectual thing - I wish it wasn't like that - because I wish I could have written more about how I felt yesterday - but I just couldn't have done it - not without collapsing and crying buckets of tears - it really touched me.

It was hard.  But I felt compelled to read to the end - so I read all day.  It was exhausting really.  But I'm glad I did it.

Hope  :)

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Whobuddy

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Re: Book: "Twilight Children" by Torey Hayden
« Reply #2 on: April 15, 2018, 10:51:54 PM »
Electively mute is a very interesting term. And interesting that these children became mute. This book and Hayden's others sound interesting but my library doesn't have them. I may order one.

I am becoming aware that others with trauma related issues and anxiety issues have symptoms that are evident like this muteness. I know an adult who passes out when she is overwhelmed and so things are arranged for her so that this will not happen. People around her are compassionate and understanding.

The way I was taught (brainwashed) as a child, I grew to believe that no matter what happened to me, or what happened in my house, I was not to let anyone know. I was to act like all was fine. I lived in fear that I would be sent away if I did not comply. I didn't know what that meant but it was frightening. So I tried hard to never exhibit any symptoms. To suck it up and soldier on. I learned how to postpone my crying until I was alone and to cry without sound. I learned to hide my emotions. This has been a big hurdle in getting therapists to understand that I need help. They tend to think I might have mild depression or low self esteem. It took my spouse years to understand what I went through was far from the range of normal. He had met my abusers and they seem nice enough now. He heard my stories but thought they were isolated incidents. Over time and much talking, he knows now.

I think about what it might have been like if I had gone with my inclinations as a child to stop talking or to refuse to comply when at school or even to refuse to leave my friends' house when it was time to go home. Would I have gotten help? I don't think so.

I saw a public service film when I was about ten that depicted a man who came home from his job extremely depressed and unresponsive. He sat down on the floor and his wife made sure he got help. When I saw that I knew it would be different for me. If I had done the same, no one would have paid any attention.

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Hope67

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Re: Book: "Twilight Children" by Torey Hayden
« Reply #3 on: April 16, 2018, 03:34:04 PM »

The way I was taught (brainwashed) as a child, I grew to believe that no matter what happened to me, or what happened in my house, I was not to let anyone know. I was to act like all was fine. I lived in fear that I would be sent away if I did not comply. I didn't know what that meant but it was frightening. So I tried hard to never exhibit any symptoms. To suck it up and soldier on. I learned how to postpone my crying until I was alone and to cry without sound. I learned to hide my emotions.

Hi WhoBuddy - I relate so much to what you wrote, it was as if you could have been writing about my experiences there - I feel so much the same as that.   :hug: to you WhoBuddy for what you've been through, and standing with you  :grouphug:

I felt that the 'Twilight Children' book was worth reading, and of the 3, it was the one that sounded more interesting to me and to Little Hope.

The thing is that I think that my sister did choose to be electively mute, for parts of her childhood, and she was sent away from our family - I know this from having had contact with her as an adult - and some memories that I can recall as well, and I was so fearful of what might happen - not knowing where she'd gone or what happened - very scary.  Trying to be all things to FOO - and all the time feeling that I had to conform and be the child they 'wanted me to be' - rather than developing my own sense of self and meeting my needs and well-being.  I felt like I was meeting theirs.  Constantly.  I also felt abandoned, and overlooked.  I often didn't know why I felt like I did.  So much fragmentation of memory and snap-shots - but I'm finding that getting in touch with the different parts of me, they are each 'showing me more' snap-shots - and I am building more of a picture. 

I hope very much that you find the book helpful to you, WhoBuddy, if you do get hold of it. 

Hope  :)


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Whobuddy

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Re: Book: "Twilight Children" by Torey Hayden
« Reply #4 on: April 21, 2018, 12:38:57 PM »
I haven't ordered the book yet. I have been reading reviews of this book and many similar books. I had no idea they were out there. Thank you so much for bringing them to my attention. I want to read them all - all at once - but I know that is not possible.

Selective mutism - I had never heard of it before. As a child, I was expected to speak no matter how badly I didn't want to. My survival method was primarily hiding and I could not have 'hid in plain sight' if I had not spoken. That would have caused me to draw attention to myself which in my 'code' was dangerous and forbidden. So I spoke. But it was simply speaking words that were not truly mine. Words they wanted to hear. I developed great skill at figuring out what others wanted to hear. And silencing my own thoughts.

Not my own voice. Never my own thoughts. Never expressing my own emotions. So I was pretty much mute - but speaking. When I look back on my life, my childhood and even decades into my adulthood, all the incidents I recall appear to be happening to someone who has no voice. The impression I get is that of someone (me) who has been muted and has no words to speak up for herself. No way to say No!! No way to say I Need To Leave!!

So there is another way of being Selectively Mute. When one speaks but doesn't speak for themselves. That was me. That is why I am still trying to find the real me in here somewhere. I had no voice of my own until now. And it is emerging albeit gradually.

This also sheds light onto the fact that no one knew of my torment. I was selectively mute about anything I was suffering. I only spoke words that betrayed my own self and fed the fantasy that all was well. I must have even convinced myself that things were fine because it has taken me so long to discover that things were not fine. And then to discover how extremely 'not fine' things were. And then to really understand the horror.

This is an important piece of the puzzle. Thank you again.

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Hope67

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Re: Book: "Twilight Children" by Torey Hayden
« Reply #5 on: April 24, 2018, 06:30:28 PM »
Hi WhoBuddy,
I am glad that you are looking forward to reading this book, and also the others - I think I may also look out the others too - in time, as I really found so much out of the 'Twilight Children' one.

I relate to a lot of things you wrote here - WhoBuddy - because I think I was always very careful about what I 'voiced' and how I expressed things too.  It was too dangerous to say certain things, or express certain views, and so it was better to express what the FOO wanted to hear/see.  It's horrible to think that a child's thoughts and feelings can be suppressed in that kind of way. 

Your survival method helped you through, and so did mine - we are survivors basically - but the fact is that we can speak our own voice now we're older and free from the shackles of our FOO and their rules etc.

I hope you are able to get hold of the book/s soon. 

I love your enthusiasm when you say "I want to read them all - all at once - but I know that is not possible" - you made me smile saying that - I think I am similar in wanting to do things quickly - however, I am trying to pace myself at the moment, and I did take a break of a few days from doing any self-help reading, and that did me some good as well, to do that.

Hope  :)