English novelist Virginia Woolf says she was sexually abused by her two half brothers. Woolf recorded her experiences in her twenty-four volume diaries and claims that her sister was also molested by the brothers.
Woolf wrote that she did not tell her parents because she knew they would protect her abusers. Woolf suffered from depression and Bipolar Disorder for many years, and it is clear that the incest disturbed her life in profound ways.
According to biographer Louise DeSalvo, Woolf’s denial system began to seriously affect her, after she read Freud’s theory of repressed memories of sexual abuse being a result of a sexual fantasy. Woolf began to suffer from the devastating damage that denial can do to a survivor of child sexual abuse.
Like most children, Woolf did not want to believe that she had been the victim of incest and unloved by her parents, so she instead chose to accept Freud’s conclusions and eventually denied the incest.
The battle between reality and her denial system caused Woolf to plummet into mental chaos and she subsequently felt that she was insane. Virginia Woolf also ended up doing exactly what many victims of sexual abuse do; she began to unjustly honor and worship her parents, whom she felt did not protect her from her abusers.
There is no doubt that Woolf’s glorification of her parents added to her feelings of insanity; because the child within knows the truth and revolts against the lies that we try and tell ourselves.
I am certain that Virginia Woolf’s inability to function in life, her “nervous breakdowns,” and ultimate suicide, were the result of the incest, and ignoring and lying to the child victim inside of her.
The Body Never Lies: The Lingering Affects of Cruel Parenting, Alice Miller, W.W. Norton & Company, 2005, pages 54-55,
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