In this richly depicted story, told in vignettes relative to markers of age and experience, Patricia Eagle reveals the heartbreak and destruction of her sexual abuse, from age four to thirteen, by her father. A victim of her father’s anger and her mother’s complacency with his abusive behavior, Eagle uses dissociation and numbing in response to the abuse, and as a way to block her own sense of self.
How does a child confused by episodes of abuse come to know what is safe or unsafe, right or wrong, normal or abnormal? How does a young woman learn the difference between real love and a desire for sexual pleasure stimulated by abusive childhood sexual experiences? Careening through life, Eagle wonders how to trust others and, most importantly, herself. As a mature woman struggling to understand and live with her past, she remains earnest in her pursuit of clarity, compassion, and trust to build a stronger life.
Being Mean is about blocking sexual abuse memories, having them surface, then learning how to acknowledge and live with incomprehensible experiences in the healthiest ways possible.