Writer’s Wednesday: Sating the Preta by Lily Scot
Full disclosure, I received a free copy from the author in exchange for an honest review.
Sating the Preta: A Memoir about Emotional Abuse and Recovery from Complex PTSD by Lily Scot is a collection of memories through the first three decades of the author’s life, dealing with her experiences of emotional abuse causing her complex PTSD, and how she eventually began her recovery.
The memories of the first decade seemed rather disjointed at first, often jumping from one to another with seemingly no connection between them. Later on, however, it begins to come together and makes sense, as each memory helps throw light on new issues in Scot’s life.
Lily Scot has led a fascinating, and at times very difficult life. I loved the way she opened up to the reader and allowed us inside into her life, giving us a chance to understand the things that we have found difficult and hard to accept in our own lives – even as they might have been very different to hers.
However, Sating the Preta is not a how-to-manual on overcoming complex PTSD and emotional abuse. It is the author’s story, and while it is inspirational and gives the reader hope, there is little practical advice or guidance (which might also have been misplaced in a memoir). In my opinion this doesn’t detract, but is just something for the reader to be aware of.
Trauma is too quickly labeled as rape, beatings, torture, restraint and captivity. I think most trauma is far less horrific than these severe incidents. It’s emotional manipulation, verbal assault, sexual harassment and molestation, intimidation, workplace abuse, and other non-violent trauma too tolerated by society. I do not mean to downplay severe trauma, but instead aim to raise consciousness about the diverse expressions of non-violent abuse that too many condone as discipline or corrective behavior change presumed to be needed by children, spouses, coworkers or employees.
You’ll find your way, Lily,” she said, returning to her chair. “We always do. But you have to start with yourself. Do what’s best for you, not him. He’ll have to find his own way. And that’s alright. In the end, you might even be back together. But if not, then don’t regret the past Just look at your own future.”
She sat back on her chair, but kept looking at me. “I don’t mean to be an old busy-body, but it sounds to me like the person you need to fall in love with is yourself, Lily. From there you can love others more freely. If we don’t love ourselves we get desperate and don’t make good decisions.” She heaved a sigh. “I get upset about these things because I know. I was married to the wrong man for twenty-five years. Well, he was the right man in the beginning for the wrong reasons, but people grow and change and we’re not always the best for each other down the road, even if we’ve travelled it together. Sometimes the road divides for a while or forever. It sounds to me, Lily, like it’s time to step out on your own.” She took another sip of her tea. “I’m afraid I do ramble a bit, but I’ve been where you are and I honestly don’t think you have to suffer like this.”
I turned to the girl and smiled, squeezing her hand before letting it go. If I could have told her to search for a life without begging, I would have done so. I would have told her to become strong and centered in herself and not seek survival or approval through anyone else. I would have told her that for much of our lives we’re not responsible for what happens to us or who we are, but we are responsible for who we later become because as we grow we have choices. Then again, perhaps it wasn’t for me to say. It was up to her and to me to each find our way.
Complex PTSD from emotional abuse is an unreported epidemic in the United States. Lily Scot’s “Sating the Preta” reveals the intricacies of this disorder through a personal account written in terms easily understood by trauma victims and their loved ones in finding recovery from its effects.
According to Scot, in our increasingly anxious society, all of us are vulnerable to Complex PTSD (post-traumatic stress disorder) as more of us experience psychological trauma first and second hand. For most of us, these are not shocking or violent headline-creating incidents. They are subtle moments of terror first felt by us in childhood that open us to risk and further emotional abuse in adulthood. Out of this Complex PTSD we learn reactions and behaviors we use in a psychotic merry-go-round of avoiding or confronting new terrors. Too many of us are the product of emotional abuse and Complex PTSD, and too many others its unwitting cause.
In Sating the Preta: A Memoir about Emotional Abuse and Recovery from Complex PTSD, Scot illustrates the development and characteristics of Complex PTSD through a personal story that translates the disorder into an understandable and treatable problem rather than the unrelieved craziness that victims feel and loved ones witness. Both can then more comfortably set themselves on a journey toward recovery, one perhaps similar to the transformation experienced by Scot.
This compelling memoir explores the first years of Scot’s life from 1950 to 1980 – three decades of intense cultural change during which perilous and harmful as well as gratifying and amusing personal events inspire her erratic journey and transformation. Scot evolves her story through satisfying vignettes offering vibrant impressions of a poignant early childhood, a painful and silent adolescence, a young adulthood fraught with rage and self-destruction and finally an emerging maturity of compassion, forgiveness and remarkable intuition. She writes in an emotional, but not self-involved manner, her self-deprecations often as amusing as her observations are sharp and enduring.
This story also suggests that in these troubled times we all become more accepting of each other and more insightful, forgiving and kinder in our judgment of what motivates those we meet. Their behavior may just be a reflection of the tremendous chaos fermenting in their soul from influences over which they had no control.
Author Lily Scot has been working professionally in public relations for 30 years, primarily for non-profit human service organizations. This is her first book.
“Trauma is too often labeled as rape, beatings, torture, restraint and captivity,” says Scot. “I think most trauma is far less dramatic. It’s emotional manipulation, verbal assault, sexual harassment and molestation, intimidation, workplace abuse, and other non-violent trauma too tolerated by society. I didn’t even know I’d been through emotional abuse until diagnosed with Complex PTSD. If I’d known my very painful feelings were a treatable consequence of psychological trauma that wasn’t my fault, I would have found relief and led a healthier life at a younger age than my current 63 years. I wrote Sating the Preta hoping young women and men experiencing feelings such as extreme anxiety and depression would relate to my story and seek help sooner.”