Scared Selfless: My Journey From Abuse And Madness To Surviving And Thriving by Michelle StevensScared Selfless: My Journey From Abuse And Madness To Surviving And Thriving by Michelle Stevens

Scared Selfless: My Journey From Abuse And Madness To Surviving And Thriving

byMichelle Stevens

Hardcover | March 21, 2017

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“A riveting memoir that takes readers on a roller coaster ride from the depths of hell to triumphant success.”—Dave Pelzer, author of A Child Called It

Michelle Stevens has a photo of the exact moment her childhood was stolen from her: She’s only eight years old, posing for her mother’s boyfriend, Gary Lundquist—an elementary school teacher, neighborhood stalwart, and brutal pedophile. Later that night, Gary locks Michelle in a cage, tortures her repeatedly, and uses her to quench his voracious and deviant sexual whims. Little does she know that this will become her new reality for the next six years.

Michelle can also pinpoint the moment she reconstituted the splintered pieces of her life: She’s in cap and gown, receiving her PhD in psychology—and the university’s award for best dissertation.

The distance between these two points is the improbable journey from torture, loss, and mental illness to healing, recovery, and triumph that is Michelle’s powerful memoir, Scared Selfless.

Michelle suffered from post‐traumatic stress disorder, anxiety, and depression, and made multiple suicide attempts. She also developed multiple personalities. There was “Chelsey,” the rebellious teenager; “Viscous,” a tween with homicidal rage; and “Sarah,” a sweet little girl who brought her teddy bear on a first date.

In this harrowing tale, Michelle, who was inspired to help others heal by becoming a psychotherapist, sheds light on the all-too-real threat of child sexual abuse, its subsequent psychological effects, and the best methods for victims to overcome their ordeals and, ultimately, thrive. Scared Selfless is both an examination of the extraordinary feats of the mind that are possible in the face of horrific trauma as well as Michelle’s courageous testament to their power.
Dr. Michelle Stevens, a psychologist, is the founder and director of Post-Traumatic Success, a nonprofit organization dedicated to educating and inspiring those affected by psychological trauma. She studied writing at New York University before earning her doctorate in psychology from Saybrook University, where her thesis was honored a...
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Title:Scared Selfless: My Journey From Abuse And Madness To Surviving And ThrivingFormat:HardcoverDimensions:304 pages, 9.31 × 6.25 × 1 inPublished:March 21, 2017Publisher:Penguin Publishing GroupLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0399173382

ISBN - 13:9780399173387

Reviews

Bookclub Guide

1.       As a child, Michelle demonstrated many telltale signs of abuse, yet none of her teachers ever intervened. What is perhaps most troubling of all is that she might have been saved from her dangerous home and spared years of abuse if one of them had spoken up for her. What moral responsibility do teachers have to intervene in their students’ lives? When should one step in? What is our responsibility as neighbors or as friends, or even as eyewitnesses who might notice something suspicious? What signs demonstrated by a child might indicate that something is not right? 2.       Michelle approaches her own narrative from a unique dual position—that of therapist and patient, victim and expert. How do you think that Michelle’s career as a therapist and psychologist has helped her to heal? How might have working with children who have suffered from trauma have helped Michelle think about her own past in a way that other victims of abuse might not be able to? 3.       This book is a true feat of strength, and the process of writing it and subsequently having to relive its darkest moments while writing could not have been easy for its author. How do you think sharing her story has helped Michelle, and how can it help readers? Even to those who have not been touched by trauma or abuse, why is it important to hear Michelle’s story?   4.       How can we destigmatize anxiety, depression, DID, and the many other disorders that affect millions of Americans and yet remain taboo in the national conversation? How are these disorders depicted in the media and movies and on television? Is their depiction fair? 5.       What tools have you used to get past the most difficult experiences in your life? Have you ever sought therapy, and if so, did it help you get through your circumstances? What qualities do you look for in a therapist, or even just in a listener? 6.       Michelle’s ordeal took place at a time when child pornography was legal, which seems unbelievable in today’s world. How is today different from the 1970s, in terms of the way we talk about and handle sexual abuse? 7.       What can you take away from Scared Selfless about the many hurdles—financial, emotional, and geographical—associated with getting the help you need? How can we make therapy more accessible to the people who need it? 8.       Were it not for Michelle’s resilience, positive attitude, and drive to take control of her life, she would not be where she is today—a happy wife and mother with a successful, fulfilling career and gratifying relationships filled with love and laughter. What qualities and personality traits of Michelle’s were most important in allowing her to ultimately move forward with her life?

Editorial Reviews

“In Scared Selfless, Dr. Michelle Stevens takes readers on a remarkable journey. Her account of childhood trauma—told with candor and, yes, even wit—and how she found the strength and resilience to ultimately recover and triumph is an inspiration not just to other survivors, but to us all. The book is a guide for anybody seeking to overcome challenges and lead a richer and fuller life.”—Arianna Huffington“Scared Selfless is a riveting memoir that takes readers on a roller coaster ride from the depths of hell to triumphant success. Michelle’s extraordinary life story and diligent, compassionate work as a therapist teaches us that, with true-grit determination, it’s possible to overcome the worst adversity. Scared Selfless offers courage, strength, and resilience to anyone who desires a better life.”—Dave Pelzer, author, A Child Called 'It' "Scared Selfless is a compelling read about choosing your path in life and owning that decision.” –Dr. Phil “A beautifully written book…with honesty [and] humor…Through grit and hard work, what begins as Grand Guignol finishes with a big Hollywood ending.” --Vanity Fair"A testament to hope."—People“Some books should be read. Dr. Michelle Stevens book must be read. Prepare to cringe, to sob, and to rejoice. This is a captivating yet harrowing read of innocence denied, a childhood obliterated, parental indifference, grotesque and serial predation, psychopathy, and institutional inadequacies.  But one has to exhale to be fair, because that is not all. This is a story about the psychological legacy of abuse, the struggle to survive a troubled mind, the challenges of finding elusive help and about finally and triumphantly finding redemption through the most unapologetic example of personal grit I’ve ever read. I could not put this book down and neither will you, not if you care about others, not if you care about children. There are heroes and there are giants in this world: Dr. Stevens is both.”—Joe Navarro, Special Agent (Ret.) and author of Dangerous Personalities“Michelle Stevens has written a fierce, honest account of her life that will stay with any reader long after the last page has turned. This book does more to explain what it feels like to live with the effects of trauma than anything I've ever read. It's the rare book that's both personal and clinical. It should be a resource and an inspiration not just to survivors but to those who love and seek to understand them.”—Sara Corbett, co-author of A House in the Sky“What an astonishing and extraordinary book! I wasn't planning to read the whole book in one sitting, but I literally couldn't put it down.  In a few brief hours I experienced shock, dismay, and eventually hope as Michelle Stevens shared her remarkable journey. Then I told five friends, 'You have to read this book.' Now I am telling you—'You have to read this book.'  It is a story that has to be told. I celebrate Michelle Stevens for having the courage to write it. It will mesmerize you, confound you, and eventually inspire you—as you realize that anything, no matter how horrific—can be overcome.” —Jack Canfield, coauthor of the bestselling Chicken Soup for the Soul series and The Success Principles: How to Get from Where You Are to Where You Want to Be “Courageous and insightful, Stevens' book is not only important for the light it sheds on some of the effects of extreme sexual abuse. It also provides hope to survivors that living "a successful and satisfying life" is absolutely possible. A raw and powerful account from a survivor of unspeakable abuse.”—Kirkus Reviews“Occasionally, a book comes along that absolutely takes my breath away. Scared Selfless is such a book…I could. Not. Put. It. Down…It is as harrowing as it is deeply engrossing. What I hadn’t prepared myself for was this: a tale that, in the end, would leave me in the presence of such unrelenting beauty, grace, and hope. Dr. Stevens is not only a remarkable storyteller, she is also an extraordinary healer. Her greatest balm is that of her unflinching personal truth, laid bare on these pages.”—Michelle Burford, coauthor with Michelle Knight of Finding Me“Powerful.” –GoodHousekeeping.com