BAFFLED BY LOVE
Stories of the Lasting Impact of Childhood Trauma Inflicted by Loved Ones
By LAURIE KAHN
“Love is why they come to therapy
Love is what they want
And love is what they say is not going well for them”
The basis of this outstanding non-fiction piece of work is love. It is the core of the book; the beginning, middle and end of the story. It’s also destructive by causing deep-seated pain and suffering to children and adults of all ages. As the author, “a pioneer in the field of trauma for 30 years writes . . . therapy, at its best, is a story about the repair of love—the restoration of the capacity to love and be loved.” Her patients, men and women of all ages, come from various occupations and situations. Each has a different trauma, needing the healing medicine of love. And each relates their childhood trauma in myriad ways.
According to author/psychotherapist, Laurie Kahn, these ‘walking wounded’ come to her looking for answers to questions many cannot even grasp. In most cases the abuses are not the violent attacks of rape (with some exception), but rather the seductive, manipulative abuse by parents, family members, priests, babysitters, a coach, teacher or friendly neighbor—the very people who should love and protect them. And in their sick or demented way many do love their victims. As difficult as recovery from violent sexual abuse is, recovering from abuse inflicted by and with love can be as bad, or worse and take longer recovery. Laurie Kahn’s clients come to her to tell their individual stories.
What I find most remarkable is that Laurie slips in flashes of her own childhood traumas throughout the book as well . . . to the reader, never her clients. As a victim of childhood abusef, I find this both fascinating and incredible. As a therapist of great repute, Laurie leads her victims to self-discovery and wellness, even those who may need years of therapy. As a victim herself, who better can understand the destruction this type of abuse causes? Surely it lies as deeply in her sub-conscious mind as her clients, which as this book shows, can be an asset for both client and therapist.
One client, Kristy, (all client names are changed) comes to see her but is so skittish that she cannot be spoken to or speak herself. Instead, she makes two yellow paper flowers and lays them side by side. This is her ‘code,’ her way of trying to open up to Laurie.
Jessica, at eighteen, tries to report her abuse to her friend’s mother, but becomes mute and faints. Later, at the hospital, a therapist treating her falls in love with and has sex with her. He meant well, though breaking the code of ethics, and married her. Jessica comes to Laurie, realizes she was used again and discovers she now has choices she can make.
Another client, Dan, must be handled with utmost care, as Dan’s emotions are mixed up and intertwined, causing him to make a play for his therapist. Laurie uses her special skills to direct his feelings in a healthy way.
Baffled by Love is an extraordinary book, in that it’s made up of true stories about real people who are healing through love therapy. Everyone who has experienced childhood abuse and trauma will benefit from this book. I did not understand why I never felt loved, even though as an adult I have a large family that deeply love me. Now I understand. Those not having been abused need to read this book in order to be on high alert for abuse done to their loved ones. This type of abuse is particularly insidious and often the blame and guilt is placed on the victim.
Laurie Kahn’s credentials and talent as a debut author equal her abilities as a psychotherapist, as her following words state so perfectly:
“Behind every first book there are angels who blow on your wings until you can fly.”
This author has her wings and then some!
Micki Peluso; author of . . . And The Whippoorwill Sang