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.
"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")
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