Wednesday, 4 April 2018

MANIPULATED LIVES by H.A. Leuschel







It is likely that a victim of abuse will at some point stumble upon the term called ‘Stockholm Syndrome’ which is a descriptive term for the kind of coping mechanisms involved in dealing with a traumatic situation. The reason for the emotional attachment to the abuser is the result of the continuous stress and dependence and ultimately a way to survive. It’s an extremely powerful reaction and the result of a perceived threat that completely blurs a victim’s point of view on reality but makes them express empathy for their abuser to the extent that they will even defend them with teeth and claw. Often a small gesture of kindness from the manipulator is enough to trigger the adaptive behaviour.
However, it needs to be pointed out that therapeutic recovery from ‘Stockholm Syndrome’ is said to be good … as long as the person is separated from the narcissistic manipulator/abuser.

In the third novella of my anthology ‘Manipulated Lives’ called ‘Runaway Girl’, the reader meets Holly, a young teenager whose life gets entangled with an attractive fellow student. Will she follow through her dream to find independence despite the exciting pull he is exerting on her?

Blurb
Five stories - Five Lives
Have you ever felt confused or at a loss for words in front of a spouse, colleague or parent, to the extent that you have felt inadequate or, worse, a failure? Do you ever wonder why someone close to you seems to endure humiliation without resistance?

Manipulators are everywhere. At first these devious and calculating people can be hard to spot, because that is their way. They are often masters of disguise: witty, disarming, even charming in public - tricks to snare their prey - but then they revert to their true self of being controlling and angry in private. Their main aim: to dominate and use others to satisfy their needs, with a complete lack of compassion and empathy for their victim. 

In this collection of short novellas, you meet people like you and me, intent on living happy lives, yet each of them, in one way or another, is caught up and damaged by a manipulative individual. First you meet Tess, whose past is haunted by a wrong decision, then young, successful and well-balanced Sophie, who is drawn into the life of a little boy and his troubled father. Next, there is teenage Holly, who is intent on making a better life for herself, followed by a manipulator himself, trying to make sense of his irreversible incarceration. Lastly, there is Lisa, who has to face a parent's biggest regret. All stories highlight to what extent abusive manipulation can distort lives and threaten our very feeling of self-worth.

Excerpt
She was tucked up in her coat and her pink woolly scarf was snuggly wrapped around her neck when she climbed up the stairs at the local train station. Her hood was too big for her but she liked the feeling of being hidden from view. Her small headphones were set in her ears and she was listening to the radio DJ announcing the next song. As she stepped onto the overpass to change platform, she heard a gentle ballad starting up. Instinctively, she slowed her pace and had the impression of her feet hardly touching the ground. She barely noticed the other commuters walking past and for a moment forgot why she was there.
Holly stopped in the middle of the bridge and pulled a folded sheet of paper out of her pocket. It started fluttering and flapping around her gloved hand. She leant over the railing, having to stand on her tiptoes in order to comfortably lean over far enough to see the train tracks beneath her. She swiftly threw the piece of paper into the icy wind and watched as it was tossed and turned, just as she had felt tossed and turned in her life so often before.
She remembered the disappointment in her tutor’s voice as she learned of her mock exam results and the tears suddenly pricked at the corner of her eyes. Within her big coat, she could feel her skinny shoulders sink forward and the weight of the news came flooding back through her mind. She felt frustration and anger rise in her chest and the emotion made her knees go weak. Most of all she was angry at herself. All this time she had focused on saving up money. She should have focused on her school work, aiming to improve her skills rather than looking after snotty little toddlers. They could be cute and she liked their big innocent eyes, thankful for every attention they got from her, but what had she been thinking of really? It had been a goal, but now what should she do?

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About the Author
Helene Andrea Leuschel grew up in Belgium where she gained a Licentiate in Journalism & Communication, which led to a career in radio and television in Brussels, London and Edinburgh. She now lives with her husband and two children in Portugal and recently acquired a Master of Philosophy with the OU, deepening her passion for the study of the mind. When she is not writing, Helene works as a freelance journalist and teaches Yoga.

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