Publication date 12th November 2013
About the author: “Lily Scot has lived in various parts of the United States, though mostly in the Northeast, with some time lived in London and Puerto Vallarta, Mexico, along with various travels to Europe and the Caribbean. She now lives in Upstate New York with two elderly female cats. Her professional life has been spent working more than thirty years in public relations and fundraising for non-profit human service organizations. In the past few years Lily has taken up political activism, applying her skills to the promotion of several causes she finds critical to restoring true democracy in her home country. Having just attained her bachelor’s degree in Human Services, she hopes to find work for a non-governmental organization serving women and children in the Caribbean, where she plans to eventually retire.”
From the dust cover: “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.
“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.””
My Ebook review: Sating the Preta could be reviewed in various ways, the stated aim of the book is to inform us about a specific diagnosis and its effects, the vehicle used is a memoir. Not being educated or experienced in complex PTSD my approach is to review this as a memoir.
The classic question from my English literature classes was something like “with reference to X show how author Y demonstrates that character is fate”. In one sense this question could be readily applied to Sating the Preta and Lily’s character driving some of the choices that she makes. That is too shallow an investigation into this memoir though. We follow Lily from early in life as she tells us intimate stories of external influences that ultimately shape her character and in that way her fate was at least in part dictated by the other people in her early life.
Lily’s personal boundaries were crossed before she even knew that there were boundaries, what they were for and why they were important. The choices made after these events and in some way because of these events should also be taken in the context of the time and the culture and whilst it is interesting to follow Lily’s very open, intimate and explicit stories of her adulthood, it was not always possible for me to feel sympathetic towards some of the self inflicted difficulties as she moves into a career that her parents would not approve of and puts herself in harm’s way. At other times it was clear that the need for love and acceptance drove her choices and in some way she was not able to control those choices.
Sating the Preta is a well written memoir full of adult themes and adult intimacy is not infrequent. It is thought provoking; we must consider that events in early life can cross boundaries that are not understood, even though they somehow exist at some nascent level, and have long term effects that need to be worked through in appropriate ways. Perhaps we cannot consider ourselves fully mature until we are able to understand when we can and should say no! This seems to occur much later in life than most of us realise as we struggle continuously against the prevailing culture of respect and obedience.