By Karen Carnabucci, LCSW, TEP
Eve Ensler, the celebrated U.S. playwright, author of the famed The Vagina Monologues and founder of V-Day, an international movement to stop violence against women and girls, has a new book titled The Apology.
She wrote The Apology from the perspective of her father who abused her physically and sexually throughout her childhood. He never apologized for his actions before his death. She says she wrote the book because she needed to hear him apologize.
She recognizes that this apology was important to her, although it may not be as important to other survivors of abuse. In an interview with The Huffington Post, she says:
"It surprised me how deeply my father lived in me. One of the things I discovered writing this book is that sometimes we know our perpetrators better than we know ourselves, particularly if they were part of our family. Because we had to always guard against them and prepare against them and know their moves and their rhythms and their body language.
"I realized that I’ve been in dialogue with my father, consciously or unconsciously, my whole life. And to some degree, that dialogue has controlled my life.
"When I started to tap into his voice, it was shocking how clear it was. It felt almost like a strange trance state that I got in where he would just speak. It was haunting and scary. And it was very liberating."
As a practitioner and teacher of psychodrama, I would say, along with my colleagues, that she used role reversal (stepping into the role of the other) and surplus reality (what is imagined but could not happen in “real” life) to gain what she needed to hear. These kinds of dramas, structured and directed by a trained psychodramatist, are indeed very healing to the person who we call the protagonist. It is true that healing happens, and it happens in many ways.
Find the video interview with her and transcript on Democracy Now here.
Karen Carnabucci, LCSW, TEP, is an author, trainer and psychotherapist who promotes, practices and teaches experiential methods including psychodrama, Family and Systemic Constellations, mindfulness and Tarot imagery.
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