Romantic Fiction, Reality Shaping and The Work

Laura

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I think that many of us have/had no idea of what a truly healthy intimate sexual/spiritual relationship looks like for whatever reason. I also found the sex scenes unappetising at times, simply because my buffers popped up and as a result I was initially reticent about learning of healthier ways of lovemaking. Reading these novels showed me that I was biased! But through these novels AND the posts of others I am learning to see that there are healthy ways of expressing love in a physical way. Especially if lovemaking/touch is one of our 5 love languages, then physical intimacy plays an even more important role.

Re: the item in bold above: this appears to be more of an issue that I at first suspected. I would have thought that, in this day and time of extreme sexual "freedom", that what people needed was more a way to rein in and parameterize their physical relationships; to find a way of inhibiting what had been given too much freedom. But it seems I was wrong. There is still a great deal of programmed distortion going toward almost Victorian morality.

I was concerned that people might have been too influenced by such things as Margaret Mead's studies of primitive societies where she claimed people were almost completely sexually uninhibited even from very early ages and that this was supposed to be "healthy" and "natural". Well, of course, we know now that this was very likely part of a program of moving toward a society that accepts the sexualization of children. And acting like little more than an animal is not the way to go. My concern was that people should learn that there is a healthy sexuality WITHIN LIMITS, and those limits include spiritual and psychological considerations and something our society has lost sight of: decency that is born out of care and concern for others and what is best for them.

What a freaking mess our culture has made of people's minds and thus their bodies and lives.

So, indeed, yes. These books exhibit exactly that sort of reality: where there is freedom within limits, and those limits are concerns for others and their healthy development.

Now, I had hesitated to bring up this next particular series because there are parts of it that are so dark that I worried about real triggering if a person had been abused, but maybe that is something that can be built up to? In the story of James and Madeline, there was psychological abuse that led to very confused physical expressions, but in the series I'm about to mention, there is definite, institutionalized abuse of a very horrific kind. And yet, despite the darkness, the characters manage to emerge with the help of a bearer of light. The stories are complex plots, more like action/adventure tales, and really engaging. But, the sexual scenes might be triggering because they describe persons who have been sexually abused as children finding their way toward more normal relationships. In some cases it is actually painful to read their struggles in this regard.

Once again, this series almost MUST be read in order because the plots and characters are so interrelated and complex you will certainly NOT get as much out of it if you read it out of order. Also, other books by this author aren't worth much as she goes way over the top in many respects. It works well enough here, but I think she's a libtard and once the whole liberal/snowflake revolution took over, she lost the plot. She even dedicated one of her later books to the "metoo" movement. So, I would suggest to ignore her later work.

In any event, the heroes of these stories have been subjected to the most awful abuse as children and young men you can possibly imagine. They end up surviving only because they bury their humanity and become something that looks a lot like psychopaths. I even wondered, at some point, if the author was not intending to romanticize or write apology for psychopathy; but then I recalled that the Cs had said that sometimes, what looks like psychopathy is really a soul in struggle. Well, yeah, that sure describes these guys, even moreso than James in "Devil's Web."

With all that said, the series is: Victorian Rebels by Kerrigan Byrne.

1. The Highwayman
2. The Hunter
3. The Highlander
4. The Duke
5. Skip book 5 as it is really bad and not necessary to the overall scheme/plot.
6. The Duke With the Dragon Tattoo
7. Seducing a Stranger. (This is also vol. 1 of a second series that isn't very interesting or useful, so stop here.)
 

Jones

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Well, I haven't actually been sexually abused as far as I can recall, or in this life at least, and I feel inclined to go with what I can remember at this stage.

I can, however, identify where I have experienced emotional, physical or mental trauma or abuse around the the subject of sex or where sex was the line of force behind the other things that were going on. So even from that perspective and reading about healthy sex in the novels I can see where my perceptions and views of sex are off kilter at the least.

I've even wondered if it weren't for those experiences, would I be heterosexual?

Sometimes timing is a funny thing. While this question was in the background, I recently helped my mother move into a retirement village and while we were clearing out some of her stuff so that she could downsize, I came across an old notebook of mine from my teens and it pretty much answered that question for me with a big fat NO - most prolly not. It's kind of embarrassing to read the doodlings of my early teenage self though! Was I that obvious?! And if I was that obvious, what kind of discomfort was that creating for family, friends and acquaintances? Well, apart from the fact that I was either directly lying, or lying by omission at least. It was all most probably very trying and hard for them in an era where homosexuality and I'm getting a deeper sense of the difficulties they may have faced as well as a better understanding of some of their reactions that really confused and hurt me at the time. Geez, back then I thought I was doing well to keep a big secret. And of all my note books, my mother kept that one?! Back when we were doing the SRT experiment, PR said something along the lines of my mother being frightened about what people would do to me and that we had a similarity that kind of stuck in mind. After spending some time with her and watching her with her friends since my stepfather passed away I've had the impression on a number of occasions that perhaps she may also be homosexual, but has spent her life hiding out in marriages. I can't say for sure if that's what PR was picking up on or if it was accurate. I did raise the subject with my sister though and she didn't have anything compelling to offer one way or the other. Kind of left field thing for the reading to bring to the fore.

In any case after the bad dream I mentioned earlier, the conclusion I've come to is that it isn't about any one experience, but more a combination of different experiences and what my imagination has done with them when they couldn't be talked about and the whole lot together was represented symbollically.

It's good to get that ironed out through the reading and I'm keen to keep going to see what else comes up.

Just finished the Wescott series and so far I think that one really highlights the benefits of networking. It was really heartwarming to see how the whole family come together time after time whenever there was a serious issue to resolve and everyone had a say in the discussions and planning around those issues. I also reckon that every family would benefit from an Avery and an Elizabeth and while each of the members of the family had their stuff to resolve, those were my favourite two characters. In choosing a direction to grow in I'd like to have the self assurance, sense of personal power, the decisive action and gentleness of Avery and the acceptance, welcoming warmth and icebreaking skills of Elizabeth. Though Avery's air of boredom seems to have it's place at times.

One thing that's coming together from all of the reading though is that the reason that none of the main characters remain victims of their pasts is that that they actively choose growth whether that choice is driven by a sense of duty or honor or for the best benefit of others around them. Making the choice is probably the easiest part, putting in the work and stumbling through the messy part of learning and practicing new stuff is where resolve is tested and will is developed or honed is what has mainly been clarified for me through this project.
 

genero81

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I finished 'The Rothwell Brothers' series by Madeline Hunter. I think she has a lot going for her. Obviously intelligent with an excellent vocabulary, at least some inclination towards higher realities, depth of Being that results in descriptive brilliance at times, and plenty of creativity. Book four was definitely the best. Romance novel combined with detective story with a combination of Occident with a splash of Orient, and elements of seeing the unseen to add to the mix.

So I agree, fascinating.

I think she's fairly new to the genre, so we may see some good stuff from her in the future.
 

mkrnhr

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I also reckon that every family would benefit from an Avery and an Elizabeth and while each of the members of the family had their stuff to resolve, those were my favourite two characters. In choosing a direction to grow in I'd like to have the self assurance, sense of personal power, the decisive action and gentleness of Avery and the acceptance, welcoming warmth and icebreaking skills of Elizabeth. Though Avery's air of boredom seems to have it's place at times.
Elizabeth is also a great favourite of mine. Avery is very similar in the sense that behind his mask of boredom he tries to understand in silence where others are coming from. That came out very clearly when the family confronted the husband (the military) of Camille's sister. Camille's journey is very singular in the way in which she used her inner strength to initiate the transformation. After a total disintegration ,she built herself up. Something like that.
 

hlat

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The following books are added to the list.

279Kerrigan ByrneVictorian Rebels1The Highwayman
280Kerrigan ByrneVictorian Rebels2The Hunter
281Kerrigan ByrneVictorian Rebels3The Highlander
282Kerrigan ByrneVictorian Rebels4The Duke
283Kerrigan ByrneVictorian Rebels6The Duke With the Dragon Tattoo
284Kerrigan ByrneThe Goode Girls1Seducing A Stranger
Perhaps a notation on the list that these books are really dark or might need to be built up to would be helpful to newcomers? I wish the regular recommended reading book list had such a warning for Hostage to the Devil.
 

anartist

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Perhaps a notation on the list that these books are really dark or might need to be built up to would be helpful to newcomers? I wish the regular recommended reading book list had such a warning for Hostage to the Devil.
I can't find that book (Hostage to the Devil) in the list. If it is as dark as you think, then perhaps it should be marked, but a title and author may be needed.
 

dennis

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This may be a topic for a separate thread itself, but dance and the Waltz in particular are symbolic of life's ups and downs and all arounds. You might even compare the ballroom to planets, stars and galaxies with humans as emotional and spiritual dancers therein.

An exhibition dance by students (the comments are interesting)

A playful skate

A Dream is a Wish Your Heart Makes​

 

Mariama

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Perhaps a notation on the list that these books are really dark or might need to be built up to would be helpful to newcomers? I wish the regular recommended reading book list had such a warning for Hostage to the Devil.
Perhaps newcomers could begin with Ashley's Mackenzie & McBrides series if they are not certain whether they are up to reading the Victorian Rebels series, since Ashley's novels deal with (sexual) abuse and trauma? I only read the first 8 novels, but they had quite an impact on me. The same goes for Grace Burrowes's The Duke's Disaster and The Laird. I thought The Laird was already a difficult read at times, but I did finish it and was glad I did.

I would like to read the Victorian Rebels series. I have made an appointment with a massage therapist for some gentle guidance when it comes to physical intimacy, so that may help while reading this series.

Thanks a lot, Laura, for suggesting them. Although I suspect that it won't be a walk in the park I have wanted to read these romance novels that deal with (sexual) abuse, because they seem to go to my emotional/sexual core and have set in motion some sorely needed healing, for which I am grateful.
 

seek10

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Perhaps a notation on the list that these books are really dark or might need to be built up to would be helpful to newcomers?
If needed, we can add a column called "darkness level" ( or something like that) with possible values - High, medium, low etc. people can have different opinions though. Currently we don't have too many books that fall under the category. I will wait for more feedback before adding the column.
 

Andrew

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In any event, the heroes of these stories have been subjected to the most awful abuse as children and young men you can possibly imagine. They end up surviving only because they bury their humanity and become something that looks a lot like psychopaths. I even wondered, at some point, if the author was not intending to romanticize or write apology for psychopathy; but then I recalled that the Cs had said that sometimes, what looks like psychopathy is really a soul in struggle. Well, yeah, that sure describes these guys, even moreso than James in "Devil's Web."

I’m a bit afraid to admit this sounds a bit like me. A lot of my childhood is a blur. I do know my Father was a perverted and abusive man and some of those traits developed inside me as I got older.

From the Healing Developmental Trauma book, I found that I resonated the most with the Trust and Connection types. Moreso the Trust type, which really scared me. As I saw a lot of, what could be interpreted as Psychopathic related traits, from that Survival Style and from my past behavior and thinking patterns.

It struck something in me when Laura said: “they end up surviving only because they bury their humanity and become something that looks a lot like Psychopaths." Of which, I've often observed myself behaving as such in relation to those closest to me.

I do hope there is some resolve to this as I know this is a definite block inside me that I’ve never been able to release.

It might take a bit to muster the courage to read these, but I suppose I may need to give it a try or at least try and ease into them.

Thank you for posting this Laura.
 

primeaddict

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Finished the Chase Sister Series, The Autumn, Winter, Spring, and Summer Bride; by Anne Gracie.

I recognized myself in the female characters struggle with their self-loathings. Abby's plainness, Jane's desire for financial and social security, Damaris's shame of her past, and Daisy's low-class birth. I have had to work through similar issues, so each story brought it all back up. It does take the love from others to let go of all types of self-loathing.

The arrogance of superiority as well as inner condemnations of imperfections are the good-cop/bad-cop tactics of the predator mind. The hot/cold emotional turmoil of these inner voices had kept me chasing shadows of my own fears. It has taken me along time to understand this internal war and how easy it is to be fooled by this diabolical mind.

I have also learned that the first step in being in my own mind is to except that my imperfections comes with the territory of being human and any expression of self-importance to the quickest way towards humiliation.

While reading the Chase Sister Series I returned to my inner battles with those above mentioned self-loathings to realize there is still piles to shovel.
 
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