Exposing the Delicate Truth When Family is Involved


Before I wrote my latest memoir, Innocence Unraveled, I spent years contemplating the whys and wherefores of exposing the delicate truth when family is involved. While reflecting, I knew that, first and foremost, I wanted to share my story. Beyond that, I knew telling the truth would “set me free,” and allow me to heal from the pain.


Beth Kephart put it in her book, Handling the Truth,  memoir persists because we persist because we all have stories.” She further writes, “I teach the genre and I’ve dared to write it. I watch it get made, broken down, and reconciled.” Kephart describes the sharing of our own  absolute truth as “the literary equivalent of a confessional. It is not the Sacrament of Penance. It is not an unmodulated whisper. A memoir is a life story, artfully (honestly) resurrected.”


As the years of contemplation dragged on, I knew I needed to share my story to others to bare their truths. I also wanted the opportunity to further my own healing through connection. I not only knew it was time to share my confessions but listen and learn from the similar experiences of others.


My story persists because I persist and if I want to heal. I must paint, like the strokes on a canvas, line after honest line. I know writing my truth may expose the villains of my story and the victims of those villains. It may reveal pain loved ones couldn’t see. It may be impossible to prevent, but I don’t intend the harm it will cause. With a story like this, I had to prepare loved ones of what was to come. 


I’ve lived my life with secrets too heavy to bare till death and traumas too normalized to quiet. I too must face the possibility of celebration and attack, just as Kephart was “loved by many, attacked ferociously, honored and muddied” for writing her own memoir. I pray this act of vulnerability heals others as they read, just as confessing began healing me.

This Post Has 15 Comments

  1. Randy Hayes

    Very well written. I hope the book will help others heal as it did you.

  2. Robin Shaye

    Hi Debbie,
    When I received your e-mail, I thought it was for Mah-jongg tips. I had no idea you were a writer! I am a writer as well on a similar topic. My book is “…Until You Die”: The Narcissist’s Promise. It is a true story about narcissism, domestic violence and the legal system. And yes – it is my story. As my last name is different than the antagonist, I do promote it as my journey to becoming a survivor. In telling your story you release the shame of being a victim. My story is also seamless woven with clinical data to help the reader understand why/how these kinds of things can happen. I’d love to hear more about your book! Congratulations. BTW – I started playing Mah Jongg last October! And I am loving it!

    1. Debbie Barnett Author

      We should do a book swap! What do you say? Congrats to you as well! This blog is connected to my author website. What made you think it was about mah jongg? This will help me fix that issue!! Glad you are playing, it is a wonderful game.

    1. Debbie Barnett Author

      There is a link in the blog. Click on the book name and it will point you to the website. 🙂

  3. Chris

    This must have been quite the endeavor. You definitely push you own limits. This is wonderful many people need to deal with these issues and you share the truth which must come out. Bravo!

    1. Debbie Barnett Author

      It was the hardest thing I’ve done in my adult life! Thank you for your kind words Chris!

  4. Tina

    Very thought provoking. Nice read. Looking forward to your memoir.

    1. Debbie Barnett Author

      Thank you Tina!

  5. Judith Moskowitz

    Congratulations to you on your book. I have many stories and I would like to begin to write about my life.
    I am a writer not well known but have had several of my pieces published over the years. I have so many stories that I believe Dr. Phil would have me as a guest.

    Judith Moskowitz

    1. Debbie Barnett Author

      Thanks!! I didn’t know we shared this commonality. We should talk more about our experiences. I’ve also thought of contacting Dr. Phil!

  6. imelda

    Debbie, I saw your book on Amazon. I have your new “Mah Jongg” book. Love it. I was sad to read your description of the pain you endured as a young women. Thank goodness you have been able to get help and writing has been a good way to heal. Keep talking. Keep writing. Allow yourself the freedom to ‘LET IT GO’ on your terms and on your time. I will buy your book and share with my women pals who have had similar experiences. Be good. Be strong. Be hopeful!!!
    imelda, your fan from Texas!!

    1. Debbie Barnett Author

      Thank you for being a loyal follower! That means so much to me and thank you for your kind and heartfelt words!

  7. Daron Barness

    What a difficult and cathartic experience it must have been for you to write this book.Thank you for shedding light on this topic and for your honesty. I wish you much success and continued strength and healing!

    1. Debbie Barnett Author

      Thank you Daron for your kind words. I do hope to help others achieve strength and healing through my story.

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