I'm not gonna sugarcoat this, y'all — today's episode is a tough one. But it's also SO important and so incredibly worth the emotional energy.
Also, CONTENT WARNING on this one, friends. The subject matter deals with sexual abuse and suicide. Nancy handles these delicate topics like the pro that she is (and like someone who’s done a lot of therapy, which she has.) But please, listen to your intuition to decide whether these topics feel okay for you to listen to — and if not, skip the episode and I’ll see you at #43!
As I said to Nancy during the interview, one of the things I learned early on as a therapist is that incest is way more common than we think. And of course, most of us have heard the distressing stats around sexual abuse in general — which we talk about in the episode as well, and I learned something new about it that surprised me.
This is not stuff we want to talk about, but it’s stuff we NEED to talk about. And Nancy's story is also evidence of the incredible power of resilience, and overcoming the kind of adversity that seems insurmountable.
Head over here for full show notes including resources we mention in the episode.
About Nancy Allen
Nancy Allen, from Georgia by way of Massachusetts, is a father-daughter incest survivor.
Physically and emotionally abused from early childhood, at age 14 Nancy was briefly mandated into a kinship foster care placement by social services a year after the abuse turned sexual. This removal and related court ordered “punishment” of therapy made Nancy feel that she was equally at fault as her father. Within a few months of her return home, the incest resumed, and over the next decade her father created an escalating abusive environment to indulge his sadistic fantasies. When she was 28, her father died, and her repressed world exploded. She checked herself into an acute psychiatric hospital and began her healing journey. She channeled her struggles into becoming a successful, strong woman both personally and professionally.
Nancy’s focus after decades of repurposing all of her experiences, both good and bad, is to help create a world where incest survivors have a different life experience than she did. Feeling outside of the norm and disconnected from the larger community, resources didn’t exist to prevent her from feeling different, misunderstood and alone. She wants to champion others to say “I am an incest survivor” without shame, guilt, or fear of repercussions, and to open a dialogue which removes the societal taboo of acknowledging and discussing incest. Just as we rush to put out a house fire and embrace the survivors with love, compassion and help, Nancy dreams that one day we will rush without judgement to extinguish the fire of incest.
A strong voice for those shamed to silence and the long-term impacts of child sexual abuse, Nancy hosts Tail of the Bell podcast available on iTunes and other platforms. Each week it focuses on a specific topic interpreted through a featured incest survivor’s personal story and, where needed, further explored by experts. A trained life coach, Nancy also helps incest survivors help themselves through Tail of the Bell, Inc's individual and group programs.