1. Gholin
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    Gholin Member

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    A monster killed my MC's brother when he was 8. Trauma and coping question

    Discussion in 'Character Development' started by Gholin, Jul 24, 2013.

    Hey all.

    So in my story, I'm trying to write an MC who has had some trauma in the past, specifically, his brother was killed by a monster and he witnessed it. Nobody believed him, and he was suspect in the murder, but the parents know (Given their family history as monster hunters) that a monster did it.

    Is there any way that he could revert to not believing in monsters? My current idea is that the parents move the kid to another state to protect him and he has effectively gotten over it by turning to watching laughable monster b-movies, Kaiju, and Goosebump's-like horror flicks. He watches those shows to make monsters seem more fake. Is this realistic? Should he always be afraid of monsters now? Is it possible he could blot out that memory in trauma?

    Or maybe, he watches scary movies to seek out ways to protect himself (I.e. don't fall for rule # 56, don't go looking for the monster in your undies, or something like that). Does that sound more realistic? I want him to know the rules of what not to do in horror flicks as part of his ways of handling monsters later on. Any advice would help me think through this, thanks!
     
  2. GingerCoffee
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    GingerCoffee Web Surfer Girl Contributor

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    People question their beliefs and memories in real life, you should be able to do that in fiction as well. The MC needs to be exposed to something that keeps making him question his parent's beliefs and therefore his memory.
     
  3. ManOrAstroMan
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    ManOrAstroMan Magical Space Detective Contributor

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    If he's away from his parents and their monster-hunting, then he's not being exposed to it regularly. Monsters, to the rest of the world, are the stuff of fiction and superstition. Bombarded horror movies and society's deep, abiding habit of denying that which isn't scientifically concrete, he'll question his memories and think the monster stuff was a coping mechanism concocted by his traumatized childhood imagination.
    My guess is that he would be turned off by monster flicks. It would remind him of his childhood trauma. He would probably grow up to throw himself into the mundane, the banal. It would be quite jarring foe him to be thrown into the world of the monstrous after years of the beige and bland.
     
  4. cieeciee
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    cieeciee Member

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    You may already have a answer to your question but I think it would be possible for the child to have dissociated the trauma. He could have forgotten all about it, it could be a repressed memory, if that works for your story. Then, it could be possible that he is actually drawn to watching the movies you mentioned because it's in his subconscious mind. Maybe he is compelled to watch these movies but he isn't sure why? Then he is able to learn all the rules about avoiding monsters... etc. What would be cool is when the memories come flooding back. That would be quite a shock!

    Good luck!
     
  5. Hwaigon
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    Hwaigon Contributing Member Reviewer

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    Yes, blotting the event out is one of the unconscious coping techniques. Crucial is, though, whether his parents
    told him early in his childhood the different story about the monsters, since the family is in the know. If they did, the
    MC might cope with the whole thing in a certain way. If the parents didn't tell him anything, they just knew it was not
    the MC but a monster that killed his brother, then it would be way harder to cope with that for him. Much more harder...and interesting.
     
  6. jazzabel
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    jazzabel Contributing Member Contributor

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    Everything you described is plausible. Suppressed memory, editing the memory to make it easier to cope with, re-enacting the trauma on their terms by watching monster movies in the safety of his home, and eventually, re-emerging memory of real events and resulting cognitive dissonance, which can make him feel like he is losing his mind (when the real memory clashes with the carefully constructed alternative explanations, it can cause great deal of upset, nightmares, flashbacks, paranoia, which can be wrongly interpreted as psychotic symptoms etc). All that is rather severe but it's psychologically consistent.
     
  7. findingghost
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    findingghost New Member

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    When something bad happens to you and time passes by you lose the little details from it, especially when you were scared at the time, so you do start to questions things. I think that it is believable that he would definitely question whether the event did happen or whether it was just his imagination or a dream etc. However, I think that a small part of you knows that it did really happen -it's just easier to deny it to yourself. When something bad happens you want to be able to forget it, like by willing it away but it will always be there. I'm sorry I don't know if this really answers the question at all, haha, but I thought you might like hearing an outside perspective on it (I know I always do).
    I like the idea about watching crappy horror movies, maybe on an unconscious level he's testing himself and pushing himself to not take them seriously as a sort of coping mechanism.
    People are all different and what helps them cope could be anything so you have a lot of freedom with that. I really like the sound of your story so keep going with it! :D
     

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