This is a movie review of sorts, but I don’t think there are any specific spoilers. Just wanted to give some sort of heads-up!
I follow Dr. Quincee Gideon and appreciate her work in the field of trauma care, coaching and education. In an email I received from her a few weeks back, she mentioned the powerful “docudrama” titled Women Talking. Based on a book by Miriam Toews with the same name, Women Talking is the movie depiction of real-life and horrific events that happened to (mostly female) members of a Mennonite community. Dr. Gideon’s interest began due to her focus on spiritual abuse, but then she also suggested that it be viewed from the lens of IFS, or Internal Family Systems.
As a quick overview, IFS is a therapy practice used to bring awareness that (and I’m quoting Dr. Gideon from an email she sent me) “we all have different parts (the soft and gentle; the young; the rational, etc.)”. Having that awareness can help (has helped me) extend self-compassion and understanding of one’s own feelings and responses, and where they come from – as in the different stages of life and “personas” that still are within me from those seasons.
This movie was, as she stated, very eye opening, as well as heartbreaking. Really hard! It is not a feel-good kind of movie! The real-life circumstances behind it just make me so sad, and also angry! And yet the telling of it is SO rich with introspection!
I don’t think “enjoyed” would be the correct term for my response to this movie. But it was deeply meaningful. My wife and I watched it together a couple of weeks ago, and I’ve continued considering its significance since.
The dialogue between the different women in the movie very much resembles some of the internal dialogue I have with myself. I recognized the trauma responses of fight, flee, freeze, and even fawn. I also noticed the logical, rational approach doing battle with the metaphorical, creative side – sometimes between different characters, sometimes within the same character.
The rage monster standing up to protect. The seemingly senile voice speaking a very reasonable response. The wiser, older persona taking the 30k foot view. The shy innocent voice speaking hope into the midst of it all.
Even the incredulous laughter as a means of coping in the midst of immense stress and suffering!
I also very much noticed / felt the shame wrapped into so much of it – along with incredible grace and truth bestowed between the different characters. Yes, it was very interesting to view the entire movie from the perspective of IFS and notice how many of the messages were the same or similar to those of my own “personas” or “characters”.
You know how some things “impact”, and others “influence”? I feel this one really influencing me. I’m grateful Dr. Gideon brought awareness of it. I hope it has great influence on many others! And now the book is on my must-read list!
Have you seen Women Talking? If you have seen it, or when you do watch it, I’d love your thoughts – in regards to the IFS aspect or any other thoughts it stirs in you!