If I could interview anyone, I believe I would interview the fictional character, Wendy Torrance, from Stephen King’s The Shining.
When you interview someone who has been through the amount of trauma and abuse that Wendy has, you have to let them speak about what they are comfortable with sharing; however, I think I would use my counselor skills with her, trying to make her feel comfortable. Ultimately, after all the trauma she suffered, she ended up becoming a widow and suffering medical injuries in an explosion (sorry for the spoiler alert).
As a survivor, I am trying to write a book about my personal abuse experience, so I have been re-reading things like Rose Madder and The Shining, to see how Mr. King illustrated abuse accurately, without triggering the reader. Survivors of abuse love to read about others’ struggles and how they overcame them, but we don’t want to trigger them either. It’s triggering enough for someone like myself to write about my actual events. It’s a lot of starting and stopping during the writing process, for sure!
I feel for Wendy and understand what narratives are going on in her brain. It depends on when the interview would take place. If it was immediately after, I would leave that up to a therapist or psychiatrist. However, if it is a few to several years after, interviewing her for a podcast or an article might have a different impact on her. We ALWAYS must validate that the speaker has been through abuse, believe them, and allow them to become comfortable enough to tell what they can and will.
I would start the interview with open ended questions, thanking her for speaking with me and if she would like to categorize what she feels comfortable with talking about. I would tell her she can tell as much as she wants to and if anything feels uncomfortable or “out of bounds,” then no ill will and we will talk about something else. I would, at some point, tell her that I’m sorry that that abuse happened to her, that she did not deserve that, that she did all she could, and that NONE of it was her fault.
I understand what sort of trauma she’s experienced: abuse both physical and mental, attacks, dealing with a significant other with alcoholism, having gifted children, and witnessing the paranormal; however, her situation is definitely harrowing and differs from mine greatly, as my abuser wasn’t possessed, he was just a completely horrible person. At least with possession, there’s always the option for an exorcism…
She is a definitely conflicted woman, because she is trying to start over with her husband, as he is in recovery, trying to change their scenery and financial situation, not to mention their marriage (I’ve been there). However, she’s reminded of the abuse as her husband becomes more aggressive and hateful, attacking her and her child under possession, but ultimately snapping out of his aggression and saving his son and wife before the hotel boiler blows up, killing him. She loves him, is afraid of him, despises him, yet mourns her loss of him because he heroically saved his family. I would not want to be THAT therapist. I would opt to interview her as a survivor SEVERAL years later, to see how she is doing…however, in Doctor Sleep, it would seem that she retreated into herself, then passes away from lung cancer. Bummer. She deserved a fuller and better life than that!