Why do people write 'Misery memoirs' and write about their most painful memories?
I got the answer in an interesting blog which I am linking to:
Child Abuse Memoirs and Autobiographies: Why People Read and Write About Childhood Abuse
Why do people read, or write, unhappy autobiographies and memoirs? A simple answer to both questions is therapy, or more accurately, bibliotherapy.
Bibliotherapy is a word that describes the act of reading selected works for the purpose of healing a personal issue, such as a history of child abuse.
The sharing of stories has long served as a medium for transmitting hard-learned lessons and wisdom from one person to another. Recipients of such stories share the storyteller's experiences while at the same time benefiting from the teller's retrospect, something people cannot do in the midst of their own experiences. In the best of cases, recipients of good storytelling can put the author's lessons to use and spare themselves from repeating destructive coping strategies. In other cases, readers may recognize errors in the author's behaviors, which they had not previously been able to recognize in their own behaviors.
HealingStory.org, a special interest group of The National Storytelling Network, promotes the use of storytelling as a tool for healing. The website includes stories for children in crisis, as well as book reviews and articles on a variety of relevant topics.
The writing and telling of an unhappy childhood story provides the author with a means to symbolically release the accumulated weight of painful past experiences. It can also serve as a way to reach out to others who have similar histories, giving the author a sense of purpose and the satisfaction of deriving something positive from something painful.
SilenceSpeaks.org, an international digital storytelling initiative, offers a supportive space for telling stories which might otherwise remain unspoken. The website includes stories and case studies, as well as links to related resources.