Gathering the Fragments of Myself

Gathering the Fragments of Myself

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The third of eleven children, Jan Banaszek spends her childhood in the role of fierce protector—striving to shield her younger siblings from the dysfunctional home life created by their father, a volatile man who can snap at any moment. With a loving but subservient mother who looks the other way at her husband’s inappropriate behavior with their daughters, Jan unwittingly seeks approval from men for all the wrong reasons. Shy, reserved, and deeply influenced by her strict Catholic upbringing, she continuously struggles with her perception of God and with her own identity, leading her to search for acceptance with people who ultimately betray her—therapists, lovers, friends, and even a spiritual cult. But despite the deep pain and setbacks she experiences, which she recounts with sheer rawness and honesty, she is intent on discovering her place in the world and her connection with the Divine—as well as an intimate relationship that nurtures instead of harms. What she doesn’t know is that it will take nearly six decades to receive those gifts—and for her to trust herself to recognize them when they finally arrive.