How do vulnerability and isolation affect a person’s life, according to Educated?

Vulnerability and isolation can affect a person's life in various ways: they can make one an easy victim for an abuser, put one in harm's way, and create an unfortunate lack of general knowledge. Ultimately, they can make it immensely difficult for one to break free and live a happy life.

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As is so poignantly demonstrated in Westover’s memoir, vulnerability and isolation can cause unhealthy relationships and force people to face remarkable demons in the pursuit of happiness and fulfilment. With his domineering personality and extremist beliefs, Gene Westover creates an environment that ultimately leads to the breakdown of many family...

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As is so poignantly demonstrated in Westover’s memoir, vulnerability and isolation can cause unhealthy relationships and force people to face remarkable demons in the pursuit of happiness and fulfilment. With his domineering personality and extremist beliefs, Gene Westover creates an environment that ultimately leads to the breakdown of many family relationships. The resulting vulnerability and isolation that Tara experiences will shape her young life.

The Westover family’s experiences show that being vulnerable and isolated creates very real dangers. For example, Tara’s mother, Faye, never receives treatment for the brain injuries that she suffers in a car accident and endures a variety of physical and mental illnesses as a result. In addition, Tara and her brother Luke both wind up with various injuries obtained in the course of their work for their father. They are made vulnerable by Gene’s lack of concern for safety, and this vulnerability leads them directly to injury and pain.

Being vulnerable also makes one easy prey for narcissists and abusers, which we see in the relationship that develops between Tara and her older brother, Shawn. Shawn claims that the mind games and physical assaults that he subjects Tara to are simply fun, and due to her vulnerability, it takes Tara a long time to begin to realize the damaging effect that he has had on her life.

Growing up in isolation means not learning much about the world outside the unhealthy bubble that Gene has created. Tara realizes this to her detriment at college, when she is met with disdain for not knowing what the Holocaust was.

Ultimately, this memoir showcases that being vulnerable and isolated means that achieving fulfilment and the ability to make one’s own decisions can be an uphill battle. The pain of being vulnerable to mentally unstable parents and being isolated from society stays with Tara far longer than the end of her unhealthy childhood.

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