Run, Hide, Repeat | Pauline Dakin & Recovery

Pauline Dakin is a well-regarded journalist who spent 14 years as a health reporter for CBC News. She was also the Senior Producer of Current Affairs Programming at CBC News Nova Scotia and the host of the regional documentary program Atlantic Voice. Currently, she’s a professor of Journalism at the University of King’s College in Halifax, where she’s based.

Pauline Dakin headshot

However, perhaps what Pauline Dakin is most known for is her 2017 memoir Run, Hide, Repeat: A Memoir of a Fugitive Childhood. A memoir now accompanied by a CBC podcast, Run, Hide, Repeat, premiering November 14 on CBC Listen or everywhere podcasts are available, with new episodes released weekly.

I had the privilege of sitting down with Pauline Dakin for a phone call; me in Toronto, her in Halifax. We talked about the road trip she took with her daughter for her memoir and the road trip she took with her producer for the podcast. We talked about motivation, trauma, frustration, and forgiveness. It was illuminating and emotional; for me, she seemed very well-adjusted.

After working as a journalist and living her adult life based on facts, Pauline decided during her MFA to search for answers to questions she still had from her childhood. Now with children of her own, she wanted to be able to tell the story of how she grew up to her family with greater context than the stories her mother and father figure fed her.

Reliving the past, tracking down relations and old acquaintances, scouring through JSTOR, her school’s library, and contacting psychologists, she was led to a conclusion that made her world make sense. Her findings opened the door to compassion, clarity, and an incredible memoir with a long list of awards and recognition.

The podcast Run, Hide, Repeat is less of a retelling of her memoir but a revisiting.

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We revisit Pauline’s mother, Ruth, a soft, warm woman broken by an alcoholic, abusive husband. A woman in need of hope, not religious, but looking for something, anything that could help. She finds Stan, a preacher, a charming, charismatic man. A man Ruth would follow anywhere; in fact, she did. When Stan, his wife and son move, Ruth, her daughter, and her son move too. Although, not entirely for the reasons you’d assume. No, Stan had more than charisma; he had a delusion, paranoia. Stan lived in a different world than you and me, and he pulled his wife, son, Ruth and her children in with him. That’s where Pauline spent her early years, in Stan’s Weird World.

So, what was it like for Pauline, living a life readers and listeners call “true crime” or a “psychological thriller.” What is it like now, knowing that’s how people see your trauma?

“I don’t know what our obsession is with true crime. I think for me, the more interesting thing is not crazy. Crazy things happen all the time. The interesting thing for me is how people become vulnerable and the impact of that, and how do you find resilience and recover. I think there are many great universal things [in Run, Hide, Repeat] that have nothing to do with the thriller aspect.”

Pauline and Stan on Pauline's Wedding Day

While listening to True Crime podcasts or watching True Crime documentaries, shows, etc., we often forget that at the heart of these stories are people, lives lost, grief, trauma, happy memories, false tales, and betrayal. Pauline Dakin’s Run, Hide, Repeat is more than an adrenaline rush and a thrill, it’s her life, her experience, her reckoning, and her recovery.

If you want to take a journey with Pauline Dakin through psychological chaos and find peace with her knowing the truth and finding a community of people who have experienced the same, listen to Run, Hide, Repeat. If you feel you’d benefit from listening to a woman who has been through the utmost intense mental manipulation and come out the other side kind, caring, wise and forgiving, listen to Run, Hide, Repeat.

About Isobel Grieve 45 Articles
Isobel is a bisexual Toronto-based writer. She has a B.A.H. in English and Media & Cinema Studies from the University of Guelph and a Postgraduate Certificate from the Humber College Television Writing and Producing program. Isobel writes about Arts and Culture; you can follow her @IsobelGrieve on Twitter.