When we first emerge from the fog of confusion, despair, and crushing loneliness, it is critical that we make sense of what happened to us. We must be validated and witnessed. We want to look for patterns and come to an understanding. We need to learn, we need to discover, we need to uncover the truth about what happened to us.
Lundy Bancroft, the author of Why Does He Do That, has worked for over fifteen years specializing in the behavior and patterns of abusive men. You can hear the voices of the female victims in this book as they ask the same questions I used to ask. Lundy has the answers.
The book clarifies the myths surrounding abusers, outlines the patterns, actions, and beliefs of abusers, and explains the clear warning signs of abuse and the characteristics of abusers.
Nathaniel Branden, the leading pioneer in the field of self-esteem stated, “No One is Coming!” So simple. So true. No one is going to preserve our precious time or what we want but us. More of the same yields more of the same, no real change comes without action. Dr. Branden outlines the pillars and components of true self-esteem and emphasizes the importance of living consciously in reality instead of denying or evading what is actually happening.
I was fortunate enough to study and learn from Dr. Tal Ben-Shahar over the course of a year while earning an advanced certificate. His book on making small choices that can change your life is easy to read and based on the research. How is dragging out a garbage can across the snow, in the middle of the winter, in the dark, after a long day at work in the bitter cold a metaphor for life? Dealing with a flat tire? For some pumping gas, going to the ATM, dealing with finances. For me it was the garbage can. Despite the fact that I was cursing my fate along with having a pity party for myself, it was small steps of action that showed me, step by step, that yes, I could make it on my own. I could become more skillful in the moments of my life. We can learn and actually do things we never thought we could do. I am not just talking about a garbage can here. Will we be experts? No. Is that okay? Yes. Do we keep trying? Yes – remembering to be kind and gentle with ourselves. It is okay to do things in a good enough way. The increase in our esteem for ourselves will grow. One small step at a time.
When something doesn’t feel right, attend to it, question it, pay attention to it, don’t push it down. These warning signs deep inside of ourselves are attempting to tell us something-something we are trying to ignore, something that we need to be investigating further. We need to trust that small voice inside. Intuition is not hocus-pocus. It is based on clues that we are constantly receiving through the subconscious about our environment and our surroundings. Gavin De Becker clearly supports with evidence and examples the importance of predictions and the unhealthy tendency of denial. “Our relationships actually start with predictions, predictions that determine-literally-the quality and course of our lives.”
There come flashes of awareness from the sleep of denial. Many times these flashes or flickers come from the voice of a compassionate friend or our own inner voice. “You don’t deserve to be treated like this.” “He is out of control. This is not who you are.” The signals may also come from the body. Some of the indicators that can emerge from the body: tears that quietly fall down the face, the constant tremble in a hand, the teeth grinding, the lack of restful sleep – not the sleep that comes from numbing ourselves, popping pills, over eating or over indulging in booze. The body aches, the neck pain, the stomach pain, the back pain – the pain that just won’t go away. This is when we need to pay attention to the questions that tug at us. What is happening to me? Where did I go? How did this happen to me? Why am I staying?Amazon
“Denial is a save now, pay later scheme.” Gavin de Becker
This is the ultimate go-to book, supported with endless amounts of research, for any teacher of mindfulness. It is written by Dr. Jon Kabat-Zinn, the founder of Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction at the University of Massachusetts Medical Center. How does mindfulness support us in our healing? The negative messaging many of us hear in our heads about ourselves over and over again, that layers on shame and blame, is our brain in overdrive. We actually punish ourselves by ruminating on the negativity, by weaving stories and by worrying and projecting into the future. We can be our own worst enemy and voice this negativity into being by sabotaging ourselves. We can begin to calm ourselves and shift out of these cycles, one gentle moment at a time, through the practice of mindfulness. We can start to get to know the inner landscape of who we are, and we can empower ourselves by becoming stronger on the inside developing clarity, calm, peace, and yes, ultimately, joy.
Anne Katherine clearly defines and understanding the power of boundary setting. Understanding what something is NOT – often helps us in understanding what something IS. A boundary is NOT blaming others or denying that something is actually happening. It is not pretending. It is not selfish. It is not a high wall that does not allow anyone in. It is not hiding out alone. It is not pretending that you are strong and independent and don’t need support. It is not helping others at all costs. It is not being on the constant look out for how to “fix” others. A boundary IS clearly aligned with your integrity, your needs and wants, and the reputation you have with yourself. It is your guiding compass that keeps you on the path to your goals. It is how you stay honest with yourself. It is possible to set boundaries with wisdom and compassion and rebuild what you previously may think had been lost forever.
Written by Martin E.P. Seligman, professor of psychology at the University of Pennsylvania and past president of the American Psychological Association, this book and the supporting research are supported by the National Institute of Mental Health, the National Institute on Aging, the National Science Foundation, the Department of Education, the MacArthur Foundation, the Templeton Foundation, and the Guggenheim Foundation. Why list all these organizations here? Dr. Seligman is legitimate. The research is solid. It is possible to make shifts in your perspectives and enrich your life by specific choices. You can make conscious change.
After reading this book, I was fortunate enough to meet this woman. She is the real deal. This book was published a while ago, but the information continues to bring light to the confusion experienced by the victim after a long-term relationship with a disordered individual. This book supported me in coming to terms and understanding my responsibilities to myself. No shame or blame. Reflection, learning, growth.
The title says it all. An eye-opener. This is not a book about serial killers. This is a book about sociopaths in our midst. It is a playbook on how to spot these folks. The book lays out scenarios that are in a narrative style. This was a page turner. I couldn’t put it down. In the end, Stout is clear that all is hopeful. When we are awake and aware, we can spot these folks and interact no more.