The Recovery Toolkit Blog Tour
Have you left an abusive relationship?
Are you still carrying guilt?
Would you like to understand, challenge & remove the voice of the perpretrator?
Do you still think what happened to you was your fault?
Do you find dealing with new people in your life is something to be scared about?
Do you questions peoples motives for wanting to befriend you?
Fell shame or guilt when making decisions alone?
Children having to re-learn who the adult is, to feel safe, to trust again?
If you answered yes to any of the above, you are not alone, many people including myself, who are preparing to leave, or who have left an abusive relationship can be affected by this relationship many years into the future, and in so many ways.
It is why I am honoured to be a part of this virtual blog tour, as we need to end the stigma around abuse, and survivors, we need to support survivors in whatever small way that we can as individuals.
It is why I am so passionate about coaching women who may feel lost, overwhelmed, anxious etc, and who want to rediscover themselves after trauma, our pasts do not define us, we can rewrite our stories with future chapters, decided by ourselves
AD & disclaimer) The recovery toolkit book was gifted to me, in return for a review & taking part in the virtual blog tour.
The lady who wrote the book: Sue Penna, pictured above, has worked with people who have trauma as a result of adverse childhood experiences (ACE's) for over 30 years, she has worked for the NHS mental health services for 20 years plus, specialising in domestic abuse, she has written educational programs that promote trauma informed practice & recovery, and is committed to supporting workers to have the skills needed to support families with a trauma informed approach.
You can find out more about Sue Penna & her work at @SuePenna, @rockpoollife both on twitter & instagram, you can find the website here: http://rockpool.life/
The book is available on amazon at http://mybook.to/TheRecoveryToolkit, and you can get it on the kindle version for just 99p....
Or you could be in with a chance to win a copy, click on the link to find out more.....http://www.rafflecopter.com/raft/display/9c44d017/?
A little about my own story (warning this includes distressing information)
As a young girl aged 4, I was witnessing my mother go through violent domestic abuse & control, then childhood abandonment by my farther, who spent his whole life not wanting to know me or my brother, and myself aged 5 to 9 being the victim of sexual abuse & violent bullying, and death threats, I swore to myself that when I grew up, it would be different, I would have a loving, safe & secure relationship & home..
However due to my previous trauma & abuse I lacked self love, self worth, and self confidence, but I put up a brave face, and walls so high to protect myself that no one else saw but me, and friends would often say " oh she's the life of the party" but inside all I felt was numbness, this led me at 14 to having relationships that hurt me, and at 16 led me to a violent domestic & sexual abuse, coercive control, financial control, and severe emotional control relationship that led me to become pregnant with my first child..a child he tried to beat out of me so many times, a child he made me feel guilty for carrying, I swore if that child lived I'd do everything to protect her, and us....
I felt trapped, lost, overwhelmed, scared, and feared for my life on a daily basis, but I didn't know what to do, I couldn't tell anyone, because I wasn't allowed out of the house, and he would often hit me with my child around, eventually after some local workmen heard me screaming, The next day on a rare day I had been allowed to go to the shop to get his cigs, one of the workmen stopped me, he asked are you ok? do you need any help? he gave me his name, and his phone number and said day or night if you need this, you call it, I just said I'm ok and quickly walked away
I mulled over this conversation so many times over the next few months, the summer turned to winter, and the workmen had left the area, my abuse was still ongoing on a daily basis, and although scared, I knew if I didn't get out now, he would kill me....
So I plucked up the courage in my mind, I was going to leave him... I called the number I had been given...and said I do need help...he asked me how he could help, I replied I am not sure, but if I don't leave, I'm dead, and put the phone down... I was shaking so much that I had done this, I was filled with regret & remorse.
The next day the police arrived, and said they had received an anonymous call saying there was someone in distress at this address, I denied it, and they left, my heart was thumping so hard, because I knew I was about to get a beating
And I was right, first it was the emotional abuse because he said you told on me..when I screamed at him that I'd had enough of being his punchbag, he started with the guilt trip, saying I'm no good without you, he then tried to kill himself, the only thing I could think of was my baby is listening to all this, she was asleep in her cot.
So I tried to calm him down, I promised I wouldn't leave, I said I was sorry, I'd have said anything for him to stop, this went on for several hours, one minute he was calm, the next raging, but I had to carry on like everything was normal, as by now my little girl was awake, and needed her mummy
He decided if I was leaving him, we were all going to die together, before locking us both in the house, this led to me being kept prisoner in one room with my baby for over 48 hours, until he fell into a drunken and weed filled stupor.
I escaped only after I smashed the glass in my front door, and crawled through on my hands & knees, but my nightmare didn't end there, as he had childcare visits, and each time the abuse would happen again, until I said no more, and asked my parents to have the childcare visits at their home, they didn't ask me why, and I didn't tell them.... until many years later, and even then I kept the information to the bare minimum.
I eventually went on to marry a man who I thought was sweet, loyal, dependable, Turns out he was none of those, because he was the ultimate peter pan, always looking for another women, the grass was greener for him I suppose...and he hated for me to have friends, go out, or have a life outside of the home, so I didn't.
But when I received the book and started to read it, I had the biggest AHA moment
My previous marriage had been emotionally abusive & controlling in so many ways... wow was I blindsided by this knowledge, i felt total shock come over me, why hadn't I recognised it before, I felt numb with shame, and the pain.. I cried like a baby..
After all it wasn't like I didn't know the signs, I had been in that situation before, I couldn't believe I'd been so blind to it, and spent days journaling on this.
My book review
I wish I had known about this book sooner, because it would have opened my eyes sooner, to my subconscious knowledge that had been buried under layers of conditioning, which led me to never fully healing, or trusting myself & others.
However now I know I can work with this book to dig deeper & heal the wounds.
The recovery toolkit works on the principles of CBT to improve self esteem & reframe negative thinking, and even though I myself work on this within my own coaching practice, I have still found it useful.
It is a 12 week step by step process with tasks to complete at the end of each chapter, for thoughts, feelings, situations, and things you can do for self care & self worth.
The book is inspired by the 12 week group program of the same name.
It is well written and provides insights into how you may feel once you have left an abusive relationship, the rollercoaster of emotions you may feel can take you back to certain points in time, and I felt some of these myself, shame, self loathing, blame, disbelief, and everything in-between, so take your time, if it gets to much take a step back, walk away & come back to it later, which I have done, I am on week 2.
However I wear glasses and struggled a little, so I feel the text could have done with being a little bigger, and although I found the survivor insights helpful, it would have been nice to hear insights from several survivors, rather than just the one, as each survivors story is unique, and I personally feel that this would have helped me more.
All in all I can recommend The Recovery Toolkit to support survivors in their recovery from any, and all forms of abuse, enabling them to know there is help out there.
That they are not alone.
Hugs & Wishes