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Tears and Healing; The journey to the light after an abusive relationship
by Richard, 21CP 
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Edition: Paperback, 180 pages
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Publisher: Dalkeith Press (2005)
ISBN: 1-933369-01-9
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    What the experts say / readers say about it.   More on detaching, healing, overcoming love, obligation 
Are you Codependent?-  
Overcome the love locking you in.
Find the Courage to Leave.

Are you codependent? Have you been convinced that there is something fundamentally wrong with you? What does codependence really mean?

We end up in abusive and unhealthy situations for lots of reasons. Moreover, we often stay in them for reasons that are healthy, even though the situation isn't. Some people want to tell us that is were are in an unhealthy situation we must be "codependent". The problem is, it's not true. What's more, "codependence" isn't a defined problem that we directly address. It sells books, but does it help us?

So ask some of these questions of yourself: Did your relationship start out in a positive way? Did your partner change after you were in a committed situation, where it was difficult to just break things off? Have you held a reasonable hope that things will improve?  Does your situation make you sick, and make you wish for a safer and healthier relationship? Are you putting up with bad treatment for a higher purpose, like trying to make the best home for your children?

If you answer yes to these questions, then you should feel that you are coping with a difficult situation that you did not create. Don't paint yourself with the amorphous label that you're "codependent". Recognize that  although your situation is unhealthy, there may be no simple options to make it better. Just because you're weighing the balance and hanging in there doesn't mean there's something fundamental wrong with you. You may have hard work ahead to make your life better, and you may be facing some difficult choices and changes, but that doesn't make you "codependent."

The truth is that in many cases abusers really do make victims of otherwise innocent people. Their behavior early in the relationship may be wonderful, and it often stays that way until a lasting commitment is made. Then things change for the worse, often dramatically. This "now you see it, now you don't" phenomenon is common with people who have narcissistic defenses, and I talk about this in Meaning from Madness (to the right.) Once we're married, and even worse have children, there aren't' any simple ways to put an end to the abuse, because such major sacrifices must be made to force change. This isn't codependence. It's a painful and difficult situation that we need help to deal with.

Overcome the Love Locking You In

Many of us got into unhealthy situations because our partners held up a facade. Many of us felt or thought that we had met our soul mate; found the perfect partner; met that one special person in the universe. It's no surprise that we can fall in love with someone like this!

Later, usually after we've made a binding commitment like marriage, or sometimes after the relationships changes due to children being born, job changes, or other major life changes, our partner shows a completely different side. The person who was once perfect now can become angry, demeaning, demanding, and harshly critical. I talk about this dynamic in my book on disordered behavior, Meaning from Madness. From someone we have deep feelings for, these actions are brutal. Yet we may still have strong feelings of love pulling us to that person. Talk about being torn!

At some point, many of us realize this situation needs to change, but feelings are not chosen. How can you overcome the love that pulls you to someone who is abusing you?

While you can't turn those feelings off like a switch, you can learn to understand where those feelings come from, and how our minds create them, and then set the stage for new feelings to develop - hopefully toward someone who's better for us. At first this issue was a chapter in my book, Tears and Healing, but it was so important it eventually became its own short book, In Love and Loving It - Or Not!  The really sad part is that our minds create these feelings so that we'll be motivated to engage in a relationship that meets our emotional needs, yet those same feelings can end up locking us in, pulling back again into a broken relationship that just can't fill those needs! Its like a trap, one that we need new understanding to get out of.

Find the Courage to Leave

As someone who spends a lot of time helping other people, I never presume to judge or tell people what they "should do", "have to" do, or "need" to do. These are individual choices that can only be made by the person who must live them. But when people are ready to make a change, they can often be trapped not just by their love for their hurtful partner, but by fear. Ending major relationships means big changes, changes in where and how we live, what we own, how much money we have, whether we're alone or not. Its natural to be afraid. Its sometimes like leaping off a cliff in the dark.

Fortunately, fear stands on  base that is easy to chip away at: ignorance. We are most often afraid because we don't know what will happen. Without any specific thoughts, our minds love to wander off into all kinds of extreme outcomes - things that really just aren't going to happen. So overcoming fear - finding the courage to make changes - is about learning. It can take time, and it does takes little bits of courage to ask the questions, but if we chip away at it, we can build a picture or what a new life will be like, and we can fill that picture with facts and not imagined fears. Those facts, and that true vision of what we'll do and what things will be like, undercut the fears and make it possible to face the change.

Stopping the hurt; Healing the Damage -

Dealing with this situation is complex, and people need some idea of "What do I do now that I know this?" For most people, there are important values, beliefs and obligations that have to be carefully thought about. Most people who asking "Am I codependent?" are in very hurtful situations, and significant decisions have to be faced, then resolved. Tears & Healing holds a light up in this dark place. Written from the inside perspective of someone who has been through the hell of being emotionally and verbally battered by a spouse, this book addresses the major issues that we all must wrestle with.

Tears & Healing begins with the most difficult issue: abusive partners constantly work to distort our perception of what is happening and what is right and wrong, until we doubt our own judgment so much we can't make decisions. It then addresses the process of detaching to find safe space and to regain a sense of right and wrong, and searching to understand what we, as people, need in our lives - needs that often must be simply put aside to survive in these brutal situations. It deals with love, and the conflict of being in love with someone hurtful to us. And it addresses the intense feelings of obligation that many of us have, which keep us locked in situations that are beyond what any person should endure. Tears & Healing is an intensely personal and validating guide through this maze of thoughts and emotions. The reader reviews below can give you some sense of how liberating Tears & Healing has been for many, many people.

As I said already, dealing with feelings of love is a huge barrier for many. My book, In Love and Loving It - Or Not! , addresses these issues. It explains how and why we fall in love; what we can do to get out of love with someone hurtful to us; how we can make choices so we are more likely to fall in love with someone good for us; and how being in love relates to the different, chosen actions of loving. Many of the people I help to deal with their abusive situations need this kind of guidance.

My experience also shows that most of us need a solid understanding of what is going on in our partners. They are usually disordered, and when we can understand what disorder is in play, we can start to understand why they do what they do, and what the prospects are for change. My newest book, Meaning from Madness, deals with this (on the right.)

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Are you divorcing an abusive spouse? Did you know the nastiest behavior may be narcissistic?

Strategies and Realities when Divorcing a Narcissist
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 Why do they do it?
Meaning from Madness
(paperback)

Understanding the Hidden Patterns that Motivate Abusers: Borderlines, Narcissists, and Sociopaths
$20 - Also by Richard
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His 4 books on Relationships w/ an Abusive Partner
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2004-6 Richard, 21CP and Dalkeith Press                       dwt