This blog features posted written by Christine Murray and updates related to her book, Triumph Over Abuse: Healing, Recovery, and Purpose after an Abusive Relationship.
I was grateful for the opportunity to be interviewed by UNCG News for this article on domestic violence during the COVID-19 pandemic. You can read the full article here: https://news.uncg.edu/domestic-violence-during-pandemic/.
Find the Right Support
Along the journey of healing from past abuse, there are people who can help you, but also others who can hinder your progress. Surround yourself with the right kind of support, and learn to set boundaries with those who may get in the way of your progress.
#domesticviolence #overcomingabuse #mentalhealth #triumphoverabuse
I'm looking forward to presenting this upcoming Healthy Relationships Initiative program on healthy communications and boundary setting in relationships! This virtual program is free to attend, and you can register via Eventbrite by clicking here.
Taking Back Control of Your Mind
One of my favorite chapters to write in Triumph Over Abuse was Chapter 5, Taking Back Control of your Mind. The mind control tactics that many abusers use to gain and maintain power of their partners are one of the lesser known aspects of abusive relationships. And yet, this aspect abuse can have a powerful influence on survivors' recovery processes.
Learning to identify potentially negative thought patterns, correct faulty belief systems that hinder your progress, and build new, growth-promoting belief systems all can be critical parts of healing from past abuse.
For many survivors, taking back control of their minds is a significant step toward healing. This is a process, however, and not just a one-time event. Building more positive, empowering thinking patterns and underlying belief systems takes time, but being intentional in this area can be extremely valuable in the overall healing journey.
Check out the videos of the speakers from the Triumph Over Abuse Virtual Launch Event!
I was so grateful for the wonderful turnout at last week's virtual book launch event for Triumph Over Abuse! If you missed the event or would like to re-listen to the talks from any of the speakers, the videos are now available for viewing on Facebook and YouTube playlists.
I'll also post all of the videos below so you can see them all together!
First, Dr. Allison Crowe shared a bit about the history of our See the Triumph campaign:
Next, we heard from Heather Evans, who is the Editor at Routledge Mental Health, who publised the book:
The next speaker was Catherine Johnson, who is the Director of the Guilford County Family Justice Center, where I'll be donating 20% of my author's royalties from the book:
After that, Dr. Shanita Brown shared tips for how people can support a loved one who is facing the journey of recovering from past abuse:
And finally, I shared some of my own reflections on the book, including insights into how survivors of abuse can overcome common misconceptions about abusive relationships & the recovery process:
Overall, I was so thankful for the opportunity to celebrate the launch of Triumph Over Abuse. Thanks to all who came to the live program, as well as to those who are checking out these videos at a later time!
I was so excited when I found out the timing that Triumph Over Abuse would be published on December 30th. Right before the New Year started, this timing seemed perfect to me since one of my most important goals for writing this book was to provide hope and inspiration to help survivors of past abuse begin to dream again and build hope for a more positive future.
Whether or not you're a fan of New Year's resolutions like I am, the start of a new year offers a great opportunity for envisioning a more positive future, whatever that means to you. As 2021 gets started today, take some time for self-reflection, dreaming, and even possibly starting to plan to put your dreams into action.
The quote featured here, "Start with your hopes and dreams, and then start fleshing those out and mapping out a plan to turn them into achievable goals," comes from p. 143 in Chapter 9, "Building a Strong Foundation for Your Finances and Career," in Triumph Over Abuse.
Learning to set and maintain healthy boundaries can be complicated for survivors of abusive relationships, especially in the aftermath of consistent boundary crossings by abusers. In Triumph Over Abuse, I talk a lot about how important it is to practice healthy boundary-setting as part of the abuse recovery process. This helps survivors both distance themselves from toxic people and make room for healthy relationships with friends, family members, and even possibly a new romantic relationship.
This quote, "Healthy boundaries are about making efforts to both keep bad things out and let good things in," can be found on page 46 in Chapter 3 on Surrounding Yourself with the Right Support.
Coping with Loneliness
In my blog post last week, I shared how presenting a recent program on loneliness led me to reflect on how loneliness is a common experience for people who are currently in or facing the aftermath of an abusive relationship. Although loneliness is a universal experience that virtually everyone will face from time to time, it’s also an uncomfortable--and sometimes--painful experience.
Working through uncomfortable emotions is an important--yet challenging--part of the process of recovering from past abuse. Loneliness is an especially uncomfortable emotion, in particular because it can involve thinking patterns that, left unchecked, can lead to a cycle of more isolation and even greater feelings of loneliness. (You can learn more about the “Loneliness Loop” in the Healthy Relationships Initiative program by clicking here.)
There are healthy ways to cope with loneliness, which include the following:
First, know when to reach out for help. If your feelings of loneliness are very distressing or lead you to feeling hopeless, it’s important to seek professional help. You can find directories of counselors and therapists here.
Second, work on your own personal growth, including intentionally striving to be comfortable with alone time and enjoying your own company. It’s also important to work on your thought patterns and self-talk that may be leading you to self-isolate or self-sabotage when it comes to building new connections with others.
And third, take small but meaningful steps toward fostering connections with others. This could include reaching out to a friend or family member you haven’t seen in a while, joining new groups in your community to expand your social network, and practicing basic relationship skills that can be helpful across many different types of relationships.
Finally, work to overcome the stigma surrounding loneliness. Remind yourself that when you feel lonely, you’re experiencing something that’s a natural part of life. You don’t need to add any more shame or embarrassment to the mix by pressuring yourself to get over your feelings or pretend they’re not there. Take time to reflect on what your emotions can teach you about the types of connections you want to have in your life (including with others and yourself) and then identify steps you can take to build those connections.
How can survivors find a counselor to help them along the journey of recovering from past abuse?
Counseling can be a helpful source of support along the journey of recovering from a past abusive relationship. However, unfortunately, many counselors lack sufficient training to understand the dynamics of abusive relationships and fully consider the safety implications that could impact survivors' emotional and physical safety during the counseling process.
Survivors can advocate for themselves and ask questions to help determine if a particular counselor is the right fit for them. Some questions to consider asking a prospective counselor include the following:
In addition to these questions, it's important to consider your overall "fit" with a particular counselor and how comfortable you'd feel to talk with them and seek their support throughout your healing process.
It's critical to get the support you need as you work through all the ups and downs of the aftermath of an abusive relationship. This includes family, friends, and professionals who understands the dynamics of abuse and can provide adequate support. It's worth some extra effort to ask questions and get the information you need to ensure that you have the right people in your corner.
This blog post was adapted from a previous post I wrote for the See the Triumph campaign. To learn more, check out the whole post here: http://www.seethetriumph.org/blog/finding-a-counselor-who-is-competent-to-serve-survivors.