on 13 October 2004
It's My Life Now was a real find. After leaving an abusive relationship, with all the adrenalin rush and crisis support, you have to deal with the longer term effects of how the experience has changed you. How do you feel about yourself and your life, after someone has controlled and belittled you for so long?
I was very low and anxious, felt "stuck in my recovery" and knew I needed some structure to deal with these kinds of issues. I was initially wary of this book as it is American and co-written by a man, but neither was an issue.
This book is very practical, has lots of exercises and ideas of how to move on. It encourages you to assess your own progress by repeating exercises over time. It gives a very straightforward explanation for how abuse gets established, enabling you to reject the idea of blaming yourself for staying (this section is a good one to share with others who don't understand the dynamics).
What I found particularly useful was the approach of the authors - written in sympathetic, encouraging, non-judgemental and non-patronising style. This was very affirming. The sections on being let down by friends and families responses (more common than you might expect) and how to support your kids were spot-on.
Don't make the mistake, as I did to start with, of trying to read this book cover to cover. This is a book to dip into and pace yourself with. I feel I will return to it many times over the coming years.
This is also a great book for professionals who have supported women to leave abuse - to have as a lending resource. Though don't expect it back!
on 16 May 2004
I have been out of my abusive relationship for one month. This book is giving me guidance and comfort. I and my daughter are in counseling but, in between my visits, I read this book and it is so applicable to my life. I just feel like shouting to the world that I am healing and no one can stop me. I am going to be a better person than I was before my abuser came into my life. I just wanted to thank the authors of this book. You two are a God send. I can't thank you enough. I have already recommended your book to two women just getting out of an abusive relationship.
on 23 September 2004
Parts of the book were quite useful, covering, for instance, the reaction of others and the sense of loss of an intimate relationship (even a bad one) but I found most of the book pretty run-of-the-mill self-help book stuff. The 'tick-the-box rate yourself' assessments at the end of some chapters were pretty useless. 'Tick how many times each of the feelings occur' and 'rate the severity of your feelings on a scale of 0 to 10' showed nothing. The child assessment was laughable, including rating the frequency and intensity of 'not having fun' and placing an asterix by 'suicial thoughts?' to show this 'should be of great concern'.
What can I say?