Today I am joined by motivatonal speaker, mentor and author Hayley Wheeler. It is a pleasure to have Hayley as a guest as we connected way before Isolation Junction was released and she has encouraged and discussed with me on occasion the topic we share. I have read her book which is spoken about below and I found it easy to read and can be read in bitesize chunks. Having gone through abuse myself and following the road I am on today, with the research and courses etc, I found some of the content of general knowlege. This would have been perfect for me coming out of an abusive relationship and would have helped the building of my self confidence a lot quicker then it has. I will hand over to Hayley now and let her tell us about her and what she does.
Hi, I’m Hayley Wheeler and I am the author of Emotional First Aid – life after domestic abuse. It’s not only a self help book, to me it symbolises freedom in my life, writing this book gave me the self belief and confidence to leave my job to become a life coach and empower other people. I am also a mother of four children and place self empowerment high on my parenting priority list.
The birth of this book is a bit of a funny story. I was facilitating a course for female victims of domestic abuse and was asked to create a trifold leaflet so they had something to take away with them at the end. For two weeks straight, once the children were in bed I wrote and wrote and wrote until the early hours of the morning. After the first few days I realised I was past the trifold and headed for a booklet, which eventually turned into a hundred and sixty something booklet. It was stapled together and given to the attendees. At this point I realised it was a book by most standards and I embarked on my editing and publishing journey. I spent the following two years editing and playing with words, eventually in 2012 it was published in the format you see today.
The book was written with the lady who asked for the leaflet in mind, but ultimately it is aimed at female victims of domestic abuse, women who are ready to challenge the control or are struggling to cope with the after effects of the abuse. It has also proven to be beneficial for family or friends to read as it explains the journey through meeting a perpetrator, the development of the abuse, the dynamics of the abusive relationship, staying, deciding to leave and the recovery process.
The book opens people’s minds to the complexities of an abusive relationship, to recognise that physical abuse is only one element of the relationship if it exists at all and that the control mainly comes form the emotional and psychological abuse and threats. The grooming process and the constant torrent of abuse has been likened to the brain washing in prisoner of war camps. The verbal assaults are relentless, not giving the victim time to think of anything other than the perpetrator.
When reading the book, I want women to recognise their strengths, I want them to understand the situation and be empowered to make the right choices for them. I want to reduce the feelings of shame and guilt so that they can change their situation, victims of abuse are not allowed to recognize their I want to take the reader from victim to survivor, to realise they are important and their needs are important.
Emotional First Aid – Life after Domestic Abuse offers hope, hope for the future and belief that they can change the situation for the family.
I have supported many women going through domestic abuse and emotional abuse was embedded in every one of those relationships. The emotional abuse is the foundation of the control, words are used to keep self esteem low and threats are used to keep the victim in their ‘place’. My first ever encounter with a female victim, she had been beaten to within an inch of her life, half her face was black and one of her eyes was just bloody. She admitted that the emotional abuse was far worse, she explained the words go around and around in your head whereas the bruises heal.
Violence is often used when the perpetrator feels that his words are not working and he needs to step it up a bit. I once worked with a lady who had been punched once thirty years previously but the words never stopped and were used to continue the threat for all of those years. Harsh words and threats are often enough to keep the victim fearful.
When abusive relationships end, the victim is often left broken, she remembers the abuse and the tactics used so when she meets the next potential partner she is looking for the same signs as before, often overlooking the early warning signs in the next relationship. They are often surrounded by negative people or isolated from friends and when shown some attention they immerse in it.
Until a woman learns to love herself, trust in her ability to choose the right partner and make good choices often the abusive relationships are repeated.
People find it hard to discuss domestic abuse and the book is met with a variety of reactions from non victims, some people will ask questions, others shy away and change the subject, some say the usual “if they hit me once I would leave” which sparks discussion about the complexities which is great as it allows learning to take place.
We have to remember that the victim has been brain washed to be fiercly loyal and protect the abuser, she is also defencing her choice to be in the relationship so advice is not wanted. Believe it or not there isn’t any advice in the world that can help a victim until they are ready, ready to acknowledge the abuse and ready to deal with their shame and guilt. Even though the shame and guilt are manifested by the perpetrator, she already feels a failure, telling people is making herself vulnerable to others confirming she is a failure. A victim is not failing at life, she is struggling under the weight of the constant abuse and until she recognises it there is no way in, they will defend to the end. However, once they are ready, they need to find good support and figure out what they want. The only thing I would tell someone in an abusive relationship is, they do not deserve it, they do not deserve to be treated so inhumanly, they deserve to be happy.
Thank you so much Hayley for giving us more of an insight into why you wrote your book and your thoughts on the subject. I especially agree with what you have said in the last paragraph about the victim being brainwashed. When you’re in the situation you don’t realise what is happening and before you know it you believe the world they have created for you and will do anything to keep the peace. The withdrawel from it can last years, sometimes I will still ask permission to do certain things when I no longer need to.
If you would like to ready Hayley’s book then click over here on Amazon.
If you would like to take part in a guest blog post then please get in touch with me.