It is my pleasure to introduce talented author, and friend, Kathleen Pooler. Kathy and I met online in May of 2013. We bonded when we discovered we both have a heart for domestic abuse awareness. At the time she had a memoir in progress with a theme of domestic abuse. Now I welcome the opportunity to help Kathy spread the word with her new book, Ever Faithful to His Lead: My Journey Away From Emotional Abuse. I spent the first eighteen years of my life in a loving, supportive family. My parents, Bob and Kathryn were childhood sweethearts who modeled a caring and respectful relationship. I went out into the world fully expecting I would find the same in a spouse. It was all I knew—stability, security, love.
The problem was I didn’t discern the red flags and assumed the man I chose to marry would fulfill my fantasy of happily ever after. Like my parents, “till death do you part.” Eight years later, with two young children in tow, I repeated the mistake and married a man to meet my gnawing need to be a complete family again.
I had everything I needed to make a good life for myself. Instead, I spent the next twenty-five years engulfed in the abyss of two abusive marriages, first to a man who drank too much then to a man whose untreated bipolar disorder forced me to flee in broad daylight with my two school aged children for fear of physical abuse.
I had allowed myself to be emotionally abused, bullied and brainwashed all for the sake of being a family, like my own. How had I allowed that to happen?
I explore the factors that influenced me to make these self-defeating choices in my upcoming memoir, Ever Faithful to His Lead: My Journey Away From Emotional Abuse.
Walking away required me to look at myself and accept the mistakes and missteps of my past. It forced me to come face-to-face with my vulnerabilities and flaws.
Writing my memoir helped me to heal. I found the answers to a question that had nagged at me for years:
“How does a young woman from a loving Catholic family, make so many wise choices about her career but so many poor choices about love that she ends up escaping in broad daylight with her two children from her second husband for fear of physical abuse?”
I never thought of myself as the abused wife. I studied domestic violence in my nursing program. I took care of patients who were abused. I was a strong and capable woman. Surely, I wasn’t one of those women who keep making excuses for a spouse’s outrageous behavior. Besides, I didn’t have broken bones or bruises.
Years later, I realized, abuse is not always black and blue.
*One does not have to sustain physical injury to be abused. Emotional abuse in the form of intimidation, bullying, safety threats, lying is harmful and the impact on the children of mothers who are in abusive relationships is far-reaching and damaging.
* Abuse impacts all socioeconomic groups. I was a masters-prepared nurse from a loving family and yet I got into two emotionally abusive marriages. *Denial and magical thinking can keep one from recognizing abusive behavior and taking action.
*Emotional abuse can lead to physical abuse. According to the National Coalition of Domestic Violence Awareness, “One in every four women will experience domestic violence in her lifetime; 1.3 million women are victims of physical assault by an intimate partner each year; Most cases of domestic violence are never reported.”
These are staggering statistics of epidemic proportion.
I was able to rescue myself from two abusive marriages. My greatest hope is that by offering my insights into the poor decisions I made will help others learn from my story. I found my inner strength through my faith in God and the love and support of my family and friends. My nursing career enabled me to support myself and my children.
Abuse is abuse in any form and nobody deserves to be trapped in an abusive relationship.
I want to inspire hope and action for my readers who need to tap into their own inner strength and find freedom from abuse of any kind.
Kathleen Pooler is an author and a retired Family Nurse Practitioner whose memoir, Ever Faithful to His Lead: My Journey Away From Emotional Abuse, published on July 28.2014 and work-in-progress sequel, Hope Matters: A Memoir are about how the power of hope through her faith in God helped her to transform, heal and transcend life’s obstacles and disappointments: domestic abuse, divorce, single parenting, loving and letting go of an alcoholic son, cancer and heart failure to live a life of joy and contentment. She believes that hope matters and that we are all strengthened and enlightened when we share our stories.
She lives with her husband Wayne in eastern New York.
She blogs weekly at her Memoir Writer’s Journey blog: http://krpooler.com Twitter @kathypooler https://twitter.com/KathyPooler LinkedIn: Kathleen Pooler: https://www.linkedin.com/pub/kathleen-pooler/16/a95/20a Google+:Kathleen Pooler: https://plus.google.com/109860737182349547026/posts Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/user/show/4812560-kathleen-pooler Facebook: Personal page, Kathy Pooler : https://www.facebook.com/kathleen.pooler Author page: Kathleen Pooler/Memoir Writer’s Journey:
http://www.amazon.com/Kathleen-Pooler/e/B00GIBCKQC. Pinterest: http://www.pinterest.com/krpooler/
One of her stories “The Stone on the Shore” is published in the anthology: “The Woman I’ve Become: 37 Women Share Their Journeys From Toxic Relationships to Self-Empowerment” by Pat LaPointe, 2012. Another story: “Choices and Chances” is published in the “My Gutsy Story Anthology” by Sonia Marsh, September, 2013.
Synopsis of Ever Faithful to His Lead: My Journey Away From Emotional Abuse
A loving family, solid career and faith cannot rescue her until she decides to rescue herself.
How does a young woman who comes from a loving, stable family make so many wise choices when it comes to career, but so many wrong choices when it comes to love, so that she ends up sacrificing career and having to flee with her children from an abusive marriage? What is getting in her way and why does she keep taking so many self-defeating detours?
As the oldest child, Kathy became the caretaker for her three younger siblings. Praised for her maturity and reliability, she saw caretaking as a positive quality and enjoyed her role as the wise older sister. It seemed natural to choose nursing as a profession so she could continue in a role that seemed familiar and satisfying—the helper. Her Catholic faith instilled a need to be selfless so when she fell in love with Ed after being rejected by Chuck, she dismissed his drinking as a temporary issue that would resolve over time. She agreed to marry him and dedicated herself to the sacrament of marriage despite glaring evidence of potential problems his drinking would create.
Growing up as a “cradle Catholic”, she took her faith for granted, complying with the rituals and obligations without fully participating in their intentions—to bring her into a closer personal relationship with God.
When it becomes evident that Ed’s drinking is interfering with their ability to provide their two children with a safe environment, she commits herself to a plan to live life independently. Her drive to attain her Master’s Degree in Nursing is supported by her parents but her gnawing dependency to love and be loved clashes with this fierce drive for independence. When her growing anger culminates in an unexpected action on her part, she begins to see the beginning of the end of their marriage.
After leaving Ed she sets out to learn her new role of a single parent of a three and one year old, relying on her career.
In a moment of desperation as a single parent, she calls out to God and He answers. A gift of prophecy which comes to her after a week-long Life in the Spirit seminar carries her and the children through her next move to another state and a top level nursing administrative position. For a while. Eight months later she is forced to move again.
With this second move, the vulnerabilities of single parenting, being far from her roots and the stressors of top level management positions converge and obscure her sense of reason. She falls prey to her own needs to revert to the familiar—an intact family unit—and falls in love with the first man she meets her first day on her new job.
As a neophyte in her new faith, she once again dismisses the red flags and sets out to have it her way, marrying this man who is far worse than the one she left eight years before. This leads her right into the throes of another emotionally-abusive relationship. When she senses a threat of physical abuse, she flees in the middle of the day to the safety of a friend’s hidden garage behind the Ace Hardware store in a small town 1800 miles from her family.
The story opens the day of this escape and she is forced to examine what has led to this point.
She must make a decision—face her self-defeating patterns that have led her to this situation and move on or repeat her mistakes. Her life and the lives of her two children are dependent upon the choices she makes from this point forward.
Themes: Codependency, abuse, loving an alcoholic, divorce/ single-parenting, the role of Catholic faith (positive and negative) and the role of nursing career in influencing these issues.