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Tears and Healing
The Journey to the Light after an Abusive Relationship
by Richard Skerritt

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Another Take On Detaching
(from chapter 4 of Tears and Healing )

We can tell that detaching is something important in dealing with a troubled spouse or significant other. But what exactly is it?

Al-Anon teaches it by example, but in Al-Anon stories, the situation doesn't seem to get much better from it. Al-Anon never tells you what to do (which is itself troubling for some people), but the overwhelming bulk of its teaching by example suggests that people should stay in unhealthy situations. In Al-Anon stories, detaching seems to be primarily a way to endure in a situation that is harmful and depriving to us. Is this what detaching is all about?

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Really, detaching is only one piece in the puzzle of who you are and what you need. Detaching is a tool or a skill. You may choose, like many in the Al-anon stories, to use it so that you can bear to stay indefinitely in a sick relationship. But for most people, detaching should become a shield - a barrier between you and the hurtful behavior that you live with. It buys you safety and emotional space in which YOU can exist, in which YOU can begin to live your feelings, rather than your partner's.

Tears and Healing shows how detaching fits into the bigger process of getting grounded in reality again, finding out who you are, dealing with your love for your troubled partner, fighting through your sense of obligation, and making changes for a better life.


Relationship Pack
4 Books to Understand and Deal with a Disordered Other
by Richard Skerritt
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What is detaching?

In my view, detaching sits right up there with the great mythologies of mental illness in families. I hear over and over, things like: "I know I need to detach," as if it the action were some kind of magical elixir that makes an intolerable situation tolerable. Does "detach" mean to enter some kind of hypnotic trance where the brutality and deprivation of a sick living situation don't hurt? Not.

Detaching is just a step along the dimension toward living independently of a hurtful person. To detach means to break your emotional dependence on another person, without necessarily changing your physical proximity to that person. It's a way of building emotional space when don't have the physical space.


The Metaphysics of Detaching 1 The Metaphysics of Detaching 2

What is Detaching?

Meaning Tears and Healing - The Journey to the Light after an Abusive Relationship explains what detaching really means, and what you need to do preserve yourself in the face of controlling abusive treatment. Detaching isn't magic, but it gives you space to think and assess what's happening. More about this book.

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About the Author

Richard Skerritt is a writer, inventor, engineer, and athlete. A survivor of a marriage that turned abusive, he forged a path through confusion, love, obligation, and emotional damage to safety and truer life. His experience and insight, shared in Tears and Healing, originated in his contributions to online support groups for people in relationships with a partner who has borderline personality disorder. He has been a respected contributor and mentor in these groups for the past four years. His writing and publishing work now includes six books (see them all here)and he continues to help people through books, phone consultation, and daily email messages. Not a mental health professional, his perspectives and guidance "from the inside out" have been especially relevant for people in abusive relationships.  More information about Richard is here.

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How does detaching affect a marriage?

Dimensions of Detaching 1 Dimensions of Detaching 2

Relationship Pack
4 Books to Understand and Deal with a Disordered Other
by Richard Skerritt
$90.00 -Softcover -
 by mail
$90.00 -E-book -
 by email, immediately
$108.00 -Quick-Pack -
e-book and softcover

Can you detach from the disease and not the person?

Detaching and Disease 1 Detaching and Disease 2
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Editorial Reviews of Tears and Healing

Reviewer: J. Paul Shirley, MSW - Co-Author: Stop Walking on Eggshells Workbook 

I highly recommend Richard's book, Tears and Healing. His writing is clear, and although his words are written with gentleness, he pulls absolutely no punches about dealing with the hard facts about BPD and its effects on everyone. Some people say there is a reason for the pain we go through having a partner with BPD, and in Richard's case I agree. He has a gift for lending a helping hand for others trying to walk that painful path. I don't generally get excited about new books on BPD, but Richard's left me feeling good & that's a rare gift for a writer to have.

Reviewer: Sam Vaknin - Author: Malignant Self Love - Narcissism Revisited

There are bookshelves upon bookshelves of professional, scholarly, and utterly inaccessible literature about abusive relationships. Those who need it the most - the traumatized victims - are locked out by the jargon and the lack of practical advice. Recently, survivors and victims have taken matters into their own hands and have published their own books, replete with first hand experiences and tips. Tears and Healing is a fine specimen of such writing: sensitive, attuned to the emotional and pragmatic needs of the survivors, both deep and accessible, a helpful guide to the traumatic aftermath of abuse.

Reviewer: Randi Kreger - Coauthor: Stop Walking on Eggshells and the Stop Walking on Eggshells Workbook; Owner: http://BPDCentral.com .

In Tears and Healing, Richard21CP takes us along on his personal journey from his “lightbulb experience” to making painful decisions about his marriage to a woman with borderline personality disorder. It takes courage for non-BP partners to understand and take responsibility for their own role in the “borderline dance,” and even more courage to write about it. Richard has done both.

Reviewer: Darla Boughton, Manager of Narcissistic Abuse Recovery/Psychopath forum (4000+ members)

Tears and Healing is a must read for anyone involved in a devastating relationship with a personality disordered partner. It is a must-have, top-notch, first-aid kit to understanding the emotional devastation such a relationship causes. The author reveals his first-hand experience and knowledge. Let Richard's words reveal how to reclaim your sanity in an insane interaction with a disordered partner.


How Do I Cope with this Abusive Relationship?

Tears and Healing - the Path to the Light after an Abusive Relationship explores the feelings, issues, and decisions that we face in an abusive relationship. Brings out the issues of reconnecting with your reality; detaching from the abusive treatment; understanding how the disorder affects you; dealing with love and attraction; obligation to marriage; and healing the hurt of the abuse. More about this book.

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your abusive intimate Relationship

Reader Reviews of Tears and Healing

Reviewer: Pamela

I just started reading Richard's book, Tears and Healing. It is excellent. Over the years I have been in and out of the mental health offices of many professionals. I kept wanting to know how to get beyond the hurt, the heart over-ruling my head...how to say enough is enough. As I started reading the pages of this book...for the first time I felt a weight being lifted off of me. Those mental health people hadn't lived with someone with a personality disorder. They couldn't identify with me. So...here's to you Richard. Your book is excellent and I recommend it to anyone who wants to get off this merry-go-round and to start healing their wounds.

Reviewer: Lynn from Massachusetts

I wanted to let you know how much I have appreciated your book, Tears and Healing. It is written with such insight, reflection, and courage. Once I started reading it, I couldn't put it down- I just received it Thursday afternoon, and was finished with it by Friday morning. My close friend has been trying to "tough it out" with his BPD (borderline personality disorder) wife until the kids are grown. Your book has shed so much light on her condition, the way he has been treated, and the way he has been coping. It also shows that there can be light at the end of the tunnel, if he lets himself listen to his Soul's messages to him.

After reading your book, and seeing that you were able to start a new life away from the stress and abuse of your marriage, my heart feels lighter. My spirit knows what kind of positive intention to hold for my friend- that he listen to his Soul's messages. Again, thank you for the candor, wisdom, and openness of your beautiful and empowering book. I know that many lives have been and are going to be touched, healed, and inspired because of it.

Reviewer: Cobalt

I originally hesitated to buy your book, because I thought it was geared to those ready to leave their borderline (personality disorder) partner. I think I feared being influenced to leave when I wasn't ready, a sure sign of my shaky boundaries. But I bought it, read it and feel I have benefited tremendously. A wet noodle, such as I, needed to hear it laid out plain: you're being abused and this is what happens to your psyche while you're being abused!. As a result of reading your book, other boundaries books, and my support group, that little washed out me is starting to stand up. I am working toward becoming the person I want to be in OR out of this relationship. There has been no miracle here, just a firmer awareness that I can teach him how I want to be treated. If he can't accept the stronger me, then so be it. At least I will know I have done everything I could to stay healthy while staying with my borderline husband. Thank you for writing your book, Richard. It is empathic and inspiring.

Reviewer: Kathy

Richard, I received your book on Friday. I began reading and finished it Saturday. It was absolutely wonderful! My husband and I are both dedicated Christians. I have been abused for over 23 years of the marriage but I was "committed" and "obligated" due to religious reasons as you addressed. Finally, I heard on a Christian radio station that if sex between a couple was not mutual then it wasn't right. I thought I had been the "submissive" dutiful Christian wife, but I had not had anyone to talk to and so did not know. I began seeing a therapist who was great and validated my feelings. She was a Christian, too.  I found out that my husband had a personality disorder. After gallons of tears over the years - like you, I tear up over simple things, music, the National Anthem, tender things - I finally became strong enough to see an attorney. I filed for divorce in May of this year. I am now seeing another therapist (a Christian, too) who is supportive as well.

I know it will take a lot of time to heal. I have begun, but true healing will only begin when I can finally be totally away from him. Thank you so much for your book. I have highlighted so many of the pages. And I will be reading them over and over again.

Reviewer: Denise

Richard,   Gratefully, I found your book using a search for Al-Anon. I have done extensive forms of inner-work and am intimately familiar with 12-step recovery programs.  Yet, I have found myself experiencing feelings in my current, soon to be past, relationship that I have not been able to understand or reference.The excerpts from your book, unlike most, reached out and grabbed a part of my soul that is searching for answers and understanding.The depth, as well as the honesty, with which you address the issues and feelings of living in an abusive relationship spoke to me in a way I haven't heard in a while.What I appreciated the most is the level of responsibility you encourage your reader to take in the journey of healing.Thank you for that.Amidst the anger and the anxiety, I hear the calling to learn more and love myself on a much deeper level than I have in the 13 years I have been on the path to wholeness.Thank you for your resonating messages of truth and wisdom, support and care.


 Books on Abusive Relationships by
Richard Skerritt 


Why They
do It

Meaning from
Madness - $20
Your Feelings
and Decisions

Tears and Healing - $24
Overcoming
Love

In Love and Loving
It - or Not! - $14
Seeing the
Big Picture

Tears & Healing
Reflections - $24
Surviving
Divorce

Surviving the
Storm - $24
Patterns of
Dysfunction

The
Hypervigilant
Personality
$30
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