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

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Feeling that you have to stay -
Obligation: The Hook

(from chapter 6 of Tears and Healing)

Obligation is often the glue that sticks us into abusive relationships. Many of us get into our relationships because we fall in love, or to fill in missing or denied parts of our whole self. But even after we figure out that our partner has narcissistic personality disorder, borderline personality disorder, alcoholism, or antisocial personality disorder, we end up staying in them because of obligation.

Obligation, quite simply, is the thought that we must do something because of a requirement or expectation of someone or something that is outside our own needs and wants. And often, our concepts of obligation run completely contrary to our needs. We know we want something else; we know we need something else; but we persist in what we're doing because we believe that we must. Thus, obligation, together with fear, is what hooks us in and locks us down in hurtful relationships.

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My thoughts on these issues have been shaped by Peck's writing and by Al-anon books. But just as important is the personal insight I've gained from working through my own obligation issues, and helping others on my support lists work through theirs.

It seems like feelings of obligation comes in four basic flavors. The biggest two are the feeling of obligation to stay faithful for life to a spouse, and the feeling of obligation to maintain an intact family for the benefit of children. Notice I said "feeling of obligation" and not just "obligation. Why? Because these are, for most people, more feelings or beliefs than they are true obligations. Whoa! What am I saying here?


Why do we Stay?

Meaning Tears and Healing - The Journey to the Light after an Abusive Relationship helps you explore the reasons and beliefs that make you feel obligated to stay in a hurtful relationship. Some reasons are real, but some beliefs come from fear. Examining these can help you evaluate the options for you and your children. More about this book.

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Obligation is a true external compulsion, like paying income tax. Don't do it, and someone will come and take you to jail. Feelings of obligation come from within. They represent our belief system, but just as often, they are unchallenged assumptions that we make. That's right. We actually create our own "obligations" by thinking or surmising that others expect us to do something.

This takes us to the last two flavors of obligation. First is the feeling that "they" need me to maintain some state of quality. Who are "they"? Good question. This was a fallacy I found in my own value system. I had this idea that everyone around me had expectations of me. It turns out not. These exist in our minds only. And last, comes the idea of obligation to me, to myself. This is an area where many of us fall down. We forget to weigh in with what our responsibility to ourselves is.

In this chapter I address all four of these areas, and share a little of my own struggle to reconcile my expectations and obligations with what my spirit was calling for.


Relationship Pack
4 Books to Understand and Deal with a Disordered Other
by Richard Skerritt
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Selected Pages from Tears and Healing

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What is Borderline Personality Disorder?

Meaning from Madness - Understanding the Hidden Patterns that Motivate Abusers: Narcissists, Borderlines, and Sociopaths - Do you know what drives someone with borderline personality disorder? Did you know how much borderline personality disorder overlaps with narcissism? This book explains the simple psychological driving force that defines these diseases, the irrational actions of borderlines and narcissists, their treatment prospects, and the impact of alcohol abuse. It explains the overlap/relationship of narcissism with borderline personality disorder and sociopathy. 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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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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Light Bulb Pack
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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
Click a cover for more info...              Get three or more books together in a package  and save.

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