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

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What the experts say / readers say about Tears and Healing. More on detaching , healing , overcoming love , obligation .

Are you being Verbally Abused?
Understand their disease. Stop the hurt. Heal the damage.
(this essay adapted from Tears and Healing Reflections)

Are you being verbally abused?
You may not know how to tell, but even worse, you may be thinking that you are the crazy one. Abusers work hard to distort our reality to make their reality feel safer.

So what is verbal abuse? Ask yourself this: does your partner hurt you repeatedly with words? Does he or she do it to satisfy their own emotional needs, or because they're out of control? Does she or he use the situation to lock you in so you have to tolerate it, or make a huge sacrifice to get away? If you see these three elements in your relationship, you are being verbally abused. The hurt of abuse can come in many ways, including physical attacks, verbal attacks, sexual attacks, withholding things we need including affection, sex, money, or contact with friends and family. Verbal abuse uses words, and often the abuser uses other types of abuse as well.

What is this Disease? Verbal abuse is a behavior, not a disease. But verbal abuse, like all kinds of abuse, is caused by an underlying disease. Healthy people might occasionally lose their temper, leading to an outburst, but a consistent pattern of hurtful verbal abuse can only be the result of a deeper problem. I help a lot of people come to grips with their hurtful situations, just as I had to come to grips with mine. At first, I thought the problem I faced was verbal abuse, and that's how I first starting finding help. But in my situation, like most, the verbal abuse was only one part of a bigger and more serious situation.

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Verbal abuse, and most other types of abuse, is caused by an underlying disorder. Most often, the disorders are borderline personality disorder, narcissistic personality disorder, or sociopathy - technically called antisocial personality disorder. Understanding what is going on in a verbally abusive situation requires understanding these disorders. This connection leads to what we sometimes call the "light bulb effect", where long-standing confusion and hurt suddenly opens up to an insight - and the first steps to protecting ourselves and to healing.

My own healing process started the day I searched for "verbal abuse" on the internet. My own discoveries and healing process unfolded over time in writing, and this today is my book, Tears and Healing. Tears and Healing, now in its sixth printing, has helped thousands of people to deal with their abusive situations, both present and past.

Why Does He/She Abuse Me?

Meaning from Madness - Understanding the Hidden Patterns that Motivate Abusers: Narcissists, Borderlines, and Sociopaths explains the simple psychological driving force that defines these diseases; what motivates them to abuse their families yet behave well in public; explains their irrational actions, their treatment prospects, and the impact of alcohol abuse combined with these disorders. It explains the overlap/relationship of narcissism, borderline personality disorder and sociopathy. More about this book.

Multiple books are available together in packages  at a savings.

Now that I spend a good deal of my time helping others, I consult with people by phone. Often, a good part of my time is devoted to explaining the underlying disorders people face: narcissism, borderline, and sociopath. I don't rely so much on the technical definitions of these illnesses. Instead I prefer to describe an underlying dynamic or driving force that motivates these ill people. After explaining this many times, I wrote Meaning from Madness, which explains what makes abusive people act as they do, explains the psychological defense mechanisms they use which cause them to see a different reality than we see, and explains how alcohol and drug use - so painfully common among them - compounds these disordered patterns.

I consider Meaning from Madness to be an essential piece of this puzzle, and there is a link to its page on the right of this paragraph. Though their actions make no sense from the perspective of a healthy person, there is something inside them that motivates them. Most abusers live with intense and terrifying fears. Events which are insignificant to normal people might trigger these fears in abusers, unleashing powerful and brutal actions on their part, unconsciously intended to reduce their fear. The intent may be to control another person, to discredit someone who seems to be criticizing the abuser, or to keep someone from leaving (abandoning) the abuser.

Stopping the hurt; Healing the Damage -
Dealing with this situation is complex, and people need some idea of "What do I do now that I know this?" For most people, there are important values, beliefs and obligations that have to be carefully thought about. Because verbal abuse is so damaging to a relationship, significant decisions have to be faced, then resolved. Tears & Healing holds a light up in this dark place. Written from the inside perspective of someone who has been through the hell of being emotionally and verbally battered by a spouse, this book addresses the major issues that we all must wrestle with.

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Tears & Healing begins with the most difficult issue: abusive partners constantly work to distort our perception of what is happening and what is right and wrong, until we doubt our own judgment so much we can't make decisions. It then addresses the process of detaching to find safe space and to regain a sense of right and wrong, and searching to understand what we, as people, need in our lives - needs that often must be simply put aside to survive in these brutal situations. It deals with love, and the conflict of being in love with someone hurtful to us. And it addresses the intense feelings of obligation that many of us have, which keep us locked in situations that are beyond what any person should endure. Tears & Healing is an intensely personal and validating guide through this maze of thoughts and emotions. The reader reviews below can give you some sense of how liberating Tears & Healing has been for many, many people.

Tears & Healing comes in all these packages
Triple Pack
A good first pkg for a romantic relationship gone bad
Relationship Pack
Triple Pack + added insight into long term
Small Storm Pack
Good first pkg for someone divorcing a Narcissist
Big Storm Pack
For long term reln w Narcissist ending in Divorce
Skerritt Pack
All my Books:
Big Storm + Way of Respect

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, daily email messages , and phone consultation. Not a mental health professional, his perspectives and guidance "from the inside out" have been especially relevant for people in abusive relationships.  More information is here.

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, Richard Skerritt 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.

Selected Pages from Tears and Healing

TAH Finding Page 1 TAH Finding Page 1

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Author's Comments 

Abuse is when someone else hurts us to serve their own needs and uses the situation to lock us in and maintain control. Abuse can be physical, emotional, verbal or sexual. My own experience was being verbally and emotionally abused. I consider my experience to be particularly brutal because my abuser sought not just control, but to emotionally destroy me.

But no matter the type or intensity of experience, I believe anyone currently in or having escaped from an abusive situation can benefit from my approaches. I worked hard to understand why I felt trapped and how I could escape. I read and studied many books on psychology and relationships. I pieced together the best ideas from these and added insight and models of my own. I've shared my experience and approaches as a mentor in online support communities since 2000. Hundreds of people in these groups have shared with me how unique and helpful my insights are. And thousands more have read and benefited from my online writings.

Getting yourself out of an abusive situation and healing the damage it has done are not small tasks. It takes time and energy. But you also need guidance in what to work on, because abusive partners deliberately distort our reality to serve their sick needs. My books, combined with continued dialog in support communities, can provide that critical compass to navigate the dark passages until the light breaks through.

I wish you good luck and Godspeed.

Richard Skerritt

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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.

Selected Pages from Meaning from Madness

The Paradox of Abusive Behavior The Paradox of Abusive Behavior

Still Struggling to Put the Pieces Together?

Tears and Healing Reflections - Insights on Abuse, the Diseases that Cause It, and the Relationships it Haunts delves deeper into the pain and paradox of an abusive relationship. It explains why we fail to understand even though we struggle; why holidays are so difficult; the relationship between borderline and narcissistic PD; defines abuse in a simple way. If you've been grappling with this difficult experience, this book can help you reach a better understanding.  More about this book.

Tears & Healing Reflections comes in the Relationship, Big Storm, or Richard Skerritt  package at a savings.

Books by Richard Skerritt:

 Books on Abusive Relationships by Richard Skerritt 
Why They
do It

Meaning from
Madness - $20
Your Feelings
and Decisions

Tears and
Healing - $24

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

Tears & Healing
Reflections - $24

Surviving the
Storm - $24
Patterns of

The Hypervigilant
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