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

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Healing from Abuse
(from chapter 7 of Tears and Healing)

Of all the tasks that we face in emerging from an abusive relationship, healing the damage from the abuse is the most difficult and the task that inevitably takes the longest. Our finances can be rebuilt; our emotions will rebound; bruises will heal; new friends can be made; new partners found.

But those anguishing memories; those painful thoughts about ourselves; these are difficult to escape. It can be done. But it takes time. And it takes work, and a determination to heal.

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Abuse hurts. It hurts a lot. But the healing task is not so much about the pain. Because, in our minds, each abusive act is a message we recieve about us. It doesn't make a lot of difference if the act is physical, verbal, sexual, emotional, social, financial or whatever. From the healing perspective, each abusive act done to me is burned into my memory. And each carries with a message - a message that I am unworthy. A message that I deserve to be treated with contempt. A message that my feelings don't matter; that my needs don't matter. A message that I am worthless, of no consequence, and little more than a source of pain for my partner.

And all of these message are lies - vicious, hurtful lies. And over time these messages build up in our memories, until the real truth about what we are becomes overwritten with abusive lies. When we think about ourselves, when we react to events or people around us, we begin to react in the context of this mass of abusive distortions - in effect, the we begin to feel about ourselves to match the way we have been abused. And because all this is based on memory, and because our memory is very long-lasting, the effect of abuse on us goes on and on long after we escape from the abusive treatment.

How can we heal these terribles hurts?

Meaning Tears and Healing - The Journey to the Light after an Abusive Relationship explains that the injuries from abuse are in our memory. Abuse fills our memory with powerful messages that we are worthless. To heal, we need new, healthy memories to dilute and replace the hurtful ones. More about this book.

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Within in each of us is a beautiful, loving spirit. The truth about each of us that we are giving, caring, intelligent individuals; people with so much to give and so much potential in life. This is our truth. The details will vary from one person to another, but each us has a rich and precious spirit that needs and deserves to be seen, to be cherished, and be free to guide us in a loving and fulfilled life.

To heal the abuse, we have to over-write those abusive lies in our memory. We have to explore the truth of our inner spirit (Chapter 4.) We have to learn, with help from others, the things that make each of us precious, learn how to say, "I am a precious and wonderful person." And we need to say it, and hear it, over and over again.

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Just as our abusers worked over time to program our minds with lies, we have to work to re-program our minds with truth. People say that time heals all wounds. NOT! Healing takes work; healing takes determination. We know that we have been deeply wounded by the abuse. To heal, we have to accept to that there is long work ahead of us in healing. But it can be done. And even better, it need not be done alone. There are many, many others with experiences very much like ours, people who also face a long healing path. These people are there today, ready to embrace me, ready to embrace you, and share the burden of re-learning what we are truly about.

But let's be honest. Safety is a prerequisite. There is no way we can undo the damage from abuse that is still going on. We cannot hope to save ourselves from damage at the same time are choosing to accept more damage. If you are still in an abusive situation, read on. I hope it will empower you. Certainly you can do some good for yourself, whatever your circumstance. But is your goal is to heal; to be happy; to fulfill your potential in life; to become all you can become... then you will have to free yourself from the abuse.

Relationship Pack
4 Books to Understand and Deal with a Disordered Other
by Richard Skerritt

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And, to make real progress in healing, we have to be working on putting some other emotional things in order. We need to have re-established contact with healty people, honestly discussing our experiences, so that we can establish a solid understanding of what is right and wrong in what has been happening (Chapter 2.) We need a good grounding in how a personality disordered person behaves; some idea of what motivates them in these behaviors; and a grasp of how we, in coping with them, play a part in the dance of that disease (Chapter 3.) Often we struggle with powerful feelings of love that draw and bind us to our abusive partner, Understanding what these in-love feelings are about, and how being in-love is different from having a loving relationship is critical to overcoming these powerful bonds (Chapter 5.) And we need to face our pre-conceptions about obligation - those beliefs that we have to stay and take it because... well, we think we have to. Peeling back these accepted mandates and figuring out what is really important is critical (Chapter 6.)

In this chapter, I explain how I envision our minds working. Then I'll explain how abuse sets our minds against us, and the pain that results. Finally, I'll tell you how I think we can work to heal that damage. The title section talks about how our spirit helps to guide us towards areas of our lives that we haven't properly nurtured, and the role that tears (oh, so many tears) play in our healing. Finally I share my own learning about me need for someone to appreciate my love and care, and how music opened my eyes to that.

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, 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.

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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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

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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