Why We Wrote This Book
Prior to writing this book, we (Jill Cory and Karen McAndless-Davis) had both been leading support groups for women experiencing abuse from their partners. We saw how women’s lives transformed when they had access to support and accurate information about abuse. It saddened us to realize that this empowering material was not otherwise available for women. We knew that having the right information could make all the difference. In response, we wrote this book to help women answer the multitude of questions that come with living with an abusive partner.
An excerpt from our book
Love is meant to be supportive. We expect our partners to provide strength and comfort to us. But what happens when love hurts? What if your partner betrays your love by hurting you through his words or actions? You may feel confused, angry, sad or even depressed. It can be hard to know what to do or who to talk to. Perhaps you’ve told yourself, “My situation is not that bad” or “I’m exaggerating the problem.” Maybe others have told you that your experiences are part of the normal ups and downs of a relationship. Maybe you think that the problem lies with you and you’re the one who needs to change. You may have tried many times to make changes within your relationship, but you continue to be hurt.
You are not alone. In this book, you will meet other women who have been betrayed and hurt by their partners. You will hear these women describe the pain and confusion of their relationships and their journeys to find answers. We hope that their stories will help you to feel connected with others. We also hope that this book will help you to make sense of your own relationship.
The first edition
Since we published our first edition in 2000, what we’ve heard most often from women is that this book has been lifesaving. We have repeatedly seen that the book helps women to gain new insights into abuse, which can literally save women’s lives. Equally important, women tell us the book has ‘saved their sanity’. Abuse can be so confusing, overwhelming and isolating. Women often tell us that they feel like they are going crazy and the book helps them to see that they are not alone, not to blame and not crazy.
I received this book when I was in a women’s shelter. This book helped me understand what happened to me and why. It helped me realize I am not alone, and all of my reactions – confusion, fear, anger and sadness – are normal responses to being abused. This book should be given to every woman in the world who is experiencing abuse. I believe it is essential and makes the transition to recovery and freedom less scary. What I would say to other women is that I know how much it hurts, I know how scary it is and that others on the outside do not always understand. This book gives you all the answers for yourself, and for your friends and family to help you through this. Be strong, you deserve better and you are worth it. – Tammy
The second edition
Since this book first came out, more than forty thousand copies have found their way into woman’s hands, and we have received a steady flow of enthusiastic appreciation from readers. With encouragement and feedback from women, we published a 2nd edition in 2008, adding new material. It has been so gratifying to see how many women have used our book to change their lives.
A new chapter on Grief and Healing
When we shared the first edition of this book with our focus groups, women told us that we needed a chapter about rebuilding and healing from abuse. That chapter was not in us at the time. At that point, we felt that each woman’s journey to safety and wholeness was profoundly unique, and we didn’t see the commonalities. Since that time, however, we have had the privilege of staying in touch with women for longer periods of time. Now that we have walked alongside women for years, common threads have emerged. The new chapter, like the rest of the book, is a reflection back to women of what we have learned from them.
The third edition
We know that many more women do not have enough information or support, and we wanted to make this book more widely available. From a modest beginning of self-publishing, we are now delighted that our book is being published by Penguin Random House.We hope that this updated and expanded version will reach even more women, offering affirmation and hope.
The latest edition has added sections. One important addition addresses the challenges that women face as mothers when they are trying to protect their children. Women are asked to take on the impossible responsibility of shielding their children from the effects of witnessing their father abusing their mother. We recognize how hard women are working to protect their children, and women need the support of professionals and authorities to ensure that they are safe and they can protect their children from the abusing partner.
In the 3rd edition, we have also addressed the links between woman abuse, substance use and mental health concerns. We are concerned that many women with experiences of abuse are mis-diagnosed with addiction or mental health concerns when, in fact, these are normal responses to coping with and surviving abuse.