When we mention the word "abuse," we automatically think of sexual and physical abuse because that is the most obvious form. We often don't consider that emotional abuse can be just as harmful to a woman's sense of well-being. Many of us have heard the saying: "Sticks and stones may break my bones, but words will never hurt me."That is an outrageous lie! Rudyard Kipling said, "Words are the most powerful drug known to humanity." How true that is, and abusers use them as extremely effective weapons in their arsenal. Hurtful and demeaning words sear themselves into an abused woman's brain, into her subconscious, and effectively reorganizes and damages her thought processes. Until you recognize the signs of abuse and make the difficult decision to leave the relationship behind, or at least begin to contemplate the possibility, you can't move forward toward a new life. Take the time to examine your intimate relationship and determine whether or not, somewhere deep inside, something needs to change and give yourself permission to use the information you find in this book as a guide to help you break the cycle of abuse and reclaim your life. Use the personal 12-step program as a tool to help you to heal and grow as you become the new you. Let this book be your inspiration to make a significant, perhaps long overdue, change in your life. What a wonderful opportunity you have to start from the beginning again!
Preface Acknowledgements Introduction Part 1: Surveying the Landscape Growing Pains The Awakening Part 2: Digging Deep Exploring the Signs, A to Z The Excavation Process My Story Part 3: Transitioning Gathering Courage Protecting Yourself Naomi Aas Story Part 4: Shedding the Old, Embracing the New Welcoming Change Believing That Hope Abounds Angelaas Story Part 5: Navigating the Reconstruction Process Engaging in Self-Work Your Personal 12-Step Program 1. Practicing Self-love 2. Examining Your Limiting Beliefs 3. Using Creative Visualization 4. Training the Subconscious Mind 5. Choosing Healthy Relationships 6. Nourishing the Inner You 7. Surviving Financially 8. Building Self-esteem 9. Seeking Guidance 10. Trusting Your Intuition 11. Nurturing your own Beauty 12. Forgiving Yourself Naomi Bas Story Part 6: Completing the Cycle Cherishing Being Alone Celebrating Your Strengths Felicityas Story Part 7: Taking Flight Exhaling Radiating Courage Spreading Your Wings and Moving On Part 8: Taking Time to Reflect and Contemplate (Workbook Section, Parts 2 to 7) Appendix 1: Safety Checklist Appendix 2: Crisis Hotlines Resources