creative recovery from abuse
In 2016, I left an emotionally abusive relationship. I was 41 years old at the time, and it wasn't my first time surviving a toxic romantic relationship. For a long time, I felt lost, angry, and hopeless, struggling to find some meaning for what I had experienced. Back then, I didn't realize exactly how common of an experience relationship abuse was; today, I have an abundance of clarity. Abuse is all around us. While we can't control the abuse itself, we can control our response to it once we fully understand it is there. I started RED FLAG CONVERSATIONS to help others escape the pain like I did.
Up until that moment in my life, I had written for therapeutic reasons, but after I left that abusive situation, I finally found a way to turn my therapeutic writing into something that could help others. So, several months into my recovery, I set out to write my book, Red Flag Conversations, as a way to help others cope creatively with their own experiences.
I experienced many obstacles along the way, but I thrived through it all once I finished writing that final chapter in the summer of 2020—four years after I started my new life. In the months since then, I let my lack of confidence in how far I'd come hold me back from continuing my mission, but I woke up one morning in 2021 with a renewed sense of purpose: if I can help someone else live a better life after the nightmare of abuse, then my pain could have a worthwhile purpose.
it all started with a conversation
I left my abusive relationship before I realized I had been abused. However, shortly after that, two friends of mine sat me down and became my truth-tellers. You see, they weren't outsiders to my situation—they had also been friends with my abuser, and they had started to recognize that he was causing me an extraordinary amount of pain through emotional abuse. I sat and listened to what they had to say, and it all became clear. In a way, they engaged me in my first RED FLAG CONVERSATION.
After I left that day, I started researching everything they told me about, and I wandered upon a book called Psychopath Free by Jackson MacKenzie. That was where I found all my answers. As I read through all the red flags he listed in the book, I checked off so many boxes of red flags my abuser had set off. That was the moment it really sank in that my ex-boyfriend had emotionally abused me.