On Relationship and Recovery
Review posted May 30, 2009.
Bob Adams Publishers, Holbrook, Massachusetts, 1993. 260 pages.
I have now read all of Patricia Evans' books on verbally abusive relationships. All are very helpful for shedding light on a problem that's surprisingly hard to recognize when you're in the middle of it.
In Verbal Abuse Survivors Speak Out, Patricia Evans takes from the thousands of letters she has received from verbal abuse survivors after she wrote the book The Verbally Abusive Relationship. She writes:
I receive between one hundred and two hundred letters and notes a month from the survivors of verbally abusive relationships. I read every single one. Some survivors had been so devalued and undermined that they have even requested permission to send their thoughts and feelings on the subject. Some letters are more than twenty pages long. As I read these letters, I am often overwhelmed by the suffering they express. Never would I have dreamt that there were so many, in so much pain, so silently enduring. I am moved by the spirit of their quest for understanding and freedom from abuse and I am grateful and touched that they have taken their time to tell me their stories. Often they do so, as they say, ". . . in case it may help someone else."
Anyone who has been or is in a verbally abusive relationship can read this book to know they are not alone. Patricia Evans also uses the letters of verbal abuse survivors in order to illuminate and understand the problem.
If you are being devalued, undermined, accused, or defined, you are being verbally abused. If your partner tries to tell you what your motives and thoughts are, you are being verbally abused. The problem is real, and the problem is widespread. And Patricia Evans' books are helpful for survivors to understand how best to deal with the abuse.
Besides talking about the abuse and ways to deal with it, she also covers healing, recovery, and support, including a chapter of affirmations to build back up your spirit.
I like her concluding paragraph:
We have been on a long journey with the Survivors. They have spoken their truth with strength and determination, and in so doing they have given us a vision of freedom. And even now, as this book ends, a new journey begins. This journey is a movement toward awareness, meaning, and purpose; it is founded upon the infinite value of the human spirit. To join in this journey, all we must do is speak our truth with courage and strength. Truth is what dispels the prejudice, shatters the illusions, and breaks the bonds of verbal abuse.
This echoes the Bible verse, "You will know the truth, and the truth will make you free." Amen.