National Domestic Violence Hotline Blog

Book Review: Healing the Trauma of Domestic Violence: A Workbook for Women

The following blog entry is written by Conrad Williams, Advocate for the National Domestic Abuse Hotline.

As a Domestic Violence Advocate, I am always searching for new material to help our callers. While browsing though Barnes and Noble one Saturday, I noticed a book I had never seen before called “Healing the Trauma of Domestic Violence”, written by Edward S. Kubany, PH.D., and published by New Harbinger ($21.95). While most books focus on red flag warnings and getting out, this book focuses on staying out and moving on with your life.

This book is a very thorough manual for moving forward. Every issue is covered and broken down on a subatomic level to set up a good foundation for understanding: PTSD, Guilt, Anger, Grief and Loss (tangible/symbolic). Every chapter has some kind of exercise to gauge your current status and also your progress. Each chapter builds on the previous one in an orderly fashion like steps in a staircase.

There is so much information in the book that I fear talking about it will give away too much. I can say however that there are a couple of chapters on understanding and letting go of guilt. There are also chapters on handling current and future interactions with former partners, going back, learned powerlessness, overcoming fear, and identifying potential perpetrators.

As an advocate I’ve already recommended this book to survivors that are trying to move forward. When I mention the title to the callers who are trying to deal with moving forward, I can literally hear a sigh of relief. The title alone is a form of validation and a catalyst for taking the next step. I also recommend this book for advocates to help understand their clients and enhance their advocacy.

I also had a chance to interview the main author of the book, Edward S. Kubany, PH.D. Mr. Kubany has an extensive amount of experience working with a variety of trauma survivors: Combat Veterans, Natural Disasters, and Battered Women. His inspiration to work with battered women started with a woman that he met while teaching a class on PTSD. This particular woman worked with battered women and referred some of her clients to him.

He was approached by New Harbinger to write a book due to an article written about his form of therapy. Co Author Mari A. McCaig, MSCP is a friend and peer that has a strong background working with crime victims, and Janet R. Laconsay, MA was a Practicum Student at the time of the project.

30 replies
  1. WILMA says:

    iam trying to get help online on how to get out safe from my apartment to a domestic violence shelter my boyfriend beat me up last night iam bruise up from head to toe i need help i also have my 2 daughters with me

    • Eyleen says:

      call safe horizon 1800-621-4673 make sure you take clothing, soical card birth certificate all important docutments, make sure you got to hospital get documentation and get an order proctection through crimal court.

    • Latrice says:

      Hi. I am also a victim. He keep verbally abusing me and slaps me and even kicked me in the stomach hard. He keep saying he’s sorry and it still happens. I will find the strength to leave. His grandmother is blind from being abused and he keeps saying he would hurt the dude if he could find him. And he also don’t want nobody to do his little niece like that but he do me like that. And he doesn’t call it abuse.

      • Kt says:

        I hear you sister. The things that my soon to be former husband has said to me – had anyone ever said those things to me besides him, he would have killed the other person on the spot yet he sees no harm in the verbal abuse he bombards me with. If verbal violent harassment were a felony my abuser would be the poster child on the wanted poster!

        Who made up the stupid rule that “I can abuse you but no one else can”???

  2. Elsa Rodecker says:

    PLease get help, you have children and you don’t want to be severely injured any more. Although I have never been hurt before by a person, my mother was killed by my dad when I was nineteen. It was very hard for to move on with my life. She had a lot of guilt in leaving him and when she finally did it was too late. Please get help.

  3. rhonda says:

    i know it is very hard to leave someone, I was in a bad realationship for ten years. It was the worst ten years of my life. When I finally left him(took everything in me) I had two daughters at that time, 3 and 1. They seen times when he beat me and I could not put them through it anymore. they didn’t understand why their dad was hurting their mom, but when they would of got older and kept seeing that who knows if they would of been with a man like that or if they were boys if they would hit their girlfriend. I had to get out. You can do it. Stay strong and think of your kids! Good Luck! when you do leave don’t talk to him.he will sweet talk you and they are lies!

  4. Kitty says:

    that book on moving on, and getting your life on track sounds great. iam struggling to even care. im so tired, & worne down, im not happy. i dont feel ok any more. im not financialy able to go to counceling. The D.V. advocates in my area are shamefully disconnected. they should stand by an abused woman throughout the whole process.courts, orders of procetion, court dates, and be especially supportive when the false accusations come rolling in!! If any of you have ever been with an abuser, you know its all about control. and part of them keeping control of you & your future means they are diffenatly going to lie & falsely accuse you of doing things that you didnt do! i feel today that my life has been knocked right out of me. i have truley run out of energy to pick myself up 1 more time. ive lost my spark. iam a broken woman.bottem line… kurt got away with a violent crime and i was made to look like the bad person.i lost my dignity, strength, my business , my willingness to care . i donot trust, iam scared always.how do you fix any of that? i pray, i try to eat well & rest well, i take anxioty meds, to keep me from throwing up.iam bankrupt emotionally, physically, & financialy.there seems to be no relief for me. good luck to the rest of you.& thanks for giving me the oppertunity to express my feelings.

    • Michele says:

      Hi Kitty,
      Hang in there! I now how you feel. I hope you are going to some type of counseling to help yourself recover. I know that while all the abuse and controll is going on, no one nows about it. So everything stays in the dark. But, if you can get up enough strength to seek some christian counseling or other couseling you will be able to take one day at a time. It did not all happen in one day, so it surely is not going to be a quick recovery. But u can do it. What God has put in you is still there. He will help you to recover. Just ask and expect an answer. Take care & be encouraged.

  5. Len says:

    I’m going to research this book & Ms Kitty I know how you feel and maybe that’s why the Lord brought people like us to this site. I got out of the 2 year hell on earth I was living and I had to move 2000 miles away, shelter’s didn’t work where I was, the police laughed in my face, court dates how can you get to court if you can’t leave the house. I left at 7am saying I had a conference to get out but I went back because I didn’t want to lose my house, less than 4 months later I was charged w/ DV w/ a deadly weapon and he had a knick on his knuckle caused by himself…I lost everything, my house, my boys for 6 months, one of my sons is still where I was, DV makes you a different person and I haven’t figured out how to get me back. We are safe now but my children have to live w/ a different mother, 1 who’s joy ONLY comes from them who stays in the house as much as possible & just exactly like Kitty said emotionally bankrupt. That’s what’s the scariest to me to know what’s wrong and not know how to fix it. Please anyone still trying to hang on to an abuser it’s not just you…my boys trust no one, they are hyper-reactive when they see other women being abused, and it’s been 5 years. You all deserve better & w/ time you will see that

    • tanisha says:

      whom it may concern
      i have been in a abusive relationship for almost 5 years
      i was a strong woman i thought i was til i met the abusive person
      he hit me spit in my face called me names when he could not get his way
      he threaten to kill me several times i could not live in the hell anymore so one day he
      was drinking and being really mean to everyone i tried to stay calm i did not argue with him
      even when he hit me i tried to calm him down but he would not i would not argue with him back
      so i guess he got mad and hit me in my face 3 or 4 times i do not know what happen in me but i got a burst of courage in me and i ran and did not look back i am in school and i am in counseling the punk that hit me ran like a coward in the process of running he took my belonging from me and my kids i look at thing on the bright side i have my life back me and my kids are safe i will never let someone have that power again over me and the guy who hit me got a warrent out for his arrest and i am happy i been in a long time i just hope my story help someone that is in the same situation thanks for reading this and good luck to who ever read this

  6. Katie says:

    I am going to pick up this book, it has been years since my two periods of abuse, but I am still dealing with the emotional scars. I was only 14 when my first boyfriend became both physically and mentally abusive. I was smart, an AP student, but couldn’t seem to save myself. My freshman year of college, I seem to get mixed up again with a violent man and it took me 3 years to get out! I wish that I had someone talk to me in high school. I know I couldn’t have been the only one, and yet nobody ever talked about it, and I thought my behavior was to blame for his outbursts. I am over 30 now, but some of the emotional wounds still run quite deep, and thankfully, I have a happy ending with a sweet husband and two adorable kids..but I still see the effects in my life and I want to get completely rid of them..
    The one emotion that is the longest lasting for me has been shame..not outright shame, but the fact the no one in my family or past seem to really acknowledge what I went through. I am not supposed to bring it up b/c it makes people uncomfortable…I don’t want to be ashamed…The silence perpetuates the feeling that I am “damaged goods” and that was the attitude that got me into the mess…I wasn’t damaged..they had the issues…my head knows this, but my emotions need to catch up…Talk to your teens…this happened before my first day of high school!

  7. Kitty says:

    thanks for your comments. every seems to have such positive attitudes. im not there. ive been court orderde to go to d.v. counceling. it took a year of running to this county & that county. from this councler to that councler. most of them have not a clue. & talked to me like i was a 2yr old.women that are beaten & robbed by a husdand dont just get over it. i live with it every day. it doesnt go away. i cant go on struggeling like this every day.i need a better life. couse whats left of the crappy life i have left isnt worth living.im tired of throwing up every time im scared. im tired of working 17hr days trying to get cought up on just living a low standard of life. no food. not enough $ to pay bills. no time or $ to wash my laundry. about to loose my home my job my friends… couse i cant seem to snap out of it & get that damn happy face on that everyone thinks i should have. what do i have to b happy about.im so tired.

    • Kt says:

      Oh woman, I have heard you sing.

      The courts just dropped all the charges against him without even a hearing! I also run from place to place to try to get help, to try to keep it together every single moment of every single day.

      I want to take back what’s been taken from me. A reporter wants to run my story and I’m afraid that I will hurt other people! Everyone in my family betrayed me and even my own mother testified against me for my PFA because “She didn’t want to see a good man go to jail.” It was my civil PFA hearing not a criminal court at all and all his charges were only misdemeanors that just yesterday got dropped without the continuance of the preliminary hearing.

      I’m pretty sure the charges were dropped because the judge legally could not look at his criminally violent history and today I am left without any protection until he hurts or threatens me again. No appeal on PFA or dropped charges and I didn’t have a say.

      And all the counseling – it just makes me want to scream. At AA meetings they tell me to stop thinking about it, stop thinking… and all I can think is not thinking is exactly how you people got here in the first place. Truly the only reason I am voluntarily going to drug and alcohol counseling is that he would use this behavior against me in court in a heartbeat if it could control me more. I just did it to stay one step ahead of him.

      I only started going to counseling because I wanted to save my marriage!! Isn’t that a hoot.

      Then there is the advice to ‘just move forward with your life’ – “God will save you”, “it’s all meant for your good” – yeah well if this is soooo good for the soul how come people aren’t paying for the experience!

      So woman I hear you and I am beating back the depression that can and will suck the life out of you. Depression is only anger turned inwards, let it out and give yourself the right to be angry at the people who have hurt you, or call me, Kt, 717-486-4101. We can cry until we laugh. I am here right now, for you but free will gives you the power to choose to stay where you are in your hurt or reach out and join me. Maybe we can walk away out of this together.

      p.s. I have been laid off three times, lost my home, lost too many jobs to remember but the love I carry in my heart is mine, and mine to share. I have enough to share with you.

      • Kitty says:

        thank you for offering your love and encouragement.im alone in a group of people. im worn out. kinda wish we lived closer, maby have coffee or a nice walk in a beatiful park thats quiet.. we could all live in a big ol house together, & get stroung & get happy. help eachother financially emotionally & just feel right. im sure ill be alone for the rest of my life, due to the fact i dont want to be beat or called names or to be stolen from. & by the way every one, the clostest book store from me is 75-to-100 mile round trip. than im pretty sure barns & knoble isnt giving away any healing after abuse books today. .unfortunatly, i kinda wish i would just die, so this werry pain would be over. sorry but thats hoe i feel. i want good & nice, but never had it & cant find it

  8. Broken says:

    I am trying to move on but am afraid that I have failed myself and my son. I almost died 2 times at his hands in front of my son. I somehow found the courage to leave after many long years. Only it has followed me wherever I have gone. I live in fear, i watch my back at every turn, never travel the same road home, now I am so very tired. I am not handling his head games very well. I don’t have any friends that I can rely on nor family. It is just me and my son. He is still too young but Im afraid he is more mature than his age indicates. At age 4, he asked me if his father had hurt me, what could I say? I blundered through an explanation. I have tried everything, and I do mean everything, to move on but he has made it very difficult. I am going out right now and get that book…..I am looking for hope……….anything to help me be strong and capable again like I was before.

  9. Dawn says:

    I thank God that I am now finding the need to seek help. I was in an abusive relationship for almost 12 years, married for 10 of those. I tried everything to fix my marriage. Afterall, I was the one who was wrong, right? I became a tough woman. I could handle anything anyone could dish me, even if that included my husband choking me, slapping me in the face, and calling me names. So, if I was so tough then, why can’t I be tough now? I could pick myself up, put on some makeup, and no one would know the difference. Its been 6months since I left him. My divorce will be final next month. We have a house that we built 2yrs ago. That is the only thing left of our marriage. Yet, I still let him control my emotions. I am in a GREAT relationship with a GREAT guy. He’s very understanding and compasionate. I’m scared that I will do something to mess this up. After all, I couldn’t hold my marriage together. I know the facts: It wasn’t my fault. I’m not to blame for his “blow-ups”. I’m not useless. Etc. So why do I let it continue to haunt me? I went to my first women’s shelter meeting today. They are great. Its a “tell you like it is” atmosphere. It was a real eye opener. I did tell one of the Advocates that I’m scared to confront my feelings. I’m scared I can’t handle them. I’m not good at handling myself. I’m a nurse. There’s no time for me. I’ve also been in the life where I had to be tough; crying was a sign of weakness. When I start to tear up, I throw up that wall that says “I’m not hurting”. I was once told by a counselor it took 12yrs to get me here, it won’t go away over night. I want to be able to help other women. I want everyone to understand what it’s like to go through an abusive relationship and the scars that follow. I don’t want to feel like I’m messed up in the head. I honestly don’t feel like my boyfriend deserves this. I love him in a way I’ve never loved. What I felt for my exhusband was not love. I now know what love is. Any tips on how to let go of the anger and hurt? I’m open for suggestions.

    • Ashley says:

      Dawn,

      The only thing you can do is forgive your abuser.. don’t forget. Forgive yourself for staying in the relaationship. Ask the Holy Spirit to show you ways that others have hurt you and then forgive them too. Once you have forgiven everyone, if guilt or shame pops back up in your thoughts, just say no i’m not going there I forgave myself and them and I’m moving on.

      Eventually you will be able to talk about it with little to no pain. You will be free. You deserve to be happy. You are unique, one of a kind, awesome, women made in God’s perfect image. You are loved by the Heavenly Father and He will never ever leave you or forsake you.

      Seriously the first step is forgivness… I know this from years of chronic abuse from a Stepfather and everyone in my family betrayed me and actually liked my abuser. Once I choose to forgive him, I had a sense of peace. This does not happen over night. This is a process. As you remember each memory forgive him.

      Say, Father I forgive him and I release him to you. Please take this pain from me. And then be confident that God is working, and that He will use all those things that happened to you for your good in the future. “He will restore the years the locus ate up”

      Please try it, I know it works.

  10. Jenn says:

    Hi! My name is Jenn and I am an advocate who started a website for survivors. I welcome you to come and participate, and to also add your own content. I just finished working on victim services, and would like your feedback and ideas for other content, if your interested.

    Good luck,
    Jenn

  11. Dee says:

    I need help, I feel like I’m slowly dieing and can’t seem to pull myself together.

    I have been in a emotionally, verbally and sometimes even physically abusive relationship for 21 years. I knew I was unhappy and that my husband is a bully, but until I lost my job a year and a half ago, I did not realize that I was abused. I have talked to my husband, I left him for a week last month. Everyone I talk to then told me to go back to him, so I did. Nothing has changed, it’s gotten worse. But I am unemployed, deeply in debt and falling apart. I have no means to leave him. I do not want to be a burden on my family and to tell the truth when I left my husband last month I finally broke down and told them what has been going on, and they told me to go back to him. Not one individual offered a place to stay or assistance in leaving him. Their comments made me feel that it was all my fault and I should just buck up and deal with it.

    I love my husband, but I can’t continue feeling so crushed and worthless. When he’s finished his rage and calms down, his apologies are heartfelt and sincere. But his verbal abuse and controlling, dominating, bullying always continues.

    I wish for my life to be over, because that is the only relief I see to end the turmoil that has become my life. I am not suicidal just sooooooo tired of feeling like the biggest loser to every walk the earth.

    • Ashley says:

      Dee,

      Your family was wrong to tell you to go back. They probably don’t undertand or know what to do about it. No one should be treated in that way. Have you thought about going to an abused women shelter? They will give you counsel, help you find a job, keep you safe, and get you back on your feet.

      Good Luck to you.

      I hope you find the courage to leave.

      • Dee says:

        Thank you Ashley for your supportive comments!

        I have the courage to leave. I’m ready to leave. I just don’t see a way forward.

        I have been unemployed and looking for work for over two years, that’s why the abuse is escalating, why my self worth is gone.

        I think about contacting a shelter, but then what… with the economy the way it is, I don’t think I can stay there until I’m able to support myself. I do not see employment in the near future. I am a highly educated and successful woman in my work life, maybe that’s why I was stronger and able to deflect the raging verbal attacks. I was the main bread winner in our house and my failure to produce an income has greatly effected how my husband treats me.

        He has choked me, and as he does he tells me how easy it would be for him to take my life, to kill me. As I black out, I wonder will I come to in a heap on the floor or will he have finally done it and my suffering will be over.

        I’m so ashamed because part of me wishes not to wake up, all my suffering will be over and people won’t think I’m so pathetic any more.

        Sorry, that’s the tears and fears talking. I am trying to hold strong.

        I’ve been desperately seeking work, even something at minimum wage would allow me to leave and survive. I’m trying to find a way out. I know I will loose everything, when I leave him, I’ve accepted that. I’m willing to start over with nothing even at my preretirement age.

        Thank you every one, I know my posts are long, but I have noone to turn to so for now, I’m using this to release the pressure and fear.

        THANK YOU!

  12. Strongertoday says:

    I was a victim of domestic violence for a year and have been out of the relationship for a year. I’m happy to see that women battered or not can help each other out and support eachother. I hope all the women that are going through dv right now get help. Please get help. I know it’s not easy, I waited till he started breaking bones. Although Someone may not offer you a place to stay but there are organizations to help. It’s your health and well being on the line. Like my therapist told me do you want to bargain with your life?

  13. brandy says:

    I have been abused by my husband more times than i can say he cut my arm in frount of my children, the other day he called my dad told him he was going to kill me and my kids and that i need to get away from him well all three kids were sleeping and he was at his car getting something so i locked the door he messed with the electric turned it off, called the cell phone company turned off the cell phone, he got the home phone turned off to, and flatened the tires in my car all in that same evening banging on the windows yelling for me to let him in, i did not let him in the next morning i called a mobil mechanic to fix the tires and took off to the court house to ask for a restaing order and it’s been four day since this happened i am currently in the house with the kids my cousin is staying with me but i am still scared and don’t want to go back to him i can’t i just can’t my kids deserve so much better we go to court next wensday but what if he trys to make me out to be the bad one a bad mom or saids i did stuff to him i am frightened to go to court but i need to to keep the restaining order i don’t want to go back to him and always so worried about the futrue,

  14. Angel says:

    I am actually commenting on behalf of a friend of mine since she’s terified if she does it her husband will find out since he seems to know everything she does. He is constantly checking on her internet and otherwise, she hsas no money and he rarely gives it to her if she askes for something besides food or something for the kids. She has no opinion and is constantly treated like nothing I’ve heard him tell her that sh’es dumber than a box of rocks several times. She’s not allowed to go hardly anywhere without him or talk to anyone he doesn’t like. Now while he says he’s concerned for her and the kids I think its more . I would like to help her but I’m not sure how. She’s still unsure if it is abuse cause he’s never actually hurt her physically. But she’s getting very depressed and its hurting her and the kids so I had to try and do something to help.

    • CaraMarie23 says:

      I totally understand where she is coming from. I have been in that same spot, but not with just the emotional abouse, but the emotional, mental and physical abouse. Being shoved up against walls and been squeezed by the jaw while he forced me to look at him as he yelled at me and aboused me some more. One day it was a pretty summer day…he had been showing me and everyone around that he was changing and then on that pretty day I feared for my life again because he had done everything again and then drove off and said he never touched me. I filed a police report and the cop took pictures of my face of the bruses, I got a restraining order against him, but still even with having the cops watching me when leaving the house to make sure I was okay when we went to court to have it all settled they let this Marine run free as if nothing happened. My mouth dropped in that court room. I stood up and left crying and then I came to the conclusion that I had to devorce him because I wasn’t being protected enough. So I did. I moved and divorced him and am fighting still to keep the kids. So my advice to you for your friend is to keep her close to you. Keep her and the kids busy with you and your family. Let them know they have somewhere to go and someone to talk to. In situations like this we need a true friend and the only friend I had when all this was happening to me was me, my kids and Heavenly Father. Pray for her. If there is any way she can also talk to me on here as well.. If there is anything else I can do or questions I can answer please let me know. It’s scary going through this all alone. Sincerly, Cara

  15. Debra says:

    Dear Cara, I can completely relate to how scary it is to go through all this alone. I finally left my husband last November. I had no money, no where to stay and no family within 2000 miles. I was terrified. I left with my 2 kids but had to leave behind my 10yo stepdaughter that I have raised since 4 months when her mother died. I am in a safe place now in an apartment but the landlord is threatening eviction since my estranged husband is yet to pay child support or alimony. We went to court weeks ago where he was ordered to pay but I am still waiting. I thought leaving was the most terrifying thing. That was until he kidnapped my son and the police said because he was a parent and there was no order at that time for custody yet that he could not return my son to me. To be without my child was the worst day of my life. I had to leave there without him and I wasnt sure I’d survive it. But I had my daughter to still take care of. So I prayed and prayed for strength to go on. Two days later I walked into my son’s school, where they knew me as his mother and I asked to see him. They brought him out and I took him and left while they called police and my husband. I put him in the car where my daughter was waiting and we drove off. That was the most terrifying drive of my life. It felt like a really bad movie but it was real. I knew my husband would come after me. So I went back to where we were staying and the police came and checked on the kids and left. Just like when my husband took my son the police could not take him from me without a custody order. I stayed up all night with the doors locked and a knife in my hand and waited for him to come. No one should EVER have to live this way. I woke the kids early and left for the courthouse where I filed a restraining order. That was last november and I am still waiting for financial help that may or may not come. I feel so alone and scared. He is fightIng for custody and has visitation with my son on weekends. I am terrified he will take him out of state and I will never see him again. Anyway I am now trying to empower myself. I have been designing and making jewelry for the last six months and am now getting ready to sell it. I am afraid and unsure how it will sell so I have been procrastinating. But tonight I came to this website for the first time and have decided that along with the jewelry I will promote this site. I will contribute a small percentage to the site from my sales. This has given me even more reason and determination than ever. I will put my strength forward and carry the message. I wish I had known about this website earlier. If even one woman is helped by my message then I know that I have fulfilled Gods purpose for me and I will take strength and courage from that. I pray for all of the other women like you and me who have suffered at the hands of an abuser. Lets raise our voices and carry the message to as many as possible. When there are enough voices screaming loudly enough we will be impossible to ignore. I am also praying the jewelry will sell and I can make some money to take care of my kids with. God bless you all…

  16. Janelle says:

    Hi girls. I’m seventeen years old && have been abused since I was 15 . There’s name calling everyday && he also gets violent. I left him for three months last October but I came back because I didn’t want to see him with anyone else . Just last night he punched my head . Slammed me into a concrete wall . Jabbed myin my stomach . He just kept man handleing me . I’m tired of it . I tried to break up with him over 20 times . He will harrass me && stalk me until I take him back . I have went to school with scratches on my neck ; cuts on my forehead && bruises everywhere on my body . I’m so young && no woman deserves this . My sister is In an abusive marrige & my mother is a dv survivor . I don’t know what to do . He’s so controlling & demandinq . My heart aches everyday . He loves to bring me down & tell me that I’m not tht good & that nobody will want me . Girls ; please help me . He calls me a hoe & a cunt & all this . I wanna run away . Please . Some help .?

    • Tash says:

      Janelle please talk to your parents or call a help line where someone can help you. I have watch to many TV show’s and see how young girl’s are killed by and abusive boyfriend. I am not sure if you have seen or heard about the student who was killed by her boyfriend. I am going to pray that you at least leave him or talk to someone.

  17. Janelle says:

    Thankyou Tash . I did hear about it . It’s serious in this world . The bad thing is that he lives three blocks away from me . It’s hard to leave . I feel strong enough to not call a helpline but when I think about it ; I feel the need to call . It hurts everyone around us .

Comments are closed.