I think that the creative use of a journal is also a powerful psychological aid to self-care. It can be your ‘creative journal’ for your art, poetry, and narrative. I used poetry when I was going through bereavement following the death of my child. You do not have to be a good poet or a good artist. The process is the important thing. Linda found that writing her story, which is a more expanded use of a journal, was one of the most beneficial factors in her recovery. As she compiled it she came to see Stephen’s pattern of abusive behaviour, and while not obliterating the kind Jekyll, she got a clearer image of the malign Hyde in this powerful passage. As you will see later, Linda’s image of Hyde was not as clear as she thought at this stage. But, this is how she felt and thought at that stage, when Stephen was still in Canada –
“Writing this story has brought me on such a memory trip. I feel like I have been on a long journey of my life. It was very hard emotionally as I was writing and remembering details of events, and the hurtful things that have happened. But, more importantly writing my story has helped me so much. Each time I wrote an episode of something that had happened, I felt the emotion and pain, and I cried it out. I also, however, began to see, as I put what happened in black and white, just how much my husband had done to me; just how much I was in his web of betrayal, pain, anger, hurt. A web of no love. None whatsoever. I may have loved him, but I was just foolish thinking that he loved me or ever would. He is not able to love anyone. When I started my counselling and this story, I often wondered would he change. Maybe someday he would knock on my door and be a different man. Now I accept that that is very unlikely to happen. And more importantly, if he did knock on my door and claimed he was a new man, I wouldn’t care. It is only from telling my story from the magical relationship that it started off to be to where I am now, that I realise there is no room for this man in my heart. He cannot give me the love and caring that I deserve, or the life that I want for my son. Since writing this story, I have learned about his control and I have identified in writing this story how he used his it. He was using his control within the relationship even at early stages, but I couldn’t see it.
I now know how not to fall into his control traps. I have also begun to realise how far I have come. My son and I have built a good life, one that I am very comfortable and happy with. I found writing the story a great release, or a great way of dealing with everything I was going through. It has really opened my eyes to the horrible, ugly side of this relationship. Before counselling and this blog, the good charming side that was at the beginning of our relationship kept overshadowing the ugly side. Now the ugly side shows its face in a clear picture to me!”
Adapted from Jim O’Shea’s book Abuse. Domestic Violence, Workplace and School Bullying published by Cork University Press
THERAPISTS IN TIPPERARY
PSYCHOTHERAPISTS IN TIPPERARY
COUNSELLORS IN TIPPERARY
DEATH OF A CHILD