The undoing

April 9, 2013 — 67 Comments

I am sitting here trying to see where it began.
If I go back far enough will I find it? If I walk back further along the path will I eventually find a small, worn sign hunched over in the bramble and thorns and thicket that was the path of the last 5 years of my life that reads β€˜Danger! Turn back now”? And if I do find that warning will I realize I missed it? What would it all mean then?
Will it mean it could have been prevented?
Will it become my fault, or was this meant to happen to me?

The fingers that are tapping away on this computer are connected to a woman who is more aware than ever of the richness of life, who is thankful for small graces, who is thankful every day for the very life I nearly never had.
Knowing that, can I find purpose in that suffering? Was it all worth it?

This is the story of the undoing.
My undoing.
You already know this story. While you haven’t read it yet, as you do you will realize it is familiar to you because you have seen this story unfold before in either the life of your girlfriend, your daughter, your father, or the person who stares blankly back at yourself from the mirror.

Above are the first words of “The undoing”. My first novel.

It was nearly 4 months ago now that I decided to write the memoir of emotional abuse, not just to share my story, but to share the story of the hundreds who were brave enough to share their recounts of abuse with me.
Today it started to come together and I have in front of me the first page of the novel.
There will be not one circumstance or detail in this book that will be made up. Every account, every moment of suffering and every undoing will be taken from the many mini memoirs which survivors of emotional abuse have shared with me, and of course my own story.
I want to raise awareness of the abuse which is not yet commonly accepted as abuse, yet is the cause of the undoing of millions of people…. some who didn’t make it.
Emotional and psychological abuse is rampant in our society, taking strong men and women captive by a slow and sure undoing of everything they once were.

The novel will be called: ‘The Undoing’
This is, I suspect, one of the most important things I will ever write.
If you are a prayer, pray for me, if you are a thinker, think of me.
I need it, its a tough gig writing about such things.


67 responses to The undoing


    so excited for this book. so so proud of you my friend


    You know now that you are meant to be writing this book, for you and for all the others who have been abused, and for those to whom this book will mean in never happens to them. Bless you for having the courage to tell your story.


    Very well written start. Good luck as it enfolds. Believe in yourself even on days when the paper remains frustratingly blank. It’s all there waiting to be written.


      Thank you so much. i think that is why I felt to publish the first few words of this novel. I already feel doubt come and go but encouragement means so much more than people realise. It makes it WORTH it. Thank you for that encouragement.


    I am getting this book! Once it’s done, you have to let me know on the international shipping because I am sending love all the way from Malaysia.

    Hang in there, tough cookie!


    Thinking of you, as someone in the same boat writing a book. Don’t be hard on yourself on the days it won’t come, and there will be plenty of those. Remember that what you are writing is meant to be written and it will shape and form itself to the right story, if you just allow yourself to be inspired.

    Well done in going for it!

    Marissa x


      Wow, thank you so much. I feel like this is very good advice. I have never before written anything to this scale and it feels so much bigger than me, but yes, one day at a time… one word in front of the other. It will come….


    I also manage to escape from an emotionally abusive relationship with a psychopath and liar and manipulator whom I loved with all my heart. And I consider myself a very strong woman. I have newfound empathy for woman who stay with someone who abuse them.
    I cannot get myself to relive the tale to enable metro write it. Hats off to you and good luck!


    sending prayers up for you. I have faith in you sweetie


    Last Friday I had the opportunity to interview a beautiful soul who has survived a horrific period. Sometimes, he says, he wonders why he survived the period, and he often wishes he did not. The only sense he can make of it all is that he must have made it through so he can tell others and , through the telling, maybe prevent the events from happening again. There’s something more though. I sense that through the telling…and the listening…there’s a path back to humanity. All the best with your own path ahead.. I believe it will prove to be a difficult but, in the end, grace-filled one.


    Hey Vanessa, way to go. I returned the questionnaire and felt that I didn’t do it justice. In retrospect I find it easier to write about sexual/physical abuse. Perhaps they were all tied up from the very start of life with emotional abuse and blended subtly together in an amorphous lump called pain. I sincerely wish you all the best with your novel and your own journey.


      Laurie, while I haven’t yet read what you returned to me I can assure you that it will be valuable. I need the stories of many so I can myself try to understand the CULTURE of this abuse and the changes that the victims go through as a result of such abuse. Not every person who has been through such devastation can find the words to articulate the pain… I want this to come out in the novel. I want to confusion, the self doubt, the attempts to make sense of it all… I want that to be real in the character of this story.
      She will be us. She will be OUR STORY. If someone takes a chance on me and publishes this book, you will read of your own story in it. I promise you that.
      Thank you for being a part of it.


    This may have it’s difficult moments, but I have no doubts that you will put together a magnificent body of work. It will reach, heal, resonate and inspire because that’s what you do, who you are. That is your gift, your talent, your path, your destiny – I believe that you will give justice to each story, each person.
    May I request an autographed copy now?


      I hope so, I hope so, I hope so! I hope for everything you have just said. This is so important to me, yet I feel like I don’t know how to do it! Little bits come to me at a time and I just keep hoping that all these pieces will somehow come together to make something valuable… to someone.
      Even as I write to you this reply I have received yet another story from another person who has lived through this type of abuse which reminds me that this story is not just my own… it is the story of many. I couldn’t write this without them. I couldn’t write this without the support of people like you. Thank you so much. I will send you a signed copy with a red lipstick KISS! on the inside cover! I promise!


        Moments of doubt are bound to creep in, that’s when you know how important it is to push through them and drive forward.
        I will try to put my personal story together to send you for review. (actually I have two, I didn’t learn my lesson the 1st time!)
        Not only will your book be valuable – it will give your subjects an opportunity to validate their experiences, to tell their story. Unlike physical abuse, emotional abuse is silent to outsiders, there is always the “question” of proof verses embellishment in others minds. It only takes one time of being questioned before the victim learns to keep quiet. Then there is the “it’s all my fault” and the “shoulda, coulda, woulda.” When all is said and done, the offender moves on and the victim is left holding…..everything. Your book will give those the chance to let go and be free of the burden they have not deserved to carry. I support you whole heartedly.
        Ha! Autograph AND a lipstick Kiss!!! Holdin’ you to that promise kiddo. πŸ™‚


    I really look forward to reading it when its done – Best wishes from Nigeria!


    I will be here all the way. Stay strong, and don’t forget to ask someone to help you edit πŸ˜‰


    My thoughts are with you and I look forward to your announcement post when you put the last full stop on your manuscript. Stay strong until then.


      Oh I hope that last full stop comes! I can see the story in my head, I can see the decent and the accent of the woman… I just hope it plays out in the words as I see it play out in my mind. Thank you for your encouragement, it means a lot more than you may know.

    It's a sneaky thing April 9, 2013 at 9:51 PM

    I think the worst part of emotional abuse is the fact that you may not even realise it is happening to you. It was only when someone sat me down and explained to me that what I was enduring was emotional abuse (I’d never heard of such a thing before) that it all made sense. That I realised relationships didn’t have to be a constant struggle, that it was ok to say no, and that arguing with your spouse regularly does not make for a “normal” or “passionate” relationship. I hate how movies portray that argumentative relationships mean the people really love each other. What a load of rubbish! People who love each other RESPECT and TRUST each other. Why did it take me so long to understand that? Emotional abuse is a sneaky sinister vice, the victim is made to feel the perpertrator and the mind is constantly toyed with.


      Very, very well said. I am so sorry for the years lost to abuse, but I just hope that somehow there is fruit that has come of it. Be it a staunchness that will protect you from ever enduring such abuse again, be it a loud voice that may prevent others from knowing of the emotional abuse you went through. Whatever your silver lining is, I hope you see it, then take it and spin it into something worthwhile.
      Thank you for visiting the site. Thank you for your comment. I appreciate it.


    I applaud you for giving voice to all the silent suffering out there in the world. When the going gets tough, ‘cuz you know it will, know that we are behind you praying for you. Keep up the good work.


      πŸ™‚ Writing a whole book sure is hard! Thank you so much for your prayers and encouragement. This project is bigger than me, it will be finished not because of my ability, but because of the encouragement, prayers and support from people such as yourself. Thank you so much.


    Very good, my dear…Emotional abuse is brainwashing. Your spirit becomes shriveled, but you stay because you feel worthless, hopeless. Writing about this quiet, unseen hell is cathartic and therapeutic; it saved me.


    Thanks for checking out my blog. Very awesome start. Will definitely pray for you. Stay strong through it.


    Very good writing. Hope it all works out well for you.


    I agree, this will be a very important work. Although there will be hard times, it will be so worth it. May this book bring healing to you and everyone who ever went through the incredible pain of abuse.


    Many many thoughts being sent your way.


    I would love to read your novel..


    I am waiting 2 read ur novel,I luv ur blogs..I hope all the bad thing passes..I believe it will


    You’re a good writer, an intelligent person, and determined. Remember to take care of yourself on the days when the memories flood in.


    Your words, your story and your challenge are inspirational. Look forward to reading your novel and supporting your purpose…


    You go girl!! Can’t wait to read it!!


    I commented about this on Facebook. I said YOU CAN DO IT! And I totally believe that, with each word you write, you will obtain more and more healing (and wisdom) from the experience. Don’t give up! Writing this may get hard at some point. Don’t stop because it hurts. Embrace the hurt, write the story and change some lives with it!


    I sent a prayer for you… thank you for sharing the stories of those who do not have the words to speak on our own. That takes a lot of courage. I love your writing, and I hope to read your book someday!


    Vanesa, you have God given talent for writing and making things come alive. God doesn’t give you a vision without making provision. You will complete your book because many, including myself, are praying for you! Out of the pain and shame will come much healing not only for you but for those who read your book! Cheering you on! πŸ˜€


    Praying and thinking of you and your journey writing this book. Everyone has a story to tell. I can’t wait to read yours.


    Wow! I am so excited to hear more about your novel and the journey that you will take to write your book. I’m sending prayers, thoughts, and good vibes your way–because everyone needs a voice, and I’m so grateful that you are brave enough to share yours.


    Sending prayers to you. Your book will be wonderful , because you truly have a beautiful way with words.


    Remember that none of your experience has been wasted. Your decision to move forward in spite of your fear is the beginning of a sacred path. I believe that there is a story that God has for each and every one us, uniquely ours and perfectly timed. The tale our Creator gives us requires some time to simmer, time to answer the difficult questions, including the most difficult one – Why? Once we have lived that story, only then can it finally be told and it is in the telling that it will touch and heal the hearts of others.


    As you’ve already realized, people cannot be ‘undone’. They merely step on their dead selves and climb higher. Even those who did not ‘survive’.

    Life is eternal… not contained in narrow forms. At least, so I believe. πŸ™‚

    Thank you for letting your light shine. I know it will give courage to many others to let their light shine too.


    I can’t wait to read more from your novel! I hope it will be available in The Netherlands as well! πŸ˜€


    Poetic and haunting first words – beautiful. I am already certain that your novel will resonate with me, and I can’t wait to read it! I think we have more in common than might appear at first glance πŸ™‚
    Good luck with it all!


    You have my prayers because this will be a very difficult novel to write but very worthwhile. This is a favorite prayer of mine – written by Amy Carmichael (1868-1951)
    Holy Spirit
    think through me
    till your ideas
    are my ideas.
    I change the words to meet my needs, like speak through me, write through me, depending on circumstances.
    You write very well and I hope you will use your blog to process your ideas. Your writing will heal you.


    Hi… Just thought I’d comment. Ur first page is beautiful – riveting, intense, strong, emotive. Impactfull. And I am easily bored! I’m responding coz… Well I have a personality disorder. Borderline Personality Disorder. I am concerned that ur book will help to stigmatise such diagnosed patients even more. Living with BPD is heartbreaking. I’m paranoid, deeply fearful (fight or flight response is ALWAYS being triggered, despite meds & therapy, so much so that relationships are painful – both ways). However, I have many assets. And am loved!

    Also, I have lived with a guy who was emotionally abusive. I stayed for so long partly due to the symptoms of my BPD – intense self-hate, fear of being alone, doubting myself, etc.

    He really got to me, psychologically. If he’d of hit me, I may have run away ASAP. But because the *abuse* was psychological & emotional, my warped radar system just could not compute what was going on, despite the fact that I am quite street-savvy.

    I’ve never been the same since that relationship.

    He may have had an undiagnosed personality disorder, I can’t be sure. But I defo DO have a PD. The point I’m making is this: be careful not to paint a picture that says all people with PD are bad, and thier ‘victims’ (survivors?) bad. Because, as in my case, I had the PD but I was the ‘victim’ (survivor?). As you probably already know, ‘victims’ usually blame themselves for thier abuse for some time… and if I’d read that people with PD are the baddies, I would’ve assumed that I was the baddie in the relationship with my abuser.

    I think ur book has a noble goal. It’s great that this kind of abuse is being highlighted. But all the people that have applied serious abuse to me (mother, step brother, and to a lesser extent my ex-boyfriend) have NO diagnosis! Yet, tho I’m no angel, I’ve NOT systematically or consciously abused anyone, yet I am the one with the diagnosis!

    Happy to dialogue further with u on this – not sure if my story with my ex would aid ur book, but am happy to share if ur looking for more material.

    Respect and sincerity,


      Just to clarify my typing errors…
      About painting people with PD’s as bad, and thier victims as the ‘good guys’ or the ones in the ‘right’.

      If I’d read that the person with the PD was the one in the wrong, I would’ve thought that I’d perpetuated his abusive behaviour, or deserved it coz of how infectiously toxic and provocative I am.

      Which, isn’t true – my only defects were to stick around despite my gut telling me to get out.


        Thank you so much for your perspective. I have thought greatly about what you have said and as a result am going to make a dramatic change in the abusive character in the novel. He will not have a personality disorder. (The disorder the character was initially going to have was Narcissistic personality disorder or NPD) and this was because my own abuser had NPD. But you are so right. My goal in writing this book is to raise awareness for the devastation that emotional abuse can bring. The last thing I want is to fuel more stigma, especially towards those who live with mental illness or personality disorders. Thank you for intercepting so that I didn’t make such a crucial mistake. I truly did not conceive that in marking this character as having NPD that I would be creating even more difficulty for those who live with such challenges, so thank you very much for your wisdom and for taking the time to write. Your message has caused a significant change in the direction of the book.

    quoteofwhenever April 22, 2013 at 9:44 PM

    Perfect title. That’s exactly what it’s like.

    The opening really gripped me. Answering your submission questions helped me find my own ‘danger turn back now’ sign that I missed years ago.

    Keep it this raw and real and this book will do raw, real and amazing things for the women (and men) who read it.


    not many words needed here, just good luck with your novel.
    It’s going to be an amazing journey


      Thank you so much. It is so much harder than I thought to sift through the many stories survivors have sent in, as well as sift through my own past. Further more, it is harder than I thought to write a book. Who knew! haha.
      Thank you for the encouragement though. πŸ™‚ xo


    Thank you for liking ‘the monster in the closet’ blog. I am so excited about your book . I have written an article about emotional abuse. It is about my own personal experience. I also want to raise awareness about this area of abuse as it really isn’t talked about enough. Good luck with your book and I look forward to reading more x


    Keep on writing. People need to know that abuse is more than physical. As a molestation vicitim whos parents were told to not talk about it, that in time i would forget. Not helping me understand what happened and not giving me the emotional support i needed, made me feel worthless. The world needs to hear our voices! Most people change the subject is brought up. Keep going, stay strong, you are speaking for thousands of people with no voices. No pressure, just stay strong


    Hi. First of all thanks for the “like” and for following my blog. In my blog, “depressionsgift” I address depepression, it’s causes, symptoms, triggers, management of, etc. Some sort of abuse is almost always a component. And it doesn’t have to be overt abuse. Sometimes it’s very subtle, more of a “dulling’ of one’s hopes and dreams. A lack of encouragment, etc. I also agree that most abuse does NOT come from someone with some sort of diagnosed disorder, It comes from so called “normal” people who have their own issues. Good luck with your book. I’ve written one about depression. It’s hard work. Don’t give up.


    Emotional abuse is the very worst… because it leaves no scars, no damage, no obvious indications. I had to reach my late twenties before I realised that I had been emotionally abused since I was a child, by both parents, and that this was not normal – I remember being shocked to read about it, and tick all the boxes.

    People don’t understand how different your life can be when you have been stomped down for it’s entirety. Your book… if it can bring attention and understanding to those who have been fortunate enough to not experience it, well it can only be a wonderful thing πŸ™‚


    Tough gig for sure but part of (re) constructing yourself. Good luck.


    I don’t know you and yet from what I’ve read thus far, I’m a big fan already! Many Blessings to you for finding your voice and for having the courage to take a stand. I truly believe in being the victim, but the VICTOR!


    I see her in the mirror
    I saw it unfold in my Daughters world
    by the same person even after I got us
    out before she was born.
    I saw it happen to several of those very
    near & Dear to me & even lived it with a few. So I say to you Vanessa, Thank You for Us All, My prayers Start for U this day and go on through my life. You have the gift to write know that always & know the words will come even when you feel they might not and this book is going to HELP AND CHAGE THE LIVES OF MANY. God has a plan for you and I can’t wait to watch it unfold. Stay Strong in your journey and know you will make it through. My Prayers are with You Girl.

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