“Hope can be a powerful force. Maybe there’s no actual magic in it, but when you know what you hope for most and hold it like a light within you, you can make things happen, almost like magic.”Laini Taylor
Have you left an abusive relationship?
Are you still carrying guilt?
Would you like to understand, challenge and remove the voice of the perpetrator?
Do you still think what happened is your fault?
Do you find dealing with new people in your life something to be scared about?
If you’ve answered yes to the above questions you are not alone.
Who Inspires You?“People who are true to their principles and are brave enough to champion what they believe in.”Sue Pena, Author, The Recovery Toolkit
Sue has worked with individuals who have psychological trauma as a result of adverse childhood experiences (ACEs) for over 30 years in her professional life as a clinician, trainer, and supervisor both within the NHS and independently. She has specialized in writing psycho-educational programs that promote trauma-informed practice and a recovery model. Sue is passionate about the need for multi-agency working and committed to supporting front line workers to have the skills to support families with a trauma-informed approach.
She has an extensive background in the domestic abuse sector and has written trauma-informed domestic abuse programs including the Inspiring Families Program, Adult and Children and Young People Domestic Abuse Recovery Toolkit, and the Sexual Violence Recovery Toolkit. Sue has also devised the ACE Recovery Toolkit written for parents and the ACE Recovery Toolkit for children and young people.
First and foremost, this book is not for people still in an abusive relationship as it includes a 12 week process towards recovery for those who have fled and in a safe space. We are encouraged in a new way of living, changed behaviors and patterns, raised self confidence, a renewed self identity and remembering purpose and dreams. If you are still in an abusive relationship, engaging in changed behavior can put you in further danger. I will include resources at the end.
Let’s Dive In!
For 12 weeks, we are taken through readings, education, self awareness principles, challenges, and exercises to guide us toward recovery. Each week, we are given a new lesson, key to our recovery process. Remember, upon leaving abuse, we have lost our self esteem, we have no idea who we are nor how to feel, we need to learn boundaries, and we must go through the important process of loss and grief. Thankfully, we are no longer alone! The Recovery Toolkit serves as a guide through the process and includes the most important lessons in our journey.
Week One: How We Think
Week Two: Dynamics of Domestic Abuse
Week Three: Self Esteem
Week Four: How We cope Emotionally
Week 5: Our Children
Week 6: Self-Care
Week 7: A New Assertive You
Week 8: Being Angry
Week 9: Boundaries
Week 10: Grief and Loss
Week 11: Healthy Relationships
Week 12: The End of the Journey
Perhaps, my favorite chapter was that of Week 6, Self-Care. While in a toxic and abusive relationship, we did not have time nor the energy to engage in caring for ourself. In fact, most often, we do not realize the importance of valuing ourself and thus neglect the process of self care. Our brain has become accustomed to the ridicule and harmful words from our abuser and we learn to abuse ourselves. Furthermore, we second guess the words and actions of others. Chapter 6 guides us through the use of simple affirmations to change our negative thought patterns.
I am learning how I want to be treated
I have learned a lot about myself
Sue Pena, The Recovery Toolkit, p 90
The exercise in chapter 6 gives us an opportunity to write down and practice new affirmations for ourselves. It sets aside a page within the chapter for us to do so!
Each chapter also includes a thought diary, a guide for us to write down our emotions, thoughts, and challenges during situations throughout the day. I found this to be especially helpful as I face new challenges as I step into year 4 of my healing journey. Writing my thoughts down allowed me to be more mindful in caring for myself, allow myself more grace, give myself permission to rest, and learn to be present and still.
I highly recommend The Recovery Toolkit for all survivors and overcomers who have escaped abusive and toxic relationships.
You can learn more about Sue Penna by following her on Twitter.