Today I’m privileged to have Kathleen Pooler stop by to answer some questions about her newly published memoir, Ever Faithful to His Lead. In any memoir, the author today tells the story of the author back then, and sorting through the jumble of memories and pain to find a meaningful story thread can be a daunting task. Kathy has done a terrific job of finding that thread and turning it into a story that should touch nearly everyone’s life. If you haven’t personally experienced the sort of trauma she did, odds are strong that you know others who have. Let’s hear some back story for this book that lets the wise Kathleen of today put her former confusion into perspective.
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SL: Why did you write Ever Faithful to His Lead: My Journey Away From Emotional Abuse?
KP: I started out writing a different story about a cancer diagnosis and watching a beloved son spiral downward into substance abuse. I didn’t find this story until I had written three years worth of vignettes while taking a memoir writing workshop. As I kept writing, the story that needed to be told revealed itself to me. When a developmental editor told me I had two memoirs, I realized I could not write the story of my simultaneous battle with a cancer diagnosis and a young son’s descent into substance abuse until I wrote about getting into and out of two abusive marriages. It took on a life of its own and I became connected to its purpose—to share hope with others. It is possible to climb out of the abyss of poor decisions and go on to live life on your own terms.
SL: How do you describe the theme of your memoir?
KP: I was driven by the question: “How does a young woman from a loving Catholic family make so many wise choices about career, yet so many poor choices about love that she ends up escaping in broad daylight with her two children from her second husband for fear of physical abuse?” It was time to answer the question that had been asked of me my entire life by those who loved me.
SL: In the book, you say “a loving family, a solid career and a strong faith cannot rescue her until she decides to rescue herself.” What lies behind that statement?
KP: One of the lessons I learned as I wrote this book is that I already had everything I needed within. I only needed to claim and honor my inner strength. . It sounds so simple, but it took a dozen years for me to realize I had to do this myself. If I can help one person connect with their own inner strength and leave an abusive relationship sooner rather than later — or better yet, not even get involved in one to begin with, then my mission in writing this book will be fulfilled.
SL: What will readers will learn from Ever Faithful to His Lead?
KP: Three things come to mind:
- One does not have to sustain broken bones or bruises to be abused. Emotional abuse is harmful and the impact on the children of mothers who are in abusive relationships is far-reaching and damaging.
- Abuse impacts all socioeconomic groups. Despite having earned my master’s in nursing and growing up in a loving family, I was drawn to two emotionally abusive spouses.
- Denial and magical thinking can keep one from recognizing abusive behavior and taking action. Emotional abuse can lead to physical abuse. According to the National Coalition for Awareness of Domestic Violence, “One in every four women will experience domestic violence in her lifetime; 1.3 million women are victims of physical assault by an intimate partner each year. Most cases of domestic violence are never reported to police.” These are staggering statistics of epidemic proportion.
Domestic violence results in physical injury, psychological trauma and sometimes death. The consequences of domestic violence can cross generations and truly last a lifetime.
10% of the proceeds of the sale of Ever Faithful to His Lead will go toward the National Coalition for the Awareness of Domestic Violence.
SL: People reading books like yours often struggle with guilt and shame. What's your best advice on how they can deal with that?
KP: First, be awareness and acknowledgement that you are indeed in an abusive situation—denial can play a big role, as it did for me—and need to get out. Then, develop a support system and an escape plan. Have your bags packed. This can only happen when you admit you’ve made a mistake and need to act on your fears. You need to love yourself enough to want something better for yourself. Listen to, honor and embrace your inner voice.
SL: Where can we buy the book?
SL: Thank you Kathy for an enlightening discussion of your process.
Kathleen Pooler is an author and a retired Family Nurse Practitioner whose memoir, Ever Faithful to His Lead: My Journey Away From Emotional Abuse, and her work-in-progress sequel, Hope Matters: A Memoir are about how the power of hope through her faith in God helped her to transform, heal and transcend a long string of obstacles and disappointments: domestic abuse, divorce, single parenting, loving and letting go of an alcoholic son, cancer and heart failure. She emerged to live a life of joy and contentment. She believes that hope matters and that we are all strengthened and enlightened when we share our stories.
She lives with her husband Wayne in eastern New York, and blogs weekly at her Memoir Writer’s Journey blog: http://krpooler.com
Visit Kathleen online: (click site name for link)
LinkedIn: Kathleen Pooler
Google+: Kathleen Pooler
Personal page: Kathy Pooler
Author page: Kathleen Pooler/Memoir Writer’s Journey
One of her stories “The Stone on the Shore” is published in the anthology: The Woman I’ve Become: 37 Women Share Their Journeys From Toxic Relationships to Self-Empowerment by Pat LaPointe, 2012.
Another story: “Choices and Chances” is published in the My Gutsy Story Anthology by Sonia Marsh, September, 2013.
Write now: leave a comment to enter the drawing for a free eBook version of Ever Faithful to His Lead. The winner will be notified on August 14.