Writing as a Pathway to Healing by Guest Kathy Pooler

Today my guest is Kathy Pooler, author of Ever Faithful to His Lead: My Journey Away from Emotional Abuse. My review of Kathy’s memoir is hereAs part of her WOW! Women on Writing blog tour, Kathy shares her thoughts and beliefs about writing as a pathway to healing. Join us in the comment section to share your own thoughts about the relationship between writing and healing.

Welcome, Kathy!


 

I know from personal experience that writing has a healing effect.

From the age of eleven when I received a pink journal with a lock and key, I have written my way through my life challenges. Writing in my journal always makes me feel like I have a safe place to go to unload my concerns and fears. And when I do, I can make sense out of what I am feeling. It feels like my concerns take on a different shape once they land on the pages. Often times when I go back to read my entries over, I will see something I haven’t seen before—a new insight or idea that might help me understand myself a little better.

What I didn’t know when I started writing but have since found out is there is scientific evidence that what I experience intuitively has a tangible health benefits.

Dr. James Pennebaker (http://www.utexas.edu/features/2005/writing/) is a noted psychotherapist who has studied the therapeutic effects of writing on health. Now a professor of psychology at the University of Texas and the author of Opening Up, he chronicled his own journey of healing from depression through writing.

Recent research suggests writing may even ease the symptoms of serious non-psychiatric diseases. For example, blood tests show that subjects have more robust immune systems several weeks after completing writing exercises. http://www.apa.org/monitor/jun02/writing.aspx  this link refers to all material through quote on next page.)

Another leading researcher in this field of writing to heal is Dr. Joshua Smyth of Syracuse University. He is quoted by Bridget Murray, in this article as saying:

There is emerging evidence that the key to writing’s effectiveness is in the way people use to interpret their experiences, right down to the words they choose. Venting emotions alone—whether through writing or talking –is not enough t relieve stress. To tap writing’s healing power, people must use it to better understand and learn from their emotions.

In a landmark study which appeared in The Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA, 1999), involving 107 asthma and rheumatoid arthritis patients, Dr. Smyth discovered that

70 patients in the stressful-writing group (wrote 20 minutes /day for three consecutive days) showed improvement on objective, clinical evaluation than the control group. He concluded that “writing helped patients get better and also kept them from getting worse.

Both Drs. Pennebaker and Smyth acknowledge that writing’s effectiveness in healing will be dependent upon several factors, including a person’s willingness to find meaning in the memory and integrate it into a healing process.

Writing’s power to heal lies not in the pen and paper, but in the mind of the writer.

The journals I wrote in throughout my trials became the seeds for my memoir. Writing my way through the painful memories helped me to get on the other side of them and find a new meaning for the part they played in shaping me into the person I am today.

But there were many days, I put my manuscript aside; walked away and came back to it when I felt strong enough to face my past mistakes. I’m not the same person I was back then and it was excruciating to re-visit those times when I could have, should have made different choices…

Eventually, with the support of mentors and fellow writers, I did find my way to the other side. I began to forgive the young woman in my story who made so many self-defeating choices that had led to untold heartache for not only her but her children. I shed the guilt and shame I had carried around for twenty-five years and started feeling compassion for her. She did the best she could. She acted in good faith, albeit naïvely.

Writing my memoir helped me find my pathway to healing. My greatest hope is that others who have struggled or are still struggling will find hope for their own healing on the pages of my story.

And, if and when I have the chance to talk with my readers, I will tell them that writing helped me to find my pathway to healing. It’s research-based.

Get to Know Kathy Pooler:

Kathleen (Kathy) Pooler is an author and a retired Family Nurse Practitioner whose memoir, Ever Faithful to His Lead: My Journey Away From Emotional Abuse, published on July 28.2014 and 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 life’s obstacles and disappointments:  domestic abuse, divorce, single parenting, loving and letting go of an alcoholic son, cancer and heart failure 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.

She blogs weekly at her Memoir Writer’s Journey blog: http://krpooler.com

Twitter @kathypooler
https://twitter.com/KathyPooler

LinkedIn: Kathleen Pooler
https://www.linkedin.com/pub/kathleen-pooler/16/a95/20a

Google+: Kathleen Pooler
https://plus.google.com/109860737182349547026/posts

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/user/show/4812560-kathleen-pooler

Facebook:
Personal page, Kathy Pooler : https://www.facebook.com/kathleen.pooler
Author page: Kathleen Pooler/Memoir Writer’s Journey: https://www.facebook.com/memoirwritersjourney

Pinterest  (http://www.pinterest.com/krpooler/)

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.

Take a Look at Her Memoir:

Ever Faithful to His Lead Cover Ever Faithful to His Lead Cover

Ever Faithful To His Lead : My Journey Away From Emotional Abuse is a memoir, a true life tears to triumph story of self-defeating detours and dreams lost and found.

A young woman who loses sight of the faith she has been brought up with attempts to find her way in the world, rejecting her stable roots in lieu of finding adventure and romance. Despite periods of spiritual renewal in which she receives a prophecy, she slides back, taking several self-defeating detours that take her through a series of heartbreaking events.

When Kathy’s second husband, Dan’s verbal abuse escalates, Kathy finally realizes she must move on before she and her children become a statistic.

How does a young woman who came from a stable, loving family make so many wise choices when it came to career, but so many wrong choices when it came to love, so that she ended up sacrificing career and having to flee in broad daylight with her children from an abusive marriage? What is getting in her way and why does she keep taking so many self-defeating detours?

The story opens up the day Kathy feels physically threatened for the first time in her three-year marriage to her second husband. This sends her on a journey to make sense of her life and discern what part she has played in the vulnerable circumstance she finds herself in.

She must make a decision–face her self-defeating patterns that have led to this situation and move on or repeat her mistakes. Her life and the lives of her two children are dependent upon the choices she makes and the chances she takes from this point forward.

Paperback: 242 Pages
Genre: Memoir
Publisher: Open Books Press (July 22, 2014)
ASIN: B00M17OXYO

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The remainder of Kathy’s tour:

Monday, October 13 @ Women’s Writing Circle
Kathleen Pooler sits down with Susan Weidener for a friendly conversation about how Kathleen crowdfunded her memoir, Ever Faithful To His Lead: My Journey Away from Emotional Abuse.
http://www.susanweidener.com/

Tuesday, October 14 @ Lauren Scharhag
Don’t miss Kathleen Pooler’s interview with Lauren Scharhag as these ladies discuss the hot topic of memoir. Find out more about Kathleen and her own Ever Faithful To His Lead: My Journey Away from Emotional Abuse.
http://laurenscharhag.blogspot.com/

Tuesday, October 14 @ Vera’s Version
Join Kathleen Pooler as she guest blogs about “How Writing Memoir Helped Me Find Self-Forgiveness” at Vera’s Version and shares insight into her memoir Ever Faithful To His Lead: My Journey Away from Emotional Abuse.
http://verasversion.blogspot.com/

Wednesday, October 15 @ About Amish
Kathleen Pooler and her memoir Ever Faithful To His Lead: My Journey Away from Emotional Abuse makes a stop to visit Saloma Furlong at About Amish where you can read Saloma’s review and get in a giveaway for an opportunity to read Ever Faithful To His Lead for yourself!
http://salomafurlong.com/aboutamish/

Thursday, October 16 @ Lisa Haselton
Join Lisa Haselton as she interviews Kathleen Pooler and we all learn more about Kathleen’s memoir Ever Faithful To His Lead: My Journey Away from Emotional Abuse.
http://lisahaseltonsreviewsandinterviews.blogspot.com/

Friday, October 17 @ Jerry Waxler
Author, Friend, and Fellow Memoir Writer Jerry Waxler reviews Kathleen Pooler’s Ever Faithful To His Lead: My Journey Away from Emotional Abuse  This is a blog stop you won’t want to miss!
http://www.jerrywaxler.com/

Monday, October 20 @ Romance Junkies
Join Kathleen Pooler as she stops at Romance Junkies for an insightful interview about herself and her memoir, Ever Faithful To His Lead: My Journey Away from Emotional Abuse.
http://www.romancejunkies.com/rjblog/

Tuesday, October 21 @ Mary Gottschalk
Kathleen Pooler shares her latest project: Ever Faithful To His Lead: My Journey Away from Emotional Abuse as she visits with friend and fellow author Mary Gottschalk and fittingly writes about “Girlfriends Matter”. This is a blog stop you won’t want to miss!
http://marycgottschalk.com/home/

Wednesday, October 22 @ CMash Reads
Join memoir writer Kathleen Pooler as she guest posts at CMash Reads. Kathleen will share her story of “Writing Through the Pain” and tell more about her popular memoir Ever Faithful To His Lead: My Journey Away from Emotional Abuse.
http://cmashlovestoread.com/

Thursday, October 23 @ Bring on Lemons
Hear what Crystal Otto has to say as she reviews Kathleen Pooler’s Ever Faithful To His Lead: My Journey Away from Emotional Abuse  Don’t miss this blog stop as Kathleen Pooler has graciously provided a copy of her memoir for one lucky reader to win via a giveaway!
http://bringonlemons.blogspot.com/

Who Are Victims of Domestic Abuse?

Victims of domestic abuse include men and women, husbands and wives, grandparents, children, the elderly, employers and employees, wealthy and poor, and more.

Even if you are not the one abused, the atmosphere of abuse and violence impacts your life, sometimes forever.

Lately much has been reported and debated by everyone via social media, newsprint, and TV surrounding recent incidences of domestic abuse by professional athletes, entertainers, and ordinary human beings against girlfriends, wives, children. Those who end up labelled victims.

However, most coverage focuses on the perpetrator of the abuse and rarely on the abused, the victim. It makes one question whether anyone is taking notice.

Because I grew up in an abusive environment, I am interested in the subject. My abuse was invisible because it was usually emotion or verbal, and sometimes physical. My mother inflicted the abuse. No one outside our family likely knew what went on at home. Mama was very careful when in society to show the loving mother, loving child scenario.

What I find so hurtful now is why no one in our family spoke up. Of course, many of them did not know either, but I’m certain some did.

Could they so easily turn a blind eye to demeaning and degrading language thrown like garbage at a child?

Could they also close their eyes to adult hands hitting a small child, belt buckles used as instruments of punishment, or hearing a child told to go and pick the switch and strip its leaves so it would hurt more?

Do you have the courage when you see bruises on a friend while having coffee to ask her about them? Or ask him about the gash on his arm from a kitchen knife?

As co-workers could we see harassment, another form of abuse, happening around us and close our minds to it? Would it be so hard to mention to your own supervisor it is disturbing to you?

Like witnesses to car accidents or burglaries, people do not want to get involved. And I understand the fear of revenge. Try, however, to fathom the fear that resides in the mind and heart of the abused.

If you knew your neighbor’s family was dysfunctional and there was abuse in the home, whether it was the children, the husband or the wife abused, would you be willing to say something to the authorities? Would you get involved?

If you were visiting a nursing home or rehabilitation facility and saw or heard an elderly patient being abused, would you speak up?

If you were walking down the street passed a homeless man or woman and by chance saw someone kicking at them to move their feet or to get off the sidewalk, would you look for the nearest law enforcement officer?

If we are not the ones who speak up for our fellow human beings, who will speak up for us when this insidious behavior strikes our own?

As members of today’s society, we must reconsider the thought process of “not getting involved.” Being involved is what we should be about. Reaching out to another by whatever means–contacting law enforcement or social services offices, helping to find shelter or food, becoming foster parents, and anything else which lifts up the victims–is what we need to once again began caring for one another.

It is not too late.