Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Guest Post by Sarah Strudwick, Author of 'Dark Souls'

Why I wrote Dark Souls - Healing and Recovering from Toxic Relationships

I was asked recently by a colleague and friend after getting so much flack for writing Dark Souls to remain focussed on the reasons why I wrote it and not to get sidetracked by their own hidden agendas. Don't get me wrong I have had many people share positive experiences about how much the book has helped them but no one would have wanted Dark Souls to get published moreso than those people who are disordered themselves. Unfortunately its those very people whom I have have spent my life trying to get away from that I had to defend myself against, although now I have the ability to stand in my power and say No to those who criticise and judge me for having the guts to speak out.

Victims have been emailing me over the year and sharing their own stories and a few have asked me if I would be doing speaking events. Occasionally I will share their stories on the website with their permission.

I had originally planned on doing talks and lectures to educate people about the psychopathic type personality but I often sidetrack myself with other work as I have a fear of speaking in front of large groups of people. This was apparent a couple of years ago when I decided to enter a competition called Britain's Next Top Coach and the mere thought of speaking to more than a handful of people would start to make me feel quite nervous.

In all honesty I wrote Dark Souls after spending years around psychopathic and narcissistic type personalities and I guess after meeting Oliver without ever before knowing what a disordered personality was, Oliver was the straw that broke the Donkeys back. I made a decision there and then, after I asked him to go, that I never wanted another person to have go through what I had with these insidious individuals and end up being victimized. Its bad enough being victimised by a narcissist who is a little easier to spot that a psychopath whereas with a psychopathic type you don't realise you are being victimized until its too late. As Sarah Tate a fellow author wrote in the Devil is in the Detail, there appears to be two types. One is “in your face” whereas the other is a “slow burner". Either type are just as dangerous and neither have the ability to feel any kind of empathy for their victims.

My other reasons for writing Dark Souls was to educate people and give them the tools that I wish I had had many years ago as a child. I am hoping that one day I can write a book that teenagers can read at school and learn how not to be victimised by sociopaths before it happens. You cannot change the nature of the beast but you can change your reactions towards them by being prepared and armed with information that will help you spot predators in the first place.

And finally, I wrote Dark Souls because most women and men who have been burned by these people are left emotionally, and spiritually broken. That coupled with the fact that they are usually financially ruined. They often don't have the money they need to spend on getting themselves healed because they are too busy dealing with the financial aftermath of the relationship. I wanted to give the readers some tools they could use immediately to get them out of victim mode and start their journey into recovery. Depending on the victims mindset at the time that the relationship ends and whether or not they have children to support (most psychopathic types leave their partners and offer no financial support to their spouses). The last thing on the persons mind is to pay for counselling/support when their priority is feeding their children.

Since writing Dark Souls last year its been a real eye opener for me. I have realised that there is a whole can of worms that I hadn't even realised my ex was up too along with all the other things I wrote about in the book. The more I uncover the more it amazes and baffles me. However rather than spending time wondering why he did this or that I return my focus back to myself and my own family and how I can move on and rebuild my own life.

For those that have already read Dark Souls and other books on disordered personalities and healing that I have recommended on the book page such as those by Sarah Tate and George Simon. The whole process of discovering their lies and healing is like a jigsaw puzzle. Before you discover books on narcissism, sociopathy and Cluster B's,its a bit like a person doing a jigsaw puzzle in the dark. You know there's something wrong, you know where the next piece is but you just cant quite put your finger on it. Suddenly the light goes on and you have a lightbulb moment. Once you have discovered all the pieces and put them back together piece by piece, you look back and have a much clearer picture of what has happened and then you finally realise throughout all the craziness that you weren't the one that was crazy, they were.

Most authors of books on psychopathy ,sociopathy, narcissism and the psychopathic type unless of course they are narcissists themselves will normally always have the same agenda. To ensure that others don't have to endure what they went through. For example when George Simon and other professionals like Dr Robert Hare who have developed the psychopathy checklist wrote their books they may not have been victims but they would have written because the old models that worked before are no longer working. Victims like Sarah Tate and myself wrote our books because we just wanted our message out there in the hope that others would eventually see through the mask of their abusers and not get victimised like we were.

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