As of 9:18 in the morning of March 22, 2019, I am divorced. Below are the books that guided me on my spiritual journey through recovery of codependency and escape from psychological abuse to a place of safety and authenticity. This post is geared toward woman, but can be read from the perspective of anyone who suffers marital abuse or those in the counseling professions. These are the books that called to and worked for me. Only read them if they resonate with you because every spiritual journey is unique. I mean, same story, different version, but individual enough so that you shouldn’t read books that aren’t calling to you.

Assertiveness for Earth Angels: How to be Loving Instead of “Too Nice” by Doreen Virtue, PhD was written in 2013 and is a bit heavy on New Age jargon. Since that time, Doreen experienced a spiritual awakening during a pot luck dinner at her newly-joined Episcopal church in Hawaii during which she received a clear vision of Jesus Christ and understood for the first time that He isn’t an “ascended master,” like other saintly people, He is the One True God inseparable from the Father and the Holy Spirit. Afterwards, she sought baptism, pulled some of her published works off the shelves so she could rewrite them, and now leads her communications from the Jesus point of view. So, if you cut her some slack on her former new age perspective and remember say to to yourself, “same story, different version,” this is an excellent book to help you get started.

Coincidentally, Doreen’s spiritual awakening happened in February, 2017 during which time I was being introduced to Our Lady and the Saints of Fatima, who inspired me to pray Mary’s Rosary every day during Lent. This led to miracles galore in my life and my own spiritual awakening on May 10. The miracles have not stopped. Doreen, I, and people all over the world have tapped into divine frequency. It’s right here available to all of us. I recognize connections everywhere now that I’m tuned in. At first, I was overwhelmed. But, I can say truthfully now for the first time, I’m mostly used to it.

I recently reread Assertiveness for Earth Angels, and focused in on Doreen’s description of various types of Earth Angels. I understand now that I’m a Lightworker owning my feelings and standing my ground so I can fulfill my Indigo Child destiny.

Lightworkers tend to be synonymous with our definition of Earth Angels, meaning those who are highly sensitive and yet out of touch with their true feelings and reluctant to share their truth openly.

The indigo children are also highly sensitive. The big difference is that this generation comprises strong-willed leaders who are very outspoken about their feelings. Indigos have a well-developed truth detector in them, which can instantly tell them whether or not a person is sincere and if he or she has integrity. Indigos tend to have a temper, and an edge to them. They’re natural-born activists who speak out about social and environmental issues. – Page 132

Remember, another way to say Earth Angel is Intuitive Empath, same story, different version. Empaths are easily abused because emotional connections to others can be used to control us if we are not aware.

Father Therapy: How to Heal Your Father Issues So You Can Enjoy Your Life by Doreen Virtue, PhD and Andrew Karpenko, MSW is a psychology book. It shows how many of our problems in dealing with people are caused by our unhealed relationship with our fathers. I made peace with the dad of my childhood as soon as I understood on a deep level that he was being psychologically abused by my mother, same as me. His protection of me could only go so far. And, in fact, it’s why on an unconscious level I’ve always been protective of him.

If you’re the stay-at-home parent, or earn some money outside the home, but have still counted on your spouse to financially care for you, be advised that once “Divorce,” enters the picture, as much as your spouse might say they are, they are NOT looking out for your best interests. They are looking out for their own best interests. You must learn divorce finance and the divorce laws of your state. Research and hire experts in this field to advise you. Some spouses are only amicable until things don’t go their way, and then they turn into bullies. Here’s their pattern:  Charm, attempted manipulation, attempted direct control, threats, rage — when all hell breaks loose all over their face and aura. Sometimes, their rage leads to domestic violence with tragic results. Statistically, the worst happens when the woman tries to leave the relationship.

Prepare, trust yourself, and understand your value as a human being. Again, you may need psychological counseling to guide you through this part. And remember, if your spouse and his condescending lawyer recommend a young woman fresh out of law school for you to hire to represent you because you are stupid, incapable, and naive enough to fall for that kind of shenanigan — RED FLAG. *eyeroll* Seek advice and recommendations from local divorced/ing friends and then consult with divorce lawyers of your own choosing so you can make a quality decision.

Shortly after I separated from my spouse, we had a meeting about finances. He demanded that I turn over the keys to our house and boot myself off the joint checking account. I replied, “No, that’s not how it works. We have to get divorce financial advice before we do anything.”

More controlling efforts, to which I responded, “In North Carolina, no fault is 50%. You’ll have to wrap your head around that one.” At which point, his rage showed up. The display of which kept me terrified for a full year. I mean, I braced myself for when he would show up at my apartment and shoot me through the door even though he had never physically harmed me when we were together.

When I described the incident to 10 friends, one of them said, “That sounds like abuse to me.” It does? I looked into it. Yep. There it was, a whole category — narcissistic psychological abuse.

Psychological abuse is insidious because if affects your perceptions — what you are understanding and feeling is not reality because your thoughts are being controlled by another person. Wrenching myself out of psychological abuse was an extremely difficult process for me. It took a really long time, and I couldn’t have done it without newly-discovered empathetic friendships, psychological counseling, books, sheer determination, and God. God, in all forms – Father, Son, Holy Spirit, Blessed Mother Mary, Saints, Angelstrees, seassunshine daydreams, . . .

I highly recommend Healing from Hidden Abuse: A Journey Through the Stages of Recovery from Psychological Abuse by Shannon Thomas, LCSW, particularly because of the author’s emphasis on how to recognize and escape it.

I also found this really helpful article which speaks directly to those in the counseling professions AND gives victims necessary vocabulary and perspective to help connect to the truth. Another reason why my Muse wants me to title my spiritual journal memoir “Connections.” Check it out: How Society Gaslights Survivors of Narcissists, Sociopaths, and Psychopaths (A Guide for Therapists, Law Enforcement and Loved Ones)

Divorce: Think Financially, Not Emotionally, Volume 1 & 2: What Women Need to Know About Securing Their Financial Future Before, During, and After Divorce and A Woman’s Guide to Financial Security After Divorce by Jeffrey A. Landers CDFA, are necessary reading for any woman who feels ashamed about her divorce process even if her spouse cheated on her and is parading his former mistress around town. Not that mine did that, but I’ve heard this horror story from too many woman. Dearhearts, let me be clear — if your spouse cheated on you, don’t let society blame you for “being unable to hold on to your man.” He’s a scoundrel. Period. And, anyone who shows you photos of your spouse out on the town with his former mistress is not your friend. Cull them from your contacts. You are 100% worthy of what your state’s laws and legal trends deem to be your share of marital assets and financial support.

Do not let your bully emotionally manipulate you into believing that his share is much larger than yours because you suck as a human being. You must seek professional advice. When I had the first consultation with my divorce attorney, he explained to me how divorce in North Carolina worked, and then he summed up my situation, “Well, you shouldn’t have left the house. But, you’re gonna be all right, because you’re smart.”

My mantra for the last 20 months — “You’re gonna be all right because you’re smart.”

Guess what? I’m all right. Because I was smart.

Get smart. Read these books and seek quality professionals to assist you on this part of your journey.

I did a full book review of Women Who Love Too Much: When You Keep Wishing and Hoping He’ll Change by Robin Norwood hereSuffice to say, this is the book that showed me that my form of codependency was an addiction to love and caretaking. There is such a fine line between addiction to love and caretaking and mothering, I was floored by this. On top of that, I learned that since I was raised in codependency, I literally had no true concept of love. What I thought I was experiencing as love was really codependency. It was not a good day. But, this is why you must have a quality psychological counselor, so that you can dig deep into these issues and find your way out and away from them.

I reviewed the intro and chapter one of Eastern Body Western Mind: Psychology and the Chakra System as a Path to the Self by Anodea Judith here. I reference this book again in my recent One Journey Ends Another Begins. Fair warning, both of these posts are about child abuse. In particular, how my initial default settings as a human being were programmed by my dysfunctional mother, and how this fact has enabled people to treat me like shit for my first fifty years.

Eastern Body Western Mind is a reference book. It’s not an easy read because of what can bubble up from inside you, especially for someone new to the spiritual journey roadways. What’s written in this book can’t be found in traditional psychology. I mean, my shrink hadn’t even heard of it, but he did help me sort through what I had learned about myself from the book and the subsequent childhood traumatic memories that bubbled up.

It’s also not traditional Christianity. It’s based on the Hindu religion. (As is yoga.) Anodea does an amazing job of merging these two traditions in a way that balance and explain the other. I would still be lost out in the woods without this book and what it helped me uncover about myself.

Full Disclosure:  Okay. I didn’t have the greatest therapist. He was too old school for me. And, after about a year of therapy, which definitely helped me, and his betrayal of my trust, I cancelled my last appointment.

I still have sessions with my Energy Healer/Reiki Master/Massage Therapist/Preschool Mom Friend. She’s also tuned into divine frequency. Her treatments and advice have been invaluable. As a matter of fact, she’s the one who originally recommended Eastern Body Western Mind to me.

Bottom line, it’s perfectly fine to read it in small doses and out of order depending on your needs. Work out the issues that come up for you with a quality professional.

If you are a professional counselor, read this book. There should be a class on it as part of your degree.

I reviewed Fumbling: A Journey of Love, Adventure, and Renewal on The Camino De Santago by Kerry Egan in the Bonus Material of this post.

Yes, it’s about the author’s spiritual journey on the Way of St. James in Spain. But embedded within her memoir, clearly a deep and meaningful part of it, is the love story between the author and her boyfriend and fellow pilgrim, Alex. I include this book here because, as much as you might feel like you’re done with romance and believe you will never fall in love again, hold on to hope. As Jeremiah writes in 29:11:

For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.”

Here’s some goodness to see you through:

Orange Wedges and Chocolate

One Orange

One Fair Trade Dark Chocolate Bar

Wash and cut orange into wedges.

Break chocolate bar into squares. Eat one square with your daily orange. Should last you about two weeks.

Oranges simultaneously taste like the warmth of a Christmas embrace and the bright kiss of Easter’s first sunbeam. Cut into wedges because it’s impossible to eat orange wedges without smiling.

Chocolate because chocolate.

As Professor Lupin told Harry after he was attacked by a soul-sucking dementor on the Hogwarts Express, “Here. Eat this. It’ll help. It’s alright. It’s chocolate. Eat. You’ll feel better.”

Joanne Rowling imagined up dementors on a train ride home to Edinburgh — newly divorced, raising her infant daughter by herself, “on the dole,” restricted from seeking employment, and sitting on twenty publishing rejections for her first novel. She conjured up the dementors out of the despair she felt at that moment.

Then, seemingly in the blink of an eye, she plunked them straight into the story line of the third book in the series she sold to Scholastics. Mmmmm, Scholastics.

Keep moving forward and remember what you learned during your process to use later and beyond. Every day, treat yourself to some goodness — you deserve it.

After all, it’s not the end of the world, it’s just divorce.

Bonus Material: I’ve written two more full book reviews related to this topic that might be helpful to you, too:

Whole Again: Healing Your Heart and Rediscovering Your True Self After Toxic Relationships and Emotional Abuse by Jackson MacKenzie

Getting Past Your Past: Take Control of Your Life with Self-Help Techniques from EMDR Therapy, by Francine Shapiro, PhD

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