Tag Archives: memoirist

Empowering Ourselves to Overcome Abuse by Kathleen Pooler

Happy Friday, to all creatives and book lovers! Today we’re hosting Kathleen Pooler, whose recently published memoir, Ever Faithful to His Lead, is on a whirlwind blog tour. Kathy shares insights from her book on how women can empower themselves and overcome domestic abuse and violence. Please join me in welcoming the memoirist to the Writer’s Blog.


I spent the first eighteen years of my life in a loving, supportive family. My parents, Bob and Kathryn were childhood sweethearts who modeled a caring and respectful relationship. I went out into the world fully expecting I would find the same in a spouse. It was all I knew—stability, security, love.

The problem was I didn’t discern the red flags and assumed the man I chose to marry would fulfill my fantasy of happily ever after. Like my parents, “till death do you part.” Eight years later, with two young children in tow, I repeated the mistake and married a man to meet my gnawing need to be a complete family again.

I had everything I needed to make a good life for myself. Instead, I spent the next twenty-five years engulfed in the abyss of two abusive marriages, first to a man who drank too much then to a man whose untreated bipolar disorder forced me to flee in broad daylight with my two school aged children for fear of physical abuse.

I had allowed myself to be emotionally abused, bullied and brainwashed all for the sake of being a family, like my own. How had I allowed that to happen?

I explore the factors that influenced me to make these self-defeating choices in my upcoming memoir, Ever Faithful to His Lead: My Journey Away From Emotional Abuse.

Walking away required me to look at myself and accept the mistakes and missteps of my past. It forced me to come face-to-face with my vulnerabilities and flaws.

Writing my memoir helped me to heal. I found the answers to a question that had nagged at me for years:

“How does a young woman from a loving Catholic family, make so many wise choices about her career but 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?”

I never thought of myself as the abused wife. I studied domestic violence in my nursing program. I took care of patients who were abused. I was a strong and capable woman. Surely, I wasn’t one of those women who keep making excuses for a spouse’s outrageous behavior. Besides, I didn’t have broken bones or bruises.

Years later, I realized, abuse in any form is abuse:

*One does not have to sustain physical injury to be abused. Emotional abuse in the form of intimidation, bullying, safety threats, lying 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. I was a masters-prepared nurse from
a loving family and yet I got into two emotionally abusive marriages.

*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 of Domestic Violence Awareness, “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.”

These are staggering statistics of epidemic proportion.

I was able to rescue myself from two abusive marriages. The first thing I had to do was to break through the denial that my life was not what I had dreamed it would be. Then I had to take responsibility for the role I had played in allowing abuse to happen. I had to make the conscious decision to change the way I was approaching relationships and choices. I had to claim the power within and then once I claimed it, I had to honor it.

My greatest hope is that by offering my insights into the poor decisions I made will help others learn from my story. I found my inner strength through my faith in God and the love and support of my family and friends. My nursing career enabled me to support myself and my children.

Abuse is abuse in any form and nobody deserves to be trapped in an abusive relationship.

I want to inspire hope and action for my readers who need to tap into their own inner strength and find freedom from abuse of any kind.

Once we are connected to our own inner strength, we empower ourselves to live life on our own terms. For me that meant, allowing myself to be vulnerable and admitting my role in creating the circumstances that led to two emotionally-abusive marriages. When I became clear on the part I was playing, I was able to not only accept the responsibility to change, but to forgive myself and put my energies into creating the life I wanted and deserved. To me, that is empowerment at its best.


Kathleen 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
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
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/)

Guest Post: Insights Gained While Writing Memoir by Sherrey Meyer

memoir word cloud

Happy Friday everyone! If you’ve been following clara54, you know I’ve failed miserably at my attempts to write my memoirs. I’m always on the look out for those brave memoirist who keep going until they reach their goals. And I’ve been so blessed to connect with quite a few writers & authors of the memoir. Please join me in welcoming memoir writer, Sherrey Meyer as she shares insights to writing her memoir.


For most of my life, I wanted to write. Words on paper fascinated me even as a child. Writing exercises in first grade were fun!
My dad was a printer and publisher. I could smell the paper and ink on his skin each evening as he came home. He began teaching me some of the tools of the trade when my age reached double digits. Proofreading and editing became my holiday money-making gambit.
In high school and college, research papers became “writing” on a larger scale. I thrived on those assignments. I loved the search for the best material to prove my point, or the sentence or phrase to place my professor in awe of my writing abilities. I knew I wanted to write something bigger though – a book, something between covers, something others read.
I retired from the working world in 2006 having spent 30 plus years drafting and typing legal briefs and documents. I never wanted to see another brief or contract! BUT I still wanted to write, and so I began.
The book I wanted to write had been marinating inside my head for some time and notes had been made. A little family research done. Some historical documents sought out and filed away. Now I actually had time to write a memoir about a particular part of my life and how it impacted me at the end of my mother’s life.
Where to begin was the elephant in my little writing corner. And so began daily searches online to find the best resources to teach myself about writing memoir.
As I gathered books on the subject, printed out blog posts about memoir, attended a couple of writers’ group meetings on the topic, I decided that I could not wait until I had learned everything about writing memoir, or I’d never get started on my book.

Once you’ve decided you want to write your story, go ahead and start writing, if it’s only a matter of making notes. Your first draft is just that – a first draft. You will have time to edit, revise, and make changes, even add or subtract certain sections, later. Don’t waste good writing time trying to learn everything everyone has ever said about memoir writing. Start writing!

Within your local community, look for opportunities to attend writing group events, especially memoir, or workshops/classes on the subject. I was fortunate early on to hear Jennifer Lauck, author of the New York Times bestseller, Blackbird, a memoir of Lauck’s struggles within a dysfunctional family and the foster care system. By taking advantage of these opportunities, I gained a basic knowledge of what memoir is, how to begin gathering my stories and building a timeline, and writing a first draft. More importantly, I was hearing how other writers worked.
This is not to say that online resources are not valuable. They are. Several blogs and email newsletters on memoir continue as great resources for me.
Once I began drafting my memoir an unexpected realization occurred to me. This. Was. Hard. Work. Yes, hard work. It meant getting into the writing mode each day. Sitting down in a chair in front of a computer and typing. Isn’t that what I’d been doing for 30 some odd years? But, I told myself, this is different. This is my story. Yet this unexpected reality in this somewhat fantastical writing life I had aspired to for so long jolted me at first.

Writing our memoirs is hard work. It means showing up every day ready to write. Of course, you determine how much you write each day, but we must become habitual about our writing. Maybe it isn’t every day for you, but for someone else it is. There is no set formula that fits everyone. But write you must!

Another eye opener is conversations that arise should you decide to talk with family. Differing opinions as to the truth of a particular memory may begin to cause difficulties, even angry discussions. REMEMBER, it’s your story – it’s your truth as you remember it.
If you find yourself confronted with strong opinions against your writing certain things, offer to change identities for family members or leave them out completely and agree not to use images of them. Hopefully they will agree to these concessions. These were issues I didn’t expect I would have to deal with.
Digging back into my memory was easy at first, until I began to sort out certain events and experiences. Sometimes I would find myself questioning events for which I had no rock solid confirmation. I know certain facts about my mother’s life because I have paper records, such as report cards, release papers from employers, my parents’ marriage license, birth certificates, etc. Other events I have nothing but a recollection of stories told by my parents and other family. How do I go about proving that I’m sharing the truth?
An example is her employment during the last 18 months of WWII. Mama was a real-life Rosie the Riveter at a plant in Nashville, TN. She wore the bandana, slacks (oh, my!) and she bucked rivets. According to her stories, an almost thankless job. At the end of the war, she was also one of many women left without work as the men and boys returned. I know this because she told me; an older brother has only vague recollections and a younger brother “never heard of such.” So, what do I do without tangible substantiation?

The truth as you know it should be sufficient as you write your memoir. After all, this is your story. Several memoirs I have read actually include a disclaimer indicating that the story told is as true as the writer’s ability to recall it. Basically, a memoirist writes the truth as he or she knows it.
In this case, if I decide to include this vignette of Mama’s life, I tell the story just as I know it. No references are necessary to my brothers, and I know what she told me, more than once.
Tell your truth as you know it.

These are just a few of many insights you may gain while writing memoir. For me, they have stretched my writing style and mental process. I hope that sharing them here today will help you.

Thank you, Clara, for inviting me to share time and space on your blog. It has been a pleasure.

Sherrey, the pleasure was mine. Thank you for sharing your memoir writing insights with me and my readers! I’m energized to continue to fight the good fight of writing my memoir!

How far have you come on your memoir writing journey? Has Sherrey’s insights given you food for thought?

Here’s a bit more about Sherrey Meyer:

A retired legal secretary, Sherrey Meyer grew tired of drafting and revising pleadings and legal documents. She had always dreamed of writing something else, anything else! Once she retired she couldn’t stay away from the computer, and so she began to write. Among her projects is a memoir of her “life with mama,” an intriguing Southern tale of matriarchal power and control displayed in verbal and emotional abuse.

You can reach Sherrey on her websites: Healing by Writing and Found Between the Covers or via email at salice78@comcast.net.