I’d like to tell you about my story called Drowning.
I had a dear friend who was in a verbally abusive relationship. Her husband yelled all the time. He was also financially and psychologically abusive. I tried to explain to my friend that her partner was not going to change. She couldn’t accept it. They’d go through good times, and then the atmosphere would start to change and she’d feel anxious again. He was back to his old self. This cycle repeated. The classic ‘cycle of violence’, I’d say to her.
I became very frustrated with her relationship. It ate at me. Why didn’t she get it? She was being abused. I knew he wasn’t going to change.
One night I dreamed a story. It was about a woman in an abusive marriage. Her husband physically abused her. The next day another character popped into my head and the story came to life. The characters haunted me until I started writing the story down on paper. ‘He’s not going to change’, ‘you’re being abused’ played through my head as my main character suffered.
The character’s name was Rebecca and the book was called Drowning. The story took on a life of its own. I wrote and wrote. The abusive husband, Mitch, would yell at Rebecca, put her down, disrespect her, and hurt her physically.
I had no formal experience in writing fiction. But I was motivated. Driven. I had a message, and no matter how long it took to write it, I was getting it out there. I wanted to raise awareness and educate the reader. I wanted to make a difference.
My motto became ‘Remember, if we can help just one woman, we’ve done our job.’ I was going to do just that. I hoped to at least help my friend.
I was passionate about writing the book. It gave me a much-needed outlet for my anger. Anger? What was I angry about?
Throughout this time period, I divorced my husband. He would criticize me, and put me down. I could never do anything right. He wasn’t emotionally there for me—cold. He played tricks with my mind. He was obnoxious to my friends. With his quick temper, he could explode in a rage at any moment. ‘Walking on eggshells’ fit my state of mind perfectly.
I had become exhausted in the marriage. My self-esteem was almost non-existent. His lack of respect eventually drove me to make the decision to end the marriage. I wanted my boys to understand that women deserve to be respected.
Throughout our divorce and after, we were in court many times. He would act belligerently to everyone. He wouldn’t co-parent.
Finally, Drowning was finished. It had been a long, emotional journey. I was ready to publish it and let people read my ‘baby’. I was nervous about how it would be received, but I wanted to help people. It had been my motivating force throughout the writing process.
Right after I published it, I was talking to a friend; she asked me if it had been therapeutic to write. “Therapeutic? Why?” She answered, “Because of your own relationship. “I’ve never been abused,” I told her. She gave me a funny look.
A tidal wave rushed through me. I literally almost fell out of my chair. Oh my God. The book had been written for me. Writing Drowning had been therapeutic for me. I’d written the story to explain my feelings.
I’d helped one person—myself.
My mind had never been able to fully grasp the reality that I had been in an abusive relationship. I’d explained away my ex-husband’s behavior, using phrases like ‘he’s just really messed up’ or ‘he’s under a lot of stress at work’. I’d compared my marriage to my friend’s, thinking that her experiences were worse than mine.
I can’t explain why I never would admit to myself that I’d been in an abusive relationship, other than I’d been in denial. I’d made excuses for his actions. I could recognize abuse in others, but I couldn’t see it in my own situation.
Now I realize that abusers prey on kindness and vulnerability. They manipulate. Deceive. Isolate. Make you feel like it’s all you fault and play tricks with your mind. Abusers make excuses for their behavior and minimize their actions by putting the blame on the victim. Have you ever been told that you’re overreacting or are too sensitive?
I have finally come to terms with the abuse, but it has been a long process.
It doesn’t matter what type of abuse we face or to what degree. It is important to own our experiences and seek help so we can heal and move forward.
Drowning has been therapeutic not only in my own journey, but in other women’s as well. They’ve reached out to me and thanked me for shedding light on this all too common issue. It has triggered some women’s deep-seeded emotions, but has helped them recognize their own situation and help them to honor their experience, as it did me.
I hope you find comfort knowing that many women deny or minimize their own experiences. No matter what we’ve been through, we need to honor our feelings in order to heal.
Remember, if we can help just one woman, we’ve done our job.
Drowning by Katelin Maloney is the story of a twenty-eight year old woman married to an abusive doctor and her struggle to break free. It is not a love story; the ending is unforgettable and realistic in too many cases.
Drowning raises awareness and answers the often asked question of why women stay as long as they do. The story educates those who don’t understand the dynamics of domestic violence, especially upscale domestic abuse. After spending some time in the victim’s shoes, everyone walks away with a better understanding of the complex dynamics surrounding domestic violence.
About Katelin Maloney
Passionate about helping people, Katelin Maloney raises awareness to the issues of domestic violence through her writing and volunteer work.
She is a domestic violence advocate and member of the Community Action Team for Betty Griffin House, a domestic violence and sexual assault prevention organization, located in St. Augustine, Florida.
Katelin writes a weekly blog dedicated to domestic violence issues. She has provided information such as: the different types of abuse, gaslighting, warning signs and causes of violence. Katelin also provides information to people who might know someone in an abusive relationship, giving them the tools to help their friend or loved one. Her blog address is http://www.katelinmaloney.com/blog.
She is a member of the Florida Writers Association. Her flash fiction poetry, The Mirror, has won numerous awards.
She resides in St. Augustine, Florida with her husband, two sons, and adorable cat.
How to connect with Katelin
Her website – www.KatelinMaloney.com
Her page on Facebook – https://www.facebook.com/katelinmaloneywriter
Twitter – @KatelinMaloney
“I love this book. I think the way Katelin Maloney has written it speaks to many, many women.” Denise Brown, Domestic Violence Advocate
“Drowning is a page turner! It powerfully reveals the brainwashing effects of verbal abuse, the destruction of consciousness, and the confusion an abusive relationship generates. It is a groundbreaking novel.” Patricia Evans, author, The Verbally Abusive Relationship, Controlling People and more. Click here to view her site: The Verbal Abuse Site
“Maloney has crafted a powerfully honest novel. Drowning should be required reading!” Nancy Haddock, National Bestselling Author
“Drowning tells a compelling and all too realistic story of suburban domestic violence. Maloney gives a hauntingly realistic look into the struggles of too many victims and their perpetrators who are living a life of lies presented in pretty pictures and a scrapbook that tells only half the story. It is my hope that this novel will invite readers to see the issue of domestic violence in a new light; with compassion not disdain for its many victims.” Alli O’Malley, Domestic Violence Survivor and Executive Director, RESOLVE of Greater Rochester
“Katelin Maloney keeps you in suspense until the last page wondering if Rebecca will take her friend’s advice and leave her abusive husband or will she stay with him and continue to be emotionally and physically abused? Ms. Maloney does a marvelous job of portraying the inner thought life of an abuse victim, whose life gets smaller and smaller as she hopes against hope her husband will miraculously change.” Caroline Abbott author of A Journey Through Emotional Abuse: from Bondage to Freedom and A Journey to Healing After Emotional Abuse.