From I Do to I Don't: Overcoming The Wounds of A Bad Relationship
Cover in category: 'Non-Fiction' > 'Self-Help'
By three methods we may gain wisdom:
First, by reflection, which is the noblest;
Second by imitation, which is the easiest; and
Third by experience, which is the bitterest.
(Paraphrased, Alfred Armand Montapert, 1986.)
In the pages that follow, Tricia-Anne provides ample opportunities for her readers to gain wisdom through reflection and through emulation. Emulation of the best choices she eventually makes because she chose to turn her own bitter experiences into opportunities for learning and spiritual growth.
The irony of the account disclosed so honestly and articulately in this work is that it is an oft repeated tale. One that is most often told in hushed tones and in secret places, passed on in confidence from one wounded soul to a dear friend, a mother, a confidant… less often to a pastor or a counselor. At other times it is chronicled in fables and novels, told in the third person so as to protect the identity of the affected persons. Seldom is there ever a first-person account that is so completely honest, soul-searchingly insightful, and to the point. This narrative speaks of her motives, her misgivings, her wishes and her oft-ignored better judgment. As we see the utterances of her secret voice emerge on the pages of the book, we recognize emotions with which we too have contended. We know the woman who lives within the pages of this book. We recognize her because we have lived with her.
Seldom do we have the courage to tell our stories out loud. Far more seldom is a writer able to give such a clear-eyed, heart-wrenching, honest account of what has transpired between two people in what has been an unhealthy courtship, marriage and, ultimately, the dissolution of a relationship.
What has resulted, in the case of Tricia-Anne’s recounting of From I Do to I Don’t, is a breath-taking page turner that you won’t want to put down. In this work she has dared to give voice to her shortcomings, her insecurities, and her fears and has laid bare her soul for judgment by the unknown other.
Ms. Morris shares with us the thrill of setting out on her own as a young adult, the joy of meeting and spending time with new friends, the tentative excitement of a budding romance and the all-but-ignored warning “notes to self” that become recurrent themes in this story. All these elements provide momentum in the first chapters of the book. Her acknowledgement of the early signs of trouble that have gone unheeded or were rationalized away and, again, these “notes to self” so easily ignored, leads one to conclude that this relationship will not last the duration. Who then, will be the next suitor, and what could possibly happen to occupy the ensuing pages and chapters? One thing for sure, as we see this story unfold, this relationship won’t last. This romance to which we have been introduced is headed for the rocks! As you keep reading – because you will not be able to stop (and while you’re at it, remember to breathe) – you will discover that this story is not unfamiliar.
Interwoven within and throughout the work, is the heartwarming testimony of a young woman’s journey to God to the realization of the unconditional, unrelenting and unceasing love of God. Again, Ms. Morris chronicles her journey with her characteristic eloquence and clarity. Like the account of the ill-advised relationship and all the less-than-wise choices that led to her misfortunes, her account is clear-eyed, matter-of-fact and unapologetic. Through these lenses, we are able to walk with the narrator through the fits and starts of the journey to God, to faith, and to spiritual fulfillment.
Without taking away from the bliss of love, the sanctity of marriage and the joy of bringing a new life into the world, Ms. Morris discloses the potential pitfalls of becoming entangled in unhealthy relationships and minimizing what should be glaring warning signs of a bad relationship. Apart from the verity of her own experience, she identifies some well documented behavioral signs that characterizes an abusive person and abusive relationships. However, she does not stop with the pathology of this bad relationship but goes on to chronicle her path out of despair and back to wholeness.
Many of us who read this book will attest to the credibility of its contents. Many of us will want to pass it on to the young (and not so young) people in our lives so that they may avoid some of the distress that often results from disregarding warning signs and thinking oneself the exception. We will choose to share with someone who is too afraid or too ashamed to get help or get out of an abusive relationship. It could be just the encouragement that someone needs to take a second look at his or her situation. Here is an opportunity to learn from “imitation” which is by far the easiest way of learning one of life’s most critical lessons.
V. Melody Bennett, Ph.D.