If I can stop one heart from breaking,
I shall not live in vain;
If I can ease one life the aching,
Or cool one pain,
Or help one fainting robin
Unto his nest again,
I shall not live in vain.
~ Emily Dickenson
Are you a loving, caring, compassionate woman who is in indescribable pain in your marriage?
Do you know something is terribly wrong but you don’t know what it is?
Do you wonder “Is it me or is it him?”
Do you feel at fault, and like you have to defend yourself?
Does your husband seem like 2 different people– sometimes loving and other times cold and distant?
Do you think something is wrong with you because you just don’t feel loved?
Do you long for answers, stability, relief and peace?
That used to be me.
My name is Helena Knowlton and I lived in that confusion and emotional pain for 19 years.
I was desperate for someone to explain to me what I was experiencing in my marriage. I had no idea it had a name. I thought I was the only one.
Now I help women name their experience – covert emotional and psychological abuse – and find truth in the midst of self-doubt, emotional torment, and pain. I help them navigate their way out of confusion, and find reality, sanity, and themselves.
~ a life free from obsessing over your marriage,
~ a life where you can clearly see what is going on,
~ a life in which you are confident of your strength and decisions,
~ a life that is calm and peaceful, a life full of hope and joy.
If you are trying to recover from covert abuse,
or just coming to realize you are experiencing it,
you are in the right place.
I know you can heal.
During my 19 years of marriage I was in emotional torment and I thought I was going crazy. I didn’t know I was married to a covert narcissist and psychological abuser. All I knew was that my marriage was painful, had wild ups and downs, and consumed my every thought.
I knew I was doing everything I could to make it work. But I was failing, my prayers were unanswered, and I thought it was my fault. My husband had me convinced that my childhood sexual abuse was the cause of all our problems.
The turning point
One morning in the spring of 2010, I discovered my husband once again using pornography, after many times of “repenting” and saying he was done. Over the next week, as usual, he used a barrage of tactics.
I didn’t recognize them as tactics at the time– I thought they were just the way he was. He tried to get me to feel sorry for him, said he needed my help to get free, shifted the blame on to me, told me I was too sensitive, said he was afraid of me, said I was controlling, minimized what I had seen, gave me the silent treatment, drew me into long, circular explanations, and so on.
As confusing as this was, something in me rose up and I didn’t fall for it.
I had been reading books about abuse off and on for several years, but what I read didn’t fit my situation. There was no yelling or violence or other common signs of abuse in my marriage.
Now I was determined to find the truth. I was finally believing that something really was wrong and it wasn’t me. I started combing the internet for answers.
I discovered there was a name- covert emotional and psychological abuse
My search led me the devastating realization that my husband had been covertly abusing me for our entire marriage. I learned about psychological abuse, mind games, gaslighting, blame shifting, covert aggression and covert narcissism.
My life crumbled around me, all my hopes and dreamed died, and I went through an agonizing divorce.
The process of healing
As I went through the long process of healing, I came alive and found myself. I learned to grieve. I learned how to trust myself and to think clearly again. I got free from the burdens and legalism of religion.
I began to see my inner strength, kindness, and capabilities. My emotions stabilized. I learned to parent, and to live with chronic illnesses that came from years of covert abuse. I healed from PTSD and began living on solid ground.
Finally, I no longer doubted myself or my reality.
I love helping others find sanity
Today it’s my joy to help women who are dying inside figure out the craziness of their lives, find themselves, and come back to life.
I love working with wonderful, capable, loving women who have forgotten that they are kind, compassionate and strong.
It’s an honor to walk with them as they step off the merry-go-round, discover themselves, love who they really are, and navigate their journey to freedom.
You’re so much stronger than you think you are.
There is so much more hope than you can imagine right now.
Keep going. It’s so worth it to regain your sanity, yourself, and your life.
If you want individual help, I offer Sanity Coaching.
I can help you determine if you are being covertly abused and if your husband will change, help you navigate the pain of divorce, and help you heal.
If you are trying to figure out if you are being covertly abused, if an emotional abuser is also using covert tactics on you, or understand how covert abuse is affecting you, download “Is This Abuse?” here.
This guide will help you see the ways covert abuse has deeply affected you and changed you who you think you are. As painful as this is, understanding this will help you get out of that awful confusion and know who you are again.