Lundy Bancroft‘s new book “Daily Wisdom for Why Does He Do That?” (Berkley Books, 2015) is a fantastic new, game-changing, tool for those of us who work with victims of domestic violence. It is also an amazing resource for survivors to access and use individually.
The book is divided into several parts. These include: How to be your own best friend, ideas for healing, how to stay connected, how to maintain clarity, & more.
Basically this is a “how-to” book for victims of Intimate Partner Violence. That is, how to internally counteract the tactics abusers use.
In other words, whereas an abuser would shame you, here the reader is encouraged to love themselves. Whereas an abuser would tear you apart, this book promotes healing. Whereas an abuser would isolate, this text encourages connection. And whereas an abuser would work to confuse things, the daily wisdom works to enable clarity.
One of my favorite parts of this new book are the mantras he posts throughout. These are focus points the reader can take with them and repeat throughout the day.
These are things like:
1. “He’s trying to convince me that I’m delusional. But I know I’m fine. He really did those things” (3).
2. “The truth is the truth whether he believes it or not. I don’t have to convince him” (63).
3. “I deserve to be valued and treasured like a best friend” (85).
4. “I am a good person. I won’t buy into the lies he tells me about myself” (123).
5. “I can heal. My life will always include healing” (147).
6. “My rage is beautiful and necessary. Here it comes” (212).
7. “I can do so much more than I feel like I can. I’m going to stop listening to those negative voices” (223).
8. “I am part of the beauty of the whole world. What is true about the most beautiful spot in nature is true about me” (247).
9. “Maybe I just can’t do this, and that’s okay” (326).
10. “Abuse is the opposite of spirituality” (381).
I picked a random selection of mantras throughout the text but there’s probably an average of one per page. If you like these mantras, you’ll have to check out his other ones.
We are all so excited about access to (an already written) motto for the day, the advocate world is already talking and buzzing about how these might be worked into our daily lives as we work with survivors. This whole concept of being present in our bodies as daily wisdom specific to the interpersonal violation of Intimate Partner Violence has such potential.
I am amazed how he took a fairly simple mindfulness practice and weaved it into what we know about healing after violence. For example, here are some of his prompts toward a Mindfulness Exercise:
- “Take a moment to look around the place you are currently in… Look to your far left and choose an object that looks nice or interesting to you, and allow your eyes to rest on it for a few moments. Take two or three breaths. Then turn your head slightly to the right, focusing now on a new spot… Choosing five or six items in total… At each stop, take in the shapes and the colors you are seeing, and notice any feelings you have about the object…
- Finally, run your awareness up and down your body, seeing how many physical sensations you can find. Feel your clothing against your body…
- Getting ourselves rooted in our sensory awareness is a powerful path to overcoming stress, to healing from trauma, and to regaining power” (16-17).
Do you see how he took the mindfulness practice of visualizing objects, breathing, feeling, and awareness of body in order to directly connect it to healing after trauma? It is fantastic.
If you like this, you’ll just adore the book! I highly recommend it.