Michael Bluemling, Jr., an abuse survivor, has written a heartfelt and practical book about how people who have experienced abuse can move beyond it, healing their pasts so they can go on to experience fulfilled and purposeful lives.
While a lot of books about abuse and recovery exist, Turning the Page: Overcoming Abuse to Reach Life’s Fulfillment really stands out. Michael tells his own story in these pages, but this is far from another abuse memoir filled with one shocking and heartbreaking abuse story after another. Nor is it a clinical book about the effects of abuse upon a person’s psychology, digging deeply into dysfunctional behaviors, their causes, and their repercussions. Yes, Michael does tell his own abuse story, but he does it briefly to make it clear he knows what he’s talking about and can relate to what the reader may have experienced. There is also a foreword by Dr. James E. Sellman offering a clinical perspective, but it is relatively brief. Instead, the book’s real focus is on how to recover and begin to live a life free of abuse and filled with self-confidence and purpose. Perhaps most surprising of all is that Michael does not rely on any previous books or programs for his discussion. Instead, he states that he did not have a lot of resources available to him when he was trying to move past his own abuse experiences so he created his own recovery program to get him through that difficult time. Now he offers to his readers the steps that worked for him so they can also begin to move past pain and discover the good things in life.
Turning the Page is divided into three sections: “Facing Your Feelings and Fears,” “Moving Forward,” and “Fulfillment.” Individual chapters cover topics like “Getting Over Self-Blame,” “Letting Go,” “Breaking the Cycle,” and “Building Trust with Others.” The book is further broken down into short and effective discussions, each chapter containing seven steps for its individual recovery topic and then a discussion for how to work through each step. Finally, an exercise ends each chapter to help the reader focus on the steps he or she needs to take to move past a particular aspect of abuse.
Altogether, this book allows readers to take charge of their own recoveries, while having Michael, someone who knows what they’ve gone through, as a guide. Readers will learn how to separate the past from the present, break old habits, and find new patterns of positive thought about themselves and their futures.
In addition, the foreword by Dr. James E. Sellman outlines the more clinical view of abuse, offering eye-opening information about its effects on victims and steps to overcome the past and move from victim to survivor. Dr. Sellman discusses his own experiences working with abuse survivors, and he reveals, based on clinical experience and research, how the brain copes with the chronic stress and trauma of abuse and the symptoms that result from it, especially depression and anxiety. Finally, he concludes by explaining the four cornerstones necessary to live a healthy life and have a successful recovery. This information will be priceless for readers beginning their recovery journeys.
Perhaps my favorite part of Turning the Page is that Michael gets to the heart of why many people don’t seek help to recover. He makes it clear that people do not have to feel ashamed or like they are less than others just because they were abused. They can move past those feelings and learn to enjoy all life has to offer. As Michael explains:
There are no eternal winners in life because at some point, we all lose. What this world is filled with is survivors — people who refuse to be beaten up, literally, without getting up to fight back. This survival is the core of who we are as humans who strive for greatness and also fail on many levels daily. It is okay to fail. It is okay to lose. It is okay to get back up and try again. Life is all about beating the odds and having the energy to give it all we’ve got. As a survivor of abuse, you have all you will ever need inside yourself to adapt and overcome. Now it is time to turn the page and open the windows of opportunity that await you.
If you’re a survivor of abuse, I hope you’ll take up Michael’s invitation to turn the page. If you know someone who has been through abuse, I hope you’ll read this book so you better understand what that person has experienced and then pass this book on to him or her as a source of hope. You deserve all the happiness life has to offer.
For more information about Michael Bluemling, Jr. and Turning the Page, visit the author’s website.