Married to Crazy is how Clarkson Graham met and fell in love with Olga, the woman of his dreams. Their courtship, engagement, and eventual marriage followed. As their relationship progressed, Olga’s behavior became progressively more volatile and abusive. All along, Clarkson lived in the hope that he could “fix” her problems and live up to her perplexing expectations, until one appalling event drove him to his breaking point. Following therapy for post-traumatic stress disorder, Clarkson finally put his life back together again and was then determined to share his experience, and especially what he had learned, with other people—and particularly with other men—who might find themselves in a similar situation.
Writing to Heal
I was abused. I was tormented. I lived in fear that whatever I said or did could be interpreted in the wrong way and be used as justification for Olga’s next vicious attack. I had never met someone who had such an explosive temper. I became increasingly hypervigilant, always walking on eggshells so as to not provoke the vile, contemptuous tiger that lived inside of her. I was conditioned to believe that I was the sole cause of her angry outbursts.
If I could only say or do the right things, at the exact right times, in order to “validate her emotions” properly, which she often told me was the most important thing to her, maybe I would prevent her from raging at me. I thought that if I could find the “secret ingredient” or the “magic formula”, she would become happy, calm and behave normally again. Maybe she would stop saying those hateful words to me. Maybe she would stop breaking things and attacking me. Maybe she wouldn’t rip up the loving greeting cards I had given her, or throw our wedding picture in the garbage. I remained hopeful for as long as possible, but unfortunately, my hope slowly evaporated as her behavior became more extreme as each day passed.
My life had become chaotic and unpredictable. Olga’s abuse continued and unfortunately, it got worse; far worse in fact. After her last attack, which resulted in her biting my face, I left the marriage. I was done.
I was now a shadow of my former self. My confidence was shot. I was emotionally exhausted, depressed and hurt. I suffered from insomnia. I lost 15 pounds. I was diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). I thought about ending my life. I almost lost all hope.
I began seeing a counselor to help me deal with the pain and confusion associated with my ordeal. She asked me if I had heard about “therapeutic letter writing” before. I said that I had not. She then explained that a therapeutic letter is a tool you use to document your pain, suffering and anger. It is a medium that can help you process and deal with all the pent-up emotions and feelings that you have deep inside. I was desperate to find anything to help me at this point. That same night, I went home and started to write and when I woke up the next morning, I decided that I was going to turn my story into a book.
I was on a mission to get back to 100% good health, and as I relived and documented each painful memory, I literally and figuratively put my story in the past. I didn’t want my situation to define my life and I found that writing provided me with a positive forum to express my emotions. Writing this book, in conjunction with intensive therapy, loving friends and family, and pharmacological treatment, were essential in helping me to put my life back together again.
Married to Crazy: A Man's Story of Abuse, Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder, and Recovery by Clarkson Graham
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
I have to say that I couldn’t wait to read Married to Crazy by Clarkson Graham for a couple of reasons, one of my goals with my blog is to support as many Canadian Authors as I can, so of course I signed up to read and review Married to Crazy and participate in the blog tour. The other reason I knew I had to read this book is that I actually worked in this field, I work at a shelter for abused woman and children and now I was going to read about the male prospective.
In Ontario, Canada November is Woman Abuse Prevention Month and at work we do a lot of promotional and public announcement around Domestic Violence so it only seemed fitting that I read Clarkson Graham story.
For me reading about the relationship between Olga and Clarkson and how it began, how they fell in love and then how it was all destroyed is something I hear about in my everyday work life. It was easy to relate to and I could see the cycle of violence happening over and over. I seen a review posted and it mentioned they didn’t like Clarkson novel because he was trying to justify his situation or actions to much. But in saying that if you have ever been abused justifying your situation or circumstances is a normal behaviour of anyone who is living in an abusive relationship.
I am grateful to Clarkson Graham for sharing his story and I think everyone should read Married to Crazy because there are men out there who are abused and I hope that they can find the strength and courage to reach out to someone for help.
I have rated Married to Crazy a 4 star rating and I would defiantly recommend this novel to anyone who is reading my review. (Over the age of 18).
Thank You Clarkson Graham for sharing your story and maybe empowering someone to say no more!
From the author ...
“I am not a victim, nor will I be. I am a survivor.
About the Author - Clarkson Graham
“I am not a victim, nor will I be. I am a survivor. As a survivor, I was able to subjugate my feelings of weakness and powerlessness and eventually discover the desire, courage, and fortitude I needed to access the support and resources that were necessary to begin the recovery process. I can say that my continuing growth and development has been defined, in part, by my ability to triumph over a complicated life situation, and now, with this book, I am sharing my knowledge and insight as I continue on my healing journey.“
Where to Purchase:
Here are the blog tour hosts:
November 11 - Deal Sharing Aunt
November 12 - The Introspective Mix Tape
November 13 - Morgan Bailey's Writing Blog
November 14 - Teena in Toronto
November 15 - Bookingly Yours
November 18 - Stand's Simply Tips
November 19 - Tana Rae Reads
November 20 - Mary's Cup of Tea
November 21 - Literary Diva
November 22 - Sancti Spiritus
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