It is my sincere and heartfelt hope that my book and this site will help you find what you need in your recovery. I hope it will uplift, encourage, and validate you. That it will help you find the courage to awaken to your own suffering and recover your own basic decency; your own good heart; that it will serve as a useful stepping stone towards taking personal responsibility for your own healing.
We can build a new life when we;
We can grow into our authentic selves – the person we were always meant to be.
Margot MacCallum is a lived experience author, mentor and advocate. In her book, Healing the Trauma of Psychological Abuse, she charts her journey through the stages of recovery via the contemplation practices of Mindfulness and Buddhism. Every story of psychological abuse and recovery is different. What is surprising is how similar they are. There are broad yet distinct patterns. Not only in abusive tactics, but in the nature of victims’ suffering and the psychological and emotional darkness in which they find themselves after abandonment or escape.
As victims of covert abuse, we first need to understand and manage our own stress reactions. We may need professional help for this. Then, a rational exploration of the nature of abusers and their methods can give us a perspective that helps us feel less isolated and alone. We can find a vocabulary for describing how a manipulator gains power and control by convincing a trusting, loving, loyal, vulnerable person to go past the point of no return socially, professionally, financially, emotionally and psychologically and end up dependent, exhausted and abandoned.
Once we have grasped the unfathomable complexity of a character-disordered abuser’s mind, we can then bring forward into awareness our unique life story where we find possible reasons why our abuser chose us. This helps with the confusion of figuring out who is to blame for what, and how such a dream relationship could turn into such a nightmare.
This newfound awareness then allows us the possibility of adjusting our beliefs and boundaries to ensure that it never happens again. This book offers methods for post-traumatic growth and highlights the pitfalls we might encounter along the road to personal transformation. This site offers direct support for doing just that.
I learned helplessness as a child. I learned to be polite, act like a lady, put others first, be truthful, generous, and wear my heart on my sleeve; and crafted a whole personality around pleasing other people and relying on others to tell me if I was worthwhile or not. I didn’t know how to stand up to critics or bullies, how to recognise a predatory male or manipulative people. The people who were supposed to love and protect me often turned out to be the very people who used, scape-goated or abused me.
Life repeatedly tipped me into situations I couldn’t handle, but I survived. I never really grew out of that childhood conditioning until I discovered how to. The trauma of psychological, emotional and financial abuse by the person I chose to be my life partner annihilated the personality strategy that had worked for me for so long. He put a wrecking ball through my life, exhausted my life’s work and tore my soul into a thousand pieces. My inner world became one of turmoil and despair.
My whole world view came tumbling down. I had nothing to hang onto but my belief in my own good heart and my ability to survive. I found thousands of other survivors struggling to take back their lives from violation by the people who were most dear to them. And I found the philosophy and mindfulness techniques of Western Secular Buddhism.
I hope sharing the methods that worked for me in my book will help survivors of psychological abuse move through their trauma, resolve their unhealthy patterns, and move into a life thriving with calm, kindness, love and self-acceptance.
Margot was the afterthought in a well-to-do rural family of five girl children. Her early childhood, steeped in nature, was largely solitary with her sisters away at boarding school. Uprooted and deposited in a private ladies’ college at age eight, she went on to excel in the Arts.
After a brief stint at University, Margot was lured back to drama school in her home town by the drama teacher who had groomed her since age fifteen. At the time, the idea of a powerful predator ‘grooming’ an innocent young person for future sexual exploitation had not yet come to the fore in contemporary awareness and she was seen by many as a child seductress. After he convinced her to give up her place in a prestigious drama school, and cross the country to marry him and start a theatre company, he held her hostage and sexually, physically and psychologically abused her. She was seventeen.
She was disowned by her mother for bringing shame on the family. After her escape, her “first love” stalked her with all kinds of threats, driving the young Margot to the edge of madness. She suppressed the trauma to complete her drama studies and went on to enjoy a stint as the next big thing in the then vibrant Aussie film industry.
Margot as a young woman was outgoing, care-free, intelligent, happy and beautiful. She has worked in film, television, voice-over, modeling and stage productions. In London she began a successful corporate career as a group facilitator and administrator.
On her return to Australia, she gained a Master of Business degree and briefly took her business seminar around the country, helping artists apply business theory to manage their artistic careers. It was then that she met the second man who would try to possess and destroy her. Her ten-year marriage in her forties to this well-known artist left her completely traumatised physically and emotionally, and financially ruined. With the compounding trauma of betrayal, abandonment, shock, disability, and the loss of everything that was dear to her (again), she found herself struggling with the acute anxiety of CPTSD through several years of uncanny multiplying disasters.
Deeply spiritual, she turned to the mystery of ancient Eastern wisdom traditions, where she found her experience described precisely: death and rebirth in a single human lifetime. Training in mindfulness, and a rational contemplation of her experience through the lens of Buddhist philosophy led to transformation of her inner world and a state of deep calm and contentment, despite the devastation to her real-life circumstances. Her growing compassion and newfound awareness of the number of women suffering in the way she had gave her a new purpose: to support and empower other women who experience lingering trauma from profound psychological, emotional and financial abuse.
Restoration of her outer world is still a work in progress. She now leads a simple solitary life in a country cottage, surviving on very little and relishing it.
Margot MacCallum is a nom de plum. School friends wrote this.
Many survivors suddenly find themselves very alone after abandonment or flight from a domestic psychological abuser.
Their wounds are not visible to others.
They are not believed.
Consultation with a lived-experience mentor can provide a safe place to be with another woman further along the same journey as you.
The book, Healing the Trauma of Psychological Abuse offers a context for working through the aftermath with the author.