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Send questions to Terrance Dean at: girlworkonyou@aol.com

This week’s “Read A Book” is a powerful memoir that every person should read. It’s a chilling story of author, Harold L. Turley, II, and his life as a former abuser.

Abuse is a serious issue and topic, and many persons experience it yet never discuss it. Hopefully after reading this interviewing you will feel compelled to start a dialogue with someone you know who is, or, are experiencing an abusive relationship. Or, you will reasses your own relationships for healing.

In his poignant and moving memoir, MY DARKEST HOUR: THE DAY I REALIZED I WAS ABUSIVE (Strebor/Atria Books; $13.00/April 2010), Turley recounts much more than the abuse he endured and he himself inflicted upon others.  He identifies in detail the emotional, economic, and domestic abuse that occurs in many relationships, and prescribes a course of action for both the victim and the abuser.

Harold L. Turley II didn’t feel any love as a child – only pain, fear, and hatred.  His only hope was that he would be able to move on from the past that haunted him for so long and be free from the constant abuse that endured him for most of his childhood.  Sadly, the tumultuous memories of the physical and mental abuse of Harold’s past would only prove to manifest itself negatively into his adult life, continuing the vicious cycle of abuse in his life.

Harold L. Turley II was born and raised in Washington D.C.  An author and performance poet, he lives with his children in Brandywine, Maryland.  Turley first thrilled readers with the critically acclaimed novel Love’s Game, touched the lives of many with Confessions of a Lonely Soul, ad showed the practical glamour of the life of crime – while introducing readers to the effects and consequences of that life – with his urban fiction title, Born Dying.  He is also a contributing author in the anthologies A Chocolate Seduction and Nikki Turner Presents: Backstage (Street Chronicles).

I spoke with Harold about his memoir, and his past as an abuser. His answers are truly heartfelt and riveting:

TD: Your memoir, My Darkest Hour, is about your life, and in particular, of being an abuser. Why did you decide to write this book?

HLT: I decided to write My Darkest Hour because I feel as though there is a learning experience through every situation. I always questioned why I had to go through all the things that I have with abuse, whether as a child and young adult when I was the one abused or as a young adult and adult when I was the one who was committing the abuse. I allowed the abuse I witnessed and endured to manifest within me and thought that it was something that I would never commit. I thought I could handle things on my own and those misguided thoughts played a role in my future behavior. I wrote this book hoping that by displaying the mistakes I made or my triumph with conquering abuse I can be someone’s example of the things not to do and to get help now. Or, if someone is being abused and is making excuses for their abusers, they see it’s time for them to get out now. I wrote this book to change someone else’s life, not only the person being abused but also the person who is committing the abuse.

TD: In your book you admit that you yourself were an abuser. When did you recognize that you were an abuser and who were your victims?

HLT: When did I recognize it? That is a very good question. My answer to that would be there wasn’t a time when I didn’t recognize it. The difference was I made excuses for my actions. I thought my controlling behavior was acceptable or justified because of my love for the person. When you start to make excuses, you do nothing but fuel the evil trying to make its way to the surface. Though recognizing your abusive traits and characteristics is very important, what’s most important is when you stop making excuses for your actions and stop ignoring the need for help to cleanse yourself of those traits and characteristics. Who were my victims isn’t important the fact that there are victims is what is. In my case I ended up hurting the women most close to me. In someone else’s it might be different but what makes them the same is the fact that they are victims and no one deserves to be that.

TD: What are some common factors that prevent victims from leaving their abusers?

HLT: An abusive person’s primary focus is to control the person they are in a relationship with.  That control eventually builds fear within the person being controlled and abused.  Though there are many reasons that prevent a victim from leaving, all of them center around fear.  Whether the victim is fearful their abuser will hurt or try to kill them if they leave.  Fearful they will never find another man or woman to treat them better than their abuser did.  The victim becomes fearful to leave their abuser and continues to endure the abuse in hope that one day it will magically disappear or stop.  That fear is what makes the victim weak and gives the abuser strength.  Once that fear has been removed, the power and will is then restored to allow the victim to leave.

TD: What are the early warning signs of recognizing an abuser?

HLT: It’s very unfortunate that you can’t see a person’s relationship or family history to review prior to getting into a relationship with them like lenders can prior to providing a consumer a loan. And even with the information lenders have, it still isn’t fool proof because you still have people who default on loans every day. So think how hard it is finding a mate. That is why people have to pay attention to the yellow lights and not try to run through them. Ignoring them and running through them only enables the problem. With that being said, an abusive person will try to make decisions for you or tell you what to do and expect you to obey. They will treat you like a servant, child or even their possession. They will try to isolate you from family or friends.  They will try to intimidate you.

TD: What important lesson/s or steps do you hope readers will take from this book?

HLT: There are many lessons and steps within my memoir on recognizing and dealing with abusive by either the abuser or the abused and all are equally important to achieve the main goal behind the book which is ending the cycle of abuse. That is what is most important to me within this book. This book was designed to offer help to 100 percent of men and women with abusive traits in an effort to try to stop this disease. My hope is that if people can see what I’ve gone through or what has happened within my life, it will make them take a look at their life and their own actions. If they can see that they are traveling down the road to becoming abusive, hopefully together, we can pull the car over and stop them from going any further down the road of abuse; the road of destruction. Without an abuser, you don’t have a victim of abuse!

Harold has agreed to give-away five signed copies of his book, My Darkest Hour. The first five persons to answer this question will get a signed copy: “What did Harold describe as some tell-tale signs of an abuser?”

The first five persons to send their answers to: girlworkonyou@aol.com will receive a signed copy.

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