The Gale Hill Radio Hour

Ep 22 - A Memoir of Abuse

July 21, 2022 Kate Jones
The Gale Hill Radio Hour
Ep 22 - A Memoir of Abuse
Show Notes Transcript Chapter Markers

Linda Lee Blakemore is the author of “Entrenched: A Memoir of Holding On and Letting Go,”  in which she shares her awakening to the ways that child abuse affected her life as an adult and how she found a path toward healing. 

Published in 2022, "Entrenched" is Linda's second book. Her first is “Kids Helping Kids (Break the Silence of Sexual Abuse),” which was published in 2003 long before she was fully healed enough to write the story of her own life. In "Kids Helping Kids," children tell their true stories to help other children.

In addition to writing both books to help others, Linda is a speaker and an advocate for those who have experienced abuse. To learn more, please visit her website.

Her books are available on her site as well as on Amazon and elsewhere where books are sold. They're also in library collections.

In this interview, Linda mentions another book that proved instrumental to her healing. Here's the Amazon link: The Courage to Heal: A Guide for Women Survivors of Child Sexual Abuse, 20th Anniversary Edition by Ellen Bass and Laura Davis. 

Thank you for listening to The Gale Hill Radio Hour, a show about purpose, passion, and sharing our gifts with the world.

Hello and welcome to The Gale Hill Radio Hour.

I'm your host, Kate Jones, having a conversation with Linda Lee Blakemore, author of "Entrenched: A Memoir of Holding On and Letting Go."

Linda also is an advocate, survivor, speaker, and the author of "Kids Helping Kids (Break the Silence of Sexual Abuse)."

Linda, thank you for being on the show today.

Kate, thank you so much for having me.

It's a pleasure to have you on the show. "Entrenched" is your second book, which really began as personal journaling toward healing. Would you talk about that?

Sure. I would really be honored to. Many years after publishing my first book, when my second husband left me for the fourth time --  this time to move in with his best friend who had been charged with possession of child pornography...

Hmm. That sounds like a good choice.

Yeah, exactly. I picked up the pen again. I'd always written, but of course you get away from it in your life. This time, I started writing to understand the demons that possessed my second husband. I believe that if I could understand him, I could love him healthy. I could fix him. I could fix us. And the interesting thing is, I had no idea that what I would find were actually the demons inside of me.

And writing this time was very different than writing my first book. There were no interviews to conduct or research to perform, at least not at this stage. The work was very internal, thoughtful, introspective. I was doing a lot of journaling and that was therapeutic. And that's the thing about writing that, you know, I find so compelling and so helpful, putting something down on the page separates it from you. It gives it a life of its own. I mean, of course, it's always there and you can pick it up any time you want, but you are in control. So those thoughts are no longer inside your head or your heart, keeping you fixated and anxious.


I like that very much. You mentioned when we spoke on the phone a while ago that you're an unlikely writer. How so?

I really am. So as you know, I'm an author of two published books, but I flunked every college-level creative writing course I ever took. I even had one professor tell me to give up the dream. But I always loved to write. Even as a child, I could be found holed up in my bedroom with a tablet and a pen. Of course, as as an adult with four children in five years, I was too busy to write or to enjoy the craft.

But with the return of my repressed memories of child sexual abuse -- which came right after the engagement to my second husband, Jack -- the counselor at the Pittsburgh Action Against Rape recommended a book, "The Courage to Heal" by Ellen Bass and Laura Davis, and each chapter ended with a writing exercise that brought me back to that craft that I loved. And of course the writing that I needed to heal.

So let's go back to your first book for a moment. What led you to write it?

It's a really interesting story, Kate. When I had finally gotten through that dark and, of course, very difficult time in my life, it had taken so many to help me heal that I wanted to give back.

And this is something that you hear from a lot of survivors. I thought I would do that by writing a novel about a little girl who, like me, had been sexually abused. I even landed a literary agent in California. And every month I sent her a chapter along with a blank cassette tape. That was how we did it back then. And about a week later, she would send back to me the red-marked pages and on her little cassette tape would be her comments. Less than complimentary comments.

Ernest Hemingway once said the writing is easy. All you have to do is bleed on the page. And I was definitely not bleeding on the page. I was holding back.


It was scary and I was vulnerable and I was not putting it all out there. I think, you know, especially in the beginning, it takes a little bit of courage and a lot of practice to really put yourself out there. Kurt Vonnegut once said, "When I'm writing, I feel like an armless, legless man with a big fat crayon in my mouth."

And that's kind of how I felt when I was writing. I was just sort of scribbling around and fumbling around, but no matter how bad my writing, this literary agent really seemed to believe in me. And every month, she would say to me, "I want you to tell your true story. There's power in the truth."


What a gift she gave you!

She really did. And I had no idea about the requirements for writing memoir, but I knew I was not healed enough or evolved enough to tell my true story. And add to that honestly, my mother didn't even know what had happened to me, so I was not ready to tell my true story.

Well, the literary agent said to me, "Then I want you to go volunteer." And I thought that was odd, but I did what she asked me to do. And I chose Pittsburgh Child Advocacy, which is where children go for their forensic interviews when they're being interviewed for child abuse.

One day while I was there, I was filing and answering phones. I had no contact with the children, of course, but while I was doing whatever mundane task I had been assigned to do, a little boy came in for his forensic interview. Now I never met the child. I never even saw the child, but his story was on the lips of everyone who passed through those halls. Having been sexually abused for years, this little 10-year-old lashed out, raping his 5-year-old sister.

As an aside, while those children were at Child Advocacy giving their forensic interviews, the perpetrator was at their home. He set the house on fire in an attempt to destroy the evidence.

My goodness, messed up!

Yes. Anyway, when I got home that night, I couldn't get those kiddos out of my head.
I knew one thing for sure. Prevention and intervention needed to do more to destroy the walls of silence that lock its victims in such continued abuse. But what could I do? I realized that children are more likely to listen to and learn from each other than from an adult. I mean, certainly my children did. And that's when it came to me: I would write a book where children would tell their true stories to help other.

"Kids Helping Kids (Break the Silence of Sexual Abuse)" would educate and intervene if a child is trapped in silence and offer hope for healing. When I did the research, I could not find another book like that out there, and I could not get started fast enough.


So what happened?

Well, I was married to my not-so-supportive second husband. And, you know, I had been writing this other book for about a year, very unsuccessfully, and he was quite sure that I was not going to be any more successful with "Kids Helping Kids": "You know you won't finish it and nobody will endorse it and no one will want to publish it." And all those kinds of things.

But despite everything that he did to discourage me, I persevered and believe it or not, in six months, that book was written. I had all of the children interviewed. I had all of the support and educational chapters written. It was kind of  miraculous. I felt like I was simply the instrument through which this book was being written. It was very effortless.

Of course, I'm not, you know, a therapist. I'm not trained. And I knew that I was going to need someone with some credibility behind them to add the credibility needed to the book. So I asked Dr. Walter Smith, the executive director of Pittsburgh Family Resources to write the introduction to adults. And I asked Erica Harkema, the director of Pittsburgh Child Advocacy, who I had become very close friends with, if she would write the introduction to children. And they both did. Of course they both reviewed the book first and they wanted to be a part of it, which was a wonderful compliment.


Working with that literary agent who wanted me to write my true story and I wasn't ready, but using the template that she had given me, I created a book proposal. One, of course, that my second husband didn't think I could create. And I began seeking endorsements and to my surprise, every day when I went to the mailbox, there was another letter of support. It was really exciting and hopeful that I was doing something that was so essential. I received hundreds of endorsements from professionals across the country: B.J Horn, the executive director of Pittsburgh Action Against Rape. Nancy Wells, executive director of Center for Victims of Violent Crime. Dr. Walter Brooks out of Harvard Medical School. He is the co-author of "The Angry Child." And one of the endorsements that really resonates for me as Jack Canfield, the co-author of "The Chicken Soup for the Soul" series. He endorsed it for me as well.

And so with a modified version of the proposal that I created to seek endorsements, I began seeking speaking engagements at child abuse conferences around the country and to my surprise and delight, I started booking all kinds of speaking engagements. Of course, I didn't even have a book yet, but I my marketing package to add to the book proposal, and it was time to look for a publisher. So since Jack Canfield had endorsed my book, I started with his publisher who at the time was HCI in Florida. And their system was that once a month, each of their 12 senior editors brought their best book project to the table and they chose one. I made it to the round table, but my book was not chosen in the end because they did not feel that it would sell as many copies as the book they chose. The only deciding factor was salability.  So I, I felt pretty good about that. I mean, I made the round table and you know, my book was a vertical market book and I didn't expect that it would sell as many perhaps as a general market book. So that was fine with me.

And a recently published friend of mine then suggested his publisher, Lighthouse Point Press. I reached out to Lighthouse and they invited me to come in and have a meeting. And I marched in there with my little book proposal, and Ralph, the publisher said, "This might be the best book proposal I've ever seen." Thanks to the literary agent I was no longer working with. He offered me a publishing contract right there on the spot. It was interesting because he said to me, "I want you to find six professionals across the country to evaluate your book for credibility." He did not want it to be anyone I knew. He really wanted it to be hands off. So I did that. I found six professionals across the country and I sent the full book to them, and they all gave it their stamp of approval. So Ralph was excited.

Off the book went to the publisher, and while it was with Ralph doing whatever, you know, having done whatever publishers do, we were doing cover designs and those kinds of things.
It takes about a year, by the way, at least it did at that time. So it's kind of a long waiting process. You're excited and you want it to happen more quickly, but it does take time. So I went back to work.


Were you working in real estate at the time?

I was. I was working with my second husband. I was at my real estate desk, and one day the phone rang and it was 17 Magazine. And I have no idea how they found me or my name or, for that matter, my phone number. They wanted to know if I had a teacher-student story in my book. And I did not. I told them that, but I said, "But you know what? I have a story, a father- daughter story about the internet." The father was taking photos of his daughter in the shower and selling them on the internet. So they said, "Thank you very much, but we really want a teacher-student story." And that was that, or so I thought.

About a month later, they called back. Could I send the book to them as soon as possible? They were interested in my internet story. Well, of course I didn't have a book yet. So I reached out to Ralph and he overnighted to them a physical galley copy of the book. And Faith. one of the young ladies in the book who, by the way, insisted I use her real name, agreed to appear in 17 Magazine. They did a center spread. She sent her senior picture in and all those kinds of things.

Of course, there were interviews and so forth, but they wasn't done in person. While that was happening, the Montel Williams Show reached out and wanted to know if Faith would appear on the show. And if I would appear as the professional in the audience.


So what was that like for you? You had all this stuff going on, and you already were in 17 Magazine, which was really popular among teenagers.

Yeah, it was a very well-known magazine and it was a very exciting time. I mean, certainly Faith was terrified but also excited to be really doing something. It's so wonderful to make a difference for people, right?

She was putting herself out there in a big, big way. A very brave and focused young lady. By the way, she's a teacher today. So she's a pretty impressive woman.


Good for her.

Yes, exactly. Like I said, 17 Magazine was a little bit more hands off. They would make some calls and and do some interviews and things like that. But of course The Montel Williams Show is in person. So that was a really different experience. Um, faith and I waited and waited what seemed like weeks. Right. Um, and then one day we got a call telling us that we would receive in the mail express mail, some airline tickets, and we leave the day after tomorrow.

So it was wait, wait, and then hurry up. Um, we were told to wear solid colors and not to worry about hair and makeup because they were going to do those at the show, which they did. Um, and of course my spouse, wasn't happy about the short notice. And he was probably also not happy that they didn't send an airline ticket for him, but they did not.
So, um, faith and her mom and I, we arrived in New York and we were put up in a hotel and the next morning we were chauffeured to the, um, studio and hair and makeup was done. And then faith and her mom were put into one green room and I was put into another green room. And by the way, they're not green at all.
And, um, there were three shows that were filmed that day. We were the second show. And that was really nice because we got to watch everything that happened with the first show and get a little more comfortable, uh, while we waited. Huh. But it was a life a once in a lifetime experience. I'm sure for faith in her mother, it certainly was for me as well.
Yes. So real highlight. I would. Yes. Ma'am yes. Ma'am one of those things that you, you know, will probably never happen again. So I, I have my little mantel William show mug, and nobody's allowed to use it because I don't want it to accidentally break well, that's good. You don't want that to happen for sure.
Yeah. So this, this all went on. And yet, and you mentioned this, this was just the beginning of your healing process, is that right? It really is an amazing journey. Right? I have come to understand that healing is not a destination or maybe it's an, a destination when we would never arrive at or never achieve.
It is definitely a lifelong journey. And my journey, I believe began. Way back with my first husband. Um, Tony is a wonderful man, um, a good husband, a wonderful provider. I was just beginning, shortly after we married or maybe a few years after we married. I was just beginning to feel this discontent inside of me that I did not understand.
um, but I needed to seek out whatever it was. I started on this journey to figure out what was, what I needed that I didn't have. What was this discontent that I needed to resolve? Yes. What was welling up inside of you that, that had to be addressed? It was relentless. Kate. And I didn't know what it was because I of course had no memory yet.
And my first experience, I sought out an older married man. And even though that ended very tragically with him sexually assaulting me, I was still on this pathway. I was still drawn. Two older men, men that were 13, 14, 15 years older than me, which in the end I would then realize was the same age, different as.
I was from my abuser. Yes. But I didn't. Yes, Tom, isn't that amazing that you have those, um, you, you get into those situations, you have those yearnings, you have whatever and the, everything that is really the cause of them, those yearnings it's buried really deep and you don't. You don't and, and I'm sure people looked around and had some understanding more than I did, but even if they would've tried to explain it to me, it, it would not have gotten in there.
This was one of those things that I needed to figure out on my own. And of course, you know, I found Jack. and shortly after we got engaged, Jack was 15 years older than me. And shortly after we got engaged, my memories, uh, returned. Um, and that was the beginning for me, the, the realization of what had happened, the physical abuse, the actual, um, abuse itself.
That was one part of. That was the first part of it. And then I went to the Pittsburgh action against rape and through the writing of those exercises and that healing, that was the second step for me. And then I wrote kids helping kids break the silence of sexual abuse, and that was another step for me.
Then I traveled the country and I spoke at child abuse conferences, and I met people. We're in the trenches every day fighting for the safety of children. And I also met people just like me, who were also abused and on their healing journey. Um, and that was another step in my journey. Um, it really was.
And even though I was moving beyond the actual abuse, . I was not moving beyond my unhealthy second marriage. That should have been a sign that there was something more there, but, but I hadn't figured it out yet. Now my abuse was not as obvious. My unhealthy second marriage was not obvious. Jack never laid a hand on me.
Um, it wasn't physical abuse in your marriage. It was not correct. It was not physical. Um, it was more of a controlling kind of a thing. And of course I had a, I had a wonderful life. I mean, I was cloaked in comfort and luxury. We had a beautiful home. We took five star vacations. I never wanted for anything, which makes it more difficult.
Cuz it's confusing. Isn't. And you find yourself saying, like I was saying to myself, what do you want? You have what other people dream of? And I said that to a girlfriend one time. Um, and she said to me, Linda, nobody would want your life. Oh, wow. That's quite an quite a response. It was. And you know, my, my second husband left me every two years.
Um, so, you know, what happened was behind closed doors. Our relationship was very unbalanced and very unha, unhealthy. He made all the decisions unilaterally. He had to be in control of the money, the business, the family, he decided when, where with whom we traveled and socialized. And of course it was never with my family or my friends.
Right. And he always wanted me to be independent, but anytime I got a job or began to stretch my legs, so to speak, he sabotaged me. And if I challenged Jack my second husband, or when he didn't get his way, either he didn't speak to me for weeks or he would pack up and move out for months. And that was my punishment.
So the interesting thing for me was if I was a good girl, I was rewarded. And if I was a bad girl, I was punished very much like what happened to me as a child. And there was so much dysfunction in that, but there was also so much familiarity. Yes. So this was very this relationship. This your second marriage was integral to your understanding.
It was, it really was. And of course my friends, I, I always said I was not gonna take him back. This is the last time. If he leaves again, I'm not doing it again, you know, taking him back. But I always took him back and my friends thought I was crazy. And of course, if doing the same thing and expecting a different result is crazy, then they were right.
I was crazy because that's what I was doing. Mm-hmm. Yeah, and I, I did that until I figured it out. And what did you figure out? Well, one, one day, about eight months into our fifth marital separation, our seventh official separation. If you count the two that we had during our engagement. Oh, but who's counting but I be, I know that's not a good time to joke, but still , that's a lot of separations.
For a lot. That was that's. And, and we'll talk about a little bit about that in a minute, but you know, I was sitting alone in our master bedroom when I remembered something else from my childhood, something horrible, but something that helped me to make sense of everything. And this is a little excerpt from the book.
Um, I'd been sitting by myself on the concrete sidewalk, building a house from a deck of plane card. My father taught me how so I'd have something to do when I didn't want to play with the other kids. It was a thick August evening. And third grade was about to begin. I had just turned nine. My abuser pulled up in a car.
My dad had rebuilt for him. He walked over to where I was playing and crouched down the cigarette clenched between his fingers sent a ribbon of white. Curling above his head. I won't be coming around anymore. He said, why not? I asked, I'm getting married. He smiled. Like he expected, I would smile back. You said you were gonna marry me.
I can't marry a nine year old. He sneered come on. You know that, but you said, don't you get it? He stood and brushed. at his slacks. I just needed to practice. Then he pointed at , you know, doesn't that Jo, it just makes me growl. Go on . Then he pointed at me with the two fingers that clutched that burning marble.
You could never tell anyone ever he flicked the butt into the gutter and snuffed it out with the pointy toe of his brown leather shoe. Do you understand? He said insisting without waiting for me to answer, he stepped into my yard down the concrete walkway and threw my kitchen door. Guess what he called to my parents as he disappeared inside, I'm getting married.
That's when I knew that for me, it was not just the abuse. What was left for me to deal with was the abandonment. And I knew at that very moment, Kate, that staying with a man who left me every two years would keep me forever entrenched in the very thing I needed to move beyond. That is really powerful.
Linda hard lessons that are hard to learn and long in the learning. So how do you apply what you've learned to help others? So the truth of the matter is as hard as it was, my second husband had become my pathway back to remember and confront and writing became my way to heal. As soon as I realized that I had it all figured out, you know, my need to write went away suddenly I understood.
I just didn't have that drive anymore. Right. But I had really, um, gathered myself in large numbers of writing friends. Right. We, we got together often. I had several different writing groups and when all of this happened, I siled across the booth from one of my writing friend groups. And I explained to them, you know, I figured this out.
I no longer need to finish my book. And they were really sad, not because I had poured so much of myself into those pages, but because they were really sure that my story would help others. And I wasn't so sure. You know, who would wanna read my story? One day I was asked to have lunch with the young lady who had been making some really bad choices in her relationships and in her life.
And sure I could give her, you know, Sage motherly advice and tell her what to do and what not to do. But I, I knew she would be more likely to listen to and learn from my journey, my story. So when I finished telling her she got up, she walked around the table and she gave me a really big hug. And she said that my story had helped her understand things about he.
her past and the choices that she was making things that she had not realized on her own. So I made my way back to my car that day. I knew my writing friends were correct, but no matter how scary it might be for me to put myself out there as such a damaged individual, that if I wanted to help others, I needed to do.
And Kate, there are so many of us out there. The statistics are staggering, one in four girls, and one in six boys is a victim of child sexual abuse. And that's just the ones who report. Yes, that's horrible. did you know that a child victim is five times more likely to be sexually assaulted as a teen or an adult?
My goodness, just like me. Right. And each year in the United States alone, there are 463,630. Female victims, ages 12 and older of rape and sexual assault every year. That's one in five women and half of those assaults like mine are perpetrated by an acquaintance. A third of those are never reported.
One in three women in this country experienced physical violence by a partner or former partner. And here's a statistic. Three women are murdered by their partners in this country every year. That's 4,000 women a year. That was, um, you said three women are murdered by their partners in this country.
Every is every day. Every day, I'm sorry. Yeah. That's 4,000 women a year. And despite that on average, a woman will return to an unhealthy relationship seven times before leaving for good, even an unsafe relationship. I write for each of these women. I am one of them. and I hope that through my story, they can relate and perhaps find some courage or find some way for themselves to understand why they're making the choices they are and, and perhaps find their own way out.
Yes. And take back their power. Yes. So why does a woman return. So many times, what is it? That's a good question. I really believe that part of it is trauma bonding. And when you think about the story, I just told you how I sought out and clung to my very unhealthy second relationship. Second marriage. I was bonding with him through my unresolved trauma.
And when you think about a strong bond with somebody, um, you know, there, there are physiological responses to that, right? You, you get heart palpitations and you get excited and you're, and you're hopeful and you're happy. Well, trauma bonding is like a bond on steroid. Fireworks and lightning bolts. It's so much stronger.
The initial attraction is also very fast. You feel like you've known him forever, even though you've just met him. And the truth is you really do know him, right. Because you're relating to him as though he wore somebody else that you did know before. Sure. That makes sense. And the scary thing about a trauma bond is that you feel like you've never been loved like this before, and you are afraid.
You never will again. So, so you do wanna hang on and hang on for dear life. You do. And you know, in the beginning they treat you like your, their princess and they put you on a pedestal. But the funny thing is that even after he pulls the rug out from underneath you with whether it's gas, lighting, verbal abuse, jealous control, whatever, because you are so connected to him emotionally, you hang on.
And while you're busy trying to figure out, you know, what you did wrong, right. Because that's also part of the dynamic. Um, it doesn't matter. You're already in this rollercoaster of trauma bonding. One minute, he's gonna shower you with love and attention. And the next minute, like my spouse, he didn't speak to me for weeks.
Right? One minute, you're getting these beautiful, expensive gifts. And the next minute he's screaming that you spend too much money. No matter what happens you hang on. Of course your friends are looking in from the outside and this dysfunctional unbalanced connection is obvious. But to us, the women who.
Find ourselves entrenched deep within it. It's really confusing. And part of the reason it is so confusing is because of the physiology of it, the ups and downs, the on and off the love and punishment dynamic keeps us off balance and out of sorts, his unpredictable mood swing. Actually serve to distort our perception, destroy our self-esteem and subvert our boundaries.
Plus the irregular fluctuations in brain chemistry, the Oxy and the dopamine that you know, have to do with us, uh, the separation anxiety and the love connections that we. Those chemicals are all over the place because we're up and down and on and off. So that only serves to cloud our judgment and add to the confusion and guess what?
That keeps us even more attached to this person. Sure. So if, if you have been knowingly or unknowingly drawn to this man, As I was the way a daughter of an alcoholic might be drawn to a drinker. Not only could your unhealthy bond be stronger, you might also subconsciously believe like I did that. If he doesn't love you, you are unlovable and you might fear that he's the only one who can fulfill your needs.
you may even develop a fear of abandonment that you never had before. Like I did. Hmm. And when you attempt to end this relationship, even if the relationship is unsafe, You will feel filled with panic and fear, and that will send you running back and your friends look at you. Like you're crazy, but you are truly reacting physiologically to that separation.
Wow. Why do women, or why do we choose the wrong partners in the first place? Well, it's our past, right? Nearly 70% of all adults have unresolved trauma from childhood trauma. Not only affects our mental state with things like depression, anxiety, post traumatic stress, but it also affects our physically, right.
It causes migraines, autoimmune disorders, um, chronic fatigue, back pain, all those kinds of things. But the, the more important thing that it does. Is, it affects the choices we make as adults, the jobs we choose, the friends we pick and the life partners, we are drawn to our past formulates, our self worth, how we attach to others and how we believe we deserve to be treated.
So when that past is cloaked and unresolved trauma, It will lure us toward unhealthy partners. People who are often very similar to those who may have hurt us as a child. And we are drawn to these people. Like I was one to remember to work through those psychological issues that we have not yet resolved.
We can also be drawn to these people to get control over something. We could not control as a child. Or like me to get the outcome. I did not get as a child. Hmm. Wow. So entrenched is a new book. When was it published in February? Wow. February 20, 22. Yes. Ma'am it just came out. And it is your, your story about this destructive affair with an older married.
Boss and it, it ended in sexual assault and, and, and your, your first husband took you back, but then, well, go on, you can tell your story much better than I can, but it's what I mean, just there's a lot in here in this story. I really put it all out there. I was very, very honest and forthcoming. I know that there are other women out there that will be able to relate to what I've been through and, and hopefully learn from it.
Um, yes, even after, um, that relationship ended in sexual assault, my need to seek that older controlling man, um, exists, continue to exist. Sure. And how could it not, cuz you hadn't gotten to the root. Of it all right until later. So it's, uh, it, wasn't your, wasn't your fault. It was more just this, this absolute need to figure out what was really coming up out of you for, you know, just as you said, in the early part of the episode, the demons.
I was possessed by demons. I didn't even know were in there. Yes. And I kept looking and I, I found Jack my second husband and, um, you know, as much as it was a very difficult journey for me, I am grateful to him. because he was my pathway back to remember and confront what had happened to me. And of course writing was my way to heal.
Um, and you know, yes, our relationship was not the worst of the worst. It's interesting because you know, when you think of. Unhealthy relationships. You often think of the domestic violence that you see where women are beaten or, you know, stomped and those kinds of things. Um, but the majority of the time, the domestic violence is more likely to be verbal and mental than it is to be.
And I didn't know that myself until I've been doing a lot of work with the domestic violence groups. Um, there are about five of different areas, um, around me and I've gotten to be involved with them. Um, and I've learned an awful lot. I, I thought that, geez, this isn't, this isn't really, you know, an unhealthy relationship, but it was yeah.
And. To be out of there and I wasn't capable of getting out of there until I figured it out. Sure. So, um, I think it's very interesting that you offered to your second husband. You offered to let him read the ma. Of entrenched before publication and he declined, but why did you decide to do that? Well, when you are writing, um, true story, of course, it's your story and therefore it's your perspective.
Um, and it's always a good idea to have. Corroborators. And I had a couple of people around me who I gave the book to, to corroborate the story, um, and make sure that my perspective was in line. Right. Um, I was not writing this book. As an out, I, I wasn't, it wasn't a tell-all I wasn't trying to expose or hurt anybody.
I was trying to tell my story to help people. And I wanted my ex-husband to, to know that. And I, I wanted him to have an opportunity. He knew I had been writing it because I started writing it prior to us even being divorced. And I wanted Tim to know it was finished and I wanted to give him an opportunity to read it if he wanted to.
and a friend of mine is an attorney. And, um, we were talking about, you know, giving it to people to corroborate and I ran it by her and she said, absolutely. Ask, give him an opportunity to read it. And of course I did that and he said, under no circumstances, am I gonna read that? I said, okay, fine. And. In researching about the, you know, responsibilities for telling the truth and the liabilities for, you know, telling other people's stories, which you are telling just by.
Telling your own right. Other people are involved. So I, I spoke to a media lawyer in New York city who used to represent one of the big houses. And, um, he gave me a lot of advice about media liability protection and that kind of thing. And I told him I had offered my ex-husband to read the book. And he said, well, I never would've suggested you do that, but I'm so glad you did.
That's that's excellent. . So how do people get copies of entrenched or your first book kids helping kids? Um, they are both, you know, available where books are, are sold, Amazon Barnes and noble. L local libraries, those kinds of things. Um, kids helping kids has been out since, like I said, about 2005 maybe.
And, um, at the time books were not published electronically. And I recently spoke with Ralph, the publisher of that book. Um, and during COVID. um, the printer that lighthouse point press used, they were at a Michigan and I don't know if they closed or if they were gobbled up by another printer. Um, but he no longer has the files.
So I don't know how long kids helping kids is going to be available. It's still available right now. Um, and I, I hope that it'll be continue to be available, but I, but I don't know. It'll probably have to go into another reprint. Is it on your website available? There it is. Um, if you, you know, if you go onto my website, I think you can get a copy that way.
Like I said, you can get it on, um, Amazon as well and barns and noble and things like that. Okay. And I bought, um, entrenched on from your website. Well, thank you very much. Have you had well sure. Yes, I've read a lot of it. I haven't read. I haven't read at all yet. Um, but I think it's very well written. Well, thank you.
Thank you very much. It took a long time to write it and, um, I was very thoughtful about wanting it to be as well, written as possible. Yeah, it is. Um, I will have a link to Linda Lee, blakemore.com in the descriptions and in the chapters of, um, on the website that where the, uh, podcast is, uh, hosted. That's awesome.
Thank you very much. So what's next for you? Linda? I'm I'm actually, uh, Kate I'm trying to recover. okay. That makes sense. . When you write something that is this personal and this difficult. I, I often make my writing friends laugh because I call it swimming around in the sewer water. And I swallowed a lot of sewer water in the 20 years that I was writing this story, you know?
Sure. So, um, I, I am marketing it right now. I'm working with dress for success and violence services and, um, All of those kinds of things, and I'm helping to get the word out and, um, be available to other women. I'm doing a lot of speaking engagements. Um, of course I'm also working full time and, um, I've got four kiddos and remarried to a, uh, a kind and gentle man who, um, I, I want to say to women that reciprocal love is in fact possible.
So please don't give up the dream that you can find true love because it's out there. And Randy and I, Randy, of course read the whole book, um, prior to it being published. And he and I purchased a foreclosure a few years back and we have renovated. Majority of two floors. And right now he is, he loves to do, you know, uh, woodworking crafts.
And right now he is renovating a walk in attic and making it a wood paneled library for me. Oh, that's wonderful. Yes. So that's what, that's what we do in our free time when we're not babysitting grandchildren or visiting. You know, we have six children and I have always felt like I had a lot of making up to do to my, with my children.
And I have tried very hard to, um, be as involved in their lives and available to them as much as I possibly can. So I love them very much, and I'm very grateful that they love me, despite all the things that, uh, Life put me through. And when you are a mother and you go through things, your children go through it with you?
Yes. Yes. Are they all in, uh, Southwestern, Pennsylvania, or are they around the country? Uh, four of them are close and two of them are across the country. Okay. All right, but grandchildren are all close. And, um, I think one of the greatest things that I can do for my kiddos is take the grandchildren so they can get a break.
that's a very talk about kind. That's a very kind thing to do. plus it's good for you. You get to hang out with your grandkids. I love it. I love it. It's exhausting, but I wouldn't trade it for the world. Well, it's so important that you have come to this point in your life and you did the work to you.
You've earned it. You really did the work digging in. And, and I think that's, so I important for all of us to do the work, you know, dig into our lives, dig into our past and just figure things out. And I think we can move on with a lot more understanding that. I don't think we can escape it either. I think if we don't do the work, it is always there.
And whether we realize it or not, those unresolved issues affect who we are, the choices we make and the lives that we live and they also affect the people around us. So it's kind of like a toothache, right? Uh, You know, you can go to the dentist and be afraid and, you know, have a little discomfort. Um, or eventually you're just not gonna even have a tooth and you're not gonna be able to eat.

Right. I'm kind of fond of teeth, Kate. Was there anything else, Linda? No, I, I just am grateful to you. And if anybody has an opportunity to, uh, purchase the book and post, uh, a review on Amazon, I would be grateful for that. They are really tricky about, uh, I have 35 reviews that they will not put up because. um, the, the publisher allowed us to do, uh, what we call advanced readers copies.

So I sent out a bunch of advanced readers copies and I received 35 reviews, but Amazon won't post them because they're not verified purchases. Oh my goodness. That's interesting. Okay, well, sending people, directing people to Amazon, that would be the best thing instead of, you know, I mean, your website is good.

Um, but also having it go, you know, having them pose some reviews on Amazon, that could be very helpful. Of course. Absolutely. And if anyone is, you know, looking for someone to speak, I do it for free. And if anyone really just needs somebody to talk to, they can reach out to my website and I promise I will answer them.

Oh, that's terrific. You're doing good work, Linda. And I really thank you for being on the show and sharing your story and, and doing this work to help other people. And I hope that little boy and his sister are well on their way to healing from the experiences that they had.

I certainly hope so. They make what I've been through seem to be a minor knee scrape compared to what they went through.


Yes. Just horrifying. So anyway, lots of love to them. 

This is Kate Jones with The Gale Hill Radio Hour. Until next time, thanks for joining us. 

"The Courage to Heal"
17 Magazine & Montel Williams
The Healing Journey Continues
Digging Deeper into the Past
So Many Need Help
Trauma Bonding
Unflinching Honesty