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Q: You’ve become an advocate for mental health in Calgary in recent years. Are you now looking to get involved with women and families who have been abused?
A: One of the reasons why I came forward and told the story is to help any of these (mental health and domestic violence) organizations and if I could help them, then I certainly would. Where I get purpose now and what I get excited about is this stuff. It’s the life that George left me (and dealing with the continued aftermath of his death) that really brings me down.
I ended up sitting down with Mayor Naheed Nenshi shortly after George had passed and I said we’ve got to do this better. He set aside $25 million for a city strategy to deal with mental health and addiction and I was asked to co-chair it with (former Alberta Health Services CEO) Dr. Chris Eagle.
Q: It’s been three years since George’s death. How have you been processing it and why is this book being released now?
A: When I walked away from the situation after George passed, I myself didn’t even know the situation I was in. I took responsibility for the fact that I had remained in it and I was doing the best I can. I wasn’t trying to blame anyone or point any fingers. But I wanted to know why. I couldn’t figure out why I made those decisions.
I became more aware of that toxic, intimate partner terrorism, or domestic violence. What it is, again, is the entitlement of having power over someone else. That was a construct that was in the marriage. I couldn’t understand why I was almost robotically programmed to operate within that system. In the book, you see how I was biologically wired. I actually couldn’t function when he was not happy with me. I saw it in other people too, and I wanted to know why.
That’s why I wanted to tell a story about that, so people could recognize it. There is basically a chart that you can look at and it shows how it’s exactly the same tactics abusers use to own an individual.?It’s Biderman’s Chart of Coercion. It’s the same portrait that is used for prisoners of war.
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