This series was written and design by Brianna O'Neal. It provides information and personal stories about why people fall victim to toxic relationships, what the cycle of abuse is, and how to regain control of the situation.
Those who are suffering from an abusive and toxic relationship, feel trapped in an impossible situation. They can be completely controlled by their abuser and isolated from friends and family as a result of manipulation and fear. They need your support, patience and understanding. What may seem like a simple fix to you, can be extremely complicated to the person who is submerged in the situation. Don’t be afraid to express your concern but do so out of love and with respect. Make sure to focus on your loved one, not the abuser. They need to be able to trust you to respect their decision if they decide to stay. Help them develop a safety plan if they remain in the relationship and if they chose to leave, continue to check in on them and be supportive. No matter how difficult and frustrating the situation may be from an outside perspective, do not confront the abuser or publicly shame them. It will only worsen the abuse for your loved one.
This topic has been something that has been on my mind for a while. I have witnessed toxic and abusive relationships and have been a part of them. For that very reason, I felt that it was extremely important that the topic be addressed...but not in a subtle, "be gentle with their emotional state," kind of way. I've talked to many people in these relationships and one thing they made clear was that the best thing that happened to them was that someone they cared about and trusted, got real with them. They didn't avoid the topic or make them feel broken or pathetic. They were respectful, patient and supportive.
This is something that I kept in the forefront of my mind throughout my design decisions. I wanted to reach those who are experiencing this type of relationship in an upfront but respectful way. I also wanted to reinforce the fact that they are not alone. Many people are going through the same thing. In order to do this, I felt it was extremely important to walk them through the reasons they fall in to these relationships, the cycle of abuse and the decision process of choosing to stay or leave.
But its not enough to just throw some facts or statistics at them. They need to know it's real and be able to relate it to their situation. For this reason, I included real handwritten stories from people who have or are experiencing abusive relationships and included heavy raw photos with a grainy, light leak texture. I also went with a very simplistic layout with some overlapping elements to create a sense of tension throughout the book.