Tessy L Reys went through years of shocking abuse and has since written a book. I interviewed Tessy who very kindly answered my questions.
Can you tell me a little bit about your book, ‘Reach for Joy’ please?
I was married to a narcissisic/sociopathic man for 30 years. He didn’t like people and didn’t want to live in the real world. I was forced to bear 10 children and homeschool them. We lived in terrible situations. In some of the places we lived we endured freezing conditions. At times we didn’t have running water, electricity or even plumbing. We were often isolated. The children often had no friends, no social life and never did the things other children do growing up. I wasn’t allowed to drive, cut my hair, use deodorant or wear pants. My life was tightly controlled. One of my babies died in my arms and I endured rape. When I finally realized my life was in danger and our situation was getting worse, I escaped with my two youngest children.
How long did it take you to write it?
It took me five years to write my story. I revised it several times as I struggled to tell it in a way that portrayed the unbelievably strange life we led and the terrible interior anguish I endured.
You went through an absolutely shocking experience. Did you ever feel that you wouldn’t get out alive?
Yes, towards the end, there were several times I believed my life was in danger, I wrote about them in the book.
How does it feel to be out of the awful situation you were in?
Incredible. After 30 years in a controlled, abusive, confined state, without personal freedom, I fell apart (after I escaped). I didn’t know who I was. I was brainwashed and lived apart from the real world for so long that I felt as if I was starting all over at 22 again. There was no real personal growth for me all of those years of just trying to hold on and not commit suicide. Freedom feels wonderful, but not having the skills to live and support myself and my two children has been a terrible struggle. However, I wake up everyday and am so grateful to be free and alive.
Understandably, it must be hard to rid yourself of the past and all the pain you went through. As well as the memoir, what steps have you taken to move on?
I have been in therapy for five years and have done a lot of writing. Healing takes a long time. You can never get back the decades you’ve missed out on. I have chosen to reach for joy. I have forgiven my abuser and feel that love is the most powerful healing force there is. I wish to help others realize that fear is only as powerful as you allow it to be. You can be free if you can break through the fear.
What advice would you give to other women who are going through the same sort of thing?
Get help. Find a way, some way to get away. It isn’t hopeless. If I could live in fear for 30 years and escape, you can do it. But you have to be careful and get help. Life really will get better and it is so worth being free. Be strong, love yourself and be free.
Are you planning to write any more books?
I have written a small booklet called, “Self-Love Transformation” and I intend to write some other self-esteem and inspirational type books to help others who feel life is desperate and filled with anguish. I may write the rest of the story of what happened after I escaped and my abuser came after me.
Can you describe in three words what life means to you now?
Incredible wonderful JOY
About Tessy L Reys
Married at 21 and forced to have ten children while at times living in primitive conditions, Tessy L Reys was 51 when she finally escaped after 30 years of confinement, neglect and abuse. She now lives with her last two children while pursuing writing and reaching for joy
Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/TLReys
Facebook Author page: https://www.facebook.com/R4JOY
Webpage I am setting up: http://www.reach4joy.com
My Self-Love Transformation booklet: https://tinyurl.com/k58au6v (this is my affiliate link)