Signs in the Rearview Mirror: Leaving a Toxic Relationship Behind
Author: Kelly Smith
Published: April 3 , 2018
Reviewed By: Jessica
Dates Read: July 22-26, 2021
Jessica’s Rating: 5 stars
What kind of person ends up in a toxic relationship? And why does she stay? This searingly honest novel answers both those questions head-on. Coming out of a failing marriage, Kelly turns to Gabe out of fear of being alone. Her gradual slide into danger is at once terrifying and inevitable, and the steps she takes to get out of it will both inspire and offer hope.
Signs in the Rearview Mirror is Kelly Smith’s firsthand account of her toxic relationship and how she finally escaped from it. She speaks to us herself telling her story, though names have been fictionalized. Kelly leaves her marriage where she was not the best spouse herself, thus exposing her children to a bad female relationship example. Then via Facebook (isn’t it always through Facebook!) she reconnects and then turns to Gabe who she barely knew in high school and once had a meaningful conversation. Out of her fear of being alone she began a long-distance relationship. Looking back, she now sees the warning signs, but chose to ignore them and the danger she was putting herself and her children in.
Many times, you may think it is a ‘mild and meek’ person who falls into a toxic relationship, but Kelly was far from that. Since these kinds of relationships actually do exist, it was helpful to see a stronger woman can also fall into the trap of a toxic relationship. This memoir would definitely help those who have not been in a toxic relationship or say they would never find themselves in one.
Kelly’s relationship with Gabe gradually got worse over time, but eventually she was able to leave. There were so many times as I was reading this memoir that I was hoping at Kelly would leave Gabe. This was a quick but also difficult read as this was what someone actually went through in her life. And many women (and also men!) experience this life daily.
Bravo to Kelly for sharing her experiences and story with the world. This is a book that can help those that are in a similar relationship. To them: You CAN succeed and get out of that toxic relationship! I actually plan to put my copy of this memoir in my local free little library in hope that it might help someone who sees this memoir and in this type of relationship.
Signs in the Rearview Mirror is recommended.
Today I am helping spread the word about #AbuseTalk Forum started by Jennifer Gilmour. By now you know I am a huge supporter of hers. Though she is based in the UK, this forum is worldwide as domestic abuse is everywhere! Today is the ‘opening day’ of the Forum!
Up to date information on the day on virtual opening event:
Hi, I am Jennifer Gilmour and I am an advocate for women in abusive relationships, I am an author and a mum of three. I have personally experienced domestic abuse and wanted to bring awareness to what happens behind closed doors.
A bit about my journey:
My debut novel, ‘Isolation Junction’ was published in 2016 which follows the story of Rose who is trying to flee her abusive partner. The book is based on true events of my own and has been fictionalised.
Since this publication I have continued to be an advocate for those in abusive relationships through my blog posts, radio interviews and Twitter feed.
My second publication was released in October 2017; I put together stories told to me by survivors of domestic abuse. In this way, I hope to give a voice to their experiences and to raise awareness of the types of unacceptable behaviour which fall into the category of domestic abuse. Thankfully the law has changed to incorporate this kind of insidious behaviour but still far too many people are trapped, isolated and afraid or unaware of how to escape. I hope that this anthology will give them the courage to take that first step and will raise awareness for those who can help them.
I opened #AbuseTalk in October in 2017 and haven’t looked back, its opened many doors, its connected many people, its supported lots of individuals and it has created an community.
I was a finalist for Inspirational Mum Award in the BizMums Awards 2017.
I started writing for Coercive Control Chat Magazine (CCChat Magazine) in October 2017, I have my own column for #AbuseTalk and an Online Book Club with a difference.
In May 2018 I won Most Informative Blog 2018 in the Blogger Bash Awards, something I am most thrilled about.
Why have I opened a forum?
I have always felt a forum was needed but couldn’t find its place and so I decided a Twitter Chat was the direction to go. After a few months of hosting #AbuseTalk I realised that tweeting was great but it wasn’t for those who don’t want to publicly discuss domestic abuse. It is also restrictive with the character limitations. That’s when I realised that a forum can work alongside the Twitter Chat and offering a register only forum.
I am also delighted to have the forum sponsored by a solicitor which will be announced in the grand opening, our solicitor has agreed to answer questions within the forum on their own thread ‘Ask a solicitor’. This is priceless, to have the opportunity to ask a solicitor when perhaps someone may not have had the ability to do so.
How do I access the new forum?
You can head there right now…
PLEASE NOTE: You will only see the news and updates forum until you are registered, once you are registered you will see the main Abuse Talk Forum appear with all the topics and discussions.
Who is the forum for?
Anyone! Anyone with an interest or passion surrounding domestic abuse.
It can also be for those in the sector like charities, organisations, advocates, bloggers, businesses and more.
Or it can be individuals that want to help, offer guidance, who have gone through abuse or are going through it now.
There will be a VIP Membership area but that is opening later on, updates will be given and this will be just £10 a year with a bag full of offers, discounts and more. This is you really need that extra security and community.
Sign up for notification of this service here:
I would like to sponsor the forum, how do I do this?
The forum is open for sponsorship to cover the maintenance and time it takes to moderate the posts.
Anyone can be a silent sponsor for £1 or £3, scroll to the bottom of this page:
For businesses/charities/organisations/advocates etc please contact me for availability –
Sponsors will receive a unique badge to place on their website and social media to show that they support the forum.
Tell me more about #AbuseTalk…
#AbuseTalk is a Twitter Chat that runs every Wednesday evening 8-9pm GMT. It is open to anyone who wants to discuss domestic abuse.
Each week we have a theme which is there to help the conversation flow through the one hour. You can at any point ask your own questions, reply to others and join in.
Not in the UK? That’s not a problem either, we have people joining in around the world and have adapted the cover photo to display the times in the timezones most used.
Find out more here:
Need to know more?
Feel free to contact me if you have any questions or are interested in becoming a sponsor at
Thank you for your time and if the forum isn’t for you – it may be for one of your friends. 1 in 4 women and 1 in 6 men experience domestic abuse in their lifetime.
Video on how to register and see how the visibility of the forum is altered with the registration-
By now you know I am a supporter of Jennifer Gilmour. She lives the UK and is working to stop domestic abuse, which I feel is really important. I wish we were on the same continent so we could work together, but since we are not, my little section of cyber space will have to do. Jennifer is offering her debut novel Isolation Junction for FREE on Kindle this week. If you have not gotten it yet, NOW is the time to get it!
I interviewed Jennifer last month during the holidays which can be a difficult time for those who face domestic abuse. My interview with her is here.
Rose is the mother of two young children, and finds herself living a robotic life with an abusive and controlling husband. While she struggles to maintain a calm front for the sake of her children, inside Rose is dying and trapped in ‘Isolation Junction’.
She runs an online business from home, because Darren won’t let her work outside the house. Through this, she meets other mums and finds courage to attend networking events, while Darren is at work, to promote her business.
It’s at one of these events that Rose meets Tim, a sympathetic, dark-haired stranger who unwittingly becomes an important part of her survival.
After years of emotional abuse, of doubting her future and losing all self-confidence, Rose takes a stand. Finding herself distraught, alone and helpless, Rose wonders how she’ll ever escape with her sanity and her children. With 100 reasons to leave and 1,000 reasons she can’t, will she be able to do it?
Will Tim help her? Will Rose find peace and the happiness she deserves? Can Rose break free from this spiralling life she so desperately wants to change?
My review for Isolation Junction can be found here.
Jennifer Gilmour speaks about why she is giving her novel away for FREE
My name is Jennifer Gilmour and I am a survivor of domestic abuse, I have published two books both with a focus on raising awareness about domestic abuse at their core. Whilst both aim to raise this awareness one is written as a work of fiction whilst the other is a compilation of survivor stories and therefore non-fiction. Both work in different ways to educate and raise awareness of this insidious and unacceptable behaviour.
Over Christmas, incidents of domestic abuse reported to the police rise. Assault and domestic murders increase 25% during the festive period with a third of them been on Christmas Day itself. Bombarded with images of the perfect nuclear family gathered around the gold baubles of a Christmas tree, it can be easy to forget that Christmas is a time of coercion, punishment and violence for many women and men.
Now I know it isn’t Christmas anymore but January can be just as bad because all those credit card bills come in alongside your usual direct debits. There is even a day in January called Blue Monday and this year its on the 15th. The date is generally reported as falling on the third Monday in January, but also on the second or fourth Monday, or the Monday of the last full week of January.
The formula uses many factors, including: weather conditions, debt level (the difference between debt accumulated and our ability to pay), time since Christmas, time since failing our new year’s resolutions, low motivational levels and feeling of a need to take action.
Can you imagine this formula and applying it to an abusive relationship?
For 5 days my debut novel Isolation Junction is going to be FREE on Amazon Kindle, this is the first time ever to happen. It’s the week before Blue Monday, I wonder if those reading will be inspired to take action?
I ask you all to share the link and break the silence surrounding domestic abuse.
About Isolation Junction:
Isolation Junction was fully funded by a Kickstarter Campaign which over funded at 110%. The link is here.
Over eighteen months within 2015-2016 I wrote my first novel with the aim of not only raising awareness of an insidious behaviour which brings hidden misery to so many but of bringing about changes at a national level. A ‘survivor’ myself, I am well aware that changes to national policies and working practices are still needed so that situations in which women (and men) present in emotionally abusive situations are recognised and dealt with appropriately and with compassion.
I believe that particular training needs to be focused on recognising the perpetrators of this behaviour, as often they are very persuasive people who are able to manipulate the services themselves.
About the Author:
Born in the north-east, Jennifer is a young, married mum with three children. In addition to being an author, she is an entrepreneur, running a family business from her home-base. Her blog posts have a large readership of other young mums in business.
From an early age, Jennifer has had a passion for writing and started gathering ideas and plot lines from her teenage years. A passionate advocate for women in abusive relationships, she has drawn on her personal experiences to write her first novel Isolation Junction. It details the journey of a young woman from the despair of an emotionally abusive and unhappy marriage to develop the confidence to challenge and change her life and to love again.
Since the publication of her debut novel, Jennifer has continued to be an advocate for those in abusive relationships through her blog posts, radio interviews and Twitter feed. Jennifer also gained a qualification in facilitating a recover programme for those who have been in abusive relationships.
Jennifer continues to publicly support those who are isolated and struggle to have a voice. Jennifer hopes that Clipped Wings gives a voice to survivor’s experiences and raise’s awareness further of the types of unacceptable behaviour which fall into the category of domestic abuse.