Questioned your childhood religion? Or gone to the very edge in your search for love? You can break the cycle of unhealthy relationships!
Raised a Mennonite, Elaine grows up an outsider, torn by contradictions and sadness. Searching for love and acceptance she never receives from her father leaves her unfulfilled and alone….She endures religious threats, incest and mental illness within her home.
As an adult, Elaine forsakes her family’s church and seeks a new place in the world. Her search becomes a tumultuous cycle of marriages and verbal, emotional and physical abuse. It isn’t until she accepts the love of her Heavenly Father that she discovers what love really is, and finds peace within herself.
Come share in her journey….Looking Inside Out is filled with incredible adversity, all overcome by sheer determination and strength.
You will be encouraged to always have hope!
Here, in the windows of her heart, you might catch a glimpse of yourself.
Read an Excerpt
For a day or two I paced around the house, literally wringing my hands. Somebody help me, please! I felt I was going crazy. I didn’t know where to go for guidance or answers. I couldn’t go to the church leaders. I was confident they wouldn’t have any solutions. I had no choice but to leave.
Berdine’s words and offer to help tumbled around in my mind. After getting up the next morning, I told Lyle, “I’m going to Wichita to see Berdine.”
“Absolutely not,” he replied. “you cannot go.”
“I’ll stop you.”
“There is nothing that can stop me.”
I went into the bedroom and hurriedly packed a suitcase.
Seeing my resolve to go, Lyle walked over to his father Harold’s house to tell him of my plans. Shortly after, I stepped outside, closed the door behind me and walked toward the car. They were standing beside it. Without a proper goodbye and with my heart pounding against my chest, I opened the car door and got in.
I turned the ignition. It wouldn’t start. I tried again and again. Jumping out, I hollered, “What have you done to the car?”
“We fixed it so you can’t leave.”
“Well, I’m going no matter what.”
We argued until they realized how determined I was. Lyle gave up, and said with exasperation, “Well, then I’ll drive you.”
We arrived in Wichita and Lyle took me to George and Berdine’s. He returned to Montezuma.
The next couple of days were a blur. Berdine made an appointment for me to see her psychiatrist, Dr. Riordan.
Sitting in his office, Dr. Riordan asked me, “What is wrong? What is troubling you?” I had no response. I could only cry.
I was a mess. I absolutely did not know who I was or what I wanted. All of my life I had lived in a contradiction of everything that surrounded me. My parents were strict in some things, lenient in others. Some of my relatives on my mom’s side were very strict, while other relatives on my dad’s side cussed and smoked cigarettes. The church ruled me, but I didn’t conform to it. My dad had controlled me, yet ignored me. I had never been taught that I could make a decision, that I had any value. And so I just cried some more…
He quickly determined that I needed hospitalization and wanted to admit me into the mental ward of the hospital, but there were no rooms available.
While we waited two days for a room, the doctor had me take a written test about my personality. It was very long, and I stayed up most of one night at the kitchen table, working on pages and pages of multiple choice questions. George sat across the table, speaking words of encouragement to finish it.
We got a telephone call from Dr. Riordan when a room became available. Berdine drove me to St. Frances Hospital in Wichita.
As long as I live I will remember that drive. I sat in the passenger seat, nervously pondering what was to come. What had happened in my life and world that now brought me to this place?
As we drove into the parking lot right next to the hospital, its red brick walls loomed over us. The entryway sat at the top of a huge wide flight of concrete stairs. Once those doors swallowed me, what was going to happen?
Berdine and I walked up the steps and through the doors and then up more stairs until we entered the open lobby area. She went to the counter to fill out my admittance papers. I waited for a long time, staring at a huge aquarium that divided the stairs from the rest of the room. Absentmindedly, I watched the fish swimming back and forth. Kind of like me, just moving about, no particular place to go.
Finally it was time. With my name typed on a blue wristband, I was taken to my room in the psychiatric ward, which was on the second floor of the hospital. It was a private room with a bathroom.
I settled in at St. Francis Hospital and began a new daily routine, and a whole new life.
Right away, I made some friends among the other patients. Jim Stroud was one of them. He paid attention to me. “He likes me so I will like him!” After all, if I am worthy of being noticed, I owe that person.
Jim and I would hang out in the hospital’s café in the basement or sometimes sit in the stairwell. There we could talk in private, and maybe steal a kiss, until a staff person found us and chased us out.
Every day I went to a large recreation room where I listened to the jukebox. The room was located in an adjacent building, connected by an enclosed sky bridge. Both sides of the hallway had windows that looked out over the streets below. Often, while passing through, I would linger a long while peering out those windows, observing all the people going about their usual life beyond the glass barrier.
Early on, Dr. Riordan said he wanted to give me shock treatments, called “electroconvulsive therapy.” A pulse of electric current is passed through the brain, causing a convulsion. It was, and still is, used to treat cases of severe depression.
At the time I had never heard of any such thing, but I agreed to the treatment.
On the day of the procedure, I had to drink some special medicine that was thick and gritty and flavored like orange juice. Quite horrible! (And it was years before I could tolerate orange juice again.) The doctors wheeled a machine into my room. They tied down my hands, feet, body, and head, because of how the body jerks during the treatment. I was given a general anesthetic and then they administered the shock. Each time, I woke up exhausted, and slept for the remainder of the day. I was given a total of six treatments while I was on the floor.
I cannot recall making a conscious decision to leave the church or divorce Lyle. But one day, it just happened. I walked into the beauty shop, next door to the café, and had the beautician trim my hair to shoulder length. Then she styled it into long curls around my face, finishing the look with hair spray. The sweet fragrance was powerful and overwhelming. It settled into my deepest consciousness, to be recalled many times.
Next, I hesitantly looked at the tubes of lipstick for sale, picked out a soft color and made my first make-up purchase.
I walked out of the shop down a long hallway and back up to my room a visibly changed person. As I passed by, other patients who were standing at the doorway to their rooms exclaimed how wonderful I looked. But even more, I felt elated. I had started down the path to freedom. In my heart, the restraints of my past life were now cut.
In addition to Dr. Riordan, I was seeing a psychologist, Dr. Velusek. Dr. Riordan would let me cry, always ready with a tissue, patting my shoulder or holding my hand. Dr. Velusek was stern, not letting me get by with any excuse.
Dr. Riordan was my primary doctor and as such, had to make decisions in regards to my getting better, even if he was usually softhearted towards me. During one of his daily visits he said, “Gladys, you are not dealing with your issues. We’re going to have to put you in lock-up, where you won’t have all these distractions.”
Was he possibly thinking that one of them was Jim?
Whoa, I didn’t want to go there! They kept you locked up! I had heard rumors about that place. I broke out in a sweat at the thought of losing my new friend. Dismayed, I tried to reason with the doctor, to no avail.
I packed my belongings and went with the attendants up to the third floor.
Anxiety overwhelmed me as I stepped off the elevator into a small entry room. I was losing my freedom again! I waited while they unlocked the massive barred door. As the attendants ushered me through, I suddenly felt that I was entering a real mental hospital. It wasn’t really, but the cases here were more serious than downstairs. Some patients sat on the hall floor, staring vacantly. The second floor had been a safe place, almost pleasant, like a vacation from my life. I was removed from family and church pressures. But this place was only a different prison.
"A friend shared that a treatment center in her community is using the book Looking Inside Out as part of their treatment program. She said it is a powerful testimony and a very useful tool for women in abusive relationships."
"What a great book. Thank you so much, Elaine, for opening up your heart and life. You are an inspiration to us all." —Diana
"I could not put Ms. Davis' book down once I started to read it--- bringing tears then joy in the end." —Lorena
"Looking Inside Out has forever changed the person I have now become at age 60. I too was the oldest of four children growing up in a house where I never felt my father’s love. I can remember growing up, my mother telling me your father loves you, but I never believed her, as he never told me.
As a young child I remember thinking that this is how it is in all families. Then as I got older and twice was allowed to stay at a friend’s house over night, I saw how other families were and how the father interacted with them. I grew up always believing that there was something wrong with me, or my father would love me.
My entire career has consisted of wanting to do my best, always looking for the approval of one man. Always wanting him to say I’m proud of you or you can do it or its okay, I love you. Those words I did eventually hear when I was in my late twenties; after having climbed the corporate ladder in under ten years and was upper management for a major lender in Seattle.
Mennonite was what Elaine was born into; alcoholism was what I was born into. We both felt we were misfits and that we didn’t quite fit in. We both suffered abuse at the hands of others. We both searched for love and acceptance from men. I never knew anyone else who had experienced these things, let alone someone who is my friend. It wasn’t until I read Elaine’s book continuously running into my husband’s office reading him a few lines or paragraphs and each time he would say that sounds like you, you could have written that.
I’ve forgiven my dad in my heart. We don’t have a relationship which is sad as he is now 83; I love him and pray for him from afar.
In reading Looking Inside Out I’ve concluded that I am not a misfit and there is nothing really wrong with me, in fact there never was. I laughed and cried throughout the book and got several hugs from my husband as I was reading it. Once I started it I couldn’t put it down. To say that I am very proud of Elaine for writing this book is an understatement. Elaine’s story is mine and many others story.
Elaine thank you for finally telling it."—Sunny
About the Author
New Author, Elaine Davis lived through the stories in this book and with sheer determination she tells her story of struggle, in her book, Looking Inside Out. Elaine currently resides in Tulsa, OK.