Q&A with Courtney Ramm about escaping cult-like group in inspiring new memoir

1. What is “Eris Rising” about, and why did you decide to write this book?

Eris Rising documents my journey as I followed my heart to move to one of the most beautiful places in the world, Hawaii. I entered into an exhilarating relationship that quickly devolved as I continued to give up my own needs, desires and inner power to someone else, eventually leading to life-threatening consequences. Eris Rising shows just how easy it is to be mesmerized by charisma and charm, and how to heal and rebuild your life after your entire reality is turned upside down.

I needed to write this book because so many women can relate to the experiences I describe in the book, and I feel it’s extremely important to build awareness about red flags that may show up when entering into a new relationship so women can both be warned and also know they’re not alone in what they’re experiencing.

2. How can writers prioritize self-respect when writing about their trauma?

Writing is a healing process and it allows you to come to terms with what happened. When writing about traumatic experiences, my advice is to write down everything–details and all, and then go back and edit out what feels like too much information to divulge. Readers can infer what they need to without painful details of your past traumatic experience. This allows for a greater level of self-respect, because you’re in charge of how much people will know. It’s also important for writers to be gentle with themselves when writing about their trauma, because it requires reliving past experiences. Letting go of self-judgement is essential during the writing stage. Your work can always be edited later.

By going through a traumatic experience and coming out on the other side, you’re able to understand and empathize with others who are going through similar situations. When you’re able to forgive yourself for making the choices you did, you’ll have less judgement towards others, and slowly build your own self-respect back up.

3. How did you find the strength to leave a cult-like religious community and the unhealthy partnership that your life revolved around?

After a 16-month whirlwind relationship I really didn’t have much inner strength left and I was vacillating every ten minutes, literally. One minute I was resolved to leave, and the next, I’d want to try even harder to make it work and was determined to stay. Because there were babies involved (born and unborn), the decision was especially agonizing. In the end, the choice was actually made for me. I don’t want to give too much of the plot away, but the Universe stepped in and got me out quickly, whether I wanted to leave or not. It was not a pleasant exit, to put it lightly, but it was necessary to get out of the grip of such an unhealthy, abusive partner.

4. Did you find strength through dance, yoga, or holistic healing while on your journey?

Throughout it all, I continued to teach dance and yoga as well as practice holistic healing modalities such as meditation, chanting, and reiki. Teaching was my reprieve and allowed me to forget about my struggles and be completely present with my students. Helping other people gave rise to a sense of purpose, which definitely helped me to get through major difficulties I was facing in my relationship. Dance and movement were (and still are) important aspects of my daily life. These practices are important tools in connecting to myself and building inner and outer strength.

5. What does motherhood mean to you, and how did surviving these unique circumstances influence your mothering practices?

Motherhood means being there for your children, no matter what. In my experience, motherhood requires true selflessness and is perhaps the hardest “job” that exists. After what I went through, I became acutely aware of how much our children (even tiny babies) pick up on, and strive every day to be a positive beacon of light as well as stable support for my young children. When you’re in an unhealthy relationship, it’s very difficult to be an ideal parent because you’re always riding the emotional rollercoaster which takes a heavy toll, and has ripple effects to your children.

6. Why did you choose Eris as your memoir’s namesake? What does Eris mean to you?

Eris represents the feminine warrior spirit, speaking out against injustice and determined to balance the scales. I hadn’t heard of Eris until my mom (an avid astrology lover) suggested I research the planetary archetype Eris, as she thought I would really resonate with her. The title Eris Rising symbolizes the emergence of a strong, powerful woman who is able to own her power and stay centered, strong, and grounded amidst adversity and obstacles.

7. Did you experience any serendipity or synchronicity on your journey?

Yes, absolutely. The number one thing that comes to mind is how I was able to spend the last year of my dad’s life with him, thanks to leaving an abusive relationship. I had no idea that my beloved father was going to pass away suddenly, and thanks to synchronicity and Divine timing, my dad was able to spend quality time with his grandchildren whom he otherwise would not have known.

8. Where can readers connect with you to learn more? Anything else you’d like to add?

Readers can connect with me on my website where I’m offering a free chapter from my book: www.courtneyramm.com, and also on Instagram: @Courtney_Ramm, and Facebook: Courtney Ramm, Author.

I’d like to share one final thing, to those of you who are stuck in unhealthy relationships: check in with your soul. Your soul wants to continually expand, grow, and be free, and if you are constantly being stifled and held back by another person, your true essence–what makes you YOU–cannot be fully expressed. Your soul knows what is best for you.