Hold The Line Book with Guest Bobby Doyle

There was a time I went looking for something to tell me what was going on in my relationship. While I found materials that were out there, there wasn’t anything that I was looking for. I didn’t want a “wife” book. I wanted something that would serve me and my officer. I saw a need and decided to write one myself. I am proud of the final product and really surprised about the reviews from spouses, officers, and Departments who are saying “Yes this is what we have been missing!”

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There was a time I went looking for something to tell me what was going on in my relationship. While I found materials that were out there, there wasn’t anything that I was looking for. I didn’t want a “wife” book. I wanted something that would serve me and my officer. I saw a need and decided to write one myself. I am proud of the final product and really surprised about the reviews from spouses, officers, and Departments who are saying “Yes this is what we have been missing!”

My husband, Bobby, was really supportive of me writing the book because he remembers how I would “therapize him” on the back porch.  He knows that there was information I had that benefitted him and our relationship.  I am grateful to him for allowing me to share our stories in the book and use them so others can learn from our mistakes and successes.

Why did I write a book?

A big part of my book was making sure it was written for the officer and their support system. Whether that’s a spouse, family member, or friends. Bobby’s mom even read the book and told us it was helpful for her because she now understood why he had changed over the years. It is for any support system, but also for officers to understand what is going on with them. The book is based on psychology and research. I took all the information from books I have read, and I thought where are the gaps? What is the information I didn’t have? The gap for me was what to do about the connection between law enforcement culture and how it affected my relationship. From there I needed to know what to do about it and how to fix it. I have broken up the book in a way where it is clear on what to do with all the spillover, the biological impact, and the psychological impact the job has on your relationship.

Using our stories to impact

When I was writing the book, I was nervous. Mostly because I used a lot of stories from my relationship. Ironically, one of the biggest compliments I have gotten about the book is that the weaving in of our stories really personalizes it and that people weren’t able to put the book down! The experiences that are in the book, give it more credibility because they actually happened. There were no hypotheticals. It was all real stuff.

I asked Bobby what it was like for him as he read what I was writing. “Enlightening. Surprising. Once I understood what you were writing about, I would go “I remember that” and then there were oh no moments. I was like wow that’s how she felt when that happened. I did not know and probably didn’t care at the time. That’s the honest truth. I wasn’t embarrassed. Some of it was just new to me. Then I could understand why you felt the way you felt.”

In the book, I talk a lot about how I just didn’t share things. Here’s a story that I didn’t share in the book that I think about a lot. It really influenced me not to reach out to my husband. I think he was in his first or second year as an officer and I was at the dry cleaner picking up dry cleaning. My car battery died so I called Bobby just to share the information.  Well, he responded with, “what the f$%k do you want me to do about it. I have to go to work.” I was so mad because all I wanted was a comforting statement and some acknowledgment. Instead, I got such a hard push back of an aggressive statement. That call was such a monumental moment for me to express when I was struggling. That’s when I stopped sharing things. It was a slow slide of me not telling him things. That’s something that I take ownership of throughout the book and make sure that in my writing there is no blame on either party. Our stories are written in a way where it states what he did, what I did, and then what we both did to get through the situation.

After doing the research, I can now explain to another spouse what is happening behind a response, or a reaction based on the conditioning of the job. For instance, with the story about my car battery. Bobby was so focused on getting ready for work and what he needed to do to prepare his mindset for his shift. When I called, I interrupted the start of his hypervigilance cycle and in return, he forgot his gun at home. Now after writing this book, I can take a step back and go “okay that’s what was going on in his brain to give me a reaction the way he did, and he forgot his gun because I interrupted his before work ritual.”  It doesn’t mean that either reaction was ok but understanding the “why” was important. Why did that happen and what can we do about it? I have the responsibility to extend the benefit of the doubt or the understanding. I can understand what part of the hypervigilance he was in. I also still have the responsibility to tell him the situation sucked, not hold it against him. Bobby has the responsibility to take ownership of what he said.

What to expect

The 1st chapter talks about the impact of the challenging factors of the job that are more obvious. Sleep, stress, missed time, connectedness, shift work etc. Things like, “I have to keep the dogs quiet while he sleeps.” The 2nd chapter is where I go into what I call “The underpinning” This is the below-ground stuff. The psychology behind what is happening. This is where I discuss hypervigilance and the OODA loop. The next chapter is where I dive into the spillover. While we can have all this information, how does it spillover into the relationship? How does it spillover onto the family, and what is the impact it has on them and the relationship? From there, I talk about intimacy. The definition I like to use is into me you see. This doesn’t mean necessarily intercourse. It means closeness and connection. I discuss the conflict between having the intimate connection you need in a relationship and the spillover from the conditioning in law enforcement. From there I go into Gottman’s work and the conflict in the “Relationship House” and the conflict with intimacy. Then we talk about the solutions. What do you do about it? How do you fix it? I give techniques that anyone can implement. You don’t have to be a counselor or therapist to do these techniques. If you understand the basics, you can ask the questions and offer guidance. Do both people have to work on the relationship? The reality is that one person can influence the relationship in a positive way and influence their partner to work on it as well. Over the years, I realized I needed to become more vulnerable and needed to stop walking on eggshells. I had to show up in a different way. A relationship isn’t 50/50. It absolutely needs to be 100/100.

My husband’s thoughts

I wanted to know what stood out in the book the most to Bobby. Without a second to think, he said “Perspective Taking.” In the book, I talk about wanting to put on Bobby’s boots and walk around the house so they could talk to me. I wanted to know what they had been through and what they had seen. He tells me “I would never want you exposed to that” His mindset is very relevant. I think a lot of officers don’t want their spouses to be exposed and have to know, see, feel think about what they went through. There is a point to this but then there is an idea of how the spouse does know where you are if we don’t actually know. The officer needs to talk about their experiences and what they have gone through for the spouse to understand in a sense, their perspective. You have to build trust, connectedness, and a bond. If I know what’s going on in his world, I can feel more connected, and I can give more grace.

Hold the Line

It was important to me that there was no blaming or shaming in the book.  This book is about educating and redirecting. The end of the book talks about where you want to go and how to make sure you are driving yourself as opposed to the career driving you. A lot of officers and spouses let the impact and the conditioning of the job take the wheel instead of saying, “No, we are driving our relationship”. This leads me to why I named the book, “Hold the Line.” At the home front, you hold the line. You don’t let the career cross that line and impact your relationship where it is damaged. This is where the line stops. It stops with us.

I am so happy and proud that I can share this with others. I wanted to get this information out to others and impact officers, spouses, and relationships in a positive way. The number one resilience for officers is relational health. That is why this book is so important. Relational health can help our officers survive what they go through. Knowing they have someone who understands the psychology and how to impact what’s going can help mental health and resiliency in both people.

You can purchase the book online at Amazon, Barnes and Noble, or Walmart.

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Hold The Line Book with Guest Bobby Doyle

There was a time I went looking for something to tell me what was going on in my relationship. While I found materials that were out there, there wasn’t anything that I was looking for. I didn’t want a “wife” book. I wanted something that would serve me and my officer. I saw a need and decided to write one myself. I am proud of the final product and really surprised about the reviews from spouses, officers, and Departments who are saying “Yes this is what we have been missing!”

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