Blog Tour | Signs In The Rearview Mirror #QandA

To start off the week I have Kelly Smith author of Signs In The Rearview Mirror: Leaving A Toxic Relationship Behind answering some of my questions, here is what her book is about.

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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.

Amazon UK | Goodreads | Amazon US


What was it that made you decide to write this book?

While I was in the middle of both my life falling apart and a love triangle with my somewhat ex and his new girlfriend, I thought I was the only one who was going through something like this. At the time I didn’t know what a toxic relationship was. I thought the word Narcissist meant someone who was vain. I had no idea it was a personality disorder. So when it finally ended, shattering everywhere and as I healed, I knew I had to write my story to help others. I know I can’t pull someone out of a relationship like this, but I can plant a seed.

What do you think it is that makes a toxic relationship?

I strongly feel control, insecurity, and lack of self esteem contribute to a toxic relationship, on both ends. It takes a man or a woman who has control issues and who is self absorbed to find someone who is somehow damaged. Maybe someone who is just out of a relationship and they are vulnerable to being manipulated. Once they get together it can cause a relationship storm. The people pleaser goes out of their way to serve the toxic person and the toxic person lets them. Both individuals need to heal from something that has lead them both to act this way. It is not always easy to spot a toxic person when you are broken yourself. You need to heal after any relationship ends, take accountability for your roles in the demise of the relationship and move on with a clear head. Try to not repeat the same mistakes.

In a toxic relationship you will find all kinds of abuse and that usually starts with jealousy and control. Looking at social media. Questioning where you are. Non stop contact, are all things to look out for with a potential relationship.


We’ve all heard people say “they should just leave”, what are your opinions on why people find it difficult to leave?

So many reasons. Fear. The fear of being alone is one of the biggest reasons. Financial abuse. Some toxic people will get you to quit your job. They will offer you a lifestyle of trips, bills paid, food and shelter, but the cost is your freedom. Once you get caught up in a situation like that, leaving is extremely difficult. People pleasing or trying to “fix” the toxic person. At first he/she was great. Slowly their mask falls off and so many scramble to put the mask back on before it’s too late. But it was too late the moment you met them. Some of us choose to not see the toxic behavior because we think we love this person. But we can’t love someone who abuses us and that is difficult to admit. A lot of toxic people are great at manipulating. They can convince us of whatever they want to because we are so unhealthy, we let it happen. A healthy person does not wake up one day and get manipulated.

What would your advice be to anyone who thinks their relationship is turning toxic?

This is usually where someone will say run. Yes run. But also get help. Talk to a therapist. Talk to someone you trust and figure out why you would have ended up in a relationship like this. The most important thing to do after leaving a toxic relationship is to go no contact. None. Do not talk to this person for any reason. If you have kids, appoint someone you trust to communicate for you until you are far enough removed their manipulation can no longer get to you.

What would you do if you felt like someone close to you was in a toxic relationship?

There is not much I can do until they realize it themselves. I may plant a few seeds but that is it. The more you try to pull someone out, the deeper in they become. Be a friend, listen but that’s it. And it if it gets too difficult to hear the same story over and over, its ok to walk away from the friendship. My sister was so fed up with me, she had to “break up” with me. That is what was one of the things that got my attention and made me realize I needed to make some changes.

This topic was quite personal how did it feel letting other people find out about it?

Scary. It was so scary for me to write and release this book. I knew I wanted to help people, but at what cost? It wasn’t easy to admit that I was abusive to the father of my kids and to admit I was in a love triangle to the entire world,  but I knew others were going through the same sort of things and I wanted to share my story so others knew they are not alone.

Do you feel like you might write books about other experiences now that you’ve got one under your belt?

The next book, that I am currently working on, is about my recovery and dating after going through an abusive toxic relationship. I am not sure if the next book will be as painful to write as the first one was, but I feel I need to show others that a happy, healthy life is waiting for you on the other side of a painful toxic relationship.


It’s the penultimate day of the tour but that just means you have a lot of stops that you can go back to, and check out some other thoughts on the book.

Signs in the Rearview Mirror - Full Tour Banner

Boston born and raised, Kelly now makes her home in Austin with her three sons and one amazing Giant Schnauzer Bullseye. Kelly has written for Huffington Post, blogs at Thoughts Becoming Words, and hosts a podcast, Lets Get Wicked Deep.

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