I have been through a lot in my short life. Success in my schooling, athletics, clubs, and now professional life has never been a problem or struggle. Success in my personal life was another story, however. Many traumas and obstacles have tried to push me down and hold me back, but through working with Andrea I have been able to understand that I am resilient and these things have never succeeded to hurt me or break me. I’m finally feeling empowered and positive in my life so I think that this next step is something that is needed. It is time for me to pay it forward and share my story to empower other women the way I have been empowered. It is needed not only to continue my own growth but also because it is probably part of the reason why I am here today.
Maggie would like to extend an invitation to all women to join an amazing group on Facebook. This group is a collection of amazing women to encourage, support & empower each other. If you’d like to chat further with Maggie about her journey, you can find her in Women on a Mission.
The only person I’m trying to be better than, is the person I was yesterday.
In speaking with women who have overcome adversity, I was joined today by my dear friend (and now colleague) Shannon McLelland.
Shannon McLelland is a fun loving mompreneur. Shannon is a single mother of one amazing little 7 year old boy. She is passionate and dedicated. She is always up for a challenge and to accomplish the task at hand. Shannon can make friends with just about anyone and allow others feel comfortable in her presence. Shannon has accomplished so much in her life, from a high school drop out to a college diploma. A series of failed relationships to nurturing the important one with herself. Self discovery has been what she’s most proud of, but continues on the journey daily. Insight and vibes are her most powerful tools.
In this episode, we share some very exciting news about the new chapter of Shannon’s journey.
Michelle Mazur, Ph.D. founded Communication Rebel® on the belief that communication changes the world, so that’s what she helps business owners, entrepreneurs, and speakers do: rebel against the status quo to make a difference, one compelling message at a time. She is the creator of the 3 Word Rebellion™ for creating a message that matters to your audience so that you can build your business and your movement.
She is the host of the podcast Rebel Rising, a podcast for the next generation of leaders who want to shake up the status quo and reach more people with their message.
With over 25 years of experience and a Ph.D. in communication, Michelle has helped hundreds of business owners and speakers, some of whom have gone on to book $10,000 speaking gigs, become international speakers (even speaking in front of world leaders!), and raise three times the amount of money expected for the launch of a charity).
She lives in Seattle, Washington, with her adoring husband, three obsessive felines, and a huge collection of Duran Duran memorabilia.
Thank you, Michelle for sharing your time with me today.
The Holidays are a time of stress, frustration, exhaustion and even disappointment for a lot of people. There’s gifts to buy, meals to organize & cook, decorations, and get-togethers with people we really don’t like. It doesn’t have to be like that.
I was freshly married, with a beautiful little baby girl. This was her 2nd Christmas, so she was just getting in the mood with all the Santa visits, decorations and Holiday baking. I was stressed beyond belief. As a young family, we were expected to attend 9 Family gatherings in 3 days. The one I was most eager to attend was my Grandmother. Every year we gathered at her house on Christmas Eve. She made her famous dinner rolls & Christmas Pudding. I loved Christmas Eve. I was also eager for Christmas Morning when my baby girl would be opening her presents all by herself. I couldn’t wait to see the excitement on her face and the joy when she played with her new toys.
This turned out to be my Christmas from hell. I received several very clear signs that this was not how I was supposed to celebrate Christmas.
It all started as I was driving to work in the morning. We had had an ice-storm over night and the roads were slippery. As traffic was stopped due to an accident a head of us, a lady rear-ended me. No-one was injured and there wasn’t any damage done to either vehicle, but it was Sign #1.
When I finally got home from work, my baby girl was sick. She had a horrible cold. She was all snot bubbles and sweat. The poor thing. I called my Grandmother to let her know that we wouldn’t be coming to Christmas. Grandma didn’t answer, so I went about the task of trying to ease my poor little girl. Later that day, just about the time, we would be leaving for Grandma’s, my phone rang with the news that she had passed away. I was devastated. Sign # 2.
Christmas Day, my poor baby girl was so sick. Instead of Family gatherings, we spent the day in emerge. She had asthma. With puffers in hand, we made our way home. Sign #3.
Boxing Day, still with a sick baby girl and desperately mourning the loss of “my person”, the phone rang with news that my great-aunt had passed away unexpectedly. This was Grandma’s sister-in-law. Sign #4
The week between Christmas & New Years was a blur. I bounced between the doctor’s office with my daughter and funeral homes for my relatives. I did this without support from my husband. This was his week off, and he didn’t feel like going with me. Sign #5
It was time for a change.
This was the year Christmas took a drastic change for me. The following year, my marriage ended, my life turned upside down and I made some huge decisions.
I was no longer going anywhere for Christmas. If people wanted to see me, they knew where to find me. I was not ruining my Christmas because of someone else’s expectations. I was going to create new traditions for MY Family!!
I still don’t go anywhere for Christmas. My doors are open & the food is hot, come on over!!
As my girls began to explore their own lives, I was aware of the financial burden that gifts would have on them, so as a Family, we chose a new tradition:
Everybody comes with a $25 Gift Card from a store of their choice. The cards are placed in tiny gift bags with a chocolate bar. We play games to win the cards.
I love our Family Christmas, it filled with the laughter of my children and focuses on quality time together. There are no expectations and no judgement. Just a fire burning, carols playing, family gathering, food eating, drinks pouring and memories making. That – right there – is the Christmas of my dreams!!!
What does your Dream Christmas look like?
Don’t you think it’s time to put the magic back into your celebration?
Follow the link below to start making your Christmas Dreams come true!!!
Here’s a scary statistic; 35% of women report either a current or past relationship with a narcissist. 35%. Are you one of us? Are you uncertain? Let me help you clarify.
~ You firmly believe that your partner is smarter, wiser & more capable of managing life. You depend on him/her to help you navigate your life because they have helped you realize that you are unable to do this on your own. Your thoughts & choices cannot be trusted because you have made some grave errors in the past. He or she is more likely to provide a solution to the sticky situations you find yourself in. Without their constant guidance, instruction or input you would not be able to complete even the simplest of daily tasks. Tasks you thought you could manage, such as choosing appropriate outfits, how to properly clean a home, effective discipline for children and managing finances are too much for you.
~ Your partner is very compassionate about the abuse you have suffered in the past and understands that because of the damage done to you, you are too broken to survive on your own. He or she is your protector, your hero. Your partner can see through the manipulation of your family & friends. He or she knows that you are unsafe with them alone. Your partner has suggested that you start to create distance between you & the people you thought loved you. To keep you safe from these people causing further harm to you, perhaps you should cut ties all together, because your partner is the only one you can trust to keep you safe.
~ Your partner is always considerate enough to point out that little changes would be a great improvement. “It’s too bad you can’t put together an outfit like her. She’s hot in those heals with her hair up like that.” He is also very careful to point out that you do not suit an up-do in heals, because it makes you look like a hooker.
~ Your partner encourages open dialogue to discuss the relationship. You feel valued when you offer suggestions for improvement and he explains the reality of your situation: “I wish you looked at me they way you look at her.” “I look at her that way because she is strong & confident, something you will never be because you’re too broken.”
~ There have been times when you have doubted the wisdom and the authority of your partner, but each time you question this, he is able to mention a friend or co-worker who feels the same way he does, thus proving that you are once again to broken to form an opinion about anything.
~ You are fully aware that you are damaged goods and are so grateful that your partner was willing to take pity on you and love you in spite of your past. You are unlovable to everyone and without him to save you, you would be lost.
If any of this sounds familiar, then you are in a relationship with a narcissist. Let’s insert the appropriate terms for each point above:
Ø Gaslighting – creating uncertainty in your thoughts, beliefs & abilities. This is used to diminish your self-worth and create dependency on the narcissist.
Ø Isolation – creating distance between you & your support system. With your family & friends out of the way, your abuser has more control. You are no longer guided by outside positive influences and are fully dependant on him.
Ø Shaming – sounds like a compliment, but leaves you feeling small & insecure. Used to reduce your self confidence.
Ø Deflecting – blames you for their indiscretions. Narcissists are unable to accept responsibility for their actions. They deflect accountability and choose to be the victim of others.
Ø Triangulation – Bring a third party into a conversation to back up their thoughts & beliefs. Used to force you to second guess your thoughts & beliefs.
Ø Projection – they are unable to accept their own feelings of worthlessness, so they cast these feelings on to you in such a way that you are convinced they are true. They project their insecurities onto you.
How do I know this?
Because I was one of the 35%. I was in an 11-year relationship with a narcissist. I was told that he was forced to sleep with other women because being pregnant made me fat (I gained 12 pounds in 9 months). I was told that cocaine & hookers were necessary because of the burden I placed on him. I was told that he deserved the settlement from my injury for dragging my sorry ass around all these years. I was told that I was lucky to have him because no one else would put up with my stupidity & laziness.
I was also told that it didn’t have to be this way. I heard whispers of strength & determination. I saw the fear in the eyes of my daughters. I heard the inner voice tell me that this is not what I would choose for them. This is not the example I wanted them to structure theirs lives on. They were worth more than this. They deserved more than this. They, my girls, gave me the strength & the courage to want more, believe more and hope for more.
My girls are the reason I can do what I do today. Today, I inspire women to listen to the inner voice that tells them they are brave, they are strong, they have value and they have a voice! Today, I help women break the chains that bind, so they are free to be who they choose to be!
How do you break free from a narcissist?
Start by listening for that voice. The voice buried deep inside you that tells you this isn’t right. The voice that brought you to this article. The voice that has led you to secretly seek out alternative solutions, choices & possibilities. Look around you. Find your source of strength. Is it in your children, your family or even a memory? When you’re ready, reach out. There is always someone close by that will support you. Contact your local abuse shelter to help you create a safety plan and find housing, if needed.
You are never alone in this. There are thousands of narcissists in this world, but there are millions of survivors. When survivors band together, we begin to thrive, to dream, to create & to conquer!! Together, we will change this world. We’re ready for you to join us. Let us know how we can help.
I see you watching your child struggle. Struggle with anger, aggression, anxiety or depression. You watch helplessly, as your child sinks further into an abyss you fear they will never return from. I see you tell yourself “this is just a phase, I struggled in high school too.”, but a piece of you knows this is bigger than that. You see how the behaviours of one child affects the entire family. How it affects you.
You are riddled with emotional injury – every angry outburst directed at you, is like a gunshot wound straight to the heart.
You are exhausted – you can’t sleep at night because your child is out somewhere, with someone and all the horrible scenarios are playing through your head.
You are isolated – there is no-one to talk to about this. Friends & family tell you how to “fix” your child, but they truly don’t understand just how difficult that is. You are a social outcast, because everyone is judging you as a failure, and you know it’s true.
You have tried everything;
You buy them all the latest gadgets, brand-name clothes, vehicles – because they said that would make them happy.
You are spending hundreds of dollars on Therapy, but your child refuses to fully participate, if you can even get them to go.
Legal fees, court appearances and probation are forcing you to take too much time off work, but you have to go, because you know they won’t go if you don’t drag them.
Searching for Answers
You have spent countless hours searching for answers and all you’ve found is another vicious cycle of hopelessness:
Free Programs are short term
Your child won’t go.
And the worst – “Your child is not bad enough to meet our service criteria.”
On-line Parenting Groups
Finally a place for you to openly talk about the issues at home.
But still – no real guidance, no solutions, & loads of underlying judgement.
What Am I Looking For?
If you could take a few minutes, with a clear head and really assess what it is that you are looking for in a solution, what would you come up with?
Something that can help me decide what kind of services we need?
A group just for women who support, guide & empower each other? No judgement, just unconditional acceptance? A place that will allow you to rediscover YOU?
A group of forward-thinking Moms who truly understand the emotional turmoil of raising a child who is struggling and are sharing helpful tips, suggests, support & understanding?
Someone who could remind you who you were before all this negativity weighed you down? Remind you of your inner Badass?
On-line courses that understand that you are over-stressed, under-appreciated, exhausted, overwhelmed and will still provide simple solutions to begin the healing process?
A person who has “been there, done that” and is able to support, guide, listen & understand (and it would be nice if this person was available exactly when shit hit the fan to help you effectively get through it)?
Hope, possibility, encouragement, support, guidance, love & acceptance?
I was searching too,
I spent over 10 years searching for solutions for my family. I know the anguish, so I have done all the research for you!! All the services, all the resources & all the supports; complete with direct links – and it’s FREE!! Because someone needs to cut you a break!!
Boredom teaches some of the most valuable skills we will ever use In life. Parents are afraid of letting their kids be bored. But why? Why the need to have them occupied every minute of every day?
“Mommy, I’m bored.”
When I was a kid, those were 3 words that never fell out of our mouths. Mom’s response was usually to occupy us with some horrible chore, scrubbing the bathroom floor, cleaning out the cupboards or weeding flower beds. We very quickly learned that it was going to be much more fun to occupy ourselves. We climbed trees, invented imaginary friends, played with real friends, rode our bikes and usually got quite dirty. BUT, we weren’t scrubbing floors.
I always thought it was horrible of my mother to expect us to do such horrible tasks when we were so little. I vowed that I would never ask my kids to do such terrible things.
Then I became a Mom and I heard “Mom, I’m bored”. I think it was the only thing my kids knew how to say. It was their go to response for everything! Suddenly, I hear myself saying, “Go find something to do, or I will find you something to do”, and they were off like a shot and I had become my mother…
Here’s the thing about boredom;
Boredom teaches us amazing things.
Problem-solving skills – I needed to NOT scrub floors, so I solved that problem by climbing trees.
Self-awareness – when I was little, scrubbing floors reminded me of Cinderella. I knew we did not live in a land of magical Princes and I was not going to be rescued, so I was not going to start a life of scrubbing floors.
Decision-making Skills – I didn’t like the choices my mother had for me, so I decided to make some choices for myself.
Creative Thinking – My sister & I built forts, climbed trees, and pretended we had lovely little prefect lives. We had careers, husbands, and mansions in the trees. We were creative and we had huge, endless imaginations when we were little, that guided us through the rest of our lives.
Today, kids are glued to some sort of device from a very early age. I see toddlers playing games of phones while they wait in line at the grocery store. Electronic games do not allow you to develop these skills as effectively. There is always a button that gives you further instruction. They enter an imaginary world that is completely designed for them, they don’t get to make any choices or creatively influence the story. They just follow along like little sheep. There are several games that promote creativity, problem-solving or decision-making, but they are not designed for real world issues. My sister & I created our imaginary world from the world we actually lived in. We chose the parts of life we liked and inserted them into our imagination and we corrected the parts we didn’t like. Skills we still use today.
Guide to Introducing Technology and other handy resourceshere.
The greatest skills our children are lacking:
Interpersonal Relationships – When my sister & I fought (and we fought a lot), we learned quite early that it was best for us to settle our differences, because Mom’s solution was not going to be fun. So we taught ourselves to compromise, to reason, to be fair and to apologize.
Effective Communication – In our tiny little, perfect, imaginary worlds, we still had needs. There were no adults there (because we didn’t want them), so we had to learn to use our words, to say what we needed, and say it in a way that was polite and respectful.
Empathy – One day, when we were in our imaginary world’s, I slipped and fell out of the tree, hitting my head on a rock. I don’t remember a lot about that, but I do remember watching as my sister suddenly had super-human speed & strength. She was out of her tree, beside me, helping me up and screaming for Mom or Dad all in the blink of an eye. She was my Hero that day. She never left my side, sitting there, right beside me as the doctor stitched my head back together. She was there holding my hand. She was there for the next few days as we moved our imaginary worlds a little closer to the ground (problem-solving & creative thinking). I knew she felt bad, even though none of it was her fault.
Managing feelings/Emotions – I think the worst sin was to swear at either of my parents. Yes, they made me angry. The expectation was, that I would use some of my Effective Communication skills to try to manage my anger and respectfully state my case. I developed quite a skill and still use it today.
Dealing with stress – kids have all kinds of stresses in the real world. We learned to deal with it in our imaginary worlds.
I think the most important skill is Critical Thinking. Critical thinking is what allows us to learn from our mistakes. Take all of the skills we have learned and apply them to create solutions. Allowing children to experience Natural Consequences is one of the greatest gifts you can give them. We have all had that argument about wearing a coat. Some days you just have to let them figure it out by themselves. I will write another post about Natural Consequences later (it’s a topic all by itself).
So, in short, unplug your kids. Let them be bored. Let them get dirty. Let them run, play, create, believe, argue, fall and scrape a knee. Let them be kids, but most importantly; let them learn.