Maggie Tudor

Maggie Tudor, My Healing Journey

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.

Listen NOW.

Enjoy your own Power Hour.


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.

Shannon McLelland

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.

Listen NOW.

You can have your own  Power Hour!!!

Shannon is always available to chat & is very passionate about her journey.  You can find her here:

Facebook

Website

Personal Success


Previous Episodes

Dr. Michelle Mazur

Dr. Michelle Mazur

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.

Listen NOW

There are some people who still feel threatened by strong women. That’s their problem. It’s not mine.
-Gloria Allred

You can find Dr. Mazur with these links:

Website: drmichellemazur.com
Promotion: 3WordRebellion.com (link to get the framework for find your 3 Word Rebellion)
Instagram: intstagram.com/drmichellemazur
Facebook: www.facebook.com/drmichellemazur
Rebel Rising Facebook Group: www.drmichellemazur.com/group

Letting go of What Doesn’t Fit You

Letting Go Of What Doesn’t Fit You.

Today I had the opportunity to be featured on Kelly McCausey’s Podcast.

We talked about reconnecting with your authentic self, reducing anxiety & depression and living with purpose.

Living up to the expectations others have for you, will only cause you stress, grief, worry & sometimes, shame.

Set you own expectations, find your purpose, live with passion & intention.

Enjoy your Holidays this year – here are a few Tips! [Download not found]

Podcast #8: Andrea Scarborough On Letting Go Of What Doesn’t Fit You

Create your life on your terms.  If you need a little support or guidance I am here.

Thank you Kelly for your time.  I loved our chat!!!

Are you in a relationship with a narcissist?

Are you in a relationship with a narcissist?

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.

Click here to read more stories of survival.

Andrea Scarborough
Life / Parenting Coach

 

Effective Journaling

Journaling

Tips on Effective Journaling

I am a big believer in Journaling.  It allows you to tell your story, keep in it in a safe place and review it later if needed.  When you put your thoughts down on paper, you no longer have to carry that around with you.  You can keep it tucked away safely in a drawer; it’s still yours, it’s just no longer heavy baggage that you carry with you everywhere you go.  Reviewing your journal at a later date is also beneficial.  Re-reading some of your earlier entries allows you to evaluate your state of mind then and now, take a moment to assess your point of growth.

At some point someone suggested to you that you journal your thoughts and feelings, but has anyone told you how to do this so it actually yields positive results as opposed to just retelling a story?

 

The Basics:

  1. Go to the Dollar Store and purchase a cheap note book or here is a link to purchase one on Amazon.  Your journal doesn’t have to be pretty, leather-bound and have a lock & key.  Keep it simple!
  2. Set up your journal: see below to tips to set up Effective Journaling
  3. Make time everyday to write in your journal.
    • Morning Journal entries are usually for goals; things you want to achieve that day.
    • Evening Journal allows you to reflect on the day and assess any points of growth.
  4. Weekly review of your journal – at the end of each week, set aside some time to review your journal entries; look for patterns in thoughts and behaviours.
  5. Give Credit where credit is due – reward yourself for a successful week (even if you had a bad one, find the good parts and celebrate those!!)

Effective Journaling – Setting up your Journal

It’s important to tell your story, but it’s equally important to fully assess that story as well.  Your journal entry should include the emotions you felt, the lessons you learned and the successes that pulled you through.  Here’s what I mean by that:

journal
Use the faces to assist you with choosing the appropriate feelings.
  1. Tell your story.  write it out, all of it.  Every last detail.  Don’t breeze through it, get it all out.
  2. How I felt.  Once your story is all there, review it.  Add in feeling words (I have included a list here for you).  Include all emotions that you expressed both during the event and while writing it.
  3. Lessons Learned.  I firmly believe that everything happens for a reason, there are constant lessons in life.  Take a moment and think about what you learned both in living the event and telling it.
  4. I survived.  So far, you have a 100% success rate at surviving life’s ordeals.  Acknowledge that this event did not kill you.  You lived to tell the tale.   “I survived because I am….” or “I survived because….”  or “I survived and I will….”

Use these 4 heading in your journal entries.  Make it clear which part is the story, the feelings, the lessons and the reasons you survived.  This will make your weekly reviews much simpler.

Ok, now that you have the tools to Journal Effectively, why are you still sitting here….off to the dollar store with you….grab a journal, set it up and CHANGE YOUR LIFE!!

Keep me posted on how this works for you.  I’d love your feedback!!

Happy Journaling!!!

 

 

How Will Coaching Help My Child?

Coaching

How will coaching help my child?

Coaching is a wonderful tool used to improve motivation, remove stuck points and increase productivity.  Coaching is used on a number of different levels from Personal Coaching, Executive Coaching and Sports Coaching, which is the one we are most familiar with.  Just like a baseball or hockey coach, a Success Coach will teach your child the necessary skills to be successful.  I will support, encourage and celebrate successes.

Initial Consultation

I will chat with your child for approximately 30 minutes.  During this time we will get to know one another and assess the working relationship.  This consultation is FREE and can be done over the phone, Zoom or (in London & Middlesex) in person.

We will chat about the ultimate goal, points of frustration and stumbling blocks that your child faces.  I will explain who I am, my experience and how I can help.  If both your child and myself feel that we can build a working relationship, we will schedule Coaching Sessions.

Coaching Sessions

Most clients see marked improvement in a very short time.  3 Sessions are usually enough to get started.  Some clients prefer 6 Sessions to ensure stability and development of new habits.  By the end you should begin to notice:

Improved self-esteem

Ability to let go of limiting beliefs

Natural stress & anxiety reduction

Creative possibilities

Realized self-worth

Visible future

Unlimited potential

Individual Sessions can also be booked for further assistance; planning for a major life event, reducing anxiety, dealing with bullying or any other reason a single session may be beneficial.

I also offer Parent/Caregiver Consultations.  This is an opportunity for Caregivers or Parents to discuss their concerns or goals for their child.  It’s also an excellent opportunity to learn how to continue to support your child once their sessions have ended.

The greatest advantage to coaching is that we do not dwell on past events.  I am more interested in launching a future filled with possibilities.  Through simple conversation, we will discover limiting beliefs and work to eliminate them.  We will create new daily habits that will improve self-esteem, motivation, productivity and create a vibrant future.

Also, Coaching is equally effective both in person or over the phone/Zoom, so if transportation is an issue, we can remove that limiting belief right now.

Booking Sessions

Coaching
Honesty & Accountability

When you click to book your sessions, you will see a variety of options.  I am available to work with your child both in person or via phone/Zoom.  Please ensure you schedule the appropriate sessions.  I have bundled sessions to offer a discounted rate; the more you book, the more you save.   The foundation of my work is Honesty & Accountability.  I will always be on time for sessions, please ensure the same respect.  If we are not meeting in person, the client holds the responsibility to call me.  This is also a necessary life skill, so please encourage your child to follow through with this on their own.

~Andrea

 

 

 

“I’m tired.” she said.

“I’m tired.” she said.

Tired of taking the blame, making excuses and following the rules.

I used to have dreams, hopes and a very clear vision of how my life would play out.  I wanted a career, a family, vacations and friends.  I wanted to be happy, secure in myself and feel safe.  I wanted all of that.

Somehow, I find myself trying to live up to someone else’s standards.  Someone else is calling the shots, making the rules and creating the expectations and try as I may, I am losing myself in this process.  I used to have the ability to make decisions.  I had a choice, I had a voice.

Now, all of that is gone.  You took away my power, you hushed my voice.  You said no one would listen to me.  You said I was wrong.  You said it was my fault.  You told me I am weak.  You made me feel stupid.  You took away my friends and shunned my family.  I am alone with you now, and I am afraid.

I am afraid for my safety, maybe not physically, because you have never laid a hand on me.  But I am afraid of hurting myself because I am unable to live up to your standards.  I am afraid of the world around me, because you said I wasn’t strong enough to handle it.

My life was not supposed to be like this.  How did I get here?  How do I get out?  I am in a dark hole.  I cannot see the sun.

I look at this huge scary world around me and I see people laughing.  How can you just laugh without someone telling you the joke was funny?  Aren’t you afraid your laugh is too loud?  What did you have to do to get permission to be with friends?  I’ll bet you’ll be in trouble when you get home.

Hanging out with friends is a distant memory, but it is a fond memory.  If I allow myself (in the quiet moments while you are gone), I remember laughing.  I remember not having to worry about what time I got home.  I remember choosing who I spent time with.  If I really work at it, I can remember.

It is these memories that get me through.  It is these quiet times, when you are gone, that I am free to remember, free to feel, free to just be.  I know I can’t spend too much time in my memories, and I know I can never share them with you.  It is a sacred place in my heart and in my mind that keeps me going.  There is a voice in these memories that speaks to me.

This voice tells me I am strong.  I am smart.  I am tough.  I can be more.  I can want more.  This voice tells me I belong in a sidewalk café enjoying a coffee with friends.  This voice gets a little bit louder each time I visit my memories.  I am so torn.  Torn between who I thought I was, and who you say I am.     There is something missing.  A piece of the puzzle that doesn’t quite fit.

I know you are stronger and wiser than I am, but I just have a feeling.  A feeling that it doesn’t have to be this way.  Other people look so happy and free.  I think I want to try that.  I want to experience joy (is that even a word, I’m not sure).  I want to feel the sunshine on my face and drink coffee with friends.  I used to be quite smart, I wonder if I still am?  In my memories I dreamed of living by the water, playing on the beach and I think I felt important.  What if there is truth in my memories?

You are so brave going out into the world everyday to earn a living for us.  I could never do that.  You said the world would just eat me up.  You said I’m not strong enough or wise enough to venture out there.  You said that I am grateful that you are willing to do this for me.  Am I grateful?  I’m sure I must be, but this doesn’t feel like gratitude.  This feels like obligation.  I think I want to try.  I think I am going to try. I think I can.

The voice in my memories is growing louder.  It is telling me that I am tired.  I am tired of being at fault, taking the blame and making excuses.  I am tired of living by your rules.  I am tired of trying to be the person you expect me to be.  I am tired of not being me.  That’s it!!  Right there, with you, I am not ME!!

I am going to be me!  I am strong.  Strong enough to venture into the world.  I am smart.  Smart enough to know there is more to life.  I am tough.  I am tough enough to break though all the pain, the heartache, the disappointment and find a way to be ME!

“I am tired,” she said, “tired of you.”


If you or someone you know is in an abusive relationship, please contact your local Abuse Hotline for help!

When you are ready to create your future, please contact me.  I will help you get there!!

Read more stories of survival here.

Join our community of Women on a Mission!

My Name is Jenny

My Name is Jenny 

Written & submitted by Jenny Ambrose of Puree Fantastico

I am the Best Small Graphic Design Business in Los Angeles for 2014-2017, winner of Addy awards, owner of all of the awesome. Spreader of the joy, font knowledge, and endless gradient (and glitter!) love. Encourager of the silliness, the feeling of freedom, and the loudest laughter.

But I am also the same person who suffered through PTSD, Generalized Anxiety Disorder, and Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder from 10 to 28, has had to deal with colonoscopies and laparoscopies BECAUSE of those disorders, but I am also the person that found a way to heal. Really, fully, entirely heal. I’ve changed things about myself I used to take wholly for granted. In my mind and my heart, I’ve changed right down to the cellular level. My mitochondria sing the mantra Sa Ta Na Ma

Joy

To walk away fresh and renewed, happy, fulfilled, and whole by 32; walking away from a life of chaos and parents each emboldened with their own special flavors of narcissistic personality disorder and into a life full of heart and authenticity. My inner voice is my own, and the boundaries I have are grown from a solid foundation within myself. I lovingly nurture a life composed of a wonderful equally strong and tender marriage, FIVE relentlessly needy (but totally loved) animal babies, hilarious, intelligent, grateful friends and colleagues who lift me up, support me, challenge me, and contribute to my craziness (aka The Kubrick project!). I am loved in my life, and most importantly, I am loved BY my life.  

I truly believe that it was my multitude of passions that allowed me to connect deeply with my truest self, carving a pathway overriding all of the nonsense that was to come. It was listening to my truest voice when all others tried so hard to drown it out. It was following my gut even though I thought I was diving head first into the deepest pools of insanity. There were times when nothing made sense, and times when even the things I thought made sense was nonsense but sticking with myself has always lead me exactly where I need to be.
So, whatever you do, wherever you are, and whatever you are faced with– always choose you. You will always make the best choice there is. I promise.


Thank you, Jenny, for sharing your story!!  As I said to you, your energy precedes you!!  Thank you also for contributing the artwork for this post!!  It is beautiful and expressive!  

Please Leave Jenny a Comment below and be sure to subscribe to my blog to read more fantastic stories of triumph, adversity, success & survival!

If you’d like to share your story, schedule your FREE Session NOW!

Denyse’ Story

Tina’s Story

LeeAnne’s Story

Kim’s Story

Staci’s Story

The Phoenix Rises

How The Hell Did I Get Here?

How The Hell Did I Get Here?

Written by: Staci Hissong – Staci is a gifted & compassionate Life Coach using her story to empower others.


Standing with my back against the wall, literally and figuratively, with his hands on either side of my shoulders and it struck me; “How the hell did I get here?

Of course, that is not how my story started. That is not how any survivor’s story starts. Most stories start with glitter and rainbows, with affection and love, with gifts and adoration. And then it’s like a fucking switch flips and you are left standing in the dark with confusion and hurt. My story is not the exception. It starts when I was a 19 year old, college sophomore during “Welcome Week,” out with my friends and deciding to leap up and kiss a ‘friend’ that would turn in to so much more. It started innocently enough; a lot of flirtation, hook-ups, and laughter. Feeling carefree and understood, moving from the occasional hook-up to actual dates to staying the night with each other every night. Sleeping alone became a thing of the past, which is quite hilarious to me now that two full sized humans slept in a twin-sized loft each and every night because the idea of being apart was more uncomfortable than the actual closeness the beds provided. The first year continued with butterflies and unicorns and I did not believe it could be possible to be happier. Then summer hit. We were thankfully from the same hometown so we did not have to figure out distance in our relationship, but we did come from different socioeconomic situations. His Dad would write a check for his tuition each semester, and I sit here 12 years after graduation still paying off my loans. This meant I had to work every day that summer, so I did.

 And that is when the switch flipped.

He no longer was the center of my life. I had to do what was best for me, and that was finding a way to sustain living through the upcoming year with work. He started getting angry at me all the time because I could not go to every party. I could not stay out all night. And I would say no to things, which was completely different from how the previous year of our relationship had been. The arguing started, and really never stopped. Everything was consistently my fault because I did not put our relationship first. He hated this and let me know with his words. Very loud and hurtful words at times which I will explain later. He then decided we needed to “take a break until we got back to school,” which I later found out meant he was sleeping with another girl from home but wanted to get back to our relationship when he had my undivided attention. I was devastated, heartbroken; but I figured there were only a few weeks before we went back to school, so it would all work out.

 “Welcome Week” was upon us again and I anticipated things going right back to normal. But little did I know, that was not his plan at all. He wanted his cake and to eat it to. He invited this girl up to school, and SHE was the one to tell me she started sleeping with him. Are You Fucking Kidding Me? This has got to be a joke. All while he was telling me we were “working things out,” he “loved me,” we were “meant to be.” Well fueled by heartbreak and a lot of liquor, I walked in on him with her at this party and instead of being the stereotypical girl and going after the “other woman,” I went after him. I punched him repeatedly in the face and busted his nose. His very fit friend had to lift me off of him with such force I had finger bruises on arms from the strength he had to use due to my adrenaline. As I stood there, he just kept calling me a “crazy bitch,” over and over and over. A term he used quite often when speaking to me. A term that set something off inside of me due to my history with depression and anxiety, as well as self-harm behaviors. All things that he knew about me and used against me at the drop of a hat. Knowing that I was terrified that I may actually be “crazy,” he took every opportunity to reinforce that fear. Every interaction over the last few months between us had been toxic. Ending in screaming and crying and just plain ugly words being spewed.

 At this point, I should of walked away.

That’s what you would have done right? He had finally made it apparent I was worthless and everyone else thought I was crazy, so why in the fuck would I ever even speak to him again? Well, because I loved him. Did you just say, “how?” to yourself? Don’t worry, today that is what I say too, but understand he had taken the power and control from me and from our relationship well before this situation happened. I was dependent on any morsel of attention and positive words he would give me. And without fail, two days later he called, we talked, worked it out, and went back to dating. The thing was, he continued to sleep with this other girl…for what I found out later was months. And I caught him many more times; and he managed to convince me I was the crazy one for driving by his house to see if she was there or going through his phone when he walked out of the room. So, I forgave him every time. Each time, losing more and more of me. I lost like 30 lbs in a month from the stress, lost friendships because I would not allow myself to see what they saw, and just chose to look the other way.

 The Honeymooning

The thing was, if you did not know what was being done and said behind closed doors, you would have thought we were good together. Until we added the alcohol and my insecurity crept out and his vulgarity towards me crept out and we would cause a scene at every party. And then go home together afterwards like nothing was abnormal. He consistently told me what a worthless piece of trash I was and how lucky I was to be with him.

 I stayed in this relationship until right before my 22nd birthday. Almost three years. Three years of questioning my sanity. Three years of him whispering “You’re crazy” to me in front of people where no one else heard until I would lose it and he would be like what are you talking about? Legit, making me look crazy!! In front of friends, at the bar, in an elevator with a stranger in Chicago. Any time he could. Three years of on and off toxicity. One time I followed through with ending the relationship. He called me 53 times in an hour without me picking up. He called my parents who told him I was back at school, when in reality I was not. I got a call from my roommate shortly after that he was at our door screaming and pounding on the door and she did not know what to do. I recommended she call the police, but that never happened because he left and started calling my phone again. Then he left me a voicemail stating he needed to talk because his mom was sick, and he needed me. I fell back in, and within a week, right back to the screaming and name calling. On my 21st birthday, I went hard as many people do on their 21st while away at college. He carried me back to his house, which everyone gave him so much credit for taking care of me. We went into his room and started having sex. Well I was definitely too drunk to do that, and the motion made me vomit down the side of his bed. He picked me up, threw me in the shower and left me on the floor in there for I could not even tell you how long. The next morning his roommate told me he could hear me crying through the wall; saying that I was going to die and he wanted to come in and help me but knew I was naked and felt like that would violate me. My boyfriend was upstairs, so the roommate went up to tell him he could hear me, and my boyfriend did not budge. He kept drinking and left me there. When he finally came to help me out of the shower, we went back into his room where he brought new sheets and stood there while I was made to change them since I was the one who got sick on them. I stayed with him still for almost another year!!!

 It finally ended, 

It finally ended one night when he picked me up from the bar after a bar crawl and he was yelling at me and I just did not care anymore. I had no reaction. He yelled more, I just did not have it in me to fight back. He said it was over and I said ok. (He was also sleeping with a mutual ‘friend’ of ours by this point as well). I felt free. I was ready for it to be over. I finally was done, relief! But it again would not prove to be so easy. He had expected me to fight to keep the relationship as I always did, and when I did not, he became infuriated. He began calling me repeatedly again and telling me he wanted everything he ever bought me back. I finally just said fine and threw up my hands. If that would end this, then I would give it all back. I walked over to his apartment, which by this point we only lived like seven minutes apart on a walk and gave him the bag of stuff. He said he was going to give me back everything I had bought him. I stated repeatedly I did not want anything back because that was not how gifts worked and he got so angry. He began screaming and yelling at me that I was going to take it all. Upon refusal again, he picked up the DVD player I had bought him and threw it at my head. Now I don’t know if you all remember how heavy DVD players were, but they were not these lightweight things like Blu-ray players are today. I moved and did not get hit, but I remember being completely frightened for the first time of him in that moment. He emotionally hurt me, verbally abused me, spiritually broke me, but he had never laid a finger on me. But in that moment, I felt that possibility upon me. He lunged at me and I flinched. I will never forget what happened next. He backed me up against the wall in his dining room with his hands on either side of shoulders and said “You think I’m going to hit you? You really think I am going to hit you? If I was going to hit you, I would have done that a long time ago!” I moved out of the way and left the apartment. That was it, it was the moment, the breaking point. I knew we were completely over. On that seven-minute walk home, he called my phone numerous times and left me four voicemails. The final voicemail stating I was a “fucking cunt who should’ve killed [myself] a long time ago” and would “never amount to anything and be poor” and would be “worthless without [him] because no one else would ever want [me].” I got home, locked that apartment door as hard as I could and sat in my room and sobbed.

 We saw each other out in public regularly following that. There are only so many bars in a college town after all, and we had many of the same friends. Many more ridiculous exchanges, or avoiding one another, for the final two months before graduation. I saw him a few months later back in our hometown. I broke down and slept with him only to find out he was still seeing that mutual ‘friend’ of ours and made sure to let me know after we had sex that he was glad he was done with such a “whore” like me. And that was that. We were over, ties cut. Until three years later when he was at a bachelor party I think, and he called me and begged to see me, still with the same girl from the end of college. He had nothing but negative things to say about her and just showered me with words of affirmation. He just kept saying we were too young when we met and the love he had for me was just too intense for that age. And even then, there was a part of me that believed that to be true. I refused to see him though so at least there was some progress on my part.

 The Journey to Myself

Fast forward to five years after graduation, I was beginning an internship for my Master’s degree in counseling at a domestic violence shelter. Before you can work there you have to go through an intensive 40-hour training course. The first day of the training they defined domestic abuse. HOLY SHIT! I had been in an abusive relationship? Are you fucking kidding me? But he never laid a finger on me! How is this possible? But it all made so much sense. I cannot be around men who raise their voices, I had severe trust issues in relationships, and I felt pulled to this internship for some reason. I had been going to therapy for about four months at this point and I walked in to my next session and said, “Did you know my college relationship was domestic abuse?” My therapist threw her hands in the air and said “Oh, thank god! I have been waiting for you to get there!” I suffered Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder following this relationship. My view on a relationship was so fucked up it made sense why I could not make one work and I kept choosing the wrong men.

 So here I am.

Twelve years removed from the relationship, seven years after realizing that I was in an abusive relationship throughout college. This is the first time I have ever put pen to paper about it, or more so fingers to keys. I actually just verbally told my story for the first time last October during Domestic Violence Awareness Month to do my part in spreading the word that not all abuse looks the same. I can tell you in writing this, I still cannot believe that was me. I am such a different person today than I was then. First of all, I am older and wiser and the regular grey hair I have to color proves that. But more than that, I have grown as a person and as a woman. I was so quick to judge when I was younger, and I can guarantee if someone else told me this is how their relationship was I would ask them what the hell was wrong with them to stay? And now, I understand there are so many underlying factors to an abusive relationship that others will not understand. And yet, almost all of these relationships are the same at their core. It is about power and control for the abuser and stripping you of who you are.

 Healing

This process has taken a very long time for me. This is not something that I got out of magically found glitter and rainbows again. Um, fuck no. It did not happen like that at all. It is only over the last year that I can share this story without shame; still not without anger but I am working on that. It took therapy, self-reflection, and a lot of personal development to get here. And where is here? Well I now own two of my own businesses, I have a Master’s degree and am a Licensed Professional Counselor, and I can finally say that I can see some good in the world. I am mindset coach now for women to help them build their confidence and learn how to move forward in life.

 Empowering Others

I love that I get to empower women each and every day. If you find that you are still in a toxic relationship, YOU ARE WORTH MORE! I know nothing I say to you can make you fully believe that, but I hope that in reading this story you can see that you are not alone and there is a strong network of women who will help uplift you when you are ready.

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