If I were going to be completely honest, I would say my life has been anything but easy. It has actually been quite difficult. And to some, they may say, a total shit show. But to that point, there really is no one to blame but myself. Every issue, struggle and problem that came my way had one common denominator: ME.
Looking back I realize the role I played in the destruction of my life
and where it has led me up to this point. I am grateful for my ability to be able to think outside the box, and realize that I don’t know nearly as much as I once thought I did, and I don’t know nearly as much now as I think I do.
I didn’t know it at the time but I had taken on the role of a codependent victim pretty early in life. Having a complete lack of boundaries and absorbing people’s negative words about myself as absolute truths rather than just opinions. I was constantly seeking approval and sacrificed my own morals and comfort in fear of making other people upset with me. I ran from any kind of confrontation, and went to great lengths to avoid it. I was completely preoccupied with how other people viewed me, and completely lost sight of how I viewed myself.
This lack of confidence affected my entire life and although I didn’t see it at the time, I see it clearly NOW.
I remember from as young as eight years old, I was on vacation with my parents, and I had left my purple hip purse in a bathroom stall at a pitstop. I noticed about 25 minutes after leaving the pitstop, but it took me about 15-20 minutes to gain enough fortitude to say something. At this point we were almost an hour away. My parents obviously didn’t turn around. I lost all my chore money that day, $22, and I was devastated. That is my earliest memory of feeling a real loss regarding my own actions. You would have thought that would have jolted me into gaining a voice, but it didn’t; it actually got worse as I got older.
First, in my defense, I didn’t know it then, but all human decisions are made to either avoid pain or gain pleasure. Second, to make things even more interesting, people will do much more to avoid pain than to gain pleasure. Third, and this is a show stopper, it isn’t based on actual pain and pleasure, it’s based on your perception of what that pain or pleasure WILL be.
Our imaginations are wild, so our perception is incredibly flawed.
This is why I ended up in those compromising situations 1, 2, 3, 6 plus times where a boy was allowed to take advantage of me. My flawed perception of the disappointment, or uncomfortable feelings I would ignite if I stood my ground caused me to allow these situations to escalate. Lacking complete confidence in myself to do (or not do) what I deemed as appropriate behavior, but allowing them to do as they pleased. That was me. I could have done things differently, but my extreme lack of confidence coupled with my desire to people please landed me in these confusing situations.
Hopefully at this point you are having a couple ah-ha moments for yourself, but either way I’m about to add another layer right here. We are complex creatures as humans, and we are guided by more than just pain and pleasure. We are also guided by our love languages. For those of you that have never heard of a love language, there are five of them. Depending on which love language you are, there are repercussions for linking up with someone who does not have your love language, or does not understand your love language.
To break it down, 23% of the population is moved by Words of Affirmation, 20% needs Quality Time, 20% looks for Acts of Service, 19% needs Physical Touch and 18% needs to Receive Gifts in order to feel loved. Everyone has a dominant love language and a 2nd tier love language. My two are physical touch and acts of service. Now, physical touch does not mean anything sexual, it is the EXACT opposite of anything sexual. But you can easily see how physical touch can EASILY be misconstrued by someone who does not have that language and does not understand that language. This meant that not only was I dealing with a strong desire to touch and be touched in order to feel loved (hand holding, caressing and holding) I was also dealing with not wanting to displease anyone who took my ‘physical touch advances’ the wrong way and thus put me in several morally uncomfortable situations throughout my life.
This is how a girl like me ends up pregnant out of wedlock before her 21st birthday.
I was showing my love language of physical touch and was then too hesitant to stop the momentum of the situation in fear of hurting my partners feelings, causing discomfort or upsetting the moment. I was also too naive to know about birth control, and was too nervous to bring up the condom subject. That was me. I didn’t say anything. Unfortunately, because I was not educated with ANY of this information. I was led to believe that I was just an immoral, disobedient individual who had no regard for her body, her love for a God, or her family. This created a mess for my subconscious mind with feelings of inadequacy, unworthiness, shamefulness and maliciousness. In reality, I was just being a human, the human that I am, following the instincts and natural tendencies that I was born with or was born into.
Walking around as a pregnant, unworthy, weak, incompetent, manipulative young women is easy to see how this situation could lead someone down a hole of suicidal thoughts, hate and frustration. I was alone, pregnant, uneducated in the things that mattered and was desperate to survive. I took on the identity of a victim; my life was beating me up one hit after another.
For example, the following is a list of a few of those hits.
Not wanting to inconvenience anyone -- because at this point I viewed myself as a huge inconvenience, I bought a car on my own for the first time. I got ripped off on the interest rate. I was paying a car payment for an 8 year old Toyota Camry as if it was a brand new BMW. That was me, I went in by myself, uneducated and unprepared.
About two months after that when my son was a few months old, I broke up with his father. Instead of sticking around and helping with bills and spending quality time with his son, he left the state and left me high and dry with an apartment, a car payment, a phone, a baby and all the bills. There are NO words for how this felt, it was overwhelming to a level that I do not have the words to express. I could have taken action to get him to pay child support. I didn’t. My victim mindset had me living in a space of victimhood. Victims don’t fight, they cower like a scared mouse in the corner.
The snowball effect from not receiving child support eventually led to my car getting repoed, and a few months later I started to receive eviction notices on my apartment door. I didn’t even try to fight my son’s father for child support. I just let his lame excuses fill my ears over the phone as I cried and begged for any financial help. I didn’t make a phone call to a lawyer for advice. I was a victim, giving up all my power.
During this financial distress, in the halls of the office building I was working at, I met a financially stable man who led me on a 13 year whirlwind disaster of a relationship. Moving in with him and over the course of a few years giving up control over my phone, my car and my job. This gave him complete power to punish me randomly throughout the week, threatening to cancel my phone service, threatening to kick my son and I out of his house and hiding the car keys with the excuse of it ‘not’ being my car. Having absolutely no foundation to base what is acceptable behavior in a situation where a man takes a broken, sinful, unworthy girl from penniless to a stable home, I accepted this as ok conduct.
Not long after that, I was completely fooled by my son's father when he asked to take my son on a summer getaway. Being torn between the fact that I had not received child support for 11 years and not wanting to be the one to keep my son from his father, I allowed my son to go. The day my son was due back to me, I received an email from my son’s father stating he would ‘take it from here’ and ‘thank you for taking care of him for 11 years.’ This forced me to obtain a lawyer and fight back and forth for 12 months to gain back what was already mine (full custody and child support), this drained my savings account of $15,000 and racked up a credit card bill to $3,000. Looking back, I should have contacted a lawyer years ago and gained legal rights over my son to protect myself from this mess. But my false perception of what sort of pain that would cause me led me to hesitate for 11 years too long, putting me in this situation.
That loss of $18,000 caused my entire life to be set back because that was the money I was planning to use to escape my narcissist partner at the time. My entire plan was postponed, and I had to start ALL over again from -$3,000.
This was all me, everything I mentioned above happened because of my own misunderstandings of how I work as a human. And this is what I want to stress to you. It’s hard sometimes to take ownership of EVERYTHING that happens in your life, especially when it seems obvious that it’s someone else’s fault. It can also be difficult when you realize that the majority of your issues stem from not having the correct education or mindset to be able to make informed decisions regarding what you know about yourself and your weaknesses. But the awesome thing about accepting complete blame for all the circumstances, no matter what they are, is that you also get to take complete ownership of all the awesome things you have done.
For instance: There are many options for pregnant mothers nowadays. I chose to give birth to my son, and I chose to keep my son. He is now 17. That was me. I did that!
Going above and beyond what was emotionally and mentally bearable to provide for my son, because his father was useless for the first 11 years of his life. That was me. I did that!
Forgiving my son’s father and moving on with my life, not talking bad about him to my son all these years, so that my son can grow up confident and strong with little to no guilt or shame as a child, that was me. I did that!
Although I never abused alcohol, I did see the effect it was having on my mental health over the weekends.
So 14 years ago I chose to never drink again.
It drastically improved my mental, emotional and physical health and has saved me tons of money that I am now able to save and invest with. That was me, I made that decision. I did that.
All the emotional and mental turmoil I endured throughout these years had me thinking of drugs, alcohol and suicide on a weekly basis. How easy it would have been to just give up, throw in the towel and become another statistic; run away and never look back. But I didn’t do those things. That was me. I stood strong.
I recently purchased another car. I went into the dealership with two educated individuals. I was fully prepared after reading books, forums and watching how to videos. I walked out paying exactly what I wanted, and saved over $10,000 in interest rates because I had cash. BOOM. Who learned from their last experience and educated herself so she wouldn’t overpay again? That was me. I did that.
Getting a lawyer, and spending $18,000 of my hard earned money to stand up against a man who was financially abusing me for 11 years by withholding child support, and then WINNING. That was me. I now have full custody and receive monthly child support! I did that! Like a boss. (My son's father was able to get out of back child support (11 years) and never had to pay a cent towards the $18,000 I spent in legal fees. Let that be a reminder to you young mom's out there, you need to get a court order ASAP in order to set some rules and boundaries for you and your child.)
Taking a considerable amount of years and secretly educating myself to create several different avenues of online income and saving money so I can leave that narcissistic relationship. That was me. I did that!
Walking away from a financially stable relationship of luxury and money because I educated myself on the emotional, mental and financial abuse that was happening within the home. That was me. I did that. I humbled myself by moving into my own place.
I was living on a mattress on the floor for months until I was able to slowly collect used furniture from Goodwill, the side of the road and from friends.
I made myself a new home for my son and I. That was me. I did that!
Becoming the CEO and founder of my own coaching company that now has over 40,000 followers (and growing!) across all platforms. Inspiring others worldwide and helping endless amounts of people break through and discover their own untapped talents and immense potential by sharing my own stories of failures and triumphs. That was me. I did that!
Being moved by the destruction of the fast fashion industry on the environment, I created and launched my own upcycling fashion design company. Using recycled clothes to save them from the landfills. That was me. I did that!
Allowing myself to love again, even though so many men in my life have abused, taken advantage of, and lied to me. That was me. I did that!
Never giving up, staying positive through it all, and always looking forward… rather than dwelling on the past. Knowing there has to be more, educating myself beyond what deems necessary. That was me. I did that!
It wasn’t always ‘that easy’. There were a million tears shed. There were suicidal thoughts. There were nights of wanting to give up. There was yelling and screaming and crying. There was pointing blame and feeling absolutely helpless on multiple levels. But I never gave up. I kept going, and that is why I am here sharing my story, with you.
I know there have been times in your life you have wanted to give up, throw in the towel and just be complacent in your life. You may have decided to be mediocre and have put your dreams and desires aside because you are tired of fighting and tired of trying. You are sick of being let down and sick of failing. But I am here to tell you that the fight IS worth the reward. Trust your gut, keep pushing forward and continue to move toward your dreams, whatever that might be.
We all make mistakes, we all do things that are out of character either out of emotional distress or just being naive to the truth. That is okay. You are allowed to change your mind and do things differently. You are allowed to go in a different direction even if the entire world is expecting you to go in another direction. I am here to tell you that I support you. Just know that no matter which direction you go in, there will be a story, a repercussion and you have to be ready and willing to handle that with strong shoulders and a positive attitude.
This is your life, and you have the ability to speak up, turn down, or change the trajectory of your life at any moment. You own your life. Now, this is where it gets tricky, because knowing this is great for you until you realize that everyone has this right, and your ability to be able to control the people in your life flies out the window… but that my friends will be saved for another post.