Noticed It, Named It, Felt It, Let It Go – Number 18

   I got to a section in the WE book that explained how in order to heal we need to notice what is hurting us, call it out, feel it, and then let it go. This was life changing for me because I have spent my life avoiding all of those things. My behavior instead would be out of control as I tried to hold in my feelings. I wanted to believe that if you ignored or avoided something long enough it would just go away…FYI, it doesn’t. 

   I would stuff the feelings, numb the feelings with food or distraction, or sometimes completely dissociate from the feelings and pretend they didn’t exist. These avoidant behaviors usually caused me physical pain in some area of my body and they certainly caused me to have anxiety and act out. I recognized that my crutches were most likely hurting me more than the actual feelings would so the next time I was triggered by something I stopped and got quiet and focused on it. 

   I figured out what it was and then let the feelings come and then I released it. As terrified as I was at the time to actually challenge these beliefs, I survived and I actually felt better. No erratic behavior. No acting out. No chaos. No losing days, or longer, to a game addiction or whatever I could throw myself into to distract me. In a matter of a few minutes, I felt better. I went and shared what had been bothering me with Rob and Molly like an actual adult. I trusted the process enough to try it and it worked. Not that I wouldn’t regress a million times going forward, but I’m so much better at it now and am building the muscle memory so that I process as it comes and I’m not holding onto pain. Notice that something is bothering you. Name what it is. Feel it. And let that shit go. Sometimes bravery is facing what you’re avoiding.



If you enjoyed this chapter and want to dig deeper into each story, my husband Rob and I do an exclusive companion podcast on my Patreon page.  We give further background into the story and include the spouse’s perspective.  Each one of these episodes averages 45 minutes to an hour.  I also share different content across my social media channels and at my blog on the website.   Podcast: Broken to Brave on LibsynWebsite: BrokenToBrave.comFacebook: @BrokentoBravePodcastTwitter: @broken2brave

Didn’t Get Sucked In – Number 17

   I was raised in a Catholic home and went to a Catholic school for 8 years. I was steeped in guilt. I was also taught to believe that any conflict was my fault. By that I mean that if someone was upset with me for any reason, for instance if I said no to someone and they got upset, it was my fault. I should keep the peace at all cost whether or not the other person is wrong. Because of that I got a warped view of relationships. I’ve got catholic guilt, an unrealistic sense that I can’t have any conflict in a relationship, and then there’s “obligation.” We were obligated to go to events, participate, whatever whether we wanted to or not. Whether it was convenient, healthy, something we wanted to do or not. It didn’t matter. 

   The only thing that mattered was whether or not I was expected to be there. Have plans with friends? Why would you do that? We have a family party. For the twelfth time this year. Not going causes guilt, conflict, and a barrage of “but you have to be there.” conversations. It was just easier to go. Until it wasn’t. Eventually, it was far more damaging to go and the weeks of recovery from an event was no longer worth it. So I said no. Over and over. And I hated it every time. And I wanted to throw up and I wanted to cry and I wanted to run back and say, “Ok, I’ll go.” But I knew I couldn’t go back.

   I sat in the guilt and the fear of conflict and the overwhelming sense of obligation and I stayed out of it all except sometimes I forgot and would emotionally get sucked back in. But not this day. This day I recognized it and reminded myself of the truth. This day I remembered that I don’t have to carry the guilt. I remembered that conflict is healthy and that it’s not my responsibility to make peace with people who are unkind or unhealthy. I remembered that my only real obligation is to my husband and my daughter. They come first and not anyone else. That I have an obligation to my health and well-being and that as soon as something threatens those things, I am no longer obligated to participate. The guilt subsided, the fear of saying no subsided and my sense of obligation switched over to the rightful place…my daughter, husband and myself. I released myself from anything else placed on me that day and didn’t get sucked in. That was a big, brave, scary day. Sometimes bravery is saying no.



If you enjoyed this chapter and want to dig deeper into each story, my husband Rob and I do an exclusive companion podcast on my Patreon page.  We give further background into the story and include the spouse’s perspective.  Each one of these episodes averages 45 minutes to an hour.  I also share different content across my social media channels and at my blog on the website.   Podcast: Broken to Brave on LibsynWebsite: BrokenToBrave.comFacebook: @BrokentoBravePodcastTwitter: @broken2brave

Accepted Praise – Number 16

   One of the hardest things for me to learn in my life was to accept praise. To say that I was not praised as a child is an understatement. I am an expert at self-deprecation, as well, so it became part of my DNA to think of myself as a disaster and voice all negative opinions of myself whenever the opportunity arose. If anyone tried to compliment me, I would give them the 500 reasons why they were wrong in their opinion of me. 

   It was embarrassing for them and for myself. After the keynote address, I received some messages. One said that she wanted me to be the keynote speaker every year. My gut reaction was to respond by calling her crazy and list every single thing wrong with me, but I’d been doing the work. I’d been challenging these beliefs about myself. I’d been rewiring the messages in my brain. Therefore, on this day I responded back, “Thank you so much.” And sat in the feelings someone thinking I did a good job brought up. 

   Who was I to tell her that her experience of my talk was wrong? Who was I to tell her that her reality is not reality? I was freaking brave. I had a message that needed to be heard. I fought through and delivered said message. It may not have been pretty, but it was effective. Isn’t that enough? That event gave me so many opportunities to practice accepting praise. Just say thank you. It is that simple. 

Sometimes bravery is getting your message out no matter what.



If you enjoyed this chapter and want to dig deeper into each story, my husband Rob and I do an exclusive companion podcast on my Patreon page.  We give further background into the story and include the spouse’s perspective.  Each one of these episodes averages 45 minutes to an hour.  I also share different content across my social media channels and at my blog on the website.   Podcast: Broken to Brave on LibsynWebsite: BrokenToBrave.comFacebook: @BrokentoBravePodcastTwitter: @broken2brave

28 years!!

It’s our 28th wedding anniversary today. We started dating when we were 18 years old. I never thought I would live past 30 so it’s quite surreal for me to be sitting here today writing this at 52, healed in so many ways, surrounded (figuratively, of course, because Covid) by loving and supportive people, and so grateful to be quarantined with my two favorite humans. Rob has born the brunt of my trauma. If there’s a thing called “secondary trauma,” he experienced that. If there’s not, then I’m coining the phrase now. More than anyone else, he has had to witness the destruction and the pain that abuse inflicted on my soul. I can’t even begin to imagine how hard that must be on a daily basis. There were periods of time, early in our marriage, where he thought he would come home to find me dead. He’s picked up my pieces and held them for me until I could find the strength to hold them myself again. When I couldn’t find anything good about myself he asked me to listen to the song Just the Way You Are by Bruno Mars every day until the message got through…by the way, it took almost a year. He’s laughed with me, cried with me, carried me, distracted me, supported me, challenged me, fought with me, and loved me in a way that no one else has. He is the best dad I could have ever imagined for our daughter. He is my person. He will always be my greatest gift and I am so grateful that he was able to, ever so patiently, knock down every wall I had erected and find his way to me.💗