As a survivor of family-controlled child sex abuse and trafficking, I spent the first half of my life running an exhausting marathon obstacle course. I was pushing my way through life like I was at war every day, always waiting for the next shoe to drop, always expecting the next horrible thing to happen to me. I was living a life full of abusive relationships, emotional swings and fear-based decisions. I was sure that inner peace was just not possible for me.
But eight years ago, my twins were born. Almost instantly, I realized that my recovery could no longer be avoided. For the safety of my twins, and my own peace, I knew I had to muster the courage to face the shadows. I had to bring the darkness to the light. I had to commit to transform even though it terrified me.
The past eight years have been hard, but I have to admit, they would have been impossible without my recovery. I know that. Through my recovery, I have relieved myself of the constant inner turmoil that ruled my outer life. I have gained the ability to experience a peaceful presence that I never thought possible. Most importantly, I have stopped the manifestations of trauma that haunted my family for generations. I know that cycle is stopped and that adds to my peace.
I have transformed myself. Now let me help you bring your darkness in to the light.
Let me show you how to leave the past behind and find the peace you are so desperately searching for.
Let me help you find your own gift that lives below the years of pain.
It is possible. It is not easy. It takes strength and courage. It takes commitment to awareness. But it is possible.
Let’s start now.
3 Steps to Overcoming the Awareness Challenge
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Ways that I can support you in our work together...
When we can calm our own inner waters, we can reflect the storms of the world differently. Our inner world reflects our outer world. Our outer world guides us to our next inner journey. When our waters become still, our path appears before us. Clarity comes, but only once we can find the peace to see it.
As parents and survivors of trauma, we want to stop the cycle of abuse. But there is deeper work to be done. Uncovering our inner beliefs and shining a light on our shadow world can bring a new legacy of light to our family. Our children can learn from our example and adopt a new way of living.
I am dedicated to spreading awareness of the horrors of child abuse and trafficking. I do this by shining a light on today’s abuses and the effects on victims. Being trauma-informed requires that organizations and media partner with survivors. I can work with you to end violence through awareness.
I have been coaching trauma survivors for a few years and I love it. I love it so much, I have been known to jump around my office and cheer for the amazing progress a client is making. I love it so much, I struggle to find balance because I always want to check in with my email and Facebook. It isn’t coming from obligation. It is coming from purpose. And I love that feeling, even when I have to focus on balance because of it. But when the intuitive message came through loud and clear that I was supposed to start my first group, I was hesitant. It was one thing to coach clients on a 1-on-1 basis, but it was very different to run a group. Let’s face it, those of us with relational trauma can struggle in groups. I wondered what I was getting myself into. How many triggered survivors would I have to talk out of leaving the group? How many times would I cringe as I watched conversations with varying opinions go in a defensive direction? I worried. Mostly, I worried whether or not I would be capable of moderating a group of survivors in a way that would feel safe. I did not want to be a part of the problem. I did not want to run a group that became another source of invalidation for a survivor. I have heard the stories. It’s hard to find a home when we already have a tendency to separate and isolate as a defense. And when someone disagrees with us, we might take that all-or-nothing... read more
I’m going to get real about helpers today. Helpers can come in many forms. They can be therapists, life coaches, energy workers, EFT practitioners, mentors and more. All of these professionals have the potential to help trauma survivors. But these relationships have the potential to get off track, to cause harm, to re-traumatize. In social work school, I had one professor who had us frequently repeat the mantra, “Don’t sleep with your clients.” It was sort of tongue and cheek and it sort of wasn’t. But I am not talking about the obvious stuff today. The stuff that throws us off guard is the stuff we don’t see coming. Maybe we don’t see it because it is subtle. Or maybe we don’t see it because we are repeating our unconscious patterns and haven’t developed awareness yet. Either way, we can be thrown off our recovery path when we repeat patterns with our helpers. So here is my list of what not to do if you are a helper or a help-seeker. Helpers: Don’t deny a self-diagnosis. When a client is exploring whether a particular mental illness describes them, don’t dismiss it. Your clients might have a tendency toward “catastrophizing” or even hypochondria, but examine it with them. Explore the possibilities. I find this to be especially necessary with dissociative identity disorder. We have seen the Hollywood version of D.I.D. and we assume this means we would know immediately if we met someone with this disorder. But that’s not true. It can be very subtle. Parts are great at disguising themselves, especially in front of helpers. If you are thinking,... read more
The holidays are hard for survivors of trauma. I know that’s not a shocking statement. Our circumstances are usually less than stellar. Either we spend it without the majority of our family or we spend it with them but wish we hadn’t. Our external situation can create so much angst. In the past several years, I have come to terms with my holiday situation. I have come to enjoy my small holiday gatherings, usually involving one or two friends and my children. I really do like it. It is so much less complicated. And there is room for the creation of my own traditions. All the fretting I did about my kids getting the bad end of the family deal has been for naught. My kids don’t know what they are missing. And believe me, that’s a good thing. That family sucks. But there’s another side to the holidays for survivors. It is the unpredictable inner world. You never know when it will rear its head. For me, I was introduced to a new part on Thanksgiving Day. He seemed like a pretty amiable part in the scheme of things. I was okay with this part. I was working through the memories and emotions without too much fanfare or resistance. It’s never pleasant, but I was doing okay with it. But two days before Christmas, it all took a turn for the worst. The expression from this part made a massive shift. It got nasty. I came to understand this part was repeating my father’s words, but I didn’t know that at first. I was inundated with the horrific... read more
5 Reasons Recovery is Not Fair & 3 Things You Can Do About It During the past ten years, I have been on a recovery journey full of miracles and pain which surpassed my greatest imagination. And over the past three years, I have worked with many survivors of trauma who are taking their own trek to find a better way of living. I have learned many lessons about life from my own journey and the journeys of others. But there is one life lesson that rises to the top. It’s not fair! That may sound like the ranting of a two-year-old, but it’s also true. There is nothing particularly fair about this life. And when it comes to a childhood of trauma, it is the most unfair. What do I mean? I thought you would never ask. I’ve been creating a list just to prove my point. We have to treat our inner parts like nobody ever treated us. You may have heard of the term “re-parenting” during your recovery journey. It may have even triggered you. How dare anyone suggest that you have to do the job your parents never did. It isn’t fair that we have to be compassionate, accepting and loving to our inner parts when we never experienced it. How are we supposed to do that? How do we express love we never had? Where do we start? There was nobody to save us in childhood and there is nobody to save us now. Despite our deep longing for a savior, human beings are not capable of saving another. They may be able to do... read more
Recovery is complicated. I know I am not saying anything new. You already get this. You would not read my blog if you had not determined this for yourself. But I feel the need to say it today. Today is a tough day because I have to face my “humanness”. I have to face my shame. I am not talking about the unwarranted shame. That shame is different. I am good at talking with my inner parts about that. I can have the inner conversation about how the abusers handed us their shame. I can talk about handing it back to them. We can let that go now. This shame is harder. This shame is justified to a point. This shame is coming from my parts who have done bad things to good people in an attempt to stay safe. It might not have been blatant. It might have been very passive. But that doesn’t make it better. My inner parts have learned some interpersonal skills that are disturbing at best. They learned them because of a horrible past. They learned them from people who were supposed to care but never did. And it is important to understand that. But they used these skills at the wrong times with the wrong people. They used these skills in adulthood after safety had been established. And while my job is to understand and accept my inner parts as much as possible, I have moments where I have to cringe. I have to ask my inner parts the question, “Really guys?” “Maybe that was overkill. Maybe we could have found another way.... read more
In the past year, life has been a little less predictable than I prefer. I can sense my controller screaming under the surface of my daily life. She is very unhappy about the direction I have taken my life. From her perspective, she considers it to be a decline in circumstances. I have gone from a well-paying corporate job with a 401K and quality health insurance to self-employment, no savings and intermittent health insurance. I am living day by day, week by week, month by month. And my controller hates it. She lectures me every day about where the income will be to cover the next bills or the next emergency. She reminds me of how mean the universe has always been to me. She tells me I am crazy to trust my intuition when I have no proof it will work. She considers my higher self to be another untrustworthy partner. She believes I am being tricked and manipulated once again. She is furious with my naiveté and inability to ensure safety at all costs. Several years ago, when this conversation first started, I had no proof this plan would work. The conversation was much different then. All I could say was, “Let’s try it. We can always choose to stop before it is too late.” My controller thought that was stupid, but was willing to let me “waste away” my savings in the pursuit of stupidity. But as the money diminished with very little proof of sustainability, she became more and more furious. She considered it irresponsible and childish to “chase dreams” like this. I was an... read more