When I was 12, our family lived with my widowed grandmother. One summer day, while my mother and my grandmother were away at work my father sent my sister and brothers outside to play. They were given strict instructions not to come back in the house until he gave them permission. While they went out to play, I stayed in the house to finish my chores and my father told me he was going to go take a bath.
A little while later, my father called out to me and told he wanted to see me. I walked into the bedroom and found him sitting naked, on the bed. He told me to sit on the bed beside him. As he started talking to me, his breathing changed, and then he pushed me back on the bed and took my clothes off me. His breathing was heavy, and he told me that he needed to teach me something very important. He told me that if any boy or man tried to touch me the way he was touching me that it was wrong and that I should not allow it.
The events that took place after he removed my clothes will be forever seared into my memory; from the beginning of the attack until he was through. When it was over, he told me to clean the bedspread to get rid of any evidence of what had taken place. Getting rid of the evidence didn’t mean it was over; there was still the memory for me to deal with.
Afterward, I was so confused, scared, repulsed, and afraid. He kept telling me over and over that I could never tell anyone what had happened. He told me if I ever told anyone, he would get into a lot of trouble. I could sense that his fear of getting into trouble made him angry and his anger was something I wanted to avoid at all cost.
I soon realized that there was no help for what had just happened, but my bigger concern was finding a way to keep it from happening again.
Finding a way to keep it from happening again was exhausting; living day to day trying to out think every possible scenario where I might find myself in the same situation and trying to stay out of his reach, constantly weighed heavily in every decision I made.
There were others; the college boy who asked to take me ice skating, the father of the children where I babysat, the teacher at school, the man at the public swimming pool, the boss at work. I questioned my worth and wondered why these men kept showing up in my life. Was I putting out some sort of signal that attracted these events in my life? I kept asking, “where was God in all of this,” because he certainly didn’t seem to hear me when I cried for help.
I was wrong. God was there every step of the way. God was waiting for me to find my voice.
I found it when I was 18 years old.
I was tired of carrying the shame, guilt and humiliation of my father’s secret and one day I had had enough; it was time to speak my truth. To my surprise, every single fear I had carried with me since that summer day when I was 12 years old did not come true. The world did not open up and swallow me, God did not strike me dead and my father had no power over me.
I soon realized that finding my voice was not enough. Sharing what I had been through was not enough. While talking about it brought it out into the open, the memories were full of thoughts, feelings and emotions that ego uses to keep us trapped in the belief of our low self-worth. It was like drowning in a soup full of thoughts, feelings and emotions where sometimes you find a way to keep your head above the soup but too often you keep getting pulled under. I wanted out of the soup.
I also realized that there were too many times when I did not see the value in who I was because I allowed the experiences in my life to measure my value and my self-worth. This led me to discover the “inner me.” The “inner me” was sabotaging my belief about how I should show up in the world. As I continued to understand the value of “me” I stopped believing what others told me would happen if I use my voice, and started trusting my intuition.
I am not what happened to me, I am what I choose to become. ~ Carl Jung
There is one thing that I am absolutely sure of, every person has value and it’s your belief in your value that arrives just a few seconds before you speak, who you see in your mirror and how you present yourself to the world.
Your value exists inside the love you have for yourself.
You have the inner strength you need to choose self-love over self-doubt. I know this because I’ve done it and I continue to do this. If you’re having challenges choosing self-love over self-doubt I’d be honored to share my strength while you are finding your way out of the soup.
Nancy Mueller ~ Life Empowerment Sensei
The only reason a woman would want to live the life of another woman is because she believes there is something wrong with her own life.
The question then becomes, what do you believe is wrong with your life?
Actually, there’s nothing wrong with your life; but if you don’t believe that then please allow me the opportunity to persuade you otherwise…
The mother was elated; she had waited for the birth of her first child with an eager anticipation of sharing all the love she had to give to this tiny bundle of joy.
Her child was born into this world; it was a girl. The mother’s eager anticipation was short lived when she discovered yet another mean streak in her husband; as he forbade her to hold their baby girl except to feed, bathe and diaper her. The mother’s eager anticipation soon turned to bitter disappointment; within a month she discovered she was pregnant once again. This time there was no eager anticipation for the child within. Five children in five years and her first child, the daughter whose birth only five years earlier had been eagerly anticipated, never experienced the childhood her mother had once dreamed for her.
The years progressed, and the girl’s home life became a place of insecurity and fear, resulting in emotional abuse, verbal abuse, physical abuse that escalated to sexual abuse by the age of 12. The girl cried for help that never came, and she often wished she could live anyone else’s life but her own.
The girl was lost, lonely, afraid and distrustful; in her world she knew only fear and self-loathing. The answer came at age 17, she married and vowed she would create a different life for herself and raise a family with love and security. The girl was now a woman, a wife and a mother. The girl who was now a wife and mother showered love on her daughters; encouraging them seek a better way, a gentler way of life and an opportunity to see their world from a life lived from love and laughter.
All too soon the daughters grew up and started their own lives, but the girl who was now a wife suffered yet another blow; divorce. Everything was turning out all wrong; how could her life have gone so wrong? She would have given anything not to be living this nightmare; she would have given anything to be living someone else’s life at that time.
Soon, out of grief came knowledge, out of despair came hope and from that hope a whole new world opened up to her. Oh, how could she have ever known that this new beginning she had created was the start of something wonderful and life fulfilling! Out of her experiences she had learned; from her darkest moments in childhood to the shattered dreams of her marriage, like a Phoenix rising from the ashes she began to understand that everything happens in life for a purpose.
Now she knows life is always meant to be lived beyond her expectations because too often she had expected so little, that the life of another appeared grander than her own.
The girl who is now a woman understands the only life she’s meant to live is the life she is living. How else would she now be able to teach women that it’s not what happens to you that matters, it’s what you do with what happens to you.
The truth is, we have no idea how perfect our life really is until we are able to see the possibilities that remained hidden from us while we longed to live the life of another!
Nancy Mueller ~ Life Empowerment Sensei
Most people think the end goal in a divorce is to end a marriage.
Although ending the marriage is one aspect of divorce, ending a marriage comes with side effects such as the impact on your financial status, current and future relationships, not to mention the mental, physical, emotional and spiritual impact that can stay with us for months or years to come.
With that in mind, the true end goal of a divorce should be to end the marriage and be able to let go of negative emotional thoughts, feelings and beliefs that can sabotage your future.
Easier said than done.
Divorce can leave a woman with an overload of emotions that leave us feeling relieved, guilty, remorseful, stressed, happy, confused, abandoned, alienated, judged, and questioning our future. Whether you were for the divorce or against it, whether you initiated the divorce or your spouse did, whether you have a strong support team or are all alone, the emotional roller coaster can seem never ending.
How then do we get off the emotional roller coaster and arrive at a point where we are able to let go of the negative beliefs that have plagued us through all 3 stages of our divorce?
We might find ourselves thinking, “I just want my life to go back to normal” but what is normal? Is it the way life was between the wedding and the divorce? If that’s normal, you would have stayed married.
Keeping this in mind, we can delve down farther into our minds to understand what it is that we truly want for our future self. The problem with this is not many women really know what they want, because they are used to thinking about what they don’t want. It’s a known fact that, “what we think about, we bring about,” so if we move into our future with thoughts of what we don’t want, we are sure to create more of what we don’t want.
Keep in mind, if our end goal in a divorce is to exit the marriage without the negative emotional side effects, it becomes imperative for a woman to get to a point where she can remember the past without having the memory reduce her to a puddle of tears and doubts.
This is possible; I know this because I once I realized I had reached that goal in my life, the tears, self-doubt and questions such as,” Who am I” and “where should I go from here” subsided until they no longer existed.
This happened when I learned the role of ego in my divorce! Once you learn that Ego is not your Amigo, and the real role ego plays in your life, you begin to discover the self-limiting beliefs that have held you back and the beliefs that cause you to hold on to feelings of guilt, remorse, stress, confusion, abandonment, being alienated, judged, and questioning your future and then, THEN, you have reached the goal in your divorce!
Nancy Mueller ~ Mastering Your Beliefs Sensei