Transformation Continued

sunrise 2Courage is reclaiming your life after a devastating event robs you of your confidence and self-esteem. It is facing tomorrow with a firm resolve to reach deep within yourself to find another strength, another talent…It is taking yourself to another level of your own existence where you are once again whole, productive, special… ~ Catherine Britton

People often ask me what is the difference between someone who transforms their life and someone who doesn’t. People who start coaching with us or come to our seminars and classes often ask, “Can I do it?” with a doubt in their voice. Even those who work hard will say, “Maybe I just can’t get better.”

It would be trite to suggest that these questions shouldn’t be addressed or that the person is not “thinking positively enough” or not affirming or visualizing enough and I bristle when I hear so-called gurus say things like this. These are legitimate questions and ones that I strugged with at the beginning. There was no one so convinced that they could not ever feel better than me. I could not believe that I could face the mountain of garbage rattling around in my soul and do something about my life. I DID NOT believe I could learn to stop picking losers. I DID NOT believe that I could ever be happy. I DID NOT believe that life would ever get better.

I had no proof in the pudding that anything I was doing would work. I started this journey clinically depressed, full of unresolved grief, unfinished business and zero self-esteem. I was, to be honest, one hot mess.

When my marriage first broke up I was incapable of putting two thoughts together. My hands shook all the time and I cried more often than not. I had the pounding in my chest and flutters in my stomach that accompany anxiety and grief. I was a physical, mental and emotional wreck.

I used to go to my therapist’s office on Tuesday nights. I would be so nervous and anxious that I would show up almost an hour before my time. Her office was behind an A&W stand but it was February and it wasn’t open. I would sit there in the dark parking lot waiting for my appointment time. It was all I could do to sit tight and not burst in on my therapist and beg her to talk to me NOW.

I was so miserable. I thought the empty parking lot was a representation of my lowly and lonely existence. Knowing my ex was off with his new girlfriend laughing it up and enjoying puppy love made me feel even worse. I was here, in a dark, empty parking lot, alone, and writhing in pain.

Why was life so unfair?

Would I ever feel better?

Would I ever not feel like this parking lot? Dark, empty, abandoned, having seen better days?

Sometime around the middle of March A&W opened for the season but no one really was showing up yet (even though the place was packed in the summer). I would drive in, the only customer at 7:30 on a cold Tuesday night, and order a hamburger and try to swallow it. I would sit, alone, in the car in that cold, dark parking lot staring at the dull A&W sign and the small silhouette of the A&W lady waiting for someone else to show up.

I would sit there waiting for my therapy time and think I had the loneliest and most losing of all possible lives, even worse than the A&W lady because she could count on spring coming when her fortunes would turn around. My stomach was in such turmoil, I was in such emotional pain, that I could barely eat the small single hamburger and would wind up throwing it out most nights. I was such a mess.

I had no idea that waiting for my turn, going to my appointment, talking to my therapist and doing the work she assigned would result in anything.

No matter where I was, I felt different from everyone else. Whether it was being in foster care, being adopted, being battered, being from New York, being this or being that, there was ALWAYS something that set me apart from everyone else. I felt like no one really understood me and if no one understood me, how could anyone fix me? I had A LOT of negative thoughts and energy….but I knew I had to try SOMETHING because what I had done for all of my life wasn’t working.

I read books, I journaled, I went to support groups, I wrote out affirmations and day after day I seemed to feel worse than the day before. Was relief ever coming? I asked a new friend when I would feel better. I was so SICK of doing this work and feeling so awful. He said, “Well, what else are you going to do?” EXACTLY. I had no other choice. It was continue this work and hope for the best or go back to my old existence. Not an option. I didn’t want to be here again.

But I was back in whining mode in a few months and a very kind lady told me not to give up the day before the miracle happened. Naturally I expected a miracle the next day and when none came I felt cheated but I thought maybe tomorrow…or the next day…or the next.

In other words, it didn’t come overnight. There were little sprouts, little buds of hope and change that I was able to see and feel throughout the spring and summer. Come fall I was feeling pretty good but then took a nosedive over the holidays. It was up and down.

I don’t think I ever fully committed, mentally, to the idea that I was transforming my life….but I knew something was going on…and I just continued along because, as my friend said, what else was I going to do?

If you read the “About GPYP” tab, you know that eventually I started to think positively and put together all the things I needed to put together to make it gel. Eventually it worked. You know that I figured it out and went on to start teaching and showing others how to do it. But I had my doubts as you might have yours. There are so many days and weeks where it feels like no progress is happening, or even that you’re going BACKWARDS. You’re not. It’s just how change works. It’s how it happens.

People always ask me why I continue to do coaching and speaking and teaching when I’m a licensed attorney. I usually tell people that I believe that an important part of being healthy is giving back to the world at large. Another reason, though, is that without continuing this work, I would miss watching people transform their lives. From my personal coaching clients to those I meet at seminars and retreats to those who order the workbook and do it on their own and let me know how it’s going to people who write music and dedicate a song for me or a book that references my work, it’s all wonderful to know that it’s helping someone.

I’ve met people on this road who have had the most devastating experiences and difficult circumstances who have worked hard to transform their lives and move beyond that which has kept them down for years and years — I continue to meet people who get past their past. Being able to witness their courage in their self-transformation is amazing and wonderful.

It’s real.

It happens.

It is possible no matter WHO YOU ARE.

Don’t give up the day before the miracle happens




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11 Responses to Transformation Continued

  1. Orchid says:

    Thank you. This is exactly what I needed to hear. I don’t expect or believe in overnight miracles. I need a real change that will sustain for the rest of my life, and I have to keep the faith that one day it will happen for me too.

  2. sean says:

    Wow this entry really knocked me down. Im at work and just had to close my door and sob uncontrollably. I think you captured and tapped into exactly what I have been feeling. Ironically I meet with my counselor on Tuesday nights as well and i can totally relate to just wanting to burst in on her and never leaving. She and her office are the only security I feel in my life right now. The pain has been going on for so long and yes, I am resentful that she is going around town with the man she had an affair with, got pregnant by, and had an order of protection against for a year. It hurts that the child she had with him was one I raised from the birth room up until her first birthday party. yet here she is with him. My son who is four seems to be on the outside with them looking in. I am hurt, devastated, and bitter. I am absolutely dreading the holiday season coming. My parents and grandparents have passed and I have no brothers or sisters. I feel guilty that I have nothing to offer my son on the Holidays other than me while she has this large family. I think my son is the only reason I go forward some days. Everything about this entry Susan has been an exact mirror of how I feel. I keep praying that the pain will stop. Even when I am around other people I feel lost and empty. I just want to love someone and have someone love me back unconditionally. I want those “seeds” to start growing in me. I dont feel they are, but I keep waiting. I’m so very tired.

    • tia269 says:

      Sean – have faith that it will work. It does, but not overnight. One of the sayings I learnt from this blog is ‘when one door shuts another door opens, but it’s hell in the hallway’. You are in the hallway and it’s not easy and it hurts, but you will get out of there if you commit to getting out of there. None of us have any idea what the future holds and if you give up, you will never know what you’re missing out on in that unknown future. I know what it’s like to see the future as a gaping black hole full of nothing but despair, but that’s NOT fact. There are no shortcuts unfortunately, but if you do the work now, you will thank yourself for it later. Like Susan says, the miracle might not be a lightning bolt that changes your life instantly. but it will come. Hang in there and BELIEVE in the process!
      Tia

  3. girlinrecovery says:

    The pain I feel at times is indescribable. I was abandoned at a time of severe illness and although the person promised to contact me once I got test results, I never heard back from him when I breached No Contact and did text him in a time of misery and desperation.

    One friend tells me that he’s simply afraid and it doesn’t mean he doesn’t care (he has a pattern of running away and disappearing when conflict arises). Another tells me he’s an asshole and a coward. My mind believes all of these reasons.

    Now I am struggling with my own facebook page (I know, it shouldn’t be so important) because he hasn’t deleted all the memories yet although we’ve defriended each other. I go back on his fb sometimes because it’s like a relic – it hasn’t really changed that much. I have elaborate nightmares about him and some random facebook friend he has moving on without me (it has no foundation, but it’s my own paranoia). I guess my unconscious was trying to create closure, a reason why he abandoned me in this time of need.

    I think it will be hard to resist FB even though I know I am simply reopening the wound. As time goes on, I might have the urge to see if my “instincts” were right and whether he has moved on, whether he moved away like he said he was going to, etc. But what good would it do? It would only bring more pain and trauma.

    • britbeetle says:

      Block him!! and block also his friends that are not your friends but you may have checked also on them to see if they have news of him. Block him and with time you will think of him less and less. He made his choice and you should move on.
      Stay strong, time heals everything.

      • girlinrecovery says:

        Thank you britbeetle. Today I took care of myself, went to zumba and yoga (with a hot instructor, which always helps!) and afterwards felt so amazing/confident that I realized blocking was indeed the way to go. I checked this website before I blocked him, and lo and behold was your message – the extra nudge that made me 100% sure. I am happy with my decision and I never thought I’d be able to do it – so if anyone else is struggling with a similar issue/is obsessed with social media, you CAN do it!! 🙂

        • britbeetle says:

          I am so happy i helped even just a little. It works in steps i guess. Firts you befriend him, but keep checking on what you can, you check on fhis friends and on anything that can give you any kind of info.. then you stop, you block but i kept checking on a few pages i knew i would find something about him, then i also stopped. Now i dont check on anything about him and hope i will never see him or know anything about him…
          I am so happy you are taking care of yourself. Every day is a new day for yourself and only!!
          kisses

  4. smartiepants says:

    I am on day 6 of NC. I am dying to email him and see how he is. However, I know that the rest doesn’t matter, doesn’t matter, doesn’t matter!! he lied to me and he let me go very easy. No wanting me back. No asking me for another chance. Just let me go. So, I am sad and angry. Hurt and crushed. How did I get myself back in this place? My ex left me after 26 years of lies and me sticking it out. so, now I have to start over again. I am determined to get it right this time. But I miss him and am very very sad. I just keep telling myself that he is not the one for me. He just didn’t make me a priority in his life. And he lied to me.
    NC is tough, but I am trying. So far so good.

  5. sean says:

    smartiepants,

    Today is officially 1 month since i have contact and we have a child together. We each have him 15 days a month. We never see each other because all our exchanges are when he is in school. I know it cannot continue this way forever. Our divorce is dragging on. I tried to keep contact discussing our child only, however, she refused to address my concerns I had about letting her boyfriend stay the night and all communications stopped. I blocked her and her family from my facebook. Sadly everywhere i go it seems people want to tell me about seeing her and her boyfriend at every special spot we used to go. Its hard, but i just smile and say Im glad she is happy, while inside I can feel the life draining more and more out of me. No contact has been brutal but seeing her in person or getting texts from her was even worse. I know the Holidays coming up are going to be scary. But i keep telling myself that if I can get through them that there will be no greater period of grief. I have no self worth or self respect coming out of this marriage, so I feel having the strength to go no contact is the only shred of dignity and pride i have left. Good luck to you as well. I hope we can both make it to the “other side.”

    • smartiepants says:

      sean,

      Hold your child closely and make new happy memories with him. My sister joined a single parents group to help her and her son through the transition. Continue therapy and go to a group session somewhere so you will have new friends to make new memories with. My marriage ended after 25 years. My kids and I were his way of pretending he was normal when in fact he was living a lie. After 25 years his family dropped me like a hotcake. The kids, who are adults now, young adults, feel a little deserted by them as well. They get phone calls on birthdays and christmas. That is it. They were very close to these family members, and spent weeks in the summer with them. They did nothing wrong but they feel like they are being treated like they did. But, they persevere as you will. Hold your son close and make those new memories. Start planning now and look forward. You will get there~

  6. fifilabelle says:

    I needed to hear this too – like Sean, I am at work and had to sob at my desk. I am very hard on myself when it comes to allowing myself to feel these natural emotions of grief, fear and anxiety. I am from the UK – it’s the British stiff upper lip! I am only on day 1 of NC and I am struggling with the void left by a man who was my greatest love and best friend. But I’m understanding that I need to be kind to myself by not allowing someone who could have treated me so cruelly when they professed to love me so much, to dictate where my life goes from here. I know I just have to hold on until the days and nights become easier, I can let him and my nostalgia for the good times go, and I can heal myself, transform my life and find love with someone who would never want to let me go.

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