The gift and curse of being an 80’s baby is that many of us grew up with some strong and empowered women in our corner, but the one thing that most of those women didn’t teach us (my mother included) is the importance of dealing with our emotions, and that saying you need help or you’re not okay isn’t a sign of weakness. In fact, this level of vulnerability takes courage and is the epitome of strength. I grew up watching my mother do her best to provide for my brother and I, but no matter how tired or frustrated she was, I never saw her fold. She didn’t cry, express her anger or complain at all. I admired her strength but what I needed most that she didn’t teach me was emotional intelligence. I learned to never let anyone, especially a man see me cry, break a sweat or feel like I needed them. While I was building my hard exterior, I started suffering in complete silence. Unfortunately this didn’t work out too well; on several occasions I allowed my emotions to get me to a point of explosion and sometimes towards the wrong people.
In 2017, when my mother had a severe stroke that left her paralyzed and unable to speak, I masked my emotions for months. My denial that this was my mother’s new normal turned into anger, resentment, and absolute sadness. I was married with children but felt alone and like no one understood my pain. I went to work, wearing my mask well and then came back home and locked myself in the room, neglecting my emotional and mental health. While I knew I wasn’t okay, I was afraid to say it. I didn’t want to sound weak because I’ve always been the go-to person for many and taught to be strong! I also didn’t want anyone to think I was “crazy” (another stigma). But what happens when the girl who seemed unbreakable, finally breaks? The outcome is gut-wrenching and down right ugly!
Once I stopped kidding myself and others, I sought help and eventually started therapy. I didn’t know that years and years of not dealing with my feelings or my daddy issues and neglecting my mental health, caused me to develop a severe case of anxiety and depression. During therapy I was tapping into all of these feelings and slowly but shortly learning how to develop my emotional intelligence. Therapy also allowed me to deal with the issues I hadn’t faced in my marriage. After my ex and I seperated, I continued therapy but realized while I was working on my issues from my childhood and becoming more aware of how to handle my emotions, I was still stuck in a cycle of brokenness and in order to get past it I needed more help than what my therapist was able to provide.
I eventually signed up for divorce coaching, which was a game changer for me! Without this coaching, I would still be lying to myself and everyone else that nothing was wrong and my marriage ending had no affect on my emotional being. In fact, that was the total opposite. It affected me so much, that I was becoming physically sick, having panic attacks at least once a week and suffered one anxiety attack that scared me more than anything in the world! Looking back on all that I experienced as a result of my lack of emotional intelligence, I honestly believe it’s God’s grace that I’m able to share my experiences today.
I’m grateful for the people who supported me when I was finally able to rid myself of being too prideful and admit I needed help. Most importantly, I’d like to encourage anyone, man or woman who has ever experienced a divorce or breakup to seek coaching or another form of support, especially if it’s affecting your health (emotional, physical or mental). Through coaching I learned some key points of wisdom which have truly put me on a path of healing rather than destruction:
- Admit when you need help
- Starting over has its benefits; I needed to break in order to be intentional for myself and my kids
- I am a woman first and owe it to myself to live happily; being married or with a man doesn’t define me
- Forgive yourself and own the part you played in your divorce or breakup; too many people place all the blame on their ex
- Shift the focus on you and your own healing; don’t bear the burden of seeking revenge on your ex
- Forgive your ex, not for him/her but for your own liberation
2017 Changed the Trajectory of My Life
2018 Broke me and Brought Me Down to My Knees
2019 Opened My Eyes and Forced me to Live with Purpose
2020 I’m Coming Back and Breaking Generational Curses