Archive by Author | happinessweekly

“Sydney hasn’t seen terror before” – really??

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Photo: Reuters

As I write this, I – along with billions of people around the globe, am watching the Sydney siege at the Lindt Café in Martin Place, Sydney unfold on the television.

The control. The demands. The innocent people held at ransom.

A psychopath calling the shots.

And I hear the reporter say “Sydney has never seen terrorism before”.

Really?

‘How fortunate for you,’ I think as I silently watch on.

Experts come forward with their theories. Ongoing interviews. Descriptions of the area. Rolling news casts – all day long.

Then hope! Five hostages escape.

I watch them.

Their first breathe of freedom following the most traumatic event they could ever possibly experience in their lifetimes, caught on camera.

The fear in their eyes. The collapse with relief into arms they depend on to keep them safe.

Police are relied on like they’re lifeblood.

Nobody expects these innocent hostages to just recover after their experience today.

It’s clear they will all suffer trauma. They’re already discussing it on the news.

It’s a great concern for those watching on.

And each hostage will manage their trauma in different ways. But it’s still trauma.

And it’s not only obvious they’ll suffer trauma: it’s expected.

So I’m wondering why people think it’s any different for targets of domestic violence?

Targets of domestic violence also rely on police as lifeblood and too often their stories aren’t heard.

Do people think they chose their situation? Or do they expect that those targets have more control than these innocent hostages?

Is it not that bad for targets of domestic violence unless they actually are killed? In which case, we’ll talk about their story for years after. But if they’re not killed, or someone close to them isn’t killed, their story doesn’t matter. And it will never be heard of.

These people in this hostage situation have found their way to the other side of the glass.

You may not know what I’m getting at – but when you’re severely traumatised, you can’t relate to anyone anymore … not like you used to.

Even those people in the same situation – who experienced similar things, experienced it differently to how you did. When you talk as you recover, it all feels wrong – distorted – surreal.

I remember when some of my friends challenged that I missed my abuser.

And I couldn’t begin to articulate how missing the man who abused me hadn’t even occurred to me – my focus was simply on survival.

Trauma is horrible.

It’s isolating.

It’s terrifying.

It’s frustrating as you try to recover … if you get the opportunity.

But there’s an upside to the healing journey that comes after being traumatised – no matter how it came about.

The first upside is that if you’re healing, you’ve made it out alive.

And let me tell you something – it puts things into perspective!

So the next time you get abused at work for not pouring a coffee properly or not meeting that deadline … the sting you would usually feel isn’t there. You’re met with a shield that keeps you numb and protected. Because in comparison to the trauma you experienced – nothing can hurt you again, once you’ve escaped – so long as you stay safe.

This is where a hostage situation slightly differs from domestic violence.

Not to make light – but it’s highly unlikely an individual person in a terrorist hostage situation will be tracked down again by the person who held them hostage.

Once they are out – they are able to heal.

The will look over their shoulders – but so will a target of domestic violence once they escape.

How many times have people escaped domestic violence situations, only for their partner to track them down and murder them?

Don’t make me start listing them…

But yet, targets of domestic violence are expected to just get over it, but it’s understandable that targets of terrorism would be traumatised.

Admit it!

And why is that our expectation?

Because if we don’t see it: it doesn’t happen.

It’s true, isn’t it? When it’s terrorism behind closed doors, it’s not our problem.

The police, the government, the news … who cares?

But let me tell you something – and I’m sorry to shatter your delusion: but Sydney has seen terrorism.

It sees it every single day and every single night as INDIVIDUALS suffer in silence.

And their terrorism is just as intense, just as controlling, just as dominating…

And what fascinates me most:

It’s interesting how the government will respond in bids to stop terrorism – they will negotiate with gunmen who take a group hostage but when it comes to domestic violence and hundreds of thousands of individuals are suffering, requests for changes are overlooked.

Explain it to me!

Why is it that urgent and rational requests for laws surrounding Apprehended Domestic Violence Orders to be adjusted so no contact clauses are mandatory for both people involved – to cease the abuse cycle in its tracks – are overlooked?

Why isn’t there help and support for both people involved in these domestic violence situations? Yet it’s expected these people in these hostage terrorist situations will not recover for months, possibly years? And if the gunman gets out, he’s not just going to walk the streets again – even in prison he would get some kind of therapy.

But targets of domestic violence are expected to be strong. To harden up. To keep going.

So what message are we sending about domestic violence?

What message are we sending when we say “Sydney has never seen terrorism before”?

Is it not serious? Are we really turning a blind eye to a really big reality?

Why does a group of people in a one-off situation matter more than hundreds of thousands of individuals daily??

Where are the priorities here?

The reality is that people call it as they see it: what is more likely to happen to you?

If it doesn’t immediately affect you, it doesn’t matter.

And that’s the reality of why terrorism is taken more seriously than domestic violence.

But it needs to be recognised that “terrorism” is an everyday reality for many, many people. Even in Sydney!

It’s just ignored.

 

Let’s get real: define terrorism.

Terrorism is not a Muslim/Iranian man.

Terrorism is not just a hold up in a public space.

Terrorism is not just information that makes the news.

It’s more than that!

Sydney has seen terrorism before.

I saw it myself – first hand: while I was living in Sydney.

And in reality, Sydney sees terrorism every single day.

It’s an everyday reality for many, many people.

Domestic Violence is a form of terrorism.

And it needs to be treated just as seriously.

 

My thoughts go out to those impacted by today’s siege at Lindt Café in Martin Place, Sydney, Australia. I pray for the safety of each hostage.

I also pray for any targets of domestic violence.

I pray for the healing journey all these people will be forced to go on if and when they escape their situations.

I hope in drawing parallels to this hostage situation I raise awareness for targets of domestic violence and their emotional and mental state as they recover from the trauma of their experience.

Thank you for reading.

The siege is over! Information has been released about the gunman, Man Haron Monis, who wrote hate mail to families of soldiers killed at war, was accused of sexually assaulting women while acting as a religious “healer” … and turned out to be an accessory to his ex wife’s murder as she was stabbed and set on fire. His brother allegedly carried out the murder. Will his brother one day be released? Is there more to come?

It begs the question … if domestic violence was taken seriously – as seriously as terrorism – if these individual acts of terrorism were actually realised, would this man still have been on a Sydney street to enable him to do what he did over the past 19 hours? What can we learn from this? How will things change going forward, Prime Minister?

 

Further to my story, this was released: http://www.theguardian.com/australia-news/2014/dec/17/man-haron-monis-bail-domestic-violence-taken-seriously-terrorism?CMP=soc_567

KARMA: It’s nobody’s business

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I believe in luck and fate and I believe in karma, that the energy you put out in the world comes back to meet you. Chris Pine

Lately I’ve had a lot of clients who are getting out of failed or toxic relationships or partnerships with narcissistic abuse and domestic violence and a lot of these people want revenge. These people just want to head straight for the jugular and punish the people who have hurt them, and so today I wanted to talk to you about karma.

I know a lot of Buddhists believe in karma and I apologise if this is insulting to anyone but I do believe there are two types of karma. I believe if you do good, the world will do good unto you. And I believe if you do bad, then look out because the universe has to back for all those good people that you did wrong by. There’s this saying “Karma never forgets an address” and I used to look at that and go “Ooooh, bad, negative, nasty…” but now I look at it and it’s not like Santa always watching to see if you’re naughty or nice and I think: “Yeah, you know what? That’s true!”

So I’ve spoken a lot about my story and I wanted to talk today about why Relationship Free came about because I’m passionate about it. Relationship Free is here to fill the void for people experiencing failed and toxic relationships, narcissistic abuse and domestic violence. The good news is: just because you’ve been abused doesn’t mean you have a mental disorder and need a psychiatrist or psychologist.

So when I got out of my relationship I wasn’t angry – I just wanted peace and I wanted someone to give me the next steps on how to get guidance to get there. In the process, I went to all sorts of people: a counsellor, a psychologist and a psychiatrist. In the process, I was offered anti-depressants I couldn’t understand how something designed for a chemical imbalance was meant to help something circumstantial? My point was: the arsehole was gone – I just needed to detox. And I actually found a really powerful way to do it, and that’s when I started Relationship Free because I want to share everything I’ve learned that helped me!

Not too surprisingly – I’m also an empath – which means I can sense other people’s feelings and emotions and sometimes I can feel it as strongly as the person experiencing it. When I got out of my relationship, revenge and karma were the last things on my mind. I just wanted peace. And I actually wanted to be friends with the man who abused me! Only weeks after trying to build that friendship, he had me served with an Apprehended Domestic Violence Order (AVO) for lifting his windscreen wiper blades on his car … on New Years Eve. Not only did he do it in a bid to maintain his control and keep me isolated (that’s the domestic violence side) but he also did it to affect my job – because I work for a charity … and this is the narcissistic abuse side of things.

How can I be sure? Because he told me.

Not only that, but in getting me served with that piece of paper he had “someone” – who I found out later was his manager, my old manager and the man who introduced us – support false allegations, saying he witnessed me abusing him.

When the police left my door, and I think this is interesting: the first thing I did was call my best friend and burst into tears. Not over what had happened though … I cried because: “La, how could I have scared him so much that he needed to do this to me?” Not your typical psychopath reaction for someone who would warrant the piece of paper smeared with lies. All I remember is being told “Sair, it’s time to get angry!” I got angry … but I used that energy to fuel hope for others, rather than releasing it into the universe.

At the court hearing I consented to the AVO without admissions. I didn’t have the energy, the will or the resilience at the time … I honestly just wanted peace! And it’s funny but that was a theme – and often is for people in relationships with narcissistic abuse – they’re drowning in drama and all they seek is peace.

Three days after the court hearing my abuser emailed me to wish me Happy Birthday – and it’s funny because he contacted me that way because I’d changed my number. Because I didn’t want contact and I hadn’t in a long time. And it was at that point, receiving that email, that I realised just how serious what I experienced was – and I had flashbacks of all the times he’d actually put my life under some serious threat – things that while I was in the relationship, I just overlooked – but now I was out, I could really see it. And it was then that I realised some important lessons about leaving a controlling person far behind. So I wrote a blog post.

His manager – ironically the same guy who lied about seeing me abuse him so my abuser could have that order created – wrote on my blog Facebook wall to tell me I was a liar. I remember seeing it (not knowing at the time that he was actually part of the “evidence” used against me), shaking my head and deleting it. I still wasn’t investing my energy there.

My abuser was really determined to affect my job and not only that but my career. This was his way of destroying any chance of a reference for me. And you know what? That’s ok by me, because I didn’t want his reference.

Hope has two beautiful daughters; their names are Anger and Courage. Anger at the way things are, and Courage to see that they do not remain as they are. St Augustine

So, instead of fighting them, I started fighting politicians because I’m like “If I was abusing him, if he really was the “victim”, then how is it that our legal systems are trying to stop the abuse – yet he’s allowed to contact me?”

Someone explain it to me. And explain it when we have NO ties to each other. I didn’t have children to him. We were never married. And there was nothing financial tying us together.

So the only thing he could get to tie us together, and to hold onto me – and try to hold me down – was that piece of paper.

My pitch to the politicians looked like this – after sharing all my evidence that it was not as my abuser had said and in fact I wasn’t even home at the time he alleged I was lifting his windscreen wiperblades… I said this: when someone is served with an Apprehended Domestic Violence Order and it goes to court and is passed – two things should happen immediately after the court case:

  1. The accused goes on six weeks intensive anger management therapy (because even as the target of ongoing abuse, that would’ve been beneficial for me anyway)
  2. The “victim” (I prefer calling them a target because it’s more empowering to the person involved), goes into six weeks intensive therapy for self esteem and self worth to rebuild the person so they don’t freakin’ kill themselves. Do you know how often suicides happen as a result of domestic violence? Neither do I – because no one ever talks about it. But it’s more common than bullycide (which is children who kill themselves as a result of bullying).

Keep in mind – Domestic Violence is serious and it often is a matter of life and death.

And the other thing I fought for was mandatory no contact clauses for both people involved. How are you meant to break the abuse cycle if the people in the relationship are still contacting each other and all the people around them? I remember talking to the police about it, right up the line and they bitch over the frustration of seeing people get back together and then fall out over the same thing. Well?? It’s time someone does something about it. And as Mikhail Gorbachev said (before Emma Watson said it when making her HeForShe presentation): “If not me – who? If not now – when?” Our system as it stands makes no sense – it straight up sucks – and it makes me really angry … which only serves to fuel the passion.

I finished fighting to no avail – but decided it was time to move my energies on – I wrapped up my studies and I started Relationship Free. Here’s a photo of my celebration:

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And you know, while my abuser and his manager seemed to get away with everything they did to me, I just kept going on my healing journey and kept trying to push myself to keep moving ahead, keep recovering, keep detoxing, keep being better than anything I was yesterday – and let me tell you: yesterday I was pretty freakin’ awesome so it was going to be hard to rebuild and outdo.

Well recently there as this big tender and his company went up against their opposition … not once, but twice. And it was interesting the way they did it because it looked like ‘Heads I win, and tales you lose’ and actually, all the truths that filtered out of the process were very interesting and it made me realise the level of narcissism in that whole environment within that one company.

So here’s where the karma came in:

They lost the tender.

And in losing it – both their jobs (the man who abused me and his manager who lied and supported the ongoing abuse) will be affected as a result. Because that’s all they did … work on that one contract that they just lost. And now their competition now monopolises the industry in Sydney. Good on them!

So karma took almost a year exactly. But it came. And I didn’t have to lift a finger, which meant my energy was better spent on the other things I focused on.

If I went out and sought revenge at a time that I still held toxins from the ongoing abuse – I would’ve acted out in a way that wasn’t authentic to me, then by the time I became my authentic self and things were aligning, karma would’ve been coming for me – and what good would have been in that?

Of course there was some irony in the fact that he would’ve found out on his birthday and Christmas is just around the corner… But that’s how karma works.

So if you’re hurting and after revenge, I urge you to channel your energies into something healthy and let karma do the work silently in the background for you. Have faith in the universe, it will protect you.

Catch you next week! xx

The depth of your struggle can determine the height of your success

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Well, I believe that the depth of your struggle can determine the height of your success. I was inspired to come out of everything I’ve been through and end up in a place where I never thought that I would be.

R. Kelly

In 2013 I was badly abused. I have made no secret about what happened to me, the “consequences” he tried to force onto me, and the journey I’ve been through trying to recover. He threatened to marry me once, I’m glad he never carried that one out… And as I tried to get away, he took me into a court room in his final ditch bid to tie his name to mine for all eternity.

I WILL NOT SINK!

In one month from today, I turn 32 years old. And I want to acknowledge my year of great success and triumph.

This year was so different…

My days off were only for study and bettering myself in any way I could. I learned a lot.

When the company I worked for was making half its staff redundant: I got a promotion. Even with his attempt at a black mark against my name.

As I continued to work full time, I achieved FIVE positive certificates, because that was the goal I set myself:

- An Introduction to Counselling

- The Nature of Trauma

- Speak and Listen Under Pressure

- Advanced Assertive Communication

- Certificate IV in Life Coaching (accredited with they International Coaching Federation, to enable me to help people worldwide)

And you could make it six if you include the Work Health and Safety Certificate … and 12 more if you include all 12 of the units I completed (at 90%-100%) in my ADMA Data Pass (digital marketing compliance) course.

I continued to maintain my blog – Happiness Weekly – without missing a beat. I took a break and filled the gaps, adding extra to reward my followers for allowing me the space I needed to process.

I have lived a year of peace: with unconditional love, inspiration and encouragement.

There were things I was told I could never do: that I did this year … already. In my recovery. I proved him wrong. I got that job back on the water, and I proved:

You can’t take someone down who can create their own sunshine through even the most massive of storms. Rainbows exist – you can’t take away what’s real.

I came up with some really good quotes of my own this year! I can’t wait to share some of my lessons next year through my new venture.

My greatest achievements this year were reasserting my self worth and self esteem to such a degree they are unshakeable. Things that many people don’t manage in a lifetime, let alone within a year of being repeatedly tortured, spiritually destroyed and emotionally and mentally traumatised and suffering complete inner annihilation.

I will never understand how one can walk away from such mass destruction and pretend like nothing happened. I am an empath … but I could never empathise with a psychopath. Going forward, I’ll embrace that as a skill to guide me through life, so none like that will ever touch me – in any way – again.

I cleared my name from his toxic infringement: what he hoped would affect me for a lifetime will never surface again, despite all his attempts. Unless I talk about it on that TedX stage, which I will – that’s a promise. I’m not shy about what he did. I am NOT ashamed. So long as I’m armed with the lessons I can share.

So, from today I’ve got one month left to achieve everything I want to as a 31-year-old… Quite a task, because as you can see, I’m a bit of an overachiever.

As ‘The Year Of Awesome’ comes to a close, I look back at how it well and truly lived up to its name. Only the awesome entered my life this year: Awesome people, awesome food, awesome education and awesome lessons.

Soon to begin is ‘The Year Of Opportunity’, when I will start working for my own thriving company … My website is in creation, I’ve already booked an amazing trip to America for 2015, and my education goals are being reviewed … PLUS! It all starts with a massive celebration on Sydney Harbour with this year’s theme: INSPIRE!!!!! What better theme could a life coach wish for?

It’s shaping up to be another AMAZING year! I’m very excited.

The count down is on … one month left … have I missed anything?

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Special shout out to my family and my best friend and sister, Lara, for keeping me forward focused and never giving up on me.

The one thing that can make you thrive

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Your self-talk is the channel of behaviour change. Gino Norris

Have you ever thought about your passion? Is it something you’re good at? Is it to do with something you admire? Perhaps it’s your family or friends – building connections. Maybe you collect something. This year I’ve spoken a lot about finding what you’re passionate about because it’s in finding that we’re able to unlock the key to our motivation. This week, Happiness Weekly looks at the one thing that can make you thrive!

So what is my passion? My passion is something that’s locked up tightly to my heart, and something no one can take away: I’m passionate about what I do. Not just with friends, not just with Happiness Weekly, not just with building Relationship Free, not just with studying and working for a charity … I’m passionate about everything I do.

The reason I’m passionate about everything I do is that I aligned everything in my life with my authentic self. My friends and family, my career, the work I do etc. By doing that my self talk is always going “Yeah! Go get ‘em!” It’s positive, it’s happy, it’s confident and reassuring. Self talk is really important because it’s that internal validation that helps me to thrive.

I’ve learned a lot about the subconscious mind this year through studying life coaching and one thing I learned was the subconscious mind doesn’t take negativity into account. What I’ve trained my subconscious mind to do – over the years, and this dates right back to when I was working in the music industry in 2006 – is filter messages that people give me. By doing that it produces the most positive message possible. That’s something that I have always challenged myself to do in recent times – I ask myself: what else could it mean and how could that be positive?

This year I have worked really hard to re-build my self worth. I started at zero and I got it to 100% and now: I realise it. That’s the most powerful thing that has ever happened to me in my life, was realising my self worth and going “OK, I know my strength, I know how I can contribute, I’m going to share my gift!” It was like having a super power. Self worth grows confidence to the maximum, it enhances your perspective on things, it develops you memory and mind to a point where you’re ready to take anything on.

So last week I stood up for the first time since I was abused – and in fact, I not only stood up, but I stepped up with my head held high. It was taking a stand for something I’m passionate about coupled with my positive internal validation and self talk – “you’ve got this!”. I took words my abuser said – “I’ll make sure you NEVER do this again!” – and I finally said “We’ll see about that…”

I got myself invited to an interview for a role that didn’t exist – I had asked if I could just volunteer my time. My intent was just to answer his threat with a “We’ll see about that…”. I am so exceptionally proud to say: I proved him wrong. In only a year I built my strength from the ashes and in so many ways, every threat, every evil word, every painful thought and every shard left behind from the destruction cleared. By the end of the interview, I was offered something paid, which demonstrates the value they felt I contained.

As I walked back to work, I thought back to 2006 when I was in the music industry and competitive promoters were trying to throw me off the game. And I remember that always motivated me: never tell me I can’t do something because I will show you I can.

And then I’ll prove it.

I don’t think it’s coincidence that the universe aligned this, but on the same day I went for that meeting, which will see me do exactly what I was told I never would again, I received my qualifications for my life coaching.

While I restored my self worth, my self esteem restored as well and now I’m equipped to take on anything that comes my way. In only a year.

And it was in receiving that certificate that I had my final thought:

You can’t take someone down who can create their own sunshine through even the most massive of storms. Rainbows exist – you can’t take away what’s real.

In conclusion, the one thing that can make you thrive is really listen and adjust that self talk. Be your own best friend. Back yourself as much as you can. Go get ‘em!

Dating following narcissistic abuse

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It sounds like a cliche but I also learnt that you’re not going to fall for the right person until you really love yourself and feel good about how you are. Emma Watson

Today I wanted to bring you a message about dating following narcissistic abuse.

Many clients have come to me recently with this big light bulb moment and said: “I know, I’m just going to date again!”

My question would be the motives behind the thought.

When we break up with a narcissist we are left with a big gaping hole in our lives. We feel completely empty. Useless. Like no one will ever love us. Our self esteem and our self worth are so low they’re almost non-existent.

This is not the perfect place to meet someone new. However, I made this mistake. Following narcissistic abuse, I thought I’d recover similarly to how I had from other relationships – by putting myself back out there. It was one of the worst decisions I’ve ever made. People may also try to fill the void with food, and may overeat, but others want to fill it with love thinking that love is all empowering and it fixes everything.

It’s a myth. Love doesn’t fix anything … and it shouldn’t have to. If you want to be in love, you shouldn’t want it to fix something – instead it should be used to enhance what you already have.

So as I say in my video below (sorry for the lighting and glare), the reason I don’t recommend dating immediately after narcissistic abuse is one of two things tends to happen.

1. You’ll find a nice guy and get bored very quickly. This is because he can’t match the toxic intensity of your previous relationship. Your self talk then starts beating you down for not liking the nice guy, making you feel you’ll never find the right one etc.

2. You’ll find the guy who matches the intensity of your relationship and start to see them. Before long you will realise that he too is toxic or even abusive, and the reason is that your subconscious has led you to find someone who matches that intensity.

I’m working on a program for Relationship Free at the moment for people who have experienced narcissistic abuse, to assist them with rebuilding self esteem, self worth and fill that horrible void that intentionally leaves targets feeling empty and as though there is a big gaping void in their life.

After a year in recovery, I have rebuilt myself from the coals and ashes – ruins my partner left behind from his path of destruction – and I have filled that gaping hole with self love, commitment and loyalty. The three things I was never offered in the relationship. And I have had a very happy and successful year. I have had the most incredible transformation. I have come through the most terrible storm, stronger, more confident and ready to take on the world. And it is only now, just last week that I have been open to dating again and already I’ve been asked out in some very elaborate ways! Haha! It’s funny what happens when you finally open yourself back up to the universe and say “OK, game on!” I’m also very conscious of the men I’m attracting now and am looking for someone who enhances my life lessons and can build on what I’ve already built up. I’m not sure if I’ve consciously gone out to find that before.

On my journey the major lesson I learned is that along with happiness, self esteem and self worth also come from within. So does passion! What are you passionate about? People look to external things: family, career, hobbies etc. What if it was more eternal. What if your passion was personal development or being in nature or something similar. Something that no one could ever take away from you – no matter how deceptive, how manipulative or how narcissistic. We are spiritual beings in a physical body, it’s important to embrace that and the life we have and focus forward on how you can create the best existence possible and make it more bearable for others.

The lessons I learned: you can’t change what you don’t acknowledge (Dr Phil), if you’re passionate – go for it, don’t let anyone tell you that you can’t do something … particularly if it’s not up to them! It’s never too late to prove someone’s wrong, to embrace your self worth and to thrive.

Click the photo to watch the video:

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What the Hunger Games says about Domestic Violence

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Happy Hunger Games! And may the odds be ever in your favor! Effie Trinket

When people ask me my favourite movie I say “The Hunger Games … all of them”. The next question is why and I instantly respond “Because at the time I needed it most, it brought me a lot of comfort – it became the metaphor for my life”. That’s generally when people give me a funny look. It brought me comfort? How?? At the time I didn’t realise, but when I look back at each of the movies with domestic violence in mind, many similar themes are taken to give hope to survivors. This week was White Ribbon day. This week Happiness Weekly explores what The Hunger Games says about Domestic Violence.

As well as being able to see the movie as strength for survival, I also feel people recovering from domestic abuse will also find themselves being easily able to identify with some of the lines, on a level that other people may not understand. In perfect timing, exactly as I needed them, these movies became my metaphor for life.

The standout moment for me – as with anyone who watches the movie – would have been the scene where Katniss Everdeen volunteers as tribute. I identified with this particularly when I was served with an AVO for lifting windscreen wiper blades – this of course is the equivalent of having both hands cut off for stealing a loaf of bread in 2013-2014. And so came the court case where I “volunteered” for my abuser to have the order over me – aka “consented without admissions” – the bravest decision I have ever had to make in my life. You don’t know courage until it gets that real. I had to overcome a lot of fear to allow for that to happen. That’s just one example, but when I look back on the relationship there were many times where I volunteered, putting myself in a position where I remained part of his Hunger Games – and I continued to volunteer for more pain, anguish and upset. The next thing to stand out to me was when they went into the aircraft and Effie Trinket is talking about all the things they can have – although just for a little while. And there they sit in this dream world of luxury and glamour that was well beyond their world and their imagination … this scene, reminds me of the grooming phase in my past relationship. The part where he love-bombed me and brought me gifts, and wrote me cards, and turned up at my house with dinner and my favourite drinks, he stood up for me … and the list goes on. That dream world that was well beyond my imagination that became a reality. But just for a little while. And just as the movie metaphor has it – Katniss and Peeta Mellark may agree – I will be glad never to glimpse that world again if it means I never enter back into his Hunger Games!

I was even able to identify with the characters – Cinna, Gale Hawthorne and Primrose Everdeen – who represented my beautiful best friends, Lara, Luke and Bryan, who always had my back, but could only help me so far – they couldn’t fight in the games for me.

I don’t even want to get started on those trigger-happy “peace keepers”, who actually have no interest in keeping the peace but in punishing at any slight disturbance. How dare I lift those windscreen wiper blades … and so it goes on my record for life that I’m abusive, even though I was never charged and I never breached it. In that police station, at that court, it will remain forever. The punishment didn’t match the crime. But it’s not unusual for Sydney police to maintain this trigger-happy “peace keeper” feel to their work, they don’t care if they’re good guys, bad guys or what the ultimate facts are: watch them at work. Just like that old man whistling from Rue’s district only to get his brains blown out of his head moments later … just for whistling a tune and kissing his three fingers before putting them up in the air. I guess this puts things in perspective… perhaps it could’ve been worse for me and the lady in the clip?

How about when Katniss speaks to Gale about running away. Is that a fantasy? Does that seem childish? Unlikely? Running away from Domestic Violence is often the only way to break the abuse cycle and stop it from continuing. If it wasn’t for running away from my Domestic Violence situation, I wouldn’t be here today. In fact, the games would have continued like cat and mouse until the end. And it wouldn’t have been a long way to that end. I had a very abusive, exceptionally jealous partner who couldn’t control me. Following going into hiding for a year, I got passionate enough about what I had experienced, that I started a business to help others avoid and recover from what I went through. I vowed that while I hadn’t had the strength to fight, I would assist others to find it. And in fact, I stood up in so many more ways, which maintained dignity yet still took a stand, and I will blog more on that in coming weeks.

From my perspective Haymitch Abernathy represented the people around me who cared about me but who I was unsure if I could trust or not. And there is another scene where Katniss raises trust as an issue, saying she’s not sure who she can trust and Haymitch says “It’s not about trust – it’s about survival” – and that’s true to an extent. It’s true that targets of domestic abuse often feel “a single perpetrator has the potential to taint or implicate all humanity. If one person can abuse then all others become potential abusers” (Grant, The Way Of The Wound, 1996, p13).

Survival is obviously another core theme throughout the Hunger Games as Hymitch’s parting advice is always “Stay alive”, but it really highlights trust. Not necessarily trusting your abuser or the people around you – but it’s about trusting yourself to make the right moves.

Trust also became a theme when Peeta betrayed Katniss to join an alliance against her which he did for his own protection and safety. I think this is a general life lesson that we all learn at some point, but it was a hard one for Katniss, although she moves quickly past it, and it’s a hard one for anyone in a domestic abuse situation. Trust becomes exceptionally hard to give away to anyone after being the target of domestic violence, which is why I encourage all my clients to focus their energies only on trusting themselves during their recovery. The rest can come later, but while healing, that’s the best place to start.

There’s discussion about betraying themselves for the sake of the “games” – and I can’t tell you how much self-betrayal is involved when you’re being abused. I don’t even know where to start … but I guess a common theme in these relationships would have to be betraying ourselves in a bid to convince our abused that we’re always ok. And in the process we tell them that we’re ok or forgive them again, we’re also telling them what they’re doing is ok and we force ourselves to accept the unacceptable. It’s so not ok! And then as the abuse continues – just like Katniss finds in each of the Hunger Games movies – we find ourselves in more and more complicated situations. And the more complicated and far-fetched the situation becomes, the more difficult it is to get out as things continue to move from bad to worse. I am in the process of writing a book called The girl who couldn’t get away: the typical rise and fall of narcissistic abuse where this is more clearly exposed to develop this understanding.

Another thing I identified with was when Katniss started looking for solutions as she was just trying to survive as best she could, but in the process she actually betrayed herself more – because it wasn’t actually what she wanted and only made her play right into the hands of President Snow and the Capital. We witness this in The Hunger Games: Catching Fire when she suggests: “We could get married!” Even the way she said it, was exactly as I’d come up with ideas to try to protect myself from further abuse. Emotionless, matter-of-fact, as though anything is better than the current hell we’re subjected to. If you’re in this toxic situation you may be able to relate.

The falseness of Caesar Flickerman and everyone from the Capital, represents the abuser who presents as something they’re not. Their so caught up in displaying their “false self” that in the process they lose all sight of their true self – which is an ugly person, very lonely, very broken and they suffer a lot of pain. While they think what they are presenting, all their lies and manipulation is normal and natural, it’s so far from the authentic truth. By the time a target sees the true self, it is often too late. Once it’s revealed, the abuser has you well in their sights and so being the threats and entrapment.

Another triggering moment was the offering to hose down Katniss a second time – these style of insults are dished on a daily basis to keep targets self esteem and self worth low so they will stay in the relationship. While the target accepts it because … well, it’s true, right? She is from district 12, she is dirty… she just has to accept what was said, right? Go with it… get hosed down again…

There’s a quote in The Hunger Games: Catching Fire that really stood out for me, Haymitch says: “This trip doesn’t end when you get home – you never get off this train!” Recovery from Domestic Violence isn’t dissimilar. When you “get home” – ie. leave the relationship – depending how traumatic your experience is, every second of every day is spent thinking about how you’re going to avoid that happening again. While you may find yourself out of the relationship, that’s not even a scratch on the surface for the journey you have ahead of you in order to make a complete recovery. It’s actually something I wouldn’t even wish on my worst enemy. It’s extremely difficult to deal with. I liked The Hunger Games: Catching Fire because it really grasps the concept of trauma recovery as it covers themes including the flashbacks, reoccurring nightmares, the reality being so far away from anything ever experienced in the past… Trying to get use to how things are all over again – it’s like trying to sleep with a broken bone – it takes a long time to get comfortable again. It is a long way to recovery. Anyone who thinks once you’re out, you’re ok, is extremely misguided.

One thing I would never do though … I would never enter back into the games as a way to recover or to try to find that same door I entered through. Maybe at the start I would’ve. But now, I’m more than happy to keep searching for a different door to eject myself from this really difficult two steps forward, one step back dance I’ve been doing.

In the first two movies there’s very strong themes addressing bravery and courage. In The Hunger Games: Catching Fire where Peeta and Katniss stand before the families of fallen tributes and are forced to read off cards given to them – speaking words well outside their authentic truth. This literally gave me flashbacks to those times I returned to family, friends and colleagues and they questioned if I was ok, and just like a robot, I would come out with responses that were forever protecting my abusive partner or steering their focus away from him. Even when I went to the doctor to complain I was “bruising easily” – it was never his fault, it never had anything to do with him at all – or so the script went. And despite my desire to be honest with the people I loved dwindled as the fear for their safety and protecting them from whatever else he would subject me to next, became a priority.

When Peeta is dancing with Katniss in The Hunger Games: Catching Fire and he says: “People are starving in 12, here they are throwing up their food so they can eat more…” and if this triggered anything it was that moment when you’re in that domestic violence situation with those false scripts, and you’re talking to a friend who is mostly happy in their relationship, and they have a great husband and gorgeous children, when all of a sudden they say how they’re upset at their partner over the smallest thing – and now they’re considering separation, or whatever it is. And all you can think about is: “I used to crave marriage and children, but now all I want is peace – I’d do anything for peace!” It feels as though many people take their good, healthy relationships for granted, and it’s so easy to see when you’re looking at it as a target of domestic abuse.

There is one moment when Katniss says it as it is: “The games don’t mean anything – they’re just here to scare us!” And isn’t that the truth? Even in Domestic Violence – even in my situation with all my abuser’s crazy, bizarre threats – it’s literally all there to scare them. And I think the answer to why is really explored a lot more and done really well in the third instalment, The Hunger Games: Mockingjay – Part I. Plutarch Heavensbee is speaking with President Snow in one scene when he says “We don’t need to destroy her – just the image – let the people take care of the rest”. If my abuser sat down and had a conversation mapping out the ‘moves and counter moves’ with all the people involved in his quest, then I’m pretty sure it would have sounded something along these lines. And even after he got what he wanted, even after his ridiculous attempts to destroy me, his feeble attempt at a pathetic smear campaign involving a previous employer. You know what? Talk about shoot yourself in the foot … because without this campaign, I never would have linked my abuser to narcissism or know that what I experienced was narcissistic abuse or know anything about his Narcissistic Personality Disorder. Because I wouldn’t have started searching for the answers, I would’ve continued blaming myself. It was only in being the target of such a horrendous campaign that I started to piece together what really happened to me and all those pieces came together.

Gale asks Katniss if she loves him and she responds: “All I can think about every day since the reaping is how afraid I am – there is no room for anything else”. In my experience with domestic violence, suffering some extremely traumatic events caused by the ongoing abuse and even in my recovery after, I was so terrified that I barely remembered the simple things – like how to breathe and when to eat! It’s not until you experience such a horrendous trauma that you realise how much your life slows down to such a basic level just to enable that recovery. And it’s true – you just don’t have the mental capacity to try to process anything else, other than what you’re experiencing.

Another sterling standout moment that triggered my feelings that this movie really is a great metaphor for targets of domestic abuse and domestic violence is where Haymitch Abernathy says “Nobody ever wins the games. Period. There are survivors. There’s no winners.” If anything encapsulates my feelings towards narcissistic abuse and domestic violence it’s this! This was what I came out of the relationship saying. “OK, he got what he wanted and he hurt me … but really, was that winning for him?” Clearly not if the abuse needed to continue. And no one won. He thinks he did because he sucked his wife and children back in to his games. But it’s not winning when the cycle (or “games”) continues. The only good that came out of my experience was what I boldly turned it into! Until I started Relationship Free there were no winners, but now … there is – as I push myself into that the role of a victor. Using my learnings and my survival to share my story and lift others from the ashes. And there will be an uprising from targets of narcissistic abuse and domestic violence – you can count on it! Because now they know they can not only survive but they can win by thriving through it! If you get off on hurting people, your days of pulling satisfaction from other people’s pain are limited! Because I’m not afraid anymore. And I will be the face to help others become fearless after their abuse. Join forces with me, share your stories and bring light to this darkness!

At one point, Johanna Mason loses it and goes into a short monologue challenging President Snow to set everyone on fire, when she stops and says “What? He can’t hurt me. There’s no one left that I love”. I identified with Johanna because of all the isolation my abuser caused. In the end I felt I had absolutely nothing left to lose, I had no motivation to protect myself or to continue the fight – simply because I had nothing left – and so we go back to that courtroom where I volunteered as tribute. And I thought as long as there was no one left that I loved, he couldn’t hurt me anymore. This wasn’t entirely true and I think is demonstrated in the third instalment of the Hunger Games when Johanna looks completely broken. One of the final scenes in The Hunger Games: Catching Fire has Katniss lying on the ground as debris and destruction falls around her. She makes no effort to move to safety. She’s exhausted. This is a metaphor for how I felt by the time I got to the courtroom. I was exhausted. I literally had no fight power left. I just wanted it to be over. I didn’t want to hide. I didn’t want to run. I was just completely numb. My soul was completely shattered. I was helpless and I didn’t have any motivation left. It took six months to recharge … and my batteries will never run flat again.

Just as there were themes in the first two movies, the third movie also shared themes that resonated strongly for anyone suffering from or who has been the target of domestic violence. There’s a scene where Katniss is speaking with President Alma Coin and Plutarch Heavensbee and she gets frustrated and says: “You’ll never be able to guarantee my safety!” and President Alma Coin responds: “What if you get killed?” And Katniss says: “Make sure you get it on camera.” That feels like how it was when I went to the police and even now – that chilling realisation, and most of the cause for the trauma is that no one can protect you. When I travel based on where the CCTV footage is – it’s not in a bid not to protect myself, but if anything does happen, then for it to be shared so my abuser is exposed.

Another scene where Katniss is yelling at President Snow “And if we burn – you burn with us!” And I think that’s so true of targets of domestic violence and their abusers, particularly in the case of homicide or suicide. When the target dies as a result of ongoing domestic violence and domestic abuse, I think it’s difficult for the abuser to completely get away with it. While our flimsy laws aren’t that great at serving justice – it draws attention directly to the abuser. And even in a smear campaign – even in my abuser’s attempt, people in his industry went to a friend of mine and said they heard the story and no one believed him. So while he spoke in an attempt to get people to judge me, he actually brought judgement upon himself. Bob Marley says it best: “Who are you to judge the life I live? I know I’m not perfect – and I don’t live to be – but before you start pointing fingers… make sure your hands are clean!”

Also in the third movie, there is a scene which touches on the theme of co dependence, strongly linked to domestic violence and abuse. Katniss kisses Gale and he says: “I knew you’d do that…” Katniss responds: “How did you know? I didn’t even know!” And Gale says: “Because I’m hurting and it’s the only was I can get your attention”. If anyone watched my video about abuse last week, I read out a post-it note left from my abuser where he says he’s “hurting”. It was only then as I was watching this movie one year later, that I realised he anticipated my response as a result of writing that. He knew I would immediately try to go to him and to try to stop his pain, because he’d seen me rescue him time and time again … and then he used it against me in the final blow. So, if your abuser is playing the victim or “hurting” – run AWAY because it’s likely they’re doing it to get that control. In short: abusers use and fake pain to control their victims.

In The Hunger Games: Mockingjay – Part I Finnick Odair says “It takes ten times longer to get yourself back together than it does to fall apart”. I LOVE this line because it’s SO true! Anyone who has been a victim of domestic violence and abuse will certainly be able to relate to this because the journey to recovery is so LONG! And painful. And frustrating and all the rest! Also, the longer you stay, the harder that journey becomes. I’ll always consider myself one of the lucky ones for getting out when I did, how I did. My abuser underestimated me. And right towards the end of the movie, Katniss goes on screen at the Capital to talk to President Snow and commitment becomes a theme. “I’ve always kept my promises,” she says trying to bargain with him. In response, President Snow brings her honesty into question. This was triggering for me because this was one of the conversations that would continually cycle through the relationship I had with my abuser. My bargaining using my demonstration of commitment, truth and honesty, followed by my honesty being called into question.

And right after they touch on fear and Beetee says “It’s the most difficult emotion to overcome because we remember it the best” – which is exactly why abusive people use it to trap their targets, not only in the current situation but also in their recovery. Fear is also known to be the strongest human emotion there is and overcoming fear is extremely difficult. As you can see, The Hunger Games can be used as a metaphor for targets of abuse and domestic violence.

Another core theme is hope – and it is also hope that will keep the targets going – it’s that hope that will build strength to venture out and try to find these new solutions to problems. I hope it also explains why I found so much comfort in these movies! When you come out of a relationship with domestic abuse and violence, it is really challenging to identify with anyone and anything – so to have these movies really helps. I think they expose a lot of hidden and helpful messages when it comes to domestic violence as well.

The Hunger Games – I strongly endorse this series – watch it, read it, enjoy! Use it to find your strength.

Want to talk about it or need assistance moving forward? Contact me: sarah@relationshipfree.com

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I’m the luckiest girl alive: a moment in my mind

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I took the long way home to process everything I learned at the workshops I’d attended that day. It was a sunny Saturday afternoon, 8 November.

As I was walking ‘mindfully’ home from the Festival of Change I heard someone call out: “Hey lady!”

I looked back and kind of kept walking – he had a “problem”, don’t stare – but I couldn’t help but do a double take.

“Hey lady!” He called out again waving his hat around like he was missing his last taxi: “You’re a beautiful lady!” He called, massive smile on his face, a sing-song tone.

I had a moment where I paused: “Me?” and then realised. I smiled and waved back.

It got me thinking about how many souls are dismissed, their messages never heard, simply because – through possibly no fault of their own – they have a “problem”.

I mean, what credibility did this man have to say I was beautiful?

Could he even comprehend what beauty is?

And who am I to judge what he thinks is beautiful?

So my close friends know and understand my struggles of late.

I’ve become quite the guru this year: want to lose weight quickly and permanently?

Live through something traumatic and almost impossible to let go.

Want to be more mindful?

Sit with the pain the trauma brings – because you can’t see the future, the next year, the next week, the next day, the next hour – you can only concentrate on the moment that is now and taking that next breath, and the breath after that to get you through… And if you breathe through the pain, just one more breath after that, then you’re a breath further away from the initial pain.

It’s coming up to a year on my healing journey and no one can tell me I’m the same as I was before the incident occurred. But the events still haunt me and maybe they always will. My first thought when he called me beautiful was my ex-boyfriend calling me fat and the next moment he’s crying on the bed telling me he doesn’t want me to leave and men will only abuse me. Of course, at this point, I thought he had my best interests at heart. Little did I know he had been abusing me in every possible way – for nearly a year.

All I see now is a lot of strangers in my life who I need to get to know again.

Only this time – I come with criteria for friendship AND relationship and it’s come to this because of how badly I got annihilated by this horrible person – and it’s the only way I can ensure I’m protected and it won’t happen to me again. This protective coat will make it so I don’t have to keep watching out for it, remembering it, going over it. Here it is, it’s pretty simple:

1. If you lie – you’re out.

2. If you hurt me – you’re out.

3. And if you can’t stand beside me in a courtroom – even knowing I’m right, honest and just in my truth: knowing because you stood and witnessed it all yourself, whether at the time or months before – because you’re “scared”?? You’re out too.

No three strikes.

No excuses.

Just a “thanks but this isn’t going to work for me”.

I can’t even begin to tell you how the “men” I had in my life at the time I experienced the worst abuse I’ve ever even heard of, who I thought had my back, but none would stand up in a courtroom and say:

1. Yes, he spat in her face – I was there: I watched her wash it off

2. Yes, he left notes all over her car windsheild so she couldn’t even see in – I was there: I saw her snatch them away

3. Yes, he tried to drive into her three times, because she called me hysterically after: I escorted her to the police station and watched them turn her away

Unsurprisingly to me: they’re all strangers to me now. For some reason, this came as a shock to them.

The next thing is … I don’t have a lot of time for … “stuff”. I’m more impatient than ever before.

I have a new found value on my time and freedom, which I mentioned in my vlog on Monday.

So don’t talk to me about strength and courage if you’re not willing to do what it takes to grow those things.

It took me a year to develop my knowledge and it’s valuable – and although it’s freaking hard work to get there, don’t take some steps and then quit. If you’re not committed, don’t start!

Don’t let your self down.

And don’t waste both our time with procrastination or inaction.

If I’ve learned anything from being abused by someone I loved – it’s that “life’s too short”.

I learned a lot about being abused and the way an abuser’s mind works, following my abuse. I learned about narcissistic abuse. I learned why he lied. I learned why he cheated. I learned why he could never tell the truth. I learned that he doesn’t have an authentic self and all the jealousy that would have suffocated him as I innocently paraded before him.

I had everything going for me. Everything.

He wanted to tear it down.

Oh, but he was just “caring for me”. You’ll see what I mean by that in my next video. What I will say is that an abuser (who is generally a psychopath) will manipulate your perception, your reality and fit it to theirs to make themselves appear innocent. And once they have your trust from their twisting and manipulation, they will abuse you more – worse – harder. And if you ever think the cycle of abuse is going to stop, even when things start to settle down again: you’re wrong. That is why it is a CYCLE of abuse, not a PATTERN like a toxic relationship. And you’ll be amazed how many people get their abusive relationship confused with a toxic relationship … I was one of them. And you’ll be amazed how many people refuse to talk about it because of MORE threats or the addiction they have to their abusive partner. I was one of them. I remember at the end of the relationship, I was so addicted and so completely terrified that he would do what he did – that I was looking at clinics in America at $30,000/day for “love addiction”. I didn’t need that. I ended up spending $10,000 just to get clear of him and be safe – I’ll never regret that spend now I realise how much danger I was in and I only realised once I was removed from him. And only for the abuse and torment to continue – that was frustrating, that tested me, but it made me love myself more than I ever have because for a someone who ripped my self worth down and took my self esteem with it, at the same time he helped me restore it as I went: NO CONTACT. No Contact, as I quickly learned is the only way to combat a psychopath.

I don’t care that he thinks he got away with everything and more – why? Because I’m pretty sure everyone can see who he is and what he did, without me saying all that much at all. And, I didn’t have a platform before: I just wanted everyone to be happy. I didn’t have a story or a reason why or a niche to focus on. I had it so good, which meant I didn’t have that place to speak from. Now I do.

Not because he gave it to me.

Because I rebuilt myself from the ashes he left me with. And I rebuilt myself in such a way that I’m strong. It will forever feel strange to me that a 45-year-old man was so panicked about his windscreen wiper blades being lifted on his car (not damaged – just lifted) that he had to get an AVO. It was that serious. He felt in that much danger and fear. He was that terrified over something I did, when he wasn’t even around, that he had to restrain me.

Ha!

And how can I forget that fact: he “knows someone high up in the police force” – how will I ever forget the threat he had over me for months and months, keeping me trapped with him.

I’m not scared ANYMORE!

What he never knew was the day I decided to leave, I grew enough strength to not only get out – but to suffer the consequences that came with that.

And he’s narcissistic, so I knew there would be consequences to wanting to pursue my freedom. OK, and there were…

But guess what? I have no regrets!

In fact, as long as I have my life completely separate to his, free of the lies and deception he continues to feed those around him, I can’t feel bad about a thing! Because no matter what the consequence was – I’m living the life I wanted in the first place. All I wanted was to be free of him! And all my evidence against him demonstrates that. It demonstrates that he stalked me interstate. It demonstrates that I told him to leave me alone. It demonstrates his psychotic letters telling me to give him his padlock back with his name engraved in it. Freakin’ weirdo! And it demonstrates that he continued to contact me well after he got an AVO against me – that’s really kind of weird though, isn’t it?

It was all REALLY weird!

So I’m glad to be free of that.

I’m glad I don’t have to keep holding onto his crazy crap “in case” he does something!

Anyway … I got thinking about the man who called out to me to tell me that I’m “beautiful”, who I mentioned at the start of this post…

And something stood out to me – mostly about why it made me feel so good to hear it from him:

Do you think he said it because he thought he’d get a date from his words?

I’m almost certain that wasn’t his intent.

He wasn’t running after me. He wasn’t perving on me. He was more looking at me – like a child looks at a flower with wonder.

And without intent – he made me smile and feel really good about myself.

And that got me thinking about intent … just generally. I always thought I had to make effort, that I had to do something with intent in order to positively impact someone. That’s not true… and this proves it.

We don’t need intent to positively impact someone.

But if you do have intent – what is it?

Is it positive?

The other day I re-posted a comment that created great uproar on my Facebook page about the Melbourne Cup horses. I didn’t have positive intent in posting it, I wasn’t in a positive space … but I did have intent.

So if it’s not positive – what will it do?

Will it challenge thinking and beliefs?

What’s the best that could happen?

I made people see another side. Possibly a side they hadn’t considered. Maybe a side that evoked guilt but may also stick with them next year and the year after and make them think twice about their next horse racing bet.

And if you have no intent – what’s the best that could happen?

If you’re striving for a positive, authentic existence where – right or wrong – you speak and you give value to your opinion: you’re who I want in my life

My big take away from the Festival of Change was that negative doesn’t mean bad.

It means change.

Change means breakthroughs.

It means resilience.

It means great opportunity to practice resilience.

I believe everything happens with perfect timing. For example, I don’t even want to know what would’ve happened if I didn’t have two years of conscious positive training and learning behind me before the events I suffered last year. Due to my pro activity, I was able to connect with my soul, something not many people do. And I’m comfortable on my own – something not many people are: so instead they get married and they have kids and they use drugs and alcohol to drown that out. They stay addicted to their abusers, to avoid the loneliness – which they think will be much worse. I’m living proof: it’s much better!

Let me say that again…

IT’S MUCH BETTER BEING ALONE THAN WITH AN ABUSIVE PERSON!

I am the luckiest girl alive because of the way I enabled myself to transform my situation to help others.

I am the luckiest girl alive to have my thoughts, my feelings, my strengths and my ability.

I’m the luckiest girl alive to have my family and friends unconditionally standing by my side.

I’m the luckiest girl alive to have my ambition, my determination, my resilience and my persistence.

I’m the luckiest girl alive to have healed myself in such a way I’ll forever value and love myself.

And … I’m the luckiest girl alive – just because I’m: me.

How many people can say that?

Life isn’t what happens to you – it’s what happens next.

What happened next was my abuser kept abusing and I was long gone and never returning.

What happened next was I changed. I rose. I spent a year making up for the year that stopped me being who I was trying to be: because I couldn’t go out, I couldn’t see my friends, I couldn’t study… I couldn’t do anything because of him. While he went out, while he cheated, while he lied … I stayed home.

But I made up for all that this year. And now I have bigger and better lessons to share, which makes me super excited!

Finally, I want to thank my sister, Lara-Jane Busse (pictured with me as we get set for a road trip – I know she doesn’t like that picture, so I’ve made it small), who has been right next to me every step of the way. You are the best sister on the planet. I love you.

Lara and I speak on the phone every day. Her ongoing encouragement helped me get where I am today. She stopped me giving up and continues to motivate and inspire me.

And most of all, she was the one person who said “I will speak for you in that courtroom!” and she was nine months pregnant and in a different state at the time, and I know how close she was to coming to be with me anyway!

That’s what a best friend looks like to me.

And not many people have a friendship like ours.

And I’m the luckiest girl alive to have this friendship with La.

I’m the luckiest girl alive to have been called beautiful, even by this man who was a stranger to me.

I’m the luckiest girl alive to not only have had my beauty seen, but also acknowledged and pointed out to me.

I’m the luckiest girl alive – because after a year of fighting demons my abuser left behind: I accepted what I heard. And it felt good.

Your challenge this week is to point out someone’s beauty!

Thanks for letting me share.

Holistic healing – what’s that?

eBlog

The secret of change is to focus all of your energy, not on fighting the old, but on building the new. Socrates

Hi everyone,

As you know, I’ve been threatening changes to Happiness Weekly for quite some time and this week I did my first video blog! It’s faster for me to post, it encourages me to speak and get in front of the camera and it puts my face to my name.

In this vlog, I speak about my healing journey and holistic healing which I’ve been working on all year to get stronger and more confident following narcissistic abuse and domestic violence.

I also introduce my new business a little, Relationship Free and welcome anyone who wants to talk to me about holistic healing (or … my version of it) to come and talk to me at: sarah@relationshipfree.com.

I also speak about amazing Divine products which have changed my life and a talk by Therese Kerr which inspired me to really care about my body and go certified organic, I can’t speak highly enough of these products – and then I shared a web address to completely the wrong page (OOPS!), so don’t go to where I say – instead, go to: http://divinebytheresekerr.com

And that’s this week in a nutshell! Check out the vblog by clicking the image below. I hope you enjoy it! <3

vlogpic2

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