Motivation is the subject of this week's eZine: Mine is taking care of mydaughter. This is the first time I've offered my story in such detail. My reason for offering the details as well as my specific confidence coaching services is all about you -- so that you know I understand where you are and what you need from me.
Self discovery and confidence coaching let me serve people in so many ways. Sometimes my clients need help building themselves up after a painful divorce. Other times, they need support in setting some real goals for themselves after living in a controlling environment for too long. And sometimes, they want someone to keep them on the straight and narrow when they start dating again after repeating a pattern of codependency too many times.
I get what they are going through. I know how hard it is to feel confident after divorce. I understand the fog that envelopes a controlled person and prevents any kind of goal setting from taking place. I get their skittishness at the prospect of dating and the possibility of making more bad choices. That was me, not all that long ago. To be honest, skittish on a first date? Yeah, that still IS me sometimes!
That’s right peeps, contrary to popular opinion I did not start out with this much confidence at birth. Far from it. In fact, my confidence and self-knowledge were very hard fought and even harder won. And the road to my offering this service to others was a crazy, bumpy, dark and discouraging ride for me for awhile.
Growing up, I was a shy, quiet, bookish kid, taller and smarter with braces and all kinds of awkward. Plus I was a major perfectionist. I know, right?? It was kind of isolating! But when I got to high school, I purposefully pushed my boundaries and comfort zones – mainly with theater-related activities – to break out of my introverted shell. Things went fairly well but I really didn’t have a plan or any kind of direction. I felt like a rogue pinball most of the time. I wanted to become a dancer or choreographer but instead followed everyone’s advice to be practical and went to college to study English Lit (yeah like THAT was super practical...NOT). So by the time I graduated, I really had no profession and I was too old to be a professional dancer – 22 is way past prime in that field.
Truth is, I also hadn’t had a stellar record in the romance department, preferring to run with bad boys and theater types. So when I met a young, clean-cut, well-dressed, seemingly successful European guy at a wedding and we connected immediately, I was thrilled at my turn of fortune.
Half a year later, I moved to Germany at the age of 24, leaving family, friends, my car, my books and everything else I knew. At the time, I really saw it as my chance to finally have that European adventure I’d been yearning for. But when I got there, it was not nearly as much fun as I’d expected!
Living in another country when you don’t speak the language is a real drag, that’s for sure. I worked for the US government as a civilian for the first few years, so I had time to learn German on my own. But for those first few years, my confidence underwent daily trauma. Most people were nice enough but I still felt less than adequate when I couldn’t find the bathroom, count my own money, or tell someone off after they took my parking space! More and more, while I toiled at learning the language I simply relied on my boyfriend to speak for me.
I married the boyfriend a few years later, fought hard to learn his language and culture and eventually became fluent. Even so, after 15 years of regular practice, that abdication of my voice became the very thing that drove my confidence to an incredible low point. And the very thing that allowed my (ex-) husband to control me, box me in and isolate me more and more over time.
Once my daughter was born, our relationship was so unbalanced that we rarely had a conversation without screaming at each other. The day I knew for certain that it was over was the day of my aunt’s funeral. She had been only five years older than me, so we had grown up more like sisters. She found out she had a recurrence of breast cancer on Labor Day weekend one September and was dead just before Thanksgiving that same year. I was kind of a basket case already with my not-quite-three-year-old daughter, my raving spouse, my grieving family and all kinds of secret financial problems that I wasn’t allowed to talk about with anyone. The morning of the services, I tried to talk to him about how upset I was. Instead of showing a little compassion or even just staying silent or neutral, my ex shouted at me, chased me around the house and complained about how I had had three months to prepare for this day, what was my problem anyway?? After what seemed like hours of drama, I finally collapsed into a puddle of tears in the bathroom, where my toddler girl found me and gave me a big hug, trying to comfort me. I knew then that I had to get my child the hell out of that scene as fast as possible.
It took me three more years to leave him after that. I was alone in Germany and had no plan, no job, no savings, no assets. One day, I had lunch with a friend and told her how he had shouted at me (again) because he found out I had told some people that we had rented our apartment instead of buying it. He claimed that that kind of “gossip” had caused him to lose out on a big business deal. I told my friend at lunch that I felt like I should be in the witness protection program.
That’s when the EXIT sign finally lit up in my head. Three months later, after I finally got up the courage to tell him I didn’t love him anymore and couldn’t continue living with him, he actually moved out.
The four-year footnote that followed our separation was dominated by a torrid rebound affair that was, predictably, almost an extension of my broken marriage. But I thought the new guy was SO different! In some ways, Rebound Man was different and did help me to remember my Self and how to have fun. We acted like teenagers most of the time. But his anger and jealousy were just another version of control and isolation that I eventually had to leave behind in order to heal my Self and my child.
Once I finally got up the courage to leave both relationships and my life in Europe to return to my incredibly generous family on Cape Cod, I began an amazing healing process filled with numerous strength-building, confidence-inspiring experiences. And once I got a little distance, I realized that both of those relationships had stifled my power, authenticity, creativity and expression and ultimately, my success in life. Slowly, I repaired my confidence, became my Self again and really owned my truth. Soon I realized I had lots of experience and information to offer people going through the same kinds of situations. Now, serving people as a Confidence Coach is the most magical, exciting and rewarding thing I can possibly do for my Self and for my daughter.
Does my story sound like yours or someone's you know? I always offer a complimentary 30-minute discovery session to see if we click. Email me directly at Pamela@ElasticityCoaching.com or visit my website at www.ElasticityCoaching.com. Let's identify your challenges and decide on your course of action. I look forward to working with you!