After I shared what happened this past week regarding a mass my doctor found on my cervix, I received a kind, supportive message from a friend of mine. Gretchen and I haven’t seen each other in years and we don’t talk regularly, but ever since we met four years ago at a party, I knew she was one of those special, soulful people that lights up every room she enters.
When Gretchen heard the news of the mass, she reached out asking if the doctor I mentioned that I’m seeing this week was the same one she saw for her hysterectomy. Indeed, he is the same doctor. She offered to tell me about her experience with him so I called her up and we spoke for an hour.
I never could have predicted what happened during the call.
While she told me that I’d unknowingly been paired with the best gynecological surgeon in town, she also shared that she, too, had endured childhood sexual abuse. And she endured painful cervical procedures. Turns out, she also suffered from polycystic ovarian syndrome (like me) for many years until her hysterectomy.
It seems what my grandmother (in spirit) and Jason (in spirit) told me about stored trauma in the body creating physical issues is pretty spot on. I never doubted it, honestly, but what are the odds that I meet someone with a similar journey and the exact same medical issues?
During our conversation, Gretchen mentioned her mother who passed away a year and a half ago. As I listened to her talk about her mom, I immediately felt Karen come into the room. Chills raced up and down the left side of my body—my sign that a spirit who has crossed into the light wants my attention. (When I feel chills up the right side of my body, I know the spirit has not crossed into the light. I share more about this in my upcoming book.)
I’ve been channeling spirit since I was 36-years-old, but most of the time I channel children in spirit. It’s rare for me to talk with someone about a deceased loved one (adult) and feel that loved one step in unless there is some connection to abuse, murder, sudden death, or suicide. 95% of the channeling I do involves children who are on the other side.
In my mind’s eye, I saw Karen’s outstretched arms holding a bundle of yellow daisies. When Gretchen finished talking about her beautiful mother, I told her what I was picking up—that her mom had just popped in and presented an image I felt strongly I needed to share. Gretchen thanked me for telling her what I saw saying that she related to the message, especially given the fact that Karen was an avid gardener. It’s where Gretchen got her love for digging in the dirt as well.
I never met Karen, nor did I know anything about her other than she succumbed to Alzheimer’s Disease, but I suspected she was an amazing woman given that she’s Gretchen’s mother.
“Kiersten, when my mom was alive, she was a marriage and family therapist who specialized in working with sexual predators. She even went into prisons and worked to help rehab pedophiles and sexual predators."
My jaw hit the floor.
I couldn’t believe what I was hearing. No wonder she came through to me. I am a childhood sexual abuse survivor who has worked (as a volunteer intuitive medium) on cold cases involving children who were abused and murdered by pedophiles. I also unknowingly fell for a man who turned out to be an abusive malignant narcissist and sexual predator—one that I have a restraining order against. My story is full-circle, to say the least.
And now, here I was in this incredibly full-circle moment.
I couldn’t believe that we both worked to stop sexual predators. Of course, I don’t work the same way Karen did, but still, our mission is now and forever the same: ending sexual abuse. I applaud her efforts to do what I’m sure few dare to do. What an incredible warrior she was...and still is.
Shortly after Gretchen’s mom came and went, we talked a little longer about what I will likely face in my appointment this Thursday. Gretchen helped me feel at ease about the doctor we share, the process, the surgery, and the aftermath.
I am enormously grateful to these two incredible angels. Gretchen and Karen, you have touched my life in ways I can never fully express.
And you’ve shown me, once again, that even in dark times there is light.
Related: Nate's Story (Spirit Story) and TEDx Talk
As many of you know, I just finished writing a book about my journey from 2009-now. It's definitely a stranger-than-fiction tale but here's the thing -- it's all real. In fact, it was too real for me back when my intuition hit me over the head. I was terrified and didn't see the whole picture then, but I do now. And I wanted to share how intuition helped me survive and heal from childhood and narcissistic abuse.
I thought I'd share a bit of Chapter 2 where I share what happened when one amazing kid named Nate Pannell came into my life.
If you are looking for proof that intuition is real, check out this excerpt....
CHAPTER 2 – NATE & CARRIE
“Mom, do you remember the Pannell family in Defiance?” I asked while talking on the phone one day in 2010, the year my intuition kicked into high gear.
“Sure, I do—John and Denise, right? They graduated a couple years before you.”
“Yeah, they did. I don’t really know them but we are friends on Facebook. The strangest thing happened when I was mindlessly reading the feed today—I started to recognize that their son, who has apparently passed on, was in the kitchen with me.”
Silence filled the space where she was supposed to be thoughtfully commenting. I didn’t blame her. It’s a shocking statement to hear and this was all new to my parents. I’d been grappling with it all in the comfort of my own home with Scott and the kids, but this was a leap I hadn’t taken yet. I was telling my parents I was sensing things that maybe weren’t there. Crazy things that they didn’t have any experience with at all. The fear of judgment and ridicule was consuming me but I didn’t stop.
I went on to explain to my mom what I’d been dealing with for some time now and how messages from what could only be described as spirit were somehow being made known to me. And now, it was starting to happen when I scanned the Facebook feed. She listened supportively, not really knowing what to say as I continued relaying what happened that day.
I told her that while I was looking at photos of a memorial held for Nate, I heard his voice and saw flashes of scenes that he wanted to talk about. I felt him around me more than saw him as an apparition but one thing was clear—he was ready to talk. When I first started to recognize he was there wanting to communicate, I experienced chills up and down my body. I noticed they were predominantly on the left side of my body and made note of that, too.
I picked up my new tarot card deck for backup because I really had no idea what I was doing. I thought maybe somehow the cards would help. I was encouraged by my Reiki instructors to play around with tarot because it was a visual representation of what comes in intuitively. Truth be told, I wasn’t sure what I believed but I thought it was worth a shot. I pulled three cards and shockingly was able to finish deciphering the last message Nate was trying to share. It was for his brother. After I made sure I had all of the messages written down, he pled with me to pass them to his parents.
I sat frozen in my chair thinking about what just happened. The last thing I wanted to do was reach out to grieving parents who may or may not be receptive to me. Their family had been through so much already. What if I was wrong and none of it was real? What if they saw me as someone trying to somehow take advantage of their situation? I wasn’t asking for money or anything, of course, but still. I don’t know how I’d react if someone reached out to me this way. Finally, I rose from my chair knowing I needed time to think about all of it and bee-lined it for our bedroom. Sitting on the edge of the bed with my notes in hand, I knew I had a choice to make. For now, it was to hide what had happened and go about life as normal. Normal was easier.
After a minute or two of contemplation, I swiftly opened the front drawer of my bedside table and stuffed the messages inside. I knew I needed time, so I waited to be filled with courage and knowledge that what Nate was asking me to do was the right thing.
The courage came two days later in the form of a very quiet, calm knowing when I least expected it. I wasn’t even thinking about Nate until, out of the blue, peace came over me. I was still terrified but deep down I knew I had to try. Even if they slammed the proverbial door in my face. Even if I was going to be the laughing stock of my hometown after word got around. I gently pulled the paper filled with Nate’s messages out of the drawer and crafted a quick introductory message to his mom, Denise. I nervously hit the send button hoping that I was doing the right thing. And it was indeed exactly what was meant to happen.
It was the right thing. Denise responded kindly which started a back-and-forth exchange leading to a phone call and later on, an in-person meeting.
About a year after I shared Nate’s messages with his family, I asked John if he wouldn’t mind writing what the experience was like for them. He told me he would be happy to write it up.
A week or so later, John shared his account of their experience with me via email. As I read it, my jaw hit the floor. I had no idea the impact it made on his entire family. I knew from sitting with them that they greatly appreciated that I reached out to them, but I didn’t fully grasp how much it shaped the course of their lives.
I was in tears reading about the healing that Nate had facilitated from the other side. Of course, I knew what the whole experience did for me and I’m eternally grateful. Nate and his beautiful family helped me understand that what I was experiencing wasn’t just my imagination. It was very real and very important for all of us. I just had to have the courage to trust.
Written by John Pannell, Nate’s Dad:
"Almost four years ago, I was just surviving being a bereaved parent of a
child that has passed away. It was a daily struggle getting through a day without a total meltdown and the overwhelming feeling that I didn't want to live the rest of my life in the role of a grieving parent. It was in the midst of one of my many meltdowns that I remember my wife coming upstairs, in tears, telling me she got a message from Nate, our son that had passed away at the age of 13 from an AVM. I tried to listen to what she was trying to tell me, but it seemed Greek to me because I couldn't get past my own doubt in what had happened. She tells me that she got an email message from this lady in California about how strange it may seem, but she thinks she has a message for us from our son. If we were willing, we could give her a call.
Denise called her and spoke for almost an hour. Denise was trying to relay the information from the four pages of notes she took while Kiersten talked. The only comfort this brought to me was that for the first time since Nate's death, I had seen tears of joy versus tears of sorrow. Denise and Kiersten had kept in contact, I kept my distance. One day, I remember Denise telling me that Kiersten was going to be in the area and wanted to meet with us.
Out of obligation to Denise, growing skepticism, and just a dash of curiosity, I agreed to meet with Kiersten. My anxiety level that day was extremely high. I remember when Kiersten showed up at our house and sat down with us at dining room table. It was my wife, our younger son, Jack, my wife's aunt Sally, Kiersten, and myself. There was a lot of small talk and I listened intently trying to find what the catch was. Over the next three and a half hours, what I got were answers, hope, and explanations. I had questions to authenticity as to who Kiersten was and what were her motives were. I found Kiersten to be one of the most genuine persons I have had the pleasure of meeting. She spoke from the heart. She relayed to us information as it was interpreted by her. What I found was she spoke with a gift. Her heart was pure. Her interpretation spot on. She offered validation that was unquestionably accurate. She gave us peace knowing that our son was fine. Kiersten taught me that events that occur are not just coincidence.
Kiersten opened up a form of communication between my son and I that allowed me to go from being a grieving parent just existing to being a bereaved parent that is allowed to live. She has helped us by being a conduit for question and answer sessions, she has taught us what it means to look for the hidden meaning, most importantly, she gave us our youngest son back. You see, until that time, there wasn't much communication between him and his mother and me. I know a large amount of time that first night meeting Kiersten, she spent talking with Jack. I have never asked either one what exactly was said, but I can say whatever it was, it made a difference in a young man's life.
Meeting Kiersten and being open to her gift has not taken away the fact that we lost our oldest son. That is something we live with every day. Having Kiersten reaching out to us, opening herself up to us, putting it all out there, all for us and never asking for anything in return, has given us peace.
Kiersten, I know that my statement doesn't even start to do justice to what you have given us."
-- John Pannell
Nate has his own page on my website here.
Life has a weird way of taking you down roads you never thought you'd go. I've written about working on cold cases and and other types of police cases in this blog—something I never thought I'd do in a million years.
In fact, when I was growing up, I wanted to be an ice skater. This stuff was NOWHERE in my view.
I'm so grateful for the investigators who have taken me seriously (when I was guided to work with them in some way, shape, or form), and I'm so thankful I can now call them friends and mentors.
I just received this letter today from Detective Mark Pucci. I am forever grateful—not just for his endorsement but for his belief in me, and for his support over the past four years.
February 9, 2018
It was great to hear from you, and I am more than happy to provide you a with my personal endorsement, and I look forward to the time that we have the opportunity to work together again.
Kiersten and I got to know one another when we each volunteered to work on a missing person's case in the NYC area. I knew the minute we started talking on the phone that Kiersten was the real deal. As the case progressed, I was blown away by the amount of detail she shared; it matched what I had in my hard-copy file.
She was channeling all of this from 3,000 miles away without any tie to the case, or way to validate details. She had no stake in the case other than the drive to want to help her friend's friend whose loved one was missing. I have to say, as a retired NYPD Detective and the current Founder & Chief Investigator for: New York Private Detective Services, with over thirty years of crime solving experience, it is rare to find someone like Kiersten.
She is truly one of a kind, and I'm honored to work with her. I truly believe she has a "very big purpose in this life . . . e that will help many people globally."
All my best,
I’m just so grateful. Beyond grateful, to be exact.
Since 2014, I have had a literal team of angels—here on earth and in spirit—around me, helping guide me through the experiences of the last four years. Regardless of whether or not these folks agreed with my choices, they were there for me. Always.
Obviously, Scott is and has always been my protector, even when that meant he had to let go and have faith I would get through what he knew was mine to get through. No matter how angry he was at me, he still respected and loved me, and wanted me to be OK. He wanted me to be more than OK—for me, for our kids, for life in general, whether that meant we ended up back together or not. That’s true, unconditional love. Turns out, Hallmark doesn’t make cards that say, “Thanks for helping save my soul.” They should, though. And the card should have his photo on it. Scott, you are the best of the best humans on earth. And clearly, my #1 angel on earth. I love you beyond 5.
In the same vein, I would also be handing out thank you cards to my dearest circle of family and friends-who-are-like-family who never gave up on me. They, too, knew that even if I was choosing the cycle of abuse that had become my life, it was because I wasn’t ready or strong enough to end it for good at that moment. Not that I never would be strong enough to end it. They all knew I would learn what I needed to learn, and become the person I’m becoming today. Thank you from the bottom of my heart for standing by me through thick and thin, and light and dark. Andy, Egan, Mom and Dad, Lorraine, Cindy B, Theresa B, Krista A, Janine, Caroline H, Kari, Ben, Stacey B, Ari, Cathy S, Katie H, Cami D, Maria Louisa, and Julie and Suzi. Your support, love, compassion, grace, wisdom, channeled messages, and sometimes “tough love” helped me find myself, again. I am eternally grateful and love you all, dearly.
To my soul sisters in the land of “woo woo,” your messages, guidance, perfectly timed channeling was always taken very seriously, and even though it looked at times like I would never come out of it, your gifts helped me heal more than you will ever know. Yvette, Tracy W, Camilla, Cynthia, Necole, and Lynn B, I am in awe of your hearts, your intuition, and your foresight. Yvette, you and Jason—I just truly have no words to properly express my love and gratitude for you both. Yvette, I remember your son in spirit, Jason, pleading with me through you one night, saying, “Kiers, I died because of this type of drug (an analogy to a relationship in his life).” I could feel his desperation so many times and you both guided me out of the dark hole I was desperately trying to climb out of, yet scared to death to climb out of at the same time. I can’t wait to tell the whole story of the magnificent people you both are, and how we came into each other’s lives. Tracy, Camilla, Cynthia, Necole, and Lynn B—my mind is swimming with flashes of so many moments where you would reach out to me at the exact right moments I needed to hear a message, whether it be a channeled one from my grandmother who was kicking my ass while encouraging me to wake up and see the reality of the situation, or you were simply saying “there’s a bigger picture here than you can see now, Kiers. Keep trusting yourself.” Thank you, thank you, thank you. My heart is with you always.
To my wonderful therapists, Deanna Vance and Suzanne Botello—I know I was guided to you. Your heart, intuition, experience, and true belief in me is gift beyond what I ever thought possible. Again, you are angels on earth to so many, and I’m just one of the lucky ones who sat in your therapy chair sometimes twice a week. In the beginning, I was scared to death you would think I was crazy—and you didn’t. Just the opposite happened. You confirmed everything I was feeling and held my hand as I walked step-by-step out of the darkness (and sometimes backwards into the darkness.) You never judged. You made me think deeply and helped me honor all parts of myself. Thank you, for helping me find the light again, and teaching me ways to embrace my darkness, too.
About Deanna Vance, LPC
Deanna Vance is a Licensed a Professional Counselor at the New Leaf Wellness Building. She has over thirty years of experience in varied settings including Community Mental Health, Group Homes, Schools & Private Practice. Deanna specializes in Play Therapy which is a powerful & effective reparative approach for children. Trauma and Attachment problems have been her expertise. She also enjoys working with adolescents and adults.
About Dr. Suzanne Botello, PhD, LPC, Psychologist
I am a Licensed Professional Counselor in the Employee Assistance and Wellness Program at Northern Arizona University. I have a PhD in Counseling Psychology, and am a psychology resident, earning supervised work hours toward licensure. I work primarily with staff, faculty, and their families doing individual, group, and couples work. My life is most in balance when I am making art. Having my hands in clay or working in mixed media, using textiles, paper, fiber, old photos, and embellishments, I find myself again and again. My personal mission statement: I help people remember who they are through art, love, and sacred space.
There’s a beautiful song written by Ben Abraham called "This Is On Me" that resonates with me, deeply. One of the lines is:
And some phoenix may rise from these ashes but the fire comes first
But the fire came first, indeed—2014 felt like a massive bonfire. The issues we buried deep in our marriage became a huge pile of dried wood, ready to burn.
Scott and I married young in 1997—I was 23 and he was 25. I had moved to Charlotte, North Carolina by myself to start my career as a computer trainer. I knew one person in the charming, Southern city, but other than that, it was whole new world.
We met in a bar through friends, and four months later, we were engaged. A year later, we married. Scott was in between work right before we got hitched. He landed a new job in sales with HBO in Birmingham which meant, shortly after our wedding, we moved to Alabama. After the move, I found a job at a prominent healthcare company. Noah was born that year, and little did we know, we’d be on the move again one year later. Scott was moving up the ladder—Playboy TV Networks snapped him up. Off to Atlanta, GA, we went. I found a job that wasn’t ideal but was related to what I had been doing and it was somewhat good for a new mom—no travel. We were there for a year before Scott was promoted and off we went to Chicago, IL. We spent four years there and he continued to do really well in the industry, working for several other national TV networks with offices in Chicago. I carved out my career in a new town. I worked for a temp agency at first, and then interviewed for a job that was initially outside of my wheelhouse, with A&E and the History Channel. I put my all into it and learned “media math,” won the President's Award (overachiever), and was promoted to Integrated Marketing Manager during my three-year tenure.
Four years after moving to Chicago, we were talking about next steps. By then, we had two beautiful kiddos and a cool life in Chicago, but hours were long and schools weren’t great in our Lincoln Square neighborhood. Scott was offered a great position in a related industry with a company in Cincinnati, Ohio. I loved the idea of slowing down and being closer to family, but I’ll admit, I was scared to a.) leave my career that I had grown to love and was doing really well in, and b.) to put my career on hold and forfeit making my own salary. Not because I thought Scott and I were in trouble, but because I have always been independent and career-minded.
We set off for the job in Cincinnati without some critical knowledge. The company wasn’t doing well financially and they were looking at Scott like the Hail Mary pass that would save them. He couldn’t save them—no one could save them. And we couldn’t save ourselves. Less than a year after moving to Cincinnati, we sold the house we’d built, sold most of our stuff, and made the decision to go back into TV. After all, we both did really well in that industry. We both started reaching out to contacts with resumes. We knew we’d have to move back to Chicago, or to LA or NYC. We’d already done Chicago. NYC looked like it was going to be too hard with the cost of living and commuting.
LA, it was! Being an acting major, Scott had always wanted to do something on the creative side of the industry so this looked like a good move that could potentially provide both outlets. The only problem was one of us needed a job. He was starting to interview with other TV networks in LA, so naturally that helped us make the decision to move across the country. We cashed out our 401Ks, packed everything in a POD that was to be transported to “Hollywood” by truck, and moved to Sherman Oaks, CA, a suburb of LA.
I was freaking out for three months. I knew we only had a finite reserve of funds, despite choosing the tiniest rental house we could find that wasn't a shack, to cut back on expenses. If he wasn’t going to get hired soon, we were in trouble. We had a baby and a four-year-old, and I was struggling with having been out of the industry for a year, at that point. Much to my surprise, it put me behind the eight ball, job-wise. Scott was already making more money because our moves were based on his career and I was facing some resistance for having been out, so naturally, he needed to be the main breadwinner. I had to figure out how to make ends meet, though, because when he did get hired, it was not enough to go around. I did some contract work but it wasn’t steady enough so I made the decision to become a nanny. While I love kids, I’d never babysat more than a handful of times and was scared to death. Would I even be good at this? I missed my marketing career and the fast-paced life of ad sales but also knew the value of having a parent home with the kids and they had already been through a big move. With all of that on my mind, I placed an ad in Craigslist and taught myself to build a website to share who I was and why someone would want to hire me as a caregiver.
I took care of two babies, in addition to my own kids, for two years. At the end of the two-year stint, I had a very "mod" idea. I started building furniture without any carpentry skill or design know-how. It gave me a creative outlet and I knew if I sold one toy box in LA, I could make as much money doing that as I was making as a nanny for a week at $8 per hour. Scott was moving up the ladder at a prominent TV network, until he nobly volunteered to back up a woman in his company who he witnessed being sexually harassed by an upper management exec from a different office. The perfect performance appraisal he received two weeks prior meant nothing when he was called into his bosses’ office and told he wasn’t being very “VP-like.” It didn’t take long for them to let him go. We had no recourse and a small severance package.
Every morning, I would wake up panicked. Like when we first moved to LA, I was counting the days until the money ran out. He ended up reinventing himself by going into the tech side of the industry. I was building Mod Mom at the time and bringing in what we needed to make ends meet by building furniture all day and some nights, and caring for the kiddos during the day when they weren’t in school or preschool. I was happy I was able to be creative and still work from home. At first, everyone including Scott, thought I was nuts. But it was working and Mod Mom was gaining momentum. And it was helping us stay afloat. I eventually built roughly 400 toy boxes in our garage over a four-year time span.
This is where it gets fuzzy for me. Once Scott made the move over to the tech side, I don’t remember how many corporate restructurings /layoffs/or just plain goings-under happened between then and when we moved to Flagstaff. It had to be at least two. We ended up having to declare bankruptcy. I think I blocked it from my mind, honestly. He was smart to transition into more of the tech side because the TV network industry’s affiliate sales teams were all being cut. That was the good part, except the tech side was equally as vulnerable because most of the gigs were with start-ups.
While we were living in LA and going through financial ups and downs, I was starting to awaken spiritually, which was scary and stressful in itself. I was confused, overwhelmed, and invigorated all while taking care of the family and growing Mod Mom. Cut to the last company Scott worked for in Burbank. The parent company was based overseas and while they did shut down the Burbank office, they wanted to keep Scott on. A testament to who he is. We saw this as an opportunity to get out of pricey, overly congested LA. Something we both felt intuitively we needed to do for our kids. As a reluctant medium who was being pulled into cold cases, I was also receiving messages about moving. Getting out of LA for a number of reasons but mainly, there was a push for us to high-tail it. Thankfully, Scott has always been my biggest supporter when it came to my intuitive work. He believed in me because he saw the “proof” with his own eyes. He didn’t really question it. He’s quite intuitive himself and he said, “Well, here’s our opening. I still have a job and we can move anywhere. If you're being told Flagstaff, then let’s go check it out.”
In 2012, we moved to Flagstaff, Arizona. He had a nice salary because he was still working for the overseas company. In fact, it was a far bigger salary than what most get in Flagstaff, which is appropriately called “poverty with a view.” Let’s just say that the salaries are not commensurate with the cost of living, but it was still significantly cheaper than LA. I had already braved Shark Tank with Mod Mom and won, and I had inked a deal with an angel investor. I was plugging along with Mod Mom and asked Scott to play more of a role. I respect his ideas and creativity and frankly, I was so tired of handling it all myself. This became the first of my “only I should run Mod Mom” lessons. While he had great ideas and I went along with them, nothing was working to really grow the brand.
At the same time, the company he was working for decided to pull out of the US which meant they were about to sever his employment contract. Now, we’re living in a really cool town because we were guided here intuitively, but we were nowhere near big industry. Scott started scrambling and took a radio station job but it paid less than a quarter of what he was earning before. I kept hearing, intuitively, licensing was the way to grow Mod Mom so I started to pursue those opportunities while still managing all of the manufacturing and shipping. With Mod Mom and his job, we were making it but barely. We did end up having to sell our wedding rings and most of the jewelry I inherited from my Grandmother when she passed. After eight months of talks, I inked a deal with multi-million-dollar giant, Stanley Furniture, as their salaried spokesperson and they would be producing my line in a licensing deal. They projected five million in sales the first year. I had finally done it! The payout was supposed to be really big, plus I had a steady salary doing what I loved. I was ensuring we wouldn’t struggle financially anymore, after so many years of ups and downs.
This brings us up to April of 2014, which was shortly after I was starting to come to grips with what happened to me as a child. I flew to Market in High Point to sign my licensing deal and perform my spokesperson duties only to lose it all because they shut down North American production and their kids line all together. They announced it on April Fools Day, the day I was flying in to North Carolina. I had no idea until I got off the plane.
Looking at it from 30,000 feet, the constant financial ups and downs from 2004-2014 took a toll on us but neither of us really talked about it. We would always band together to make things happen but damage was done. I pushed down my feelings at every turn, but the reality was I was losing faith in his ability to provide, even though it wasn’t his fault. Being a natural fixer, I would work day and night fixing life for everyone. Building a furniture company without any experience. Doing it all. I started to resent the fact that we made Scott’s career the focus and I just followed along, reinventing myself in every city along the way. As a married couple, you know there is give and take, but as a life-long accommodator, I was the queen of over-giving and it hurt me physically and emotionally. When I announced in 2014 I was leaving Scott, some close said “we’re not surprised.” Others said, “I thought this would have happened a long time ago.” I was shocked by their responses.
I resented--as he’s said in his blog post about what he learned—that the pendulum had swung too far. I felt like I was holding up the world on many fronts—kids, work, guidance for him, strength for him, strength for all of us—and I was about to collapse from the weight of it all. He admits he “lost his mojo,” and ultimately found it again during our separation. He took jobs he had never had to consider before that would be the equivalent of what I did when I nannied and did manual labor-type work. In his words, he needed to grow up and take charge of his career.
It’s interesting when I think about the juxtaposition of what we were both going through. It’s common for childhood sexual abuse survivors to become over achievers and accommodators. This means that most live their lives—or commonly into their forties when all of the subconscious stuff starts to break open—caretaking and doing the right thing all the time. That’s what I did. When I met the match that lit the bonfire of April 2014, I had unknowingly come to the end of my rope on top of unknowingly, unconsciously attracting a man who would in essence, replicate the abuse I endured as a child (psych professionals call it wounded attachment). Honestly, I was tired of being the one who handled it all perfectly and with grace. Growing up is exactly the OPPOSITE of what I needed to do. I apparently needed to run free, make mistakes, and channel my inner teenager, like I’d never really done. I had to heal a lot of subconscious wounding and programming that I didn’t even know existed. I still do, but without the implosion of 2014, I don’t think I would have gotten to this place as quickly as I have. And I don’t think Scott would be where he is today, in his career and in life in general.
And some phoenix may rise from these ashes but the fire comes first
It truly took the fire burning all to the ground, in order for us to rise from the ashes—as a two people who love each other to the depths of our souls, and as individuals who are becoming the people we were always meant to be.
P.S. I do not recommend our particular method of burning down the proverbial marital house but this was our path. And in our case, a gift. :) If I had to do it all over again, I’d ditch the kerosene and I’d TALK MORE. Make it known what was going on in my head and heart, no matter if I thought it would hurt him. And I’d want him to do the same for me. Give each other the space you need, as individuals, but also tune into each other. Oh, and know that we’re here on earth to learn, to love, and to grow with or without a bonfire.