As a couple with both a successful, fulfilling relationship coaching business and successful, fulfilling marriage, we realize that we have a life that many people dream of. We'd like to share our journey of how we arrived here, so that you have a deep understanding that our lives were not always this rosy. We want you to know that it's possible for you to have everything you desire. Really!
How do we know this? Because of our journey, and we will share it with you today.
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For the majority of my life I felt drastically flawed. In my teens I developed really good cover in a false confidence that everyone around me seemed to buy. I also "developed," literally—I got boobs early, my period started when I was in 6th grade, I lost my virginity at 14. Starting at a very young age, I mistook sex for love. I also accepted sex as love.
I see now that I was simply so desperate to feel wanted, desired, cherished and cared for that I'd grab hold to any version of that love that appeared. I feared it was all I would ever get. My deepest, darkest secret was that I felt unlovable. Still, I used that "cover" I'd developed to seem "normal." Now I know as a woman in her 40s that all teenagers wish to fit in, but this went well beyond my teens, it followed me into college, and stuck around through my 20s and into my 30s. Is Low Self-Esteem Hurting Your Relationship?
I would do anything to "prove" my worth back then—going above and beyond the call of duty many times, only to find heartbreak, disappointment and betrayal. Each defeat only solidified what I felt in my heart to be true: I was damaged beyond repair, like the sofa you put out on the curb for the city to take to the dump. Although unlike the sofa, I had never felt loved—even when shiny, clean and new.
Oh sure, I had boyfriends and when they departed, I'd remember that scene in the beginning of Gone With The Wind when all the men are around Scarlet, and all the women are in the other room saying, "A man doesn't marry that kind of girl."
Marriage was the last thing on my mind; I couldn't fathom that someone would commit to loving me forever. Being an overachiever, I excelled in the workforce. The good "cover" that I learned as a kid served me well, and I was able to do some really amazing things and work with some truly gifted people.
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Then it happened—the thing we all hope and pray for—the man who I imagined was my Mr. Right came into my life. He was handsome. He made me feel loved like no other. He seemed to be everything that I desired. I jumped in with both feet.
After 14 months of being together, on New Year's Eve of 1994, he beat me. It was the wake-up call of a lifetime. I left that relationship immediately, but it took me years to recover. I went through hours of traditional therapy and years of personal growth work. I read books. I went to workshops, I took a dating course, I looked inside myself for the first time with the desire to truly make myself whole.