We all grew up with some sort of dysfunction and/or challenges.
I strongly believe that our challenges make us stronger even though sometimes it feels we will never get to a place where we have peace of mind and feel joy.
I have shared in several of my articles the challenges I faced growing up back home in Slovenia. My parents did the best they could – yet it took me many years of working on myself to be able to forgive them and especially my mom, who was the abuser. It left me deep emotional scars however it also served as a catalyst for my growth and gave me meaning and purpose as I have been helping my clients to heal from childhood abuse, trauma, chronic depression, chronic stress, and anxiety.
I came into this world with 70% negative programming, which I know now was an inter-generational pattern, especially on my mom’s side of the family.
My ancestors dealt with losses and trauma by relying on violence and alcohol, including my grandfather who was a part of the Partisan movement and fought and suffered from PTSD which during those times was not even diagnosed and people were left to their own devices.
I suffered multiple traumas in my life; a car accident at 3 years old. Sexual abuse at age 10 by my uncle. Continued emotional, mental, and physical abuse from age 15 to almost 25 when I finally left home. I never felt safe or loved as my father also never protected me from my mom’s violent rages. I believe she has untreated bipolar and possibly even Borderline Personality Disorder.
I dealt with it by spending hours in my room, reading, journaling, and listening to music. My journals were a basis for my memoir that I published in 2010 titled “My Journey to Self-discovery.” I was also fortunate that I had friends that I could confide in. Dating my first serious boyfriend also showed me that there are families that don’t live in constant tension and fighting, and also, that there are such things as actual love and laughter. It opened my eyes and I swore to myself that I will do anything I could to find ways to heal and not to become like my mom. I was also blessed that my grandmother truly loved me and always found comforting words in the midst of the worst challenges, when I was suicidal and just felt the pain was too much for a sensitive soul like me.
At 25, when I graduated from college with my BS in English and Education, I moved out only to find out that my boyfriend had been cheating on me with one of my friends, and a neighbor. It devastated me and at the same time, I was determined to find love and happiness. So when I met my now ex-husband who offered me a new life in a new country – the US – to the shock and surprise of not only my parents but also my friends, I moved to the US in October 1997 and I strongly believe even though the marriage didn’t work out, this saved my life.
I believe this because I started working on myself and healing from past abuse and trauma, which is an ongoing journey.
What helped me most of all was adopting spirituality, learning about Buddhism and Hinduism, meditating daily, and surrounding myself with positive and caring people. As I grew more spiritually and emotionally, I had to let go of jobs and people that became toxic. The biggest thing was my resilience and belief that I can change my life for the better. I explored numerous approaches and techniques that served me and helped me heal and now over the past 15 years, my clients also benefited from it.
I embraced my gifts of sensitivity and being able to detect hypocrisy and lies within seconds. This also meant that people who were uncomfortable with my presence felt threatened and tried to harm me, and yet, the gift of being an honest person of integrity is, to me, the highest value.
My calling is my purpose and this is what made a key difference in my life.
Never give up. Keep going. Love is the answer no matter what.