I grew up as a total introvert. Bullied by many, ignored by most, I had zero self-esteem as a teen. Perhaps that is why I married the first person who paid any attention to me…..
Over eighteen years later, in 2013, my therapist at the domestic violence shelter would label him as a gaslighting narcissist, and label me as broken, both mentally and emotionally. She told me I had PTSD and that I would need serious medication and treatment. For over 18 years, I had been told I was worthless, a nobody. I was often at fault for traffic being backed up, a restaurant service being bad, him being sick, the kids being sick, whatever happened that was not good was generally my fault. I was not allowed to have real friendships, my friends had to spend time at our home, where he could listen to our conversations. Any time outside of home, including work, had to be described to him in complete detail…over and over again, with him hoping to ‘catch me’ in something wrong. If the details weren’t ‘right’ or to his liking, life was much worse for me, and friendships and sometimes jobs were often ended. Nearly every time we had time with family or friends, he would go over and over what happened during that event…bending and twisting the events to make him look like a better person than he was and to make me and others look bad. He gaslighted me so much, that honestly, there are many memories of my life that I cannot trust to know if they are true, or just what he insisted was truth. There were many nights I was woke up and kept up going over and over my sins of going to work or having a friend or not being a good enough wife. This typically ended with me getting raped. (I could never really even say that word to my therapist or even admit to myself that is what happened for a very long time.) My miscarriages, my continual stomach issues, my spinal fusion (c3-4 were fused together in 2010), was just further proof to how horrible of a person I must be and further proof that I needed him and could not take care of our children without him.
In 2013, I finally found evidence of the cheating and finally felt I had a right to leave. You see, I truly believe that I was at fault for all the issues, and was just lucky he wasn’t leaving me. Although we were divorced, he still had a key to my home, still came and went as he pleased and still spent time controlling my life. I was told dating would be bad for our children and therefore, was not to date. Even though he dated multiple women and would even bring them to my home to be around our children. I was even told what to cook, what to bring into and not into the home, same as always…but, at least he was not around at night. I started having more serious physical problems like high cholesterol and high blood pressure. My doctor told me I was physically broken and insisted that when, not if, but when I had a stroke or heart attack, I would have the hospital call her. I had herniated even more discs in my neck. My low back was also bad once again. Physical therapy wasn’t helping. Chiropractic care wasn’t helping. Meds weren’t helping. Broken. Where had I heard that before? Oh yes…my therapist at the domestic violence house. So now, I was physically, mentally, and emotionally broken.
During my church’s New Year Eve services that year, going from 2013 to 2014, I begged God to just take me. Kill me. Let me die. I wasn’t going to commit suicide, but I didn’t want to live any more. I was so broken. I was so tired of being under the control of a psychopath. I was so tired being controlled by medication. A day or two later (I honestly can’t remember) I fell asleep on the couch and was awoken by wrestling being on TV. I was so confused, I didn’t understand why it was on. It was the DDPY infomercial. I was in too much pain and too tired to get up to change the channel. A few days later, I was trying to vacuum my house and doing a horrible job of it, and once again the commercial came on. Could this fix my back? It was too good to be true, but I was absolutely desperate. I ordered the program and began doing the online videos from the Teamddpyoga website. When I first started, I used to lock my door and hide from my teenagers. I then made them promise they wouldn’t tell their dad. I was so afraid he would find out. I started to sneak healthier things into my diet, so my teens wouldn’t notice, so my ex-husband wouldn’t notice if he were there. I could not risk him finding out I was taking care of me. That always led to horrible consequences and I did not want to be forced to stop working out! As I kept working out, I kept getting healthier and within 5 months, I had cut my cholesterol in half and was off all the medications, even the antidepressants. I no longer considered getting a second neck surgery and stopped worrying about a sneeze throwing my lower back out. I went from a size 18 to a size 10. I was finally openly talking about DDPY with most people, but still hiding it from my ex. By August of that year, I had lost over 40 pounds and my friend and I decided to drive 11 hours to the first DDPY workshop in LaSalle, Illinois. After that workshop, my best friend convinced me that we should become certified instructors. I told her I was not capable, and she made me add the word “yet” to that sentence.
Sometime after that, my ex-husband was at my home. There ‘to see his son’, but our son was in his room, and there he was trying to tell me how to finish cooking the meal I was preparing, trying to get me to go over conversations I had had week’s prior, and blaming me for his poor health. He then started in on me for taking a picture of my meal…and I lost my cool….or maybe I gained boldness and strength. Whatever it was, I knew I was strong enough to do a 10 count pushup, to do the complete Diamond Cutter workout, and I could be strong enough to kick that man out of my house. For the first time in my life, I stood up for me. He never entered my home without permission again. In fact, he rarely spoke to me after that day.
In October of 2014, my mom brought up the domestic violence shelter where I had received counseling, and I had a flashback to how weak I used to feel versus how I felt at that very moment. I started thinking about that ‘yet’ I had added to my sentence after the workshop in LaSalle. Maybe I was strong enough after all. I started dating, and living life for me, not for anyone else. I was finally happy.
In November 2014, I signed up to become a Level 1 certified instructor. In February 2014, I became certified and used my time to start helping build others. No longer broken, I started Building the Broken, a way to help others physically, mentally and emotionally. I have enjoyed taking DDPY to domestic violence shelters, foster agencies working with girls who have faced abuse, and others. With the help of my second husband, who loves me unconditionally, I am now looking forward to gaining my level 2 certification.