By Eliane Sainte-Marie, founder Parenting for Wholeness
Sitting in contemplation this morning, I found myself thinking the words: I am happy.
And it touched my heart to such a deep level, to realize I’d finally made it.
After a lifetime of somehow, against all odds and in spite of all the shit I was living and pain I was in, believing it was possible to feel this way.
And about 25 years of working my butt off to get here.
I’ve waited a whole 50 years to finally say these words.
HOW I THOUGHT LOVE WOULD SAVE ME
For most of my life, even though I at times claimed I knew a love relationship wasn’t what would bring me real happiness, I still was on the search for the person who would finally give me what I needed to become happy.
From possibly as young as 5 until 45 years old, I was a love addict (I’m still working on the remnants of it to this day, though they are now incredibly mild compared to what they were even a few months ago.)
I remember even as a young child dreaming of being in love. Every day and every night. Of having a boy in love with me.
Which to me meant that I would finally feel loved.
WHAT I YEARNED FOR
I yearned for all I didn't experience in my family of origin.
I would feel loved.
I would finally feel that I mattered to someone.
Someone would truly SEE me.
Listen to me.
Be interested in ME, not who they wanted me to be or thought I should be.
I would finally feel that who I was was okay, just as I was.
I would feel accepted exactly as I was.
I would be validated and therefore would feel I had a right to be here.
And then I would be happy.
Of course, the media and entertainment industry totally reinforced these ideas.
Movies, songs and even ads are full of messages that the right partner will save us and make us happy.
Besides Alanis Morissette (I’m sure there are more, she’s just the one I’m most familiar with,) there aren’t a lot of messages that what WILL save us is a shit ton of inner work to heal ourselves and to develop SELF-love.
WHEN IT'S NOT POSSIBLE FOR US TO DEVELOP SELF-LOVE, BECAUSE WE DON'T FEEL DESERVING OF IT
And even when we do receive those accurate messages of what’s needed in order to truly be happy, for many of us who have been taught that our feelings are wrong, that we’re selfish for wanting what we want, that who we are is intrinsically wrong and needs to be fixed, developing self-love is pretty much an impossible task.
Because we don’t believe we’re worthy of loving ourselves.
We don’t believe we’re worthy of meeting our needs.
We don’t believe we’re worthy of honoring our feelings.
We believe our job is to work harder on fixing ourselves. And only once we’ve fixed ourselves properly will we then be worthy of loving ourselves. Not one second before.
HITTING ROCK BOTTOM ON FEBRUARY 7th, 2016
So for me, the only way, the only thing that gave me permission to start taking my feelings and needs seriously, the only way I could start being nice, kind, understanding and gentle with myself, was when I realized that otherwise I’d kill myself.
AND INFLICTING THAT TRAUMA ON MY DAUGHTERS WAS NOT ACCEPTABLE.
Though I didn’t feel worthy of treating myself the way I’d always treated my daughters and treat everyone else around me, I couldn’t stand the idea of my daughters losing their mother, and to suicide on top of it, and experiencing all the trauma that would have come with it.
And I knew learning to treat myself the same way I'd always done with my daughters and treat everyone in my life was the only way to prevent it from happening.
So I had to do it for THEM.
(Incidentally, a lot of it is true for most of the moms I work with, which was the purpose of me starting Parenting for Wholeness in the first place. I knew, given who my followers are, that once women realized that they needed to be happy themselves and take their needs and feelings seriously in order to be the moms they wanted to be, for many of them, only then would they commit to their own healing and thriving journeys, only then would they too move toward the same wholeness they all want for their children.)
I’m happy now (and alive!) only because I reached a desperate point in my life where if I did not once and for all address all this shit that’d been torturing me and preventing me from being happy, all the trauma, and if I didn't find a way to live that I literally could live with, I was going to end my life.
I could not go on in the same way, not even one more day.
This happened February 7th 2016.
A perfect storm of many many stressful and impossible things happened all at once, in insight likely by design, to bring me to my complete breaking point.
I got really scared that day that I wouldn’t see the light of day the next morning, because the depth of darkness and agony I was in would make me take my life before daylight broke.
THE HEALING JOURNEY
But I didn’t.
And I woke up the next morning, a complete, broken wreck, yet in a way clearer than I’d ever been in my life.
I set out to heal myself, for good this time, all the way.
Because I knew it was the only way that my daughters would not have to live with the trauma of their mom's suicide.
(Though I’ve done tons of healing work over the past 25 years, I would always eventually fall back into depressions, which I started experiencing regularly at age 10.)
You know how I mentioned how hard it is for someone who grew up with negative messages about themselves to develop self-love? For me, the fear of inflicting the trauma of my loss and suicide on my children was the only thing that was strong enough to give me permission do it.
So I committed to giving myself what I’d given my daughters and every single woman I’d worked with since starting Parenting for Wholeness.
One thing I knew how to do was parent. So I set out to apply the Clean Parenting principles I teach, this time to myself.
I started to question those beliefs that I wasn’t worthy, wasn’t deserving of having my needs met AS I WAS, now, instead of waiting until I had finally transformed myself into someone I believed would be worthy of it.
I let go of every single person who communicated any hint of that in my life.
And I dove deeply into myself to heal and clear all the grief, trauma and negative beliefs that lived in me.
I thought it’d take a few months.
It took 3 years. Almost to the week.
I don’t think I would have had the courage to take on this journey, had I known what its effect on me would be (rendering me completely non-functional,) how long it would take (one month short of 3 years,) the cost to my body (I was pre-diabetic, had very high cholesterol, all kinds of internal issues and was almost 100 lbs overweight) and all that it would damage and destroy in my life (including my most cherished relationship.)
But boy am I glad I did!!!!!
WHAT I'M LIVING NOW
The way I feel now, I had no way of imagining it while I was still carrying all the negative beliefs about myself, was paralyzed by them and therefore unable to live a life that lined up with my values.
I feel clear now. So crystal clear, where all there was before was convoluted thinking and confusion!
Decisions are so easy to make!! Because I know myself, I have access to my inner guidance, and whether or not I like what it tells me, the messages are unmistakable.
And MY NEEDS ARE MET. Having committed to clean parenting myself and working on creating a life where my needs are met as well as speaking up in my relationships and building new ones with people who do share my values, my life is so sweet!!
My heart feels full and happy.
I wake up at peace and fall asleep at peace.
I like myself.
It turns out that once I cleared all the negative beliefs I had about myself, I realized I’m a really good person with a huge heart and deep commitment to creating good in the world.
And I’m also pretty cool, funny, warm, wise and smart.
I now LIKE who I am!!
And the peace and full heart that I feel, it’s what I’d been looking for all my life from love relationships. Turns out that the most direct path to it was learning to love myself.
I’m not saying everything perfect.
Not at all. But I have hope and trust and feel empowered and capable in what I still need to work through.
I’ll likely still be doing weekly sessions with my trusted Dana for months.
And I’m still dealing with health issues, a life that’s become a mess from years of not being attended to, I’m 75 lbs overweight (though that 20 less than on Jan. 1st!!) and still have several important relationships to work through.
But they’re relationships that do have what I consider the 2 critical conditions to have healthy relationships:
For those of you who have completed my Clean Parenting program, I am now creating a program where I will walk you through and support you in the process I took, so you too can heal and it doesn’t have to take you as long and/or be as destructive and lonely of a process for you. Even though this program won’t start till end of summer, I already only have 5 spots left in it, so contact me right away if you’re interested in it.
If you haven’t done my Clean Parenting program and are bummed out that I only offer this program to its graduates, it’s because a lot of the foundation for it, as well as the needed trust and connection with me gets set up in that program, allowing us to dive deep from the get go in the healing one.
If you’re not a parent or aren’t interested in my Clean Parenting program, I can recommend an amazing woman who has deeply supported me in the past years, is a cherished personal friend, and whom I would in a heartbeat designate/name as the legal guardian of my children, if I had young ones. That’s how much I trust her.
She is Dana DaPonte.
If you’re not interested in doing a program or getting support but would love to hear more about journey, make sure to sign up for my email list here, as I’ll be publishing a lot more on this topic, for probably the rest of my life.
It turns out that Whitney's been signing to me since I was a teenager was the message I needed all along.
I wrote the above 2 months, and didn’t want to edit it because it represents where I was at at that point, and it feels meaningful to share it.
But I want to write a bit more about where I’m at today.
Right after reading this, as I got to work on healing one of the relationships I mentioned above, I realized something was really off in our exchanges, yet I couldn’t put my finger on it. So I dove deep into research, and realized that I’d suffered narcissistic abuse from this person. You can read about it here.
It’s been an incredibly intense realization, laden with tons more grief, but that has also brought me to a whole new level of thriving and delighting in my life.
Here’s something I wrote on my Facebook wall just days after starting a healing program on narcissistic abuse recovery:
“What it feels like to heal from narcissistic abuse?
For me, after 3 days of intense healing (in addition to weeks, years, decades of healing, though I didn't know WHAT I was healing from,) I feel CLEAN inside for the first time in my life.
I feel lightness.
I know the truth that all I have to be is myself, and this feels incredibly easy and joyful.
I've dropped the constant orientation of looking at myself through the judgmental eyes of a deeply unhealthy person, and the feeling that I should be doing what would lead to her approving of me, which was the only way I could feel valid and good.
Since yesterday, I keep singing in my head the words of a popular 80's song: "The future's so bright, I gotta wear shades.""
I’ve been writing a lot about this specific healing journey separately so won’t go into this here (just get on my email list at the bottom of this article for more info on this.)
But the really cool thing that I want to share with you is that finding out about narcissistic abuse has led me to the answer to the questions I was left sitting with after writing the first part of this post:
How do I help other women, what do they do, when like me they don’t believe they’re worthy of self-love, so they don’t have to reach the point I did of getting to death’s door and then like me go through years of grief and putting their lives on hold in order to heal themselves?
Well through what I now see as the gift of having found out about narcissistic abuse, I found an amazing program that deals directly with this and that's been helping me heal, grow and come into myself at a speed I'm shocked and delighted by.
It gets to the heart of the core issues and beliefs that plague and paralyze those of us whose needs, experiences and feelings have been neglected or even made wrong.
If you know me, you know I rarely give advice, believing instead in encouraging people to follow their own inner guidance and trust themselves. So for me to be super pushy about something, it has to be really important.
And I AM PUSHING EVERYONE TO SIGN UP FOR AND DO THIS PROGRAM! Because I KNOW what's on the other side of doing this work, and for any of my loved ones who are not yet thriving and living the wholeness of who they are, I don't want them to stay on this side of it one more day.
If you're ready to heal, for your life to get better, to fully live who you essentially are, beneath the wounds, trauma, conditioning, please trust me, get this program and DO IT!!!
You will not BELIEVE how quickly things shift once you do. Everyone I've had try it has been delighted by its power and impact. And it's ridiculously cheap given what you get and comes with a 30 day no questions asked money back guarantee. So there's truly nothing to lose.
It's not worth spending one more day sitting in stuff when you could so quickly move it through this work!! I'm really going to be obnoxious about it, with EVERYONE, because it's just that powerful and I want everyone to live free and from this joyous place of being fully ourselves. ?
Though this program is ostensibly for victims of narcissistic abuse, I believe EVERYONE should do it and work with it, whether or not they've suffered narcissistic abuse. Because it's also about recovering from emotional abuse (as well as reconnecting us with our essential selves) and all of us in one way or another have suffered emotional abuse, from our society, our conditioning, schools, and through the way we were parented. This program addresses every aspect of this.
Here's the link for it. (And if you do sign up for it, email me and I'll send you a video I've created on how I use the program, based on my decades of experience doing healing work, to get the most out of each healing session.)
This program is not only incredibly effective, it is also ridiculously priced for what you get (I would have paid 10 times its cost given what I'm getting out of it!!), offers payment plans so you can start it for as little as $35 a month, and offers a no questions asked money back guarantee. It's so not worth NOT doing it!!
Melanie Tonia Evans's approach to true healing and empowerment matches what I've been teaching for years, in terms of how our challenges with our children can lead to our own healing and wholeness. The exact same thing happens with narcissists and any other kind of abuser, if we use the trauma and wounds for our healing.
Just like I've said for decades that I owe Jean Liedloff the wholeness of my children, I now feel like I owe my own wholeness to Melanie Tonia Evans.
And I am making it part of my life's work, as I have to promoting Jean's approach to parenting, to encourage everyone to do this life changing work.
Because I believe that between raising children in the way I teach and healing ourselves, we can change this world of ours to one we'd love living in.
Please take yourself, your thriving and your happiness seriously, dear mama. I can tell you from experience that it’s the only way you’ll be able to be the parent you want to be to your children. I’ve learned this the very painful way, once it was too late for me and my children had left home.
Yes, I did manage to do a great job maintaining their wholeness, but I was too caught up in my own trauma, in trying to cope with life, to really be present to them and enjoy them.
I’m making up for it now that they’re in the 20’s and just reveling in it!! ♥
But my wish for you, part of my mission in working with moms, is making sure that they can enjoy their lives with their children while they’re still home with them, while they’re still young.
You deserve it. ♥
Lots of love,
If any of this speaks to you, contact me and we'll set up a time to chat to explore if working together might be right. I would LOVE to work with you if it is, and to help bring you to this new place of happiness I'm finally living.
"DOING THE CLEAN PARENTING PROGRAM WAS ON PAR FOR CHANGING MY LIFE AS HAVING MY FIRST CHILD."
Here's what Kristen Phillips, of Cottage Grove Oregon, wrote of her journey to finding her way through parenting and working with me:
"I’m not sure I can quite put into words exactly what Eliane and her programs have done for me. When my first son was born, my world completely changed. So many things that I thought I knew suddenly didn’t make sense, and philosophies I believed in no longer resonated. His arrival shook everything up.
As I ferociously searched the internet to try to find some “parenting style” that did feel good to me, I came across The Continuum Concept. When I found it and started reading it, I could feel that this was THE book I was looking for. My whole body relaxed once it was in my hands and I started digesting it. As much as I loved that book, I could tell pretty quickly that I was going to need help applying it in this modern world. As I got back on the internet to find that someone, I of course came across Eliane’s work. And while reading the first article of hers I found, I again got that familiar feeling of this is THE person. Every single word she wrote seemed to hit straight to my heart, and I was like “yes! this is 100% it!”
Once my son got old enough, I did the Clean Parenting Course. Doing that course was on par for changing my life as having my first child. It's like someone finally helped me unlock my soul and helped me really see what the possibilities of life, love and relationships were. I felt I had the keys to becoming the mother and person I was destined to become, I learned so much about myself during that course.
Since then, I have worked intimately with Eliane and done the Deep Healing Program and Clean Relationships Program along with many, many healing sessions. Eliane has become somewhat of a “fairy godmother” in my life- someone who really gets me, is on my team, and is continually helping to guide me back to my greatest source of strength- myself. Between Eliane and the Sisterhood group, I feel like I have someone whom I wholeheartedly trust holding my hand along my journeys of parenting and life.
My life, my children’s lives and my husband’s life have all been impacted in the best way possible. I will forever be grateful for Eliane and her continual support. She has really become like part of my family and I cannot imagine my life without her and her work."