There are a myriad of emotions, thoughts and choices after you have gone through a divorce, especially a survivor of abuse. I go through the roller coaster ride of the 2 years after the divorce, which involves depression, bankruptcy, sleepless night, and sabotage. I also take time to reflect the positive things that I did afterwards that I was not allowed to do when I was married. It is a raw and transparent account filled with teachable moments. I also include a Christmas giveaway and my song O Holy Night!
O Holy Night arrangement by David Clydesdale, used by permission on license.
*** For the Christmas Giveaway! Listen to Wayne’s Stiles interview below and post your takeaway on social media! ***
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The Aftermath[00:00:00] Welcome to the Wounds of the Faithful Podcast. Brought to you by DSW Ministries. Your host is singer songwriter, speaker and domestic violence advocate, Diana Winkler. She is passionate about helping survivors in the church heal from domestic violence and abuse and trauma. This podcast is not a substitute for professional counseling or qualified medical help. [00:00:26] Now here is Diana. [00:00:33] Hi everyone. Welcome back. I hope that you are surviving the holidays so far. I already got my Christmas present this year. Now I said all I want for Christmas is a job, a permanent job. So Friday I was given a job offer by my dream company. I’m [00:01:00] not gonna give you the name on the podcast. You certainly can message me or email me for that. [00:01:05] But it is very difficult to get into this company. I have applied four times and I interviewed three times to get this position. and the company has great benefits and lots of opportunities, lots of places to transfer to, to learn new skills and [00:01:28] further my career. So that is an answer to prayer. So I appreciate the prayers for my job situation. I will be doing healthcare administration, but I will be doing more patient facing roles. [00:01:46] So we talked about boundaries last week on the podcast. I have already had to establish a boundary this season. I practice what I preach, folks. [00:02:00] Unfortunately, one of Brian’s relatives is in hospice and so all of his family has come here to be with her in her final days and for the funeral. And one of those people is one of Brian’s abusers, a cult leader and all around unpleasant person to be around. [00:02:25] And I was really afraid that he was gonna come in and shove his false teachings down our throat. But I told Brian, I’m not going to go to hospice with you if he is there. and I won’t be going to the funeral either. And says, well, these kind of situations are gonna come up and we’re going to have to be around him. [00:02:48] And I said, no, I don’t have to be around him. I don’t have to be around a cult leader. I don’t have to be around an abuser. And this is for your family to pay their respects to [00:03:00] your relative. It’s really inappropriate to have that negative family dynamic going. [00:03:06] And I just don’t wanna deal with that. So we were very fortunate that when his family member flew in, he visited the relative in hospice a different time than we did, and I think that’s the best way. [00:03:23] And so that’s the kind of things that you have to do. And again, you don’t have to be around toxic people during the holidays just because you’re expected to, just because it’s Christmas. You need to protect your mental health. You want to feel safe in those environments, free from attack. [00:03:47] I’ve gotten to a place in my life where I’m very particular, about who is in my personal space, who is in my circle of friends and who I choose to be with. But the point is, I want [00:04:00] you to celebrate the holidays and get through the holidays and not stress over, I have to go to Uncle Harry’s house, I have to do this, I have to do that. [00:04:10] No, you don’t. You don’t have to do anything and you will get push back. If it’s something that’s important to you, then you stand your ground. So that’s all I’m gonna say about that. [00:04:23] So I mentioned on the previous podcast that I was gonna give away some Christmas gifts here. [00:04:32] This is going to be the first one. Let me get that out for you. So I have Walking the Bible Lands, if you can see that on there. Dr. Wayne Stiles. Wayne has been on the podcast last year, and I’m gonna put his episode link in the show notes. But I bought like four or five of these to give out as gifts. [00:04:57] Now I watch his videos to the Bible [00:05:00] lands. I have the subscription service, and I’ve seen every one of his videos. But this is a DVD version. So it’s like in a giftable version. This is volume one. They are videos of him going to Bible lands and he does practical biblical lessons to apply the Bible and the Holy Lands to your everyday life. [00:05:27] So I’ve talked about him on the show and you’re not gonna regret it. You want to watch these videos. Let me read to you the different places on this video. [00:05:40] The Temple Mount, Sepphoris. Hope I’m pronouncing that right, Timna Valley, Bet’Shean, Valley of Acor, Patmos, Greece, Ephesus, Turkey, Appian Way, Rome, Balm of Gilead, Jordan, Mount Sinai, Egypt. [00:06:00] So those are 10 key sites. [00:06:02] These are absolutely fantastic videos. It’s just like being there. I’ve been to Israel and this is the next best thing. [00:06:10] So to enter the giveaway, I would like you to watch Wayne’s episode. The link is in the show notes, and I’d like you to put your takeaway, whatever you got out of this interview, it could be anything you’d like. [00:06:27] Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, [00:06:30] you can respond on social media, what your answer is. So Christmas day is when I’m going to pick the winner, so you guys need to hop on it and I will ship this to your home. [00:06:43] So the link will be in the show notes for Wayne’s episode. And be sure to go on social media and look for this post so you can comment on that. [00:06:57] So that’s my giveaway this week. I’ll have another [00:07:00] giveaway next week, so stay tuned for that. [00:07:03] Today at the end, I will have my song, O Holy Night, my recording for you. And this song is from my original album that I released right after I left my abuser, which I will be telling you about today. I thought it was fitting to include that at the end of the podcast for you to hear. [00:07:28] It’s my favorite Christmas Carol of all time, and you can listen to it on my website. You can see me performing the song on YouTube. and it is for purchase or download on my website, DSW Ministries dot org. That’s all in the show notes for you too. [00:07:50] Now onto our show for today. [00:07:54] We’re going to be talking today about the aftermath of my divorce, leaving my [00:08:00] abuser. [00:08:01] I hope that you learned a little bit about me and where I’m coming from. I hope that you learned some things about yourself and your own story. I hope that you’ll tell your story, maybe not on a podcast, but maybe tell somebody that you trust: a therapist, maybe a joining A Mending The Soul Group. [00:08:28] I’m starting my newest group in January. I have room for three people, so if you’re interested, please email me. You will be in good company with other people that will be telling their story. [00:08:44] Your story is powerful. Even if you aren’t ready to tell your story in public, you can write it down in a safe place. It’s very therapeutic to get it out. [00:08:57] So it’s been quite a task for me [00:09:00] to do the long form version of my story. It was very hard to decide what to include and what to leave out. Trust me, I left a lot out, but I told you what I thought would be helpful and what would teach certain principles. [00:09:19] If you have feedback on my story, I would love to hear from you. if this has been a help to you or maybe you have some comments about that, you can relate to my story in one particular way. [00:09:32] I have been told that I am bitter, that I’m possibly gossiping. Why don’t you just get over it? And what I’m doing here is not gossiping and I am not bitter. If you’ve listened to my story at all, I have healed considerably from my abuse. I don’t think we’re going to be fully healed till we get to the other side of eternity. [00:09:57] I’m sharing my story to give [00:10:00] you courage to tell your story. I’m pointing out different types of abuse cuz there are many different kinds that you may not recognize. So just giving you a little warning that you are going to get some naysayers and you’re gonna get some busy bodies, preachers, religious people, legalists. [00:10:20] But don’t let that stop you. I didn’t let it stop me. [00:10:24] I’ve got a huge amount of stuff to talk about today. [00:10:28] [00:10:28] I’m gonna start my story with my first Christmas as a single person. There were multiple emotions during my first Christmas because I didn’t get to say goodbye to my ex’s family. Of course, they’re gonna side with him because that’s his family. [00:10:49] I actually mourned my in-laws Christmas celebrations. Italian Christmases are huge. There’s lots of food, lots of [00:11:00] family, lots of going to people’s houses, and it’s almost smothering. And it took me a long time to get used to that, but, and Danny thought that I didn’t like his family, but that wasn’t true. [00:11:13] I just didn’t like to be smothered. I needed, a little personal space. I don’t like intrusive questions, that kind of stuff. But I really liked being around his family. And I always had fun at Christmas with his family. Danny’s cousins and I would do mini concerts with the instruments that we had. [00:11:33] I think one of his cousins played the flute and another one played a violin. and then I sang, and I think one of our uncles had a tambourine, so we just sang Christmas Carols and it was very enjoyable. I really cherish that memory, [00:11:51] so I did mourn not having that. I was by myself. Now, I didn’t tell my parents that I was getting a [00:12:00] divorce until I moved out. I just showed up for dinner one day without Danny, and that’s how they found out. I don’t remember doing that much that year except watching my favorite Christmas movies and singing in the choir. [00:12:16] We had the Christmas pageant in my new church. and I always brought out my heirloom manger scene. The manger itself was handcrafted by my late uncle on my mom’s side, and then the figurines were a gift for my mother. And then those figurines have been in my family a very long time, and my mom didn’t live anywhere near me. [00:12:43] When I went through my divorce. She was back east and I don’t remember if I saw my dad and my stepmom Christmas day. I can’t remember if they were out of town. It just surprised me that I mourned my in-laws and I mourned [00:12:59] that [00:13:00] my marriage had failed, and there was a lot of guilt. There was a lot of, well, maybe I shouldn’t have divorced him. Maybe I should have tried harder. Maybe I should have fill in the blank. It took me a long time to stop doing that. I left for a reason, [00:13:19] so I may elaborate a little bit on that later, but the first thing that I needed to do was get a job so I could get my own apartment. As wonderful as it was staying with Julie and her family. They were very good to me. I wanted my own place, of course. So I found a dental assisting job not too far from Julie’s, but it was in an expensive neighborhood. [00:13:48] I found an apartment right next to the dentist. The dentist was in the shopping mall and there was these apartments and the rent was [00:14:00] pretty high. I think it was a thousand bucks a month. And I thought, well, since I don’t have to commute, I’m just gonna be walking next door to work, then that should save me some money and should probably balance out in the budget. [00:14:16] So I went and rented the apartment and started this job. At the dentist office, and keep in mind, this was 2008 during the stockmarket crash and yeah, I’m going to see the fallout from that. The problem with adjusting to being single and being still very raw from the whole thing is that I didn’t sleep. [00:14:49] I started this job and I made so many mistakes because I was trying too hard. You, have you ever done that? You’re trying so hard that you’re messing up everywhere [00:15:00] and I didn’t have enough sleep to do my job with quality. and my dentist was a female and while we were working on the patient, she would ask me a lot of personal questions and I know she was just trying to make conversation, but at that time I did not want to be asked any personal questions, and she would tell everybody that I lived next door and I had to tell her, please don’t tell anybody where I live. [00:15:26] I don’t want anybody to know where I live, particularly if I’m hiding from my ex-husband. [00:15:32] So at the 2008 crash, nobody was coming to the dentist to do like teeth whitening or veneers or cosmetic dentistry, that’s what you make your biggest money on. But they wouldn’t even come in for cleanings. The only people that we would see is somebody that had a broken tooth. They they had an abscess, they needed a root [00:16:00] canal or a tooth pulled. [00:16:02] That’s pretty much the only people that we saw. And so the dentist could not keep payroll. And so when you can’t keep payroll, then you have to start laying people off. And since I was the newest employee, I was always the one being laid off. And so I was bounced from one dentist to the other. I was also registered with a temp agency because some of the dentists I worked for, I was only working part-time. [00:16:34] They weren’t giving me enough hours. I’d go home like the middle of the day or Friday, we wouldn’t even work at all. So I was doing temp work to make extra money and eventually I could not make enough money to pay my rent. And so I was taking cash advances on my credit cards, which I don’t recommend, but it was a[00:17:00] emergency kind of thing. [00:17:01] I only used it to pay rent [00:17:04] and maybe groceries. I’m not a a big spender. I was always a saver. I’m not somebody that would go shopping and buy all this stuff that I didn’t need. I’m a coupon clipper. I go to thrift stores if I need something, I know how to sew my own clothes. But yeah, I had to take a cash advance on my credit card to pay the rent and I really thought that, oh, I’ll finally get a stable job that’s going to keep me on payroll. [00:17:33] And when that didn’t happen, I decided to go back to the pharmacy industry, specifically my old company that I used to work for. [00:17:43] And so I pretty much told them, I did a career change in the dental industry and it didn’t work out. And so they rehired me to work at the call center. This is a pharmacy benefit manager. [00:17:58] And I was, [00:18:00] in training when my ex called me to tell me my male dog phantom, that he was going to have to put him to sleep. [00:18:10] And I was in training when this all happened. So I made the choice of whether to go and say goodbye to my dog. And I told the trainer that I’m gonna take a long lunch and I will be back this afternoon. So Phantom, he had this spinal degeneration and it just progressively got worse. He could not walk very well, he couldn’t feel anything from his waist down eventually, so he couldn’t go outside and go potty and the day. [00:18:49] and he made the decision was phantom was outside and he was in the rain and he couldn’t get up. So Danny went out there to get him [00:19:00] and picked him up and the dog bit him. So they were both in pain. He managed to get the dog into the house somehow. [00:19:09] He had this big bite mark on his arm. Danny realized that he had no feelings in his legs, so he couldn’t feel when he pooped, so he was just laying there in the carpet and pooping on the carpet. [00:19:23] So it just wasn’t feasible and quality of life for the dog to pick him up and take him out to go potty and bring him back in. And he wouldn’t wear like doggy diapers. Danny was working and so he just decided that he was just gonna have to put ’em down. And mind you, Phantom was 18 years old. [00:19:46] He had lived a very full life. From the waist up, he was all active German Shepherd dog, his brain was all there. And that’s probably why it was so hard to make the [00:20:00] decision. [00:20:00] So he asked me to meet him at the vet and so I left work and drove down there and Phantom was already sedated. I didn’t know if Phantom knew it was me there being a little drugged up. I just pet him and give him a kiss. Danny on the other hand, was a complete mess. [00:20:20] He was just beside himself crying because he never had a dog. He never had any pets growing up. His parents never let him have a pet. So this was his first dog. I never went through putting a dog to sleep. [00:20:38] I’ve had many pets over the years, but all of them died another way. They either got hit by a car, they ran away, or woke up, they were already gone. We did have to put a horse down when I was in grade school. My Apaloosa had a brain tumor and he just declined [00:21:00] over a short period and the vet had to come out and put him down. [00:21:04] And I could tell that Danny was struggling if he was making the right decision. And I told him, you are doing the right thing. He doesn’t have a good quality of life anymore. He’s 18 years old and, and he’s biting you in pain. He doesn’t wanna be picked up. [00:21:25] There isn’t really anything else you can do. So he told me that they had a really nice last day, you know, he spoiled him, like he loved fish. Gave him all kinds of treats and just spent some time with him. And I wish I had that opportunity, but I didn’t. So I told him, the longer we wait here the worse it is. [00:21:49] So I told the vet that we were ready to say goodbye. The dog that had gotten me through some really tough days, raised this dog from [00:22:00] a year old and he was a big comfort for me when I was going through all these trials with my marriage. We said our final goodbyes, and they put the drug in the IV and then he was gone. [00:22:14] And I thanked Danny for letting me say my goodbyes and to give Annie our female dog a hug. And it really sucked that I had to go back to work after that with my eyes all swollen. I had cried on the way back to work. That was really hard. He got another dog pretty quickly because Annie and Phantom were very close, they were a bonded pair, and so Annie didn’t understand why Phantom was gone and was tearing the house up. [00:22:51] She knew something was wrong. She was very intelligent. So he got another dog. From the pound. [00:22:58] I’m gonna tell you some of the [00:23:00] things they did right away after my divorce that I was not allowed to do during my marriage. One of the first things that I did after the divorce was to get my eye surgery, my LASIK surgery. [00:23:14] Now these are reading glasses. I can still see distance. But I had bottle caps from the seventh grade. I was legally blind in my right eye, so when I took my glasses off, I could not see. And that’s kind of concerning if you break your glasses, which I have done before, somebody sat on them, and I could not use contact lenses because I have chronic dry eye and I could wear ’em for maybe an hour, and then my, it’s like Tabasco and sand in my eyes. [00:23:50] So I just wore glasses for the longest time, and I really wanted to get this done, but I found a surgery center and it [00:24:00] was about a thousand dollars. with CareCredit to get my eyes done. If you’ve never had the surgery or any kind of eye surgery, it’s kind of wild. I was awake for the whole thing. And it’s kind of freaky. If you’re have any anxiety they tell you to take Xanax or something. [00:24:21] I didn’t really feel the need to do that. But you are completely blind for a few minutes because I guess they, I think they cut off the blood supply or optic nerve or something. And then when the laser comes in, [00:24:36] I could see the laser cutting my eye. It’s actually kind of like a kaleidoscope effect. But I felt absolutely no pain. They numb your eyeball up really good and your eyes are like propped open. There was some pressure, but no pain. But when the surgery was over and I sat up on that table, I could read the clock on the [00:25:00] wall, which I couldn’t do before. It just like instant, and I could read street signs from a very far off. [00:25:08] I wish I had done it sooner. That would definitely be something I would recommend. They have more options than they did in 2008. The stuff that they can do with cataracts and LASIK has been taken to a whole new level. [00:25:24] And today I still have excellent distance vision. Of course, when I hit a certain age then the surgeon told me you will need reading glasses eventually. [00:25:34] So, that was one of the things that I did when I left. Checking the boxes off my list. The second thing that was very important to me to do, can you guess what it is? [00:25:51] I recorded my album. Being married to a Sound engineering, having a recording studio in our home, but never [00:26:00] having an album of my own. That was a huge burr, my side. I had taken the piano tracks that I had recorded with my piano teacher, Paul. So I brought everything to the studio to start recording, and the engineer loaded the music into his system. Now, I don’t know this man from Adam, but he came up to me and he said, I can’t use these tracks. I said, what do you mean? And this guy had no reason to lie to me whatsoever because his job was to make me sound good. [00:26:36] And he wanted to sound good for his reputation. He had no reason to lie to me. But he pointed out to me on the screen, he said, see these squiggly lines, these vertical lines, well the tops and the bottoms are chopped off. That means the top end of the sound, your highs in, your lows are [00:27:00] chopped off. And it’s it’s gonna sound terrible and distorted. [00:27:03] And I said, how does that happen? And the engineer asked me, well, who recorded these? I said, my ex-husband, a sound engineer. And he said, well, you’re gonna have to re-record them because there’s no way I can use these. And it just baffled me. [00:27:19] So I asked the engineer, [00:27:20] Is there any way a professional audio engineer could do that by accident? He said, no. An amateur who has no idea what he’s doing could, or it was done on purpose. Now I was angry at that. Again, I’m still raw. This was right after the divorce. I was angry, not only because I had to re-record those piano tracks and delay the project, but I’m also frustrated that even though I left this marriage, he’s still wreaking havoc all my life. [00:27:56] You know, exes the gift that keeps on giving, right? [00:27:59] And I know [00:28:00] many of you that have children that are divorced, have to interact with your exes. I get that. You have to see your ex when you’re co-parenting, and I know it’s a real challenge to heal and move on in those circumstances when you have to keep interacting and things are pretty volatile. [00:28:20] So I contacted Paul and I asked him if he would have time to record the songs that we had done some of them years ago, he said, yes. So I brought my engineer and his equipment and my digital piano cuz he has an acoustic piano in his studio. And we recorded all of those tracks. [00:28:43] And I went back to the studio so I could record the vocals soon after that. And I sent an email to my ex and I just let him have it. I. and I told him what the engineer said and I said, did you sabotage my [00:29:00] tracks? You weren’t planning on doing that album ever. Were you? [00:29:04] You did something to those tracks so they wouldn’t be up to the quality to do an album. And he was like swearing right and left that he didn’t do anything. I said, well, I already verified with the engineer that it couldn’t have been done on an accident. Not by a professional. So, I just left it at that. [00:29:22] So the engineer gave the master to disc makers. Those are the ones who create the CDs. [00:29:30] But unfortunately Disc Makers lost my master. Somebody signed for it, FedEx. And so I had to ask the engineer to please send the copy of the master to them again. And I got the CDs and I played them because they always tell you make sure that they play correctly. put one in the car, CD player, and I noticed that it did not [00:30:00] sound like the final master. [00:30:02] And what I mean, is you do a lot of takes when you’re recording music and you do certain parts over that are kind of off pitch or you want to put a little more expression in that part, or your diction was off, whatever. When you’re recording a song, you have different versions of the song and then the one that’s perfect and it’s finally ready to reproduce. [00:30:28] That is the final master. Well, when I was listening to this disc, it it had some mistakes in it, so I’m thinking that it was the version right before the final master. There were some things that I could tell were mistake and so, I know some of you’re gonna go and listen for those mistakes now. I just know it. If you find one, please, tell me where it’s at. But anyway, the album was in my [00:31:00] hands. [00:31:00] I was excited about finally reaching my goal of having an album. I had, 14 songs. and I didn’t know if I would ever be able to do another album. [00:31:14] So I just made sure I put all of the songs I wanted to do at the time on that album. And as a creator, you’re always gonna get criticism. And I had a music friend online and I told him about the album and he knew my story. He accused me of doing the album out of Spite. [00:31:40] And I said, well, no, not really. I didn’t do it out of spite. It is the principle of the thing that I completed that album. [00:31:50] I didn’t do it really for revenge, but [00:31:53] it’s just part of my story. It’s part of a life goal that I had and I completed it. But [00:32:00] my celebration was a little short-lived because none of the churches would let me come and sing anymore. You know? Cuz when you have a new album, you go and you promote the album. And that, in my genre, at the time it was you toured the different churches and you sang and had a concert and you promoted your album. [00:32:20] Well my ex went around telling all the pastors that I divorced him and cried the crocodile tears that he wanted to save the marriage and he wanted counseling, but I refused, you know, didn’t tell anybody the whole story, just what he wanted them to hear. So anyhow, they all shunned me from the churches. [00:32:43] Shunned for being divorced. Calling up a pastor and telling them, Hey, I got a new album and I’ve been at your church before and ministered to your congregation and can I come down and sing for you guys? [00:32:57] Well, I don’t think we have any [00:33:00] openings. And you know, things have changed here. And say, well, I’ve been at your church before. You know me. I said, well, but that’s different now. And. We don’t have any openings for you to come down and sing for us for a long time. So I hang up the phone and it was a repeat of that to all the churches. I would just have to get my new fans outside of the IFB Church. It was difficult because I was pretty conservative in my music. That was the only kind of music that you could sing in that denomination. And now the church I was going to, was kind of in the middle. They weren’t like rock music kind of church, but they were kind of in the middle. They had the contemporary stuff. [00:33:50] So I had to learn to get new fans in my new church denomination. So I was trying to [00:34:00] at least have a release party with my church. And so I asked the pastor and his wife, I said, can I have a release party for my album? And conversation pretty much went, they thought it was worldly to have a release party. [00:34:18] So they did not consent to that. So I asked Julie if her church would let me. And Julie’s church said that they wanted to charge me money for it and would require me to purchase liability insurance, and I had to bring my own song crew. And I understood why they did that, but I couldn’t swing any of it. [00:34:42] They didn’t have any money to pay for it. So I never had any promotion of my new album. So it’s well, this excitement and this all went flat. Right? Oh, well, [00:34:55] so I had a new website for my album. You could buy the [00:35:00] digital downloads, purchase the CD. So I pretty much, for many years, I just sold them to friends or interested people that I met, but I was still happy. I did the album. [00:35:12] So the other thing, if you’re listening to my story was that I wanted to go to France to see my sister. Now my trip to France would not come until 2016. I really intended on going right after the divorce, but life just gets in the way. It’s expensive to go to Europe and I didn’t wanna do a low-cost carrier and, staying in a flea hotel, I wanted to do it right. [00:35:42] So I just started a new job in the call center. I didn’t have any money saved up and you can’t really take time off of work right away when you start a new job. So, [00:35:53] I didn’t get to go to France until me and Brian went in 2016. I just [00:36:00] one year decided we’re going. I think we were both working and we both made quite a bit of money and I had a whole bunch of frequent flyer points that I had accumulated. And so I told Brian, we’re going, and let me tell you, we had a fantastic time with my sister. [00:36:22] It exceeded my expectations. It was just, It’s unreal that I was actually there because I had wanted to go since I was in grade school starting French. [00:36:34] It’s just wonderful. The people, the food, the shopping, the museums, and the history, the fashion. We went again in 2019. We took a trip to Normandy region where my ex’s Uncle Mike fought on Omaha Beach during World War II. And I kept thinking [00:37:00] that it was sad that my ex would never come to France to pay his respects, not only to his uncle, but all the [00:37:10] GI’s that gave their life for our freedom. And the French over there in Normandy, they love Americans, they love American soldiers. They wanna practice their English and they’re very welcoming and just grateful for how the United States came to their aid during the war. [00:37:29] And I sent Danny the photographs from the trip and it pretty much said, shame on you. You should be here. Right? [00:37:39] But I’m really glad that I went with Brian because Brian appreciated the culture and everything that encompasses French culture. We travel very well together and it was just enjoyable to do the trip with Brian. I mean, can you imagine Danny ruining my trip to France?[00:38:00] You’ve heard the stories already about the vacations that he has ruined. I certainly can imagine that, he’d be complaining or doing what he does best. Ruining vacations. [00:38:15] This all sounds fun to check off the bucket list and have some freedoms. I’d never been able to pick out my own furniture before. [00:38:26] The decisions were always made for me. I didn’t wear pants as long as I was in the Baptist church. You weren’t allowed to wear pants. Going jeans shopping, I didn’t know that my size was short till I went jean shopping. And all the different varieties of jeans you can wear and getting one of them to fit was a whole lot more challenging than a jean skirt. [00:38:51] And those kind of things you do marvel that you can pick out your own clothes, you can paint the walls the color that you wanna paint it [00:39:00] without somebody else making the decisions for you. Those are little things. I know that. But when you’re trying to start your life again and you’re trying to heal from all of that oppression, those little things mean a lot. [00:39:14] So if you’re going through that, be sure to celebrate those small things, those small joys, the small goals that you reach. [00:39:24] But I will be honest and transparent with you. I made a lot of mistakes in the aftermath of divorce. I will say emphatically, when you have a major life change, whether it be divorce or a death in the family, or you’ve moved, going to school, you’re in a dorm room, you are extremely vulnerable. [00:39:52] You are a prime target for the enemy of God to attack. Because he’s out [00:40:00] there and the Bible says he is looking to and fro seeking whom he may devour. If you don’t remember anything about this episode, remember that part, please. [00:40:10] Now my depression did not magically go away because I left. It’s still was hanging over me because it’s not one of those instant things. The divorce was like cutting off my arm, even though I knew it was diseased. Now I have to live my life without that arm and adjust. [00:40:32] I wish my depression magically went away, but I had never lived alone before. That was very new to me. I had always lived with my parents and then I had roommates in college. and then obviously being married, lived with Danny. And it was scary living on a first floor apartment. [00:40:53] Every little noise kept me awake. It was six months being single. I still didn’t sleep very well. I [00:41:00] probably didn’t do very well at work because of it. I was scared that Danny would find me. I was scared of somebody breaking into the apartment. I was scared I wouldn’t be able to keep a job and take care of myself. [00:41:18] And the part about safety in my apartment. That was a very real fear. And I’m a martial artist, and I thought, well, this is ridiculous. I’m terrified to be here by myself. And so I talked to my Sifu. I was in kung fu at the time. I told him about my concerns and he said, you have trained many years. [00:41:43] Your body knows what to do. You have the muscle memory, rest in that knowledge, and you need to trust God to keep you safe. He will keep you safe. He also added, you can get a baseball bat and keep it in the corner there. Nothing wrong with [00:42:00] that. So I locked my bedroom door, put the dowels into the sliding glass door and in the window ledges so they couldn’t open the windows. [00:42:09] And so eventually I would get over that. [00:42:12] But another mistake that I made was getting involved with this real estate investing group. I found it through a Facebook ad. It was kind of connected to Robert Kiosaki. You may be familiar with Rich Dad, Poor Dad. If you’ve ever been any around any type of finance, you will know that name. [00:42:38] But it wasn’t him specifically. It was a group that followed his principles, which are good principles, and it was contacted by a good looking Spanish fellow named Raul. And I went to a presentation with this real estate investing group. I’m [00:43:00] not gonna say the name because I don’t want it coming up in the Google search, and I think it’s dissolved by now, so doesn’t really matter. [00:43:10] But if you’ve ever been to a M L M meeting it’s very much like that. It’s very raw and, a lot of noise and clapping and excitement. And I had never, been around anything like that. I was very intrigued. And [00:43:28] it was the idea of being able to make some serious wealth and money by real estate investing. And [00:43:34] it was connected with a school where you would learn the ropes from veteran investors, the ones that are actually out there doing this and making money. So the school was $10,000 to attend for two years, and you could make a 50% that’s five zero, 50% commission by [00:44:00] enrolling people in the school. [00:44:02] Are you kidding me? Car salesman don’t even make that much money. So I was lured into enrolling into the school myself. And guess how I paid for that? I had a high limit credit card. It was, I think it was 32,000 was my credit limit. Yes, that’s very high. [00:44:22] So, I convinced myself that I could pay back the debt when I got Rich. Now, the school was great and I learned a lot, but a lot of people in real estate are shady, really shady. Raul, who is my mentor, introduced me to a business partner to do investing with. So he would go to school for free on my dime because we were business partners. Raul thought that I would be a great partner for him. We had a lot in common. We [00:45:00] both went to school together and he had all these plans to do this multi-family housing investing. And he was supposed to pay me back for the school tuition, but he never did investing with me. [00:45:12] We would go to these multi-family housing units down in Phoenix, and I’m walking through them. There’s no other way to say it. They were slums. The floors were in terrible shape. The roof was leaking and needed paint. It needed so much stuff. I didn’t think they were fit to live in. [00:45:39] I can’t see myself being a slum Lord. There’s no way I’m going to do that. And so my business partner was like, you wanna put our money together and we can buy this apartment complex. Listen, I know it’s cheap, that’s why you came down here. But no, I can’t do that. I don’t really wanna do this. [00:45:58] Let’s, like, [00:46:00] think smaller, maybe something that’s in better shape, in a better neighborhood. It doesn’t take as much repairs. yeah, that’s what we were supposed to do. But it never happened. I was just kind of done with the real estate school because I hadn’t made any money. [00:46:16] I just went into more debt. And he invited me to this Positive Thinking retreat with a bunch of people from the real estate group. And have you heard of the Secret before? I had never heard of it before, this real estate group. And so this retreat was very much a part of The Secret mentality that you could attract what you want out of life and it just shows up. [00:46:42] It is putting out those vibes of what you want and it was just gonna magically appear. The Christian version of that is name it and claim it. There’s no biblical basis at all. But there are definitely church circles that, hey, if you give the church, [00:47:00] God’s going to give you all this stuff. [00:47:01] But if you’re following the Lord and you are checking out and vetting this stuff like the Secret, you’re gonna figure out that none of this is true. You just can’t conjure up stuff out of the universe. That’s not how it works. I’m not saying there isn’t any value in positive thinking. That doesn’t come naturally to me. [00:47:21] That’s, not my strong suit. I have to work at being positive and thinking on good things. Like the Bible does say whatever is true, whatever is lovely, whatever is just et cetera, think on these things. And so that part of it I would agree with. So that’s what I would align with. Focusing on the Lord and the things that are true and beautiful and pure and holy. [00:47:49] I was pretty much done. because when you go to those retreats, it’s like they want you to buy the next level retreat where you walk on a [00:48:00] tightrope like a circus performer and you’re you’re strapped from some somewhere up high. [00:48:05] I just don’t enjoy heights and wasn’t interested in going to the next level. That’s just not fun for me. But it was all very high pressure to, do all these things. It’s just like a cult. If you’re not rah and all happy and stuff all the time, then well, you’re not really, at the level that you should be. [00:48:30] Well, Raul stopped talking to me after we had some conversations about the fatherhood of God and about the border politics. So he was out of my life. [00:48:43] Another major mistake that I made after my divorce was getting on these dating websites. I haven’t dated since I was in my twenties and I was 38 at the time. The world was much different in the dating [00:49:00] scenes. I’m going to do an episode in the future here about my dating train wrecks, because I think there are a lot of lessons in there. I’m not gonna go into detail right now because I don’t have time, [00:49:16] but other things that I did after my divorce was I joined Divorce Care. That is usually a ministry of the church. It’s national. [00:49:28] So divorce care is pretty much, you meet at a church and a group of other divorcees and you go through what went wrong in your marriage and taking ownership of your part in the marriage that contributed to its failure. This divorce care meeting was not at an I F B church. [00:49:47] It was a non-denominational church and there were a lot of valuable things. I think the videos need to be updated. It looked like the videos were recorded back in the eighties and [00:50:00] there was a lot of value to hearing everybody’s stories, but it was not for abuse survivors. [00:50:06] So I felt kinda like a fish out of water. Because [00:50:09] I ended the marriage, it wasn’t my ex who ended the marriage, it was me. So they were just kind of picking on me. Was there anything you could do to save your marriage? Did you do anything that you shouldn’t have been doing? And I said, well, I took my ex-husband to three different counselors and it did not work. [00:50:29] Also went to counseling right after I left as a favor to the pastor, and he wasn’t going to cooperate or change. So I’m not gonna live in a marriage that’s not invested in bettering ourselves and improving our marriage. I’m not perfect. I’m not gonna say that I was perfect. [00:50:49] I had a really bad attitude. Halfway through the marriage, I just felt defeated and helpless. And, I mentioned the depression and not taking care of myself [00:51:00] towards the end there. And yeah I own up to that. But the abuse is never your fault. [00:51:06] And it took me a long time to realize that. Divorce Care really didn’t help because they’re just focusing on marriage is 50/50 and you probably lost your temper, and you probably did this. And, but when you came from an abusive home, [00:51:22] you experienced things. That you didn’t cause. [00:51:26] You don’t deserve to be abused. You don’t deserve to be treated with disrespect. You don’t deserve to be beaten or raped or lied to, or somebody to steal your money out of your bank account or isolating you from your family. Those things, those are the abuser’s fault. Now we react a certain way to those things. [00:51:50] Yes, I was pretty snarky. I pushed back on some of the things that he would say to me because I got sick of it. I left a restaurant that he was screaming at me, [00:52:00] towards the end I’m not gonna put up with this anymore. There’s nothing that you have done to [00:52:06] warrant being abused. And a lot of you have dealt with your spouse cheating on you. [00:52:15] I did not suspect him doing pornography, but I don’t know if he cheated on me or not. I didn’t have any tangible proof, but I did have some suspicions because he wasn’t sleeping with me. So you kind of go to that conclusion. But anyway, when you have somebody that’s cheating on you or addicted to pornography. [00:52:40] The saying out there is, well, if you would just lose weight, if you were just nicer to him, if you were just offering sex to him, whatever kind of lewd sex acts he wants to do, whether they make you comfortable or not, if you were just a better wife, you kept the house [00:53:00] cleaner, you waited on him hand a foot, then he wouldn’t abuse you anymore. [00:53:04] That kind of crap is going around a lot. The mentality is very strong in the church. You’re responsible to keep your spouse happy, to meet his every need. Folks, you cannot meet every need. It’s impossible. You’re not going to. [00:53:22] Only God can fulfill many of the needs that we have. [00:53:25] Your physical needs are never going to be a hundred percent satisfied this side of eternity. [00:53:31] And I’m going on a tangent here, but my point was that you. are not the cause of the abuse. That’s something very important for you to hear today. When you are recovering from an abusive relationship, you’re licking your wounds, you’ve moved out, you’re very confused. [00:53:54] You are trying to get your bearings. Those thoughts are gonna come into your head. Well, maybe I should [00:54:00] have filled in the blank. Then maybe I could have saved my marriage. Or maybe things that would’ve been better. [00:54:05] And we’ll talk about that in the the dating podcast episode. [00:54:11] So I wanted to mention bankruptcy real quick. [00:54:15] Bankruptcy holds a huge amount of guilt, cuz back in the day when you went through a bankruptcy, you couldn’t get a credit card and you couldn’t buy a car. You couldn’t buy a house. You pretty much lived on cash for seven years until they wiped it off your slate. And I decided to go through bankruptcy when I started dating Brian because I didn’t want to saddle him with my debt. [00:54:39] And the debt was not from buying a bunch of stuff I didn’t need. As I was saying I survived off of those credit cards I didn’t see any way out. I think I was $60,000 in. , I don’t think I could have paid that off in 20 years. So I decided to make the choice to go through bankruptcy. And [00:54:59] [00:55:00] it happens. When you’re going through a really tough time, you lose your job and you rack up debt. And the Bible does talk about debt. It says that the borrower is slave to the lender. I don’t think it’s a sin to have debt unless it was from being irresponsible. You’re out there, buying things that you know you shouldn’t be buying or using your credit cards to buy illicit things like gambling or pornography. [00:55:29] But yeah, my mom went through bankruptcy when she and my father divorced and she went through a horrible time. It just was not as easy as it was when I went through it. So I had to go through a financial course and I had to see Danny again because my name was on the loan documents of the house. [00:55:49] Danny took my name off of the deed of the house, because if I went through the bankruptcy he would lose the house. I gave him the choice and he [00:56:00] decided he was gonna keep the house. [00:56:02] You shouldn’t feel ashamed if that’s your situation and you had to file for bankruptcy. It’s not the end of the world if you’re learning from the reasons why you went through bankruptcy. That course that you are required to take to get through bankruptcy, you’ll learn quite a bit. [00:56:20] I didn’t feel guilty about filing bankruptcy. I did try to pay some of it back when I got my job at the pharmacy. [00:56:28] And so the bankruptcy was final. So, so that is my story. It is the abridged version. Believe it or not, if you missed any of the episodes, you can go back and [00:56:42] listen to those. They’re all labeled and they’re all marked in order if you haven’t heard them all. [00:56:48] Don’t forget about our giveaway from Wayne Stiles. Next week, we will start on our guest interviews. I have two excellent interviews [00:57:00] lined up for you. And then we will be talking about the dating fiascos. And in January I will talk about what we will be planning for the new year for the podcast and you can be a part of it. [00:57:16] So I am going to leave you with the song, the Holy Night, and that is from the album that I just talked about in this episode. [00:57:28] I hope you enjoy the song, and [00:57:31] please keep in mind what I said about the holidays, trying to enjoy the holidays, take care of yourself, take care of your children. Try and focus on Jesus, [00:57:43] the reason of the hope that is in us. So I wish you a very merry Christmas with your family, your friends, your loved ones. [00:57:53] And I am grateful for you being with me. God bless.