EP 181: How To Participate In Your Own Rescue: Tiffany Owen Part One

Diana WinklerDomestic Violence

Tiffany Owen is a fitness and life coach on a mission empowering people to be radically transformed into their best version. Her pain is her purpose. With over 20 years experience in the fitness and health industry, she is a voice for those caught in a vicious cycle of self sabotage.

Through her experience as a trauma survivor, Tiffany offers hope, strength, and instruction, sharing her victories to help warriors in waiting revolutionize their minds, bodies, habits, and goals. Along with the same tools she used to overcome PTSD, addiction, mental health struggles, and living from a victim mindset.

Now it is your turn.


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Tiffany Owen Part One

[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] Hello everyone! Welcome, welcome to the podcast once again. Good to have you with us if you are new here.

[00:00:42] This week we have our guest Tiffany Owens.

[00:00:48] I will be telling you about her shortly, just as a reminder that we are doing the podcast every other week instead of weekly, [00:01:00] and I explained it was just because of my schedule and my energy level and technology. Pick one. I’m a little bit overwhelmed. And I’m trying to keep up, but I don’t want to stop the podcast because I believe that what I create is valuable to you.

[00:01:20] So I’m not going anywhere. So don’t be alarmed when you don’t see a podcast every week on your favorite platform. You can take the time to go back and listen to some episodes that you missed, some like older guests. This is my fourth year, so there’s plenty of content. Um, I also have a YouTube channel, if you’re not aware.

[00:01:46] They’re all on YouTube also.

[00:01:48] And yeah, so I don’t really have any other announcements or housekeeping to do. So let me tell you a little bit more about our guest. Tiffany [00:02:00] Owen is a fitness and life coach on a mission empowering people to be radically transformed into their best version. Her pain is her purpose. With over 20 years experience in the fitness and health industry, she is a voice for those caught in a vicious cycle of self sabotage.

[00:02:24] Through her experience as a trauma survivor, Tiffany offers hope, strength, and instruction, sharing her victories to help warriors in waiting revolutionize their minds, bodies, habits, and goals. Along with the same tools she used to overcome PTSD, addiction, mental health struggles, and living from a victim mindset.

[00:02:49] Now it is your turn.

[00:02:51] She wanted to share her abuse story and how she overcame that.

[00:02:57] And she’s been through a lot. [00:03:00] So I want to give her as much time as possible today to share with us. So without further ado, here is my guest Tiffany Owen. Please welcome my guest today, Tiffany Owen. Thanks for coming to the show. Thank you so much for having me. I am so excited to give your audience inspiration and hope through my story.

[00:03:26] Absolutely. I like your little, um, shadow in the back or is that a poster with the muscles?

[00:03:33] It’s a, yeah, it’s a, well, I’m a fitness coach, fitness and mindset coach.

[00:03:38] So this is where I kind of zoom with people. Yeah. It’s a metal. Oh, there’s, there’s the guy. Oh, you got two of them. Awesome. And we’re going to talk about your book that you have. Wounded to Warrior. How to participate in your own rescue.

[00:03:56] Awesome. A lot of, people [00:04:00] listening need some rescue or have been rescued by somebody out of trauma or abuse. I understand that you have, some abuse in your past. We’d like to start from the beginning. Set the scene for us.

[00:04:16] What, your childhood was like growing up. Can you do that for us?

[00:04:21] Absolutely. So I am, my parents were 22 years apart. So my dad was quite a bit older than my mom. My mom was his. I was raised as an only child. So I was their only child together, but I had half siblings that were like 13 years and up older than me.

[00:04:43] So, but I was raised as an only child and my parents were entrepreneurs. They worked a lot. I have no memories of. around much. So I wasn’t, neglected, but I was, well, I guess emotionally I [00:05:00] was, I was left at home alone a lot. They worked all the time. I was left with babysitters and my grandmother or just by myself starting at like age six.

[00:05:09] So I was mature for my age, I guess you could say, but now I have four children. So thinking back on how I was left alone, I’m like, I would never do that. But I was by myself a lot. And so when that happens, the lack of affection, And attention from parents can lead you to looking, or in my case, looking for it in the wrong places.

[00:05:37] And that kind of set the stage of me going into abusive relationships, but, had everything I needed and wanted, you know, financially and with school and nice things, but not love and affection. And, I don’t blame them, but

[00:05:56] They did the best they could and for me to heal, I [00:06:00] had to look at them with compassionate eyes. Right? So God, forgive me. I forgive them. Then I get my power back. Right. So, from being left home alone a lot. My first experience with, sexual abuse was probably around six. So yeah. From what I remember.

[00:06:19] So they traveled all the time and they ended up getting divorced when I was eight. So my mom was working all the time. So my, my dad was married five times. So two more after my mom and his last wife was only 12 years older than me. Great. So this is my example of marriage, right? So my mom’s been married five times, too.

[00:06:39] She’s married to her fifth husband now. So I grew up thinking I will never get a divorce. I wasn’t really raised in church, but God brought so many, I like to call them earth angels into my life. Like teachers. Uh, friends, parents that would take me to church with them [00:07:00] or pray with me, teach me the Lord’s prayer, all the things.

[00:07:02] So that is how I got to know God. And it wasn’t really growing up in church, but that I was, seeds were being planted all along the way. So my first. Actual being sexually abused was 12. So my parents would leave me or my mom would let me stay with my grandmother and in the summers. And she, would let me just be, she let me have alcohol.

[00:07:32] She let me smoke cigarettes. I know, right? So she let me be around boys, that were a lot older than me. And so. And 18, I guess you can call that a boy or a young man, right? So that’s when I started getting taken advantage of sexually. But remember, I was looking for love and attention. And so that’s what it looked like to me.

[00:07:54] It didn’t matter where I got it. And I didn’t know that it was wrong. And my [00:08:00] grandmother was letting me be with these boys. So. Did really well in school, um, worked, started working at a young, you know, 15, 16, very responsible, all A’s, involved in drill teams, student council, all the things. So, with that being said, my mom didn’t have, like, the outward signs were not there of someone who was having a problem with mental health and abuse.

[00:08:27] So my first real relationship, which is my, my daughter’s dad. She’s 22. I ended up marrying him, started at 15 and he was like textbook abusive physically, verbally. I mean, it was textbook and I share a lot about that in my book. So two toxic people emotionally. together is not a good combination. So we were [00:09:00] together from the time I was 15 to 23.

[00:09:02] We got married when I was 18. He was a couple of years older than me and he was in the military. So my daughter was born, about a couple of years after we got married. So. Very abusive, but I would never have left him. Like, God could change him. I was praying for miracles. Like, I didn’t want to leave because I believed that, you know, he could change.

[00:09:29] I truly did. I never blamed God or like, why are you not? It wasn’t like that. So I feel very fortunate that I never did the, why me? Cause it got really bad. I mean, the first time I tried to kill myself, I was 16. So I overdosed on, on pills because my boyfriend, my daughter’s dad at the time was being abusive and mean.

[00:09:57] And then my mom, I felt like she didn’t [00:10:00] love me and I ended up having kidney failure. So. I know I’m a little bit all over the place, but in my whole life, up until a couple of years ago, I have tried to kill myself 4 times. This breaks my heart. Yeah, yeah. So, and if you want to interrupt, interject at any time.

[00:10:17] So there was this cycle of not being able to say no and then also drinking at a very early age. Prescription pills, whatever I could do to change the way I felt. I was trying to fill a void and find self worth and I didn’t, that was the only way I knew how, so it became my normal. so that’s kind of me up until about 23.

[00:10:42] God literally took me out of that marriage.

[00:10:45] He picked a fight with me one night and left, of course, he turned it around. It was my fault. He was gone for like the whole, yeah, it was, it was always my fault. Very narcissistic. Everything was my fault always. So it was [00:11:00] very scary. His mom watched him abuse me and I would tell her to call the police and.

[00:11:06] She would just watch because she didn’t want him to get in trouble. And it was just horrible. So it ended up good because he left and. I actually filed a police report because he was missing for two or three days. And this is before I could track, you know, with cell phones and all the things. I thought he was like dead in a ditch because he was a real bad alcoholic too.

[00:11:29] A binge drinker. So he ended up calling me. I was working at a gym. I’ve been in fitness for 20 years and he called and He was like, Oh, hey, what are you doing? And I’m like, I just filed a police report. I thought, you know, you’re he’s like, you know, just turn it around on me. It was all my fault. And I knew then my daughter was three.

[00:11:50] I was like, I have to figure out how to get out of this. Because I don’t want her to think that this is how a man is supposed to treat a woman, [00:12:00] but I didn’t know how. So he ended up filing on me because he thought I was going to file on him. So it was good because I didn’t have to do it. I wasn’t strong enough to do it.

[00:12:11] So this was good. That’s how I got out of that marriage. And quickly, about nine months later, I married another abusive person. And then after that, that was kind of a quick turnaround. I married my son’s dad. He’s 17. He was 15 years older than me and he wasn’t physically abusive, but very passive, aggressive, emotionally abusive.

[00:12:37] And that was worse than any physical abuse I’d ever been through. And we were married about three years. He filed, we had three sets of divorce papers in two years because he kept filing on me and trying to take things from him. It was just crazy. I was blindsided. It was horrible. So my point [00:13:00] is by 29, I’ve been married four times.

[00:13:05] So my husband now is absolutely my godly mate and I share all this in my book. Um, we’ve been married 13 and a half years and we have 12 year old twins together, but I kept repeating the pattern. I guess that’s what I want your, your audience to hear because thought I was picking someone new and better and I was looking for love and Thought I found it, but I wasn’t.

[00:13:31] I was picking the wrong per like the same person over and over. You never really healed in between that or dealt with the abuse or knew that you were being abused and you just kind of piled trauma on top of trauma at this point. Yeah, huge fear of abandonment, huge fear of rejection. I couldn’t be alone, you know, stemming from my parents leaving me home alone all the time.[00:14:00] [00:14:00] I thought sex was the way you were loved. Right, so that I identified that as someone loving me. So, and my drinking really got out of control too. I’m also, a recovered alcoholic, so I’ve been sober for 2 years. That was definitely the start of my, well, and then my half brother raped me when I was 23.

[00:14:25] Yeah, so we, I was getting the divorce from my daughter’s dad and he came to stay with me and I drank too much and I blacked out and that happened. And, and I talk about that in the book too, because I have to look at like, what was my part in it? Not that it was my fault, but there’s things that I could have done differently.

[00:14:48] To not put myself in, in the situation, right? I mean, that’s how I got my power back. So by, and that’s kind of when I talk about in [00:15:00] my book, how to participate in your own rescue. If I can take my part in everything that happens and own that. Not let them off free. I’m not saying that they didn’t do anything wrong.

[00:15:14] And then also look at them with compassion. It’s not for them. It’s for me to be able to forgive them, to get my power back. Right. And so that is how I’ve been able to move on and not be a victim to those people who abuse me, if that makes sense. Oh yeah. Yeah. Perfect sense. I don’t know how old you are, but.

[00:15:36] I’m 43. So you’re Gen X like me, right? Yeah. So I was a latchkey kid too. I had loving parents growing up, but my parents divorced when I was 14 and, and we kids came home from school and we were by ourselves and we would just get into trouble. I mean, we all got in our own version of trouble because we didn’t have parental [00:16:00] supervision.

[00:16:01] Oh, I had the typical teenage problems with getting along with my mom and I liked boys. I had a lot of mentors like teachers like you did. Well, I wound up getting abused by a guidance counselor in the seventh grade. You know, he would, Oh, you’re from a, a broken home and you’re home by yourself all the time and you need somebody to talk to, you can’t talk to your mom. And, you don’t know at that age.

[00:16:27] You’re so trusting. And, when this all went down with the, the counselor, and I told my parents and they believed me. The principal believed me, the police believed me. It was very fortunate, that they did, that helped in my healing.

[00:16:45] Um, not to say that I was a perfect teenager cause I’d still run around doing stuff and my brothers were running around doing things they shouldn’t have been doing. But you don’t know what you don’t know. Right. Yeah. This is how I was raised. This is the environment [00:17:00] I was in.

[00:17:01] yes, I had a good sense of right and wrong. How does that, play with Environment and choices. You know, how does that play into the whole thing, do you think? Yeah, I’m glad you brought that up. And, what I heard you say, it was very beneficial in your healing and moving past that and not staying in an abusive situations because you were believed.

[00:17:26] Yeah. Right. So you were heard, you were validated and that’s where healing starts too. So I didn’t have that for a very long time. And I’m, I’m glad you brought that up because when I told it was, it was one of the times that I checked myself into a mental hospital, um, cause I thought I was trying to save my family with my third husband.

[00:17:49] He said, go get help. You know, cause I was drinking too much at that time and I was addicted to prescription pills and that’s how I survived. So [00:18:00] anyways, when I was there, my mom had come to visit me and I was telling her what happened with my brother. And she looked at me and she said, I don’t know what part you had in it.

[00:18:12] And that played over and over and over in my mind. Okay, so environment too. Your environment shapes you, right? Period. That’s like, you know, neuroscience environment. And as a mindset coach, I know a lot about that because to change habits and overcome addictions, your environment has to be changed.

[00:18:37] A lot of times people, places and things. So if, if you’re in the same environment, you will recreate the same patterns. That really sent me down a very, because then I started questioning myself. Right. Well, well, did what part did I, and before, when I said I have to own my part, like. [00:19:00] Abusing alcohol in my 20s, that was my part, but I know for, it was not my fault.

[00:19:07] So I want to clarify that. And the trauma continues because shortly after that, After I get out of the mental hospital, I’m like 28, 29. He ended up divorcing me without me knowing about it. My counselor told me he had come to the facility, had sex with me. I thought we were working, working it out.

[00:19:30] And then all of a sudden I don’t hear from him. And my counselor said, he divorced you and took everything. I don’t know. Oh. Devastate, like things just keep happening. Keep like, when is this going to stop? It just over. So then it gets better. I get out and I go to, I follow their recommendations and cause I wanted to do it right.

[00:19:49] I really wanted to, to get help and my family didn’t support me. They wanted me to just come home and take care of the kids, do what I was doing, because I was very high functioning. I did [00:20:00] everything, right? And so I wasn’t letting things fall apart. Like they needed me to run everything. So I went to a three quarter house, a sober living house, and I was seeing a counselor and she encouraged me to share with my uncle, my dad’s brother.

[00:20:15] My dad had already passed away. He was born in 1935 and he died in 2009. So, he’d already passed away, but his brother was helping me financially. And she said, you should tell your uncle what happened with your brother. And I did. And he looked at me and he said, well, your dad wasn’t your real dad.

[00:20:34] Oh, he just dropped that bombshell on you. So I say, I was raped. He says, well, it’s my half brother. Right? So, so it was like, oh, so it’s no big deal because he wasn’t really your brother. That’s what I heard. Right. I had no idea. My dad wasn’t my real dad. No, no, no. I didn’t go back to my mom saying, I don’t know what part you had.

[00:20:58] So she let me believe he was [00:21:00] my brother. She could have told me then. It must’ve been really painful hearing all of that news. Just after it just kept, you know, it was like, Oh my gosh, when am I going to catch a break? It was, it was devastating, devastating. So I was conceived by an anonymous sperm donor from a sperm bank.

[00:21:17] like people who can’t have children. Yeah. Yeah. She was never going to tell me. So then it’s like finding out you’re adopted. So did your other siblings know? Nobody knew. Nobody knew. They, it was like kept very secret, very secret.

[00:21:36] Yeah. You hear about, people glorifying being reunited with like long lost family members or relatives on ancestry type sites, but, there’s a dark side to that. Did anything happen after that with your new conversation? Since you brought up ancestry. [00:22:00] So about probably like eight years ago, I did 23andMe to see if like, maybe I can find some answers.

[00:22:07] Not, not family. Answers like genetic. Oh yeah, yeah. Mm-Hmm. That’s what I wanted to know. Like, why do I look this way? Why do I have this trait that, and I have four children, so I wanted to know what is my, you have this disease, you know? Yeah, so I, I did 23 and me, and you have to be a boy to find out your paternal side.

[00:22:28] Unless I had a brother on the site or knew who my dad was, I couldn’t find out any information that way. But about a year after I was on the site, I matched with a half sibling that had the same donor. And I fantasized about a family and those reuniting, like the whole dateline thing. Like, it did not turn out that way for me.

[00:22:49] At all. So, I’ve matched with over 20 half siblings. 20. That’s that I know of. And we’ve found, we know who the [00:23:00] donor is. We matched with his sister who is in communication with us. She’s an amazing Christian woman and is upset about what her brother did, but he donated sperm through medical school. So anyways, it was not glorious.

[00:23:13] It was, and it’s horrible finding out as an adult that you’ve been lied to your whole l But it answers a lot of questions of why I never felt like I had a place, why there was connections missing, which led me to sex, alcohol, pills, abusive relationships, all part of that, I think. Yeah, so I guess maybe there was, something good came out of

[00:23:40] finding out that information or maybe learning more about yourself or as you say, my traits and my ancestry, my history. I’m curious as to how you met your current husband. That’s a good question.

[00:23:58] So, um, I was, [00:24:00] I was praying for God to bring my godly mate into my life for years. Like I knew, I knew it was possible. I had a spiritual mentor that would pray with me, teach me how to pray. So I knew, like I was asking, I want my godly mate. I want a spiritual leader. I want like what the Bible says a husband is supposed to be like.

[00:24:24] Remember, I’ve never experienced that, but I knew that’s what I wanted.

[00:24:28] So this is a great place to stop our conversation together and continue next time. I know that you’ll want to hear the rest of Tiffany’s story. I know I am on the edge of my seat. And so again, it will be two weeks from today.

[00:24:48] Share this story with someone that would benefit from it. So we will see you next time. God bless you. Bye for now.

[00:24:57] Thank you for listening to the [00:25:00] Wounds of the Faithful podcast. If this episode has been helpful to you, please hit the subscribe button and tell a friend. You can connect with us at DSW Ministries. org where you’ll find our blog along with our Facebook, Twitter, and our YouTube channel links. Hope to see you next week!