Coach Denise Kelly

I was sexually abused as a little girl by my eldest brother. He was 10 years older than me and at an age where he certainly knew his actions were WRONG.

My Mother, who was my world, my protector, the person who made me feel loved, collapsed on a tennis court in front of my little 3-year-old eyes.  I was in the tennis club’s daycare looking through a big glass window, pounding furiously on that said glass window begging my mother to stand up.  An ambulance came to take her away and I was whisked off to my aunt’s house for a month (at the time, seemed like decades to me).  Finally, my Dad came to explain what happened to my Mother.  She couldn’t feel her legs.  She needed to stay in the hospital to learn to walk again.  After many tests, she was diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis.  When I finally did come home, I would wait desperately for my Mom to walk through our front door.  Since my Dad still had to maintain his fulltime job and be both Mom and Dad to 5 children, I was left in my eldest brother’s care, a lot.  This is where the sexual abuse began.

I remember learning at a very young age what “sadness”, “emptiness” and even possibly what “depression” was.  My brother’s treatment towards me after the abuse was worse than his violation of my innocence.  He is the eldest of 5 children, I am the baby.  My other siblings looked up to him like he was “God”.   He was highly intelligent and could be very sharp with his tongue.   Maybe this is why the others listened to him without rebelling.  He would alienate me from activities with my siblings.  He would tell them that I was a nasty little girl who was horribly spoiled by our Mom.

When my Mom returned home, she wasn’t the same person.  She didn’t have the energy to be that loving, supportive, protective parent.  Her focus shifted to recovering from this horrible illness.  I can still remember being such a happy, vibrant little girl, pre-“mom getting sick” and pre-“sexual trauma”.  It all went dark after that, for a very long time.

My self concept after the abuse was that I was unworthy of love, affection or any kind “good” attention.  When I was in social situations, my perception of spotlight effect was that everyone else was going to alienate me or find something wrong with me too.  I preferred to go under the radar.

I just wanted my family to like me. I wanted to be accepted by him and them.  I hated being the outsider.  I was known for years as the “black sheep” by my siblings.  They were never proud to introduce me to people.  All these negative acts towards me let the negative internal dialogue be born within me.  If my own family despises me, then all of society must despise me too.

I had this “learned helplessness”.  I was content to play the “victim” role.  I held onto so much guilt and shame.  Clearly this was my fault.  My brother continued to belittle me throughout my life.  All I wanted was him to be kind to me.  How could someone be so mean after doing wrong to me?  My negative thoughts told me “there is something wrong with you, Denise.  This treatment happened to you because you are tainted.”

I chose men just like my brother.  It was what I knew.  It was what I was familiar with, right or wrong.  My first marriage was a disaster.  He was verbally and physically abusive.  I tolerated his treatment because “learned helplessness” told me “this is what your life is, baby.  Suck it up”.  I felt my life was not in my control.  I finally had the “cajones” to leave him, yet I was numb, empty.  I just wanted to BELONG somewhere, to someone.  I was so disconnected to myself.  I wanted desperately to connect to ANY external source.  Good or bad!

I was exhausted living in constant “fear”.  Always having my guard up.  Always waiting for the “other shoe to drop”.  I wanted to live a happy, peaceful life.  I wanted to “THRIVE”, not “survive”.

I began my self-love journey with Dream Therapy.  I have been doing this for 10 years.  It was the beginning of learning how to get out of my “HEAD” and into my “BODY”.  Then 4 years ago, a friend recommended Tracy’s work.  When I checked her out, I instantly connected to her and loved what I saw.  I thought 2 things; 1. this woman lives in my head or 2. she has walked a few hundred miles in my shoes.

When I started working with Tracy, I put up those resistant walls.  When we chatted in the beginning, I just wanted to deflect talking about me.  However, through Tracy’s guidance, with patience, my self-compassion and self-kindness, I broke that wall, piece by piece.  I am so glad I did.  I am grateful for my work with Tracy.  And I am truly grateful for her faith in me to become a “Life Coach”.  Now it’s my time to help others find their inner love and light as she has helped me.

The Love and Light in Me – Sees the Love and Light in YOU – Namaste!

RATES

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