Shiny on the outside, broken on the inside...

Donna's story

You know when you meet those women and you think, “Wow, how do they do that? They have it all going on - great job, amazing husband, gorgeous home.  Their life looks perfect!”. Well, I’m here to tell you, don’t believe everything you think you see...


The Old Me

In my 20’s, I had what looked like the trappings of a lovely life from the outside. To some extent, it was!  I have an incredible family and I loved my job - I was in a senior position and was the leader to a large number of people, so I had to be ‘on’ every day to keep up appearances and retain my credibility - but my personal life was literally, catastrophic.  I was married to an attractive, witty, charming man who unfortunately liked to use my face and body as his personal punchbag and mentally crippled me to the point that I felt I was worth absolutely zilch. Nobody would have believed it. I was a strong, fierce, extrovert woman with a big job and I took no crap. So you would think...  


The Breaking Point

Just after I turned thirty, yet another affair came to my attention.  But something about turning thirty just made me think, ‘Is this really my life?  Is this honestly how I want to live out the rest of my days?’ The crazy thing was, that even though I found the courage to start divorce proceedings, I had some sort of Stockholm Syndrome - even after everything I had gone through at the hands of this bully, I felt sad that I hadn’t been able to ‘make it work’ or to ‘fix him’ and in a weird way that I hate to admit, I sort of missed him.   I also felt like I had failed and I didn’t do failure.. I had failed at being married - we didn’t get divorced in my family so I had let the side down.  I was a failure.  


Rock Bottom

I had to face the fact that I was going to lose everything.  The judge told me it was, “The worst financial quagmire”, he had ever seen.  Oh didn’t I mention? My husband also liked to rack up large amounts of debt in my name, most of which he used to keep his ladies in the lifestyle to which they thought they would achieve being with him.  They didn’t seem to get, that it was my career funding that. So now I was left with huge amounts of debt to pay off in order to be free from him and because I hadn’t had a child with him, he was entitled to 50% of the home I had bought.  I came home just before Christmas to find him emptying out my house. Something inside of me just snapped. That night, I just broke. I didn’t think I could take any more - and I asked myself, what was the point..? My sister walked through the door at the moment, when the worst of thoughts was going through my head.  When my belief was that everybody would be better of without me. She didn’t leave my side for several days. I will be forever grateful.


The Breakthrough

In those few days, I had my own, ‘Aha’ moment.  I picked up a book and started to read. The lessons in that book will stay with me, always.  For what I realised in that time, is that you can take away my house. You can take away my car.  You can take away every single thing I had worked for all of my life, to that point. I may never meet anyone who loves me and adores me - and I would still be happier on my own, with no home and no money, than I was on my very happiest day as a woman who lived in a shiny fake life and was scared to go home every day.  I, on my own, was enough. I had never been happy, but I had kept up the pretence because of fear - fear of failing, fear of physical pain, fear of more mental torture, fear of everyone knowing that they saw, was not real. I certainly did not have it all going on. The relief was the most overwhelming thing, the gratitude of the astonishing realisation was nothing short of elation.  I was free.


The New Me

I decided in that time, what I wanted. What I would create in my own life.  I did a lot of really deep, inner, spiritual work.  I got to realise that all of the answers that I needed, all of the resources, really were, inside of me.  I let go of the notion that anyone else could rescue me. I was my very own knight, my very own prayer, my very own warrior.  I took action. I made decisions. I made changes. I got really, really uncomfortable. And weirdly, it was actually the easiest thing I had ever done.  Being fake happy was so much harder, so much more exhausting.


The Real Deal

The Universe is a beautiful thing. Once I was clear on what I wanted and I knew I was open and ready for that to happen - wonderful, life-affirming things occurred.  I met a wonderful man, who is now my husband. We have a beautiful son, who fills our family with joy and I have a career that I love so much, that I have to pinch myself every, single day. Now when people ask me why I’m so happy, my smile is genuine, my words are heartfelt and my emotions are of abundance.  I have gratitude for my journey, it brought me here. My experiences made me who I am now and do you know what? I’m pretty happy with me.


“Turn your wounds into wisdom” - Oprah Winfrey


Big love,  always


D x


Cheryl LeeComment