How do you release years of shame? You give it a voice.
This is my story…
We all have patterns that appear again and again in our lives, patterns that we don’t like, and that leave us feeling insecure, powerless, defeated, and even inadequate at times.
We tend to blame these patterns on an external source, such as the person we’re dating, or our spouse, our ex, our parents, our boss, our friends, or even our children.
But the truth is, we created these patterns ourselves, and we’re the only ones who can break them.
For me, the pattern I was stuck in for years was toxic relationships.
And I mean toxic. (To be fair, the men I dated weren’t all douchebags, but I had a bad habit of pushing the “nice guys” away.)
To give you an idea, here are a few examples of my past dating experiences:
- I’ve been with a guy who was a serial cheater who stalked me, broke into my home, and tapped my phone after I broke up with him.
- One boyfriend used to put me down whenever I ate. He’d say things like, “You’re hungry again?” or “Are you really going to eat that?”
- And how could I forget about the dad I met at my daughter’s school who swept me off my feet? The guy who, after we got engaged, convinced my dying grandfather—without me knowing—to “loan” him $80,000 (for reasons still unknown), and then decided to put the money in a secret bank account.
- One guy told me that his parents died in a car accident when he was young, only for me to eventually find out that his parents were very much still alive, and he just didn’t have a relationship with them.
- After confronting another boyfriend about his excessive drinking, he grabbed me by the face and shoved me backward. I was also dragged across the room by another man when I told him I was done with the relationship after finding drugs in his house (this same guy told me that I would never amount to anything more than a receptionist).
- And last but not least, a few years later I met a guy through a mutual friend; this guy turned out to be the douche that sent me over the edge at the ripe age of thirty-five. He ended up being a pathological liar who lied about anything and everything—including having cancer!
I wasn’t kidding when I said toxic relationships—I couldn’t make this stuff up. To be honest, I’m quite surprised I haven’t been a guest on Dateline.
I felt like finding true love was a lost cause for me, and I was convinced I was destined to be a lonely old cat lady.
I couldn’t understand why I was attracting these types of relationships, and I just kept asking myself, “Why is this happening to me?!”
The problem was that after each relationship I found myself sinking further and further down into a dark hole filled with embarrassment, blame, anger, resentment, and a shit ton of sadness.
I was at the lowest point of my life and silently suffering.
I did my best to appear strong but on the inside I felt so alone, broken, and helpless.
Until one day the emotional pain got so bad and my frustration with life was so heavy.
But thankfully my motivation to change my life was crystal clear: my young daughter.
I knew I was leading by example, and the example I was providing wasn’t one I was proud of.
The last thing I wanted was for her to wake up a hot mess like I was, or—God forbid—find herself in the same pattern of relationships I suffered through, thinking that she wasn’t worthy of a man’s love and respect.
I came home after that final breakup and looked at my daughter as she sat on her bed. I made myself a promise that I would do whatever work on myself I needed to do in order to be the best role model I could be for her.
I gave her life, but I believe she saved mine.
That evening I started praying, HARD. I prayed for a miracle. I prayed for any form of help that would pull me out of the darkness. I was so desperate for change, and at that point I had no other choice than to trust that my prayers were being heard and help was on the way.
Shortly after that, a friend told me about a counselor who focused on why you attract certain things and people in your life. And, even though I had already gone to years of counseling and therapy, I immediately contacted him and scheduled a session.
In our first visit, I explained my string of heartbreaks and how I was pretty sure I was destined to be single for the rest of my life…until he stopped me mid-sentence and gently said,
“Stacey, I hear you, but you’re not a victim. Yes, you’ve been handed a few bad eggs, but maybe all of this happened to you for a reason…if you’re open to seeing it that way.”
(In my book, Douchebags to Diamonds, I tell you what I really wanted to say to him. But…I didn’t. Something told me to keep my mouth shut and just listen.)
He went on to say, “We can touch on your past, but I don’t want to camp out there. I want to move you forward so you can live the life you truly desire.”
The best word to describe how I felt in that moment is…hope.
Hope that I wasn’t broken.
Hope that I could be the mom I always wanted to be.
Hope that I’d be able to live a life that I could be proud of.
Hope that the emotional pain I was feeling was temporary.
From that day on, I decided the shit show was over and started taking full responsibility for my life.
Here are some changes I made:
- I immediately started focusing on what was working in my life versus what wasn’t, and I vowed to allow zero space for any additional negativity or drama from others.
- I gave myself permission to be happy.
- Instead of spending my free time complaining about life with my friends, I used that time to learn anything and everything that I could get my hands on about the Law of Attraction. It was up to me to figure out what was going on in my inner world that was causing me to attract certain types of people and drama-filled situations to my outer world.
- I spent countless hours journaling about my behavior, thought patterns, habits, and limiting beliefs. Every single time I was emotionally triggered by someone or something, I would turn to my journal to reflect.
I learned a lot from all that self-reflection.
Here are some of the high points:
- The universe was aligning me with people, things, and situations that matched the energy I was putting out—I didn’t feel worthy of love and respect, so therefore I attracted many men who mirrored this belief.
- I would be loved and respected only as much as I loved and respected myself.
- I needed to be open-minded and willing to see things differently in my relationships if I wanted to break the cycle of attracting unhealthy relationships and create lasting change.
- There was wisdom in my wounds (don’t get me wrong— these guys were absolute douchebags, but today I’m grateful for each of those men because they showed me what I needed to heal within myself so that I could become the woman/wife/mom that I am today).
What happened after I gained all this clarity was nothing short of a miracle.
I’ll tell you the whole love story in my book, Douchebags to Diamonds, but essentially, less than four months after adopting this new way of being, I attracted a handsome, kind-hearted, funny, honest, successful, and loyal man who eventually became my husband in 2013.
The transformation that I experienced was so powerful that it inspired me to become a Certified Life Coach in 2015, and a Certified Reiki Practitioner in 2018.
Today, I specialize in helping women heal their hearts, feel more in charge of their love life, and get them out of the rinse-and-repeat douchebag cycle—for good!
Want to see how I can help you take control of your love life?
Douchebags to Diamonds:
How to Take Charge of Your Love Life and Attract Mr. Right
Here’s a little blurb to intrigue your interest…
Douchebags to Diamonds™ is a self-help book for women who want to heal a broken heart, take charge of their love life, and attract their Mr. Right.
In this honest, tell-it-like-it-is book, author and entrepreneur Stacey Dewald explores the raw truth of her most painful relationships, delving into how she became stuck in a cycle of looking for love in all the wrong places, and she shares how she broke free from this pattern, revealing an empowering journey of doing the hard work to release old pain and, ultimately, attract the man of her dreams.