This post was updated on Oct 6, 2021
“I’ve moved on.” I had heard these words before from many men, but the pain inside me felt like it was the very first time I was ever abandoned.
“What did I do wrong? How can I be better? Whatever it takes, but please, please, please give me another chance. Don’t leave.” This was my go-to behavior when trying to salvage yet another emotionally abusive relationship.
After enduring decades of relationships doomed from the get-go, I felt like I couldn’t forge ahead. I wondered if it was even emotionally and physically possible for me to endure another round of finding a new partner (with a broken picker) who didn’t value me. In the end, I would be abandoned yet again. This was inevitable.
It wasn’t just in romance. I chose friends of both sexes (with the same broken picker) who also sensed my low self-esteem and feelings of unworthiness. Maybe their cruelty made them feel better about themselves or maybe they merely needed an outlet for their own frustrations. The reasons for their mean-spirited behavior didn’t matter. The bottom line was that even these “so-called” friends didn’t value me either.
What I didn’t know then is that I didn’t value myself.
This cycle of abuse wasn’t a complete mystery. I knew why I had low self-esteem and zero self-worth. Childhood trauma rattled my core and tore me down. The little girl inside me was wounded. Coupled with my childhood trauma, I suffer from Tourette’s syndrome, OCD, Binge Eating Disorder, and depression. Not an ideal scenario for a shining future.
Being aware of my faulty thinking wasn’t enough wasn’t enough to fix my broken picker. The challenge: What was I going to do about it?
If I only tried harder, did more and said less I believed I could turn my circumstances around. Yet my groveling only gave these men (and platonic friends) license to treat me even worse.
Enter Lori Jean Glass. I met Lori Jean many years ago at a retreat. Her journey was remarkable and left an impression on me. Her own road to recovery remained imprinted in my mind. She is a California girl. And I’m all about Brooklyn. Yet my options for intensive and relevant help in my zip code had been exhausted.
I needed the real deal. I needed someone who had been on this journey and chose life.
Since my last encounter with Lori Jean, she had developed a proprietary five-day “deep dive” program – appropriately titled The Pivot Glass House Retreat – for individuals struggling with relationships. Her program also caters to couples and families.
I was in. Despite a hurricane approaching New York City, I made my way to California.
For one, the Pivot Glass House in San Rafael overlooking San Francisco Bay is remarkable. The contemporary and tasteful décor is soothing, inspiring, and welcoming. After introductions, we jumped right into the intensive program.
Lori Jean simplifies a part of life that is the most challenging and complicated – relationships. I took most everyone I encountered at the checkout counter to be my new BFF. When I met a guy at Starbucks who showed me how to order caramel macchiatos through the app, I deemed our bond unshakable.
The idea of boundaries was foreign – and even disturbing – to me. If I had wants or needs, I believed, I would be abandoned. I took what people said at face value, even though their actions didn’t match their words.
Lori Jean’s Relational Circle Boundaries transformed the way I look at relationships. My “inner circle,” according to Lori Jean, is sacred. This is the place reserved for people who have proven themselves to be trustworthy and worthy of my love. The millennial behind the counter who schmeared my bagel with an extra layer of tofu cream cheese isn’t my new trusted confidant. She is an acquaintance until I determine otherwise.
Relationships take time to nourish and flourish. I need to be careful about who I count on and to be mindful about my expectations. Turning to the wrong people in times of need only ends up in disappointment. Lori’s Jeans five Relational Circle Boundaries has given me a simple and practical system to categorize all my relationships from romantic partners to business colleagues.
When my inner child is triggered, I don’t need to punish myself with self-destructive behavior. As a little girl, binging on bags of M&Ms, Twizzlers and boxes of Fruit Loops was the only way I knew how to survive my dire circumstances. This survival mechanism no longer serves me, especially since I am predisposed to diabetes. With the help of a series of carefully crafted experiential exercises, I now know I can be kind to my inner child, along with all the parts of me that have made me who I am.
After struggling through each phase of my life, I understand that my healthy adult can embrace self-love. She deserves it. Discovering ways to nurture myself through self-care in ways such as cutting down on sugar, getting back into running, meditating, having fun, and finding other ways to empower my mind, body and spirit is what will ultimately allow me to change the trajectory of my life. It’s hard work, but I have a road map.
The one-on-one therapy that is part of this comprehensive program allowed me to devise a personalized action plan catering to my unique needs and circumstances. Aside from learning about myself and exploring ways to realize more positive outcomes in relationships, I was comforted by the wonderful women who accompanied me on this enlightening adventure. I learned how to make world-class avocado toast (thank you “M”); discovered I still love to hustle to the Bee Gees (thank you “LJ”); and that I prefer sponge painting to paint brushes (thank you “C”). Spending five days with a group of compassionate females was life affirming. It doesn’t have to be all about “the guy.”
Another promising aspect of this relational retreat is that I can continue my transformation with my own personal advocate. I can PIVOT away from darkness – and step into a bright future, even in platform shoes from my disco days!