I understand your fear, despair, loneliness and confusion. Divorce is hard! However, I have made it my mission to help you deal with your loss as you let go of the past and and begin your new life as a single woman in as little time as possible.
I am Cindy Holbrook, the Compassionate Divorce Coach. I have been coaching women that are in the process of divorce or already divorced for 20 years. I help them to get back in touch with their inner dreams and desires as they move forward with courage, confidence and clarity and navigate their future as a single woman. I offer tips and techniques that reduces the pain and time required to recover from divorce and let go and move on. I myself was divorced after a 20 year emotionally abusive marriage. I hold degrees in psychology and sociology and am a graduate of the Certified Divorce Coaching Program. I am a speaker and author as well as a featured expert on Your Tango and Self Growth.
I am beginning with my marriage, to show you how I was conditioned to think and act.
I met Earl in the 9th grade. He used to follow me around the school and always asked me out. I couldn’t stand him! In the 10th grade we became friends. In 11th grade we began dating. In 12th grade we got engaged. We married just 6 months after graduating from high school.
I remember after we got engaged, Mom kept asking me if I was sure about taking this step. She said that Earl was very controlling and I was very spoiled, so she did not think it would work out. I was adamant. I was young and in love and believed in the “Happily Ever After” fairy tale.
About a month before we got married, I cut my waist length hair. Earl and I argued for hours over this and he even threatened to break off our marriage. That may have been a sign. From that point on, I never cut my hair without his permission.
During the first years of marriage we argued a lot. I felt as if he could never see my side and would always give in to his demands. Everything was always my fault. He never apologized. Once after my daughter was born, he kicked me out of the house. I went to get my daughter out of her crib and he would not let me take her. So, I stayed, sleeping right next to her crib, so that he could not take her without my knowledge. The next morning we made up.
Earl was an avid bowler, he had a 220 average. After bowling with us for a couple of years another league member asked me how Earl and I were related. I was sort of shocked and said, “we are married.” He asked me how come Earl and I never talked. I had never thought of that. I just knew better than to talk to him while he was bowling, because he was extremely focused on his performance. He wasn’t there to have fun. I liked going to have fun and mingle with everyone.
During our 7th year of marriage, he came home from work for lunch and the house had not been cleaned yet. The telephone repairman was in the other room. Earl yelled, cursed and screamed at me that the house better be clean by the time he got home from work and left. The phone man was visibly alarmed by this situation. He told me that no one deserved to be treated that way.
There was a couple that we were friends with. Earl worked with Annette. During our 12th year of marriage Annette’s husband suddenly died. She leaned heavily on Earl and I for support. Within a year I became very ill and Earl started leaning on Annette for support.
Due to a 5 pound benign tumor that I had two years prior, my body began to break down. I could hardly walk from one room to the next without having to rest. I spent a lot of time in the hospital for various procedures and exploratory surgeries. While at the hospital, Earl rarely visited me and one time the nurses actually kicked him out of the hospital because he got me so upset by the way he was treating me.
While I was recovering at home, he would go to work leaving my 8-year old daughter to prepare cereal and peanut butter and jelly sandwiches for me to eat.
By the time I had a hysterectomy, Earl and Annette had a very strong emotional affair going on. Things started going downhill from there. I was still having medical problems and by this time everything had taken a toll on me mentally.
And then one Sunday morning, my Mom unexpectedly died. I was in shock and felt like my heart was breaking. While I was crying I sobbed “I wish someone could make the pain go away.” Earl shoved me about ten-feet across the kitchen, yelling at me “How do you expect me to make your mom come back to life?” The next morning Earl went off to work as if nothing was different. He told me he would not sit in the front pew at the funeral because he was not family. His dad convinced him to go to the funeral and sit with me, though he offered no emotional support to me during the funeral.
Within the next 18 months my Dad and Grandma also died. I felt orphaned and all alone. I sunk into a deep depression. It was a scary place to be. I can remember thinking, “This is not me. Why am I doing these things? Why do I feel this way? And how can I make myself feel better?”
A week after Mom died, Earl told me he did not love me anymore but was not going to leave because he married me for better or worse. When he would get angry, he would threaten to leave me and the kids penniless. At the time he made VERY good money and I was only making $7 an hour. I did not believe I was capable of raising my kids alone.
Every time I made a mistake or did not act accordingly, Earl would call me stupid, unrealistic, clumsy, lazy and who knows what else. The interesting part is that while I was going through all of this, I declared, “Mental abuse does not exist.”
It took me three years to find the confidence and the courage to leave. During this time I devoured self-help books and listened to as many motivational speakers as I could. I also met with private coaches and mentors. They helped me see that I had the power of my life in my own hands. That I could choose to accept or reject the situation I was in. I would never change Earl, but I could change myself.
The night my brother died, Earl was bowling about 3 hours from our home. I called him and he said he was sorry to hear that. He finished bowling and went out to eat with his friends before coming home. When he got home, I was still crying. I asked him to hold me. He answered “No, my arm hurts.” That was the straw that broke the camel’s back. I immediately began devising a plan to leave. I secured my financial situation, found an apartment and had an escape plan in case he became physical. Leaving him and going out on my own was the scariest thing I have ever done!
Even though I did a lot of emotional healing in the marriage, I still faced several hurdles after the divorce. I was still in denial and kept thinking that Earl would change. That he would come to his senses and declare his love for me and we would live happily ever after. I struggled to let go of the fairy tale.
For the first week after I left him, I would cry myself to sleep each night. I was terrified of what the next day, week and year would bring. I wondered what in the hell did I do?
- Did I make the right decision?
- Would I ever find happiness again?
- Would there ever be peace in my heart?
- Would anyone ever love me?
- Was I even worthy of being loved?
Even though I felt as if a huge burden was lifted off of my shoulder as I did not need to walk around on eggshells, wondering when the next blow up would occur. I was on my own private emotional roller coaster and felt as if life was spinning out of control. I would cry for no reason at all. Other times I would be full of anger and even wrote some pretty hateful letters. I felt betrayed. Other times I would laugh and felt free.
I was so confused and often times did not know which way to turn. When things would come up, I would call Earl for his help and opinion because he had controlled so much of my life during our marriage.
Many well meaning friends offered me advice that I felt went against my inner being. I knew that whatever decisions I made, I would have to live with for the rest of my life. I was fortunate enough to have one friend, Liz that allowed me to be me. She never criticized my feelings and always allowed me to be who I needed to be at that particular point in time. She would sit with me for hours while I cried, and would laugh with me when I laughed. Another so called very good friend of mine did not offer me any support at all. She stated that I was a sinner for getting a divorce and that God did not care if I was happy or not, that he just wanted me to follow his rules.
I’ll never forget the day that I took control of my life and started to create the life I wanted. I was sitting in my friend Mike’s truck. I spilled a 32 ounce soda all over the truck and on Mike. He jumped out of the truck and grabbed some towels that he had in the back. I curled up into a little ball on the passengers side and started repeating, “I’m sorry, I’m sorry, I’m sorry.” Mike looked at me and said, “Baby, you don’t have anything to be sorry about.” This was not the response I was used to. I didn’t know how to react and just started sobbing. Mike climbed up in the wet sticky seat and held me for three hours while I sobbed. I let it all go, the emotional abuse, the fear, the anger, the belief that I was unworthy, and the belief that mental abuse was hogwash.
By the time I finished sobbing, a new energy, a new self had emerged inside of me. I knew that regardless what happened that I would be all right. I knew beyond a shadow of a doubt that my life was my choice and I could do or be anything I wanted.
6 years later, I ended up marrying Mike. Fast forward to today. I am living my dream life. I am married to a wonderful man who treats me like a queen and tells me that after everything I have gone through, that I deserve only the best. I enjoy spending my free time with my family and traveling.
I have my own business doing what I love most – helping other women get off their own emotional roller coaster and reclaim their life. There is nothing that excites me more than watching a woman transform from “just existing” to “creating their own life.”
If you would like to have a conversation with me to discuss your personal challenges and concerns, apply for a complimentary, “Getting Unstuck: Divorce with Confidence” coaching session valued at $297. To be considered for this amazing gift Submit Your Request Now!
To learn more about me, you can read my blog posts regarding my life.