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Breaking Free from Family Trauma and Drama

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Breaking Free from Family Trauma and Drama

Breaking Free from Family Trauma and Drama


In a recent episode from my radio show, Uplift Your Life: Nourishment of the Spirit,  my guest Jodee Prouse and I delve into the difficult and often painful topic of abuse. Please listen in order to become empowered and begin letting go of destructive relationships. In today’s blog, in addition to my tip of the week and my silver lining story, Marian Stephens shares how she is using the information in this episode to change her life. All my previous blogs are on my website, paulajoyce.com, and the first two posts with Marian’s Story went up last week. Be sure to check them out and follow Marian’s progress.


Dr. Paula’s Tip of the Week


One of the most difficult answers to give in life is often: NO. Sometimes our inner voice whispers “no”, sometimes it bellows “no”, however it is often our nature to disregard our first instinct. Use this tip to begin to take control of your needs and wants; doing so will only bring you closer to your higher self.


Your tip for the week from my e-book, 33 Tips for Self-Empowerment. I wrote this book because when you are self-empowered, you are connected to your limitless higher self, your soul, your intuition, your gut feelings, your guidance. Our limitless higher self is the wiser part of ourselves, the part that knows the Truth of who we are. Our logical mind is so loud, however, that it often drowns out the whisper that is trying to guide us on our authentic path. As you learn to listen to the still small voice within, you will begin to feel at peace. Because your limitless higher self has direct access to the Divine, it is through this connection that miracles occur, like unexpected healing, healthy relationships, peace and wealth. This connection gives you an inner foundation of love, which eliminates fear. It is through this love that you can heal the planet and yourself and make the shift into the 4th dimension. Our higher self helps us find safety and even save our own life and others’ lives. We must train ourselves to trust our higher self and never go against it. Don’t talk yourself out of something that feels right to you or let what others say or think influence what you do. Please use these tips. Strengthen Your Boundaries: Learning to say NO to what you do not want in your life is one of the most important things that you can do for yourself. Avoid acting when you hear the words “I should” and “I must”. Take action when you hear the words “I want to.” Many of us, especially women, have been raised to believe that we are responsible for everyone else’s happiness and success. We have been taught to put our own needs and desires last. To do anything else would be selfish. I remember watching my mother take her food last and to only refill her plate after everyone else had eaten their fill. I learned to do the same. No words had to be spoken. I observed what a mother was supposed to do. I also watched as she and her sister enabled their two alcoholic brothers. Neither sister was able to face the truth of their brothers’ alcoholism. One brother died of cirrhosis of the liver, although my aunt insisted that his death was due to bad medical care. The other brother was a binge alcoholic and during his sober spells, my mother would be convinced that he was not an alcoholic even though he always went back to drinking. The sisters cooked for the brothers, took care of them and put up with the rage and abuse thrown at them because that’s what family does. I learned from them to put up with way too much for way too long in my own family. I learned to live with false hope until I finally realized that if I didn’t take care of myself and set boundaries, nothing would ever change. I acknowledged that I couldn’t save them, but I could save me. That became my new goal. I vowed to change the family pattern by changing myself and showing the rest of the family, by example, that they, too, could make different choices and save their own lives. This was not a selfish choice in the negative sense of the word. It was a hard choice that was not welcomed by the other family members. Some stopped talking to me and others are still angry with me after 13 years. Breaking dysfunctional family patterns takes courage, strength and commitment. What keeps me going is the joy of the life I have now and the hope that my choices will inspire others to break away and create the life they deserve.


Dr. Paula’s Silver Lining Story

Abuse is an epidemic in the United States – a crime against humanity. By shedding light on the dynamics of abuse, empowering survivors with good self-help tips, and pointing survivors towards professionals who can help heal the damage they have endured, the cycle of abuse can be stopped in its tracks.

The legacy of abuse is a hard one, and at least half of the population has or will experience abuse in their lifetime. Sometimes it’s one incident and sometimes it’s on-going. The challenge for the victim is to wake up to the truth, give up false hope and expand the compassion they have for everyone else to themselves.  Some of us are so busy trying to save other people that we don’t notice that we are the collateral damage.


My silver lining is that having gone through this process myself, I now get the joy of helping other people shed their pain and old ways of thinking and reacting and move to a place of self-love and healthy boundaries. This week one of my clients reached the point where she was finished being present for her family’s abuse. She has accepted that nothing she says or does will change their behavior toward her. The healthier she became and the stronger her boundaries became, the louder and crueler her family became until the entire extended family rallied around her abusive brother, shunning her and making her out to be the abuser. Her silver lining is that it got so big and outlandish that she was able to see the truth and remove herself from the drama. Now she can refocus her energy where it belongs, on herself, letting go of the pain, healing her heart and creating a life with purpose.


Marian Stephens’ Story


I anticipated this episode would be difficult to listen to because I am a survivor of domestic violence, but, instead, I found myself uplifted with a renewed sense of purpose. I was not in the abusive relationship for a prolonged period, but long enough to be life altering. The details are unimportant, but leaving the relationship meant moving myself and three (soon to be four) kids in with my parents. While I have done a great deal of healing, I still struggle with guilt. The guilt I feel is multifaceted and, at times, endless. I primarily feel guilty I exposed my kids to abusive behavior. Even though I know guilt is toxic and not truth, I still let it weigh heavily on me. I think if I can allow myself to let go of the guilt – maybe by transferring the feeling of guilt to one of regret as proposed in the episode – I can progress in my healing process.


In this episode Dr. Paula asks listeners: Think about something you are doing that you feel you “should” be doing but is actually hurting you. I feel like I should be able to do everything for my kids. I attempt to, and it is detrimental to my health. It is also hurting my relationship with my children. I feel beholden to them, and they feel resentful when I drop the ball. I realize after today’s episode I have felt so guilty that I am compensating by assuming most household responsibilities. As if I can erase what happened by making their lives as easy as possible.


A theme of today’s show is that each person is responsible for their own life. Even children. This helps me see that I am doing a disservice to myself and my children by denying them responsibility. We are in our own home now, so this is an opportunity to correct this imbalance. I want to empower my boys – to teach them how to navigate life with confidence. In trying to make them feel completely taken care of, I am stripping them of their ability to learn and grow – their autonomy. I can begin to give them each more responsibility and watch them blossom.


I regret that my kids and I had to endure such a traumatic experience. But, I want, need, to break free from the guilt. My purpose is to ensure that my boys grow into adults that would never abuse another person or repeat the behavior they saw. Forgiving myself for all that happened is no easy task, but to not is to never truly move past it. The support Dr. Paula gives her listeners gives me the courage to continue to find forgiveness for myself, to become more introspective, and to make real change.



Dr. Paula’s Response to Marian


I’m impressed with your self-awareness and commitment. When you feel guilt or regret, you can release that energy by:

  • asking yourself: What did I learn? How have I grown? How do I do things differently now? How can I do them even better next time?
  • focusing on self-respect for the courage and strength you have to leave abuse and be a good role model for your children.
  • having self-compassion and forgiveness for the younger you who didn’t know any better. Love yourself.


Remember, we are all here on earth to learn and to grow in love and compassion, including self-compassion.



For more shows on healing from abuse, and trauma, please listen to:



To learn more about my unique process that removes hidden blockages, unleashes your creativity and helps you solve your most challenging problems, sign up for my newsletter and receive the chapter as my gift: http://paulajoyce.com/wpsite/newsletter-sign-up/


Love and Support for Abuse Survivors Goes GLOBAL in 2017

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Love and Support for Abuse Survivors Goes GLOBAL in 2017

Dr. Lisa Cooney spreads the love for the community of warriors who have survived abuse, as she makes support easily accessible on an international level.

Survivors who have fallen victim to abuse are in need of a strong support system, much like a helping hand, especially if they are on their own journey to recovery. Awareness about abuse has grown, yet there are still so many victims of abuse around the world that never report their traumas. Unfortunately, some victims out there meet their end, before they are exposed to the help that they desperately need.

Dr. Lisa Cooney has grown a vast recovery network by giving on-going year-round support on a global level. If you or someone you know is trapped in the vicious cage of abuse and yearns to break free, you should know that the Live Your ROAR team is reaching out to you – offering you support and care. The team, guided by Dr. Lisa, used 2016 as a trial run for making support consistently and continuously available for national and international abuse survivors alike. Dr. Lisa has traveled around the globe: stopping by countries from Costa Rica to Australia and cities all over the world, visiting new places, making new friends, and offering her help to those who feel crushed by the weight of abuse.

Making it possible to get help and support from Dr. Lisa Cooney, no matter where she might be on her journey, has been quite the goal for the Live Your ROAR team, of which can finally be checked off the list… Dr. Lisa enhances her support offerings, from in-person group facilitation, one-on-one sessions, specialized workshops, to including her weekly Beyond Abuse, Beyond Therapy, Beyond Anything radio show on Voice America’s Empowerment Channel, as well as internet-based Live Translated Video Group Calls. This in turn brings Dr. Lisa’s facilitation available at the ease of your own home and/or space. An amazing advancement with regards to support, as many abuse victims’ hardest part to recovering and living a life beyond abuse, is taking that first step of seeking assistance.

“A 2013 analysis conduct by WHO with the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine and the Medical Research Council, based on existing data from over 80 countries, found that worldwide, almost one third (30%) of all women who have been in a relationship have experienced physical and/or sexual violence by their intimate partner. The prevalence estimates range from 23.2% in high-income countries and 24.6% in the Western Pacific region to 37% in the WHO Eastern Mediterranean region, and 37.7% in the South-East Asia region. Furthermore, globally as many as 38% of all murders of women are committed by intimate partners. In addition to intimate partner violence, globally 7% of women report having been sexually assaulted by someone other than a partner, although data for this is more limited.
Intimate partner and sexual violence are mostly perpetrated by men against women. Child sexual abuse affects both boys and girls. International studies reveal that approximately 20% of women and 5–10% of men report being victims of sexual violence as children. Violence among young people, including dating violence, is also a major problem” (WHO, 2016).

It is so essential to show individuals that help exists. Some people are completely unaware that there are individuals out there, all though currently strangers, yet who are willing to give over 100% of themselves in order to help others. Recovery is not a fantasy. You can create a reality filled with joy, fun, and adventure, beyond the suffocating weight of abuse. Abuse survivors have recovered from all sorts of trauma, ranging from physical, sexual, emotional, verbal and financial abuse, to name a few. Remember that there is a safe place awaiting you, along with a passion for supporting your personal development and growth. Even if it’s just by listening in on one of the Beyond Abuse, Beyond Therapy, Beyond Anything shows with Dr. Lisa, know that this could be the first step toward your brighter, more vivid reality.

Regardless of wherever you are in the world…

From Pain to Gain: Changing your perspective on the negatives of life, and using pain to your advantage By Dr. Lisa Cooney

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From Pain to Gain: Changing your perspective on the negatives of life, and using pain to your advantage By Dr. Lisa Cooney

Is there still pain lingering in the background of your being, even though you’ve freed yourself from the infliction? Have you been told who you should be, or how you should behave?  Do you feel like you’re walking on eggshells, but can’t seem to push yourself onto a new path? I have experienced many of these moments of pain in the past. I simply chose to believe lies for far too long, that disempowered me…That had me agreeing with others opinions of me that were UNTRUE.

I’ve emphatically demanded that me, my body, and the universe, create and empower me, as I choose to be. I speak up for those that can’t yet. I live for the eradication of abuse off of this planet. So, let us explore and uncover, what YOU can gain, from the pain of the lies that were embedded in you, that blurred the definition of the TRUE YOU. What could life be, if you chose to change the perspective on the negatives of life, and used the experiences for your advantage?

Let’s shift from pain to GAIN.

Breaking the Cycle

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7th Wave
Breaking the Cycle


Abuse impacts all of us. Mostly we know about physical and sexual abuse. Although emotional abuse has reached epidemic proportions, most of us have no idea what it is or how to Abuse impacts all of us. Mostly we know about physical and sexual abuse. Although emotional abuse has reached epidemic proportions, most of us have no idea what it is or how to identify it. It’s what I call the Silent Killer. All of the various forms of abuse destroy a person’s self-esteem and health. We all know someone who is in an abusive relationship and that person may even be you. Learn what it is and what you can do to prevent it and to heal from it.

Ways to Clear Fear

Begin by using the following 3 techniques to help clear yourself and the earth of fear and other painful emotions, like anger and sadness. Please do them with me. The first one is an affirmation. “I am love as I am loved; you are love as you are loved; all is love as all is loved.” The second one is a visualization. If you have trouble visualizing, then just think the words in your mind: close your eyes and think or see a beautiful pink heart full of love shining pink light down on you. See and feel the pink light going through your body, down to your feet and into the ground where the pink light is filling and healing all of the fault lines in the earth, the oceans and the atmosphere. The last technique is a chant: om a ha a om am am. Know that as you do these three techniques, you are helping to fill yourself and the earth with pink healing love energy which is balancing all energies and helping to create calm and peace within yourself and the earth.

People who have been abused collect more than the normal number of fears and their response to fear is more intense and pervasive. Many develop strategies to manage their fears and/or to avoid feeling. These strategies can look like mental illness or disorders, but they are really coping devices. I’ve noticed that as my clients remove abuse and abusers from their life, the symptoms diminish until they disappear. These coping mechanisms often develop as a means of avoiding feeling or avoiding facing the reality of their situation. They can include hypochondria, OCD behaviors, paranoia and depression to name a few. I find that my clients don’t need medication. They just need help in understanding what is happening in their lives and then in changing it.

Feeling is Essential

Often a client is concerned that they will be overwhelmed with emotion to the point of not being able to handle it. When we have bottled up our emotions for long periods of time, it is difficult to begin to allow ourselves to feel without getting overtaken with sadness, anger or grief. As Mark Twain said, “The only way around it, is through it.” The pain is eating away below the surface at our physical and mental health. It is hurting us and will continue to do so until we let it surface so we can feel it and let it go. The pain and damage is prolonged when we don’t let it go. The key is to stop hanging on to the harmful emotions. Using color and tone can provide a gentler way of releasing the fear, anger and pain.

The fact is that if we don’t allow ourselves to feel the pain, anger and sadness, it’s going to come out in inappropriate ways. Often the person will have reached their limit and suddenly they explode in anger. Most often the anger is not directed at the person they’re really angry with but rather at someone in the service industry or a child or an employee. We feel frustrated and justified, but really we’re targeting someone who can’t fight back. It’s healthier and wiser to face our feelings and cry when we feel sad or turn our anger into righteous indignation and take action to change our life, the life of others and the world.

Refill with Peace and Love

And as we empty the sadness, anger and pain, are we refilling with gratitude and happiness and peace? I’ve noticed lately that people are often surprised when I thank them for providing help or exceptional service. Even if you’re paying someone or it’s their job to provide a particular service, it doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t say thank you. Showing gratitude and appreciation for service gives people more personal gratification than money. As long as we have enough money to pay for food, shelter and clothing, our emotional satisfaction comes from our personal relationships. Saying thank you provides a good feeling for everyone involved.

Silver Linings

Yesterday, I was making a deposit at an ATM machine when it malfunctioned, kept my checks and provided no receipt or record of the transaction. The bank was closed so no help was available. This was so important that I didn’t want to wait until the morning to take care of it. Since I have a credit card through the bank, I decided to call the credit card phone number and try to get help through them. I was directed to the wrong number and then disconnected twice and, of course, was on hold for long periods of time. Thirty minutes later, when I got someone for the third time, I began by saying how frustrated I was and that I needed her to get me to someone who could help me. And unlike the previous two people, she actually did find the correct phone number for me. When I got through to that person, she was extremely helpful, sincerely concerned about the malfunctioning machine and my troubling experience. With the check numbers that I provided and detailed information about the deposit, she credited my account and assured me that the machine would be fixed. I felt taken care of and grateful and we ended with kind words to each other.

There were many silver linings for me in this experience. Most importantly, I didn’t get angry with anyone. I kept myself calm by reassuring myself that the bank had to have a way of correcting the problem and by saying a prayer asking for help in getting the matter resolved. I took appropriate action in a pretty calm manner, stated my frustration instead of being angry at someone who did not cause the problem. This allowed her to stay calm and find the right phone number for me. When I did get through to the person who could solve the problem, I realized how much I’ve grown in my ability to handle my financial record keeping. I had check numbers, names and amounts, which made the process go smoothly. I was proud of my own growth and healing and truly grateful for the competent people who helped me. This experience would have been fraught with stress, anger and unpleasant interactions a number of months ago. Having allowed myself to let go of the fears, anger and sadness from the past allowed me to be fully present in the moment. The people helping me were just that, people. They weren’t objects standing between me and what I wanted.

Break the Cycle

The concept of empathy has been a recurring theme in our programs. Without it, people are not able to experience the full range of feelings and don’t care if they cause harm to others. An abuser wouldn’t care if he yelled at or was rude to the service people. All that would matter would be venting anger and getting what he needed. Because I do have empathy, had I been rude to the service people, I would have added guilt, shame and more pain to my already overloaded emotions. Breaking the cycle and releasing myself of the past pain has changed my life. If I can do it, so can you.identify it. It’s what I call the Silent Killer. All of the various forms of abuse destroy a person’s self-esteem and health. We all know someone who is in an abusive relationship and that person may even be you. Learn what it is and what you can do to prevent it and to heal from it.


To learn more click HERE


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You’ve seen the dress. Is it blue and black? Or is it white and gold? This dress showed up online overnight and people were amused for a little bit but then got really annoyed at the attention it was getting. People are starving or being oppressed by their government in foreign countries and we’re worried about what color a dress is? At the end of the day, who really cares what color it is; it’s just another internet sensation. However, the South African Salvation Army, with the help of an advertising agency, took this scientific phenomenon of a dress and incorporated it into their ad that is nothing short of the word: bold.
The ad depicts a bruised model wearing the dress with the caption, “Why is it so hard to see black and blue?” reporting that one in six women are victims of abuse. From a marketing standpoint, kudos for the Salvation Army to ride on the coattails of this viral image that everyone with an Internet connection has seen, but was it too much? Did the Salvation Army cross some sort of invisible moral line when they created this ad? Did they take what was a fun optical illusion and turn it into something dark and unexpected? In my honest opinion: absolutely not. Don’t get me wrong; it is definitely edgy, but not offensive in the least. When it comes to talking about tough subjects like abuse, the more shocking the ad, the more powerful it is and gets us really talking about the subject. It’s almost like an icebreaker. The advertising agency that came up with the advertisement released a statement, defending the ad. Their reason is exactly what gives the ad so much power:

“For the past few days the internet has been swarming with comments about ‘the dress’ – overall people have been commenting how they hate the fact that an insignificant thing like this could take priority on the internet over more pressing topics such as abuse”

Taking something that we claimed was “insignificant”, as many agreed that it clearly was, and turning it on its head into a powerful message is a grand feat. The problem critics have with this ad is cheapening the message of violence and abuse with some internet craze that everyone tried to hashtag or create a hokey meme about. We hear statistics about domestic abuse and breast cancer all the time, but are we really absorbing the information? The facts flashing on commercials have become less effective because we keep seeing them; sadly, they aren’t getting the job done anymore. Companies and organizations need to take a risk and do their homework when it comes to creating a powerful ad with an even more powerful message. The Salvation Army ad maybe does not bring the conversation into a grand forum, but it sticks out in our minds now and got us talking, even for just a few days, about violence against women. It’s hard to keep our attention when it comes to important issues, like abuse, but every little bit helps. When everyone said, “Who cares about this stupid dress?” the Salvation Army turned it into a message that made us care.

Thriving Through Recovery from Life Threatening Illness

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Thriving Through Recovery from Life Threatening Illness

RadiantSurvivorCover 229

Show Description

You’ve finally reached the top in your career and you have a life changing event that means you have to start all over. You’re back at square one. You have to learn to speak, to walk, and to do all the normal things of daily living. What do you do? Erica Tucci was at the peak of her career in a Fortune 500 company when she had a stroke that left her completely paralyzed on the right side. As she began to recover she realized more clearly what is truly important in life and she began a new mission—to use her story as an inspiration for others facing life challenges. She wrote the book Radiant Survivor: How to Shine and Thrive through Recovery from Stroke, Cancer, Abuse, Addiction and Other Life-Altering Experiences which launches on November 19. While she is still in her own recovery process, not just surviving but thriving, she is developing a trauma recovery coaching program to help others. This is a story no one should miss.


Guest Bio:

Erica Tucci started out to be a dancer but switched majors and received her a BBA in Management Information Systems from the University of Houston. She has authored two books, started a healing arts business, and was a manager in a Fortune 500 company. In the midst of this whirlwind of activity, she had a stroke that changed every aspect of her life. This story can be found in Erica’s new and third book, Radiant Survivor: How to Shine and Thrive through Recovery from Stroke, Cancer, Abuse, Addiction and Other Life-Altering Experiences, launching on November 19th. Today Erica continues the work she was doing before her stroke, helping women find their “yin radiance” through their authentic voice and their own healing. And to help others going through their own life-altering experiences, she is developing a trauma recovery coaching program based on her Radiant Survivor book.

For more information:

Contact: Irene Conlan
Show Date:  Thursday, November 14, 2013
Show Time: 1 p.m. PST/PDT
Show Title: Thriving Through Recovery from Life Threatening Illness
Guest: Erica Tucci

Visit Erica Tucci’s Website

The Self Improvement Show was created because almost everyone wants to be better, do better, and achieve more, but we don’t always know how to do that. We aren’t looking for perfection. We are simply trying to improve in ways that allow us more happiness, contentment and success with some laughter  along the way. We address issues common to us all and suggest useful tools that will help you tap into your strengths and your wonderful uniqueness. We think most self improvement is an “inside job” so we talk a lot about how to “go within” to make lasting changes. We talk to people who have struggled and won and have great stories to tell as well as those who live ordinary lives in extraordinary ways. The show is laid back, informative and down to earth.  The welcome mat is always out and we invite you to join us. The Self Improvement Show is broadcast live every Thursday at 1 PM Pacific Time on the VoiceAmerica Empowerment Channel. Listen Now!

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