Q & A with Bernie – June 16, 2014

Question for Bernie

I don’t know what to do, but I’m listening to an interview of you with Steve Maraboli right now, and I guess I’m hoping that something in there is going to stop me from what I’ve been thinking of doing.

I’ve had a bit of a hard life, I guess. My dad died when I was six, and before he was buried I started getting sexually abused by my older brother. My mum walked in on him assaulting me, and told us both to pack a bag and get out. She said she never wanted to see us again. She watched us walk away, and I had no choice but to go with my brother.

After a couple of days, a friend’s mum called my mum to ask why we weren’t with her and staying with our mother when our dad had just died and was about to be buried. Mum let us come home, but said she never wanted to know or talk about it then. I started getting raped by my brother then. It happened until I was 14.

My mum remarried a very violent criminal pedophile when I was 14. My stepfather took over sexually abusing me, as well as physically, mentally, and emotionally. I tried to protect my younger brother from my stepfather, so I took as much abuse as I could. My stepfather threatened that if I told my mother, he would throw her and my little half-sister (his daughter) out into the streets with no money.

I figured I was damaged goods anyway so I thought that I may as well sacrifice myself to protect three people I cared about. But it got to the stage where I started getting worried about my little sister after watching some warning signs from my stepfather, so I came forward and went to the police.

Since then (2012), my stepfather has been trying to kill me. In 2011 my stepfather walked out on my mother, and she and my little sister moved into a small apartment with all our family’s stuff. Less than three weeks later, only five days before Christmas, a random woman was high from sniffing glue and burnt it down. Everything was lost and we were majorly under-insured. At the time I was on medical leave because I had been diagnosed with a serious brain condition and told I needed surgery. I ended up losing my job because of that.

I got another job in September 2012 as an insurance sales rep, but in December of that year we had to go into police protection and hiding because of my ex-stepfather trying to kill us, especially me. My job was commission only, so for most of 2013, I didn’t have a regular income because I had to go into hiding as the protection orders were being breached.

I’m 29 now, but when I was 22, I managed to buy my own apartment, and since then I have been the only one paying all the bills – mortgage repayments, rates, body corporate fees, everything. I haven’t had a partner for all this time after the issues of my childhood. In September of last year I was issued court documents to repossess my house as I hadn’t been able to keep up the repayments because of being in hiding.

I managed to come to an agreement with the bank where they would halt all repayments until February 2014, and then I had to pay $1375 a month for February, March, and April before the bank would refinance all the arrears into the home loan.

In December I was diagnosed with a serious case of dengue fever and pneumonia and ended up in hospital. I was so sick that doctors gave me medical certificates from December 2013 until almost the end of February 2014. So, I couldn’t make the hardship arrangement and I got a notice to evict my home on May 20th. I believed and placed all my trust that the outcome was assured, and some amazing people came into my life and managed to halt the eviction until the 20th of June.

You know, even though I am still going through treatment and am always a work in progress, I think that my past and everything I’ve been through is just that…a past story that doesn’t define who I am now. And I have done everything in my power to learn to trust and believe in creating good in my life. I’ve been so tempted sometimes to take shortcuts and compromise my standards, but I’ve always stopped myself short by telling myself that nothing is worth being less than the very highest and best person that I can possibly be. I’ve always had trust issues as I’ve never been able to trust anyone in the past, but I’m trying.

But I’m lost right now. On the 5th of June I was given a full-time permanent job as a Travel Manager. But despite the bank telling me that all it takes is for me to have a stable job and be able to service my home loan, they refuse to call off the eviction.  I’m being evicted for just over $10,000.

Monday is a public holiday and at 7AM Tuesday, the removalists and Bailiff will be here to change the locks and pack my things. I have nowhere to go. I have a Domestic Violence Order against this address, and the police and the Domestic Violence Centre came out in March to fully secure the property to protect me from my ex-stepfather. I feel empty. I can’t see a way to stop this in time.

Every time I’ve been knocked down, I’ve picked myself back up and found a way. But I can’t find a way this time. I can trust when I see a glimmer of light, but I can’t see anything but complete darkness right now. And I don’t know how to trust when there’s nothing left. Half of me would love to be able to take your advice and blindly trust, but the other part is just too tired after so much. But thank you for all the help you provide to people. Kindest Regards.

Bernie’s Answer

It is far from easy to explain why some of us must endure so very much more than others. All one can do is reach for the wisdom of the sages to help you answer the question, “What am I to learn from this journey through hell?” In their wisdom gathered from the beginning of human life, they tell us that just as your body gives you the feeling that your stomach is empty and needs nourishment, the feelings you are having now are guiding you to the people and places that will, at long last, nourish your mind and spirit.   Listen carefully to those feelings and keep uppermost in your mind that you are moving away from harm—out of harm’s way for the rest of your life.  You were powerless as a child, but now you are your own person entirely and can make choices that you know are the best for you and reflecting your admirable ethical standards and caring heart.  Miraculously, those precious parts of you were not crushed by the evil you endured.  Take a moment right now and celebrate that incredible inner core you have—it is time now to embrace yourself with love and understanding.  Let the healing continue that I see already beginning just by your reaching out to write this letter—and listening to a program on the radio focused on finding within yourself the path to overcoming and healing from a very difficult early life.

See yourself now as your own protector, and envision the future where you eliminate negative, harmful people from your life immediately. Do not hesitate to walk away from any person or situation that you see as in any way problematic, negative, or harmful to your body, mind, and spirit.  Your priority from now on is healing your body, mind, and spirit—and celebrating that they are connected within you for the purpose of letting you live a loving, meaningful life of your choice.

Clearly you are a caring “rescuer” but remember this first and foremost—you cannot really help anyone else until you have completely healed yourself and built the kind of strength that will protect you totally from terrible situations and people.  You will be drawn to exactly where you belong if you listen to your heart first, and make healing your body, mind, and spirit your top priority.  That is not being selfish—it is being selfless to become the best, strongest, most positive person you can be—to, as you said yourself—leave the past behind and never let it intrude upon your healing and happiness from now on.  It is very hard to believe, but everything we experience does happen for a reason that is part of our life’s journey.

You are so fortunate to have a kind, loving soul. Even the hell you have been through, it remained intact.   It is so inspirational that even after what you have endured, you are still searching.  That is all I need to know to believe that you will find your path—YOUR path.  Each morning, envision how much stronger you are with each passing day, and how much further away all the negatives you’ve endured are now.  Let yourself stand tall so that when people meet you, they see that incredible inner strength that you have.  They don’t need to know any details about how you grew into a strong, self-possessed, ethical, desirable, and positive person—they will just gravitate to you because they sense that you are a person well worth knowing.  You richly deserve happiness and you can now have it because you, and only you, can make the choices about how you live your life.

You will find that you no longer fear relationships because you know that the very moment you sense something negative, you will walk away from it.  By the same token, when you sense a like-minded soul, you will not be afraid to explore and build a relationship. It is important to actively look around to see where you might be comfortable and enjoy being among people, whether in a service or volunteer group, or a church group—something most likely to be warm and allow your loving soul to shine.

Loneliness leads to vulnerability and sometimes to illness, so give some real thought to the kind of people you enjoy and situations you find safe and healing—then actively look for such a place.  Even a very little bit of volunteer work—just an hour or two a week for a good cause is where you are likely to find an atmosphere that helps you heal.  Choose something positive—like a library or gift shop.  If you really love animals, you could look into helping out an older person take care of their pet or even work or volunteer in a “Pet Daycare” if they are within the area where you live.

Please repeat a mantra throughout the day to break the negative pattern of thinking. You could pick, for example, any one of the following lines, or you could repeat all of the lines as your mantra.  It is entirely your choice…and if you think of something like a single word you like better, repeat that.  Just be sure to have a mantra that you repeat throughout each day to keep you focused on your healing, to lift your spirits, and to surround you with a sense of self-confidence and safety.

Thank you for everything
I am happy
I am healthy
I love my life
I have no complaint whatsoever

Bless you and I will become your CD = Chosen Dad.  As your Chosen Dad, I will answer you when you e-mail your questions and concerns to me.  I am here for you to help you get in touch with your body, mind, and spirit, and see the sun shining through the clouds.

Your Chosen Dad,