Karen Ratcliffe is a survivor of toxic abuse, first as a child and then as a young adult. I eventually learned that to survive I had to pick myself up and trust in myself. As an adult, I understood that you repeat what you know, and to move forward you have to unlearn and reset. At seventeen, I was sent out into the world naïve and afraid. Now I look back and know that my purpose was to help women to move from unhealthy to healthy relationships
We hear so many stories of, you know, domestic abuse between adults, and you know, their journey. And it’s very rare. I feel that we ever hear the story of those who, as children living in a toxic abuse family. One of the things that I would say is as a child, I didn’t see it. At the beginning as abuse, I thought it was normal.
I was ejected from the home, I had no idea where I was going, I had no idea what I was going to do. I felt totally bereft. But what I did know was, I had got strong, I’d got strength in me, I’d got something in me that was going to make me survive. And I was not to doubt myself, and that I had to go forward and make her life. And luckily, someone who I knew somebody else that was willing to put me up on their sofa. So I suppose I was one of the first sofas surfers
What I learned from that point was that just as I was learning, I couldn’t change other people, I was the only person who could help me. And that was a rocky journey. And it was not easy. We as humans have this wonderful thing called denial.
I had nobody in the world. I’d had boyfriends. But, again, this was not what you would call a strong relationship or a caring relationship. There was an element of control there. Only I wasn’t aware of it at the time. But we didn’t go out and have fun. That was a lot of just staying in. And when you’re alone, you want somebody to care about you. And again, I suppose what I could say is there’s a whole other story there. So when you are totally alone, and you’ve only yourself to rely on, you do some inner depth work. And I learned to connect with my inner child, my counselor, had introduced me to me. And I began to realise that there were different parts of me and that I was complicated. And there were different needs in me. But I didn’t understand how it’s going to meet all of those needs, or how I was going to help myself.
it was about safety planning, it was about keeping them safe, I love some of the stuff that’s been in the new domestic violence act that’s just come out, I think it could have gone further. But until those people come out and stop being hidden, okay, none of that is going to matter or work. And I think that society is afraid of domestic abuse, I think we’re afraid because there are two things, I think, I think, there is a fear because any abusive behaviour could also be directed towards you, if you try to help somebody, and I think number two, we’re afraid because then we may have to be introspective into our own lives and look at our own relationships. And the one thing I’ve learned on my journey is that that connection, that honesty, that trust is something that it requires such hard work
I am silent for 10 minutes. I feel energised after it, I feel oxygenated. And I can usually just return to work and feel that I’m more in control and more calm. And that means I get better work done.
My tip is to be honest with yourself, love yourself, care for yourself, when you’re looking after yourself, you will find it so much easier to look after and care for other people.
For a lot of women, that story is still relevant today. And so that helped me to put some of my life into context, when I read the book because it was about saying, I can fight back, I can be more than this. And those words that had been driven into my brain, those labels, those beliefs that I had taken on, which were not my beliefs, and a lot of as a carry in beliefs that are not our own. And that’s why I say about being honest with yourself. You know, we have choices, we can be whoever we want to be, but what we have to do is learn to undo a lot.
Woman on the edge of time by Marge Piercey . https://amzn.to/3ibzm6d
Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte https://amzn.to/3o947MV
Emma Stroud and clowning around https://podcasts.apple.com/gb/podcast/clowning-around-podcast/id1499174238
Karen is aware that often people will move back to where they came from and remain hidden and she wants to encourage everybody in society to become more aware of abusive relationships, to try to understand what to do, who to contact, and how to approach somebody.
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ABOUT THE HOST
Emma Last is a qualified Mental Health and Wellbeing Trainer and Coach. She has co-written both the First Aid Industry body’s accredited First Aid for Mental Health and Wellbeing training for Adults in the workplace and those working with children.
Emma also has over 20-years, experience in leading teams and developing strategies for change. She worked in Senior leadership for a large corporate until early 2018, when she came to a turning point in her career due to being on the brink of burnout and wanted to gain more of a balance in her life. She then rebooted her life and founded her company Progressive Minds.
Emma also works with workplaces and schools on their Mental Health and Wellbeing strategies and provides training and coaching to support employees through challenging and changing times. Emma also works with individuals to help them to perform at their best by working on their mental fitness, which incorporates stress/burnout prevention and resilience and agility development through her Human Reboot Movement Coaching Programme. Her clients say they have become more mentally fit, happier and gain the results they want in their lives.
Her Human Reboot podcast achieved number 22 in the Mental Health category in Mental Health Awareness week. She is a #1 best selling author on Amazon
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