Emotion-Based Life Coach Recovers from Childhood Sexual Abuse

Overcame 15 Years of Childhood Sexual Abuse

Before I discovered Maia and YOU University I had been doing a lot of soul-searching and really trying to figure out just who I am and what I really wanted in my life.  I felt like I was hanging on to the edge of a cliff by my fingernails and that if “something” didn’t change for me soon, I wasn’t sure I could stand it or if I wanted to even bother anymore.

 I had been feeling this great sense of loss and confusion for a very long time, but especially for the most recent couple of years after having experienced a complete nervous breakdown.  I would say that this was my very lowest point emotionally, physically and spiritually and that it was taking me a very long time to recuperate from that breakdown.  It was sort-of a combination of mid-life, empty nest syndrome, major life-transition STUFF.   I was buried in it.

After lots of counseling just following the breakdown, working very hard on making my marriage work after my affair, finding my faith in a Higher Power again and slowly regaining some dignity and strength, I found a program based on the Law of Attraction.  The founder of this program asked me to assist her in launching her new business as she was transferring from California to Oregon and was completely new to the area.  It felt good for me at the time because I needed to have a purpose and I really was drawn to what she was teaching about The Law of Attraction.  I had been reading and researching The Law of Attraction and was inspired and excited about it.  I discovered though, that the principals were not working for me – no matter how I applied myself.  Something was missing.  I didn’t like the way I felt when the founder would ask me a question and after sharing my thoughts, if they were at all negative, she would tell me to stop right there.  She told me that nothing in my past mattered in the least… she didn’t want to hear my story at all.  She said that all that mattered was to attract what I want NOW.  Although part of this rang true for me because I certainly did not want to dwell on negative thoughts (which is what came up automatically for me because of my past), her words made me feel very small and insignificant as a person.  When she told me to ‘stop’ sharing my story, the words cut like a knife.  The last thing I wanted or needed was to feel even worse about myself than I had already been feeling!  I knew I had to keep looking for something that would help me to get beyond where I was so I could allow myself to get to where I wanted to be!!

My whole life seemed to rest on whatever I could find that would help me move beyond all the pain, shame, fear, grief, and anger that had built up in me over all my life.  I wanted to like myself, to find some semblance of good in myself and my life!  I truly struggled to see anything good or right and the “happy, good moments” were much too short lived.  I was so sick and tired of feeling sick and tired!  I was craving something, anything…  I just wasn’t sure what that was exactly. 

That’s when I discovered the journal engine through a post I read on Facebook and began to share with ‘virtual strangers’ some things I had not been able to share with anyone, other than my counselor before.  I read the other member’s journals and started to feel really comfortable on the site.  I began to really explore the entire site and loved what I was reading about YOU University.  I had to know more and contacted the coach whose post on Facebook drew me to the journal engine.  She answered my questions and suggested I speak with the founder, Maia Berens, a woman she completely admired and was excited to refer me to.

There was something about this program that spoke to me.  It was as if it was written just for me and I loved The Three Magic Secrets movie.  What I read and heard from Maia spoke to my heart and appealed to my senses.  I couldn’t stop talking about it with my husband and my kids…  I was feeling an excitement I had not felt in a very long time.  After my call with Maia, I knew I didn’t want to wait any longer to begin this journey and my husband supported that decision – as long as I was willing to find a way to pay for it.  I decided I would work part-time to pay for the program and apply whole-heartedly in my efforts to heal and to find myself.

As I started going through the exercises, I began to learn new ways to deal with emotions I had always tried to escape from or cover up.   Accepting that Life is a School was a big AHA for me and learning powerful tools to use when I started to resist or feel ‘stuck’ in emotions slowly began to change my entire perspective.  A couple of the most profound tools for me – tools I will continue to use for life are the MONSTER Letters, Love Letters, and the Find-the-Gift Exercises.  Writing my ‘life story’ in the way it was done and referring back to it throughout my journey was HUGE.  What I discovered is that the story, as I wrote it, has evolved for me.  I moved out of the victim mentality I had taken on as a little girl and carried with me my whole life, from an infant to a 45-year-old woman!!  I learned the power of gratitude, of having friends-in-deed, of forgiveness.  I would never have believed I would ever be able to say that I truly forgive my father for the abuse my family and I endured at his hands – physical, sexual and emotional abuse.  I certainly never even realized that the person I most needed to forgive was ME!  I learned to love myself just as I am and to accept the little girl inside who needed to be accepted and nurtured for who she was all along.  I learned that I had no reason to be ashamed for my past, for not knowing what I didn’t know.  I learned to view my father and others who had ‘victimized’ me in a new light as well! 

I also learned the importance of setting healthy boundaries.  To be self-loving created a whole new mindset and allowed me to take off the ‘rose-colored’ glasses, be completely real and be okay with that.  I have so much more respect for MYSELF and it allows me to be a better wife, mom, friend and co-worker.  I discovered who my true friends are and who I needed to leave behind too.  I learned that I DO want to be healthy and absolutely deserve to be!  I learned that I AM valuable as a person and that my passion is to help others discover their own value.   I made the decision to put my real estate career behind me for good, quit working the part-time job that supported me through YOU University and to make my passion a reality.  I am now a full-time life coach and very excited about this decision!

This journey saved my life, literally.  I love Maia and her beautiful, life-transforming, emotion-based coaching program - YOU University!  I am very proud to represent YOU University as a life coach.   I have seen, first-hand, my life and the lives of others completely shift and transform.  It is a beautiful thing!


Gina Bendel, Emotion-Based Coach, Prineville OR  541-797-3727 [email protected]

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