May 13, 2021

Healing From Emotional Abuse: Healing From Childhood Abuse: with Brittani Duval

INTRO: How can you heal from abuse? What do I do after leaving my narcissist? What does a healthy relationship look like? These concerns cross the minds of over 20 people every minute. Over 28,800 people every day. And the sad fact is, we still don't talk about it enough. Healing from emotional abuse isn't a band-aid situation, but it doesn't have to take years either. The lives of millions of other survivors around the world have been impacted by their narcissist, yours doesn't have to. To show you how to live a free, confident and peaceful life your host and founder of the Healing from Emotional Abuse Philosophy Marissa F Cohen.


MARISSA: Overcoming narcissism and healing from emotional abuse is so important to your mental health and to living the life of freedom, confidence and peace. Today, we're talking with Brittani Duvall about child abuse and how it impacts your mental health for the rest of your life. But before we start, I want to brainstorm ways that I can help ease your healing journey. Imagine that you're standing on a cliff. And on the other side of a deep canyon is the life that you dream of. A partner who connects with you, supports you and empowers you and makes you laugh and smile. A life filled with freedom, confidence and peace. I've been where you are now, standing on the edge, dreaming of that life. And I've built the bridge between where you are now and that dream that seems so far away. Let me walk you across the bridge and literally hand you the life of your dreams. It's possible! I've walked this path with thousands of other survivors who now live a free, confident and peaceful life. Let's walk this path together. Don't waste any more time feeling lonely, worthless or exhausted. Schedule a call with me today at - M-A-R-I-S-S-A. 


Welcome back to Healing from Emotional Abuse. Today we have an amazing guest, Brittany Duvall. She's a spiritual truth advisor, a queen of authentic vulnerability and a visionary entrepreneur who lovingly guides and encourages women to their truth from mental health shame, through her Rooted In Truth method. She's a survivor, a mother to a beautiful toddler daughter, and the wife of an amazing husband. She's the creator of the event - Let's Talk About It Navigating to Freedom and Truth from Mental Health, Shame and Stigma for Business and Life. Welcome on Brittany! Thank you so much. I'm so happy to have you today.


BRITTANY: I'm so happy to be here. So thank you so much.


MARISSA: Of course. So before we get really started, tell us about yourself.


BRITTANY: Oh goodness, that's a heavy question. So I live in Arizona, I like she said, I'm a wife and I have a toddler daughter, her name is Annabelle. So I actually have a background in graphic design. And that was like, what I feel is my healing up until now. And so with that, I had my daughter, I struggled with postpartum depression and then I was like, okay, I can't go back into the workforce. It was just way too overwhelming for me. And so my husband supported me in that. And so I started my freelance design business, which I still do that on the side. But it's kind of like, slowly gone away in a sense, because I lost my brother about a year ago to suicide. And so with that, it really was kind of like a wake-up call for me of like, okay, we all struggle with our mental health. And we all are in our own stuckness with COVID and everything else. So I really wanted to take a stand and support people with where they're at and how they can bridge the gap between where they are and where they want to be. And so that's where I've been working on launching my coaching business currently.


MARISSA: Thank you for sharing that. I'm so sorry about what you went through with your family. So would you mind telling us your story of survival, like what you went through and how you got here?


BRITTANY: When I was in sixth grade, it was a lot of trauma that I experienced, where I was sexually abused, particularly molested. And so with that, it happened more than once. And it really took everything out of me. Like I felt like I died inside. I struggled a lot with that and then it wasn't until my freshman year of high school that I eventually told my family of what happened. And so I held it in for that long and during that time, I remember being in my room and literally just sobbing by myself. I would close the door and while this was going on, my parents were fighting and having their own issues. So it was just kind of like I was alone. And so my way of coping was coloring in my room, it was singing, it was dancing, it was listening to music. And every time my mom would come in, I would literally wipe my tears and pretend that everything was okay when it really wasn't. And then once I finally told my family, it was just like another layer of experiencing different emotions, because it was about them and not about me. It was like, oh well, why don't you tell me sooner? Or oh, that happened to me too. Or, oh how did I not see this or know about it? And that's, I think the initial response that a lot of people have, is they internalize it and make it about them, instead of actually listening to the survivor of what they experienced. So that was another layer of like, okay, not feeling seen and heard again, for holding it in for that long, and then having to tell and gaining the courage to tell. And then still not feeling seen and heard. And so walking through that even more, by this time, I was starting to gain into the dating world. And so in the dating world, I dated a lot of people who were addicts, who were struggling with their own stuff. And I began to see myself as naturally taking care of them because I understood what it felt like to be in that situation. And so I had my own experience, even with them, like emotional abuse because there was an addict who cheated on me and did all the other things. I've had somebody tell me that I was crazy, I had people tell me to gain a backbone. So there were lots of different experiences that I had in the dating world. And then once I got to college, just something snapped. I was just like, I can't do this anymore. I was even considering taking my own life. I had all the thoughts and that's when I went into a mental health hospital for eight days. And in there, there was just so much more coming out of me that I didn't even know because you're in a free state, so you forget everything. And so more stuff began to come up, that I didn't even know that actually happened in the initial trauma that I had. And so I had to walk through more. And then it came to gaining more courage of, okay, I want to actually do something about this now. So that's when I decided to get a restraining order on the person who molested me and then started to go through my process of court. And I basically got everything. And it was basically to the time, like ready to go to court. And I think this is so often what happens is, then you're like, oh, I have to actually see that person when I go to court. And so everything just shut down. And I was like, nope, I can't do this anymore. And so I cancelled everything out. I think over time, in my experience of mental health and all of the things, the mental health system helped me up until a certain point. And that point was when I had my daughter, and I was like, okay, I know I need more now. I'm ready for more, I need more, this isn't supporting me anymore. And so that's when I stepped into the personal development coaching world. And then like a whole other level of like, basically like a spiritual awakening. I'm sure lots of people are talking about it now that you understand what that means. But essentially, it's like a whole, like, your life in front of your eyes and you're seeing your life for what it is. And I started to pick a part of like, where things were coming from, and what my true truth was. And so that's basically where I got to really look at was this somebody telling me what I am? Or is this what I actually believe? And so I got to really dive deep into that. And that's what's really been my transformation and healing is like, pulling apart of the things that people have put on me in the outside world, and what I actually believe is true for me. So, yeah, that's where like, my whole transformation has really lied.


MARISSA: That's an incredible journey. I mean, you were so young when it started. Do you mind if I go back to that a little bit? So when you were experiencing it, was there ever any education or anything about what sexual abuse is in your past, in school and anything to give you the verbiage or to express what was happening to you?


BRITTANY: No. I just knew it wasn't okay. It felt like, I just have this gift of knowing and inside, I knew it was not okay. I didn't know how to express it, I didn't know how to walk through it. I just knew it wasn't okay. And so, it was interesting, because honestly, there's one piece that I can't remember. And it's I don't know what got me and compelled me to ask my mom to see a counselor. But something inside of me asked to see a counselor. I think, partly, my dad has his own mental health as well. So I've seen him in his own mental health. And he had seen a counselor and stuff. So it was like, I knew it was okay to see a counselor through my dad, but I just, I don't know, something compelled me to ask. And so it was through the counselor that she supported me into realizing, oh, and I think what I remember most that literally just scared the shit out of me, if you will, was when she was like, oh we need to report this. And I was like, oh wait, no, no, I don't want that. I'm just here to get support. And so I felt like everything like turning inside of me of like, wait you have to report this. And I think that's another scary piece of walking through, especially as young as I was, because I was just so confused. So it was through the counselor that I gained education, and then she was the one that really supported me in the talks that I got to have with both my mom and dad of telling them.


MARISSA: I'm glad you had that as an outlet, because a lot of people don't know that they can go to counselors or don't have that ability. So I think that that's amazing that you were able to get that much support even though it was scary, that she's a mandatory reporter. I have my own kind of yes and no support of that process. But do you mind telling us about the court process, I know that you didn't eventually go through with it. But on average sexual abuse cases take about four years to get from initial report to court?


BRITTANY: Yeah, I don't feel like... It didn't take that long, I think. I don't know if it's because of like, the person who did it admitted it very quickly, so it didn't really take that long. So it was several times of going into this facility where the detective was. And it didn't even feel good, just going, you know, your walk. And it was literally like I felt like it was amazed to get into the room. We had, I think, two different meetings in this particular room where we were on a phone call, it was like those old, well, it's not a super old fashion, but an old enough fashioned phone in the room and it's all connected to wires and listening and all this stuff. And it was just like, the things that you see on TV that you never thought you would even be in a situation that you would experience that. I felt very numb through the whole process. It was just like I numbed myself out. Because I knew that I wanted to do this for myself. But then I was also scared of all the repercussions of what could happen. I can't even remember the full timeline, but it was just literally in a matter of a few months that everything was like... The detective finally called me and he was like, well, we got everything and like, we sat down and we talked about it. And it was just like you know you're going to have to see him, you're going to have to point him out in court and you know you're going to have to do all these things. And he's like, you know, this is where a lot of people do back out. And so, I tried to be strong, and I really, really contemplated it for a while, I asked for some time to think about it. And it was going back and forth, back and forth. And it made me sick, because I was just like, I don't know if I can do this. And I think because it was still early on enough in my journey of healing that because I had just gotten out of a mental health hospital and literally went straight into it. But I was just like too soon for me. And I was like, I don't think I'm ready.


MARISSA: I feel that it is good that the perpetrator admitted it right off the bat. That alone is a one in a million situation. Did you feel a sense of closure when that happened? Or did that make you feel worse?


BRITTANY: So my reasoning, because everybody has a reasoning for why they were going through the process too. In my personal reasoning, and I know this is like, the goodness of my heart and not -- it wasn't out of anger, it wasn't out of hate or anything, which I know a lot of people have when they experience that. But for me, it was like, no, I wanted to go to court because I just wanted him to get help. Because I knew it happened to him too. And so usually, that's the cycle. And so like, for me, out of the goodness of my heart, I just wanted to go to court because I knew no matter what, on the outside world, that he wouldn't get help. So it's like wanting to go to court, so that it was kind of like a mandated thing that he would get help and get the help that he needed, so that he could not continue to create that cycle. I didn't want him to go to jail. I just wanted him to get help, and I wanted him to get better.


MARISSA: That makes a lot of sense. I mean, it was a person that you had relationship with. And so that's a person that you have emotions towards. It makes sense. This might be a dumb question, but as an adult, who was a child that went through this process, would you recommend to parents that they push for the same thing? Would you as an adult, recommend that other adults who have children who have gone through something similar, would you encourage them to pursue the legal process?


BRITTANY: I would say it depends on your intentions. That is my personal truth. Because obviously, if you're coming from a place of anger and hate, then that's on you. But if you're coming from a place of love and compassion, of understanding that it is an actual real cycle that people have experienced, then you know that there's goodness in intentions in your heart, and it's coming from a good place. Obviously, yes, it is the most horrific thing out there. And I would never wish it on anybody. Years later, I actually found out it happened to my brother too. And I literally dropped to my knees, bawling my eyes out, because I did not want that to happen to my brother too. Because when he was five years younger, so I felt responsible. And so it's like, you obviously don't wish it upon anybody. And I get that. And we're all human. And we all are experiencing very traumatic things in many different ways. So I feel like it really depends on your intentions. That's just my opinion.


MARISSA: Thank you very much. What advice would you give to survivors to help them heal?


BRITTANY: I would say the biggest thing that has really supported me is I'm constantly seeking for growth. I'm constantly seeking, how can I grow myself and continue to allow myself to get better in all areas of my life? Because clearly, once that happens, it affects every area of your life too. It affects how you show up in friendships, it affects how you show up in relationships, because there's obviously that trust factor that gets very much broken. And so for me, I've constantly been in areas of growth of like, okay, how can I heal this part of me, or this part of me, that has clearly been affected by trauma and PTSD and all that stuff? Obviously, counseling supported me in many different ways. I had literally hands full of counselors, because I constantly was, once I got to a point where I was stuck and stagnant with a counselor, I would go on to the next one. And it wasn't like, I'm going to constantly switch counselors, it was just like, I saw where I was at, I acknowledged where I was at and I was like, okay, now I want to do more. And this person isn't getting me to that next place yet. So I'm going to seek somebody else who can get me to that next place. At one point, I think I had a huge fear of seeing a male counselor. And so at one point I found myself struggling in a relationship that I was with. And I needed a male perspective. So I actually stretched myself to finally see a male counselor because I knew that I needed that male support with where I was at in that period of my life. And then, you know, like I said, once I struggled with postpartum depression, it was finally in that sense of like, okay, this has supported me thus far and I want to go more. So then I saw a Facebook Ad that stepped me into investing in a coach. And then I really spiraled into a personal development experience that took me to that next level. And again, constantly getting new coaches that can support me in different areas of my life to continue to grow. So growth is a big thing.


MARISSA: That's awesome. And I'm really glad that you sought out different counselors. I think that we get so nervous with mental health, I don't know, there's such a stigma with mental health in this society, that it's so hard to get people to even go to therapy, let alone recognize when you've learned everything you need to learn from one person, now it's time to move on to the next; or having tried one therapist or counselor, that doesn't really work for you and then assuming that every other counselor is going to be the same way. So thank you for highlighting that because I think that's so so important to hear.


BRITTANY: Yeah, definitely. I have a therapist friend, she's a friend of mine, and she's a therapist and something she prefaced, she wrote an article about this recently of like, it's not the therapist, it's the modality of which the therapist knows. And there are so many different modalities out there and that's not talked about. And so that's where it might not even be the therapists themselves. It just might be what they know, and how they teach. And so if you give yourself a chance to seek out those different therapies, you will start to realize what works and what doesn't. And it's just like anything else. But I think we get so stuck with ourselves in wanting it to be and look a certain way. And it might not always be that way, the first time around.


MARISSA: Absolutely. So tell us a little bit more about what you do and how people can get in touch with you. Because I think that your knowledge base is mental health stigma and helping people overcome that. And I think that for this particular community, that's so important. So how can people get in touch with you and work with you?


BRITTANY: So I am in the process of building out a coaching program currently. My event is happening until April 4th, currently. And so with that, you can go to Let's Talk About It. My event that I have 42 speakers, speaking on different -- and that's another thing. It's different modalities that have supported them in their transformation from mental health shame. You know, there are people speaking on yoga, there are people speaking on just their health overall, what they eat, and obviously many, many different things. I have my therapist friend on there as well. And so there are so many different perspectives. And so that's the biggest thing that's happening right now in my space. For how you can get in to my space, just follow me along on Facebook as I continue to grow and open more things because I literally just shifted into this space a few months ago. So I'm really honestly looking for feedback right now of how I can support you of where you're at. And really supporting how you can go from your shame, and really pulling apart and uncovering and getting out of the boxes of what you identify yourself as. Because I think a lot of times we put these attachments of what we are diagnosed as our identity, but they don't define us. They don't limit us. It doesn't make you incapable. It's just another label that we don't need to attach to us of who we are in our truth of who we are. And so I'm really wanting to see what are the needs right now and how I can support you to really get to the truth of who you are. And allow yourself to shine and stand in your power and know that you are worth it.


MARISSA: I love that! Thank you so much for doing such amazing, important work and for showing people that you aren't what you're diagnosed with. We get this diagnosis and then just feel like we have to fit in the stereotype of it. And I hate that. So thank you so much for doing what you're doing. And thank you for being here and chatting with me today. I really appreciate your time and your openness with us.


BRITTANY: I'm so grateful. Thank you so much.


[Outro]: If you enjoyed this podcast you have to check out That's Marissa would love to develop a Made for You Healing Plan to heal from emotional abuse. She does all the work and you just show up. Stop feeling stuck alone and hurt and live a free, confident and peaceful life. Don't forget to subscribe to the Healing from Emotional Abuse Podcast and follow us on Facebook at and Instagram at Marissa.Faye.Cohen. We'd love to see you there.


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