Eyes wide shut.
I refused to acknowledge the change that was coming at me like a freight train.
I refused to take responsibility for my part in this change.
I lied to myself that everything was just fine. Just a rough patch. Just temporary relationship growing pains.
Not my idea.
Not my choice.
Not the right timing.
Not the future I planned.
Not the story I told myself.
When change is thrust on you, you may react like a drowning woman, fighting, flailing, struggling to breathe between the gasps and sobs. It’s terrifying, dark, and cold.
It feels like death.
Been there, done that.
Flailed and floundered, and at times, grabbing on to others, pulling them under with me.
But finally, I realized I didn’t want to die or make others suffer through my tempest, and I stopped flailing.
Strap on your life preserver and listen in as I share how I made it through the rough weather of being dumped by the man I loved, and how I became the storm.
And while you are ‘weather-watching’, throw out a lifeline to friends who have been swamped by unwelcome, unhappy change and bring a little sunshine back to their lives.
Share this episode – you may save a life!
Read more at www.WhoAmINowBook.com
Transformation Decoded: Grief Is Not Just About Death
Feminine Wisdom Exchange: Disenfranchised Grief
With gratitude to #changemaker, Gina Pollard, Certified Grief Counselor https://www.ginapollard.com/
Our series about #CHANGE began with Episode 35, “Driving Change”
and continued Episode 37 “Change Decoded”
and continued Episode 38 “Change Your Mind” -
If you are ready to take the next steps in your transformation and reinvention journey, a fabulous free resource awaits you at: www.MYENCORE.ME
About the Host:
Isabel Banerjee - Your Next Business
Strategist and Transformation Catalyst
Dynamic, a self-made entrepreneur who overcame obstacles with an unrelenting positive nature, a farm girl work ethic, and a conscious choice to thrive rather than survive, Isabel Alexander Banerjee cultivated an award-winning, $10 million+ global chemical business and grew it from dining room table to international boardrooms.
Isabel’s strengths include the ability to initiate & nurture strategic relationships, a love of lifelong learning and talents for helping others maximize their potential. An inspiring speaker within both industry and community, she is a driving force behind those with the courage to follow her example of thriving against the odds.
With 50+ years of business experience across diverse industries, Isabel is respected as an advisor, a coach, a mentor, and a role model. She believes in sharing collective wisdom and empowering others to economic independence.
Founder of the Lift As You Climb Movement (www.facebook.com/groups/liftasyouclimbmovement)
Chief Encore Officer, The Encore Catalyst (www.theencorecatalyst.com) – an accelerator for feminine wisdom, influence, and impact.
Author & Speaker ‘Who Am I Now? – Feminine Wisdom Unmasked Uncensored’ (www.IsabelBanerjee.com)
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Full Transcript for Accessibility or for those who like to read along!
Isabel: Welcome back everyone! Today, as I record this... It's September, and the seasons are changing. In fact, this morning was the first morning in Arizona, that the temperature was below 70 degrees Fahrenheit at 6 o'clock in the morning. So that was kind of fun. I almost wore a sweater to go out for my walk!
So just as the seasons are changing... Change is on my mind for many reasons. I was inspired to start a series of episodes about change. Beginning with episode 35... Driving Change. I shared my experience this summer of taking purposeful... Getting lost road trips. So that I could spend some time sorting through some decisions I felt I really needed to make. Decisions that were difficult and overdue. But I also had some fun on the trip, because I brought along my pals... Kevin Costner and Morgan Freeman. So if you want to know how I managed to pull that off... Double back and listen to episode 35. Then in episode 37, called Change Decoded... I shared with you a process that I have developed and improved over the years. I call it my Change Decoded system... That when I'm really struggling... With... Should I, or should I not? Oh my God... What will be the consequences? What if I don't make the right choice?
I have worked on a thought download, journaling... Very structured process, to work myself through that. And I made that available for all of my listeners. And in fact, in episode 37, I gave you a guided tutorial on how you can maximize the use of my system. Download that, save it for yourself... Use it over and over again. If you've got a friend who seems to be struggling with a decision that you think she might need some help in getting to the conclusion that she needs to... Please, please do a favor and share Episode 37: Change Decoded, ask her to subscribe because going forward, we're going to talk a lot more about change and evolution... And Who Am I Now?, and how we get to be the best of us... So that we can continue to climb in our life, and have the ability to lift others along the way.
Last week, episode 38, was called Change Your Mind. That episode, I mused on... Why it's perfectly okay... And in fact, healthy and recommended for future happiness... That you do change your mind. All too often, we've been convinced that... You made your decision, stick with it... You made your bed, lie in it... Was a popular saying in the 50s and 60s, it was pretty common for women to hear that story. You chose him... You made your bed, you lie in it... Regardless of how miserable your life is.
On the upside of supporting... When it's the right time to change your mind... Don't stay stuck. Don't end your life regretting that you didn't take that step, when it comes to it. Continuing on the theory of change, we're going to talk about grieving change. Specifically change that you didn't ask for. Change that was forced on you... That someone else was the decider, and there you are... You are left now having to figure out how to deal with that change, and how to move on. Or as they say, move through the grief.
I was involved in a personal relationship, that I thought was the one. Now, if you've read my book... Who Am I Now? Feminine Wisdom - Unmasked and Uncensored... You will already know that I have been in long-term relationships and marriages... More than one time in my life. I was not always the decider of who should end that relationship and move on. And this is a particular case that comes to mind.
I'm going to share... Transparently, from the heart... A very grievous change in my life. That in the end, was the best thing that could have possibly happened to me. But I'm gonna tell you, I sure as hell did not think so... I did not feel that it would ever be a good thing on that December morning... When my life partner, my business partner, announced he was leaving me. He was leaving me, then and there, just weeks before Christmas. He was leaving me with the expectation that either I buy him out... Of our business interests and our home. Or I get out. In either case, I would have been hundreds of thousands of dollars in debt and possibly homeless.
I felt absolutely devastated. Not even the biggest Mack truck running over me, could have triggered the same kind of pain that I felt in that moment. I thought that I was deeply in love with someone who was deeply in love with me and that our life would just continue to get better and better.
Okay. Here's part of the transparency and the truth. That was a bullshit story, that I had been telling myself for quite some time. Trying to ignore all the clues, cues, big ass billboard on the highway signs... That the relationship was not intended to be forever. In fact, my partner had moved on emotionally. Well, I also found out later he'd moved on physically... To start a life with somebody else.
We had not been good with each other or good for each other, for probably a year, maybe even longer. But I didn't want to admit to that. I was holding fast to... Hey... The world thinks that I have this absolutely exciting wonderful, perfect life. My family thinks so. And I thought so because I had convinced myself... That's who I was. And that, that was the best of me, in my life, so far. At that time, I was in my 40th year mark.
But, as they say, hindsight is 20/20. There are lots of signs. I wasn't physically healthy. I wasn't emotionally healthy. I was grumpy, and always kind of martyr-ish in my attitude... That I had to work so hard to manage all of his businesses and properties. And I was always left very much on my own, because he was involved in a lot of hobbies and away a great deal. So the point of the story is... I didn't choose that change. It was forced upon me and suddenly, I was faced with more grief than I had ever felt in my entire life. Even though I had not always had, the story book, or Happy Days TV Show life. This was the mother, to end all mothers, of grief experience for me to date.
I think back to that time and thinking... How did I possibly live through it? Because I swore... I was convinced myself, I was going to die. I was going to die of the broken heart. I was going to die of shame and embarrassment. I was going to die of disappointment, bitterness, poverty, abandonment.
I mean you name it... I was like the drama queen going through all of that. My poor daughter... Oh my gosh. When I think of what she went through at that time... As a teen, living with this hot mess, who got through the days by pretending stoically... To be just fine. And the night's by drinking bottle after bottle of wine... Crying so that my body was wracked with sobs... Snot running down my face. She had to hold my hair out of the toilet bowl... As I threw up from the combination of sobbing and drinking. Until I got through those darkest days.
Let me tell you... Santa Claus didn't even want to come near me that Christmas. But there was my daughter as a teen... Knowing that she was my lifeline at that moment. And although she didn't just pat me on the shoulder all the time with platitudes. I do remember the day... Perfectly timed in hindsight... That she said, " Okay, are you ever going to stop crying?... And pick up the pieces, and move on with your life?"... That I realized... She was absolutely right. That I had done enough of grieving the denial, and that it was time for me to start moving forward... To do something about it, taking control of my life again. Over the period of the next 6 months... Probably every day, I read empowering literature, I meditated, I journaled, I went on long walks with my Walkman headset on my ears.
I listened to empowering, uplifting, confidence restoring material. And I started to walk away... The anger, the doubt, the fear, and all the excess pounds, that I had piled on from peri-menopause and overindulging, over drinking. As I did, I started to slowly rebuild a feeling of... Okay, I got this. I decided I had a choice. I had a choice to stay in that wallowing. Or I could pull myself up by my big girl panties and figure out a whole new life... And devote it to loving me. And loving me, not because I was someone's partner, but because I loved spending time with myself.
I'm sharing that ugly story with you, and the ugly truth of that time, because I want you to know... That you are not alone in going through those rough patches. I know that my friends have experienced similar situations in their lives. Anecdotally, I know that it's more common than we all would like to think. There are those times when you will be forced into a change and you're absolutely going to need to grieve through it. Knowing that there are others that have been through it, and got through to a better side... I hope will be helpful to you.
Elizabeth Kübler-Ross, a psychiatrist, came up with 5 Stages of Grieving... To give a model for how people emotionally worked through terminal illness. She described the 5 stages as... First Denial, then the second Anger, and the third Bargaining, and then Depression, and then Acceptance.
Ms. Kübler-Ross provided a very helpful framework for people to work through their emotions and fears about their own mortality. Her five stages of grieving, aren't ideally encompassing for those of us that may feel like we may die from the grief of the experience... But ultimately know we will have the option to move on in our lives.
In my book, Who Am I Now? I had the privilege of co-writing 2 chapters with a certified Grief Counselor, Gina Pollard... Discussing grief in the context of women. Women evolving in our lives, the wisdom of our own experiences, that we could share with others and acknowledging that grief is not just about death. In fact, I believe that there are 40 different life events that can trigger grief. Things like divorce, or being dumped or kicked to the curb, or sudden disappointments in our career, or great financial loss or health issues that are not terminal... But yet very catastrophic. They're all factors for grief. In that section of the book, Feminine Wisdom Exchange... There's a chapter that she and I wrote called Disenfranchised Grief, that's even more relevant to what we're talking about here today. Disenfranchised grief is the grief that... We don't talk about as openly, because it doesn't elicit sympathy, or at least the kind of compassion, that we really, really need in those times.
Things like breaking up in a relationship... And friends say to you things like... Oh, he wasn't any good for you anyway, or... Oh, well, there's plenty of other guys out there. Plenty of fish in the sea. Those comments don't do anything to help us with the feelings we have at the moment or someone who has a miscarriage and friends think they're being helpful by saying... Well, at least you're still young and healthy. You can get pregnant again. As Gina Pollard would say, if someone starts a sentence with at least... Run in the other direction... Because it's not helpful to acknowledging the grief process that you must go through.
So back to my... Unwelcomed change story. My, oh my God. I don't know if I'll get through this... Breakup story. What happened?... You may wonder... And why am I here, some 25 plus years later? And what did I learn from that experience? I learned that I was not in the right, or forever relationship. I learned that I wasn't finished becoming me... Because I was trying to be the someone that someone else wanted... That they thought was THEIR ideal mate.
I was unhappy. And that unhappiness was manifesting in ill health, and ill temper, and just... Ill-ease, or dis-ease... Which is interesting to think about... Dis - ease and stress being the cause of illness. I also learned that I am fucking resilient... and that after I finished the wailing and whinning... Because I decided, I didn't like it down there in the pit... That I could pick myself up and move on... that I could continue to evolve and grow into the next best me.
But honestly, I couldn't have done it successfully... If I hadn't grieved through what I thought I was losing and why I was being done wrong... And how wine was gonna make me happy. I instead needed to go through all of that. And again, I thank my daughter, Amanda, for holding my hair and holding my hand... And holding the vision for the mom that she knew... And the woman that she knew I was, and would become, and move forward.
About 5-6 years after, that catastrophic event and my grieving and recovery process. I had occasion to phone my ex. I was driving on the freeway, and I saw the exit to where he lived. It made me replay a bit of a movie in my head... About what had happened over the course of the years from when he made that Christmas present announcement... To where I was and who I was now.
In that moment, I decided to call him. I decided to phone him and say... Thank you for kicking me to the curb. Because if he had not done so, back then... And I had not gone through the experiences that I had... I wouldn't be the woman I was, in that moment.
Now it's pretty funny, because he obviously recognized my phone number... Because I could tell there was a lot of trepidation in his voice answering the call. Well, within