7 Questions to Discover if Your Relationship is Abusive

Healing from an abusive, toxic relationship is a 3-Phase journey. Discovery | Acceptance | Empowered

Phase One is Discovery – asking questions that will reveal the true nature of your relationships. Discovery is all about exploring what’s going on, processing the information, and discovering the truth of your relationship. When you’re in a narcissistic, emotional, verbal, or generally toxic relationship, you have questions, lots of questions.

Is this really abuse? What is going on here?

Here are some really good questions to ask yourself to get to the truth of your relationship:

Do you keep opinions or concerns to yourself to make things easier?

Does your partner blame you when he cheats, calls you names, or hits you?

Do you feel guilty about having your friends or interests?

Does your partner get jealous when you talk to anyone of the opposite sex?

Does your partner call or text you excessively and constantly question where you are and what you’re doing?

Are you constantly in I can fix this mode?

Do you feel pressured to spend time with your partner or to have sex on demand?

These are empowering questions to begin the What the Hell is Happening Discovery Phase.

If you answered Yes to just one of these questions, your relationship is toxic and abusive. It is not healthy and it’s not love.

Remember empowering questions do not begin with Why – ditch the why questions. Negative energy through excuses.

The Discovery Phase is really important because it brings clarity to your situation. I can remember asking myself over and over again What the Hell is Happening but I didn’t know how to ask the right questions to get to the truth and realize I was in an abusive relationship.

To your healthy discovery xo

5-Ways to Love Yourself Courageously Enough To Walk Away

Staying in a situation and resenting someone for causing you emotional and physical pain, disrespecting you, and treating you like you are worthless makes no sense at all. Walking away from a toxic or abusive relationship becomes the only option when you respect andLove Yourself Courageously.

It’s impossible to find a truly loving, equal, and respectful relationship if you’re not in love with yourself. It’s time to invest your love in yourself, to fall madly deeply in love with you.

If you dont love yourself deeply and completely,then you cant ever be truly happy. It all begins with you + you in a loving relationship.

Courageous self-love is an equal mixture of confidence, values, and self-worth. They work together to create boundaries, and they’re what you reflect to the outside world. When you value yourself, your beliefs, and your desires, setting boundaries and sticking to them is a piece of cake. There is no second guessing your decisions when you know your value, your worth, and have solid boundaries.

When we prioritize the relationship we have with ourselves, everyone starts to treat us better than they did when we were putting themfirst.

Here are 5-Ways to Love Yourself Courageously Enough to Walk Away

1.BeYour Own Best Friend Everyday

We don’t hesitate to tell our best friend that she is being way too hard on herself and that she is a wonderful person. But when we are speaking to ourselves, the chat goes down the negative path. Actually, we can be extremely hard on ourselves.

We are our own Mean Girls and that needs to stop.

Our self-talk isextremely negative and focused on any little flaw we think we have or a tiny little mistake we may have made. Our negative self-talk stops us from moving forward. It stops us from seeing ourselves as a woman of value. It stops us from pursuing our goals, desires, and dreams. It stops us from living authentically and passionately.

What would happen ifyou stopped and asked yourself: “WouldI talk toI best friend that way?” The answer is a big No!.Take that to heart and treat yourself like your own best friend. Someone you love without judgement and arehappy and excitedto hang out with. That girl who makes you feel good about yourself and ready to face the next challenge without hesitation. Be your own best friend.

Your Daily Best Friend Mantra:

I’m doing great and will keep moving towards my goals one step at a time.

I’m worthy of all that I desire and dream of.

I am worthy of my love, kindness, compassion, and laughter.

I am authentically Me!


2. Boundaries are Your 5-Star Resort

Boundaries are the borders that tell us and tell other people where our edges are. They are where we stop and they begin, they define where we need space, energy, respect and personal power. ~ Martha Beck

I know it may sound like a strange comparison but take a second and think about all that a 5-star resort offers you. While you’re there, all your wants, needs, and desires are met. You are pampered and cared for, protected and made to feel safe. There are fences but you have the freedom to leave and experience new sights, sounds, and places. You are secure in the knowledge that when you return, you will feel comfortable, peaceful, happy, and content.

Setting and maintaining your personal boundaries have the same effect. Boundaries protect, pamper, restore you while keeping you safe by meeting all your wants, needs, and desires. Personal boundaries set the tone for healthy relationships.

Boundaries are Rebel Self-Love.

When I first began to learn about setting healthy boundaries, it felt scary and difficult, but with a lot of time and practice, Ive become pretty comfortable setting and maintaining boundaries whenever I need to. Practice makes perfect and before you know it, your boundaries are a solid, integral part of you and when a situation comes up, you maintain your boundaries without a second thought.

5-Star Boundary Cheat Sheet

Create and write as many as you need. There are no limits on personal boundaries!

People may not ___________________________________

I have the right to ask for _____________________________

To protect my time and energy, it’s okay to __________________________


3. Walk away from toxic relationships

I want you to take a moment to look at your life and the people and relationships within it. By this I meanallrelationships, from work colleagues to family members, including both friendships and acquaintances and ask yourself:

  • Are you in relationships where youfeel bullied, criticised, unappreciated, or lonely?
  • Are you holding onto relationships where you are emotionally or verbally or physically abused?

If you answered yes, I want you to explore what it would feel like if your life was free from these relationships.

  • How would you feel?
  • What would you feel free to do or not do?
  • In what ways would your life be improved?

Youdont have to wake up one morning and declare theserelationships over. Insteadyou can learn to protectyourself better and minimise the power yougive away to people. Ultimately, this might mean ending the relationship, but in the short-term, simply explore what it would look like to spend less time withthesepeople and share less of yourself in these relationships. Practice stating your needs and setting and maintaining boundaries.

And if necessary,Love yourself courageously enough to walk away.

Is it Toxic Test

Wondering if a relationship is toxic, ask yourself these questions and you’ll know whether to keep or delete the relationship.

When I’m around this person do I feel content, peaceful, happy, and at ease?

When I’m around this person do I feel anxious, sick, explosive, frightened, nervous, abandoned, or lonely?


4. Recognize that You Are a Woman of Value

Do you believe you are a Woman of Value? If you’re experiencing an abusive or toxic relationship, you probably view yourself as valueless and I’m here to tell you emphatically,You Are A Woman of Value. You are worthy of kindness, love, compassion, respect, and happiness. Period. You are worthy of all your dreams, goals, and desires.

You are a valuable woman, and it’s time to shine your light on all your badass worthiness!

Standing strong asa woman of value begins when you celebrate your personal accomplishments. All of them – big, small, tiny, imperfect, funny, courageous. Every success that you have each and every day is worth of celebration.

Start your I Did It Success Journal and at the end of every day, write down all that you got done! All of it. Now celebrate how amazing you are. What a difference you make in the world. How you shine your light on others. Celebrate and then celebrate some more.

Celebrating your accomplishments builds your confidence and that strengths your I Am Worthy muscle. A woman of value knows without a doubt she is worthy of greatness and she will set solid boundaries and celebrate all her success as she moves alongon her journey!


5. Gratitude is Self-Care

There is always something to be grateful for. The smallest of things bring me the greatest gratitude.

When you feel you are stuck in your darkest moment, gratitude will provide the way out. During dark times, its hard to see positive forces when obstacles are blaring and fears are looming.

The benefits of practicing gratitude are life-altering. Gratitude puts situations into perspective. When we can see the good as well as the bad, it becomes more difficult to complain and stay stuck.

Gratitude helps us realize what we have. This can lessen our need for wanting more or looking for answers to why questions about the past.

Creating True Happiness Begins with Gratitude

Feeling grateful or thankful each day for the little things in your life opens the door to happiness and joy.

Pure Joy comes to you when you can wake up in the morning and say:

Thanks for this Day!

I Won’t Blow it

I Promise to Smile, Share, and Be Grateful

You will feel the positive effects on your outlook and your life as soon as you shift your focus to gratitude, gratefulness, thanks, and thankfulness.

Susan Ball, Self-Love Activist

Are You His Silent Partner?

Healing, moving forward, and letting go begins with tough questions and honest conversations. And I want to have one with you by asking Are You His Silent Partner?

Being bullied, abused, and neglected by your intimate partner can feel unbearable and it hurts. You feel empty. I know I’ve been there. But my healing began when a true friend asked me the tough questions and for that I’m forever grateful.

Let’s start with a story:

This lovely woman came out of the grocery store with her cart and walked toward the car parked beside mine. I watched her approach and quietly ask the man who was reclining in the front seat to please pop the trunk.

He sighed very loudly while pulling himself up so he could push the button while muttering for fuck sake! Then he laid back down while she lumped groceries into the trunk and the back seat.

She was sad but not angry. He was ignorant, lazy, apathetic and not worth her time or effort. He was a slug.

This happened today and I wanted to shout Hey, stand up for yourself! and tell him to get off his ass and help you. NOW.

But I didnt shout. I watched in horror and then I realized that she was allowing and feeding his continued neglectful behaviour and inviting his total disrespect. She was his silent partner.

She had set the standard and the tone for their relationship and he was just doing what he had always done. Sit, wait, get served, watch her lug and lift, and sigh loudly when asked to push the button to pop the trunk.

Yes, this woman was definitely in an emotionally abusive non-loving relationship. Its quite obvious that she is being emotionally abused and devalued. Watching her reactions to his actions made me think about how we play the silent partner. How we decide that it’s easier to put up with his negative, mean-spirited, bullying, and disrespectful actions instead of taking proactive action and calling him out for the miserable ass that he is. We clam up and carry on in a hopeless, unhappy relationship. We dive deep into living as a second-class citizen. Living as a victim.

Encouraging change by speaking the truth and looking at how we, by our very silence, play a role. I’m speaking here about verbal, emotional, and narcissistic abuse. Domestic violence has a different overtone. But even if you are fearful of physical violence, there are ways to begin taking back your life, your happiness, and your future.

Ultimately, we can change that role, become our personal advocates, step into our courage, and start taking responsibility through action for our happiness.

When a relationship starts, both parties set the tone and expectations. Do they agree to faithfulness? Do they agree to children? Do they agree that they will not got to sleep angry? Are they both active or athletic?

Thats an important value in any relationship. This woman had over time allowed her husband to treat her poorly, without dignity and show her no respect.

Right from the beginning, when someone treats you without one of those three common courtesies, call them out on their behaviour. Right away. Rock the boat. Ask what were you thinking doing or saying that?

And then heres the most important rule, I will not tolerate being treated that way and if it happens again were done, over, finished. I have respect for myself and I have standards in place about how I will be treated. And stick to your promise to yourself.

Victim-awakening is loving yourself enough to say Thats It! Not only do I deserve better, Im going to make sure Im treated with dignity and respect.

I wanted this woman to stand outside that car and tell him until you get out here and help me, all this food is going to bake in the hot sun.

It takes courage to stand up for yourself. But you are worth it. Stand Up. Say No.

Have the courage to treat yourself with grace and honour your incredible value.

Bullieshate it when you stand up to them. Do it. Love yourself and Do it.

5-signs Your New Love is Toxic

5-Signs Your New Love is Toxic

You’ve met this fabulous guy and things are moving quickly but is it too quickly. Are you headed down a path to heartache? Is his love toxic?

Is it Toxic Love? Here's 5 signs

  1. I Love YOU within the first 2 or 3 times seeing him this is a bad sign. It indicates obsession and control. If someone tells you how much they love you, cant live without you or would die if you ever left, and youve known him for 5 minutes, RUN
  2. Continuous, Repeated, Ongoing, Rapid Fire every 5 minutes – Texting or calling and expecting an instant answer. This also indicates the beginnings of toxic control and isolation. He will eventually remove you from your friends and family because he wants you to himself. Period.
  3. Answering the text or call and you are required to give an explanation for your tardiness in replying. You are headed towards disaster. Your explanations will never satisfy and eventually you will stop doing what you want because answering to him is too difficult and painful
  4. Sex as a weapon of guilt and shame. Toxic partners will tell you that not having sex when they want it means you do not love them and you are hurting their feelings. After all, they love you so much why would you hurt them this way? You lose your ability to say No. You begin to feel its easier to give in.
  5. Sex is taken! This is a serious sign and some women will make excuses when their partner forces sex on them. It was a bit of joke. I didnt really say no. He always wanted to explore the rape fantasy. It’s been a while and he has needs. And so on. No excuses. If you say no, its no. If he forces himself on you its rape. Rape.

If your new love or an existing relationship is showing signs of being toxic, the only solution is leaving. I know that sounds harsh and sad, but the hard-core truth is that you cannot change your partners toxic behaviour.

Stop making excuses for the toxic behaviour and start making plans to leave. Yes, it will hurt but before you know it you wont feel under pressure to explain yourself, you wont feel tense when you know hes almost home, and you wont feel threatened or bullied.


You Thought You’d Killed My Spirit

I had the dream of attending university and getting my degree. I’d be the first member of my family to have a bachelor’s degree. My parents had to leave school in grade 6 and my sisters left school at 16 to start working. Our family was poor.

I followed in their footsteps. Dropping out at 16 and going from one dead-end job to another. Getting married for the first time and having babies. That marriage didn’t work and I was back on my own with limited means and not much of a future. That’s when I decided I wanted to and would apply to the University of Toronto and get a degree.

And then I met my ultimate foe. I didn’t know that at the time. He was devoted, loved me from the moment we met (red-flag), told me how he would take care of me, the girls and I wouldn’t have to worry anymore about money or stability. Sounded so wonderful, I fell right into what would ultimately be the most destructive relationship of my life.

I mentioned how I planned to go back to school and how excited and nervous I was to start applying. His words were so painful: “Susan, you are far too stupid to go to university.” I cried for days, tore up my application and went back to day-to-day life but asmallember remained and I would tell myself someday the time will be right and he’ll support me to pursue my dream.

After I ran for my life, I began to re-build my life and that littleember started to grow but his words about being too stupid would come and try to extinguish that tiny ember. But it survived and despite my fear and my very real lack of self-confidence, I stepped into my courage and made the trek to the University of Toronto to speak with a counsellor.

On my way there, I got off the subway several times and I would stand there with my heart racing and I could hear him laughing at me. I would push the laughter away and get back on the subway. A trip that was supposed to take 30 minutes took me 2 hours! But I went to the meeting and she was so warm and supportive and showed me all around the campus. I felt like a kid in a candy store. Scared but alive. Pursuing my dream one tiny step at a time.

My spirit was alive and well and ready!

It’s true that he had hurt me beyond description but he had also given me a gift. He had given me the opportunity to heal my inner wound, to take full responsibility for my happiness and success, and to love and value myself to the moon and back!

I successfully completed my Honours B.A. with Distinction with a double-major. It was the best experience of my life and when I had those moments when his voice got inside my head, I would smile and tell him to fuck off, you’re not wanted here and keep going.

Now, I will be a featured speaker at the University of Toronto and my book, Courage and Grace, will be available in their bookstore. That’s a big deal.

I took back my spirit, I grew and my sparkle can never be dimmed – it’s just too damn bright!

Believe in yourself, step into your courage, awaken your potential, and step into your future free from toxic love. There is a big, bold, blissful story waiting for you. I know because I’m living mine.

Let’s Talk About the Epidemic of Fake “Support”

I’m calling it! There is an epidemic of fake “support” being offered to women who are experiencing demeaning, toxic, and abusive relationship.

An Epidemic of Fake Support. It comes in the way of commiseration and comparison. It is simply everyone joining together to provide false evidence for thewhy, the reason that justifies the partner’s shitty, destructive behaviour.

This mutual commiseration is mistaken for support and it may be comforting but it keeps you stuck and off-balance with no boundaries or self-respect. It keeps you attached to your victim story.

What I’ve found in many groups that are supposed to support and help others grow is actually an overwhelming reinforcing of beliefs and stories that hold you back.

While this is often done in the name of “being nice,” it is anything but.

It is not nice to encourage someone through some ridiculous explanation to stay with someone who is mean, disrespectful, sexually demanding and a bully. It is not a loving relationship when one person is continuously being called names, put-down, neglected, cheated on, lied to and so on.

It is irresponsible to just be NICE! And it’s downright cruel to encourage someone to stay in a toxic relationship while they desperately seek a satisfactory definition or explanation for their abuser’s behaviour. There is no explanation, diagnosis, or label that excuses bullying and abusive behaviour. None!

People continue to coddle one another, saying “it’s okay,” when we all know damn well it’s not. They refuse to hold one another accountable for the things that got them into their situation in the first place. This is not Victim-Blaming. This is encouragement to find the solution, to leave, learn, and grow. To embrace your happiness and your life.

And often trying to help someone move forward is seen as an attack on that person, as mean, and even as “bullying.” The group as a whole continues to focus on the problems instead of looking for solutions.

Yes, it will hurt to rip the bandage off and leave the man or woman that you thought loved you and respected you. But you will get over it. You will heal. You will grow and learn.

These support groups or networks are not supportive at all. They are places to go and talk about all that is wrong with your man or your woman. All the nasty shit they’re doing and have others say oh, you poor darling. I understand. I’m going through it too.

It is a collective of people focused on the negative, what is wrong, what do the scientists say, and what is the label. When you focus your attention on all the things that are wrong, it is impossible to move your life forward. It’s also greatly damaging to your overall life, and even your health and well-being.

There is a trend and belief that supplying people with more information about their illnesses will help them heal. The thought that more knowledge and information is better but in reality, it has fed the need to cling to the illness, label, relationship and gives permission to stay there – stuck.

It’s analysis versus action.

Constantly looking for the problems, the symptoms of the problems, and over-analyzing the problems actually FEEDS the problems.

These “support” groups are normalizing bad, abusive, and bullying behaviour by allowing a continuous stream of pity, comparison, labels, and false rationalisation.

It is much kinder to ask people to question their stories, to let go of their common beliefs, and to disidentify with many of their “support” groups. Including family and friends.

My tour of groups on Facebook gave me examples of the worst offenders. I stepped into a couple with a way to let go and move forward and was instantly told to stop bullying the person! Shocking really.

There is now an epidemic of narcissism – it’s everywhere! I will say this out loud – this “support” is more coddling than support. It doesn’t matter if he’s a narc or just a mean-spirited jerk, the healing process and your real life begins when you leave, heal and attract someone who respects and values you. You can stay in false support groups looking for definitions of narc and comparing narc stories but that’s not support.

You have the ability to leave. You have the power to say no one calls me bitch or rapes me or cheats on me and walk out the door. You have that power. Yeah, your heart will hurt but it will heal and you will learn from your experience, stand up for yourself and set boundaries.

And you’ll experience Peace and Freedom.

Coddling is not support. Name the groups appropriately – Narcissistic Abuse Coddling Group or Abuse Commiseration Group.

Be discerning about where you want to hang out and with whom. Its great to have a large group of people who support our delusions at first, but it is only by stepping out of them that we move forward in our lives.

I am a HUGE advocate of real support. Helping you when you need it, and giving you a loving little kick in the ass when you need to move on and get out of your stories.

Join You + JOY Women’s Circle for real, honest support. We get together once a month to offer support, kindness and loving kick in the ass to get you moving. Check out the details by clicking the link: http://www.susanball.ca/joy-womens-circle/

5 Keys to Setting Boundaries in Your Relationships

Setting boundaries and sticking to them is one of the most important and most difficult things we can do. This is a skill we dont learn growing up and most of us even grew up in environments with poor boundaries.

Joining on this conversation is Sandy Weiner, Founder of Last First Date. Sandy helps women over 40 achieve healthy, toe-curling love. Sandy specializes in helping women communicate effectively, set clear boundaries in relationships, and know their true worth.

I want people in my life who will respect me as I respect them, Sandy commented, We have to get better at setting boundaries because we have to teach people how to treat us or we lose a sense of who we are.

If you dont have solid, strong boundaries that youre willing to back up, once you allow one boundary to be broken, it has a snowball effect. In relationships, its even more potent.

5 Keys to Setting Boundaries

1. Process Your Needs

In your relationships, it can be hugely beneficial to take the time to sit back and process what you need. Ask yourself, Is this person giving me what I need?

When you come from this place, it gives both parties in the relationship the opportunity to come back and create a better space.

Sometimes you need a wake up call so you can see whats possible and whats not working. Sandy reminded us that women of value dont chase men who arent good on their word. Processing your needs is a chance to see if youre investing yourself in a healthy relationship and if not, what you need to ask for in order to get what you really want.

2. Ask for What You Want

Once you recognize what values youre missing in your relationship, be honest with your partner in a gentle way and tell them its not okay.

Partners cant read your mind. So many of us say, He should have known. But how? How does he know? If you feel like your partner isnt paying enough attention to you, ask for what you want. Tell them in person instead of sending an email and give them the chance to change.

3. Be a Game-Changer

Setting boundaries can be an eye-opening experience for you and your partner. If someone really wants to be with you and recognizes that the issue you addressed shows up in other areas of their life, it can be a game-changer. This is a point where someone might need to get help to resolve issues in their life and if they do that, things can really change for them.

Your partner isnt the only one who can heal. You might discover that youre the common denominator in your bad relationships, and getting help can be the best thing for you. It is a powerful thing to heal the thing inside of you thats attracting volatile people.

Sandy teaches that what you need is to get strong on the inside, so you can become more softer and yielding on the outside.

4. Aim for High-Investment Relationships

Sandy coined the term, high-investment relationships, to describe when both parties are fully invested in a relationship. These are relationships where respect goes both ways.

If youre aiming for a high-investment relationship, you probably dont want to get to know someone by text because its not a good way to get to know someone. You need to meet someone face-to-face to really find out who they are.

Women and men so often get stuck in text relationships. If you find yourself in this space, you might want to set a boundary and say, I dont text when Im getting to know someone. Until I know you well there will be too many misunderstandings. Can you pick up the phone?

Weve gone so far away from communicating face-to-face and giving people the respect they deserve. If you want someone to invest in you, youve got to be clear about the kind of relationship you want. You have to be clear that without that kind of investment, youre not going to give space in your life, your heart, or your bed.

5. Require Face-to-Face

There is so much room for misinterpretation in relationships that are built on texting or online communication. This leads to false relationships and falling in love with a profile. You could be planning your future with someone you met online and when you finally meet in person its a disaster.

To set boundaries and have a healthy relationship, you have to get in front of someone as soon as possible. Theres a lot of value in sitting down with someone in person and chatting with them. We are losing that art.

You cant set boundaries or give someone an insight into who you really are if you never connect in person. Setting a boundary to meet in person is important.

You can listen to my Conversation with Sandy about Setting Boundaries and Standards

014 – Sandy Weiner – Setting Boundaries & Standards

Open Letter to the Women Who Are Staying for the Children

I know you believe you’re putting on a good show for the kids. Smiling and pretending that it’s okay. That it’s normal to feel anxious when daddy is on his way home. That sometimes mommy cries but it’s okay. You tell the children there’s nothing to worry about.

You believe that the kids can’t feel the depth of your sorrow and pain that your smiles at all the right times protect them from the truth about your marriage.

I know you don’t want to hear this but your children are very aware of what’s going on. Even if your children cant put their finger on whats wrong with Mommy exactly, they know that their mother is not happy. If your children are older and in school, they have friends with families and they can make the comparison. It’s pretty easy for them to figure out.

You believe wholeheartedly that you must be doing the right thing by staying married for the sake of your children. After all having both parents is better than a family separated. You feel that you are choosing happiness and security for your children.

The truth is youre lying to yourself and hurting yourself and your kids by staying in an unhappy, abusive, and toxic relationship.

Staying for the Children

On My Own

One of the greatest fears is the idea of being on your own and having solo financial responsibility for your children. Yes, your spouse will probably have to pay child support but until that is all settled (if ever), you will become the sole breadwinner.

The good news is that running a household by yourself is possible. It will take some time to build your income but it can be done with determination and a little ingenuity. Will it be easy? No! but if you take it one step at a time it is possible to be a successful single-mom household.

Ask for help from friends to spruce up your resume or to keep their ear to the ground for job openings. The more open you are about what you’re looking for and how others can lend a hand, the closer you’ll be to success. Even if you haven’t worked in a while, it is possible. As a stay-at-home mom, you have many skills that are transferrable to the working world. Look for entry level positions.

Although it seems like a struggle, it will be worth it and it will end! You have two choices: trapped in a miserable marriage or being free. The struggle when you leave is momentary and it will end. Your misery in your marriage will go on and on.

The Lesson

When you stay with your abusive partner, your children are watching and learning. After all, children pattern their behaviour on the adults that they hold in high esteem. Your children are aware of what’s going on and they will repeat what they have witnessed.

Your children hear the names you’re being called and in the case of physical abuse, they see the bruises on your body. They sense your depression, anxiety, anger, and hopelessness. These are the lessons you are teaching them. These are the patterns they will repeat when they are teens and young adults.

Daughters will believe that it’s okay to be called names, or to feel fear when her partner is on his way home from work, or to be raped or beaten. Your daughter will repeat your role as a victim. Or she could become the abuser. Yes, that is a possibility. It will become her defense mechanism if she feels threatened. She will choose to lash out, bully, coerce and shame others to protect herself.

You are teaching your daughters that women are powerless.

If you have sons, you are teaching them that the way to express love is a good smack or embarrassing your partner by calling her names, shaming her into believing she is worthless. Demanding sex and controlling her every move. He will grow up and pattern his relationship skills on those of his parents.

You are teaching your sons that women are powerless

Teach Resilience & Strength

Teach your children to be strong, to stand on their own and be independent. Teach them to walk-away from anyone who disrespects them, bullies them or doesn’t value them as a person.


Courage and Grace

In Courage and Grace, From Broken to Blissful, the Journey of Building Joy During Your Recovery from Abuse, I speak extensively about the Myth of staying for the children.

The companion workbook includes excellent exercises to help you transition from your miserable relationship to a lovely, peaceful life on your terms with your kids.

Purchase the Book and Workbook and Discover Your Courage and Embrace Your Grace

Deciding to Stay or Go

Leaving an Abusive Relationship

Deciding to Leave Your Abuser is Tough

The single most important decision that any woman experiencing abuse will make is the decision to leave or stay. Often, she is silenced by her partner by his continued negative commentary on her ability, her looks, and her value. She feels embarrassed to reach out to family and friends to help and support in her quest for freedom. The decision she must make is life changing and with no confidence left to tell her story and seek support, it can also be the loneliest time of her life.

There is no greater decision she will make in her life. Staying in some ways is comfortable and familiar. Financially, he may be controlling the purse strings leaving her with few to no resources of her own. She can find herself unemployed, staying home to raise children or staying home because that is his wish or command. Isolation and financial dependency are frequently used tools in the abusers arsenal. They are the tools of complete control and dependence.

Leaving an Abusive Relationship

Children can play an enormous role in her decision. Fear for her childrens safety and security outside of the marriage. Her mind will run full circle to her lack of employment or housing. How will she get a home, money and food? Serious questions when you are facing the prospect of leaving the family home. Uprooting the children to a new place and school can make her feel guilt and shame that she is not a good mother.

Women in abusive, toxic, and unhealthy relationships fear the great unknown that lives on the other side of the door. It can be scary. You have no money, no home, children depending on you, and your prospects seem dismal at best. Staying with your abuser is equally tormenting. How can she keep exposing her children to foul language, physical violence, name-calling and other demeaning behaviours? She is teaching them how to treat people and her example is not good.

There are moments when she feels she loves him or that staying together for sake of the family is probably best. The love after the apology phase when she starts to ask maybe it was me, maybe Im not treating him fairly, maybe I need to try harder to make this marriage work. But those moments are uncomfortable because deep down she knows its time to go. She knows that after the apology phase comes the nasty, ugly phase. And so the cycle goes.

I can relate to the very real and painful dilemma abused women face. Ive been there. Youre not only thinking about yourself, you are thinking about your children and their future. Its a huge responsibility and if you have no job, money or support from family and friends, you feel defeated before you even begin. Starting out from a place of loss makes the journey incredibly difficult. But not impossible.

The good news is she does have the inner strength and the courage to get out. It may feel like she needs a miracle to access her courage, but her will to survive, to live peacefully and with happiness will give her the impetus to walk out the door on shaky legs and face the unknown with trepidation fully knowing shes got this!

Showing women that Peace, Quiet, and True Love are on the other side of that door begins by helping her to find Grace Gratitude, Release, Authenticity, Challenge, and Embrace. Each step builds her value, self-worth, confidence, and shows her how successful she is every day and in every way. It begins to unravel the negative self-talk and replace it with positive, forward-moving chatter. And before you know it, shes growing, expanding, and building a new life.

Its amazing watching a broken woman take positive steps to rebuilding, liberating her greatness, and stepping into her power. Through determination, raw courage, and pure will, leaving your abuser can lead to the greatest time of your life.

Susan Ball, Self-Love Activist


Gratitude Wins Every Time. It Changed My Life

How Gratitude Changed My Life

gratitude-22November is Gratitude Month and the perfect time for you to introduce or re-introduce the practice of gratitude into your life.

I know it works because when I was presented with the idea of starting a gratitude journal I was at my lowest point ever!. I lived in a furnace room with 2 kids, no job, no money, hurt deeply by someone I thought loved me and running for my life.

Lo and behold a friend says to me Start Practicing Gratitude! She really did in those exact words. My reaction was not pleasant and a few nasty words were hurled in her direction. I thought to myself are you fucking kidding me. I have nothing. What the hell do I have to be grateful for?

Her next words were life changing. You could start with being grateful that you don’t live with him anymore and you are on your healing path.

Okay profound as her words were I wanted to hate them. I really did. I wanted to ignore them and carry on in my victimness and feeling sorry for myself. But try as hard as I could I just kept thinking about her words and she was right and….

I was grateful that I didn’t live with him anymore

My gratitude practice began right then and it grew over time. At first it was challenging as was my life situation at the time. But everyday I sat down and wrote 5 things that I was grateful for and I as carried on being grateful my life started to change.

Gratitude Works and It Changes Everything!

Today start your gratitude journey. It can be a journal, a jar or a drawer that you drop little bits of paper in with your gratitude scribblings. Makes no difference how you do it, just do it.

For the month of November, spend a few minutes in the morning and again in the evening jotting down what you’re grateful for. Aim for 5 things each time. If you only have 3 that’s great and if you have a list of 100 that’s great too.

I am grateful that at my lowest point,I was introduced to starting a gratitude practice. It changed my life. It opened my mind and my heart to new possibilities. Gratitude and me we go way back.

Today, I am Grateful For…………..

Kick Your Life up to Thriver = Big, Bold & Ballsy

Survivor is Okay but Thriver is Fabulous! There are some who say that getting to the level of “survivor” is good enough. I say no way, not a chance. Putting your life into “thriver” gear is where you want it to be. After my experience with an abusive husband, I truly believed that my end-game was to go from victim to survivor and be happy with that. It was great to be a survivor for a while. But I felt uninspired. Something was missing and I was caught asking myself: WOW! I did all that work to get here and now I’m a little bored. I discovered that I wanted more from life. I wanted to be more than a survivor, Being a survivor implied that something traumatichad happened to me. I didn’t want to be attached to “The Incident” any longer so I chose to elevate my life to … Read more

Keep, Edit, Delete, Add: 4 Steps to Being You & Living Authentically

Be You Be Real

What is Authentically Me? The authentic self is the real, genuine you. It is the you that is buried deep and is the very core of your being. The authentic self is a culmination of all things that are you knowledge, talents, skills, attitude, and perspective. It isnt defined by your placement in a family unit or career. Finding the truth about who you really are and what is important to you takes honesty, awareness, and some time. How Can I Be Authentically Me? Keep: These are the things in your life you will prioritize over everything else. You can and probably will increase them over time. Questions to find what to keep: What is working in your life? What brings you joy? Lights you up? What and who lets you be your true self? What is moving you forward towards the life you crave and envision? Edit: Some … Read more

How to Save Money to Leave Your Abusive Relationship

How to Save Money to Leave

One of the biggest obstacles women have for leaving is lack of money. They are often cut off from all the financial decisions in the household and have no direct access to saving money. You want to leave your abusive relationship desperately but you start thinking about all the things you will have to make happen. And all of them seem to take a huge amount of money. The lack of money becomes a tremendous obstacle and for many women. One that seems insurmountable. I remember it well. The cold sweats thinking how will I provide a home for children? Food? Clothing? My abusive husband had me quit my job with stories of how he would love to support me so I could be a full-time mom to my girls. I had no access to bank accounts, bank cards or credit cards. Household budget was in cash and receipts and … Read more

5-Steps to Getting Unstuck

5 Steps to get unstuck

Let’s talk about being stuck! I’ve been stuck and it sucks. You overthink, bounce back and forth and ultimately can’t make a decision. Stuck is thatplace where you are in betweenI dont want to keep doing what I am doing, I cant keep doing what Imdoing, I dont want to go back to that…… BUT (really big but right here) I’m afraid of the future, Im afraid to let go, Imafraid of the unknownand so you stay stuck in the same place and dont know how to get out. We know we’re going in circles and that makes us feel that our life is out of control. Feeling stuck is a symptom of the bigger problem at hand. It means that something has to change. It signals that you’re putting up resistance to change. Being Stuck is also where the greatest transformation in your life will happen. When you feel … Read more

3-Peaceful Outcomes of Embracing Authenticity

The Wonderful Peace of Authenticity I hosted an on-line coffee chat on Monday and we talked about authenticity. Our chat revolved around how does being authentic improve your life. First, I’ll give you an example of how we are not made for everyone to enjoy our company or even like us and that’s okay! I have been told by numerous people over the years that I am “gregarious”. That my laugh is loud and hearty and that I just talk to strangers like I’ve known them forever. The old me used to think OMG! I better change the way I behave, laugh and talk to people because I want my critics to like me and hang out with me. So, I would go out in public with these people and I would be church-mouse quiet and speak when spoken to, not laugh out loud and just be beige. And here’s … Read more

Compliment Yourself Every Day

Compliment Yourself Every Day Stop Waiting: Wishing and waiting for others to give you a compliment won’t make it happen. Yes, it would be fabulous if your great work or gourmet cooking or volunteer time were acknowledged with a compliment. But the sad truth is most of our goodness is not recognized even with the simplest of gestures: a compliment. Lack of compliments damages our self-worth and starts a negative pattern of questioning, We begin to wonder whether or not we are good enough. Start Doing: Give yourself compliments! When you finish a task including washing the kitchen floor, take a second to tell yourself “Great Job!”. After you get dressed, look in the mirror and say “I’m rocking this outfit!”. When you donate your stuff to charity or go and walk a shelter dog, pat yourself on the back for your good deed. Rebel Self-Love is all about Compliments. … Read more

It Takes Fear to Blossom

It’s that moment when you have butterflies in your stomach and you’re wondering what will everyone think and you start to question your own motivations and for a brief second you think this is crazy. Then it happens. You step into that fear with courage, take a deep breath and say ‘Here I Go’. You have blossomed. You have stepped into your big, bold, blissful life. You have taken ownership of your happiness. Keep going. You’ve got this.  

5-Signs You Are Holding on to Victim for Dear Life

You did it. You took the first step and left him behind and I want to congratulate you for the courageous step you took when you left your toxic, emotionally abusive partner. It was a bad relationship and you were consistently criticized, bullied, ridiculed, and abandoned. You decided that it was time to say goodbye to your abuser and walk out the door. You decided you want and deserve a better life. 5-Signs that You are Guilty of Holding On: You won’t stop talking about it. The incident I mean. You want to tell everyone who will listen and even those who don’t want to but are stuck! You get upset or angry when you feel you’re not getting sympathy. You fully embrace your victim label. You hold onto your story and keep telling it so you can rationalize your “victimness” and hang on to it for dear life. You … Read more

Benefits of Kicking Your Life up to Rebel Thriver

There are some who say that getting to the level of “survivor” is good enough. I say no way, not a chance. Putting your life into “thriver” gear is where you want it to be. After my experience with an abusive husband, I truly believed that my end-game was to go from victim to survivor and be happy with that. It was great to be a survivor for a while. But I felt uninspired. Something was missing and I was caught asking myself: WOW! I did all that work to get here and now I’m a little bored. I discovered that I wanted more from life. I wanted to be more than a survivor, I wanted to Thrive. I wanted a big, bold, ballsy life where I flourished. If you have gotten yourself all the way to the level of survivor, then challenge yourself to take your life all the … Read more

Not Letting it Go & the Victim Mentality

Let Go of Victim Mentality

Victim Mentality is Caused by Not Letting it Go The connection between Victim Mentality and Not Letting it Go is real. This is the story of how one chef proved how easy it is to fall right into victim’hood with one small unanticipated change! While I was enjoying my early morning coffee, I took the opportunity to catch up on one of my favourite indulgences: Food Network Star. Okay, it’s a reality show and I love it (confession made). One of the chefs provided a brilliant example of the negative and often tragic results of hanging on until it kills you! He shopped for his groceries and chose a premium cut of steak. He was so proud of his choices and spent time bragging about how clever his choice was and how he would crush everyone else. Well, surprise twist – all the chefs had to switch groceries with the … Read more

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