*The “I Matter” series takes a deeper look into the experiences that have shaped and led me to pursue my life’s work in helping others live their best lives by uncovering their authentic selves. Keep an eye out for future posts that detail more of my stories and experiences.

I find it interesting to hear of different parenting practices that existed when I was growing up.

They are so different from what we do today – some better and some not so good. Our parents learned what they were taught and did the best with what they had. Regardless – those practices had an impact.

When I was 13 – I have a vivid memory – it was Thursday after school.  Every Thursday I was at gymnastics practice until 4:30 and I would walk home with my friend. On our way home, we would stop at the park and play on the swings for 5 minutes. One day we were on the swings  when we watched a car screech to a halt, the driver door opened, and out came my mother screaming at me. “You get over here you little bitch. Where the hell have you been?”

I had no choice but to walk over to her where she proceeded to hit me repeatedly. I reminded her I had my weekly practice but she continued. My friend screamed and ran home. A man stopped his car, because she blocked his way on a two lane road with her open car door.  He told her to stop hitting me and she told him to mind his own f……g business. I got in the car and we drove home while she screeched in my ear. I was used to this.

Fast forward to high school – I am 15 years old. I wanted so badly to be a cheerleader and out of almost 100 girls who auditioned, I was one of the 8 who made the squad.  I was so excited. I knew they had to want you on the team, and that you had to have the right personality and be able to do the routines.  My mother’s response – “Only sluts are cheerleaders – you should focus on your studies.”

I always challenged her which enraged her more. I expressed my dislike for her behaviour toward me – to her directly and to my friends.  I never understood the impact it would have on me until much later in my life.

I always had self esteem – I believed in myself and my abilities. That likely came from my Dad. My mother would minimize her behaviour around him so he didn’t see the worst of it. I would sit on the couch and rest my head on my Dad’s chest.  He would hug me and tell me he loved me. He always said “Sam, you can do anything you put your mind to.  You have the intelligence, the personality and the drive.”  I didn’t pay much attention to his words back then – I just thought – that’s nice Dad – thanks.

Now I know it was those words – his love and belief in me and his non-judgmental ways that saved me. I always had a belief in myself that I can get out of this, past that, fix a situation, make things better. I always looked forward. Now it reminds me of how important a parent’s words are in their children’s lives.

The impact:

  • I had a buried fear of abandonment and betrayal
  • I’ve had failed relationships
  • I had self esteem, but not enough self worth
  • I had moments of ineffective parenting
  • I built resilience
  • I learned to understand the present and move past it – I always set a solution target
  • I built a strong positive outlook
  • I learned to believe in and rely on myself

It took me years of self awareness and the help of professionals to transform myself. I researched through talking to experts, hearing others’ stories and lots of reading. What I found fascinating is understanding how it all developed in the first place and how to unravel it.

I had to recognize and heal what was buried deep inside. I had to replace subconscious belief systems with new ones. It’s been an amazing journey. The more I share it, the more I hear from others who have experienced similar circumstances and have asked me to share my journey.