Our Client’s Triumph Over Abuse by Fatima Salaam

“Doubt kills more dreams than failure ever will.”
― Suzy Kassem

In my experience, the reason women fail to advance in their careers or fail to successfully establish a business for more than five years is due to barriers unique to being a woman. One major barrier that impacts women more than men is experiencing self-doubt. In our initial session with women, we ask them to share why they came to us, what they hope to accomplish, and what they want to overcome.

You would not believe how many women share that they have lost their self-confidence from being passed over for promotions or harassed at work. But what seems to attack a woman’s self-confidence and increase her self-doubt the most is emotional and/or physical abuse by a spouse or significant other.  Emotional and physical abuse decreases a woman’s confidence, trust, and belief in herself.

One of my clients is a prime example. She was well-educated and was successful in her career. She was married with 3 young children. She contacted me because she saw me speak at our annual event. She shared that she wanted to change careers or possibly start a business now that she was a single mom.

During our initial consultation, she shared her harrowing story. When she was married, her now ex-spouse would deny reality repeatedly.

Here are two examples:

*One day, she was walking up the stairs with the baby and he shoved her. She fell and sprained her wrist as she tried to brace her baby’s head from hitting the stairs. The next day, as she struggled to clothe the baby, he asked ‘what’s wrong with your hand?’ When she replied, ‘you shoved me, and I fell.’ He looked her dead in her eyes and said, ‘no, I did not. You tripped.’ He denied her reality. This was not the first incident of physical abuse nor was it the last. With each incident, she trusted herself less and less. She questioned her ability to discern what really happened. This is called gaslighting . “Gaslighting is a tactic in which a person or entity, in order to gain more power, makes a victim question their reality.”

*Another day, she had just received her direct deposit from her job. Her ex wrestled her wallet from her hands and took her bank card without her permission. Then, he went to the bank and withdrew all her money including her savings. Months later, when she wanted to make a purchase for one of the children, he said’ ‘use your savings.’ She replied, ‘you withdrew my savings and my paycheck without my permission.’ He replied, ‘no, I did not.’ Even though, she knew he was lying, his denial of her reality made her doubt what she knew to be true.

Years of emotional and physical abuse that went unacknowledged led her to doubt herself more and more. This doubt spread into every aspect of her life. Even areas where she was confident and successful, she lost confidence in her abilities.

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Once our client shared her painful story, we knew that we had to help her find ways to restore and increase her belief and trust in herself.

Over the course of our 10 sessions, we had her to complete the following activities:

  1. Make a list of all the incidents that she doubted herself.
  2. Make a list of all her strengths with examples of times that her strengths led to success.
  3. Keep a journal of all the decisions that she made for a week. Then, we sorted them into added to belief and trust, decreased belief and trust, and no influence at all.
  4. Make a list of people that she would trust to advise her and why.
  5. Make a list of non-negotiable rules. For example, if she interacted with someone who distorted the truth, she would no longer associate with them.

Over time, she became more confident and she blossomed. She no longer hesitated to make decisions. When she failed, she did not doubt herself but understood that failure in business is a part of the process. We supported her until she trusted herself enough to support herself.

That is why Go Women Global is different from other consulting agencies. We are a mission based company whose primary goal is to help eliminate poverty by creating more women entrepreneurs.

Further, we understand that a woman brings a full story to the table that must be addressed and supported for her to overcome barriers and achieve massive success. For more information on our services, please check out our website- http://www.gowomenglobal.com.

*I would like to add that we are not psychologists. Our client received counseling services prior to seeking our services.

Resources

http://www.psychologytoday.com

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