So what happens when a little girl from North Dakota loses her grandmother, father, and is raped, all in a short period of time? Then, what if the mother doesn’t take action and the little girl gets raped again by the same evil people years later? These hard questions were the real facts of this week’s guest life.
In this episode you’ll learn about dealing with grief. Whether it’s the loss of a loved one, abandonment, the destruction of an emotional connection, rape, losing your purity, or so many other reasons we experience grief in our lives. Today’s guest has had many of the grief sources listened, and not only went through the darkness, but emerged into the light. So get your pens and paper ready, make sure that you’re open to listen, and be ready to share this special episode with your friends and family who are suffering. Ladies & Gentlemen, welcome to the Victoria Volk story!
Victoria Volk | Dealing with Loss, Abandonment, Rape, the Grief Recovery Method, & 7 Weeks to Healing
Hey, Victoria, how are you today? It’s an awesome day. I’m great. It, it is. And it’s been great talking to you in our pre-call information. Just getting to know each other a bit. I just gave a breakdown and an intro to your story and our listeners are ready to go. So at this time, if you can just share your journey with us, we’ll start with birth.
Where were you born? What was your upbringing like? You know, the good, the bad and the ugly, because that forms who we are today, it helps influence it. And then we’ll just go step by step from adolescence to adulthood to today, and then we’ll transition to, well now you helped us for an hour, [00:03:00] Victoria, how can we help you?
And then we’ll transition to where you’re going and how we can help you get there. So you ready to go? I’m ready. Awesome. Let’s do this. So where were you born and what was your upbringing like? I was born in Wich. North Dakota. And I lived there until I graduated eight till I graduated when I was 18. And so I was born and raised and it’s small town, like back then, it was maybe 1300 people.
Now it’s more like 800 mm-hmm . But you know, it’s a place where, you know, growing up in the eighties in a small town, you didn’t lock your doors. You rode bike into the night ran to the neighbors house. Or to your friend’s place. You know, it was the freedom that I think a lot of kids today just don’t experience or get mm-hmm you know, just growing up in a small town.
And so I loved it. [00:04:00] I loved the town in which I lived, but there was a lot going on in my personal life that has really shaped the work that I’m doing today. And when my. I was about six, seven. My grandmother was diag. She had melanoma and she was living with us for a time while she was sick.
And at the same time then, or shortly thereafter, we had found out my dad had stage four colon cancer. And so she was living with us at the same time as my dad was sick. And she ended up passing away. When I was seven and then a year later, my father had passed away. Mm. Sorry to hear that. Yeah. And you know, I can talk about it today and not be a, a mess on the floor because I’ve really processed a lot of that.
I have processed that. [00:05:00] But at the time, you know, being a child and the youngest of four kids I was kind of just that’s really, I think when I became more, I internalized everything there. Wasn’t a lot of, you know, my mom had lost her mom and her husband. In a short amount of time and there just wasn’t room for my grief.
She had endured and lost a lot and she just didn’t know how to. Help me. And I think just, even back then, and even still today as adults, we just really don’t know how to talk about grief with our children. And she did what she knew and we always resort to what we know. And so it really was, and here’s the thing too.
Like I’m a highly sensitive person as an adult, and I didn’t really [00:06:00] understand that until. Probably like three years ago where my childhood just started to make a whole lot of sense. My mom had actually remarried well, within a year she was dating somebody and then they, within two years she was remarried.
But also during that time I had been molested by someone and then. A few years later again. And so there was just a lot of, a lot of trauma and grief. My sister she’s nine years older than me, and she was like a second mom. And at, after my dad passed away, she was in high school or she was graduating.
And so she actually, she moved, she left, she joined the air force. And so I lost my grandma. I lost my dad. I lost my sister. And I was molested so a lot of change [00:07:00] in trauma. And I was gonna ask you that in your family. So it was your older sister, nine year older sister than you. So there’s only two of you?
No, there’s four of us. I have a, an older brother, a brother that’s older than her, a half brother, and then her and then my other brother and then myself and he, my brother is five years older than me, so he would’ve been about 14 at the time. My dad, our dad passed away and I was. And my sister was 18. So everybody’s trying to adjust, everybody’s trying to find their balance and, and behold, again, you’re kinda lost in the shuffle if I’m hearing correctly.
Yeah, pretty much. And then the molestation, was it someone you knew like a family member, a close friend? Was it a complete stranger? It was someone the family knew cuz actually when my mom remarried he was a long haul trucker and she would. Travel with him. And so I would be put in the care of, you know, the, this family and it was during those times [00:08:00] cuz my brother would’ve been 15, 14, 15, 16, you know, he had a job, he was kind of doing his own thing.
And last thing he wanted to do was babysit his baby sister. So so yeah, I was left to stay at the neighbors or stay with a friend or stay with this family and Yeah, that’s there’s I there’s actually. Okay. So there’s actually a murder mystery in my community. That involves that family, not a murder mystery. It’s actually. Missing missing persons, but we all believe that they’ve been murdered, but anyway, it they’re tied. This, this young woman at the time was actually a sister to this person. And that’s a way different story, but just to give an idea of this family was [00:09:00] very disturbed family.
And so really what cause. It really caused a lot of when I was like 14, I finally had told my mom what had happened to me. And it was kind of just this indifference of a response. She really, she actually continued to be friends with this family. It be not believe you, or was she in denial? I think, I don’t know, honestly.
My mom is still living. And so I don’t, you have to be, be careful how you approach it. Yeah. This is really the first time I’m really even mentioning this much stuff. But this is where grief is really complicated, right? Because sometimes it’s the people that are closest to us that hurt us the most. It, it, it caused me to have a lot of anger and resentment towards my mother because [00:10:00] there just wasn’t room for me.
There wasn’t room for my emotions. There wasn’t room for what was happening to me. And my mom has, she’s very extroverted. She’s very much the opposite of me. She like, well, well, I became her therapist, she, you know, a lot of what she was experiencing in the trouble she was having, she would share with me like her child, her.
And so there just wasn’t. For me. And so I, and being a highly sensitive child, I, I did cry a lot and a, a lot of things upset me cuz I felt things very deeply. And then to be told you’re a cry baby, or if you wanna cry, I’ll give you something to cry about, which is often what children hear. I often found myself running under my bed.
Crying myself to sleep or in the linen closet, one time they had to send, send out a search party for me. And I was, [00:11:00] I think that time I was in the linen closet, but in the kitchen cupboard, like I would just find places to hide, to cry and fall asleep because I just could not. Express myself outwardly.
And when I did, and if it was angry emotion, then that was bad too. Mm-hmm so I very much became someone who was internally just angry and felt like a victim, but couldn’t express it. Who was a victim? Not just felt like it, but was a victim. And just I grew up very. Internally angry. And with that anger that had nowhere to go.
And so I did manage somehow to not take a different path in my life to this day. I still wonder how because I, you know, I had one of my best friends. She had different experiences in her life, you know, with divorce and things, and she took a different [00:12:00] path and yeah, I, it, that’s one thing that just makes me wonder about the human condition, how some people can choose one path and other people can choose a different path and you can have traumatic and terrible things happen.
But it just the way the human spirit, I guess, copes. Sometimes you even have a family where the kids experience the same thing, even twins, and it’s documented, they have totally different reactions. So we all have that unique relationship and personality and character that God gave us. So it’s just, what’s gonna happen is different.
It’s unique to us. So if you don’t mind, let me ask you some questions. So you were nine when you first got molested. and then did you go back and the same people molest you or is that a different part of your story? Yes. Okay. So your mom stayed with these people. Now you obviously, as a child, didn’t think about [00:13:00] this, but what was happening is the person who should have been caring for you and protecting you.
That individual is not in, in a way, it makes you angry because you know, you should be protecting me. You’re not. So now you have this internal anger, then you feel guilt and you feel shame, and I’m sure you had a million things going on that you weren’t even understanding or aware of. It’s even hard to break down now as adults, right?
But typically I’ve seen people who go through that. They end up developing a hyper approval seeking from that parent. Did that happen in your relationship with your mom, where you were always trying to please her? You’re always trying to win her to love you, to take care of,
you know, I never wanted to. Rock the boat. I, you know, and even as, yeah, it was very much a people pleaser and it, you know, when I got my, I got my driver’s license at 14 [00:14:00] and, you know, we lived in a small town and so driving to a big city, I had no clue. Like there was no like GPS and no cell phones back then.
And I told my kids, even I have two licensed drivers now. And it’s like, can you imagine. Driving in this city now, like, even back then though, I said, without a GPS, without like knowing where to go, like, how did I do that? I have no idea. Cause my mom did not drive. She didn’t have a driver’s license. She never has.
And so it didn’t matter what my plans were. My, her plans always Trump mine. So she wanted to go to the big city. You bet I was driving her. So the caveat of that was, well, you get use of the. Okay. Well, I guess I do, you know, but I had started at, at 14. I got my first job too. And so I, I did, it was my goal to, to not have to depend on anybody else.
Yeah, so I became very independent and I, I think I just had to be because my [00:15:00] mom would then travel with her spouse.
And so I would be left home alone. And again, my brother was older, so he was kind of off doing his own thing. So I was a latchkey kid. My mom, when she was home, she worked until into the evening. And so she wasn’t even home like at supper time. So it was always fend for yourself. Type of environment.
And so it was just an environment that I had to be independent. I had to figure things out on my own. And I’m actually really grateful for that because that’s really served me well into adulthood because there is, I know like it’s like Marie for Leo’s quote, everything is figureoutable. I absolutely live that.
And I absolutely truly believe that as well. Everything is figureoutable outable. know, if there’s something that you wanna learn, how to do or learn how to, to, you know, soft, whether it’s software or how to [00:16:00] cook something, like there’s a way to figure it out. So so yeah, I mean, so now you are at this point in life.
Did you share with anyone that you were raped or molested, or were you afraid to, did you have a friend, a brother or sister? Did anybody know, or was it just a private secret
Copy of 5 EPISODE 100 PART 2 of 2 Victoria Volk: as a teenager? I had told my mom, I was 14 at the time, and I had told her, and, and there was this sense of indifference. It, I don’t know if she didn’t, I didn’t get a sense that she didn’t believe me, but her actions didn’t show that she cared in a way, because she still kept in contact with the, and perhaps she was the type two that didn’t wanna rock the boat.
She didn’t want to make [00:17:00] waves or, or anything. And so I, I don’t even believe she confronted. That family at all. And here’s the thing like this, to those listening. It’s like, boy, your mom sounds like quite a winner, you know, but my mom is still in my life. She’s still living. She’s gonna be 79 years old.
She’s still, and she is feisty as ever. And she had her own trauma growing up and as an adult and I just have really gotten to a place now of forgiveness and finding grief recovery honestly was the, the thing that helped me cope with all of the anger and the resentment and everything that I had been storing in my body since a child toward.
The [00:18:00] anger I had towards God for like taking my dad away from me, the anger I had towards my mother for not being the mother, I needed her to be towards my offender. I had a lot of reasons to be angry and it wasn’t serving me well. And even into adulthood, I found alcohol as my soother. And that led me to only more grief because I found myself in really dangerous situations.
And to sometimes I sit back and I wonder, it’s like, geez, I surprised I’m even sitting here having this conversation with you because there were so many more times than I wish I could say that. I wish I would’ve made a different choice. Made a different decision. But you know, you can’t turn back time.
You can’t, you can’t. Go back and do things differently, [00:19:00] but I can change how I feel about it moving forward. And that’s what grief recovery helped me do in my relationship with my mom, in my relationship towards the offender who I have forgiven, I have forgiven my mom and it’s the only reason why I’m still able to have her in my life.
The thing we wanna be careful of as when we feel like a victim and we feel victimized, that’s a really lonely place to be. And that’s where I was for a long time. And I was not processing my emotions. I had big emotions. I still do. I’m highly sensitive, so I have big emotions and I just didn’t know how to handle them.
I didn’t know what to do with them. Mm-hmm and. So, yeah, so we, we tend to cope in whatever ways [00:20:00] that we find work for us. And usually they’re unhealthy ways. But what I wanna share with the people listening is that we can villainize people or actually in grief recovery, there’s, it’s either called enshrinement or be devilment.
And I didn’t want to, it could be really easy for me to be devil my mom. Right. It could be really easy for me to just tear her apart on this podcast. And I know for some, it might sound that way, but this is my truth, and this is, you know, what happened. And I, you know, that that is the truth, but yeah, and I agree, and I support you completely because if someone’s listening anybody with a pure heart in mind knows you’re not condemning your mother, you’re just telling your story.
Yes. But I’ve been around people close to me. And me and everybody in the room heard a story being told [00:21:00] and it’s just life. And that person came to reconciliation. But the one person who was watching is like, they’re so self-righteous, they’re so condemning. And I’m like, whoa, you got some baggage to take care of.
I’m like, if you interpreted that, that way, and none of us even came close to that interpretation, I know you’re carrying that same baggage and they would not talk about it. So if you’re listening now and Victoria’s saying anything, that’s stir you up, whether it’s memory or repressed, you got some baggage you need to carry let go and stop caring.
Is that safe to say, Victoria? I don’t wanna put words to your mouth. It is. No, it is. But in the opposite of that, like you can have somebody. It doesn’t matter what they say or do to you. You’re never gonna see it for what it truly is. You’re never gonna see it as having an impact on you. You’re going to enshrine them.
It’s like, no matter what that person [00:22:00] says or does, they are the best thing since slice bread, that’s enshrinement. Mm-hmm, , it’s when someone you love close to you or whatever does something to you, but you’ve interpreted it as well. They didn’t mean it, or they’re just, you know, it’s like nothing. It that’s also denying what that person did to you.
Yeah. And that’s what I was asking you. That’s what I was asking you a few minutes ago about your mother. I have seen people go through similar things you did, and they were always seeking the approval. The mother could do no wrong, and that mother was not your mother, but that mother was a terrible human and did terrible things.
And this person could not accept. They just wanted to win their mother’s love and approval and they couldn’t accept. That their mother did bad things. Everything was like you said, enshrinement. Yeah. Yep. And that, and that’s a slippery slope too, because we’re never, that’s not really processing either what’s happened and yeah.
You know, letting the emotion like [00:23:00] pass through you. And you know, when you said about letting go, it’s like people say, well, yeah, you just need to let go. I actually have a tattoo. Let go, let God . Yep. That was before I discovered grief recovery, because people say this, like I wanted to let go. I wanted to give it to, but how do you do it?
Right. I, I wanna punch those people in the face, cuz they’ve never had to let go of anything. Cause you, there is a process of letting go and I hope we’re gonna get to it. I want to finish your story and then we’ll tie into how you healed. But if you’re listening and you’ve been frustrated and felt bad about yourself, cuz you don’t know how to let go, Victoria, you even got a tattoo, but you finally figured it out, right?
Yeah. And really it starts with, with me and it starts with you listening. That’s where it has to start. Yeah. Let’s you can, okay. Oh, go ahead. No, no, finish the sentence. Yeah, you can, you can wait for an apology. You’ll never get, and you’ll, you’re just gonna be stuck in emotional prison, you know? Yes. And you can be resentful of that person and that’s [00:24:00] just poison you take hoping they die.
so let’s do this before we get to the steps of healing, let’s finish your story and it, and it may all intertwine. Usually it does. Right. Mm-hmm but so now you’re a teenager. You have already been raped by this individual. And then now you said it actually happened again. So what happened at that point in your life and then work us through the story?
Yeah, it was the times that I remember are nine and 12. And so one thing I’ve realized about my own memory is that it’s very. How do I say that? Fragmented? Mm-hmm my childhood is very fragmented. Like I have gaps, gaps in my memory. And so what I remember and what I know of is nine and 12, like those years just stick out in my mind and I can [00:25:00] picture myself in the situation at the time.
But yeah, so I told my mom when I was 14, but, you know, I even had someone actually. So at 14, I also, like, I think it was around that same year. I had an intruder come into our home and took my underwear so the sense of loss of safety and loss of security Just of what I had experienced previously, and then to have someone come into your home and take your underwear.
Like, it was just another thing, right? It’s so I’m, I’m illustrating, this is how grief is cumulative and it’s cumulatively negative. Also during that time well I told my mom and then nothing happened as a result. That was grief. [00:26:00] I, I think there was something else, but I can’t remember what it is right now, but I ended up graduating though.
And I was in a relationship with someone followed him wherever he went. And then that was a toxic relationship. There was, that’s a whole nother podcast. That’s a whole nother story. well, it’s part of your story. Give a summary of it because you were in, you missed your father. Whether it’s conscious or not.
You had not only the absence of a male role model who was godly and strong, but you had men harming you, your brother was older and he was dealing with his own stuff. So it’s NA it’s unnaturally natural for you to follow and be clinging to someone who’s a bad, another abuser of some sort. So this makes sense.
And there’s women and men who are listening to now, Victoria, who totally get it. But if you can talk through it so they can maybe identify what they’re [00:27:00] doing, that’ll be great. And it’ll tie into what’s coming. How to be free from this. I’ve never shared this on an episode before, so this is a first, okay.
This is how messed. I felt or was, you know, in hindsight the boyfriend at the time we had, there was a pause in our relationship or we had like, kind of, it was Rocky. Anyway, he lived a couple, he lived a little bit ways away from me. I came to visit him and then he, during actually it was actually, so this, I had joined the military was that after I’m trying to think now.
Yes, I had joined the military. He had already been in the military. But I went to see him cuz we had broken up or yeah, there was a pause in a relationship and he ended up dating this younger girl, like [00:28:00] much younger girl to him, his age. And then I came to see him and I walk into his apartment and hear this girl is there.
He never told me he knew I was coming. and he told me to come so we could work on our relationship quotations mm-hmm and here he had this young girl there with him and he picked up, like, it’s not like she came with her car. Like he had to go get her and bring her to his place and then knew I was coming.
It’s almost like he set me up and he did set you up. He did. Yeah. And was clearly a set and setting her up in a way too, where she couldn’t just take off. Right. So in his narcissistic way, it was these two girls fighting over him. Right. And I made it like this mission of mine to like win him back. And I did, and I did, and it should have just [00:29:00] ended right then and there, but I had no self-confidence zero self-worth.
Did not even understand what it was I was doing to myself. It was harming myself by tolerating that like, I felt like I deserved that in some way. And so this is what we do when we’re people pleasers. And when we’re seeking something that we can’t find within ourselves, we seek it outside of us. Ultimately I, that relationship did end.
After five years, I found the courage to, after going to hypnotherapy, found the courage to end that relationship. And I’d even, I’d actually given him an ultimatum. I’m like, cuz at this time he was living, he was, he had gone full-time military and I remember calling [00:30:00] him one time and a girl answer. and I know how the barracks and all that stuff works.
They’re not gonna pair with a female. I just, you know, I knew better. I was in the military too. Yeah. And he’s like, oh, she’s on suicide. Watch in your room. Like, come on. You know what I mean? Yeah. And so it was just another manipulation, another, you know, it, it was doomed from the word go. So I ended that relationship and then I lost my mind.
That’s when the drinking really got heavy, I almost lost my license. I should have lost my job. I was a train wreck and I was going downhill pretty fast. And then I had a a friend of mine. He. Been a friend since high school, he [00:31:00] moved to Wishek when I was going into my junior year, came to visit me and, you know, the rest is history because he really showed me what a true gentleman was.
And we had been friends for seven years and that’s all we had been. I had never looked at him as anything other than a friend. And he, he just knew what he wanted and it was a, a relationship with me. And I resisted for quite some time because I didn’t wanna ruin the friendship. And I thought he was too good for me.
So it took me some time to reconcile with that, but it just felt really good to feel good and to be with someone who made me feel good who respected me, who really treated me like a queen and. Yeah. Married. No. Let me ask you, [00:32:00] oh, go ahead. We’ll be married. 19 years in August and we have amen.
Congratulations. Yeah. So let’s really look at that for a second, because you were able to through God’s grace and his love and your husband’s love and your own, you found love for yourself. You were able to break that cycle, which is super difficult to break most people as soon as start things, as soon as things start going good, they self sabotage.
They, they run. So my question was, how old was your father? When, how old were you when your father passed away? Eight. Eight. And was your daddy a man that you felt that security and love from? He was, he was, he’s a man’s man. So that’s where you, you had your base of. This is what a man should be. Mm-hmm . And then did you see [00:33:00] those qualities in your husband?
I saw how he treated his own mother. Yes. And not only that, but he brought me closer. He brought, he is, he was the catalyst for me to become, to have a relationship with God again, because I had written that off mm-hmm and, you know, I was making life decisions with this other man that I had been with. Like, he didn’t want kids, so I didn’t want kids.
Like, I was like, he didn’t go to church. So I didn’t, you know what I mean? Like, I, it was, it wasn’t a healthy relationship for me. And I actually prayed to God. I hadn’t prayed in many, many years. And I prayed that for someone just, I want someone who is good for me. And then there he was . Yeah. And so I really reverted back to that prayer, like, is he, you know, when I was kind of [00:34:00] resisting a relationship and resisting, ruining in my mind, ruining our friendship, he was just like, no, this is, I really, truly want to be with you.
Like, this is why like this, you know? Yeah, he was, he was literally my night and shining armor literally in a lot of ways. So changed that really changed everything for me, but it didn’t cure my grief. Right. It didn’t take away everything that I had. I came in, I take, we take ourselves everywhere we go.
Right. So I brought that grieving trauma into our relationship. And so we had, I mean, there were ups and downs, of course. I became, you know, an entrepreneur, a mother we had three children in four years. Like what, like if [00:35:00] there, there is nothing that he definitely got along. Yeah. Well, and there, the thing is he traveled a lot actually at, at the, you know, for his job.
We deployed actually, so we got married and then I got deployment orders a few months later, he was just coming off of deployment. And so he volunteered to go with, because otherwise we would’ve been newly married and like separated mm-hmm . And so it was some red tape, but he was able to join me on deployment, but then they tried to keep us separate, which was terrible because I, where I was, which was different from where he was.
I got my mail once a week. And I couldn’t, I mean, they had a satellite phone, but you could maybe call out once a week. Like we didn’t get daily phone calls and we didn’t get daily meals, hot, you know, good hot meals like he did. And so I was in, I was in the boondocks and [00:36:00] he was like at camp Snoopy, we called it
And but it really wasn’t working for our marriage, like cuz we were, it took about three months in two, three months in before he could come where I was, but we were in SEP separate platoons then because we knew what each other was doing. We, we were clearing roadside bombs. That was our job in Iraq.
And I was a medic. So I was leaving the wire every day and he was, you know, one of the guys. So he was leaving the wire every day and we knew what each other was doing and we couldn’t talk mm-hmm. So they finally allowed us to be in the same base, but he, we were in different platoons, so we didn’t get a lot of time alone together.
And so we actually I had entered a drawing contest and I won Hey for the talent. Yeah. Well, one of the things for that was we got a trip to Dohan Qatar. And so [00:37:00] we thought, and they said, well, you can take one person. Well, duh, I’m gonna bring my husband. And it just so happened to be around our one year anniversary just before our one year anniversary.
And we had an amazing time. And three months later in a porta potty in Iraq, I found out I was pregnant. Nice. now you didn’t have any kids up to that point? No, we were newly married and it was a happy little accident. Were you not, you know, just see what happens, like how did that? I, I hadn’t, I hadn’t been on anything and I hadn’t been, I hadn’t gotten pregnant.
This was before deployment. Like I went on deployment, not on anything. Gotcha. And so we actually truly thought we were gonna have to see a doctor when we came back from deployment and I was shame surprised [00:38:00] yeah. Yeah. Tell that to your battalion commander. Hey, yeah, by the way. Yeah. So a lot of shame and a lot of guilt, and that has been still one of the hardest things for me to get over.
That’s still something that kind of gets me today. Actually, the talk about it. Now, what do you mean by that? Cuz shame and guilt. You were married. It was your husband. Yeah. Now we can have shame and guilt over. So it’s completely fake. Imaginary. Satan uses lies to torment us. So was this, what, what were you feeling?
Shame and guilt over. Help us understand, because again, what you, we appreciate you going into your pain because it helps lead us out of it. I was shamed. We were shamed as a couple that we allowed that to happen. Gotcha, gotcha. Gotcha. Yeah. And therefore I felt ashamed and I should have known better and [00:39:00] I let my guys down because you’re leaving the wire with these same guys every single day.
Those are your guys as a medic. Those are your guys and they put their life in your hands and we lost three, three men on that deployment. Like it could have happened to anybody. We had IEDs go off on our platoon and. It could have happened to anybody. And so I felt like I did Le Le you know, let my guys down.
But again, I was three months along before I even had a clue. I had no idea. And so my deployment ended early. They got me out of there. But my battalion commander said, you’re gonna go to Fort Carson and you are gonna have that baby there by yourself and have maternity leave. And you are not going home until, until after maternity leave.
Well, little did he know when I got back to Fort Carson, there was nothing he could do. I wasn’t under his thumb [00:40:00] anymore. So it took about another, by the time it was by the time I actually came out and said it. And then by the time I got home, it was about a month later. So just the tra trauma of that. Of being pregnant then mm-hmm and knowing what my husband was doing anyway, my son, his name’s Xavier and Saint nice Saint Xavi, Saint Francis Xavier is the patron Saint of foreign admissions, which I didn’t realize when we named him, but he will be 17 on the 24th, which is my on May 24th, which is my hundredth episode of my podcast group of voices.
So it’s a big day for me. awesome. Congratulations. We will put a link in the show notes. So check. Oh, Victoria’s podcast as well. Great content full circle. Yeah. So now you are back home. Yes. You have a baby. Yes. Bring [00:41:00] us forward with life. I mean, the highs, the lows, anything you feel significant, bring us through today.
So, when did you get reunited with your husband? Did you have more kids? Were there any more and then the most we’re gonna get to is how did you heal at what point were you able to learn to examine yourself and release? And like we discussed, let go, so you could heal. Yeah. So I think, you know, when he came home from deployment and then life just carried on, like we, you know, he had found a really stable job and where that allowed me to be home with the kids.
And then as my, my youngest was, we have three kids now, but when my youngest was six months old I decided to start my own business and in photography. And that was, that was awesome. But as we all know, like being a parent and having a business or just one or the other, or both brings up all your insecurities [00:42:00] and all kinds of ways, and.
I started to see the anger starting to come out as my kids were getting older. In fact, my oldest, my son at three years old, I saw him exhibit anger in a way that frightened me and made me take a step back and ask myself, whoa, where is he getting this from? I had actually, you know, because I had my son, he was three and then I had his sister.
She was 18 months younger than him. And then I had our youngest who was just a baby. She was still in a car seat. So trying to get three kids out, all moms known as dads, trying to get three kids out of the vehicle, into the house. When you got car seats and little ones, he wanna ride his. And I said, you have to wait.
And so I, he wasn’t waiting. He was like insistent and I had to get his [00:43:00] sister and stuff out of the car seat. And so I thought, well, I’ll do what I know to do right now in this moment so that he’s not riding out on the street by himself. I locked his bike in the van. Next thing I know is sister, like a year, like 18 months old.
mommy, mommy, Xavier took a bat and hit the window. And I’m like, what? Yep. Became a Louisville Slugger at age three years old and broke the window on my van. Cuz he was so angry. I locked his bike in the van and wow. Before I actually locked it in the van, I thought I’m gonna put it up on this really, really high shelf.
Well, he started to climb. That’s he did he from, I mean, he was walking at 10 months old and the kid was climbing before he was walking. So I, I knew that would be too dangerous. So that’s why I locked it in the van. Well then yeah, $2,000 later on a new [00:44:00] window I realized, you know, he’s learning it from me because I was a Ragy mom and insecure and overwhelmed.
And it took me another four years, maybe closer even to five before. My, when my youngest started kindergarten, that’s when I realized I’m just, I, I need help. I need to figure myself out, like I’m screwed up. Like, there’s something totally wrong with me. And that’s when my personal development started.
I got a life coach. I, you know, was getting programs, buying programs, reading all the books. But nothing was addressing my grief. And that continued until, you know, I was just kind of plugging along at life and putting on a face and [00:45:00] pretending I was fine. And just trying to figure myself out, taking all the personality quizzes, I could get my hands on thinking if I understood myself better, I would, I would know the answer.
I would find the trick or whatever it was that was keeping me so stuck, not realizing it was the grief. And I even told my husband that I needed a dog. My youngest started kindergarten. I was actually at that time too, I decided to close my photography business, cuz I felt like I was meant for more. I started to started to blog about my journey spirituality and things like that.
And we got a dog and we still have him. He’s eight years old. and he’s amazing. But I wanted to replace that loss because my identity was so wrapped up in my kids and being a mom and also being a photographer. I didn’t know what to do when I lost those things. And you know, that’s one of the myths of grief of grief is replace the loss [00:46:00] and that’s exactly what I was trying to.
I had another loss, actually. My father’s uncle last living sibling. And actually all of his, none of his siblings are even alive anymore. My dad died at 44 and every single sibling of his died. 70 or under, I don’t even think any of ’em made it to age 70. Mm. And his sister just recently passed in the last year or two then the last year.
And she was in her sixties. So yeah, a lot of grief, I think in his life growing up as well, he was a Vietnam veteran too. Slept with a knife under his mattress. So I just think that a lot of what I was carrying wasn’t even maybe necessarily mine, but because I was so empathic, I was just carrying a lot of stuff that, [00:47:00] you know, in my environment really.
But his uncle or his brother, my uncle, I found out he had brain cancer. And I, when my dad passed away, I also lost that entire family because they no longer. Were in touch with us. And I went to see him and it changed everything for me. He still remembered me and we hugged and we had a really, we had six months of to reconnect and to, I think, both of us to find healing in that relationship.
And and then I had another loss, a friend, and that was just a friendship that ended not by my choice, that really crushed me. Brought up a lot of feelings of rejection and things. But I look back at it now and I’m, you know, she just was. [00:48:00] I was trying to take something from her that she just didn’t have to give.
I was what you would say is an energy vampire . Again, looking for someone else to give me what I couldn’t find within myself at the time. And that’s when I decided or figured out I need help with my grief. And I went to Google and I found the grief recovery method and went to get trained and certified and went through the method myself.
And it changed. Everything changed my life and everything I’ve accomplished has been because of that experience. Now that we’ve just heard your story and you got to the point where you went to the grief recovery method for those listening, what would you recommend to them as a starting point in their healing?
[00:49:00] So for the grief recovery method, what are the things you did that you saw personally work in your life? And then you’ve seen in other people you’ve helped and coach, because it’s an action based method. So, you know, talk therapy might work for a lot of people. But it, I, I knew I needed some sort of action.
I didn’t wanna be on someone’s couch for three years. talking week after week. You know, it’s like, it’s not like it’s a, it’s not a quick fix. I mean, you still have to, I mean, in the respect of time, it can feel like it’s a quick fix because you’re, it’s, you know one on one in just grief recovery, seven weeks, once a week for seven weeks.
And people might say, you can’t heal your grief in seven weeks and I’ll say, don’t knock it till he tried it. Because I was 30 plus years a [00:50:00] griever and it helped me, it worked for me. And I’m not saying it would work for everybody, but if you’re open to taking action, what do you have to lose? Yeah. And that’s what I would say.
Oh, a hundred percent. And what are you the, what are the steps of starting? Like what are there something actionable people can take? You really have to, first of all, it’s learning new knowledge, right? So learn all you can about grief itself and a good place to start is the grief recovery handbook. It is the book that is, was written by the grief recovery Institute founder.
He was a Vietnam veteran who has since passed away, but he, his life fell apart after he came back as a Vietnam veteran, as he had a child that [00:51:00] died and he was ready to end his life and just asked himself, what do I wish would’ve been there for me? And that’s where grief recovery Institute and the method came to be over time of him working with people on the side, he was as he was working as a contractor and he was just talking with people and helping them work through the things that he had been experiencing, you know, and as a man to have other men share with you.
And he was learning a lot in that process, but so it’s learning new knowledge. It’s challenging your own beliefs. Because we learn so many of our beliefs in childhood beliefs that are passed down to us that might not even be ours. So by questioning those beliefs, you find your own truth. Looking at your behaviors, the things that, [00:52:00] you know, if you’re drinking, if you are using drugs, if you are shopping, gambling, looking at porn bouncing from relationship to relationship, looking for this type of fulfillment that you can’t find within yourself, just to help you to feel better for a moment.
If you’re using a behavior to feel better, that’s what we call in grief recovery, a stir, a short term energy relief behavior. So it’s recognizing those behaviors that are unhealthy, that are not serving you. And that truly are perpetuating the grief, the guilt, the shame, all of those things that keep you stuck in the pain and taking action then of what you learn, because you can learn, someone can hand you [00:53:00] everything of what to do.
If you don’t apply it, it doesn’t mean anything. Yes. It’s the application of knowledge that changes everything. And that’s what grief recovery is. It’s an, you learn the knowledge and then you apply it and then you have the tools to use for the rest of your life. I’ve applied grief, recovery to alcohol money.
But before that I did my inner child but, and also many relationships. And usually, and most often the relationships that are the most painful for us are the ones of, with the people who are still alive. So it transformed my heart and it transformed my life and opened me up to my own potential because I was then able to connect with who I was rather than the pain.
And so grief recovery is [00:54:00] not about forgetting or condoning or anything like that. It’s really truly about addressing the pain so that you can move forward with the new relationship with that person, if you choose to, or if they’re still in your life. And yeah. Look at it with a different perspective.
Now, when you did this from when you started, how long did it take you before you started? Because you said within seven weeks, it was a major change, but how long did it take to start feeling the relief and getting healing? Cuz a lot of times things get worse before they get better in this program. Is there that natural things get more intense and worse for a short term you can have long term gain or how did that work for you [00:55:00] in the cl with the clients I work with and with the one on one program or even the group?
Yes. That’s kind of what happens like you really get, I mean, we’re addressing grief specifically and even with talk therapy, how often do you address the grief specifically? So it’s very laser focused and we only address one relationship at a time. So it’s, it is really hyper laser focused work, deep work that you’re doing.
So yes, it does get really uncomfortable for you to get to the other side of it. That being said when I went for training, so going for the training, you also go through the process, but it’s like drinking from a fire hose because it’s not seven weeks. It’s actually four days. Mm. And we do have a two day program that is not for everybody, but it literally is like drinking from a fire hose.
I actually got physically [00:56:00] ill the night before, the morning of actually I woke up in the morning and I had it coming out, both ends. It was like, it was stress. It was like a purge before the purge and it was two days of misery emotional, like just of really just like. You know, imagine yourself as a child and everything that’s happening to you is a rock and you just keep adding rocks upon rocks upon rocks to your backpack.
By the time you get to the age of 18 or in your early twenties, you’ve probably experienced a lot of grief in your life and you have a lot of rocks already. And so by the time I had gone through grief recovery, and I was in my thirties, I had had actually, I was 40. I was 40. I’d actually just turned 40.
I had a lot of grief in my backpack. And so the, the person that [00:57:00] went down to Austin, Texas, and the person that came home was completely different. I felt lighter than I had ever had my entire life. It was a phenomenal experience for me emotionally. And again, that’s not for everybody like the four day, two day thing, isn’t for everybody, but that’s why it is in seven weeks broken down.
Now between your birth and this journey we’ve gone on today to today. Is there anything else significant in your life that we missed or skipped that you want to dig into?
I mean, I could add in moves. I could add in Well, just [00:58:00] anything that you feel is significant. Like you skipped the step in your life that really tied into the catalyst for you getting help. You said like, you know, God used your husband and then you had that moment where you saw the anger in your son.
So now we’re at the point of healing. So you get to this grief recovery class, you take a seven week class and you’re being taught to teach it in four days. Like you said, it’s a fire hose. So now I just wanna make sure before we get into the application for our listeners, even more in, on a deeper level, is there anything just about your personal life story that we missed or are we good through today?
Well, you know what happened was my, as a, when my kids were, as they were getting older, but yet not addressing my grief, that’s when alcohol reentered my life and you know, there’s this whole like wine culture. Mom wine culture, you know, where it’s, I mean, there, I I’m sure it makes billions of money and millions in the economy [00:59:00] for, you know, moms and wine, you know, are like the perfect pair.
And so alcohol was a huge thing in my life. I used it as in a lot of ways, similar to when I used it in my early twenties, because I still was not comfortable in my own skin. I still did not feel like I could be my, my whole self or my true self. And yeah, I, I just, I, and I hadn’t addressed the grief yet.
Right. So we can have these moments throughout our life. That, again, this is why grief is cumulative and it’s cumulatively negative because it stacks up. It just keeps on building up and building up until we implode or we explode. Either. And I, my health started to deteriorate. I’m surprised. I wasn’t told I had fibromyalgia.
At 16 I was told I had [01:00:00] irritable bowel syndrome. So many of us are told we have these health conditions that are really manifestations of grief and trauma. And I just, I wasn’t connecting the dots. I didn’t know, and understand energy like I do now actually as an energy healer, an energy worker.
But I look back now with, so with, with clear eyes, right. Because of what I know now, but yeah, I just was seen, I was not who I wanted to be. And I knew I had was not meeting my own potential and I just wanted to be the best parent I could possibly. And I wasn’t there yet. and I knew that grief was really a big part of my picture of my life.
And then you went to this training mm-hmm you had a huge catalyst, you know, for four days, then you come home and what’s your life look at at that [01:01:00] point? What’s the, like, our slogan says exactly what you were saying. Don’t just listen to great content, but do it, repeat it each day. So you can have a great life in this world and an attorney to come.
So any knowledge is no good unless you apply it. So when you came back, what did applying this healing look like? Integration was hard. That’s one thing that I think I wasn’t prepared for is actually integrating then, because I still had the relationship with my mom. Right. But she was still who she was so I had this amazing experience, but yet I was coming home to that same person.
and so it really is an ongoing process and I can con I’ve continued to apply the tools and knowledge that I’ve learned to my relationship with my mother. And the thing is, is she doesn’t even have to know. I know [01:02:00] she’ll never listen to this podcast episode, but even if she did I’m okay with that, actually I wrote a book, she’s read parts of it.
She didn’t like it. Like she wasn’t happy about it. She told me so, and she wasn’t happy that I went to be a grief recovery specialist. She knocked it down and criticized it and , you know, she’s come around since, but I had to change. There was much in, there was so much in me that, you know, I can’t change her.
That’s out of that’s out of my hands. But I can change how I feel about her and I can change how I approach our relationship moving forward. And we all have that power to do that. All of us.
So integrating it wasn’t easy because that was the relationship I had worked on. But as I started to work on more and more [01:03:00] it’s, it’s like peeling back in onion. The more that I work through, the more that I released, the more flow I felt in my life, the more in intuitive I felt. And the more I was able to connect with myself.
And when we were able to connect with ourselves were more able, were better able to connect with others. It’s very much been an ongoing process. It’s not like a one and done type of thing. It’s ongoing. And let’s talk about that. Cuz some people are listening and like, man, I’m very exhausted. I can’t take anymore but I know from personal experience and you know, from personal experience yeah.
You put more effort in short term loss, but then you get long term gain and benefit and peace and joy. And then like you said, peeling back the onion that scares a lot of people listening to it, cuz they don’t want to put the effort in. They don’t wanna face their fears. But the beautiful thing is once you face that fear it’s over, you never [01:04:00] have to look back.
You never have to feel it again. So when Victoria’s telling us that she had to go through this effort and the integration took time, don’t be afraid of it, but expect it and embrace it and know that it’s just part of the healing process. Is that how do you agree Victoria? Or did I miss something? No, absolutely.
You got it. Spot on. Yeah. And I don’t, I don’t think anyone, if someone would’ve said, well, you know, here’s this program, it’s this magical pill you’re gonna go home and your life is gonna be amazing and perfect. I would’ve been like, yeah, baloney. So I’m not gonna tell you that listening. It’s not a magical pill, but it it’s, it’s magical in what, how it transforms you to more of who you really are.
And now we’ve had the privilege to speak with you, Victoria, and we’ve heard your story. People stuck [01:05:00] in grief. People who hear just like, oh, and they want to, but they don’t know how, what’s your advice to them right now. You need to learn new knowledge. It’s just be curious and follow that curiosity and be open.
That’s big part of it too. It’s like be open, like I’ve. Tried that none of that works and this doesn’t work and that doesn’t work well, if you haven’t tried grief recovery, you don’t know it doesn’t work. You know, if what you’ve been doing, hasn’t been why you do the same thing. It’s like, you know, what’s that over Einstein, you know, you do the same thing over and over to different result.
You’re not gonna get it. Yeah. The definition insanity is doing the same thing and expecting different results. Yes. I needed something different and I know not everybody needs something different, but this method worked for me because I [01:06:00] was so much of an internalized. I still am. I’m very much a thinker.
I’m in my head a lot as far as like how I process things and feelings. It’s, I’m, it’s an internal process for me. I know there are external processors. People that were talk therapy would be a good thing for them. So I think it’s really understanding how you work too, as a person, like really what, what resonates with you.
And that’s why we also have group options, you know, and that’s, you know, where we facilitate the program in a group environment where you have, and a thing is too, you have accountability and you can’t. This is where I, what I had to learn the hard way,
thought that I could do it.
And you just, you can’t, you can’t, you can’t heal on an island.
that’s why the artwork on my, on my podcast is me on an [01:07:00] island with a megaphone, because you often feel like you’re just screaming out to the ether and waiting for someone to hear you.
It, you just feel very isolated. So let’s do this. If you are listening to Victoria and you’re hearing things resonate, Victoria, what’s the best way for our audience to get in touch with you or to get in touch with the organization that you became certified in. What are, I’ll put the links in the show notes, but verbally let them know what’s the best way.
Well, the resource first and foremost about grief that I would recommend is the grief recovery handbook. It’s on Amazon and it’s also on audible. That’ll give you a lot of knowledge and information about grief. But again, it’s application of knowledge. So if you’re ready to apply it, or you want to really dig into your grief or you feel like you’re ready for a [01:08:00] change in your life and to transform your life, then you can find me on the unleashed heart.com.
And I have links for my podcast, grieving voices on there, and you can work with me one on one. It’s a 12 week program where I, you work through two relationships in grief recovery. And also I incorporate another program called UMAP because after we’ve addressed the grief, we often feel like, well, now what, you know, we’ve gotten a rid of all of this baggage and now we feel more ready to pursue something, or we’re ready to embark on a dream.
Saying, well, how do I do that? Where do I, how do I make those decisions? Cuz your UMAP is really, truly your guide forward. And so that’s why I include both programs together in my program, do grief differently. And also I’m on Instagram at the unleashed heart, [01:09:00] but the website, if you wanna learn more about the Institute itself is the grief recovery method.com.
Okay. The grief recovery method.com. We’ll put a link to that in the show notes. So if you’re listened to this on apple, if you’re listening to this in Stitcher, Spotify, Google podcast, YouTube, just check out the show notes and you’ll see the link. And if not, let me know. It means we forgot to add it. But well, and I wanna mention too, if it’s important to you that I.
Are a lot of licensed therapists and social workers and things that actually go through the grief recovery method because their training does not teach them grief. so their, the, the grief recovery method and can walk you through that process but also take insurance. And so there’s a search feature for your state.
You can find a therapist that will offer that program. To you through that. Yeah, absolutely. And there’s, if you don’t know this, [01:10:00] if you’re listening, we have a community that’s all over the world. So this doesn’t apply to many countries within America, though. And many countries there’s health insurance, and a lot of times they don’t advertise it, but the health insurance has a mental health component.
Some people are like me though, and I don’t have health insurance because it didn’t make sense. So I use a co-op and the co-op is amazing for medical issues, but it wouldn’t cover any mental health issues. So you’d have to pay outta your pocket. Trade services with someone who you don’t want to pay anybody or trade, even if it’s free, if they’re not qualified and they don’t have results with real people, you don’t want to go with them.
Cuz a counselor can make things a lot worse or they can make things a lot better. And you wanna make sure you get someone who has results of helping, not just making people feel better and leading them into a ditch, but going back [01:11:00] there are organizations out there who will help you. If you don’t have the funds to pay for mental health and you don’t have insurance, do some Google research.
There’s a lot of people out there who will support you to help you get what you need. So just, I just wanna throw that in because a lot of times people who need help don’t have the money to get it. And then when you do get the money, they piss it away with people who are actually scumbag or unqualified.
I mean, and that’s that’s blunt. Just like anything. What do you call a doctor that graduates first in his class? Doctor, what do you call a doctor that graduates last in his class doctor? Same thing with attorneys, counselors, everything, just cuz they went to college for it doesn’t mean they’re good at it.
So find someone like Victoria who’s experienced it is successful at it is good at it and has a history of teaching others cuz that’s important. And that’s where I was going with that, Victoria. So thank you for your patience. Now if they want to get ahold of you, if they [01:12:00] want to get the handbook, those links are in the show notes and you’ve been super kind and patient with us and sharing your story.
So transparently, thank you. Where are you today and where are you heading? So now that you’ve helped us, how can we help you get there? Well, I would love to be a guest on more podcast so I can share my message of grief, which I, I really want people to be able to talk about grief. Like we talk about the weather.
I want it to become second nature for us. And I want it, I want
of the words we don’t have. We don’t know how to communicate about grief. And so through my guests and through my podcast, that’s a lot of why I, I bring on the guests that I do. Cause I wanna show people that grief isn’t just about death. No one has to die necessarily for you to be grieving. There’s more than 40 plus losses.[01:13:00]
And I guarantee you, if you have parents divorced, if you moved, if you lost your dog, if you, I mean, and the ripples of loss, right? Like you can, during the pandemic, many people lost a lot of things, jobs, and then you have to move and then you lose your neighbors and there’s, there’s always a ripple effect to grief and loss.
So yeah, just. If you have a podcast and you’re looking for a grief expert I would love to share more about grief on, on your podcast. If you are liking what you hear, you can join my newsletter. I have a biweekly newsletter called the unleashed letters and that’s on my website. I also have a free energy quiz.
You can learn about your energy type and how to nurture it. Yeah, just come into my circle. Join, join my, I don’t wanna say [01:14:00] tribe. I don’t like that word, but yeah, just come in my inner circle and help me spread the word. right. Yeah, no, that’s excellent. And I mean, you were living what you’re teaching and that’s important.
So between your birth and today, Victoria, is there anything we missed about your life before we wrap up this remarkable episode?
It’s felt like three lifetimes but I know, but I know I’m not the only one who feels that way. You know, it, it really, this is why grief is so upending. It, it just really steals so much from us. And it really is up to us as an, as an individual to decide, decide that we’re going to transmute that grief into something positive.
Amen. I love it. So if you need to [01:15:00] reach out and get help, check out Victoria’s website, contact her, get the grief recovery handbook. If I can help you in any way, please, we love. Contact me. Let me see if we can help or at least connect you with someone who can in your area. But other than that, Victoria, thank you so much for being on the remarkably people podcast today.
We really appreciate you. You truly are a remarkable woman. I am excited to hear your journey to this point, and I’m looking forward to continuing the friendship and sharing where you’re at a year from now. So thank you for being here today. Thank you for having me. Oh, anytime enjoyed it. Oh, thank you. And we did too.
So for you, our listener share this with the people you love, maybe even share the people you don’t love who need it so you can love them. Right? Cause because hurting people hurt. So let’s help people heal. Let’s spread the message. Let’s grow together. And like our slogan says, don’t [01:16:00] just listen to great content.
But do it, repeat it so you can have a great life in this world, an attorney to come. So I’m David Pasco alone. This was Victoria Vogue. We love you. And we’ll see you in the next podcast episode C.
the remarkable people podcast, check it out.
The remarkable people podcast. Listen, do repeat for life.