I am going to preface this statement by saying that I do not owe anyone an explanation for my past. Every single human on planet Earth has things they are not proud of. The first person who wants to cry sinless, go ahead and pick up a stone.
That said, I am going to explain my past in a way that hopefully puts all the Internet articles in context. And if you’re wondering why I’m explaining all this personal stuff that happened 11 years ago… it’s because people are using it against me, and I would like to put the issue to rest… permanently.
My childhood was good growing up, albeit complicated. I had a ghost of a biological father in the distance. I knew I had a “real” dad but didn’t know him, didn’t have a photo, didn’t know where he lived, if he had other children, nothing.
This deeply impacted me as a little girl.
As an adult, when I finally connected with him in a meaningful way, I was unprepared for the emotions of adoptive reunions. I also had no idea what a narcissist was (it wasn’t trendy then).
I am not interested in reliving the trauma for internet trolls and bullies who are dumpster diving for information to prove I’m unfit as a business owner.
But we’ll leave it at this: This man psychologically and sexually abused me for 9 months. And now I have all kinds of words to describe what happened.
- I trauma bonded (not in the cute IG reel sense, in the dark – I want to end my life kind of way).
- I developed some sort of Stockholm syndrome.
- I had a fawn response.
Anyone who studies these kinds of situations understand the nuance of how an adult woman could convince herself she wanted her father to sexually abuse her and call it love.
In 2011, I did what I do to try to survive it. I coped. I adapted. I researched. I tried to find any reason I could to explain why my father had done this. I wanted so desperately to know that he wasn’t a monster. I didn’t want to lose him again after just finding him.
And I began to write. I wrote and wrote and wrote and wrote. And because of that, I gathered attention. Attention of the media. ABC News, Dr. Drew, adoption experts all over the world. I had camera crews at my house. I wrote a book. Sold thousands of copies. Traveled to other countries to speak about it.
All of it based on this idea of genetic sexual attraction. The idea is that in a healthy family system, the Westermarck effect keeps parents and children and siblings from being attracted to their kin. When two people are blood relatives and grow up without each other and then reconnect, that bond can become intense, confusing, and sexualized. Without the Westermarck effect, people can get themselves in difficult and compromising situations.
I wanted this to be the answer. My father wanted it to be the answer. That way he wasn’t a vicious predator. And I wasn’t a victim. If I had to admit that what he was doing was abuse, I would have to cut him out of my life forever.
For all of 2011 and 2012, I had my father in my ear, and this trauma bond response convincing myself and everyone that this was just an adoptive reunion gone awry. Anything you read or see from that time, please understand that is the context and backdrop.
In 2013, I finally cut him out of my life forever. And I found this book called The Kiss by Kathryn Harrison. And I reached out to her to ask if she thought Genetic Sexual Attraction was the issue. She was very nice, and told me that I had been the victim of some very dark abuse, and eventually… I would realize this.
Sure enough, she was right.
Today, my understanding of what happened is very different than what I thought back in the middle of the crisis, with a father in my ear suggesting what I had to say in order to keep us together.
So why am I telling you all this? Because some people have found my interviews and articles from 2011, in the heat of the crisis (again with my father in my ear), and they are using these videos and articles to prove that I am … I don’t know what exactly. Crazy? Psychotic? A liar?
Much of what I said in those pieces I do not believe now. But when your father is waiting on the other side of an interview and you don’t want him to threaten suicide or some other psychological punishment, you do what you have to do.
Now these things are being used against me.
The funny thing is… I’ve spoken publicly about my father in several places. On stage at events, in my podcast, and in writing. I’ve never hidden the fact that this happened.
I am deeply hurt that people are using my personal past with my father to somehow convince others I’m not fit as a business woman.
As you can imagine, this event in my life has colored everything.
It is one of the primary reasons my first marriage dissolved in 2014.
It is one of the primary reasons I chose a second relationship that wasn’t good for me.
It continues to be something I fight and contend with in a disorganized attachment style has me craving safety and yet at the same time, fearing truly being known, afraid of being left or told I’m not worth the work.
After all, when a father isn’t interested in you as a small helpless child, but heavily interested as an adult female… that messes with your sense of self-worth.
I’ve done more therapy than most people do in a lifetime. I consider myself a fast learner, and try to internalize what I learn quickly. I am self-aware and non-judgmental and just generally — a good person with a complicated relationship past.
My sister Nicole shared with me the other day the concept of the four burners. Every person has four burners – Health, Family, Work, and Friends. For many successful people, you’ll find one burner is off. For those who are INCREDIBLY successful, you might find even two burners off. The concept of being amazing at it all is one that is perpetuated everywhere because we all want it to be true. And maybe for a season it is.
I know for me, my family burner has struggled. Specifically the “love life” portion of family, though I know my kids probably carry scars of all of this as well.
I’m not sure exactly what people are trying to prove by drudging up my past. I’m not perfect, never have been, never will be.
I have struggled with love relationships. This is why I’m not going to be a marriage counselor or therapist. I don’t know what it has to do with anything I teach or train in marketing, money, productivity, or business.
And I will say this: If we’re going to crucify people for their issues, problems, addictions, and traumas… then every single one of us should fucking exit stage left right now.
- I am not a guru.
- I am not anyone’s messiah.
- I am not infallible.
If you are uncomfortable working with me because of this, please just leave me the hell alone. I will not be blackmailed, threatened, or held hostage for being a messy human who does the best she can at any given moment.
My past is no one’s business.
My present is no one’s business either.
I will probably struggle with this event for the rest of my life. Like anyone with any kind of scar, it’s just a thing they must deal with.
None of this has ANY bearing on anyone I work with whatsoever. The only person that needs to know any of it… is the one I am with in a love relationship with.
I really debated whether to even say anything. But I thought… on the off chance that me standing up and sharing what has happened to me gives someone else a feeling of relief that they don’t have to hide their skeletons.
Also… warning label to anyone who thinks vague-booking about someone else is a good idea. It is not. It causes people with mal-intent to simply dig and dig until they find something they can use as a weapon.
I am quite angry if I’m honest. Mainly because I don’t know why I continue to run with a target on my back when I am largely staying in my lane. But underneath that anger, is just sadness.
- I wish people would have grace for each other.
- I wish people would just ask me directly instead of spreading hate and misinformation.
- I wish people would stop over dramatizing certain types of trauma vs. others.
I have another 40 years left on this Earth (God willing). I promise you. You will find more dirt because I’m going to continue to be an imperfect messy human just trying to find love, do her best, and live to her potential.