This story was born through the overwhelming sadness that I faced with the abrupt loss of a career that I believed was my primary life’s purpose. With this loss came feelings of desperation and despair as I experienced total and complete isolation, shame and humiliation.

Much of this trauma I had suppressed for many years. My story re-emerged through therapy, meditation and personal desire for self-preservation. Each chapter reflects upon the bizarre dysfunction that I knew was abnormal, yet I concealed behind a facade created to preserve my self-esteem. I desperately desired to fit in, to be “normal.

”My daily life was a staged act. I presented myself wearing a mask of “normal,” knowing that my personal life was wrought with dysfunction and chaos. As my career abruptly ended, I faced silence and despair. It was my personal desire to face my abusers. I searched deep within myself to find the strength and determination required to overcome sexual harassment, bullying and mistreatment. Within my loneliness, this story emerged, with its theme of repeated emotional trauma and my personal healing.

I shattered my elbow during a hasty retreat from the sexual advances of a physician I worked with. This sudden and surreal injury changed my ability to perform my profession, my life’s work, and had profound effects on my emotional and spiritual self. It was in that instant that my life dramatically changed as my physical body shouted, “Enough!” and forever altered the trajectory of my perceived life’s purpose.

With this tragedy, I was taught through intuition and higher knowing how to protect myself in the future and to never be a victim again.

Many people are born into families that mentor them and provide them the life skills to protect themselves when they reach adulthood. I was never taught such skills. I was never mentored or trained how to defend myself from predators. The unfortunate result was a lifetime of poor choices, poor relationships and mistakes.

But we walk life’s journey with many lessons along the way. For me, the lessons may be more dramatic than some and less dramatic than others, but they are my lessons. As I embraced faith and sought higher knowing, I overcame profound pain and birthed self-awareness. For these lessons, I am grateful.

It is through these lessons that I am. I am a daughter. I am a mother. I am a wife. I am a sister. I am a woman. I am a nurse. Never again will I allow another person to take any part of me.

I’ve written this book to share my story with others who seek answers on dark and pain-filled days. I offer you encouragement and healing strength.

Dysfunction, abuse and manipulation are not normal everyday behaviors. A healthy lifestyle comes first through recognizing unhealthy behaviors and then laying the groundwork for positive change. Positive change will vary from person to person dependent on individual circumstances. Lifestyle change that involves healthy choices must eliminate dysfunctional patterns that include manipulation and abusive behavior.

It was through my self-searching that I exposed my many deficiencies and recognized how they repeated periodically over my young adulthood.

The metaphoric breaking point was my shattered elbow that led to a diagnosis of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder. Intensive therapy, spiritual guidance and a loving spousal relationship have helped me transcend a lifetime of abuse. Meditation and prayer have heightened my intuitive knowing and my ability to communicate with the spirit realm.

It is said that as one door closes another will open when the time is right. For me, the door closed with a fury that shook my very soul. I experienced shame, humiliation and criticism as I searched for meaning behind the closing of that door. It wasn’t until I learned the steps to forgiveness and devised The Forgiveness Factor that I was finally able to let go of control to a higher power and door after door began to open again.

I hope my story will open doors for you, too.

As you read, you will understand why I was forced to write the story of my journey under a pseudonym. It won’t be a spoiler when I tell you that like many things in my life, the legal system failed me, seemingly precluding me from writing about my experiences without fear of legal retribution.

I assure you that every word in this book is true. Some details have been changed to protect me, the innocent.