Can you heal from abuse? What do I do after leaving my narcissist? What does a healthy relationship look like? These concerns cross the minds of over 20 people every minute; over 28,800 people every day. And the sad fact is, we still don’t talk about it enough. Healing from Emotional Abuse isn’t a bandaid situation. But it doesn’t have to take years either. Millions of other survivors around the worlds entire lives have been impacted by their narcissist. Yours doesn’t have to. To show you how to live a free, confident and peaceful life, your host and Founder of the Healing From Emotional Abuse Philosophy, Marissa F. Cohen.
Marissa: Welcome back to Healing From Emotional Abuse. Today we’re going to talk about this really cool program that I’m very, very interested in learning about, called the Butterfly Effect. It is run by a friend of mine named Makayla McNeil. She’s the founder and director of the butterfly effect. She’s a domestic violence survivor, who uses her testimony and experience to help others. She also runs her own domestic violence project called Speak Out Convo’s you can find the links to the Anchor.com google.com and radio Republic links in the description. Welcome, Makayla. We’re so excited to have you today.
Makayla: Thank you so much. I’m excited to be here.
Marissa: Awesome. So, let’s get started. You said that you have experienced domestic violence. Is that something that you’re comfortable talking about with us?
Makayla: Yes, definitely. I’ve been in multiple domestic violence relationships. The first one started when I was 17. I feel like from a young age, I tried to seek validation in men, due to family trauma and certain things that I experienced in my childhood. At 17 I met a man who was very charismatic, very charming, swept me off my feet fairly quickly. In the beginning of our relationship, it was a lot of verbal abuse being called fat, ugly; told I would never be anything. And I feel like I kind of convinced myself like “well, it’s not that bad. It’s not physical.” His drinking started to pick up and it was a Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde personality. I never knew what person I was going to get. He started kicking me hitting me punching me, biting me, spitting on me. I think the worst time that he had put his hands on me was when he choked me to the point of unconsciousness. And when I came to my senses, the paramedics were over me the neighbors had called the police. He had left at that point. The neighbors had called the paramedics and I was hospitalized for about a week. And due to there being no room in the domestic violence shelters, I was released to the streets, homeless with the clothes on my back that I left with. Sleeping on park benches in the middle of winter. Not knowing when I was going to eat; not knowing when I was going to shower. And years later, that kind of inspired me to create the Butterfly Effect project. Because it made me think about how many other men and women are going through what I’ve gone through or worse. And so that’s the reason why I started the Butterfly Effect. The Butterfly Effect, I offer educational information on narcissistic behavior, mental health and how it’s associated with domestic violence. I also talk a lot about healthy boundaries, healthy relationships and what intimate partner relationship is supposed to look like. I offer peer-to-peer support, I guide people to resources in their community. The Butterfly Effect originally started out with just a Facebook page of me telling my story. And honestly, I didn’t think anybody was going to look at it. I’ve only been doing it for a little less than a year and I have 15,000 followers. I’ve done YouTube radio interviews; I’ve done a lot of speaking engagements talking about domestic violence and what healthy relationships look like. And my goal is to get my 501(C) and turn it into a non-profit organization. But I do help men and women all over the world all over the United States. Even though I am located in Iowa, I help people all over with whatever they need. If they need somebody to advocate for them through the court process, if they just need an ear somebody to talk to. Because a lot of times with domestic violence, we feel alone, we feel isolated. We feel like you know, there’s no one we could really talk to, you know, there’s a lot of judgment, a lot of victim blaming. When it comes to domestic violence in it, it makes it hard for people to want to speak up and speak out. So, I try to make my platform just open, loving, caring place so people know that they’re not alone. And there are people that care and there are a lot of people who have experienced domestic violence and you’re not alone in this situation even though you feel that you might be.
Marissa: That’s amazing. Well, thank you for sharing your story with us. And I’m so excited that you’re doing such amazing work and if you need help getting your 501(c)3 let me know. I could send you my paperwork. So tell us, What did you do throughout your healing process to help you become so strong?
Makayla: That’s a really good question. Definitely did therapy, whether you choose to do therapy or not, it’s very important to build a support network and find people you could talk to. I love to write poetry. I love journaling. I’m not going to lie, there was a period where I was heavily drinking. And I like to, you know, tell people, you know, drinking, smoking weed, unfortunately, it is legal in some states. But you know, that’s not always the answer, you know? As hard as it is, we have to find those positive coping skills. Because although drinking is fun, if you’re doing it for the wrong reasons, it is self harm. So, I think for my healing, I did a lot of talking about it talking about it helps. I always like to give people this analogy We’re like a Pepsi bottle. If you shake the Pepsi bottle up and take off the cap, what happens? It explodes. So, us as humans were the same way. If we leave all that stuff inside, and we’re not talking about it, we’re not getting it out. You know, we’re going to explode, we’re going to blow up. And that’s what I was doing for the longest. Just having these moments where I was just exploding. And like, oh, my goodness, you know, what’s wrong with me? Why am I doing this, but it was because I was keeping all that anger and that hurt and that resentment in. I tell people, a lot of times when we’re leaving our abusers, it’s kind of like a grieving process, like we’re grieving somebody who died. Because at one point or another, there was something that made us fall in love with that individual. In order to heal, you have to grieve and go through those emotions of losing that relationship. So, it was very difficult for me, I do suffer from depression, post traumatic stress, really bad anxiety because of my domestic violence situation. And I talk a lot on my Butterfly Effect about mental health and how it’s associated with domestic violence. Because those situations of PTSD and depression are very pertinent when talking about domestic violence. I also have been in courtrooms with domestic violence victims and even going through the court process is hard. Like, a lot of people think, well, I’m going to leave my abuser in the works over. No, really the works just beginning because you have to fight the court system. I had to fight, to go back to that house to get my belongings back. It was very hard, because as I was living on the street, not having a place to live, he was texting me like, “Hey, you can come back here,” because he had bonded itself out of jail. I wanted to just to have a roof over my head. But I knew that if I went back that one time might be the last time that I couldn’t come back from. And I knew that if I went back, you know what I’m saying, he probably more than likely was going to kill me. And that’s why I do what I do. I speak out because there’s a lot of people who’ve lost their lives at the hands of their perpetrator. There’s a lot of people right now, who could be listening to this that don’t feel like they have a voice to speak up and get out. I feel like we need to have more resources in our communities, more programs, more funding put into place for domestic violence, because not only did I have to fight my perpetrator, I felt like I was fighting the system as well. I felt disposable to the world. It was very degrading, not having a place to go, especially after being physically hurt. And I work a lot with legislators and lawmakers, I feel that we need to have a victims Protection Program put into place in every state. I feel that the perpetrators need to wear ankle bracelets, because a lot of time they go to jail, they get out and they go right back and end up murdering, or severely hurting the domestic violence victim. So, these are some things that I want to do. And I’m trying to be an active person in the community to get some of these things established and get some more laws put into place to protect domestic violence victims and survivors. I know I went a long way with that with your one question.
Marissa: No, it’s good.
Makayla: That’s what I did to heal. Talking about it, it would probably be the main thing. And there’s no time limit on healing. I get a lot of questions through my butterfly effect about me and it’s been five years, I’m still having these figures, I’m still going through this, I’m still dealing with that. So, I like to tell people you know, healing is a messy process. Some days are going to be good. Some days are going to be bad. You have to be patient and kind and gentle with yourself. During my domestic violence situation. My self esteem was broken down because I was constantly called names. And I started to believe the things that he was telling me. So, once we leave our domestic violence situation, we regain that sense of stability. We have our sense of worth again, for some people, it takes them off. For some people, it takes 10 years. For some people, it takes a lifetime for them to recover from it. And that’s okay. And those are the things I like to tell people through my Butterfly Effect. I also have my own podcast, it’s called Speak Out Convo’s, it’s on anchor.com google.com and radio Republic. What it is that sometimes I get on there, and I give positive, encouraging motivational speeches. Other times I interview other people who have their own domestic violence organizations, I’ve interviewed paralegals, and got their aspect on domestic violence. I’ve interviewed authors, who wrote books about domestic violence. So, for anyone interested who might be to be on my podcast, please feel free to reach out to me through the Butterfly Effect, my link will be posted on the video, feel free to reach out to me whether you’re a survivor, or you just want to tell your story. If you’re an attorney, a police officer, anyone who wants to give their input on domestic violence or how it directly has affected them or their mental health. I love hearing from new people. I feel like each one of our stories is the key to somebody else’s Survival Guide. And everybody’s story is other people’s strength to want to speak up and speak out. So that’s a little bit about my podcast and some of the things that I do.
Marissa: That’s amazing. And I couldn’t agree more that the more people speak out, the more we inspire other people who are still silenced, to speak out and to find their own strength. So, thank you for doing that. And for doing everything you’re doing. I’d love to come on your podcast, if you’ll have me, I’ve done all of that.
I speak out about my stories. I’m an author. I have programs and courses for confidence building,
but we’ll talk about that another time. So, you pretty much covered it but is there any additional advice that you’d give to survivors to help them on their healing journey?
Makayla: The most important thing is Be patient and kind and gentle with yourself. Sometimes we can be our own worst critics. And we’re very hard on ourselves. We ask ourselves, what could we have done better so that this didn’t happen? But we can’t blame ourselves. We have to know that No matter what we said, no matter what we did, nobody deserves any type of violence. And please speak out, build your support network, find people that you can talk to. Find positive coping skills, whether it’s journaling, taking a walk, listening to your favorite music, taking a bubble bath, five things and make yourself feel good. And know that you’re not alone. Anybody that’s listening, you could reach out to me day or night, my Butterfly Effect is very safe, a safe haven. We don’t allow any negativity on the page. So, you’re safe. And just know that you’re not alone. And you will get through this there is life after abuse. I know sometimes it doesn’t seem that way. When we’re going through our difficult situations, it’s hard to see the greater good, and see that there is a life beyond that. There definitely is. And thank you so much for having me on here today. And given me an opportunity to speak about the Butterfly Effect and what I do. It definitely means a lot to me.
Marissa: Of course, I’m so happy to have you. And thank you for doing all the fantastic work you’re doing with and for survivors and champions of abuse. I am so grateful that there are people like you out there that are helping to inspire and empower people. You know, we need more people like that in our community to help boost us up because truly we have the numbers. There are more survivors and there are more champions than there are narcissists. And when we band together and collectively help each other heal, we can and will eventually change the world.
If you enjoyed this podcast, you have to check out www.MarissaFayeCohen.com/Private-Coaching. Marissa would love to develop a made-for-you healing plan to heal from emotional abuse. She does all the work, and you just show up. Stop feeling stuck, alone, and hurt, and live a free, confident, and peaceful life. Don’t forget to subscribe to the Healing From Emotional Abuse podcast, and follow us on Facebook at www.facebook.com/marissafcohen, and instagram @Marissa.Faye.Cohen. We’d love to see you there!