Healing From Emotional Abuse: Women’s Health and Wellness: with September Burton

Healing From Emotional Abuse: Women’s Health and Wellness: with September Burton
Photo by Jared Rice on Unsplash

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. The lives of millions of other survivors around the worlds 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 have an awesome special guest September Burton. She is a fertility expert and abuse survivor. September is a champion for women survivors of domestic violence and narcissism. After years of emotional abuse, verbal abuse,  physical abuse, and abuse of power, she’s finally managed to break free. September started her career as a US Navy personal chef to four-star admirals stationed in Sicily, Italy. She has since shared her expertise and passion for nutrition as a recurring guest on KCMJj 93.9 radio show, Happy News Now, and developed a six-week eating for fertility nutrition plan for prospective parents. That’s awesome. She’s the founder and CEO of 4 Months to Fertile, working with couples and mothers struggling with primary or secondary infertility, and is the organizer of the first ever Colorado fertility conference. September is passionate about living a life of purpose, sharing her knowledge on the healing power of food, and freeing women from the debilitating shame and guilt that often accompanies domestic violence and narcissism. “There’s a magic that happens when women heal together. For every woman who speaks she empowers 1000s of other women stand with me speak with me heal with me.” —September.

Welcome on the show. I’m so excited to have you.

September: Thank you so much for having me, Marissa, I’m really, I’m super excited to be here. So, thank you.

Marissa: Of course, I just have to say in the last year, I want to say I’ve had so many women who have experienced sexual assault and domestic violence reach out to me about infertility issues and miscarriages. And I never really related the two things. So, I’m excited to hear more about that. But if you wouldn’t mind, would you first tell us your story?

September: Um, yeah, of course. So, my story is, I’m learning more and more. The more I speak out, and the more I, you know, I’m on Twitter and Facebook and all of the social media platforms talking to other survivors, the more I’m realizing that my story is not that unique. It’s a story of a narcissistic abuser, who literally just has no moral compass whatsoever. And is willing to do absolutely anything to destroy me. So, we met and started dating and like, the first six months together, were just phenomenal. But looking, but knowing what I know, now, you know, the red flags were definitely there. You know, there was the love bombing. And there were all kinds of grooming going on that I had no idea of.  I didn’t know any of this, you know, when it was happening. And so, after the first six months, I actually broke up with him six months into the relationship. And the reason that I think that’s so important is because I had been divorced previously. So, this was kind of my second, you know, real marital-type relationship. And so, I had after that divorce, I had adopted a lot of self care techniques. When the first husband who was also in the army, when we split up, I was pregnant, and I was very early in a pregnancy with my fourth child. And so, I didn’t really have much of a social life. I definitely wasn’t dating because I was going through pregnancy. And then I was taking care of a newborn and things like that. And she stayed with me 100% of the time for the first nine months. So, I didn’t have much of a social life. So, what I did was I really went inside and started healing myself and started taking care of myself and really, you know, studying. Using nutrition to heal my emotions, which that’s huge. You can use food to heal your emotions, and but also like learning things like meditation, and a lot of self care techniques. I did a lot of studying my ancestors. I’ve got American Indian in me. And so, I did a lot of studying about the culture and the history, and where I come from. Things like that. And so, I really grew as a person during that time period. And so, after that, for six months, when I broke up with him, we were separated, I think it was about a three-week period that we were not together. And during that three weeks, I gave it all up, and then went back to him. And so, I think that something in me intuitively knew that I couldn’t be with him and take care of me. So, I gave up all of my self care practices, and went back to him. And then we were together for another four and a half years after that. And it was just, you know, horrific abuse throughout the rest of the duration of the relationship.

Marissa: That’s really insightful. Like that’s really self aware that I mean, even looking back now to be able to say, oh my god, I knew in my gut, in my soul that like I couldn’t take care of myself with him, wow. Can you expand on that a little bit?

September: Well, I, I don’t know how much I can say about it because it was more like you said, just an intuitive knowing. And I definitely was not aware of it at all at the time. It wasn’t something that I really figured out until after the separation and actually, fairly recently to be completely honest. And the reason that I figured it out is I’ve been using a lot of poetry to heal my soul. That’s one of my, you know, healing mechanisms right now — both writing poems and reading a lot of feminist poetry and things like that. And so, I wrote a poem one day, and it was about the meditation. And I went back to meditating a few months before he left the family home. I knew I was not okay, I lost my shit. Because you know, you do go crazy when you’re with a narcissist, they that’s part of their, you know, abuse tactic is to make you feel like you’re completely insane. And so, I knew that, like, I wasn’t crazy, but I thought I was crazy. If that makes any sense, whatsoever. So, I had to get back to doing something that would make me feel like me again. And so, I started meditating again, and I made it a priority again. And so, you know, at least once, sometimes twice a day, I would do like a 20-minute-long meditation. And he pretended to meditate with me some days. He would sit down, and while he would lay down on the bed, and, you know, be there with me, I guess, physically while I was doing meditation. But that with the poem that I wrote, says, you know, the meditation made him out, the meditation made him angry, the meditation made me cry. But it wasn’t the meditation, it was that the meditation was waking me up to what was actually going on. And so, it was I needed, like to get my head clear, and to get my head straight again. And it took many, many, I mean, I’m a year and a half out of that relationship now, and I’m still, you know, getting my head straight again. So, it’s not like I’m done at this point. But I definitely used the meditation as it woke me up. It helped me to see what was really going on. So, I can’t really answer your question. I wouldn’t have known at the time, when I did that. I had no idea what I was doing.

Marissa: That’s totally fair. And that was probably an unfair question to me to ask, I was just so intrigued by it. So, let’s talk about healing with food. Statistically, a lot of people who experience sexual assault or domestic violence, narcissism or both develop an unhealthy relationship with food as a coping mechanism. And it there’s a lot of underlying reasons for it. One is comfort. Two is changing your appearance to become less attractive, unconsciously. I mean, there’s just so many reasons. So, can you talk about how you had a healthy relationship with food after abuse?

September: Yeah, well, you’re absolutely right, people definitely use food to make themselves less attractive, so that it’s less likely to happen again. There’s the comfort aspect of food. I mean, the energetics of food is a fascinating topic that I really, really love to dive into. And just a couple of little things, like, when you look at lettuce, any sort of green lettuce, it grows upwards, right? And so, it’s growing up like it’s going towards the sky. So, if you eat more of those green foods, your spirits are going to be lifted up, and you’re going to be just a little bit happier. And it’s very subtle differences at first, but you know, cumulated, over time, it actually becomes a huge difference. And it just, it changes your whole world. So, there’s things like that, that you can use. One of the more powerful things that I like to do though, when people are getting started is to use something called amino acid therapy. And amino acids, what I mean by that is things like tryptophan and tyrosine, and things like that. And the reason that those are so powerful is because they’re the precursors for all of your neurotransmitters. So, your serotonin, your dopamine. You know, your feel-good hormones, or neurotransmitters, right, the things that put you in a good mood. And when you’ve experienced trauma, and you know, like, I have a diagnosis of C- PTSD from all the years of abuse. And so, when you’ve experienced that kind of trauma, and you’ve developed like that PTSD, your brain just simply doesn’t fire in the same way that it did before. And so, I use these amino acids, basically, to help boost your mood quickly, easily, in a way where you don’t have to use a lot of willpower, because a lot of times changing your diet, you know, there’s a lot of willpower involved. And there’s just so many emotions. So, if you lift your emotions at first, then it becomes easier to focus on the diet and to eat the things that are actually going to be healthier for you.

Marissa: I’ve never looked at it that way. I’ve always looked at dieting is okay, so I either can’t eat stuff, or I have to restrict the amount that I eat. But I’ve never thought of that. So that’s really smart. Do you per-chance have like a short list of foods with high amino acids?

September: So, when I’m doing amino acid therapy with somebody, I use supplements. Just because it’s easy to pop a pill. And we live in a pill popping society where that’s it’s easy. And so, if that’s going to boost your mood, let’s pop the pills for a little while. And it works very quickly, within a day usually start to feel a little bit lighter, a little bit better, you know, you’re walking a little bit better and things like that. But as far as the foods that have those amino acids in them, a lot of proteins. You know, your meats have been high in those amino acids. But you need to be able to break down the protein properly once you eat it. So, this, this is kind of going to go down a whole different rabbit hole if we go this way. But you need to be able to break down the protein properly, and a lot of our digestive systems are off. And so, we’re not actually properly breaking down those proteins in order to get those free-floating amino acids out of those proteins. So, there’s, there’s a whole system and a whole program that you kind of have to get into. But that’s why I start with the pills. I say just go buy the supplements, they’re cheap, they’re easy to take, and they’ll shoot really quickly. And then we can have a more rational conversation and start moving in the direction of a healthier diet.

Marissa: That makes sense. Okay, so now let’s kind of shift over to domestic violence and fertility, have you in your work seen any sort of connect between domestic violence and fertility issues.

September: So basically, what we’re figuring out more and more, I don’t know how much research there is, or scientific data there is to back this up yet. But from anecdotal evidence that’s coming out, A lot of women who are in these types of relationships end up developing an autoimmune disease. An autoimmune disease basically means that your, your immune system has kind of turned on your body and is attacking itself. And it can do it in so many different ways. That that’s what Fibromyalgia is, that’s what Hasimoto’s is. That’s what MS is. There’s so many different things, different ways that it can manifest. But an autoimmune disease just means that your immune system has turned on your body and is now attacking your body. Like I said, a lot of women who are in these abusive relationships, they really develop these autoimmune diseases. And autoimmune diseases are huge, with infertility, because they affect your hormones. Your immune system is critically important in your ability to get pregnant, you have to have a very strong immune system in order to be able to carry a baby. So yes, there is definitely a correlation between being in an abusive relationship and being able to get pregnant. Another side of that would be that when you’re in an abusive relationship, even before you realize that you’re being abused, and you come to terms with that, you are in survival mode. And you know, at the end of the day, we are mammals, we are animals, and our bodies are designed to survive first and reproduce second. And so, if you’re in survival mode, you’re not going to reproduce, because your body is very intelligent, very intuitive. Your body knows what’s going on. Your body knows that there’s a constant threat there. And so, when there’s a constant threat, you’re in that fight or flight state, then you’re just not going to be able to reproduce. So, there’s definitely a correlation there for sure.

Marissa: Thinking about it, and thinking about the people that I’ve worked with, that makes a ton of sense. I knew that obviously, there’s like a survival mode and that your brain goes into survival mode when you are in crisis, or in an abusive relationship, and you’re in the cycle. But I didn’t realize that you could only be in survival mode, or have like a fully functioning reproductive system. I just find that so interesting.

September: Our bodies are incredibly, incredibly smart and intelligent, like you said and they know. One of them messages that I want to get out to women more and more is, learning to trust your intuition. We live in this patriarchal society where our intuition has been shunned. It’s been called crazy. It’s all of this stuff. And we have got to get back to trusting our intuition, because we are women, and we were blessed with intuition for a reason. And that’s just like, there’s nothing more to it than that. Trust your intuition.

Marissa: Yes, preach. But it’s so true. You know, I’m not anti-men. I’m a feminist. And I believe that women are blessed with such incredible gifts. I mean, we have the gift of life. We have the gift of foresight that’s stronger than any man could ever wish for. You know? We do we have these tells. And we’re more self aware. And we are incredible beings. And I truly do wish that society wasn’t so afraid of that.

September: Yeah, for sure. And but it’s it is challenging, and I will be the first to admit that it’s challenging. Because I’m in hiding right now. And the reason that I’ve been hiding is because I trusted my intuition. And I know that had I not fled when I did, I would not be here to be doing this podcast right now I would have been buried a long time ago. There’s truly there’s a mountain of evidence that police just won’t investigate, but that’s a whole other rabbit hole right there. But because they are choosing to turn their heads and ignore the signs and ignore all of that, they just branded me It’s crazy. Like they just said, Oh, she’s crazy. Like, let’s just blow her off and forget about her because she must be crazy. And I’m like, you know what, I could have gone back, or I could have stayed. I could have handled it that way. But I would be another sad story if I had handled it that way. So, I chose to trust my intuition. And I chose to flee and go into hiding. And I don’t know how long I’ll be in hiding for it. But I know for certain, and it’s been validated in a couple of different ways that had I not fled, I would not be here to be giving this podcast right now. I would be another sad story right now. So, you know, that’s one of the challenges with trusting your intuition is you get labelled crazy. And they do it so easily. And it’s just it’s such a cop out, you know, because they just don’t want to face anything. So, they just label you as crazy.

Marissa: Well, I’m for one, I’m really glad that you trusted your intuition. And you left. I mean, it’s unfortunate that you’re hiding but I’m glad you’re safe. And I think that going through any abusive situation like you had mentioned earlier, they gaslight you and make you think you’re crazy. The abusers that’s what they do. They install us with self doubt, because it helps them maintain control over you. So, we have these intuitions, and then we’re led to believe that, No, those aren’t real. I can’t trust myself. I’m stupid. I’m crazy. I’m dumb. You know? It’s scary, because they’re literally robbing us of our survival.

September: That’s very true. I mean, how many women have died? Who knew? You know, there was a there was a case close to where I’m from. A year before I decided to flee and, you know, he’d been stalking for months and months by this time, and I knew that I was getting things in my gut saying it’s, you know, it’s time to go. But I was I was in a session with my therapist one day, and we were talking about this woman who had been murdered. And he had, you know, taken a baseball bat to her and that kind of a horrific situation. And the conversation between my therapist and I was, she said to me, she said, I wonder if she knew, I wonder if we could call her up from the grave? If she would say, Oh, I knew I saw it coming. And why, you know, if she did, why couldn’t she be allowed to trust her intuition and to get herself and her child out of there and be safe? It’s so sad. It’s so sad. And I think that women do know. 

Marissa: We’re very perceptive beings, you know, and especially people who, like I said, who go through abuse or assault. We become hyper vigilant of everything. I mean, anyone you talk to who’s open about having been abused will tell you they see everything. You know, that myth that moms have eyes in the back of their head. I mean, obviously, biologically, that’s not true. But I can tell you that I notice every little thing in my surroundings. I’m always situationally aware, and I’m the first one to jump in when I see something going on. Even if it’s 30 feet behind me, I’m aware of it. That’s not like a superpower. It’s a fortunate side effect of having been abused.

September: And why I think it is a superpower. It’s a superpower that was developed from an unfortunate situation, but it’s still a superpower.

Marissa: So, I know you’re the Founder and CEO of 4 Months to Fertile, and you work with couples and mothers struggling with primary or secondary infertility. So, can you expand on that a little bit just like about what you do and how you help people?

September: Yeah, so it’s all you know, I’m all nutrition based. I do try to I definitely encourage people to seek therapy, because whether you’re in an abusive situation, or you’re going through infertility, they’re both processed as traumas. And so, either way, you really need to get some professional support. So, I’m a huge advocate for finding a really good, not all therapists are good, you’ve got to find a good one. But if you find a really, really good high-quality therapist who can support you through these things, I’m a huge advocate for that. But as far as like my program, I have two different things that I offer. There’s the 4 Months to Fertile, which is a four-month long plan where we work together. It’s based on the concept of Chinese medicine and how they see infertility. And so, in Chinese medicine, they see your fertility organs as your heart, your liver, your kidneys, and your spleen, which you know, is not what you think of when you think about fertility. But if you think about it, those are your survival organs. If any of those are not working, then your body is in survival mode. And so, it’s not going to go into reproduce mode, like we were talking about earlier. So, in the 4 Months to Fertile program, we really, really focus on nourishing those organs and getting those organs back up to 100%, or at least as close as possible. So that you’re It goes out of survival mode and relaxes and can get into reproductive mode. And then the other thing that I offer is with through Hawaii Surrogacy, I was a case manager for Hawaii, Surrogacy for a little while, and then I had to leave Hawaii. So, when I left Hawaii, what we did was we put this six-week program up on the website. And so, you can go, you can just go to boys surrogacy.com/nutrition, and you can get access to that six-week plan, it does give you individual access to me as well. You get to meet with me a few times, during those six weeks, while you’re going through the program. That’s how you get a hold of that one. If you’re interested in the 4 Months to Fertile the more intensive program, then, you know, you just reach out to me. But if you’re interested in the six-week program, the best way to do it is to go through the Hawaii Surrogacy website.

Marissa: That’s awesome. So, I grew up in a very holistic household where we use a lot of Eastern medicine. And I was never a fan of acupuncture because I’m afraid of needles, but like my mom is big on acupuncture and Reiki and homeopathy. And so, it’s not quite what you do. But Chinese medicine and Eastern medicine is, really a big part of my heart. And I think that it’s way older than Western medicine. I’m trying to say that way, because the doctors are great, too. You know, there’s something to be said about Western medicine. But I think that Eastern practices can and have been way more effective for an extended period of time. So, looking at it from that perspective, that it’s the heart, the liver, the spleen, that’s such an interesting perspective. But I get it, because your body is connected. It’s all one.

September: Yeah, it is. And I completely agree with what you’re saying about Western and Eastern medicine. I mean, Chinese, I think Chinese medicine is the oldest, isn’t it? It’s older than Ardeveda, I think. But yeah, you’re so blessed to have grown up in that type of a home. That’s like, wonderful. But yeah, and acupuncture does so much for infertility. You know, I’m a huge advocate, definitely for acupuncture, chiropractic care, all of those different things. But the difference is, is that, you know, in western medicine, we essentially look at like the liver, okay, delivers not doing well, let’s give you a pill to make the liver function better. And it’s like, well, wait a second, why? Why is the liver not functioning very well? Like, what’s the underlying problem? Like, why don’t we get to the root of the problem, and then treat that and then all of a sudden, the liver starts functioning at a much more effective rate, or in a much more effective way. And that’s kind of the concept. The Eastern medicine stuff is that it sees your body as a whole system. And that includes your emotions, that includes your brain and all of those, like every piece of you. And it includes your soul, and you know, all of those different things, too. So, it’s that’s why I think it’s so much more effective.

Marissa: I totally agree. So please, plug, how can people get in touch with you, because I’m sure this is something that my listeners would be really, really eager to work with.

September: Yeah, so I’m easy to find. I’ve got a very unique name, which is kind of one of the blessings of having a unique name. I’m easy to find on the internet, September Burton. So, if you go to any of the social media platforms, Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, like any of them, I’m on their September Burton. My website is SeptemberBurton.com. The better one to go to those Septemberburton.com/home/blog. And that’s where I really share my abuse story. And I’ve got a lot of evidence and a lot of stuff up on that. So yeah, that would be that’s the best way to get in touch with me.

Marissa: Thank you so much. What advice do you have, for survivors that are in an abusive situation? Or are trying to leave an abusive situation? What would you tell them?

September: Find people who believe you and really, really get your tribe. You have to be surrounded by people who believe you there’s always going to be people who don’t believe you. And that’s fine, let them not believe you. Don’t worry about them. Find the ones who do believe you and create a tribe, create your support system. Find a good therapist who can help you work through some of the traumas and things like that. But really, I think at the end of the day, it’s about having that support system in place. Find people who believe you and if that’s me, I will believe you. If that’s Marissa, I’m sure she will believe you, too. So just find people who believe you.

Marissa: I will, I’ll believe you, too. Thank you, again, so, so much for being here today. Oh, my gosh, you are a wealth of knowledge. And I love your spirit. You know, I really, I feel for you for having to be in hiding, but I’m so happy that you’re safe and you’ve found your niche. And I just hope it all works out for you in the way that you want it to.

September: Well, thank you for that. I really appreciate it. And it’s always an honor and a privilege to be able to talk to your guests and your listeners out there. Thank you.

Marissa: If anyone is interested in working with September, I 100% recommend it because she’s knowledgeable and she is. She’s has such a good energy.

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!

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