Makayla: Speak Out Convos, where we speak up and speak out about domestic violence and narcissism. I’m your host, Makayla, and always, thank you for listening. Today I am joined with a very special guest, Marissa Cohen, the Best-Selling author of Breaking Through the Silence: the Journey to Surviving Sexual Assault, Breaking Through the Silence: #Me(n)Too, and The Healing From Emotional Abuse Philosophy: The 3 Keys to Overcoming Narcissism; The CEO of Within Your Reach, and also a speaker and an activist. She offers many programs for Healing Coaching, Courses, as well as her books. How are you doing today Marissa?
Marissa: I’m great, thank you for having me. How are you?
Makayla: I’m wonderful. So today, we’re going to talk to Marissa a little bit about her domestic violence story. What inspired her to become an author and want to speak out against domestic violence. So, Marissa, can you tell our audience a little bit about your domestic violence story.
Marissa: So, when I was 19, it was my first year of college. And I met this guy who was very charming and very kind. And I was smitten. And we started dating. And all of a sudden, he was no longer those things. He was rude, and he would demean me, and tell me all of these horrible things about myself. It started off really subtle, you know? It started off with some verbal abuse, some emotional abuse, where everything that I said was dumb. And everything that I thought was dumb. And my major in college was stupid and I was never going to be anything. And then, it got progressively worse, until it turned out that I was not worth his time, and I wasn’t worthy of love. I was useless and I was always going to depend on him. Unworthy of love and I was lucky to have him, or he would tell me that I was lucky to have him because nobody else would ever love me. And then it turned very sexually abuse and very physically abusive. So when I finally had the balls to get out, and finally had the wherewithal to see what was happening, I was stuck in student government together in college. So he was still around, he was still tormenting me. And so I ended up running to another country. I jumped on a plane and just moved there, where I met a person who really helped me rewire my brain, to see that I am worth love and that I deserve kindness and happiness. And he really taught me that. And then I came back to the same school, and the same guy was still on the student government with me. And he spent almost the entire year trying to make my life miserable, and still maintain that control over me. I had already learned that I was worth love, and that I was strong. So, he didn’t have that control over me anymore, and it used to drive him crazy. Towards the end of the year, I don’t know what happened, or what changed his mind, but he sat down next to me outside while I was reading, and he just started crying. And he apologized for everything. He took complete accountability for his actions, and he told me, and I’ll never forget this. He told me, “I’m sorry that I ruined you.” because I was not the same person that I was the year before. I was depressed. I had severe anxiety. My social interactions were much briefer, and I wasn’t myself. You know, after abuse and after sexual assault, we aren’t the person that we used to be, and we never will be that person again. But since then, I’ve done a lot of self-development work, and advocacy, and I’ve put myself back together, which is crazy to be able too say. But that’s what inspired me to write a book. That and having worked in safe houses and on hotlines, and with survivors. A lot of people would ask me how long did it take to heal? Or, when do I get better? When does this stop hurting? And, unfortunately, there’s no timeline. It’s a very personalized journey. So, I wrote the book’s, Breaking Through the Silence: the Journey to Surviving Sexual Assault, Breaking Through the Silence: #Me(n)Too, with that in mind. I wanted to create a manual for survivors to understand that what they’re going through, they’re not alone. It’s not just them. There are thousands of other people that can identify with them and their story. And if I could find those people that could be relatable to survivors that are still silenced, I can help them break their silence and start their healing. And that motivated me to start the nonprofit, Within Your Reach, Inc. to provide free resources and help people heal, and help people break their silence. And I mean, as recently as this year, I’ve launched a coaching program with a technique that I’d been using for years to help myself heal, to help other people heal and not realizing how important the 3 steps are. So I created The Healing From Emotional Abuse Philosophy, and it’s 3 easy keys, like milestones, to heal from your abuse. And when you have these three keys working in conjunction with each other, then you feel free, confident and at peace after your abuse. You’re healed.
Makayla: That’s amazing. Thank you so much for sharing that. I know that you’re gonna help so many people in our audience today. Another question that I have for you. What were some of the main techniques that you used when you were going through your healing process? What were some things that really helped guide you to the path of being a survivor?
Marissa: Sure. So one of my favorite things to do has always been writing. I think writing is so important, because speaking was so difficult. So, I would have this notebook, and I still have the notebook and I look through it every once in a while. But it was like this bright yellow, wire-bound notebook, and I would just write everything I was feeling in it. And it was my way of unloading my emotions, and expressing myself without verbalizing it to anybody. I had tried to talk to somebody about it, and it was devastating. It was very, I didn’t get the reaction that I had hoped for. And it made me very nervous to talk about it again. So, I would just write. I’d write everything that I saw, everything that I felt. I’d write myself letters. I’d write poetry, you know, little one liners. And I’d write letters to my abuser and tell him how I felt. That I hated him. That he ruined me. That I’ll never be the same person. You know, all the things that he did to me, I wrote in this book. And that was very helpful. And on top of that, I used a lot of music, because singing and dancing has always been a passion of mine. So, that was also really helpful because those are very expressive, but also very physical releases. So, those are the three main things that I used. But there was also, once I broke my silence, I was talking to people about it, because the more I shared, the more people shared back, and I felt less alone, and they felt less alone. And it was a release for both of us.
Makayla: That’s wonderful. Thank you so much for sharing. I know that your insight will help a lot of people listening. Can you talk to our audience a little bit more about your healing coaching program, and what you offer? And what you offer with your nonprofit organization, for those who might be in your area and need assistance anywhere in the world.
Marissa: Of course. So through my nonprofit, I have one program that can be utilized internationally, called #ImAStatitistic. It can be found on Youtube. It’s a series of interviews, a lot like this one, on Youtube, where people show their faces and use their names, and speak about their truth. Speak about their stories. Because it humanizes it. I created that program with a friend who is also a survivor. I think it 2017, and we have been doing it ever since. We haven’t updated it in a while, to be honest, but… because people were coming forward and saying #MeToo, but that was always behind a keyboard, and it’s really easy to ignore when it’s not in your face. So we created #ImAStatistic to show that the negative connotation of being a statistic is false, and it can be so powerful to be one of a million. One of 1.5 million girls that will be sexually assaulted on college campuses this year. One of thousands of people who have something similar to what you have. There’s a power in numbers. Theres a camaraderie in numbers. A unity. I actually found a lot of my closest friends because we’d both gone through something horrible and traumatic, be it domestic violence and sexual assault. And it was like a foundation building block for our friendship. We could relate to each other. So that’s through the nonprofit. Right now, most of our programs and resources are shut down because it’s a very local, hands on program. Being able to meet for support groups, and we have a support group that I run via zoom on Wednesday’s. So if anybody needs support or wants support, I can send you the link and the zoom login for the support group. And then, the other questions was about my coaching program.
Makayla: Yes, just tell a little bit about your coaching, and the services that are offered with that.
Marissa: Sure. So, the coaching program I do uses my methodology, the Healing From Emotional Abuse Philosophy, to help people with overcoming narcissism. And like I said before, there are 3 Keys to overcoming narcissism. 1. Release 2. Resilience 3. Rebuild. Hitting each of these keys, and creating a life where they work in conjunction with each other will ultimately heal you from emotional abuse and trauma. If you follow this program, it will instill you with the feelings of freedom, confidence and inner peace. Recognizing our strength’s and honing in on those is great way to build ourselves up, after a chapter of our lives, of being told that we aren’t good enough. We aren’t smart enough. We aren’t savvy or skilled enough. It’s, in large part, redirecting that self-talk from a negative to a positive. This journey is very personal. And for a long time, people would tell you that there is no way to heal after abuse. It just stays with you, it’s a part of who you are. And in some ways, that’s not completely untrue. But you can heal. There is a light at the end of the tunnel. The thing is, you didn’t get into this situation alone, so why try and get out of it alone? I’m here to make this transition as easy for you as possible. I’ve been there, and I had a lot of help getting to where I am today. I want to be the support network for you, so that you’re not just living with it as a part of you. When I talk about my abuse, or when I think about my abuse, at this point, it feels like I’m telling someone else’s story. It’s a part of my past, but it’s removed enough from my life that I am healed. I don’t dwell on it at all. It doesn’t impact my life in any negative way. The only thing it does for me now is make me stronger, and see how far I’ve come. I want that feeling for everyone who has ever endured abuse, endured narcissism, endured sexual assault. What happened to you doesn’t define you. Use it as a platform to make you stronger than you’ve ever been.
I want to try and help as many people as I can. We heal with each other, not in spite of each other. When we collaborate and help each other grow, not only do you find beautiful, foundational friendships, but we also grow as people. We learn from each other. This community is so much stronger than we get credit for. But look what we’ve all overcome. We’ve overcome these horrible, traumatic situations, who, people who have experienced abuse, narcissism, and sexual assault will never truly, deeply understand. And we are so much more than just survivors. We are champions. We have survived someone that we truly love trying to hurt us. And the emotional toll that takes on us is horrendous. We are told how weak we are, and we feel weak. But if we take a step back and look from an outside perspective, look at all the stuff we’ve overcome. We are true, true champions. And once we take that step back, take our voice back take our strength back, and take back control of our lives, we’re unstoppable.
Makayla: Thank you so much for sharing that. Your strength is admirable and everything that you do is absolutely amazing. You’re going to help so many people. I just want to make mention that all of Marissa’s links will be posted at the top of this video for anybody who’s interested in anything she has to offer. Marissa, is there anything else you want to say to our audience?
Marissa: I want to thank you for having me, and I’m really grateful for you to be hosting such a beautiful program. I think giving people a space to speak is incredible. That’s what we need. We need more spaces that are safe to speak out about what we’ve gone through, in order to be a more understood community. And I really adore you Makayla. I want to offer you and your listeners an opportunity to use the programs that I’ve created, I have a 5 Days to Confidence Program,— a video series to help you build confidence in 5 days. It’s filled with self esteem activities and confidence exercises to help build you up. You will truly see a difference in your confidence. I would like to offer your listeners a 20% PROMO code. If you go to my website www.MarissaFayeCohen.com , and purchase any of the coaching programs, or courses, use promo code BUTTERFLY and you’ll receive 20% off.
Makayla: That’s incredible. Thank you so much for coming on today. We always like to end speak out convos with the domestic violence hotline. 1800799-7233. Anyone can reach out to Marissa at me@MarissaFayeCohen.com
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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