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4 Life Saving Steps for Dealing with Huge Challenges and Bad News

Sometimes we are confronted with news that shakes our entire existence.

On April 7th, 2003 I was told that I had a stage-4 skin cancer and would probably not survive the end of that year. My youngest son, Jean-Baptiste, was 8 weeks old at that moment, my daughters Heloïse and Eugenie were 3 and 2 years old. I had been running my construction business for 5 years.

Besides disbelief, I didn’t feel sick, the cancer was discovered through a little black (bleeding) spot on my knee, the sky fell down and rational thinking was far away those first days.

And we all get to hear this kind of news sooner or later in our lives, maybe you woke up one day and your spouse told you she was going to leave you or maybe you had to save your company from bankruptcy.

Sometimes we are confronted with news that shakes our entire existence.

As an expert in dealing with setbacks and difficult circumstances throughout my life, I found that these 4 steps were hugely important in finding the courage to go on and re-invent ourselves during the moments that our world seemed like falling apart.


1. Take a step back and breathe

The first moment we get to hear some horrible news, knowing that our life will never be the same again, our human reflex is to panic. We get in a state of primal reactions, we want to hide, fight or run. And nothing good comes out of that. Taking a step back and a deep breath is the best thing to do at that moment.

When I got to hear that I had a very severe cancer, I was 32 at that time, I knew that panic and stress would not help me. The only thought that kept me going during my year of surgeries and chemotherapy was: IS THIS THOUGHT OR EMOTION HELPFUL OR NOT?

2. Watch your thoughts

Thoughts born in panic and overwhelm are bad advisors. Our mood and emotions always color the thoughts coming up. We have to train ourselves to raise our awareness and see the color of our thoughts in all particular situations.

3. Detach from negative thoughts

Once we see the nature of our thoughts, it is up to us to get rid of negative thinking. It only makes the situation worse and it weakens us in a moment we need to be powerful. Some situations we have to accept, we have no choice, in the case of me hearing about having a stage-4 cancer, I had no choice but to accept that news.

I was very aware though that self-pity, depressed thoughts and doom thinking would not help. I wanted to survive at all costs to see my children grow up and was very dedicated to do whatever it took to help myself.

First of all, to trust in the professionalism of the doctors who treated me and my task was stay positive, good-humoured and sunny as is my nature. Even if those were my last months, I was not going to spend them in misery. And yes, my body hurt many times, and yes, I was exhausted, sleeping for 20 hours a day many times; but I never bought in to negativity, never.


4. Give yourself space for the emotions that rise up

In times of turmoil, it is of utter importance not to suppress emotions, we can detach from our negative and fearful thoughts that come up but we have to make space for emotions rising up.

Emotions of sadness, grief, pain, hurt, have to be welcomed and embraced. We are human beings, feeling beings. The beauty is that once we allow our emotions to be, they dissolve after a while. Suppressing emotions doesn’t make you strong, on the contrary, you get out of balance and they come back even intensified.

Honoring yourself in difficult times, acknowledging that you are going through a tough period and tapping yourself on the back for the great job you are doing, is the greatest gift to yourself.

Final thoughts

Mastering this entire process makes you extremely resilient to deal with changing circumstances. And the one who is most adaptable to change, is the one who is guaranteed to be successful, as Darwin already taught us a few centuries ago.

Although some of these steps might seem counter-intuitive, they have been extremely helpful for me and many of the people working with me. So next time life hits you with a brick in the face, be mindful of how you deal with your circumstances. It will make a world of difference and could save your life.

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Barbara Vercruysse

Barbara Vercruysse is a coach, spiritual mentor, thought leader and public speaker. After facing several challenges in life and surviving a stage 4 skin cancer at the age of 32, she decided to live her second life at the fullest. So after running a successful 6-figure construction business for 18 years, she dedicates herself to her true passion now: guiding people through a deep transformation. She supports people around the world in leading a fulfilled life, creating impact and success by living and leading with love. One of her clients is BMW where she operates as a Quality Manager and Business Coach, she is responsible for screening all business processes and guiding people to perform optimally in their job. Having worked and still working with several coaches and mentors herself, she knows the transformative power of a personal coach. Once you open yourself up to being coached, you begin to receive the same advantages enjoyed by great actors and athletes everywhere, you grow so much stronger and you become more responsible for changing yourself. Empowering people, supporting them in taking their lives to the next level, sharing love, wisdom and compassion, have become her life mission. Barbara is a Certified Master Life Coach, Business Coach and wrote: ‘Start the Life of Your Dreams – A 7-step Program to a Successful and Fulfilled life’. She was published in the Huffington Post and wrote the book: '7 Most Powerful Techniques to Release Stress'. She was recently selected for the ThoughtLeaderSchool founded by Bryant McGill and is part of the selection committee of Peaceprize.org. https://www.facebook.com/startthelifeofyourdreams/ http://www.startthelifeofyourdreams.com/

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Michele bloom
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Michele bloom

Thank you

Jackie Wilushewski
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Jackie Wilushewski

It really does make a huge difference on our mental state and ability to deal with huge life changes when we can slow down and breathe. It can be really hard but I know that it makes a tremendous difference.

I totally agree that watch our thoughts is so important because our emotions are high or out of wack and it can spiral quickly. One of the best pieces my Mom told me was never to make a decision when you are mad or sad.

Thank you for sharing these steps with us! <3

Fran Merkh
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Fran Merkh

Yes, I face the worst thing that may happen in a crisis and look for a new approach or statement to stop a negative one. Right now I’m rethinking the fear I will become psychotic when or if my son dies of colon cancer. Have not come up with one yet but it’s there and I’m surrounding the negative thought with care, comfort and prayer.

Lawney
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Lawney

Really helpful and very good steps to take when confronted with difficult situations.

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Ehost web hosting reviews

Your style is so unique in comparison to other people I have
read stuff from. Many thanks for posting when you have the opportunity, Guess I will just bookmark this site.

Sue Smith
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Sue Smith

Wonderful article! The first few times I found myself in very difficult challenges it seemed humanly impossible and so shocking. It really knocked me hard. And yet, after more times of going thru unexpected hardships you learn that you can be a survivor if you choose, your mindset really does color your perspective, and there are always choices you can make to improve your situation. That is why I love and appreciate Jenni and Bryant’s writing so much….they focus on what you CAN do, how you CAN think, and the positive things that help! If you have never been thru a hardship yet, that is great, but when they hit, remember, they are amazing for developing the skills you need! I have an inner strength now that I never had before the challenges. I have a better perspective on life, love, and what is really important in life. I have an appreciation for these hard times because of all the lessons I learned thru them. Now when hard times hit, I have more of an interest in them instead of a dread and woe is me attitude; now I wonder what I will learn this time. They always develop you more. It is not so bad when you let go of the dread and go with the lesson. They are gifts in disguise. 😉

Sue Smith
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Sue Smith

Barbara, I salute you! 💖

Mousumi
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Mousumi

Life is full of challenges and we get to learn alot from this which is inspiring us to face it strongly…

Akiroq Brost
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Akiroq Brost

First of all, I feel so blessed to have met you. I am so very very grateful that you survived this ordeal. Secondly, I am so glad that you are sharing your experience with others. This article will help others!

“IS THIS THOUGHT OR EMOTION HELPFUL OR NOT?” Really hit close to home for me. I often ask myself is this helping or harming me when looking at what I am doing, or about to do. It really helps to guide a better path through life. This is a very powerful question to ask ourselves not just in times of crisis, but also in our every day lives.

I completely agree, separating thought from emotion is important in time of crisis. Emotion can easily overtake logic and rational. It’s important to be aware of ourselves when we are in a volatile state.

Realizing we have a choice in what we think is incredibly empowering. Acceptance is key. Focusing on what we can do and not on what we can’t. Surrendering whatever is too much for us to handle to a greater power, to faith, to hope.

Giving ourselves the space to be ourselves is so important. Finding that solace, that reprieve, that quiet time to sit with our thoughts. Allowing that time and space to feel and work through what we’re feeling. Repressing our thoughts and feelings grows them. Allowing them, allows release.

People always say, don’t hang on to the past. I definitely agree we should not hang on to the pain of the past. We should absolutely, however, hang on the wisdom we’ve gained. Let our pain make us stronger and wiser.

Wonderful article. Very inspiring. Thank you Barbara. <3

Brooke Lillith
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Brooke Lillith

Beautiful sister Barbara this article had me in tears my love. So beautifully written and I LOVE the steps. I just love this line so much – “Honoring yourself in difficult times, acknowledging that you are going through a tough period and tapping yourself on the back for the great job you are doing, is the greatest gift to yourself.” So much divine wisdom and truth!!! You are truly a warrior queen and such a brilliant inspiration. Your words touched me so deeply in every way. Thank you for sharing your gifts with us all beautiful goddess. Love you beyond words angel!!! <3 <3 <3 <3 <3

Docollier88
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Docollier88

Huge challenges give us the opportunity to rethink a situation, to reposition and adjust our actions and mindset. Usually, in the process of huge challenges and hurdles we are pushed to a higher level of thinking, praying, and focusing on what is true and good. The reality of life is that you will have challenges and obstacles, what you have in your arsenal of spiritual tools and mental tools will be enough to guide you to your answers.

baya elbey
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baya elbey

thank you i enjoyed this aricle you are a courageous woman i learned a lot from your story god bless you.

Suzan
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Suzan

Very good article because it comes from a realistic story and teach us lessons to how deal with challenges

Lalie Nietol
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Lalie Nietol

Hello Bryant Jenni and Barbara💕This reminds me of an incident around 2004 wherein the doctor told me that I have a lung problem and I have to take medications. It came as a big surprise to me considering that I was taking care of my health (eating healthy, going to the gym, yoga). She then explained that it was because of a lower immune system as s result of my Vsd (hole in the heart). It was hard to accept at first considering that another major organ of mine was affected but I realized that to just follow the doctor’s order not to stress, just accept, take care of my health, drink the medications and pray. Thankfully, I got well and had my 3rd baby after 2 years who was the healthiest among the 3. Thank you💕

Xochitl Xenakis
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Xochitl Xenakis

I almost always weather a storm by incessant prayer and plenty of moxie. It helps to separate yourself from those who are not only negative but, carry the spirit of Jezebel or even Legion. I practice a great deal of self -care. I meditate after prayer. Music therapy is also wonderful. And, if push comes to shove aroma therapy with a long hot bath in eucalyptus epsom salts help carry me on. It is actually quite refreshing.

Nisha KC
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Nisha KC

Thanks for the tips to overcome the tough situation that we could face in life. But when the situation is really tough it will take time to overcome. Mind doesn’t work nicely at the moment. But yes after we pass that moment however, that experience will really makes us stronger later. But at the exact situation it’s hard to think and solve the problem. For me the one and only way out, is to pray with God to make everything well again. But when we know these kind of stories previously we can control ourselves such moment to some extend.

patricia jacksom
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patricia jacksom

I want to first start off by saying her story was amazing and God Bless her she survived and where she is today is in incredible paying it forward is key in our world because it only spreads hope faith joy and so much love to many others to face difficult challenges in our life. the four key points that were given in this article I believe really did save her life. because these are the key things I used to face my difficult challenges in my life and to overcome them and get where I am today. I will start back at 2009 I had just graduated from college. with an associates degree. I had worked prior to that at a company for twelve years I experienced some depression and ended up leaving my job there. I had did home care for a wonderful woman soon after I had lost my twelve year job. I enjoyed taking care of this lovely woman in her home it worked out good because my daughter when I started was twelve I could work good hours which allowed me to go to all her school events and later on she could use my car. and I made good money. she brought joy to me. during this time I was living in a house with my ex-boyfriend I am an alcoholic and a drug addict we were both co depedent, and we both drank and used pills. I was prescribed pain medication and became addicted to them which was so horrible in so many ways. after years I was able to get off the pills. during all this I thought since I kept a job I went to all my daughters school events she was in sports until she graduated from high school and I thought I was being a good mom. I am kind of skipping around here trying to write this the best I can. anyway in 2007 I decided to go to college because my job I had taking care of the elderly woman I did not know would end. blessed for her she lived until almost 90. so I still took care of her while I went to college. my daughter graduated in 2008 from high school I was so proud of her, I forced her into college which she went for a short period then dropped out. in 2009 I graduated from college and I still remember the feeling in me how Dwi. at the same time my daughter moved out of the house with her boyfriend, which was down but I she had lived with me her whole life she was my whole identity so it made me very sad. i still could not find a job and the woman i took care of for years her son put her in a nursing home so i did not have that job anymore. my boyfriend at the time i found out was seeing his bosses daughter. they kind of force me out of the house , she moved in i went to live with my mom. i felt so awful, i went and hung out at a friends drinking a lot.. i was introduced to a guy who right away we hooked up he was a heavy crack cocaine user i did not care at the time i was drinking and doing that drug. i got a job at burger king and we got our own apartment still using drinking, ended up losing that apartment my boyfriend asked me to come back i moved back into the house shortly after the lady that owned the house wanted to move back in we moved out. i went to my parents he went to his moms. i ended up stealing my dads pills i was kicked out , me and my ex ended up living in a tent because i did not get along with his mom. we got hud moved into a small apartment with his son. this brings me to 2011 i was often staying at a guy friends drinking cause by that time i really didn’t want to be with my ex it was at this friends i was introduced to the ex abuser of my life. he started off being violent i was in such a state of mind i didn’t care, i would go back and forth from my apt. my ex boyfriend ended up drinking one night and choked me and ended up going to jail. we lost that apartment, my parents let me back. but i was hanging out with the ex abuser at different places. i got a job through a friend taking care of a man i ended up driving his car crashing into a mailbox and got a driving while the influence of drugs. it became a felony. it took months for my case to get resolved. i felt so low and very depressed and suicidal at times. i ended up getting five years felony probabtion. i did it for a few weeks and then just didn’t go hanging out with my ex abuser drinking doing drugs and hiding from the police they found me soon after at a house i was with my ex abuser and i got eight months in jail. during this time my mother and daughter came to visit me every week which is how i got through. well to backtrack after a few months there i asked to be moved from a different cell they would not move me i took a razor and slit my wrist and they sent me off to a different town in a psychiatric center for the criminally insane i was there for a month so after that is when i came back to jail and accepted it and with my family that is how i got through. after i got out of jail i thought i would never drink again and that i would get my life in order because i never ever would want to be back there again. i lived with my parents for five months, but my ex abuser came to vist me in jail and so when i got out i still was seeing him. we drank and stayed at his friends house. this is 2013 we were moving to a different town in may. during this time i had such aniexty, depression. in april right before we moved he broke my nose i did not report it i lied . then in may two days before we were to move i was lying on the floor at his friends i said something he did not like he kicked me with his steel toe boots broke four of my ribs. it was the wordt pain i ever felt. i lied again. i let him move in with me at this time i was just frozen with deep fear i had no self worth my darkness got deeper and deeper. oh while living with my parents i had applied for ssdi. then in june the next month he ended up breaking my collar bone and held me with a knife for hours until he passed out i ran to the police for the first time i told. he got six months in jail. and i ended visiting him thinking jail would change him he would be sober and it would be different so nice i wanted to believe so bad he felt so horrible and that he would not hurt me again that i believed it. but i had no self worth self love so much shame and guilt about everything that had happened these past years i was just holding on to life. he got out i ended up getting ssdi instead of him being happy for mehe got drunk and just said awful things. he went back to abusive ways soon after he got out of jail. for an example i ended up in the hospital 23 times in one year because of my depression fear aniexty i was even more deep in fear and depression. he had got out in oct 2013. in june of 2014 he broke my hand by pushing me in to a futon this time i told again it was almosy a year to the date he went to jail before, he was sentenced to the same thing six months in jail the judge said he was giving him a gift. that sticks in my mind like glue. my fear became even worse i really truly thought in my mind if i was not with him he would kill me i had horrible nightmares i was suffering from severe aniexty and depsression i did not want to live , i had cut myself, i can remember still today feeling i truly would die either accidentally or not by accident. i tried to laugh as much as i could but i couldn’t hardly do that anymore. i was in disassociation to a lot of the trauma i was suffering. in july a month after he went to jail i had a major breakdown i called the police for help i would not open my door and i had a knife and i was threatnening to kill them as i was told i remember the electricity going through my body as i was tassed. i ended up in the hospital having severe breakdowns each day. he diagnosed me with impressive ptsd. i got out after twelve days and i was feeling even worse about what had happened and everything, i was in such fear still and just well still felt all my emotions i had told you before. even more so that if i was not with him he would kill me. i started visiting him again , my life was life a thick fog that would never lift. but during this time i did start going to aa i had a small glipse of hope many people were deeply concerned about me people i didn’t even know.. about a month before he was released i stopped visiting him. but soon after he was released he started calling me i told him i was not drinking anymore and i would not have anyone drink around me. he said all this stuff and if he drank once i could kick him out. i thought once again i truly loved him and he truly loved me and if he did not drink he would not abuse me. going to aa helped me not to drink but it didn’t take away all my strong emotions and the deepest one of all the deep fear he would kill me. i let him back in oct 2014 and also in 2014 which is one of the best things i could of done in my life i entered THE VICITMS OF VIOLENCE PROGRAM. so from oct 2014 to april of 2015 he was living with me while i was going to aa and attending victims of violence program which of course he wanted me in neither. we did not drink during this time period, but it was soon after he got out he gave me black eyes punched kicked me but all this pshyscial violence wasn’t the worst of it the mental and emotional pain he had inflicted on me was the worst. he was always putting me down whor slut telling me what i could wear controlling my life, it scared me so much to think i thought alchol was the problem NO IT WAS JUST HIM. and bit by bit by attending victims of violence and aa i was taking a little of his control away. in april of 2015 days before i was having thoughts in my mind i might as well kill him because he is going to kill me anyway. i cant tell you how chilling that felt. with the great great help of VICTIMS OF VIOLENCE AND MY TREMDOUS THINKING OF MY DAUGHTER AND THE TREMDOUS STRENGTH I WANTED PEOPLE NOT TO WORRY I DIDNT WANT TO LIVE IN THIS STATE OF MIND I DIDNT WANT TO GO TO PRISON THE REST OF MY LIFE IT WAS ONE MORNING ON APRIL 2015 I WOKE UP AND SAID YOU HAVE GOT TO LEAVE YOU CANT BE HERE ANYMORE I WILL TELL YOU THIS IT WAS THE STRONGEST DAY OF MY LIFE AND I NEVER LOOKED BACK. i continued to stay in VICTIMS OF VIOLENCE and graduated from the program in June 2016. which to me it want just a program it was people who truly cared i felt not alone and gained so much knowledge and awareness from the people who as of today i can not thank enough. along with my therapist who has been through me through all of years and who i did not drop out of therapy i have been with her four years and i can not thank her enough ever. i have to give myself credit for sticking with this great support because it is one of the reasons i truly survived life. but when you suffer this kind of trauma and with my severe mental healh life was not a bowl of cherries far from it but i had started to see a glimpse of hope. i had many struggles which bring me up to the year of dec 2016. my ex abuser mind you i had not seen him since i left him in april 2015. he knocked on my door asking if he could be my friend and come in. i still lived at the same place. my heart was beating faster i think it ever had, i called the police they got there a few minutes after while they were there i opened the door a crack those few seconds of seeing him was like a flashback to terror. he did not come back or contact me. me and my daughter had been in very bad fight that i had said very hurtful things to her months before that and i truly felt that she would never speak to me again. It felt like the most devasting time for me, i know i love her with all my heart and i hurt the one person who i love and would give my life for. i was still taking out emotions sadness anger in all the wrong places. her wedding was coming up and that was the one thing i wanted more than anything was to see my daughter get married, and i thought her husband hated me. well in feb of 2017 just as impulsively as i asked Kenny to leave which is good impulse i asked my mom to just pick me up i could not live there anymore. i felt like i had before that i would accidentally die or die at my hands. my ex abuser played a factor but it was my environment also and how i felt deeply devasted not being in my daughters life and what i might do. my mom came and picked me up. i didn not drink at all while living with her i stayed home which was good for me, i still missed my daughter of course so very much but my thoughts began to change. i began to think she would be devastated without me here and so would my loved ones. all se ever wanted was to see me get well and be happy and at the least she deserves that and so do my loved ones. i spent a few times in the hospital but within days got out. one of which was when my daughter got married of course i was still very very upset that i wasn not there, but my actions caused me not to be there and i don’t blame her for not letting me go, she actually has been my greatest strength to get me where i am today. whether she forgave me or mot she i am her mom and she has worried about me long enough and like i said deserves to see me have a good life. i began to feel truly happy for her and i am blssed and grateful to this day she has a wonderful huband and is truly happy and healthy. and he does not hate me that what just might distorted thinking. anyway i was beginning to see light and hope i moved on my own in july me and my mom went on a trip to Nebraska i cant tell you the wonderful feelings i got from seeing my family there and how much i miss them and life is short and want to go back there often. i had a few setbacks a drank a little , went to the hospital a few times but more and more i would just relaz and really JUST BREATHE. to calm my thoughts. being positive and your thoughts are very key to moving forward, that is how i believe this lady in this article survived. she had a great will to survive and did not let negative thoughts bring her down. and then after this remarkable second chance at life she found her passion to help others. i have to say God does play a huge factor in my life today also, i pray have great faith and put it in God’s hands. i have patience , take baby steps and when i fall i know i can get back up and it will be okay. themorn knowledge and awareness i get about domestic violence and our life stories can help us and we can help others. i am blessed and grateful for all my loved ones that have been there for me. this is in my everyday thought. all those who continue to make my life better and brighter. and it is such peace when your on your journey to healing you began to forgive, and truly love yourself. and living alone all these years have helped me really know who i am. i let my daughter go at her own pace with me and i can accept that i really miss her but i am blessed to have the little part of her in my life. she is my hero she is the wind beneath my wings she has shown me how to be the best person i can be and the best mom i strive to be. today because i love myself and i truly thank God for i have been given a second chance at life not many get this, i want to make a difference i have found my passion and purpose and when you do find that is an amazing gift. and helping others as much as i can is the best happiness in the world!! if we all did even a small part it can make a huge difference in making this world a better place. so when i say you have strength beyond you know and don’t give up i know where your coming from and i truly mean it. I will take full advantage of my second chance because i wont get another one!! and when you believe and put it in God’s Hand’s you find your great faith and it will be okay. God Bless You all!! i hope my story inspired you and gave you hope. out of my great TRADEGY’S CAME A GREAT MIRACLE!!

Jess
Guest
Jess

I don’t even know where to start telling my story. I just want to stop feeling hurt. I want to stop crying. I want to move forward but I just don’t have the strength anymore. I’m all prayed out ,confused and alone,with three kid to care for and job.but you know what hurts the most,the resentment i receive from my own mother and brother. I wish I know why they hate me so much.

Jane
Guest
Jane

Thank you~~~ : )

Robina fazal
Member
Robina fazal

Nice….Reallygood…Will beintouch…Best wishes for all…keep on going to get people realize wht is best for them…to move on..❤👑💐

Doris
Member
Doris

I have encountered some of the most difficult situations that anyone could ever imagine. I have had challenges to my finances, to my health, and my well-being nevertheless, I have persevered through them all. I have been disappointed by loved ones, family members, and friends. People that I looked up to, admired, and held as role models all let me know that they were very human. I cannot express with words the depths of sorrow and pain that my heart has experienced as a result of betrayal of trust. My hope is that I have an extremely strong foundation, a deep spiritual relationship, and deep belief in something greater than myself. I believe that the human spirit can persevere over any crushing defeat, any personal vindictive assault. I have continued to build my legacy and focused on my higher powers in the face of greed and contempt. I’m a real woman with deep passions a heart full of love overflowing that expresses her emotions with sincerity and directness. I raised my children with so many hopes and dreams I taught them to be dreamers , to be beautiful I told them to be intelligent I taught them to believe in a higher power that created us all. I wanted them to be different I wanted them to experience peacefulness love and success . What I have learned is that life on Earth will not be simple and can turn on the decision of someone that does not share the same beliefs and ideology is as myself that there will be conflicts . The beauty of life is in your response,the beauty of life is being able to rise above all the horrible situations and to keep going and to know that you are not weak but that you are actually stronger when you are able to continue after being assaulted, when you are able to pick yourself up after being knocked down, when you are able to build after everything has been destroyed exemplifies the highest level of existence. The ability to turn disfunction into clarity and excellent decision-making is triump. The ability to survive a vicious assault on your life and being is to stand in victory over your assailants.

christineprice
Member
christineprice

Hello Doris,

I too have faced challenges because of trusting family members who did not have my best interests at heart.
When you are a kind and sympathetic person you can get taken advantage of.
I am happy you have been able to rise above your problems.
Happy people do not go around making others unhappy. It is those people who are dysfunctional unhappy people. Stay away from them.

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