Love Over Addiction Podcast with Shayne

My sweet sister, Shayne, is a member of our community, and her grace and kindness are truly an inspiration. We cover a lot of topics in this episode such as policing their bad habits and learning to stay in our own lane. We talk about domestic abuse and how to maintain friendships.

 

Shayne dealt with infidelity, and you’ll hear her remarkable story of forgiveness. We also cover the topic of stepchildren and blended families.

 

I’m telling you—you will finish listening to this episode completely inspired. So get comfortable, take a deep breath, make some space out of your busy day for your healing, and take a listen.

 

Michelle: Thank you so much for agreeing to talk with me and share your story. I am so grateful and honored that you would do that.

 

Shayne: Well, thank you. Thank you for letting me be a part of it.

 

M: Absolutely. So where I like to start is: how did you meet your husband, and when did you start to notice there were warning signs or something wasn’t quite right about his drinking? Or red flags.

 

S: Well, we actually met online. And I didn’t think that there were warning signs or red flags until later. But there was a time that I noticed he had been drinking, and he was easily angered and just more rough in his touch—just trying to kid around, and looking back now, that should have been a warning sign. But at the time, I didn’t notice that. And I had noticed that he was putting—I had asked him later to not drink. It kind of bothered me.

 

And so from that point on, he hid it. I did notice he would put something in his cup, and I asked him what it was and he just played it off. Again, now looking back, I realize that he was hiding that from me by putting that in his cup. It wasn’t until after we got married that I finally realized that there was a problem.

 

I came home, and I could tell he was very drunk. His eyes were very glazed over, his speech was slurred, and I was like, “Holy cow! What’s going on? What is he doing?” And then I would ask him about it, and he lied to me. I said, “Are you drinking?” And he said, “No.” And then I said, “Why are you like this?” I could smell it.

 

And that’s when he started hiding things and lying to me about it. Even when I brought it up I said, “You just boldface lied to me.” And he’s like, “Well I wasn’t drinking at that moment. It was gone.” I was like, “Wow, ok.” And then I would find bottles in the garbage can, and I just had a horrible, sinking feeling: what have I done? I married somebody that I guess I really didn’t know.

 

M: Wow. That must have been a huge, sinking feeling.

 

S: It was. It totally was.

 

M: You feel like the scales were removed from your eyes; you could clearly see the severity of the situation.

S: Exactly. He’s fifty, and he was going to church with me. I thought things were—I felt like, well, God has brought us together. And about after 6 months—I figured at our age, you either you know or you don’t, and things moved along pretty quickly. But afterwards, I felt like I married somebody I don’t really know, and I knew that was a huge thing that I had alcohol addiction in my past. My stepdad that I grew up with, my ex husband—so then it was even more of a sinking feeling of ,”Oh my gosh, I here I go again.”

 

M: So you recreated what you had been growing up with and what you had just gotten out of.

 

S: Yes

 

M: Ok, that’s interesting. It’s interesting because it’s very common. And a lot of women in our group do that. Have you been able to do this program—through talking with other women, have you been able to understand why you did that?

 

S: Yes, and I understood that before, and I thought this one was different. Because I didn’t see it.

 

M: How?

 

S: I didn’t see the alcohol. I didn’t see him consuming it. Whereas my ex, he didn’t hide anything. He just did it right out in front of me, so I guess the hiding was the different part of it. I’ve never experienced that before, so I really wanted—I felt like my ex—I was with him for 20 years, and he never married me.

 

It’s hard. I go back and forth, and I try really hard, but for a long time I felt like I wasn’t good enough to marry. I know that wasn’t it. It was his issues. I know that wasn’t true. One of the things that I’ve heard you say is, “That’s what we know.” The addiction knows how to target us and the people that will tolerate it.

M: Yeah, I think we walk around with a target on our back.

S: Yes, exactly.

 

M: Addiction knows how to sniff out the ones that don’t feel good enough. We are prey. And that is the all-powerful disease that just preys on your people. And it can tell right away because we’re the ones that don’t have the boundaries. We’re the ones that put up and tolerate way too much. We’re the ones that make excuses for them or ones that bury our head in the sand or deny. We are the ones that clearly are unhealthy and need to grow and become the woman that we were created to be. We just haven’t don’t that yet.

 

S: Yep. I got to the point where I thought I had grown.

 

M: What made you think you had grown?

 

S: Getting out of that last relationship and just spending time on my own and learning to be myself. I was very young when I got into that relationship, and I didn’t really know what I wanted. But I thought this time I knew what I wanted. I wanted a Godly man, and I wanted someone that would go to church with me not because I wanted him to, but because he wanted to. And to have a relationship with God.

 

So I thought that’s where I was. I feel like I fooled myself too, thinking I was in a better spot, and that I knew what I was looking for. It’s almost like the disease knows we have the targets on our backs, but it’s almost like we have the blinders on too—thinking that we are better.

 

M: Oh, my gosh, that’s so wise. Absolutely. I love that. We can really fool ourselves into thinking that we’ve done the work. We have it all figured out. We’re ready to jump back in when we haven’t done our work. We haven’t done enough.

 

S: I didn’t find you and your tools and your help until I was back in the situation again. Whereas If I would have had them back then, I would have known. Does that make sense?

 

M: Yes, it does make sense.

 

S: I thought I was Ok.

 

M: So when you look back at the woman you are today and who you’ve become—and I’m fast forwarding a little bit. I want to go back, don’t worry. But I want to ask you this question right now: if you look at yourself and you take self-inventory of who you have become today, and you look back at that woman in that moment, where the dread filled you and you realized you had done this again, how have you changed?

 

S: I’ve actually grown much closer to God, and I’m thankful for that. I’ve also learned more about the enemy’s arrows—how they do target us. How those arrows do come at us whereas then, I had the blinders on. I’m more aware now that I have seen those flaming arrows coming at me. I thought I was ok before.

 

M: You know what I feel like you changed? I feel like where you’ve changed is you’re aware of the tricks. You’ve changed because you’re wiser now. You’re aware of the manipulation, the deceit, and the shenanigans (for lack of a better word) that this disease plays on us. That’s where I think you’ve changed. It’s like you’re standing strong and firm as a woman who now knows—who is now aware, and that’s a huge place to be. That’s a very powerful place to be, and that’s amazingly important as you figure it out. And that’s why I love your story so much. Because it highlights the need to be completely aware and accept the truth of what is going on.

 

S: Right. Yes. Exactly.

 

M: I think that is a huge victory. Because the only place that you can go, and the next step is: what do you decide to do with that? Now that you know, what are you going to do with that information? And how are you going to take action? So that’s where your work begins. Like you said earlier, you didn’t realize that part of this was your responsibility, and so now that you’re aware, the responsibility comes where you have choices. You get to make decisions. So where are you in your relationship with your husband now?

 

S: Well, let’s see, it kind of depends on the week.

 

M: I get that.

 

S: Yeah. The amazing thing is you do get that. This week’s been pretty good, but I have learned how a lot of the women say to stay in my lane and to stop policing—looking in the garbage and seeing if there are bottles in there, worried he’s going to be drinking. And I’ve learned that I can only control myself. I’m not going to let it destroy me.

 

M: Perfect.

 

S: So I am thankful for every day, and I don’t want to look back. That’s not where my future is. I want to look forward, and the Bible tells us to take one day at a time. Sometimes that’s super hard. And there’s other times that I’m just—take one hour by hour, keep my focus on God, and know that he’s going to guide my steps  and at this moment, this day, it’s with my husband, by his side. I know and I believe that God can do miracles and if its while I’m by his side, then that’s great. But again, I dream about the future, and part of your program is to have those dreams and think about those often.

 

And my dream is to be with my husband. But I also know that there’s that possibility that we may not be. Some of the boundaries I have set that I’m sticking to—I try not to make them an ultimatum, but there has been some physical—he’s hit me twice, and I told him if he hits me again, that’s it. Then I am done. It’s always when he’s drunk. The two times has been when he’s been drunk.

 

So today, as of right now, I’m with my husband. That’s where God has placed me. I’m trying to build on that relationship and try to make myself a better wife.

 

M: Can we talk for a second about the physical abuse? Because I think that’s really important, and I know that you are not the only one in our community that suffers from it. First of all, I want to say I absolutely love that you have that boundary in place. I know that isn’t easy, and I know that probably scares you. I am so proud of you. Of course it does, because if you’re in love with him and you want a future with him, you don’t want to leave him, and any kind of boundary that threatens your future with him is scary to make. It’s terrifying because it’s not part of your dream.

 

So you feel forced to make it because you know physically it’s not acceptable, but emotionally, you’re still attached. It’s very hard because boundaries, healthy ones, are literally detaching. When you’re attached to somebody, a boundary threatens the attachment. And that’s why they’re so scary for us to make and to keep and to enforce. Because it’s literally like two pieces of Velcro, and a boundary gets in the middle of that Velcro and rips them apart. It separates them and says, “No more.” It doesn’t have to be physically separated, but it can mean anything.

 

So I want to talk about this because I think it’s important. If you set a boundary like that, Shayne— if you set a boundary where you are saying, “If you hit me or hurt me or touch me violently anymore, I’m going to leave.” That’s fantastic. Then you need to be willing to follow through. So do you have a bag packed? Do you have a place lined up where you know you can go at any time of the day? Do you have cash so that if he cuts up your bank cards or somehow shuts down your account you have access to it? How do you put the planning in place in order to move forward with that boundary?

 

S: Yes, I have a friend that—there was a week I was gone because this had happened. He actually scared me. He hadn’t hit me. I went to her house, and then I went back the next day with a civil standby officer, and he is previous law enforcement. I think that needs to come out too because there is so much addiction and so much mental and physical abuse that happens with officers. I’m learning that as well. We just had a horrible tragedy—murder suicide of an officer in our town, and we have a pretty small little community. That is just such a huge thing. But anyway, back to my story.

 

M: No, I’m really glad you mentioned that because I believe that—wholeheartedly believe that.

 

S: They turn to addiction and all of that to cope.

 

M: Absolutely. It’s very similar to—and, of course, we’re not generalizing that all police officers or law enforcement do this, but we are acknowledging that there is an underlying need—a desperate need for these men and women to get their hands on resources to help them cope with the trauma that they are dealing with on a regular basis. We cannot just expect them to go back home to their families and be normal. What they’re dealing with on a daily basis is not normal. Why would we expect them and not give them the tools necessary to cope?

 

It’s the same thing with soldiers. The rates of addiction are so high in veterans because what they’re exposed to is inhumane, and it’s just the worst of the worst. And then we just integrate them back into society without any kind of tools necessary. It’s cruel, in a way, to them. Here they are serving our country and keeping us protected with the law enforcement, and we’re not offering them enough help, and that’s just tragic. So I love that you brought that up. I think that’s so true. Thank you.

 

S: I think so. And he’s ex-military, so a lot of times the military turn to law enforcement because that’s what they know.

 

So anyway, he had scared me. He had been drinking. He’d scared me at last, and then when I got this civil standby officer, that was a hard thing. He called my own on me, and I stayed away. I need to figure out what to do, and I stayed away for a week. This friend will—no matter what time of day—if I call her to come and get me, she’s there. So I have a couple of them. I have some amazing friends that will, at the drop of a hat, no matter what time of day, they will come and get me, and they will help me. We do have separate bank accounts.

 

M: Huge

 

S: Yes, I mean all of those things I have…

 

M: I always advise women to do that if you—separate, separate, separate because I don’t know if you’ve ever done this, but have you ever looked through credit card bills and added up how much money is spent on alcohol? It’s crazy. It’s so expensive.

 

S: He hides it all from me. he has ruined—he can’t have a checking account because he’s ruined that. So he can’t have a credit card. He can’t even have a checking account, so I have a checking account. I have one that we both can look at, but then I have mine that he has no access to. He has no idea of anything that’s in that account.

 

M:That’s wonderful. Good for you. But you know, the sad part about that is I hear that, and I feel so proud of you, because that’s exactly what you’re supposed to do, but at the same time, my heart hurts for you because that automatically puts you in the position of the mother, not the wife. But the mother. And that’s not fun. That’s not a responsibility you should have to bear all on your own. That is not a partnership, that’s a child and a mother’s type of relationship. So let’s go back. Does he have any other addiction that he suffers from? Is he addicted to drugs or pills or pornography?

 

S: I don’t know. He has a heart condition, and he does take medication, so I don’t know as far as the pills. I really don’t think so just because of his heart condition and medication that he’s on daily. Pornography, I’m not sure either. I dealt with that with my ex, and that was a huge, huge issue with me. One of the biggest reasons I left was because I felt—I hated it so much.

 

M: Of course you did, of course you did. It’s awful, degrading, and disgusting. It’s a marriage killer. And it is more addictive than cocaine. So it’s everywhere. My sixteen-year-old son was exposed to it the other day. It’s everywhere. And it is terrible. That’s why there needs to be such clear boundaries on pornography in marriages.

 

So okay, you have this phenomenal plan which I am so proud of you for. You’re not giving yourself a lot of credit here. You’re doing some great work. You’ve got a plan set up; you’ve got your friends on standby. I want to talk to you about your friendships. That really makes me curious because I know for so many of us, we isolate ourselves because we feel embarrassed of their behavior. And we’re so obsessed with trying to get them sober that we lose our friends. We lose our old friends because this addiction becomes our main priority.

 

How did you manage to keep your girlfriends? Because I love and think that girlfriends are one of the biggest keys to our healing as long as we have a healthy, balanced friendship, and we don’t constantly use them to talk about our drama. How did you do that?

 

S: It’s always been a important thing for me. Always. That is one thing—and he’s actually tried to isolate me, especially from this one friend that’s my main go-to. She’s the one I stayed with for a week and actually, previously, her and I were roommates for a while. I think it helped both of our healings. We were just at that spot at that time. But it also brought us closer. We go to the same church. Our kids really—my son is 11, and she has a 12 and a 13-year-old, so our kids got really close and I just really feel like she was a gift from God. I don’t want to give that gift up. She’s such a blessing to me. God gave her to me for a reason.

 

So I try to remember that and be thankful for that and try to nurture that. She told me she—even if it’s just a text: “How are you doing today? How are things going.” And I work full time, so a lot of times I’ll call her on my way home, or he doesn’t even know I’m talking to her. But just checking in with her. I’m getting the kids ready for school—and not so much about our problems and issues, but just our everyday life on what’s going on. What service are you going to on Sunday? Just those little things to try to nurture that and to keep that. She’s my sister in Christ, of course, but just a soul sister too.

 

M: I love that. I think that’s beautiful. And I think you brought up a really good point and such wisdom that this disease does a very good job of trying to keep us isolated like you said because it wants control over us. It’s smart enough to know that outside influence is going to look at us and go, “You need help. You need support. This is not ok; this is not what love looks like. It is not the love that God intended people to share with one another.” I think that addiction feels threatened by friends.

 

S: That’s true.

 

M: It absolutely does a fantastic job guilt tripping us or using guilt or using control. At the beginning of our relationship, I would go out with a friend and get three text messages from him. “When are you going to be home?” Or, “We need more milk.” Or, “Where did you put the milk?” It didn’t even need to be something that was as obvious as, “When are you going to be home?” Just the fact that I could be out and that he needed me to constantly engage with was a controlling thing.

 

It wasn’t just, “I’m going to let you go out and have fun. You go out and have fun. And give you your time.” I think it’s great that you brought that up and that you don’t feel guilty for one second that you have support because if you didn’t have her in your life, and you didn’t have that kind of support, that would be tragic.

 

S: That’s another thing that I really discussed when read the Bible and God telling me to stand on what I know is true. You know, stand on the truth. And he was trying to use a lot of things at the church and said, “The pastor said this or that. So-and-so said this.” And I know it’s not true.  I don’t engage. I don’t argue. I’m sorry that you feel that way, and I continue to go to church because I do have a strong church family and I participate a lot at my church and just remember what is truth—the voice of truth and taking those blinders off and not allowing him to isolate me.

 

There’s been a couple of times when I’ve started to almost want to sink into that because of, like you said, the embarrassment. I found out he did cheat on me. We’d only been married four months. He got drunk one night. He hit me, and then he went to his ex-girlfriend’s house. I called her. I saw that he was texting somebody, and I knew he left that night, and I called her.

 

M: Good for you. Good for you for not just putting blinders on. What happened?

 

S: It was really bizarre. I didn’t know what to say. I said, “You were talking to my husband.” And she’s like, “He’s not married.” I said, “Yeah, he is. We got married on this day” And she’s like, “Nah uh.” And I said, “Did he come to your house about 1:45 last night? She’s like, “Oh my gosh!” And then we started talking, and she said, “I’m so sorry. I didn’t know.” I said, “I’m not blaming you. I know you didn’t know.” And she’s like, “If you feel unsafe, here’s my address. You can come to my house.”

 

And she told me, “I’m not going to lie to you. We were intimate last night.” And I fell to pieces. I was like, “That’s it; I’m done. I can’t do this.” We’ve only been married for four months, and I still don’t know why. But I confronted him about it. I went home and he was asleep. Actually, I came home and turned the light on, and I said, “I know where you were last night.” He said, “What are you talking about?” I’m like, “I talked to her, and I know where you went.” He said, “I drove around. I told you I drove around.” And I was like, “No, you didn’t.” And of course, he denied it.

 

It was the next day—she texted me and said, “I just want you to know I went to his work. I put a note on his windshield and told him never contact me, call me, or come near me, or I will call the police.” Well, he came home right after she texted me that, and he was furious. It was like he knew that I knew what I was talking about. He will still not admit it, but he knows that I know.

 

M: She sounds like an amazing woman. What a phenomenal woman to admit it and to apologize and offer you help and then cross that boundary. Did she ever tell you why she broke up with him?

 

S: Yes, oh yeah, we had a long conversation about that too, and she said because he was hiding things. He would hide—she says, “I wasn’t even allowed to tell anybody that we were seeing each other.” And she said she had never met his daughters, and she said everything was such a big secret and he hid everything. I was like, whoa, and that’s how I feel. He’s just got so many skeletons in his closet that he just keeps running past. He’s not standing to turn around and face them and deal with it. He just keeps running from them.

 

M: How do you think that God would feel if you left him? Is that something that you’d consider?

 

S: Yes, I get torn. I have an aunt that I’m very close to. I lost my mom in 2000, and this aunt has really stepped up to take on that mother role, and I talk to her pretty much daily. She’s always been super supportive, again, another one of my rocks in my life, and she’s like, “Ultimately, it’s your decision.” She’s like, “But I know that this is not how God intended for you to live.” But I also feel like God brought us together, even if it’s just to let God’s light shine, to maybe bring him a little bit closer, to be a witness to our kids.

 

He has two teenage girls—one that’s 12 and one that’s 15, and they absolutely love me. I love them so much like my own girls. They are such a huge blessing. They asked me last weekend, “Why did you come back? Why are you still with him?” And I told my son the same thing. I said, “I need to be obedient to God right now, but where I’m at right now is where I need to be, and I need to be obedient to him.” I also need to show you guys that even though times get rough, it’s not ok to just turn and run. Sometimes you need to fight, or even to just stand your ground, and let God fight for you.”

M: I totally hear you. I totally hear you, and one of the things about our community is that we don’t ever say you need to leave. Ever. Because we get a lot of that. Everyone offers that all the time. If we even remotely let them in, they say, “How could you put up with that?” We get enough judgment, and I have to ask because I completely understand having a heart that wants to obey God.

If you love Him that much, the biggest desire of your life is to—well, we try to make that the biggest desire of our life: to make Him proud and follow what He wants for us and do the right thing—be His light and be kind. When you said, “be obedient,” I can’t help but think about the kids. He has two girls and you have a son right?

 

S: Yes

 

M: If his girls or your son were coming to you in fifteen years saying to you, “This is what’s going on under my roof. I have a husband who has cheated on me, who scares me physically, who hides secrets,” what would you tell them?

 

S: I have another friend that I’m pretty close to, and we’ve kind of drifted apart a little bit, and that’s not on her part. But it’s more on mine because she saw right off the bat, I mean, right after we got married. She didn’t see it before, but she said, “You need to get out. Hold your head high. You didn’t know.” And she has told me, and she’s texted me every once in awhile. Every couple of days, I’ll get a text from her just asking how I’m doing, but I think she’s just waiting.

 

M: I think a lot of people are waiting in your life. I think God’s waiting. I think that the day that you decide that you are worth more is the day that you are going to lock into many open arms that have been waiting for you to accept the healing love, the compassion, and the strength that is being offered to you.

 

S: I have some amazing people in my life.

 

M: Yeah, and that I can see as a blessing. I can see God saying, “Every single one of those are my gift to you.” But I’m not so sure. I would never pretend to think what God is thinking or doing—ever. Especially not for somebody else’s life. But I just don’t think God gifts us abusive men. I will tell you this: I do think he gifts us addiction.

I know that addiction was the greatest thing that God ever allowed in my life. And he allowed it because I think he knew the only way to get me to change into feeling like a loving, beautiful, worthy, special, wonderfully made masterpiece he created—the only way for me was to bring in somebody who made me feel the exact opposite so that I build myself back up choice by choice.

 

It wasn’t so much me being a light to him because it’s been 10 years and he’s still drinking and using drugs. My whole light thing—that didn’t have an effect. That’s God job. God’s job is to be a light to other people and to change addicts and alcoholics. That’s not ours. But I will say that I don’t think I could have gotten to this place of self-acceptance without addiction, and it started the day I said—and I’ll never forget it—I might have mentioned this in the program, or one of the— I write so much I always forget where I wrote it.

But my daughter had to use the bathroom. And she was standing outside. We only had one bathroom in the house that was working at the time. And she knocked on the door. She was young at that time, and she’s like, “Dad, Dad, I need to use the bathroom.” And he said, “One minute, one minute.”

He made her wait for a while. It was a couple minutes. She was waiting so long. I went up to her and was like, “What’s going on in there?” (you know, the little toilet area). He opened the door and smoke just started pouring out of that bathroom area. And he walked by us, and he had this look on his face and this smirky smile, and she went into the toilet and sat down and started going to the bathroom, and she started breathing in that stuff.

I remember the exact place that I was looking at the wallpaper. It’s still in my head. I can draw it for you. And I remember thinking, “That’s it. I’m done.” I thought to myself: you can mess with me all you want to. You can cheat on me, you can look at porn, you can drink yourself to death, you can yell at me, you can push me around, and you can do all this stuff. You can scare me, but you will not mess with my babies.

 

And there was this place of strength that came out of me that I didn’t know existed. And it was because of my children and my children’s safety and not wanting them to be raised in a home where there’s—and you know this better than me—drinking because that’s what your stepdad did, and that’s what you were exposed to. You felt how much suffering and pain became of that and how you repeated the cycle of attracting other men in your life who are like that. I stopped there and said, “I will not allow this to happen to my kids.” That is no one’s will. No one’s will is to have kids exposed.  

 

I was broke. I had no friends, I had no money, and I had to call a shelter and ask how many nights I could stay. It’s a long story from there, but you have an opportunity here to break this cycle—to start a new generation of kids that are not exposed to this like you were. And I promise you, if we talk a year from now and you’re still in love and happy and living with him and you have discovered yourself, you know the way to stay out of his way and there’s joy in your heart and you’ve found truth, sunny skies, and breezy days, I would be thrilled for you. I’m not sitting here trying to convince you to leave. I promise I’m not.

 

S: I know you’re not.

 

M: You have to do what’s right for you. I’m just sharing with you my personal experience and how I got to that point. But it might not be that for you. It might not. It might not be anything like that for you. So there’s no judgment. None at all. Not for one second. No judgment whatever you decide to do… and I think this is helping you to become the woman you were created to be because look at how far you’ve come, and look at how much you’ve grown. That’s something to be really proud of.

 

S: Thank you. I’m trying. I have a tendency to not give myself as much credit as—people tell me a lot. I don’t give myself enough credit.

 

M: Celebrate your victories.

 

S: Yeah.

 

M: Well, why don’t—you know, I’d love to ask you: what are three things that you can think of to celebrate your victories? What do you like to do? What gives you joy? Name three things you can commit to doing that will say—even if they’re small—it could be just giving yourself 15 minutes in a bath or a walk around whatever. They don’t have to cost much. But I love for you— because I think that is part of your growth still—is recognizing all of the wisdom you have, all of the goodness that is inside of you. The beautiful creation that God made you.

 

S: Thank you. Gosh, my son gives me so much joy. That boy—he’s another gift. Just giving him a hug—I thought of going by his dad’s house. Me and my ex didn’t get along very well, but I think it was a huge blessing and prayer answered that we might actually get along as well as we do now that we can co-parent as well as we do. I can even, on his days, or I have something going on all I have to do is say, “Hey, can we do this, or can we do that?” So I thought about going to see him this afternoon because there’s a church event, and they don’t live too far from the church. That’s one thing that would bring me great joy is just to give my boy a hug.

 

M: I love that. That’s beautiful. Perfect. Do you have two more?

 

S: His two daughters are—they live about an hour away. They don’t come down very often, but since I’ve been in the picture and in their lives, they do come down more often. But I’ll see them tomorrow night. So I think of them as a blessing. They’re just the greatest girls ever. I could never have imagined—that’s another thing. How did I get blessed with such beautiful stepchildren? I heard so many horror stories.

 

And when they were here the last time, they asked me, “Why’d you come back? We’ll come down and spend the weekend with you.” I even talked to their mom, and she said, “Whatever happens, you are a positive influence in their life, and I will never keep that away from you or them.”

 

M: That’s so beautiful. Oh my gosh, how wonderful that she’ll allow them to still be in your life. So you wouldn’t need to walk away or turn your back on them.

 

S: Nope.

 

M: That’s great. That’s super special. I love that. And just so we can close with this, I think you have wonderful stepchildren. I do. But I also think you are a wonderful stepmother, and the way that you love, it is your greatest gift. I can tell by the way that you are talking about these kids the way you love them.

The tenderness, the compassion, the empathy, and all the things that people say make codependents (which I don’t like that word because I think there are so many blessings in codependency). I think what makes you beautiful is the way that you love people so unconditionally and tenderly, and I think that’s something to celebrate.

S: Thank you.

M: I am sure they are a gift in your life, but I know that you are probably a huge gift in theirs. It’s not normal. Everything you told me about your interactions with people is not normal. Like you calling his ex-girlfriend and saying she’s offered—a stranger you don’t even know, or your husband’s past relationships—that say, “Yeah, come on over.”

S: I know, and she texted me her address! I’m just unbelievable.

M: Yeah, but here’s where you need to take—that’s you. That’s your approach. That is your love. That’s the way you were created. That is your gift. If you were some abrasive—most women pick up the phone and go screaming out of control using craziness—calling names and being irrational and definitely not dignified.

But do you see that this is actually one of your greatest qualities? Do you see that about yourself—that that’s the way you love people? The way you handle people, the way you interact with people, it touches people deeply. To the point they want to give back to you. Because you’re so giving to them.

S: Yes. A little bit more yes. But when you put it that way…

M: Yeah, I think you should think about that because it’s really special.

 

S: Thanks.

 

M: Thank you so much for sharing your story with me today and trusting me. I am so grateful. And I can’t even tell you how many things are going to help women that you’ve shared. I know there is plenty of wisdom and little nuggets of truth that women are going to be touched by, so thank you so much. This was fabulous, and I appreciate it.

 

S: Of course. Yes. And you know, if it helps somebody else—a lot of times on Facebook, I don’t say a whole lot. I’m more of a doer than a sayer. And so my action is—one of my biggest things is show me. Don’t tell me, show me. And I think we have a hard time. My husband’s love language is words of affirmation, and that’s hard for me. And so even on the website, I’ll see things, and my heart goes out to them, but I have a hard time finding the words to say. A lot of times I’ll just say a little prayer for them. I think that’s beautiful.

M: I think that’s lovely and perfect. And we have lots of people who join the program who don’t even join the Facebook group. It’s not mandatory. It’s not necessary, and it doesn’t have to be a part of your healing. So I think it’s helpful if you are a group joiner or if you are the type of person that wants to be affirmed, that other women are like you and if you want to see what other women are recommending.

I think that’s great. But don’t ever feel pressured to share or speak up. I’m an introvert, and I don’t typically share a whole lot either in groups. So I always tell us introverts: We’re ok just hanging out in the wings and listening. Nothing wrong with us. So thank you for praying for them. That’s powerful and lovely.

 

S: Thank you.

 

M: Thank you for doing that. Alright, I appreciate your time so much.

 

S: Alright, and thank you, again, for all that you’ve done and all your help.

 

M: Absolutely. Bye-bye.

 

I know I say that I love every one of these women—because it’s so true. My heart was just bursting after this interview. Look at the remarkable kindness and love Shayne displays despite her past and the threat of her future.

 

I know we spoke about physical abuse very briefly in this episode. And I choose not to go into great detail because this is not my area of expertise, and I never pretend to be an expert in something I have not been trained in. But I do think it’s worth mentioning. If you are a woman who is experiencing domestic violence or abuse, I have a resource that is truly amazing.

 

I have spoken to this organization on numerous occasions. I am not going to throw out a resource that I have not done extensive research on. It’s called the National Domestic Violence Hotline. And they are truly one of the best in the industry. You can call them for free 24 hours a day at 1-800-799-7233.

 

I hope you found this podcast helpful. Listening to other brave women speak their truth is life changing. I hope you subscribe and leave a review. I love hearing your thoughts and feelings.

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