“Is there a girl in spirit with dark hair standing in the doorway?”
“Yes, there is,” I replied.
Scott asked me this back in 2011. We were lying in bed and I had channeled this lovely teenager earlier in the day. I remember being surprised and relieved he could see her, too. I can’t remember her name, but clearly, she was there and he could see her. Back then, every bit of validation from others was confirming I wasn’t losing my mind. We BOTH couldn’t be losing our minds at the same time although my scientific mind searched for other answers. Carbon monoxide leak? Too much chocolate? Not enough sleep?
Becoming a medium was far from easy or comfortable but deep in my soul, I knew it was right. I pushed much of this away over the past three years but I’m being called by my soul (and the children) to own it again. It’s part of me. It’s part of each and every one of us, to varying degrees.
I just happen to be an intuitive medium who communicates frequently with kids who suffered abuse, with children who came in and out of this life quickly through miscarriage or abortion, and with other spirits related to helping children in our world.
I haven’t written publicly about the children in spirit who were sexually abused and murdered and started coming to me in 2011. There’s risk and sensitivity around talking about cold cases and involvement in them as an intuitive medium but I will do my best to by not giving away nuggets that would put my family or myself in harm’s way. MANY mediums work on cold cases so I'm not special by any means. I was literally just a woman who fell into it without a plan or intention.
Some of the children who started coming to me were like Nate—they had no association with abuse and passed on due to natural causes. After I started to gain confidence, other kids in spirit started coming in. One child, in particular, came to me and I had no connection to her other than she was connected to a friend’s home/city. Let’s call her Anna. She told me she passed away in the 1980s and that she was murdered after being sexually abused. I had no idea what to do with this information. I wasn’t even sure I channeled it correctly or why she was coming to me. Scott and another good friend of mine who is a gifted medium, Stacey Bagwell, looked up her name and the area she was from and we found her case on the internet as a missing persons case. Another medium we knew and trusted confirmed the same information we had received without knowing a thing—we just asked about the situation without giving any details.
I knew I couldn’t just sit on this. I had to figure out how to connect the dots and she was guiding me to get ahold of her mom. The thought of reaching out to anyone scared me to death.
I sat on it. I was “chicken,” as my child-self would say. That feeling didn’t last long because more kids in spirit started coming in and giving me their names and details about deaths that occurred between 1980-1995. They all had the same stories: kidnapped, sexually abused, and murdered. Scott, Stacey, and I would look them up by name and sure enough, they would be staring back at us on the computer screen. We joked—because you have to when you’re suddenly immersed in murder cases—that we were like the Scooby Do gang.
Anna was still pleading with me to contact her mother so I nervously did. It’s terrifying to pass messages to anyone but a mother whose child had been missing for 30 years? I was almost paralyzed with fear that I would be the cause of more heartache for her.
I finally reached out and shared the information I had channeled and coupled it with what Stacey channeled, who was just coming into her gifts like I was at the time. Long story short, Anna’s mom believed me and was grateful I reached out. It was the detail of the information that wasn’t known publicly that convinced her. I was relieved I hadn’t hurt her further by reaching out. She knew, as parents do, that her daughter was no longer alive and she was happy that she was on the other side helping other children speak as well.
I had a choice to make at this point. I had to figure out how to communicate what was being said to authorities. This is sooooooo tricky. Most detectives don’t believe in intuitive information and for good reason. There are good, heart-centered, gifted mediums and there are the scammers. I was a mom who built furniture in her garage who never thought in a million years I would be connecting with kids in spirit let alone passing information to the authorities about multiple murders.
I was happy that the way was paved for me. I find that happens a lot, if I’m paying attention. A friend of a friend was a cop in that area. I was able to pass the information to him and that’s where I have to stop, with the exception of saying it eventually led to more detective relationships around the country that I’ve held dear for about six years now. Each time, the dots would connect and the correct information would get to the right detectives who believe in intuition. Looking back, it's amazing to see all the dots connect.
One in particular, Mr. Mark Pucci, and I have set out to work together on many types of cases, not just cold cases. We connected three and a half years ago when we both volunteered to work on a missing person’s case in the NYC area. Our connection came through friends. He’s an ex-NYPD detective who has worked as Executive VP and Chief Investigator for one of the largest, most noteable detective agencies in NYC called Beau Dietl & Associates. He recently left that agency to start his own and we are in talks about how to work together on a regular basis—coupling intuitive information with boots-on-the-ground detective work. I’m really excited to see what the future holds for us.
I’m happy to be back in the saddle again. I’m incredibly grateful to Scott, my friends, my family, my therapists, and my fellow mediums for pushing me to recognize and honor this side of me.
Helping kids in some way, shape or form is what I’ve always done. Now, I get the chance to help give a voice to kids in spirit and it’s one of the greatest gifts of my life.
P.S. I don't seek out cold cases and they don't present themselves often. I only get involved if the child comes to me and it's meant to be. I volunteer my time and I channel much more than details related to crime. Sometimes, folks will ask me to look at certain things they see in the news. And sometimes I help find lost dogs and cats. I'm a smorgasboard when it comes to channeling, really. :)
This website is mostly about my spiritual journey through healing but my furniture company is part of that, as well.
Just sharing a link to an update on Mod Mom, the furniture company I started in my garage back in 2007. I eventually landed on ABC's hit TV show, Shark Tank, with my company.
Here's the update:
(Part two of I HAD AN AFFAIR )
So...there I was leaving my husband for another man.
Life became complicated after High Point Market. I moved into the guest room and Scott and I told the kids we needed some space for a little bit. I communicated a lot with my new love and we tried to see each other frequently, which was easy because we struck up a business venture together. We traveled quite a bit. I live in the West, he’s on the East Coast.
The first six months were more bliss than heartache. We were forging a path for the business venture so everything felt exciting and new on both sides of our relationship—business and personal.
Little by little, small issues started to arise. Social media was one of them. Robert would ask who this guy was that liked my photo or who that guy was that commented. Clearly, he was feeling unsure about me and I naively thought that because I felt what I did for him, he would understand my love for him was true. I did not take into consideration that we met on social media, which also fueled the fire.
My new love was very open about all activities, which is a good thing considering for years he was seeking love in a lot of places and hid it. He made a point of telling me that this woman or that woman had a crush on him. I wasn’t used that kind of thing. I am not one to call things out like that; I never have been. I don’t take compliments well and I don’t presume people have ulterior motives even when they do. In many ways, I innately try to see the good in everyone and everything all the time. This is a blessing and a curse because sometimes, I don’t see clearly.
Several old friends wrote to me on social media—men who I’d known my whole life—to chat online. One said he wished he knew I was divorcing, he would have stood in line. That’s the way he is and I just laughed and wrote back I was flattered but was madly in love with Richard. I shared what I wrote with my love with the intention of being fully transparent about anything like that, as he was being with me. I was surprised to receive his feedback: “I wish you wouldn’t have said you were flattered.” I honestly didn’t know that was a bad thing to say. I thought it was normal. Sadly, this came up in fights over and over again for three years.
One time, after I had openly shared with Robert any communication with the two men I mentioned above and received less than stellar feedback, another man I barely knew wrote to me. He sent me a photo of myself. It was odd and I immediately panicked, knowing that somehow it would be my fault. I deleted the photo but not the message that followed (I don't really know why I did that, even) and then when Robert asked me if that particular man had ever written to me privately, I lied. I didn't want to deal with feeling like I was somehow to blame. It wasn't right to lie to him, but I did. I didn't know he had looked at my phone while I was out of the room and he saw the message before he asked me the question.
I started feeling really on edge about Facebook all together. We had made our relationship very public which was freeing but at the same time, I was starting to feel scared to post. Who would comment that he might feel strange about? Who would reach out and I would feel like I’m not handling the situation correctly? I started having dreams about Facebook because we would often fight there, in Messenger. If he perceived I was hiding something or doing something that threatened him, like saying I was flattered to my friend, then a fight would ensue.
I would dream we would be fighting on Facebook. I could see the words in my dream. I have had a tendency in my life to sleep walk and do things like that in my sleep. I even went on Facebook on my phone, half asleep one time, thinking we were really fighting and I needed to write back. It was clearly consuming my subconscious. I just kept feeling like no matter what I did, it wasn’t good enough.
As for my interactions with Scott, I never felt like I could do anything right there, either. I'm guessing he felt Scott’s true love for me. Even though I was totally convinced I had found the love of my life in Richard, I still obviously loved and cared for Scott as someone I was married to for 17 years and who is the father of my kids. I found that if I talked too little with him, it was a problem. If I spoke too much to him or about him, that was also a problem. I started to feel like I had to hide all communications with Scott (and delete some, because he might think I’m being too nice) or else I would end up in the dog house. And I never truly knew what would put me there.
About six months into our relationship, we were at a tradeshow together and he mentions that he noticed I make a lot of eye contact with men, particularly strangers as we were walking down the hallways. I was honestly shocked but I’m the kind of person who does question herself, so I did just that. Maybe I really did this type of thing and didn’t know it? It’s not intentional—I’ve never been a flirt. I learned early on in my childhood to make sure I looked people straight in the eye and stood tall and proud. Maybe I was too proud? I apologized and made sure he knew it wasn’t intentional. I was not looking for anyone else and I thought he knew that. Deep down, I remember feeling sad that maybe he misread my pesonality and was still not trusting my love for him. I thought of him as my “twin flame” – the once in a lifetime love that felt like nothing I’d ever experienced before. Why would I be looking for anything else? I wasn’t even looking for him when I met him!
The topic of eye contact came up many times over three years. At some point, I started to go from feeling like he had a point to feeling like maybe this was actually projection on his part. Maybe he used to make eye contact in a flirtatious way with lots of women and that’s the core of this. I would start to defend myself and plead with him but that just escalated things.
Towards the end of the three years, I casually waved to a guy at a tradeshow who had taken our photo the day before. I was caught off guard and noticed that he was looking in my direction so I gave a quick wave. We fought for five hours that night in the hotel room. I was crying uncontrollably and shaking because I felt like I was being accused of doing something wrong. At one point, he said, “Way to make him feel good, Kiersten.” This statement brought up so much shame in me that I didn’t even realize I was carrying. Shame from my childhood abuse. I clearly, subconsciously, thought I was to blame for my relative raping me and it was now playing itself out 40 years later.
What had I done? Why did this love hurt so much? Why did I keep going back even though I knew what I was in for? When I was being yelled at, I’d go back for more. I remember being screamed at on the phone and he would hang up and I would call him back. Who does that? Why would I put myself in the position of enduring more pain?
My rational brain was fighting so hard to understand. Eventually, through therapy, I came to understand two things:
Ultimately, I learned that I unknowingly created a wounded attachment to him. Our wounded parts literally drew themselves to one another and then we triggered each other over and over again. This article, along with therapy sessions, made all the puzzle pieces fit:
From the article: “As a child, depending on when the assault occurred and the developmental stage in which it occurred, the person seeks to please the adult and gain affection, attention, nurturing, love, trust, etc. A child who has been sexually assaulted blurs that idea of love, nurturing, trust, attention, and affection, and begins to believe that the only way to receive love, attention, etc., is to please the “assaulter.” This remains in effect as the child matures into adulthood.”
Sure, I was a people pleaser in my marriage with Scott, but there wasn’t any kind of abuse within the marriage at all. I felt respected and loved, even smothered with love at times. This relationship was showing me that subconsciously I indeed blurred the idea of love when faced with abuse. I was in a constant state of “please the abuser” and I wasn’t getting out of it anytime soon because the feeling of “love” was so strong.
My family and friends watched me go from a confident, social woman to someone they didn’t really know anymore who was on edge most of the time.
In PART 3, I’ll talk about the physical effects of living in this eggshell world that included literally pulling my hair out and enduring panic attacks.
Richard's response to this post:
"You are sick Kiersten. And you were sick in Chicago. And you're sick from the abuse you suffered as a child not any from me. And the blindness from your parents for their own facade all your life. Being sick does not make you bad. But it sure keeps you blind. And, you've lost the only one with the insight, guts, and the true love enough to tell you. You've surrounded yourself with only enablers. Truth needs NO validation. What happened in Chicago got to anger on both sides. And you helped big time! Just as you did all along knowing each button to push, when calm loving truth showed itself, you RAN again to projection and blame....
With love only,
Original Post on 7/27:
Since publishing my post about having an affair, I have been touched and overwhelmed by the number of messages coming in from women who've lived through similar relationships. I'm so grateful to connect with all of you—knowing I'm not alone is so comforting.
Turns out, several of us followed the same path: repressed memories of childhood abuse started to surface and shortly thereafter, we were diving head first into relationships that tested our very being. It's remarkable to see how we've literally drawn abusive scenarios to us in order to heal from the repercussions of childhood abuse we couldn't face until we were adults.
As I'm processing all of this and moving forward with my life, I keep having flashbacks to specific moments in the relationship that were so confusing to me despite the repetitive nature of our interactions. The pattern was predictable: I would do something he didn't like, I would hear about it from him, we would fight, I would blame myself, and finally, I would block it from my mind and move on. And the cycle would continue.
For example, we were in Chicago for an entire month for a work project, and early on, I did the unthinkable. I left the door unlocked to the dorm room we were calling home. I felt safe and comfortable on our floor alongside other professionals we were working with on the project. I'm pretty attuned to my spidey senses and I truly didn't feel any threat. Anyhow, one night, he went out with one of the other guys on the crew, and I stayed back to relax in the room and watch TV on my laptop.
He came back to find that I had not locked the door. I could feel the tension and judgement immediately even though he wasn't using harsh language or yelling. I wanted to rewind to a couple hours earlier when he was so happy to have me there. Then, he decided to go take a shower and tested me—he told me he was going and apparently the test was me locking the door after he left the room. Of course, at this point, I was still not feeling like it was that big of a deal so I didn't turn the lock. If I had realized it was a test, I would have baracaded the door. All I could think was that he was going to be right back. Surely, he must have meant lock the door when he's not anywhere nearby. The door opened and it became very apparent he was NOT happy. Over the next few minutes, much of what was said was in a condenscending tone. This was becoming pretty common because he is eight years older than me so naturally, I am the idiot.
I started to cry (as usual) and pleaded with him to understand that I didn't feel any threat. It was so innocent; I thought I was safe. Should I have locked the door? Sure. Did I think it would end up with us in a massive fight? No. I never for a second thought I was committing the crime of the century.
Over the next 24 hours, I was an emotional mess. I was first told by him, "You WANT the other men to come in, don't you?" which was then followed by the silent, angry treatment. This stage means no discussion but lots of huffing and puffing, stomping, doors slamming, and just general disdain for me. We went to sleep in different beds. The next morning was worse, much to my surprise. I thought by sleeping on it and calming down, he would see things from my side.
He did not. He left the room in a huff. I couldn't take it anymore—I had to get out of that room, too. I left and took a walk before we were supposed to start working on the project together that morning. I saw his car on the street perpendicular to the one I was on. My heart stopped. He pulled up, parked the car, and walked towards me with so much hate in his eyes. He said, "Kiersten, you're sick." I was devastated. How could he perceive me this way??!?! How could he think that I purposefully left the door unlocked because I wanted other men to come in? That's just not me. It's never been me. I'm a rape survivor, for crying out loud!
I told him I was going to look for flights home. I was a mess. That morning was one of the worst days of my life. I'm sure I looked like I'd not slept yet I had to keep it together to do the job I was there to do. We went to work and sometime during the day he came to me and said he didn't want me to leave. I felt relief but also fear. I was now walking on massive egg shells. I wanted so desperately for it all to just go away. After things calmed down, I literally just blocked it from my mind. Something I didn't realize I knew how to do.
In my old life, this same scenario would have been handled like this, if at all: "Kiers, hey, so I know you probably feel pretty safe in this building, but maybe we should lock the door just in case." I would have responded, "You know, you're right. Better to be safe. I'll do that from now on." End of story.
What I've come to realize about this incident and so many more is that it mimicked the abuse I endured as a kid. While I wasn't sexually abused, I was being emotionally abused and chastised. And what did I do? I did everyting I could to please him and plead with him, admitting it was all my fault for not locking the door. I felt so ashamed and wondered if maybe, subconsciously, I was wanting men to come in like he was saying but I didn't realize it. My physical body was giving me different signals. I was sick to my stomach (upper stomach where your power center/solar plexus resides) with the inner knowing I am not who he was suggesting me to be nor was I looking for attention.
Was it Little Kiersten groundhog day? I sure as hell didn't want to think that. I just wanted to swallow the blame and move on to the happy, Facebook-postable days that I knew would come if I just kept my head down and let him work through his anger. I was the idiot who didn't turn the lock, afterall.
For years, I would hear comments from him about me not using the correct lock, or "I sure as hell hope that when I'm not there, you lock the f*ing door."
Looking back, I should have left Chicago right then and there. I found a flight but I didn't leave because I didn't understand what was happening to me. All I knew was that I loved him and I hurt him, and I wanted to make it all OK.
I continued to take the blame over and over again, just like I did unknowingly as a child. It was so strange to be in a situation like this because the Kiersten I knew wouldn't put up with abuse. Even when the guys at the CNC shop tried to pull one over on me regarding pricing, I would call them out. And when I was on the TV show Shark Tank, I stood up to producers and Sharks when they tried to get me to do things that went against what I knew was right. I truly couldn't understand why I felt compelled to keep trying to please him and to immediately feel ashamed. I'm happy to report the subconscious repetitive patterning stops here.
Let's just say if the pattern was a dorm room, I've shut the door on it, LOCKED it, and burned down the whole damn thing.
I'm extremely honored to know several amazing women who have come through their own battles with being abused and/or the affects of abuse on a loved one. Kari Lanigan is one such friend. She will be guest blogging about her exprience with the cycle of abuse as it relates to her husband and her marriage. Their story is remarkable and inspirational. She did everything she could to help her husband—who endured multiple forms of abuse as a child--end the cycle of abuse and heal. From what I've heard from therapists and others who have gone through similar, it's very rare for most couples to make it through. Kari, it's truly an honor to have you as a guest blogger. Your wisdom and experience will help so many!
Understanding ABUSE Recovery and the Family Dynamic
I wrote this piece (below) and first posted it 9 years ago on Facebook. Back then, I was met with the response, "Sometimes you just have to get over it." I have since learned through my personal quest to heal my family, while researching abuse & family dysfunction, that this is a very common response and also a false notion that you can JUST get over it. Those suffering under the forces of abuse often feel devastated when met with this response from people they look to for support and understanding.
I have also learned (like the Little Red Hen) that often we are left to do our life work without any help from those who will show up to enjoy our harvest. Please know that I never gave up. Even when it truly seemed like I could not influence the forces working against my family, (forces which held my partner captive and tore the fabric of our home life into shreds for 20 plus years), I continued to seek the truth out of love for my family and a desperate need to heal the causes of our collective suffering. I found a mountain of articles and books which accurately describe the complexity of what we were experiencing. And in spite of the total lack of family support, we found the tools to break free from this nightmare together. Still, the collateral damage is enough to make me feel sick inside. The damage is alive and ever expanding in front of us, but we continue to work on ourselves, work on our responses to life, and strengthen the bonds within our family.
This is not an appeal for likes or sympathy. It's also not a stab at anyone. It's just my truth. I am grateful for the chance to say that life is getting better every day and the cycle of abuse here has FINALLY officially ended for my husband, Pete, and I. We only hope that now we can help our children recover some of what they lost while we were all struggling to survive this nightmare.
Healing begins with self examination & often relates to early childhood influences including parenting. We all make mistakes and carry wounds from our childhood which influence our perceptions, attitudes and responses. Often we pass our misguided perceptions and responses on to our children by being models. Regardless of the messages we want them to hear, we SHOW them what to do in life, good and bad. We tend to model what our parents modeled to us; good and bad. Such is the cycle of abuse. It continues until we are willing to examine it carefully and work diligently on reprogramming fear-based behaviors. For those interested, here is a book called Emotional Alchemy: How the Mind Can Heal the Heart that has proven instrumental in helping us identify and address some of the many issues we have endured.
* The piece below was written 9 years ago--long after our struggle began and long before it was finally over. Proud to say hallelujah!! We are free at last!!
December 1, 2009
1. Don’t Cry: When a child is abused by his parents, he learns to close off his emotions to the world, because tears are not effective tools for extracting compassion from the controllers of his fate. He learns to resent the tears of others, just as his own tears were resented by those who abused him. Tears are a tool for extracting further abuse. He doesn’t need that tool.
2. Don’t Speak: When a child sees his siblings abused by his parents, he learns to not speak up for those in pain, because doing so will only bring further hell upon them and upon his self. He fears the cries of others as they render him powerless and remind him that he has no voice. A voice is a tool for extracting further abuse. He doesn’t need that tool.
3. Don’t Protect Yourself: When a child is abused and cannot protect himself from that abuse, he learns to accept it. He doesn’t need to protect himself, because it does no good.
Don’t protect yourself.
4. Don’t Protect Others: When a child’s family members are being abused, he learns to cower. He doesn’t need to protect others from abuse, because protecting his loved ones means he will suffer along with them and they will suffer further pain.
Don’t protect others.
5. Don’t Bond: When a child is abused by his parents’ hatred for one another, he hurts and at the same time learns that spouses are sources of chaos and destruction of happiness. He doesn’t need a partner.
6. Don’t Value Home: When a child’s world is dissected by the violence within his own household, he learns that home is not a safe, warm place. He doesn’t need a home.
Don’t value home.
These are the seeds planted in the eyes of abused children since birth. These are the seeds that have now grown to maturity. I am the reaper. It is a large crop deep with weeds of destruction that have taken over my world… and my children’s world as well. There is no remedy, but to turn the fields, sterilize the soil and plant anew. It’s a job I cannot do alone, as this field of deadly life-sucking weeds stretches as far as the imagination can wander; far into the futures of generations to come.
I am not abused.
So why then,
When I cry, my tears are resented?
When I speak, my voice is hated?
When I protect myself, I am viewed as selfish?
When I protect others, I am viewed as controlling?
When I reach out to bond, I am rejected?
When I long for the warmth of home, I am denied?
If I try to explain these things to my children, I am unfit?
When I lose myself in anger and frustration over this injustice, I am crazy?
There are many children being raised in the far reaching shadows of abuse at this very moment.
There are many adults unable to see from behind the shadows their parents cast over their eyes long ago.
I am their muffled cries.
I am their silenced voice.
I am their impotent protector.
I am their empty home.
I am their broken spirit.
I invite those who planted the seeds to come and turn the fields with me.
I invite those who have suffered to join us in the fields for the planting of new, healthy seeds.
I invite family, friends and neighbors to join in for the harvest of a wholesome crop.
I invite future generations to the feast of a lifetime, free from emotional suffering caused by domestic violence and it's long, long shadow of perpetual family dysfunction.
I had an affair.
For lack of a better term, affair fits the bill given where I am now in my life, and the fact we were both married when we entered into the relationshiip . I truly thought I was heading into a partnership with the love of my life but it didn't turn out that way.
Even though this is hard to pen, I want to write about it for myself and to help others who may have gone through something like this or will in the future. Let’s start at the beginning.
In March 2014, I had been married for 17 years. People thought of us as one of those couples that would never break. We rarely fought and we had a lot in common. Sure, we had moments of wondering about old exes and normal life stressors that come with wedding bands but overall, we had a good marriage.
With that said, we had been through a lot of financial strife, moves across the country, and some medical scares. We moved seven times in 10 years and had to declare bankruptcy at one point due to multiple layoffs. I didn’t know it at the time, but I had stuffed a lot of emotions (and resentment) about life in general. I hid my feelings a lot. My role was more as a fixer. Job loss? No problem. Let me teach myself to build furniture and build a company that will help sustain us. I was good at fixing stuff outside of me, but inside I felt a hole I didn’t know how to fill.
To add insult to injury, I found out I was sexually abused from the ages of 3 to 6 at the same time our dog of 19 years passed away. It was a rough December of 2013. I was kind of a mess but still convincing myself I was holding it together. I always held it together. Ever since I was a kid, I was a perfectionistic, over-achiever who was super responsible. I honestly thought I was just going to think my way through everything like I always did. I had no idea what was bubbling under the surface.
Now, back to March of 2014. I had just inked a spokesperson deal with Stanley Furniture and was about to sign a licensing deal as well. A friend of mine introduced me to the man I had the affair with on Facebook named Robert. She shared a post about my new gig with Stanley and he saw it and, poof—we were connected.
It felt good to know this man thought highly of my work. I, too, admired what he had built for himself career-wise. He would reach out on occasion over the month of March and I would write back. He sent me music a couple of times. Truly, I was just trying to keep my head above water with my new job and prepping for the big tradeshow in April where I would sign the deal and perform some of my first spokesperson duties. And I would be lying if I said I wasn’t curious about him.
He reached out asking if we could have dinner when I was in High Point, North Carolina for the tradeshow. Feeling like that was not appropriate because I was married but also still wanting to meet him, I suggested I stop by the showroom where he was showing his furniture and we also made group dinner plans with two mutual friends.
It’s time to head down for Market, the furniture industry’s largest tradeshow in the America. I flew in on a Tuesday to prep for a sales meeting prior to when the normal trade show event opened. I left Flagstaff with such promise and excitement. I had finally done it! After so many years of hardship and struggle (and countless hours of building everything by hand), I was finally going to scale my furniture company. I get off the plane in North Carolina and turn my phone on. Texts messages are flooding in. “Did you see the press release?” I reached out to my husband immediately after landing and he said, “Kiers, Stanley Furniture just put out a release saying they are shutting down production of their youth furniture division.” My head was spinning. Did I just lose my job and licensing deal and I’m now stuck in North Carolina? In a nutshell, yes. They confirmed they couldn’t tell me what was happening because they are a publicly traded company.
Needless to say, I’m a wreck at this point. I was so angry. The deal that had taken seven months to solidify was now in ashes. They offered to fly me back to Arizona immediately but I realized the gravity of the situation. I was, at the time, the main breadwinner of my family; therefore, I need to make something happen in North Carolina during the tradeshow. They agreed to pay all of my expenses and understood they owed me at least that much.
I cried while getting my rental car. The drive from Charlotte to Greensboro felt especially long. I couldn’t stop crying. I was scared to death. We had been struggling financially already and now this? I still had some hope maybe they would keep me on as a spokesperson for the other lines of furniture they owned. I clung to that ultimately foolish thought.
I spent Wednesday waiting to hear from the CEO and senior executives at Stanley. Mostly, I cried in my hotel room and reached out to everyone I knew who might be able to help me meet with other big brands. So many wonderful people made connections for me—I truly saw the heart and soul of those I had met in the industry thus far.
I remember getting a Facebook message from Robert. He was so supportive saying he knew I would make something else happen—that Stanley would be crazy to lose me. It felt good. He had also mentioned previously that we should talk about collaborating on a kids’ furniture collection. I liked the idea of that.
Thursday was filled with more tears and meetings and Friday, the day we were supposed to meet at the showroom, had arrived. I met him in his showroom and he was charming, supportive, and really so respectful. I could feel a soul level connection between us but I wasn’t sure why. I just felt like he was someone I’d known for a very long time.
He helped me find a spot to charge my phone and we talked more before he left to go back to the showroom. It was time for me to get ready for an industry event for women. I was happy to be going with a girlfriend of mine.
While at the party, I received a Facebook message from him. It was a confession letter—he said he felt an instant connection in March, the moment he watched one of my online videos. He also said he thought I was a beautiful soul and he “would be loving me from a far” and if I didn’t feel comfortable, he would not attend the group dinner scheduled for the next night. I remember reading the letter in the center of a cocktail party and feeling everything around me stop. I was taken aback but flattered at the same time. I told him not to worry, there would be no weirdness and that dinner with our friends was still on for the next night.
It was time for the group dinner. He arrived and was very charming, as usual. We all laughed and talked about the industry and what was happening in our lives. Everyone rallied around me knowing how worried I was about my future. I remember hearing my text message alert going off at dinner. It was him. He was sitting next to me but texted me two things: 1.) You look beautiful tonight and 2.) I wish I could hold your hand under the table. A rush of adrenaline went through me. It felt like a drug, honestly. I was surprised he was writing those things but at the same time, not surprised based on his letter to me. I was still spinning from his use of the word love in the letter but his directness was both shocking and intriguing. And let’s face it, that kind of energy felt a lot better than what I was facing in my real life.
We continued to get to know each other over the next three days. Each night, we would gather in a hotel room and drink wine—the four of us—and talk about life and love. I could feel myself really being drawn to him. One night, after driving back from another group dinner, he sent me the text, “I wish I could spend the night with you.” This text made my heart stop for a second. Wait, what was this? Was he trying to woo me to get me in bed? Was that what this was because it felt very different to me—deeper—and I thought it felt different to him? I can’t remember exactly what I said but something to the lines of maybe in another life, that would be nice. I felt so drawn to him yet to scared, too. I knew what I was doing was wrong. I could feel myself pulling closer to him. He later clarified that "spend the night with you" meant just spend as much time with me as possible, not necessarily make love. I believed him.
We continued to hang out and I continued to feel his love for me. I even was so bold as to ask him to accompany me to an industry dinner four nights after meeting him. We eventually ended up having a full-on affair that week. I just gave in to my feelings. It was a rush like I’d never felt before. Even my personality changed a bit—I was becoming more direct, less “responsible,” silly, and adventurous. Looking back, I felt like I was sliding down a hill and I couldn’t stop myself and I didn’t want to, either. He shared intimate details about his marriage to the mother of his kids as well as a woman he’d fallen in love with online five years prior but that was waning for him and he admitted he came to the conclusion she wasn’t “the one.” He reiterated I was the one he’d been searching for all over the world.
He told me he loved me and I told him I loved him. He was very “take charge,” as in he was super motivated to not just show me that he had fallen in love with me but show me he cared about my company. He volunteered to help my furniture brand, which was now in limbo. It felt really good to have someone just want to help take over, especially when I was so tired of feeling like it was all on my shoulders. If there was such a thing as magic on all fronts, this is what it felt like. I kept moving my return flight to stay longer. At one point, Scott, my husband, asked on text if I was having an affair. He's quite intuitive and the sheer fact I kept delaying my return was a big sign. I denied it. I was used to denying things to myself, although I felt horrible for doing it and hurting him.
Seven days after heading to High Point Market, I was on my way home thinking about this man that seemed to float into my life like an angel. I knew I didn’t want to lose him but my head was also spinning with what had just happened.
I returned home and acted like everything was normal while I frantically tried to figure out how to handle it all, but Scott could tell it was not OK. Everything had changed overnight, so it seemed to him. I was so scared to turn my life upside down on top of what had already happened career-wise in High Point but I also thought I was in love with another man.
Like most husbands whose wives were gone for a week, after a couple of days of me back home, he wanted to be intimate. I was struggling so much with it but was not ready to tell him what had happened in High Point so I went into smoothing and accommodating mode and gave in. I thought of it as something I just had to do to give me more time. It had been a whirlwind week and my life had just turned upside down. About a week after I got home, I finally mustered the courage to talk to him and tell him I wanted out. It was like I had blinders on; like I was under a spell even. He was in shock and devastated. I felt horrible for him but I couldn’t see anything but moving towards a life with my new love.
I eventually told Robert that I slept with my husband because I just wasn’t ready to blow up his world yet but it had nothing to do with wanting to be with Scott anymore, I reiterated. Robert was not happy—he ultimately felt I had cheated on him with my husband. I carried that with me for three years and it was a source of constant conflict and shaming.
Robert also told his wife that he wanted a divorce—that he had met me—and he also revealed to her his affair with the woman overseas that, up until then, she didn’t know about. He told me she knew he was looking around but that was it. Robert also told the woman overseas about me after we got back from North Carolina. To many, this would have been an obvious red flag, but to me, I believed what he said to me. He truly was looking for me all over the world so his infidelity made sense in a weird way.
We felt like we’d found one another because we were supposed to—it felt written in the stars. This feeling was more powerful than anything I’d ever experienced. We’d found the fairytale.
In actuality, we found three years of extreme highs and extreme lows. Two people who, I believe, truly loved each other but carried wounds from their childhood that were making it impossible to sustain an emotionally stable relationship for long stretches. He felt I had cheated on him with my husband after I came home from Market and couldn’t trust my love was true for him and I was starting to feel controlled and judged, like no matter what I did, it wasn’t good enough.
There’s A LOT more to the story of how we moved forward, triggering one another and opening up old wounds for over three years. Wounds I didn’t even know I had! Our perfect relationship was turning on its head and I know he felt the same way. Little did I know, Little Kiersten—the young child in me who had been abused by her a distant male relative at such a young age—was literally in the driver’s seat, clinging to what she thought felt like love. My adult brain was pushing back, standing up for myself, and saying wait a minute, this doesn’t feel like unconditional love.
The struggle was real—hard times brought pain and confusion and the sense that I needed to suck it up. I had made my bed, right? Plus, I loved him. I loved the man the public sees, and the one that I saw fifty percent of the time behind closed doors. Surely, it could go back to the way it was in the beginning when everything was perfect? I also thought many times that maybe he was right about me. Maybe I do look at men with extended eye contact and I don’t realize it. Maybe I am preying on grieving parents. Maybe I am sick in head. Maybe I don’t work hard enough. Maybe I’ve always been this way but didn’t know it. Maybe there’s a lot I needed to fix that I didn’t see before I met him.
Now, fast forward to a couple weeks ago. I published my blog post talking about the demise of our relationship in response to what he was sharing publicly on social media. He shared a lot with his ‘friends’ that put him in a beautiful, caring, loving light. He's not been shy about sharing his love for me and his disdain for me and how I wrecked the relationship. It’s smart, really. Most of his Facebook fans are women and the last two relationships he’s had with married women, while married, started on Facebook. He looks like the saint, and I was and apparently still am painted as the only sinner. It's ironic because all of the posts cast me as being a liar and insinuate 100% honesty from him.
The post I published on July 2nd hit home with several women Richard had been with and they reached out to me. I quickly realized that the letter he sent and the things he said to me were almost identical to what he had shared with each of them. The same lines and the same songs were shared. I wasn’t the only woman who made him “feel like a teenager.” I wasn’t his only “baby” that he loved #TNF (then, now and forever). And it turns out, the tantric massage he’d talked about with me wasn’t brought up because he’d finally found his true love and he wanted to experience that with me. Nope. It was something he said to women before and after me. And something he professed that he was doing as a side business: tantric massage. Unbeknownst to me, he was already diving head first into dating sites going after other women with the same lines while he was still telling me he loved me and was solely focusing on his children, and he was hoping I would come to my senses and come back to him with apologies and truth. He was waiting for me to change, he said, but he wouldn't wait forever.
Learning all of this was a dagger to the heart, no doubt, but also what I needed to finally let go of hope that what we had was unique and meant for eternity. For the first time since I met him, I truly didn’t know who he was. I was so hurt that what I believed wasn't true. I wanted to believe I was different from the other women.
While I definitely believe that we were supposed to meet and experience all of this together, I now fully recognize that it was for a different purpose than spending our lives together as a couple.
I struggle with balancing knowing the big picture of it all and the purpose behind it and feeling the real emotions of losing someone I loved and more importantly, I thought was real and true.
Through this relationship, I’ve come to learn that the true gift is finally knowing without a doubt what unconditional love feels like from my husband. I have always felt loved for who I am by Scott but it truly took experiencing the opposite of that to help heal Little Kiersten and Big Kiersten. I was finally able to recognize and release the shame I carried my whole life from the abuse I suffered as a child. I wasn’t to blame for what my relative did to me as a young child, and I’m not to blame for 100% everything going pear-shaped with my relationship with Richard or the pitfalls in his life. It turns out, dealing with repression and subconscious programming in my brain is something I was NOT prepared for at all. The programming just stays with you whether you recognize it or not, until you’re triggered. This is something I want to speak about going forward.
So, there you have it. I had an affair. In my mind, it never felt like that because I thought I was moving towards my forever but nonetheless, it was an affair. I truly never thought I would be the woman who goes through something like this, but I most certainly was one. I'm not alone. I'm overwhelmed by how many women I know are coming out of the woodwork with similar stories.
Life is messy. Life is complicated. Life is beautiful. I am grateful for the gifts of love, friendship, and learning and I can't wait to see what this next phase holds for me as a woman who has finally healed from her past.
P.S. I have come to grips with the "whys" of all of this and explained it in a recent blog post: There Are No Coincidences. And I did read this to Scott last night and he's in full support of me telling my truth despite the fact it's so revealing. He's quite an amazing man.
*** PART TWO of this blog is here.
UPDATE: I posted this on July 2, but ultimately took it down because there was a retaliation campaign, as I feared. I feared it, but I don't fear it anymore. Because of this post I shared, multiple women came forward telling me the same thing happened to them with the same man. The same lines, the same songs, and the same promise of tantric massage. It was heart breaking to realize that what I thought was real, was never real, but in my most recent post, I do truly understand it all now.
July 2, 2017
So this just happened.....
The man I've been in a relationship with posted his very well-crafted status update about the demise of our three-year romance. And it sent me through the roof. It took all I had to not want to shout all kinds of shit from the rooftops on my own Facebook page.
Here is his status:
"I'm picking myself up off the ground. It's time to finally heal this completely broken and devastated heart. Time for healing, learning, clarity, and never giving up hope for authentic truth and love, I'm proud I was able to give all of myself, all of my love, and all of my truth. And I'm grateful for the beautiful lived, the peace I'll now find, and gifts I know will be on the other side of pain. #MyTruth #TNF #Love #Pain #Healing #Life"
I'm not gonna mince words, it enraged me. We've both made mistakes in the relationship based off of old wounds and just plain stupidity sometimes, but it appears he was truly a saint, proudly giving all of himself perfectly, according to his public announcment to 5000 of his closest friends. At least, that's how it reads to me and a few others. I'm sure to some, it just seems par for the course for who he is publicly.
I completely admit to not making good choices at times. I've lied, albeit out of self-preservation and fear of some sort of misunderstanding, but still, I lied. And I know better than that. I've slung emotional mud at him in angered response to things we went through. I've been scared at times, like when someone called the cops because they heard yelling. I participated but as one cop said, "we could hear him yelling at you from down the hall." And then at the end of the visit, "Ma'am would you like a pamphlet that you can work through to find out if this is a good relationship or not." Um....yeah...I'm thinking you can save that pamphlet. I already know deep down (but don't want to believe) that what I thought was true love likely an opportunity for me to shed past patterns of pleasing the abuser and blaming myself for the abuse. That's the simplified nut-shell take on the situation, but I also know there are a lot of factors at play that we can't see.
So why am I so angry? He's just trying to share his pained state of being right now and I know he can only see it the way he does? Do I care what others think? Sure, I do! But mainly I'm sick and tired of hiding the secrets. The secret of abusive behavior. I've done it since I was a kid with the man who abused me as a child and I've done it as an adult and took on the guilt that I was to blame for it.
Does this make him a bad person? No way. I love him. I will always love him. He's talented, brave, sensitive, and really cares about justice. But you see, he's an abuse survivor, too. We have triggered each others deep wounds. And for now, he only sees it the way he sees it and I understand that. I only see things the way I see them, too. And maybe there's no right or wrong in either viewpoint but what is soul crushing is that we were hurting each other despite only wanting to love one another.
The one thing I feel pretty certain about is that there is truth in our experience. Truth that things would be different if neither of us had experienced what we did. The cycle of abuse is real. Generational abuse is rampant and it's affecting so many of us on such deep levels. For me, because I repressed memories of my abuse until age 40, I didn't even know I was running subconcious programs that were wrecking adult relationships. I'm just now learning that at age 43.
I'm realizing as I'm going through healing—including both psychological counseling/EMDR therapy and spiritual healing—that I attracted this. Like a magnet, I drew to me a relationship that would open the doors to healing for me and I did the same for him, even if he doesn't see it that way.
It's heartbreaking. It's something I want to write more about because I believe strongly, especially for survivors who have repressed memories, it's like flying blind your whole life not knowing why you are pleasing, smoothing, and accomodating everyone and their brother no matter the cost to self.
For now, I'm starting here. Starting slowly. It's going to be hard to admit some of my lowest moments and bad choices but I think true healing starts with awareness and truth.
I used to believe that life was entirely what you made it. I still believe that’s true on a choice level, but I now I fully believe that some things in life are truly fated. That each person comes into your world for a reason.
It’s no secret that, for me, trusting my intuition and my ability to communicate with spirit has been paramount in my recovery from my childhood abuse wounds. I write about it in my story.
But let’s go back in time a bit, shall we?
In 2009, I was feeling a hole in my life. I couldn’t quite put my finger on it but I felt kind of empty. I never really believed in psychics at the time, mostly because I was so scientifically wired that I just felt like I wasn’t sure if all that was real. Nonetheless, I decided to reach out to one in our hometown. Maybe she knew something that would help me figure out what was happening with me?!? I was in my mid-thirties and just feeling like I was in a funk but didn’t know why. This was before I found out I was sexually abused by a relative when I was very little.
I nervously sat in a leather chair in her office and kept looking for the catch. Was there a guy behind a curtain with a laptop playing detective with my name on Google? I thankfully found none of that. I gave her my first name and she immediately started channeling messages for me.
“You are really good at making things happen outside of you,” she said. “But you have a lot of healing to do on the inside.” Okkkaaaaayyyy. Um, what does THAT mean, I thought? I continued to listen.
“You will go on to help millions of people. You have many gifts but your own personal healing is paramount, first. Everything you have ever done in your life will come together, nicely. Keep writing. Keep doing public speaking. You will write at least one book, maybe more. I want you to do what you’re meant to do—I want it for you, for your kids, for my kids, for everyone.”
I sat there stunned and thought what the hell is she talking about? I make high-priced kids furniture in my garage. How does that help anyone, truly? Mind you, this was shortly before I started channeling children in spirit. It was before I understood the connections.
I think back on that time because I was in such a different headspace. I didn’t know about synchronicity in life. I didn’t realize that people come into your life for a reason.
Shortly thereafter, I started receiving messages from kids in spirit who had endured sexual abuse in their lifetime. Some passed from drug overdose to numb the pain from the abuse. The theme of sexual abuse was starting to emerge. I ended up working on a few cold cases, mainly with one particular detective in NYC, who I’m still working with today. Mark helped validate that I wasn’t going crazy and that what I was providing through intuitive work was actually helping put the pieces together and validate the "boots-on-the-ground" detective work he was doing. I'm good at finding key locations/evidence. I have no idea how or why it's this way, but I'm grateful I can help.
At the end of 2013, I started to put all of my personal pieces together. I was having flashbacks of the abuse I endured and had enough faith in myself as an intuitive to know it was real, alongside other “real life” evidence. I was starting to see nothing as a coincidence.
In early 2014, I started having an affair but I didn’t realize it was ultimately something that I was going through for other reasons. I looked at it like I had found my forever love. The attraction and connection felt undeniable and fated. (I’ll write more on the affair soon.) Everything felt perfect at first, but then it started to turn. And as luck would have it, one of the families I met through the non-profit I ran—where I volunteered my time helping grieving parents—would play an instrumental role in helping alert me to the cold, hard truth that I was nowhere ready to see, yet. I consider Yvette, who is living, and her son Jason, who passed years ago, to be true angels for me.
Early on in the affair that I thought was leading to a new life, Jason came through in spirit saying, “This is not what it seems, Kiersten. This relationship is not what it seems.” I was stunned to get that message because it went against everything I was feeling. I didn’t want to believe there could be anything but sunshine and roses ahead and that our plans for our future were indeed solid and true.
Over the past three years, as I struggled with my life path and started to see the true picture he was talking about, Jason was still there, chiming in along the way. He never gave too much, because it was ultimately for me to figure out, but he reinforced that I indeed knew the truth deep down. Recently, after the relationship ended, he came to me and said, “Kiersten, everything you are going through was laid out long before you were born. You will be a conduit for others, but not until you are healed or on your way to healing. This is still tough for you.”
He’s right. It’s all tough for me—the guilt, the recovery, the loss of what I thought was real—but I am beginning to trust myself again and trust all of the human connections I have in life and in spirit. It’s undeniable to me now that sometimes you need to heal old wounds by going through life experiences that pour salt in those wounds, especially when you’re dealing with repression of trauma.
I’m thankful for my family and friends who have truly been by my side through it all, even when they didn’t agree with my choices.
About a year into the affair, my husband told me he went to see a shaman in Sedona two months after I told him I wanted a divorce. She said to him, “It will take Kiersten two to three years to come out of this. It’s part of her healing journey.”
He held onto that through all the pain and during my cocky, stubborn times where I was sure I knew what I was doing. It’s truly the greatest gift—one that came, again, from spirit.
If I’ve learned anything over the past nine years, it’s that there are truly no coincidences.
I believe in you, Fate, even when I can’t see the forest for the trees. And even when it hurts.
"You haven't split into different personalities—your personality is very strong. You do not have multiple personalities, you just haven't been able to integrate "parts" of you, like little four-year-old Kiersten who was abused."
I almost kissed my psychologist today when she said that. I truly never thought I was dealing with dissociative identity disorder; however, upon learning about the abuse I suffered, I started to question everything. Not being able to easily access memories from childhood also makes all of this feel really fuzzy.
Apparently, my inner child is someone I need to get to know better and integrate more fully into my whole self. She seems to want attention and love and has been trying to get my attention as well as steering much of the way I react to things in life. I just didn't know this was what was happening. Sexual abuse is what she knows; therefore, abuse equates to love for her. Honestly, it's strange to write about her like this because she's part of me.
My psychologist gave me some exercises to get to know her better. I'm not gonna lie—it feels kinda scary and foreign to me. I'm sure that sounds crazy being that I frequently channel spirit and THAT in itself feels crazy to a lot of people. I'll try anything at this point. I'm going to give it a whirl and trust that she's coming through to me now because I'm fully ready to heal.
One thing that has become very clear over the last few weeks is that little Kiersten—due to the sexual abuse I endured between the ages of 3-6—believes that it's her job to keep a man happy and do what he wants. This is NOT how I was raised by my very progressive, loving parents, but as I grew, I continued to people please and focused on making everything ok for everyone around me, male or female and I didn't even fully realize what I was doing all of these years. It was just who I was—the caretaker, the perfectionist. I'm starting to fully understand the meaning of a mid-life crisis and just how much your subconscious affects your life!
So what's next? EMDR therapy is next. I've heard wonderful things about this type of modality for trauma survivors and I'm hopeful that it will help me be able to integrate Little K.
Like other survivors, I want to heal and move on. I want to honor what I've been through in life but not let it become my identity or consume me. I truly just want to get to know the "REAL" me, the whole me.
I have questions for you!
I'm preparing to put together a Ted Talk on recovering from childhood sexual abuse—specifically coping with repression and its affects. I am gathering information for this talk (and plans for future healing centers) and would GREATLY appreciate your help.
If you experienced childhood sexual abuse and repressed memories of it until you were older, please take a moment to fill out this quick six-question survey. It's anonymous and should only take a couple minutes.
I'll be sharing the results as soon as I compile the data.
Thanks so much for helping!