Hiya, this is all about Mariette Jansen and how I got where I am today…. and I am still on my journey. Will I ever arrive?
It has been tough and challenging at times. My wish is to offer you hope that life can change and the belief that you have to power to change it. I am a person, just like you, and I have come out the other end. If I can do it, you can do it.
At the time of writing- Summer 2017, I am happier than I have ever been, confident beyond belief (but not cocky), and free. I know who I am, what I want, what I need, what I am grateful for and what contributes to my happiness. I am way over fifty years young and looking forward to the adventures that are coming my way…..
Let me tell you part of my story. Because the story hasn’t ended yet.
Where it all started
Was I a happy bunny from birth? Certainly not.
Did I find a magic wand to create my happiness? Certainly not.
My life started off in a very dysfunctional family. Abuse was at the core of things, but not physical abuse. Emotional abuse, which is more subtle and more difficult to point out.
My mother is the blueprint of a narcissist and I know now that this was the source of the unhappiness for me and my siblings. A huge challenge for my mother was the fact that my eldest brother, the first born, was a special needs boy: never formally diagnosed (until he was in his late fifties). He has elements of Asperger, autism, cognitive issues and physical imbalances, which could not be hidden. My parents were not able to face the reality of my brother’s condition; they were in denial and as a result felt continuously frustrated by his lack of achievement as he was never able to meet their expectations. Anger and bitterness were part of the daily messages my parents put out. As a little girl I didn’t recognise what was going on. I only noticed that whatever I did, it was always wrong. In order to protect myself against the negativity and to stay sane, I developed the skill of positivity.
A gift for life!
Very often positive things find their origin in negativity. It was not only positivity that I developed, it was also the skill of accommodating my powerful mother.
Because if she was not happy (within the brackets of her unhappiness), she made sure that I was even more miserable. And I took on board that it was actually my fault when she was not happy and tried to act in ways that would make her happy. In psychological terms, I developed an external frame of reference – my happiness was created by my mother’s responses to my behaviour. Both my thinking and feeling were focussed on her feedback. If she responded with kindness (which hardly happened) I felt I had done the right thing. If she was dismissive, which seemed to be the default response, I crumbled inside and felt like a piece of dirt, a ‘nothing’. Because of my fear for dismissal I continuously walked on eggshells.
Now I can see that I closed myself off. I did not think as I never got a respectful response, I stopped feeling as it was too painful to feel. As a result I was totally empty.
I was a lost soul, with a positive outlook.
The emptiness I subconsciously experienced was being filled with an obsession on food and body image and grew into a full-blown eating disorder. Calorie counting, meal planning, good days, bad days, beating myself up, shame, desperation, disgust and anger were all part of the obsession. But…………… nobody knew.
I studied and worked hard, and was able to afford some solid therapy. I discovered that my ‘darling’ mother was actually a ‘first class narcissist’, who never should have had kids. But hey, that could not be reversed.
My career progressed and people around me thought I was doing great: international career, setting up my own business, great cars and holidays to the Caribbean…… And then, late thirties I met my prince! He was from England and I moved over here to be with him and check out if we could make it together. We did. We even multiplied! After the birth of my first boy, I had to give up my corporate job, which I did not like anyway, and started freelancing and training as a psychotherapist. That was heaven!
I had arrived professionally. I thought. Of course, that was only the starting point. I was always into exploring the deeper layers, interested in theories, in what makes us tick, what will help us human beings to improve our lives . The job of psychotherapy gave meaning to my explorations, as I could help others. So, I kept on exploring and studying, and I kept on sharing that as a ‘service provider’. And then…… the lightbulb moment when I realised that all the emotional turmoil, life’s challenges and difficulties, all come back to stress, as in feeling out of control: emotional stress, physical stress, and if you learn how to deal with stress, you learn how to deal with life.
After 15 years of working with individual clients, I have designed my own coaching approach, which has worked with everyone – so far. It is about aligning thoughts and feelings, keywords are courage and acceptance, and it is also exciting! Getting out of your darkness, finding ways to move forward and seeing the light. It is positive, it is fun (really quirky exercises), it is most of the time not that difficult, but oh may, does it move you on……..
I love my work, my clients, my life.