[00:00:00] Yvonne Heimann: Hello, and welcome back to Boss Your Business. Now, I want to introduce you to Dana S. Diaz. You are a wife, mother, and author of the bestselling book, Gasping for Air, The Stranglehood of Narcissistic Abuse. I am taking that title right now for everybody. Guys, if you are still in the middle of it and you can't take a conversation about narcissistic abuse, this is not going to be your episode.
[00:00:28] You are welcome to come back later on. I do not want to trigger you. We are going to be open, honest, and nothing is off limits. I've been there. So if you are not ready to have those conversations, please jump to another episode. For everybody else that is ready to dive deep. Dana has had a lifelong experience with narcissistic abuse, beginning in childhood.
[00:00:52] Her education in journalism and psychology at DePaul University in Chicago gave you the ability to accurately verbalize and [00:01:00] express how narcissistic abuse creates confusion and conflict within victims. Guys, we're gonna dive deep today. You're gonna, you're gonna get to hear a lot of behind the scenes from me too.
[00:01:10] Been there, done that. So that you now can help other victims know they're not alone and better understand their own circumstances. Today, Dana is a proud voice for fellow victims who are unable, afraid, or ashamed to share their experience. She strives to create awareness and understanding to ensure victims are given the support they need to first understand the situation and then begin the healing process.
[00:01:40] Her first book, chronologically, there's a tongue twister for you, outlining her own abuse marriage that lasted nearly three decades and started as a journal that you hid under your couch cushion in the basement. And then what I was twisting with is [00:02:00] chronological. It's the timeline of what you went through.
[00:02:05] Guys, welcome to me having English as the second language. I always know what I'm trying to say, but it doesn't want to come out. So we find something else. With that Dana, it's reading your bio, reading a little bit more behind the scenes information, guys, that you don't see right now, but you get to hear.
[00:02:26] Dana Diaz: Wow. Yeah, there's a lot to unpack there. There's a lot. And
[00:02:31] Yvonne Heimann: I think the first thing that came up for me, and I love that you said nothing is off limits, so I know I can bring this up without
[00:02:40] Dana Diaz: Yes.
[00:02:40] Yvonne Heimann: sounding pretentious or whatever it might sound like, because I'm quite direct often. You do have an education in journalism and psychology.
[00:02:53] Dana Diaz: Yes.
[00:02:54] Yvonne Heimann: Yet you ended up in a narcissistic relationship. And it's giving me [00:03:00] goosebumps, because I'm like, how often do we tell somebody you should have known better? I'm like, screw you people.
[00:03:07] Dana Diaz: And that's the thing about it. I mean, the red flags were waving all over and anyone who's read my book, the very first chapter, he walked in that, I mean, literally the second I met him, I thought, Oh, no, no, no, no, no.
[00:03:21] This man reminded me immediately of my abusive stepfather, because you see that that's part of my problem, at least. And I can speak for a lot of victims of narcissistic abuses that if we are abused in one situation, for some reason. Even though our gut tells us not to do it again and to know the signs.
[00:03:43] And even when the sirens are going off and the flags are waving, we fall victim to it again. Cause I was abused in my childhood. My mother married, well, my mother didn't want me, first of all. I was a teenage pregnancy and she was very clear to this day that [00:04:00] she wishes she could have aborted me. And that I was called an accident and a mistake and a million other things.
[00:04:07] But she married this man who wanted me even less and he physically and verbally abused me. So almost daily through my childhood. And I mean, I tell people, think of a little girl, four or five years old from that age on. He was telling me almost daily, nobody's ever going to love you. You're stupid. You're incompetent.
[00:04:24] You're nothing. I shouldn't have to pay for another man's child. I was basically made to feel worthless and just beneath everybody. Like I felt like my existence was bothersome. So it was a struggle growing up and then having the physical abuse to, you know, back that up, but I was tenacious and I was strong willed and a little fiery. I would stand up for myself.
[00:04:48] That would get me more consequence
[00:04:50] Yvonne Heimann: yeah, yeah, yeah,
[00:04:51] Dana Diaz: You can't call anybody out especially an abuser no matter whether they're a narcissist or not, [00:05:00] but I left that home at 18. I mean, I had been planning it for years. I'm out of here when I'm 18 and can legally be on my own. Forget them. That's never going to happen to me again.
[00:05:11] And I walk right into the web of this other narcissist that I spent, yeah, almost three decades with, but looking back, I can see now that, yeah, of course I did, because I was starved of love. My mother, when your mother doesn't love you, I mean, serial killers have mothers that sit behind them in court after they've dismembered bodies.
[00:05:34] And my mother couldn't love me. Like I just, I, it's so hard. I'm laughing about it, but that's a tough one to overcome. I just turned 48. And the irony of the universe is that I was born on my mother's birthday. So every and it's two days after Christmas. So like the Christmas and birthday thing is just, there's this dark, like looming thing over all of it, because, you know, we don't have a [00:06:00] relationship and that's her choice.
[00:06:01] But the worst part was that I left that house being so starved of love that I became a people pleaser. I was. Anybody who even slightly gave me a little crumb of attention or affection. I was like a little puppy dog. Like what's the next trick you want me to do. Anything for love? You know what I mean? So despite who I was inside, who I had been made into, it kind of just created this perfect storm.
[00:06:29] Yvonne Heimann: And what I have learned, I'm like, you got the full on range of everything, right?
[00:06:38] Dana Diaz: Yes.
[00:06:39] Yvonne Heimann: And what I have learned over the last couple of months, I've been diving deep into in a child walk and all the things where I feel for you. You got the broad range for it. I want to jump into that childhood story for a moment, [00:07:00] because for the listeners, guys, Dana got the full broad on it.
[00:07:08] Childhood. Our parents don't always know what they don't know. You need to get a driver's license to drive a car, but you don't need to get a license to raise a child. Now, to me, the scars that our parents not knowing, can leave can be as simple as a joke of we found you while making the bed. Where years later, you suddenly realize those tiny jokes actually cut quite deep, because they imply you were never planned.
[00:07:44] You were never on it where those, again, those little jokes, I've talked a lot with my girlfriends about it, where there's is situations where looking back, as you said, in your situation to looking back, now we [00:08:00] suddenly see it, because we've done the work. Growing up, you can feel unwanted. It can feel like full on narcissistic abuse that shows up as little jokes as your parent.
[00:08:18] Dana Diaz: Mine were direct though I was told. I mean, it was the narrative created around me and to. Day. I mean, we don't even have a relationship and there's still spray. I always, when I was a kid, I called it stories. They were always making up stories about life because see, and here's the complexity in my situation.
[00:08:37] You know, people talk about this transgenerational trauma and these generational cycles. My mother had an alcoholic father. At one point he put a gun to her head. I mean, he, he was, he brought women back to the house and my grandmother had to walk in and see them doing things they shouldn't be doing. So, I mean, there was definitely a traumatic childhood there [00:09:00] that my mother, she probably was not, not only did she not want me, but wow.
[00:09:06] I mean, what did she have to pull from for, you know, a guide on parenting? And then, you know, I love my great grandma very much. And she was very loving to me, but I know my great grandma and my grandma had, you know, whatever their issues were. So I felt like it was passed down. And then you bring in my stepfather who at, I don't know if he was even a year old, he and his four siblings were abandoned by both parents and gave in, given to be custodies of the state.
[00:09:39] So they were separated into foster homes where he was abused and what have you. So here I have two people experience.
[00:09:47] Yvonne Heimann: That's what they draw from, right?
[00:09:48] Dana Diaz: However, and had a lot of people say, well, of course they treated you that way. Of course they abused you because they better
[00:09:56] Yvonne Heimann: It is their responsibility to clean that up though.
[00:09:59] Dana Diaz: [00:10:00] This, that's where the issue lies. And that's where I say I call bologna on that, because even despite what I went through, mm-hmm , and despite even enduring it in my marriage. When I decided, and mind you, by about the time I was 12, I thought there's no way in hell I'm having a child, because they say you turn into one or both of your parents when you have a kid, and I thought there's no way I'm going to do that to another human being, and I did not trust myself enough not to.
[00:10:30] But when I was in my mid twenties, everybody else is getting married and having babies. I had just gotten married while I wanted one too. And honestly, I was still, I think I was then realizing that this man that I, you know, I stayed with and even on our wedding day, I remember the wedding march playing and I, my gut was like, why am I marrying him?
[00:10:54] I don't want to marry him, but I did it.
[00:10:56] Yvonne Heimann: Same thing in my first marriage. The,
[00:10:58] Dana Diaz: I know, right? Like [00:11:00] what is wrong with, but then I still wanted a baby. And so I thought I had this, you know, and I don't like to use the word crazy. I was just going to say, I had this crazy idea, but in my head, it made sense to me that if I had a baby, I would be the best mother ever.
[00:11:19] I would love this baby. More than any other child would ever be loved. It would never go through what I went through. And maybe this baby would be the love of my life. Maybe this baby and I would have that love that I wanted so bad. Yeah.
[00:11:36] Yvonne Heimann: It's like, because we both have gone through the lesson at this point, we both know that the love we wanted is inside of us, because we couldn't even love ourselves.
[00:11:47] Yeah, I have a feeling that's kind of like the same lesson you went through by the end of this. So I'm like,
[00:11:54] Dana Diaz: yeah, and that is the point actually, the I hate to give away the ending of [00:12:00] my book, but that is the end of my book is that it took, it took a lot, but you know, I was 45 years old when I finally woke up and realized,
[00:12:11] oh, love that's in here. I have a heart. I can love me. And if I love me, I don't know, maybe I'll attract the right people around me that will reflect that back, because up to then I was somehow exuding this insecurity and this, you know, you know what I mean? The same incompetence and ineptness that my stepfather had drilled in my head that still plays like a loop, you know, in my brain to this day.
[00:12:41] But I'm able to stop it now. I am able now to look in the mirror and say, you know, without conceitedness, because I think a lot of people think that a healthy self esteem means conceited, but no, I can look in the mirror and say, good job on that. And even, you know what, even [00:13:00] despite the probably, it was a little iffy, my decision about having a child, the reason for having him, but you know what?
[00:13:10] I'm going to pat myself on the back. I don't know if I just got lucky, but I'd like to think it had to do with me. I put a lot of effort and thought and consideration and love into raising my son, even in the circumstances we were in. And I want to express to people just kind of taking a little tangent here, bringing him into an abusive situation with my narcissist husband, my baby's dad, obviously we were married then. That was not a good decision in and of itself, even if I was completely healthy and capable and all these wonderful things that we would like to see, you know, babies being born into, but there was violence, domestic violence situations.
[00:13:55] There were weapons and, you know, this was not a nice situation. So to be able [00:14:00] to raise my son through all that and even pass that to now where we've been out and safe for, well, it'll be about three and a half years now, and that's it, just three and a half years. He's doing really well, and I am very proud that I broke the cycle, because I know I broke it with me.
[00:14:22] I know with him for sure I broke that cycle, because he, I mean, did he come out of it all unscathed? Of course not.
[00:14:29] Yvonne Heimann: No child does. I'm like, again, there is the,
[00:14:32] Dana Diaz: no child does.
[00:14:33] Yvonne Heimann: There is no roadmap to parenting. But he, even on normal circumstances is such a thing as normal.
[00:14:38] Dana Diaz: He doing really well. Right. He never fell into these addictions, you know, into drugs or alcohol.
[00:14:45] I mean, he's of the age now where he'll come over for dinner and I'll say, hey, you want a hard grip beer? You want a beer? He'll say, no, he'll say, no, he doesn't do that stuff out of choice, because I raised him with a moral compass [00:15:00] that leads him in the right directions, as opposed to the directions that his dad's behavior would have indicated might be correct.
[00:15:08] So he's doing well. He succeeded in school. He's done with high school. He's done with technical school. He has a ridiculously amazing job. He bought a house at 19 years old doing well. And socially
[00:15:24] Yvonne Heimann: In the notes, you were located in the States too. He bought a house before he was even considered an adult in the States.
[00:15:34] Dana Diaz: Well, an adult here is 18. So, you know, yeah, he was able to, but, and these are not things that I'm not bragging for attention. I'm just saying like, he did like kids with these backgrounds, typically circle.
[00:16:03] Dana Diaz: So my parents did not do that. My mother and stepfather did not. And that's where I go back to that other question where we were talking that. They knew what it felt like to grow up the way they did and they still chose, and that was a conscious choice, chose to treat me the way they did and continue to this day, even though we have no relationship
[00:16:28] Yvonne Heimann: and there is, there comes to human pattern in where it's like, yeah, you see the pattern now, what are you going to do about it?
[00:16:34] Are you right? And that's where I do understand. When people want to change yet fall back into old patterns, it takes time. It takes commitment. It takes grit, because human nature is we stay what is comfortable. Now for everybody that hasn't been in that situation. Comfortable is the known that doesn't mean that [00:17:00] getting physically and mentally abused is comfortable, but it is the known which makes it for us as a human pattern known equals comfortable.
[00:17:11] Me being in a situation now where I have learned to love myself, to look inward, to stop constantly wanting external validation, to constantly drive for this. What is the, what is the next appreciation? When can somebody tell me again that they love me and that I did well. Finally getting out of this pattern.
[00:17:33] It has been freaking uncomfortable, no matter is
[00:17:37] Dana Diaz: terribly uncomfortable
[00:17:39] Yvonne Heimann: being, being well treated by other people, my business changing, making money becoming easy. You know how uncomfortable it is when you suddenly make big amounts of money and it comes easily and you don't have to work 24 seven for that.
[00:17:56] It is uncomfortable.
[00:18:08] Yvonne Heimann: Oh yeah.
[00:18:08] Dana Diaz: And so he put us in a situation, well, he basically the last four and a half years of our marriage just decided that he didn't have to work anymore, ever. And that's a nice idea, but you know, I'm like most people work for another 30 years, you know, beyond your age, but he said that he didn't have to that.
[00:18:29] It was my turn. And I'm like, my turn. I've worked since I was 12 years old. I never stopped working, but okay, let's go there. But unfortunately, it became kind of a game. I wanted to leave him. I wanted to divorce him, but I was the primary breadwinner then. And I knew he was going to go after me for spousal maintenance because he wasn't working.
[00:18:51] So I felt like it was a manipulative thing. And I thought, no, I'm going to make this bastard stay married to me. I am not going to divorce him, because I'm not going to give [00:19:00] him one hard earned penny of my money. But what he had done too, is he, so here I have this college education. Doesn't make me so great and wonderful or anything, but I have this education and journalism and psychology grew up in Chicago, went to school in Chicago.
[00:19:16] He moves me 90 miles out of the city to some Podunk town where only 3 percent of the kids even go beyond high school. So the only place to work is the gas station or Walmart. And, you know, I couldn't even get a job at Walmart. It's ridiculous. So he ended up putting me in a situation where I was cleaning houses with his friend's wife.
[00:19:39] And you know what? I did a really good job. You know, why not? If I'm going to do it, I'm going to give it my all. I was reliable. I was trustworthy and didn't steal, like other people that cleaned houses in the area. I did a good job. The business, I ended up buying her out of the business. It skyrocketed.
[00:19:58] Yvonne Heimann: It's like, it's like, [00:20:00] it's this, it's this total Cinderella story of you are getting put in a situation. That's just BS. Let's be honest. It is completely controlling. It is anybody else would have even asked.
[00:20:12] Dana Diaz: But I still came out on top.
[00:20:13] Yvonne Heimann: And you end up buying the business. Really?
[00:20:17] Dana Diaz: Well, you know, because more word of mouth, you know, in these small towns, it's all people have to do is gossip.
[00:20:24] And everybody wanted to hire me. I mean, I had a waiting list at 1. 6 months out and I had seven girls working for me, but I still was not going to give this man one penny of my money. I just drowned myself in my work, which is a trauma response and it's not healthy and I get that. But my point with all this is that despite his attempt to basically isolate me and reduce me to nothing.
[00:20:49] In a different way than my stepfather did. Here I triumph again, because it's just in me not to, you know, like, I just, I want to give everything my all and I want to be better. And I [00:21:00] want to explore my potential and whatever I'm going to do. That's what I'm going to win. I'm going to succeed. So when we finally did divorce, because eventually I actually became very physically ill and they said it was actually because of the abuse and that's a whole other thing, but I developed this lung syndrome.
[00:21:18] You can hear the scratchiness in my voice. It's because of all the stress I endured. So we did divorce. And so the beautiful ending to this is that here I am, it's only been three and a half years, barely three and a half years, but it's not a lot of time, but it's not a lot of time and we've been through Covid and all that.
[00:21:39] I am now a full-time writer. I had asked myself at the end of that marriage and part of what made me just finally call an attorney and just say, just get me out of this. I want to be out of this marriage. I don't care what I have. I don't need anything. He can have all the money, all the cars, the house, whatever.
[00:21:57] I want my kid and I want to be done. I can [00:22:00] replace everything else and make more money. I don't care. So three weeks later, I'm divorced. Thank God. So I decided one night. I'm asking myself a very simple question and I challenge everybody to do this. I don't care how much money you make or don't make or where you are in your life or what you're doing.
[00:22:20] Just ask yourself, what do I want? Because what I realized was that, that life that I had been living with him was his life. It was the life he dictated to me. Just like in my childhood, everything was dictated by my stepfather, but I mean, with my ex, it was down to what I, what he didn't like a certain lipstick on me.
[00:22:40] Cause I looked like a whore and I had to make dinner had to be, you know, a meat and two sides, but I couldn't have the same meat on two consecutive nights. And I couldn't have two starches or two carbs for a side. I, my life was so regimented. I mean, I could go on and on with the so called rules, but [00:23:00] I was just like, Dana, you get to decide what you want.
[00:23:04] And there were three things I knew immediately. I wanted to be a writer. That's what I went to school for. I wanted to write. I wanted to be able to help victims of abuse. Like I always had. Wanted to travel the world. And I would even throw in the fourth thing. I did want to be married.
[00:23:20] I wanted a person to go home to every night. I wanted that best friend. I just wanted one who actually liked me and reciprocated the love and everything else that I had to give. So here I am three and a half years later in this three and a half years, since the divorce, I have published Gasping For Air.
[00:23:40] I have two more books that I've written that are going to be published this summer. I am now a full time writer. I don't scrub any toilets, not even the ones in the house I live in. I just try not to clean at all anymore, honestly.
[00:23:55] Yvonne Heimann: You've done enough cleaning for the rest of your life.
[00:24:00] But I am also remarried to somebody that God love these small towns. I've known this man, his family for like 18 years. And so I knew him for a very long time. So there was already an established trust and relationship there or friendship, but he is so my person and my best friend treats me like princess and the pea.
[00:24:19] And honestly, he supports this mission that I'm on to advocate for victims and to be a writer and to do whatever makes me happy, because he loves me and he wants me to be happy. Who would have thought that that's what a marriage should entail. And it's such an amazing thing to me when I think that we've done all this in three and a half years.
[00:24:41] And I will throw in my desire to travel our first year together. We took nine trips around the world. The second year, I think we only did five, but publishing costs, you know, for all these books I'm writing can get in the way of that sometimes. So we might not even get to five trips this year, but I'm [00:25:00] living this life that I never, ever, ever would have thought I would be living.
[00:25:06] And I think people need to understand is that you don't have to have all the money in the world. You could have nothing. I was scrubbing toilets. I mean, you were talking about Cinderella and now I'm writing, I've been on over a hundred podcasts. I'm going to be an author of three books. This is big stuff.
[00:25:22] Like I can look at myself in the mirror now and say, good job. Way to go. You did something. And I started when I was 45, so it's never too late either. I don't want to hear people make excuses, because honestly, what I learned from my childhood, which carried into a lot of reasons why things happened in my marriage and now carries into my business and professional life is I watched my mother excuse, enable, and tolerate.
[00:25:49] And then I, in my previous marriage, excused, enabled into, Oh, he had a bad day or it wasn't as bad as the last time. You know, you'll, you do [00:26:00] these things, but we do them in our professional life too. And I don't take excuses.
[00:26:05] Yvonne Heimann: And I've done the same thing. I've done the same thing. I'm lucky enough right now to have people in my life that I can call out when I see those excuses and that call me out just the same way.
[00:26:18] Because it comes back to that excuse puts us back into being comfortable. It doesn't mean that's what we want. It doesn't mean that is our passion. It just means it's what we know.
[00:26:31] Dana Diaz: And that's a big part of it. When people say, why did you say what? There's a million reasons why people stay.
[00:26:37] Yvonne Heimann: It's because it's what I know.
[00:26:40] Dana Diaz: And that's a big one. Because honestly, in high school, there were nice boys that wanted to take me out on a date. I didn't know what to do with nice. Some of them I thought were too boring. Like I needed, I needed, but I'm, I'm being completely honest and it's a mental health thing, I guess, as a result of [00:27:00] trauma, but you sometimes like need to stir.
[00:27:03] Excuse me, stir stuff up to,
[00:27:05] Yvonne Heimann: Oh, wait, you know, an explicit part of,
[00:27:07] Dana Diaz: Do you know what? Cause even in my marriage now, and I love this man and he is so good to me, but there have been a few times where he, and talk about, you have to surround yourself again, personal and professionally. If you want to be your best, you need people who will lift you, support you, back you up, but also call you out.
[00:27:29] My husband will be like, you're starting stuff up. You are making trouble where there is none and I don't do it as well. Okay. I don't do it as much anymore, maybe, but in the beginning I felt like I needed to, because he is like the ultimate nice guy, but, and I wouldn't have known what to do with that before.
[00:27:46] Now I appreciate it after where I've been, but there were times where I thought, there's nothing happening. There's no excitement. There's no chaos. And I think my body, even physically,
[00:27:58] Yvonne Heimann: Oh yeah.
[00:28:02] Yvonne Heimann: Mm-Hmm. . Mm-Hmm. .
[00:28:02] Dana Diaz: So I needed the stress, I needed the, the conflict.
[00:28:05] And I would just, you know, I think of myself like to, you know, on Tom and Jerry, you know, when Jerry the mouse gets all angry and marches towards Tom, like, I would just be on a mission to start some stuff up. And my husband, God love him. I remember once he just leaned against the wall, put his hand on his hip.
[00:28:23] And when I was done, he was like, are you done now? You're done now?
[00:28:26] Yvonne Heimann: For the first time, for the first time. And I love my late husband. He was an amazing guy. He was one of the, he was the first stable man in my life on my first stable relationship. I have learned a lot with him. He passed away in 2014.
[00:28:46] I went back into an abusive relationship. Whole nother story. Narcissistic, not so much abusive, mentally abusive, but narcissistic relationship. Now at the age, how old am I? 42. For the first time, we're [00:29:00] not in a committed relationship. He is thousands of miles away. But for the first time in my life, I am experiencing a man, that first of all, when I get into overflow, when I'm struggling with something, when I'm up leveling, when I'm working through something.
[00:29:15] Who asks me, what do you need? Nobody has ever before asked me, what do you need in my relationship. How can I support you? He calls me out on bullshit when I'm going down a rabbit hole again.
[00:29:30] And has that clear and open communication. He never takes anything personal where it's like, I'm just having a moment of something. And it's like, okay, what do you need right now? Are you ready to work through this? Are you just needing to vent? Are you just needing to go be by yourself? What do you need?
[00:29:54] Dana Diaz: You know, that's amazing. That there is so much, somebody that is so aware of that. [00:30:00] Cause that's basically what a healthy relationship is, is two people getting their needs met by the other. So for him to just ask you, it's just such a simple and logical thing, but it's brilliant.
[00:30:11] Yvonne Heimann: And it's like often enough, the first times he asked that is that I was like, I don't know, but then also realizing there is so much that we can do.
[00:30:26] But how often do we get triggered? I don't like the word triggered. How often do we get activated? How often does an old pattern get activated by a partner. Which means yes, we can do a ton of work by ourself, but there comes a point where the work needs to now happen with somebody in our life to get to that next level.
[00:30:54] Dana Diaz: Yes.
[00:30:55] Yvonne Heimann: And he took that spot where it's now like, okay, the [00:31:00] growth between him activating, being there, being a safe spot, not somebody that suddenly just fucking leaves when I have a meltdown.
[00:31:08] Dana Diaz: Exactly.
[00:31:09] Yvonne Heimann: And my energy coach, they together within what two months, three months have helped so much with my self confidence with cleaning up triggers, with diving into inner child work and all the things I'm sitting here, I'm like,
[00:31:27] I'm not yelling at drivers on the street anymore. It's like, cool, let's just do this. I don't have, I have less meltdowns. I have less panic attacks. I am more secure in me and the people around me. And it's like, we took that on fast track, because I have somebody secure in my life that does activate me, but is also there to help through the process.
[00:31:50] Dana Diaz: I got to tell you, I am loving that you bring this up, because that is something that I try to explain to people, because so many [00:32:00] people, well, I got a lot of heck for entering into a romantic relationship like so soon after the divorce. Well, I've known this man for how long? I mean, I knew his dad, his sister in law and I were friends for 16 years.
[00:32:13] My son grew up with, it's a small town. We all knew each other. Anyway. Not that I have to justify myself, but that's what people don't understand is what you just said. You can go to therapy all day long for years and years and years and use all learn all these tools and watch the YouTubes and have the things when you're in a moment when you're having a panic attack, deep breathe three times. Until somebody dysregulates you or you're in a situation that makes it really uncomfortable and you start to panic, there's no reason to use those tools.
[00:32:48] And what do people like us do normally? We go and hide. We, people tell us, Oh, you should go be alone for five years. Don't date for. Who set these rules. [00:33:00] Thank you. Exactly. And that's what my problem was, was even my husband's family. Had this, like, they like rallied. They had an intervention with him to try to stop him from marrying me.
[00:33:14] But aside from all that, it was so helpful to me. I don't think, I mean, I think we're always on this healing journey, some further than others, but I agree. Mine happened a lot faster, because I had somebody, as you said, that was safe, that would not abandon me or reject me or react to me when I was influxed, you know, but having somebody there and having somebody that was going to put me in those situations because being alone somewhere and hiding, it's nice that you don't get those triggers or whatever you want to call them, but then it's, are you ever going to heal?
[00:34:01] Yvonne Heimann: You need to do it. You need to do it.
[00:34:04] Dana Diaz: Because I can go now into situations or have days where I mean, and I'm conscious of it where I'd be like, wow, like two years ago, I'd be in fetal position, probably in my walk in closet in the dark with the lock door, crying my eyes out.
[00:34:19] And probably for like days, I'd be crying and ruminating about this comment, but it's like, okay, it bothered me. It sucks. To hell with that person. Move on. You know, like I can, I can move on with my life and not let it affect me. But who you surround yourself with is also a big part of that. Not just having the romantic partner that's safe, but being around people that, you know, support who you are, because let's be real.
[00:34:48] I will never, ever call myself broken or damaged or all these terrible things that people call themselves. I am affected by my past. I am affected by the things that [00:35:00] people put on me. And I realized now looking back that from my mother and stepfather, my ex, it was all their unhealed trauma that they were unwilling to face themselves that they were burdening me with.
[00:35:13] I have released that. I've got my own crap to deal with.
[00:35:18] Yvonne Heimann: We all do.
[00:35:19] Dana Diaz: But I love that, you know, once I figured out that the people that are supposed to love me and supposed to support me, weren't going to, namely my mother, my stepfather, my first husband, you know, and many family members because the family members kind of went with all of them.
[00:35:39] So I feel shunned and banned and exiled from every direction. But guess what, without all this distraction around me with all these people that I would never prove myself to, no matter what I did, I was finally able to see all these people in my life that were for me. And that are [00:36:00] my inner circle, my tribe, my people. Are all of them by all biologically related.
[00:36:05] No, there's actually only a few biologically related. My grandma, my godmother, and a couple of cousins. But aside from that, these are people who are choosing to see me for who I am. They know that I am flawed, like, they are, and everybody else in this world, and they love me and accept me. So I don't have to worry about never being enough for somebody ever again, or being too much for somebody, because guess what?
[00:36:30] I am just right for the people who are around me. And even one of my best friends, God love him, he'll call me. And if I'm having a day, I'll be, you know, going on and he'll be like, boy, you're feisty today. And it just makes me laugh, because he doesn't see me as he doesn't see my moments as a negative thing.
[00:36:48] He just makes fun and I'm able to laugh with him and it just makes it so much better. So absolutely. You got to watch who you surround yourself with.
[00:37:08] Dana Diaz: Absolutely. Come find me, I would say go to my website, danasdiaz.com. My links for Facebook and Instagram are there. Message me directly. I respond to every single one of them myself. I don't have other random people responding and I do post content every day where we laugh at ourselves. We laugh at narcissism, but there's also informational things.
[00:37:29] If there is anybody in dire situations, we do have resources to help you as well.
[00:37:34] Yvonne Heimann: And with that guys, you know, you always find all of the links in the show description to Dana, so much thank you for joining me and everybody else. Make sure you hit that subscribe button so you don't miss the next episode.
[00:37:50] Bye everybody.