The Broken to Brave Podcast

Healing from a Troubled Maternal Relationship with Jenn Markiewicz

April 30, 2024 Dr. Stephanie Lopez Episode 49
Healing from a Troubled Maternal Relationship with Jenn Markiewicz
The Broken to Brave Podcast
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The Broken to Brave Podcast
Healing from a Troubled Maternal Relationship with Jenn Markiewicz
Apr 30, 2024 Episode 49
Dr. Stephanie Lopez

Embark on a heartfelt odyssey with our courageous guest, Jenn Markiewicz, who generously unpacks her journey of self-discovery and healing from a tumultuous relationship with her mother. Jenn, a fellow traveler in my BRAVE-cation Retreat and a comrade in the trenches of the Brave Breathwork Program lays bare the trials and triumphs encountered on her path to personal empowerment. Her testimony illustrates the intricate dance of confronting anxiety, reclaiming self-worth, and grappling with the guilt that often shadows the act of self-care.

This episode is woven with stories of women coming together in a sanctuary of support, where the sharing of narratives is not just encouraged but celebrated. We recount the unique bonds formed when strangers become confidants and the profound healing that emerges from such connections. The retreat's experiences highlight the potency of empathy and the liberating flow of emotions that carve pathways to acceptance and renewal, serving as a beacon for anyone seeking to navigate their own turbulent waters.

In this episode, we talk about the following:
1. Jenn's decision to attend the BRAVE-cation Retreat and her experience.
2. Jenn's struggles with anxiety and self-acceptance.
3. Importance of vulnerability and how it fosters connection.

You can connect with Jenn on:
Instagram https://www.instagram.com/friendjen/
LinkedIn https://www.linkedin.com/in/jenn-markiewicz/

5-Day BRAVE-cation Healing Retreat:
www.brave-method.com/retreat-priority-list

______________________________________

[FREE TRAINING]
How high-achieving women can
DITCH anxiety in as little as five minutes a day

www.brave-method.com/anxiety

Which of these results do you want and inspire you the most?
www.brave-method.com/testimonials

💗 Dr. Steph
@DrStephanieLopez
www.brave-method.com




Show Notes Transcript Chapter Markers

Embark on a heartfelt odyssey with our courageous guest, Jenn Markiewicz, who generously unpacks her journey of self-discovery and healing from a tumultuous relationship with her mother. Jenn, a fellow traveler in my BRAVE-cation Retreat and a comrade in the trenches of the Brave Breathwork Program lays bare the trials and triumphs encountered on her path to personal empowerment. Her testimony illustrates the intricate dance of confronting anxiety, reclaiming self-worth, and grappling with the guilt that often shadows the act of self-care.

This episode is woven with stories of women coming together in a sanctuary of support, where the sharing of narratives is not just encouraged but celebrated. We recount the unique bonds formed when strangers become confidants and the profound healing that emerges from such connections. The retreat's experiences highlight the potency of empathy and the liberating flow of emotions that carve pathways to acceptance and renewal, serving as a beacon for anyone seeking to navigate their own turbulent waters.

In this episode, we talk about the following:
1. Jenn's decision to attend the BRAVE-cation Retreat and her experience.
2. Jenn's struggles with anxiety and self-acceptance.
3. Importance of vulnerability and how it fosters connection.

You can connect with Jenn on:
Instagram https://www.instagram.com/friendjen/
LinkedIn https://www.linkedin.com/in/jenn-markiewicz/

5-Day BRAVE-cation Healing Retreat:
www.brave-method.com/retreat-priority-list

______________________________________

[FREE TRAINING]
How high-achieving women can
DITCH anxiety in as little as five minutes a day

www.brave-method.com/anxiety

Which of these results do you want and inspire you the most?
www.brave-method.com/testimonials

💗 Dr. Steph
@DrStephanieLopez
www.brave-method.com




Speaker 1:

Hi, I'm Dr Steph and I'm here to guide you on your journey to healing from a difficult relationship with your mother, whether she was narcissistic, emotionally immature or just plain toxic. I want you to know that you are, in fact, not broken and you do not have to suffer from anxiety or explosive emotional reactions like lashing out. You can break the cycle. You are a strong, capable woman who can handle any challenge that comes your way, and I'm gonna show you how to have the ultimate control over your reactions so that you are unstoppable. Welcome to the Broken to Brave podcast. I am so excited for this episode today. I have Jen Markowitz on with me, and I previously met her in spring-ish timeframe 2023. And shortly thereafter she joined my Brave Breathwork program and then later attended a Bravecation retreat, and she's here today to share more about her experience, so I'll turn it to you, jen. Is there anything else that you want to share about yourself and who you are?

Speaker 2:

Yeah, of course. So I am a mom of four. I have four beautiful children ranging in age from almost 19 to 11. And I'm a wife of 20 plus years, which is crazy because it feels like I blinked my eyes and here we are, to the love of my life. We are true partners in life and I love Disney and running and all kinds of other things. I've been on my anxiety journey since I was a little girl and finding Dr Steph has really been instrumental in a lot of the healing that I've done in in the last year and I'm really excited to chat about the Bravecation and how that played into it.

Speaker 1:

Thank you for sharing that. Okay, so tell me more about why you decided to come to Bravecation Healing Retreat.

Speaker 2:

Yeah, so when I started to follow you on Instagram, you would post little blips about it, but it was really when I wrapped up the Brave Breathwork program and I was getting ready to transition into Brave Academy Brave Breathwork program and I was getting ready to transition into Brave Academy I realized just in the three months that I'd spent in Brave Breathwork I had made such significant strides forward in my anxiety journey and I really just wanted to learn from you in whatever way that I could. So around that time I started seeing more experiences and testimonials from people who had previously attended and that really pushed me over the edge to sign up In full transparency. I didn't really know what to expect. Transparency, I didn't really know what to expect, but the thought of spending four days really focusing on my own healing with you as the guide felt like the next right step in that journey.

Speaker 1:

Oh, thank you for saying that. Okay, so maybe let's skip to that really quick. You're like I didn't know what to expect If somebody is listening and they've they've seen me post some testimonials, maybe you're the first or second podcast interview that they're, you know, listening to and they're like but what is it Like? What would you tell them in your own words? What is it?

Speaker 2:

That's a great question and since we've wrapped up the retreat I have spent I think it's been a month now I've spent the last month really trying to figure out how to verbalize what it is. And yes, there are, you know, self-care pieces like you know, massages and getting all dolled up and going out to eat and there's content that's presented. But what has really stood out for me in the last month is myself and do the healing that I intended to do at a much more rapid pace than maybe I could in talk therapy or even with Brave Academy or through the breathwork program.

Speaker 1:

Because it's a deep dive and all your attention is there for four days. Next year it will be five days, I know, so exciting, yes, yes, okay. So you've said a little bit about this, but I'll ask this to see if there's anything else that comes up for you what were you dealing with before coming to the retreat that you were like wanting to work on there?

Speaker 2:

Yeah, so with my anxiety, I mean that's the main thing that I'm always working to heal from. But as you peel the layers back a little bit further, the anxiety for me has been driven by feelings of never being good enough, by my body not looking a certain way, by fear of failing, always wanting to be what everybody else wanted me to be, and to do that it required a lot of control over everything that I was doing day to day, and by managing that outcome, it allowed me to be what everyone wanted me to be. So the anxiety is like just scratching the surface of all the things that were kind of driving it for me.

Speaker 1:

Absolutely Okay, and were you nervous at all to come?

Speaker 2:

I know some people say that they're nervous and I don't remember if that was true for you remember if that was true for you I didn't feel nervous until it was time for me to pack up, to actually go to the retreat, like I was so excited.

Speaker 2:

I had so much excitement, you know, leading up to it and meeting everyone through our zoom conversation. But I noticed when it was time to pack up, like I was really taking my time to pack the bag, and that's when, you know, some of the anxiety or nervousness came up to. You know, I was going to something that I didn't really know what to expect. I was going into something where I didn't really know anyone in person, like I talked to them through virtual messaging but never actually met any of these women in person. And I also had a lot of guilt for taking this time for myself, away from my family, and I had some sadness about leaving my family for those four days and I think I even verbalized that when I got to the bravecation, that I was just feeling some sadness. So the nervousness didn't really come until the day that I was supposed to go.

Speaker 1:

Yeah, yeah, and I'm glad that you said that because I think so many people will be able to relate to that. If you could go back to that version of you a month ago and have a conversation with her, what would you say to calm the nerves?

Speaker 2:

I would say it's normal to feel nervous about going into this environment and situation and you've worked really hard to get to this place where you could take this time to really focus on your journey and to stay present with those feelings while you're packing up and getting ready to go that it's okay to feel that way, but the outcome is the impact is going to really be everything that you want it to be.

Speaker 1:

I love that, like the validation, and then like, don't you worry, it's exactly what it's going to be, exactly what you want it to be. Okay, yeah, so like overall and this could be as detailed as you want or not detailed, whatever feels comfortable for you what did you think about the retreat now that you've, you know, stepped away and had time to reflect?

Speaker 2:

expect. I've never been to anything like this. As a mom of four, I've never really made a lot of space for myself to take this specific time for my healing journey. I also don't think that I was ready to make space for this type of healing until I decided to do this, but as part of our pre-work, you asked us to write an intention to help guide the experience, so I would love to just read my intention, if that's okay with you.

Speaker 2:

So my intention for the retreat was to come back to myself, to give myself permission to focus on my healing without distraction, fear of judgment and openness. I've focused a lot on self-acceptance over the last six months and I want to walk away with the creativity and self-confidence that eight-year-old me had before external forces molded me into what everyone else wanted me to be. I know it will be hard work and I know it will be worth it. And so by taking the time and I'm really glad that you had us write these intentions ahead of time, because I was just saying I'm open to whatever. I don't really have a plan and you're like, I really think we need to set some kind of intention for this so by doing that ahead of time, my body and my brain knew the work.

Speaker 2:

I did it like I couldn't, I wasn't aware of exactly what that looked like, but my body and my brain knew the work that I needed to do to get to where I wanted to be at the end. And I think the retreat is possibly one of the most beautiful and empowering experiences that I've ever had in my life, and I think there's a couple reasons for that. The first one I just want to take a second to tell you how I was so just in awe of how you knew exactly how to respond to each one of us. We each had a need that hadn't been met, and you, you, knew exactly how to respond to us, and so it almost felt as if there was some kind of higher power that was moving through you to give each one of us what we needed in some of our most.

Speaker 2:

I'm getting emotional just thinking about it in some of our most difficult and vulnerable moments, you coaxed us to have breakthroughs. You gave us permission to be ourselves, to drop whatever the armor was that we had, and showed us how to look inside of ourselves for the answers we already knew, but we hadn't been able to verbalize yet. And so, as I have come through the last month, since I've been there, experienced this, since I've been there, experienced this, it has made me feel so much stronger in my own power, and it's empowered me to do things that I was afraid of before.

Speaker 1:

Yes, oh, my goodness. Okay, hi, for those listening, you wouldn't know, but I started crying when she was, when Jen was saying all of that Thank you so much. And then that last sentence that you just said like, do you, can you just repeat that last sentence?

Speaker 2:

Yeah, so by allowing us to be ourselves, you are able to get to it when there's not safety created to let the armor down, which is my I was going to say goal, but not my goal.

Speaker 1:

What I create at Bravecation is that safety so that everyone can now, obviously, it's each person's choice, but but let that armor down. And and I'm just going to chime in here Just everyone at this particular retreat went there. They showed up. You showed up, you allowed yourself to be seen, and all the women around you as well. It was amazing, the most, one of the most beautiful things I've ever witnessed in my life.

Speaker 2:

I yes. It was so beautiful, so empowering, so impactful. Just to hear everyone's stories and their ability, because of the environment that you created, we all felt that there was safety to be our truest, most authentic selves and to have that openness to look within ourselves and find some of the answers that we've been looking for.

Speaker 1:

Yeah, yeah. So I'm curious, because I haven't asked you yet. Did you have a favorite part?

Speaker 2:

If you reflect, I haven't asked you yet. Did you have a favorite part? If you reflect, I actually have three things that have really stuck out for me. The. The first one, and the most at the surface, is I going into this? Like I said, I didn't know really anyone in person, or I'd never met anyone in person, with the exception of you. I'd met you in person, but I hadn't met anyone anyone in person, or I'd never met anyone in person with the exception of you. I'd met you in person, but I hadn't met anyone else in person, and I know that was the experience for a few of the other first time attendees, and so I really loved just how quickly we were all able to form relationships with each other, and that lended itself to the levels of openness and vulnerability that everyone was able to demonstrate throughout our time together. But just being able to go there with each other, it seemed almost like from the first evening we were really able to just dig in and drop the armor with each other and be you know, create these friendships. I still talk to several people that I met there. I text with them and talk with them regularly, if not daily some, you know, at least weekly. We're all still talking to each other. I'm so happy to hear that it was something I was personally craving, because I relocated to Florida in about three, three years ago, or I relocated here three years ago and I don't. You know, it's hard to make friends as a grownup. It really is. So just having the opportunity to be with people who were like-minded and you know on similar journeys that that I am on, you know it just opened itself up to develop a lot of those friendships.

Speaker 2:

Yes, the next moment is probably the one of the top two. You know just experiences that I've had on my anxiety journey. And so there was a moment for me on the third day where I could not stop crying. I literally couldn't stop crying and it was giving me an enormous headache and I tried to lay down and take a nap, but I was not. Every time I laid down like my mind just couldn't stop processing everything that was coming up in my body. And so I came out of my bedroom and you were there and you were like, are you okay? And I was like no, I cannot stop crying. And you gave me. You asked could you give me a hug? And I said yes, and so you are hugging me. And then you said do you want to? You know, have me come and lay there with you. Talked to me like I needed to be talked to when I was a little girl and told me that it was okay.

Speaker 2:

I'm going to get emotional now.

Speaker 2:

Let it out that it was okay to cry, that this wasn't bad, that I wasn't bad for crying because that was something that was ingrained in me growing up.

Speaker 2:

To not release those emotions, and the time that you spent with me to feel through all of the emotions that had come up over the previous, you know, two and a half days, is something that I am so incredibly grateful for, and I've never experienced someone who gave me that level of empathy and understanding and no judgment whatsoever within that moment.

Speaker 2:

It was release this, like your body is trying to release what it doesn't need anymore, and I'd never heard I think you've said that before, but it never really resonated with me until I couldn't stop the emotions from coming out, like they just wanted to be released from my body and so one. You know it didn't take very long for me to move through those emotions, just with you, you know, very softly, telling me that it was okay and probably similar. I know you've talked about having the this experience with your daughters, probably very similar to you. Know how you treat them when they have these emotions come up, big emotions come up like this, and when I I was finally able to fall asleep later and take a nap and when I woke up I felt like I was newborn baby, like I know it sounds ridiculous, but I After the release, it makes sense.

Speaker 2:

I felt reborn and my little girl self came to me in those moments and, you know, took my hand and told me that we were going to be okay and that she was going to be there with me, and it led to a sense of I'm not alone and I have the power to do what I want to do, whatever that choice is.

Speaker 1:

Yeah, oh, my gosh, I didn't like anticipate you sharing that, but of course I'm crying.

Speaker 1:

I was. It's exactly the way that I like sit with the girls, just like you said, and I know how important it is because I didn't have that Like it wasn't okay to express emotions. My emotions were very, very often cut off and I've talked about this, you know, here and on Instagram, and in this moment I can't remember how much I've talked about it on the podcast, but it was in hindsight. I didn't know this at the time, but in hindsight it was a large reason why I felt, or maybe the entire reason why I felt broken, because I'm like why can't I not have these emotions that I'm not supposed to have? Why can't I not have these emotions that I'm not supposed to have? And it was, it's never supposed to be like that. We are emotional beings and we're supposed to feel all of it and, just like you said when, when you were in the presence, you were, when you were with me and I showed you I'm not afraid of it. No-transcript, yes, and permission.

Speaker 1:

And permission.

Speaker 2:

I never had permission to feel the emotions. It's always been looked down. I've experienced for me that I was weak if I demonstrated those kinds of emotions, because I am a deeply feeling person and if I'm happy I'm crying, if I'm laughing I'm crying, if I'm sad I'm crying, if I'm mad I'm crying. And so I've had to learn over time to like put a lid on that, because it wasn't what people wanted me, how people wanted me to show up. And so in that moment, when you gave me that permission and told me that it wasn't bad and was, and that you weren't afraid to sit with me through it, it's really been a rebirth for me and my day to day.

Speaker 1:

And your day to day. Thank you for your courage and sharing that too. I know that, like for many people I know, you are courageous and being open in that way, but for a lot of people that might have felt too vulnerable to to share and to say out loud. So I really appreciate that, because I know someone who's listening needs to hear that.

Speaker 2:

I wanted to share one more thing that is my favorite part of that, if we have time. Yeah we do. The last thing that was my favorite and that I almost want a recording of it so that I can do it whenever I want to, is when we did the fear imagery on the last day.

Speaker 1:

Yeah.

Speaker 2:

It was so powerful to go through that exercise and I think you talked about it with Megan as well in that way and being able to visualize myself touching and seeing and feeling what that fear felt like once I breathed it out of my body and it was all around me. I just never thought of it in that way, and so in that moment, when we were to walk through the fear, my little girl self in the visualization came to me and held my hand and we walked through it together, and so it was such a powerful way to encapsulate all the work that I'd done up until that point, because my intention, if you remember, was to go back to the creativity and self-confidence that she had, and for her to be there with me was such a huge impact, so I loved that. I want that on my daily. I need to listen to that on the daily.

Speaker 1:

Maybe we can hook you up listen to that on the daily, just Dr Stubbs, calm voice, taking me through feeling my fear. Oh, my goodness, thank you for sharing that.

Speaker 2:

Is there anything else that you want to share about your takeaways or breakthroughs or anything? Yeah, so I have a few takeaways that have stuck with me, since I you know just it can be. It was difficult for me to transition from my experience at the retreat back into the real world, and so the things that are really staying with me are and I've said this a couple of times but the feelings aren't going to go away until we learn the lesson. And I know I've said this to you a couple of times just about my own experience in the last month, as I'm peeling back the next layer of my own journeys onion and just understanding that I'm going to continue to feel whatever it is until I allow myself to learn the lesson that I'm asking for. It's the lesson I'm asking for, it's the lesson I'm asking for, and that's a huge breakthrough for me to understand that it's what I'm asking the universe to show to me, and it continues to show up until I take the time to learn the lesson.

Speaker 2:

The lesson, the other things that I've learned is that I'm not alone. There were all of these other women who are having other experiences, but at the heart of it, all of them are very similar, Even though they're different. There are a lot of similarities to our anxiety and depression and just all the different journeys that we're on, and that I'm not alone in going and going through that and it's been so it's almost a relief to know that.

Speaker 1:

Yeah.

Speaker 2:

There's relief in that that I'm not the only person that's going through this, that I'm not alone and that I also have resources that I can reach out to. To, like I said, I'm still in contact and talk to many of the individuals and so, just having you know additional people who I know that I can count on and that I can be in a safe space with to talk about whatever, whatever I need, whatever I need to.

Speaker 1:

I love that you said that, because one of my friends, she um, as a business owner. She says alone is a lie. That's like her, like a slogan, for lack of a better word, and she's so right. And I don't know that I have ever had a client that has not felt that like, oh my gosh, like I thought nobody else was struggling with this. And every time I hear that I so badly want more and more every maybe not everyone but for more people to show up with openness and vulnerability. Because when, when I witnessed it in others and I'm sure that this is true for you too it's like oh my gosh, like this, this is like I value it so much, it's so courageous and admirable and inspiring, but then yet even the person who's like, let's say, I'll just use myself if I'm saying that, but then sometimes like not showing up with vulnerability in return or not going first, and then it leaves us feeling like we're alone, but when, in reality, if I just go first, more often than I might think people will return that, and that's something that I intentionally do myself.

Speaker 1:

I had a client one time come to. She came to a two day, not a four day, but she's like I just kind of thought you were going to be at the front of the room like expert mode and you know, like this, this, this, this this, and like teaching us things, and she's like, but you just showed up like real and raw and shared things that I wouldn't have expected you to, because I and I do that, because I want you all to know, like me too, want you all to know like me too, and this is the human experience and we're not alone in it.

Speaker 2:

It gives so much strength. I think that's one of the things that I really love about you and the work that you are doing is that you aren't afraid to be open and vulnerable with us, and so it's such a I I love watching you do that, because it's given me permission to do that. As an HR professional. I've always been kind of an open book, but there's a difference between just sharing everything under the sun, but to be really intentional about the level of vulnerability, to create that connection with someone else so that then they don't feel like they're alone in whatever it is that they might be sharing with me or going through. I had someone yesterday say that very thing. I'm so impressed in how open and vulnerable and I so appreciate that you are able to, you know, have this conversation and share, you know these things about you and doing the work with you, Dr Steph, is what has allowed me to show up in that way for the people that I work with every day.

Speaker 1:

Oh, I love that you just got that validation for yesterday about that Yesterday yeah. That you are showing up in that way, because it can feel scary and it changes our experience of life.

Speaker 2:

The only other takeaway that I wanted to share is one of the areas that I've really struggled in is thinking that I was good enough as a mom, and I shared a lot about my mom journey, and in listening to all of the other women give feedback to me, I was able to realize that the love that I have for my children shines through in everything that I do. It does Even though I can't see it or touch it. Yeah, and having that breakthrough, I left there knowing that I'm a good mom.

Speaker 2:

Yes you are, and that was a long time to get to that realization, because there are a lot of experiences that I've had where there's been judgment over decisions that I've made for my children that maybe they, those individuals, didn't necessarily agree with, and I internalized that as well. The more my children around me are healing and the more confident I am in the decisions that I have made for them and continue to make for them.

Speaker 1:

Yes, I couldn't agree with that more. Thank you so much for sharing that. Is there anything else that you want to share before we end today?

Speaker 2:

I guess the last thing that I just want to share is if anyone is thinking about going to Bravecation but maybe they're not sure From my perspective, it can definitely feel scary, and it did feel scary to let my armor down and to be vulnerable, not only with women that I didn't know, but also being vulnerable with myself on your own healing. Or the more I allowed myself to focus on my own healing and be guided by Dr Steph's lessons, that she guides you through it with that openness and are willing to be guided, then you're going to take a lot with you.

Speaker 1:

And I don't know if I've ever said this part on the podcast before, but what I hear people say from time to time, and so I'm sure even more people are thinking, it is like if I open Pandora's box, what will I find? And if that resonates with you listening today, what I want you to know is that there is an oxygen tank at the bottom, and the only thing that you find is love. Everything else is armor and self-protection and defense mechanisms and things that you have acquired since you were born that are not serving you well, and so I know, while it's easy for me to say this because I have experienced it but I just encourage you to trust and believe that this is true it's the only thing that you will find is love.

Speaker 2:

I couldn't agree more, and my experience truly embodied that. Thank you that I walked away with not only the strength and the empowerment, but it was because of the love that was that was there.

Speaker 1:

Yes, yes, I'm so glad that you came and I'm so excited that you're coming again. I can't wait, and um.

Speaker 1:

And I appreciate you for coming on today and for being open and sharing vulnerably, you know and for crying with me. I didn't anticipate that, but it was beautiful and thank you so much. Thank you for having me. I loved it. You're welcome. All right, everybody listening. Keep an eye out for the next Bravecation interview so that you can learn more about the January 2025 Bravecation Healing Retreat. Thank you for listening today. If you're ready to heal so that triggering situations no longer control you and so that you can feel empowered, brave and thrive in any situation, dm me the word brave on Instagram and I'll send you a training where you will learn three of the most common mistakes driven women are making that are keeping them stuck in negative emotions, and what you can do instead.

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