Overcoming Adversity: From Victim to Victorious
By: Hailey Patry
My heart longs for the day when all people who have been afflicted by adversity can stand proudly and tell the stories of their lives as victors, champions, and heroes. Let’s collectively release the victimhood and the blame many of us carry from our pasts. I long for the day when everyone can be grateful for what they have been through, that they have acquired the necessary learning and growth, and that they have done more than just bounce back from their struggles—they have bounced better.
Before I share with you who I used to be, let me share with you who I am. To know me then is not to know me now. By the way, I am not sharing my story with you because my story matters. I am sharing it with you because your story matters, and inside my story there is a lot of hope for the good that is coming soon from your story.
I am a mother, wife, sister, daughter, granddaughter, niece, friend, business owner, homeowner, neighbour, provider, humanitarian, and entrepreneur. Professionally I am a Speaker, Facilitator, True-Happiness and Resiliency Coach, Consultant, Marriage Mentor, Life Guide, International Best-selling Author, and The Happy Business Coach. Personally, I am a lover, snuggler, giggler, romantic, dancer, kick boxer, traveler, adventurer, hiker, writer, poet, and even a rapper when my eldest son invites me in for a rap battle. I am silly, funny, brave, bold, caring, strong, emotional, and empathetic. I am also goofy, fun, successful, charitable, sentimental, deep, nerdy, quirky, social, outspoken, opinionated, committed, persistent, enthusiastic, driven, and happy. Ironically, I am known as the “World’s Happiest Woman,” so what comes next might sound surprising.
I used to have no self-esteem, no self-worth. I body-shamed, was extremely depressed and suicidal, and was a magnet for trauma.
I have lived through decades of abuse; eight years of anorexia and depression; two childhood suicide attempts; a violent rape; many surgeries; cancer; an unsafe first marriage; a tumultuous divorce, becoming a single mother at twenty-seven with a baby and six figures of debt; finding my soulmate and second husband only to have our marriage tested in every way; fulfilling my dream of becoming a mother again then having my husband lose his job in the middle of my pregnancy; and, like you, many other bumps and scrapes along the way. I have faced my mortality many times. Most recently, exactly a year before writing this chapter, I almost died from toxic shock syndrome, followed closely by a brain virus, and months later had one of two surgeries to correct some other health challenges.
Today I stand proud as the champion of my life, a happily married mama of three miracle babies, currently aged fourteen, five and four. I stand proud to serve and inspire others and change lives every single day. Today I live with extreme happiness, love, joy, and self-worth, and it took something to get here. Everything I did is teachable and learnable, and possible for anyone who has endured something hard and is committed to finding the blessing in it, doing the work to heal from it, and continuing onward and upward.
I have been on many journeys within my overall journey to wellness and happiness, such as the journey to loving food, myself, and life; the journey to cancer freedom; the journey out of depression and oppression; the journey to finding love (again and again and again); the journey to becoming debt-free after my first marriage ended; the journey to finally finding my soulmate; the journey to healing after our marriage was tested and wounded; the journey to conception through difficult pregnancies and home births; the journey to forgiveness and moving on; the journey through financial devastation and back to wholeness; and the journey to physical wellness through a variety of health challenges.
I once carried scars from all the battles of my life. I once, and for a long time, felt deeply victimized, in endless victimhood, repetitive patterns, and a non-stop onslaught of struggle.
Then everything changed. I will share exactly how, and at the end of this piece, I will you offer a complimentary coaching session as my gift to you, so that you too can access the perfect and timely methods to address what you are going through.
Today, I have no scars—all of the ‘ugly’ has become beautiful. I carry tremendous gratitude, extreme empathy for others, and the ability to help others in a way that many cannot.
This is my wish for you, my reader, my friend: for you to feel as light, proud, and grateful for your past and your story as I do about mine. For you to know that it has shaped you or is in the process of shaping you into the very best version of yourself, and to trust that it had to happen to get you where you are now or where you are going. Which is something I call “You 2.0.”
It seems there is a very fine line between being victimized and victorious.
Access to crossing that necessary line comes through bridges such as forgiveness, empowerment, new learning, personal growth, choosing to pivot and take on a new path in life, making better choices, using negative experiences to inspire a new career, book, or view of yourself, and so much more.
It also requires defining new standards, declaring new boundaries, clarifying what you want, ‘uplevelling’ your self-worth and self-esteem, and healing your subconscious beliefs.
There are many natural and holistic approaches to healing from adversity and shifting your energy from victim to victorious. The best way I know is to share some of the events I experienced and share the bridges I used to cross over and become well again. So here goes. This is for you . . .
On a fall day in 1979, I was brought into the world by two loving parents who both had struggles of their own. Within their challenges, their marriage was rocky, too. They did the best they could for me and my two younger brothers, but amid their mental-health challenges, financial hardships, and tumultuous relationship, my childhood was loud, often sad, unstable, and challenging. At the same time, on the good days, they loved us to the moon and back and loved each other too. Today they are celebrating 47 years of marriage, and even though it has been tested and challenged, with age their personalities have softened and their love for us and for each other has grown. Everything they did wrong as parents they have more than made up for as grandparents to my three sons. Today, after forgiveness and healing, we are extremely close as a family. My parents call daily to see how we and the grandkids are doing, and we see each other weekly.
My childhood left me with many scars, for many years. I was so confused by the rage coming at me that I interpreted it to mean that I was not good enough, deficient. At the age of eight I believed I was worthless, disgusting, and ugly. I began my eight-year battle with eating disorders and depression and fell into a deep, dark hole. The deepest point was when I was sixteen and tried twice in two weeks to take my life. I took approximately 600 pills, hoping to go to sleep and never wake up. It is for that reason, and everything I put my liver through all those years ago, that I have never tried drugs or smoking and have never been drunk. I owe it to my liver to be nice to it forevermore.
The methods I used when I was sixteen to begin my healing journey included getting professional help, sharing my pain and my story with two trusted adults, journaling, writing poetry, and writing out the balance sheet for my life. I also applied two strategies called The Gift of Perspective and Perpetrator’s Compassion.
My encouragement to high school-aged youth is to speak to your guidance counsellor and special-resource team at your school. Don’t suffer alone. There are caring and safe adults who can be there to listen and connect you with additional resources and supports to help you get through tough situations. I am also here for you!
The life-balance sheet is an exercise I did after surviving the second suicide attempt. I saw a counsellor who shared this very helpful tool with me. He encouraged me to literally draw a line down the center of a blank page. In one column, I was to write all of the pain I could escape if I died, and on the other, all of the future joys and accomplishments I would miss out on if I died. Doing that exercise proved to me that although my present challenges were massive and awful, if I chose to live there was so much waiting for me in the future: love, marriage, children, making a difference, helping others, leaving a legacy, and so much more.
From this I learned that the most important thing we all need when we are in a deep depression is a future to live into. We need a picture in our minds of a future potential life that has happiness in it, that seems worth living for. We all deserve the hope of a brighter future. And we need it!
From that strategy, I immediately realized I really wanted all of those things, and it was time to stop focusing on everything that was broken in my life and start focusing on the future I wanted to create. I learned how to set, organize, and plan for goals. How to break them down into daily parts and stay committed to the life projects I was working on. I also learned that in order to have a brighter future I had to work on myself, my self-worth and self-esteem.
I needed to let go of a lot of anger and resentment. At the time, I was not trained the way I am now. Today I am a master coach of Radical Forgiveness and Radical Living, teaching what I consider to be the world’s best process for gaining closure, peace, and freedom from the hurts, upsets, anger, blame, resentment, and unforgiveness we carry.
As part of the healing process, I needed to see things from a different perspective. I had spent so long feeling sorry for myself. A few strategies helped that melt away. The Gift of Perspective allowed me to count my blessings. I pictured other young girls in different countries going through things much worse than I was, and I would ask myself to be strong for them. I pictured some of what they were going through and knew that if they could get through their struggles, I could get through mine.
I also considered Perpetrator’s Compassion in dissecting why the people who hurt me might be the way they were and the way they are. I knew it would not undo what they did to me, it would not make it okay, and it would not condone their behaviour, but it certainly lightened the anger I had toward them and actually had me see both of us as victims, rather than just me. For example, when I think about my rapist from 23 years ago, I imagine that he must have been through unspeakable things, and also not be well in his mind, which turned him into the person who did what he did to me. I actually feel sorrier for him than I do for myself, because I have healed, I moved on, my life is wonderful, but if he is a broken man with a broken mind and no conscience, surely, he lives a miserable life, and I feel badly for him.
When it comes to my attack . . . it came about a year after my suicide attempts. I was working on me, things were getting better, my confidence was returning, I was in a relationship, and then it happened. My boyfriend at the time had been in a bad fight. Three men tried to steal his motorcycle and he beat them up very badly. He was a competitive fighter and advanced martial artist, so they didn’t stand a chance. They decided that in order to retaliate for how badly he had hurt them, there was no sense fighting him, as he alone was a lethal weapon, so they followed me for three weeks. Of course, I did not know any of this until after the attack, after I told my boyfriend about it, and only then did he come clean and tell me what had happened and who had done this to me. Thank goodness it was only one of them!
One night in the spring of 1997, I was falling asleep doing my homework. You see, due to my parents’ financial struggles, I had started working at a young age to make sure I ended up in a better place when I grew up. I worked two jobs every day after school and did homework into the middle of the night. As my head started to bob in fatigue, I figured I would go for a quick walk to get some fresh air and wake myself up. We lived in a very safe neighbourhood, so there was nothing to worry about.
He came at me from behind and took me down to the ground, weapon in hand. When it was over, and I could feel the blood leaving my body, I knew a few things… This was both the worst night of my life in many ways, and also how lucky I was to still have a pulse. Somehow it came to mind that others were attacked by more than one assailant and that others died on the ground they were left on.
Something changed inside me that night. A hero in me woke up. I required several reconstructive surgeries after the attack, and it also caused cervical cancer, so I feel truly blessed to be alive and am thankful that although it was inhumanely horrid, it could have been so much worse.
While my body was healing, I worked hard to heal my mind, stop the nightmares, and focus on bouncing back and bouncing better. I knew I needed to make a radical shift to move past this. I did not suffer in silence. I shared my story as part of a school project, coming clean about depression, abuse, suicide, eating disorders, and rape, and I encouraged others to come forward and share their stories so we could build a safe, supportive, non-judgmental community to heal together. Haphazardly I started my first group-coaching circle. By stepping into a support role, I had to make progress every day on my healing journey so I could motivate and inspire the others. That level of accountability really helped me make better choices than I otherwise would have.
One of the most important tools I developed and now teach, called ‘Dreamcasting’, is a nightly practice I highly recommend for any trauma survivors who get flashbacks, for PTSD, for anyone with disturbed sleep, and for anyone who wants tomorrow to be brighter than yesterday. It is also exceptionally powerful for helping you to bring your dreams and goals to fruition.
I have a free thirty-minute voice-over presentation that explains the whole process, and you can access it by reaching out to me and requesting it. All of my contact information is below and on the contact page of this website www.TheLiftedLid.com.
When my body was strong again, I focused my attention on elevating my self-worth, taking my power back, and raising my standards. I was still but a baby on that journey when I met my ex-husband. I still had a lot of work to do on me, and since we choose our partners based on being a match for our self-worth at the time . . . I chose poorly. It was a very hard, loud, and scary marriage. When I left for the safety of my son and I, my son was still a breastfeeding baby, and I took on over $200,000 of the debt my ex had. It was a very scary time in my life. I felt alone, unloved, financially broken, and yet . . . I knew it had to be this way. There were lessons I still needed to learn and growth I had to go through. I dove headfirst into personal growth and quickly raised my bar. I was approaching thirty when I finally learned I am a 10!!! I am fully worth it, fully deserving, totally amazing, and if I can love me, then a good man will too.
During the time before I met my husband, Jeremy (who as I publish this, has been my sweetheart for ten and a half years), I had a lot of work to do and many strategies to implement. Just a small bit of what I used to get strong and move on will be explained here. So, if you are someone who is currently in an unsafe relationship and need assistance creating a safety plan, game plan, and personal care plan to get you out and get your life back on track, then please reach out. I am here to support you.
There is much more than what can fit on these pages, but here are some of the important steps I took that you can too:
1) I took on an additional income-generation opportunity so that I could make more money to pay off the debt I inherited.
2) I worked closely with mentors and hung out in supportive environments to lift me up, such as personal-growth workshops and courses.
3) I asked for help from family and friends when I could not do everything on my own. Sanity is always more important than pride, and people love to help if they are good people.
4) I became an amazing budgeter yet again and learned how to spend less, make more, and eradicate my debt faster. I was forced into becoming more successful so that I could provide for my son and myself.
5) I continued to work on me and make sure I was in the best shape of my life emotionally and physically.
6) I had a daily practice of affirmations and did my ‘Dreamcasting’ every night.
7) I used the same manifestation process that I now teach all of my single clients to call love back into my life.
8) I was not afraid to share my story, to be open, to be vulnerable and lay it out on the line.
After these and other strategies, or bridges to cross over from victimized in a divorce to victorious as a proud single mama, I was ready to meet my soulmate and finally have it all.
After I became a debt-free single mom and my son was three, soon to be four, I was speaking all over Canada and the US sharing my story to teach others how they too could turn their lives around in all areas.
Sometimes my audience had more than 20,000 people, and sometimes my audiences were in banquet halls and living rooms. Ten and a half years ago, I gave a talk in Hamilton, Ontario, and met the man of my dreams. I asked if anyone else in the room had children, and no one did. I asked as a small joke if anyone wanted to borrow my three-year-old for the weekend, and he put his hand up from the back row and said, “Miss, if you’re there, I will be there.”
When Jeremy and I fell in love, it was epic. We dated for nine weeks from our two separate cities an hour and a half apart, and then we bought our home in the middle. We were crazy, and crazy in love. While we were building our life together, he also adopted my son, who is now our son. What a blessing it is for a little boy who is at odds with, and has no contact with, his biological father to have a saint step up and raise him, love him, and care for him. We are so grateful.
When our son was eight, we made his wish came true and gave him a baby brother. But there was a lot of struggle at that time. When I was three months pregnant, my husband made some big mistakes and lost his job and risked losing our marriage too. I was devastated half the time and over the moon to be expecting a little miracle the rest of the time. As you can imagine, it was a difficult pregnancy, but it led to the most magical and serene home water birth. The six months leading up to the birth were the hardest six months of my life, but this time I had all the tools at my disposal to heal, deal, bounce, and thrive. And so, we did! But one tool was missing… Radical Forgiveness. I needed a new tool to truly move on from what had happened, and that’s when Radical Forgiveness came into my life. If you are still mad or sad at someone, or at yourself, I highly recommend looking into the books Radical Forgiveness or Radical Self Forgiveness, depending on whom you are upset with. Or reaching out to me for a complimentary Radical Forgiveness session.
The other tools we used to heal our marriage and go from victim to victorious are the six steps I teach to my marriage clients on how to fall in love again and rewrite a marriage. And, my 5-Step I.D.E.A.L. Love Method which you can learn all about in my fourth book: HAPPY LOVE – 5 Essential Steps to Help Frustrated Couples Fall in Love Again (with each other).
With the turn of events during that pregnancy, my husband became a stay-at-home dad and I later launched my full-time coaching institute, to support my clients and to support our family. At the time of publishing this, my husband has been home for 6 years. The strategies we used turned what was initially bad news into a huge blessing.
Because he lost his job, we learned to focus on what was most important and how to live on a lot less. We learned just how strong we are, how strong our marriage is, how forgiving my heart is, how caring his heart is, and he learned that he is truly loved unconditionally. When our middle son was eight months old, we excitedly began the pregnancy for our third son, and nine months and two weeks later we welcomed our next miracle into the world. Now, as a family of five, we give our boys the rare and incredible opportunity to have tons of time with their daddy and have constant fun, adventures, excursions, and male role modelling that so many children miss out on.
At first, the financial reality was crushing, and it forced me to step up and learn how to help more people and earn more money. Because I opened up my hours and expanded my practice, I have prevented countless suicides, depressions, and divorces, helped countless clients find freedom from addiction, countless single clients find love, sexless couples to reconnect and fall in love with each other again, angry clients to find peace, frustrated clients to master themselves and their success goals. I am so thankful to have delivered happiness and resiliency training to thousands of students in 136 countries.
Trauma can be turned into triumph. Victims can become victorious. You can become the hero in your story, and there are twenty-one ‘Survive-and-Thrive’ methods that I would love to teach you and your loved ones, as well as your entire company and community, because happiness is teachable and learnable. So is the walk from victimhood to victorious.
Plus, it is absolutely worth it. Walking the path from victim to victor is worth every bit of gold waiting at the end of the rainbow after all of the storms. I want so badly for others to have what I now have. So much love, so much happiness, so much laughter, so much peace. I want this for you!
Today, I am so grateful that trauma and adversity chose me and allowed me to go through everything exactly as it did, so that I could help the tens of thousands of people around the world, just like you, who now use my methods for their own healing, happiness, and success.
Had I not experienced the violent rape, I would not be so effective with my clients who are also sexual-violence survivors. I love helping them feel safe, free, and empowered again in as little as one session.
Had I not experienced my own long battle with depression and suicide, I would not have the magical touch with my clients who are battling their own depression or suicidal feelings. I am deeply excited that my methods work in as little as one session to help children, adolescents, and adults stop self-harming, stop considering suicide, and start planning for happiness and joy in their lives.
Had I not been through an unsafe marriage, a horrific divorce, and a very bumpy ride through single parenthood and financial ruin, I would not be able to support clients as lovingly, delicately, and effectively through their own transitions of divorce, single parenthood, and remarriage.
Had my husband and I not been tested the way that we were, I could not be so raw and authentic while helping countless other couples to fall in love with each other again, as we too needed to go through the process.
You see, from today’s vantage point looking back, everything happened exactly as it needed to, and I am so grateful for having gone through it. At the same time, I would not want to go through it again, nor do I condone what was done to me or the choices of the people who hurt me. But I do know this:
My difficult childhood was perfect because it gave me the low self-worth and body-image issues that sent me into the fitness industry.
Being in that industry was perfect because it is where I met my ex-husband, and all of the awful things he put me through were perfect because that marriage led to my incredible first-born son, all my ex’s debt, and the success story I became when I paid it off.
Becoming that success story was necessary, and working for nearly two and a half years to pay those debts off was perfect because it landed me on the speaking circuit that eventually had me talk in that room ten and a half years ago in Hamilton, which is where I met my Jeremy.
Meeting Jeremy and choosing him as my forever partner was perfect because he adopted my eldest son and helped me to create our youngest two sons. All of the tests he brought into our marriage were also perfect because they have strengthened me, him and us; they have allowed him to be a stay-at-home daddy, and that has allowed me to expand my coaching practice and serve, support, and heal clients all over the world.
I would not change a single thing. Based on how it has all worked out . . . all I can do is say “Thank you.”
So what is your story? How can I support you on your journey?
I am excited to offer you the gift of a complimentary coaching session so we can put a plan together for you to increase the amount of happiness, love, and success in your life. Just as it was for the thousands of happy clients before you… You will come off the call feeling lighter, hopeful, excited, and ready to implement some new actions into your immediate schedule to start shifting your circumstances right away. What are you waiting for, my friend? Today is a great day to claim your space in the world, turn up your light, fill yourself with love, and have all the support you crave.
If you are truly ready to shine, then let’s book you some time! You can text me on my confidential line at 416-797-5856 or book online at www.HyourLIFE.com
You can also request any of the available resources, such as the process for ‘Dreamcasting’, a Happiness Wheel, or ebooks to support you. You matter. Your life matters. Your story matters. And I will make time for you because you, my friend, are amazing! Even if you do not fully see that yet.
From the bottom of my heart, I wish you love, joy, laughter, peace, vitality, abundance, and to always know you are a 10!
With gratitude, love and smiles,
Your True-Happiness Coach, Marriage Mentor, and The Happy Business Coach,
P.S. I would love to stay connected, keep in touch, and add more love, endless laughter and abundant success to your life. Clients tell me that the results they could not get, after years of other therapy, they got with me in just a few hours. All of my amazing clients, people just like you, tell me that they get immediate relief after our very first session. That’s why I keep spreading the love!
Please add me as a friend on my personal Facebook page!
My mission is to bring more happiness, love and success to the world, starting with the most important person this moment… and that’s YOU! My wish for you, is to start living your best life NOW, regardless of what your went through before. I would be so honoured to support you. Schedule your 1st session for free today.