Brooke Bergman Parr went through a divorce with an 18-month-old daughter and had no job. This is her story and she is resilient.
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Trigger Warning: The Resilience Project provides an open space for people to share their personal experiences. Some content in this podcast may include topics that you may find difficult. The listener’s discretion is advised.
About the Guest:
Brooke Bergman Parr is a couples therapist and coach. The psychology of Business. She is a recovering people pleaser and Rest Teacher plus a Light Fairy and Feminine Energy Dancer.
About the Host:
Blair Kaplan Venables is an expert in social media marketing and the president of Blair Kaplan Communications, a British Columbia-based PR agency. She brings fifteen years of experience to her clients, including global wellness, entertainment and lifestyle brands. She is the creator of the Social Media Empowerment Pillars, has helped her customers grow their followers into the tens of thousands in just one month, win integrative marketing awards and more.
USA Today listed Blair as one of the top 10 conscious female leaders in 2022, and Yahoo! listed Blair as a top ten social media expert to watch in 2021. She has spoken on national stages, and her expertise has been featured in media outlets, including Forbes, CBC Radio, Entrepreneur, and Thrive Global. In the summer of 2023, a new show that will be airing on Amazon Prime Video called 'My Story' will showcase Blair's life story. She is the co-host of the Dissecting Success podcast and the Radical Resilience podcast host. Blair is an international bestselling author and has recently published her second book, 'The Global Resilience Project.' In her free time, you can find Blair growing The Global Resilience Project's community, where users share their stories of overcoming life's most challenging moments.
Learn more about Blair: https://www.blairkaplan.ca/
The Global Resilience Project; https://theglobalresilienceproject.com/
Alana Kaplan is a compassionate mental health professional based in Winnipeg, Manitoba. She’s a child and family therapist at a Winnipeg-based community agency, and a yoga teacher. Fueled by advocacy, Alana is known for standing up and speaking out for others. Passionate about de-stigmatizing and normalizing mental health, Alana brings her experience to The Global Resilience Project team, navigating the role one’s mental health plays into telling their story.
Engaging in self-care and growth is what keeps her going and her love for reading, travel, and personal relationships helps foster that. When she’s not working, Alana can often be found on walks, at the yoga studio, or playing with any animal that she comes across.
The Global Resilience Project: https://theglobalresilienceproject.com/
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trigger warning, the Resilience Project provides an open space for people to share their personal experiences. Some content in this podcast may include topics that you may find difficult, the listeners discretion is advised.Blair Kaplan Venables:
Hello friends, welcome to radical resilience, a weekly show where I Blair Kaplan Venables have inspirational conversations with people who have survived life's most challenging times. We all have the ability to be resilient and bounce forward from a difficult experience. And these conversations prove just that, get ready to dive into these life changing moments while strengthening your resilience muscle and getting raw and real.Blair Kaplan Venables:
Welcome back to another episode of radical resilience. It's me, Blair Kaplan Venables, and I'm here with my new friend Brooke. Her name is Brooke Bergman part. I'm actually physically met her this past fall in Ontario, and I live in British Columbia, Canada, and I believe you live in California, right?Brooke Bergman Parr:
I do Southern California.Blair Kaplan Venables:
So we both live west coast and we met at some summer camp in the woods in Ontario. Very funny that we're you know, and she's just super rad. I'm so excited that she's here. So Brooke Bergman Parr. She is a couples therapist and coach. She studies and teaches the psychology of business I think. And she's, yeah, she's a recovering people pleaser and rest teacher. And we all need someone to guide us all the rest journey because I know like I have. I am a recovering hustler. I have hustle itis so like, teach me the rest. And she's a light fairy, and a feminine energy dancer. That was actually like I met her in Ontario, but like my first like, time, like really spending time with her as she put on a little performance of really beautiful, sexy performance. And so like, Yes, she is a feminine energy dancer, and she's fucking amazing. And we are here today to talk about how she went through a divorce with an 18 month old daughter and she had no job. So welcome to the microphone, Brooke.Brooke Bergman Parr:
Yay. Hello. I'm here to tell the story of how I survived that situation. And not only survived it I'm here to tell a story.Blair Kaplan Venables:
You serve you thrive. I call it revival.Brooke Bergman Parr:
Oh I like it. I like revival. It's like you're thrivingBlair Kaplan Venables:
and surviving. Right? Yeah. Love it. Yeah. So I'm so honored that we're doing this and we're connecting and, you know, we keep like randomly like on social media, like synchronicities, like Oh, my God, you're down the highway for me. Oh, my God, like, download maybe highway from you. And so one day, we'll be in the same place at the same time again, and I look forward to that day. But you know, why don't we dive dive into your story? Tell us about your journey?Brooke Bergman Parr:
Sure. Well, um, so yeah, I say I went through divorce with an 18 month old and no job. Because at the time of my divorce, I was a stay at home mom with an 18 month old, and that was actually part of my plan. And my ex is at the time, or he was my husband, the time he's now my ex. He was an attorney. And so it was kind of like that picture perfect, like, situation. So I thought we had problems in our marriage, for sure. We were pretty disconnected. And we got married when we were super young, I was only 19 and he was 21 We came from a religious a very fundamentalist religious background that encourages that sort of behaviors. So I didn't really know myself all the things but there was a part of me that was wise and said wait to get your wait to have your baby and tell you finish with your license. So I I had finished with my licensing for my marriage and family that degree and then I got pregnant. But I my whole plan was I'm going to take a few years off actually not few I was like, probably going to be like the five year stay at home mom thing but during my pregnancy, which this is always gonna happen and I read the books and I heard all about it. That that's typically when abuse begins if it's going to begin. Now my ex had been I'm just gonna say it he was pretty much an asshole and annoying him and all these sorts of things. But I don't know I just kind of I was taught to be a good Christian wife and so I just stayed. And I didn't really think that anything else was out there better. So anyway, so he got worse. And then But then now I'm pregnant and I'm stuck. Okay, this was not the plan. And so then after she was born after my daughter was born, it was kind of okay for a little bit. And then he's kind of just picked up in sort of getting worse again. And it was really the verbal and emotional abuse. He never progressed to the physical abuse. But that was right around the corner. And I could kind of see it coming. And so I said, you you need to go. Because this is not safe for me or our daughter. And also not you actually at the turns out, yeah, it's it's not safe for you. But I, like I said, because I was a stay at home mom, I did not have a job, nor any plans. Like that was just not my than the plan. And so I really, really went out on a limb. And I secretly opened up my own bank account, because he was pretty controlling at the time. And I just kind of started squirreling away money. And I did lots of sneaky things to like, get myself safe.Blair Kaplan Venables:
Sounds like you mean, like, think like sneaky, but like for survival?Brooke Bergman Parr:
Yeah, it was for survival? Because if I would have told him what I was doing, then I would have I would have been a danger for sure.Blair Kaplan Venables:
Wow. And so from what, what, thank you for sharing. I just, my heart goes out to you for so many different reasons. So when you when you left him, or when you guys, I don't know what when you guys went through the separation? Money that you were squirreling away, like, walk us through that, like, where did you go?Brooke Bergman Parr:
What did you do? Well, I, I stayed in the home that we were in, so I had kind of. So he's a criminal defense attorney. And he would get cash retainers. So I would like four days. Yeah, do some hoarding. And also, I'd started taking a few clients, like I'm talking to one client a week, and I kind of just couched it to him as like, Oh, I'm just, I want something to do on board. Kind of a thing. And then, and then, I mean, I just kind of went for it. And I, at one point, after we separated him, he because he had because he was making good money, he was legally obligated to help me. But of course, as any divorced person knows those legal obligations usually go out the window. So I actually opened up a credit card, and just used that for like basics. And it turns out, you can kind of float yourself on a credit card for a while I had good credit, thankfully, which I know is not everybody's case. But I just kind of hobbled together different sources and different things. And then eventually, you know, got a job and started working. But wow, at the time, it was really scary. Because if, if anybody of you have tried to have daycare, you know that it's also really expensive. And it was really kind of like it almost canceled itself out. SoBlair Kaplan Venables:
yeah. Oh my gosh, that's such like, my mom was a single mom, my dad developed a very bad addiction. And I was seven and Alanna, my sister was three. So Okay. i i so i had to quickly grow up and help with my sister and I immediately became like, sort of an adult because my mom was the adult my dad was like, not a, he shouldn't have never had children. Anyways, but a great man, not a great parent, but also he was really sick. But first of all on the single mom front, like, I know, as a daughter, how hard that could be. So like, yeah, first of all, like kudos to you doing that. I fled an abusive relationship. He was very he was verbally abusive. He was an alcoholic and I would wake up to him in the middle of the night standing over me calling me terrible names. And the day he put his hands on me is the day I left him and I was homeless for three weeks. Like I Oh, like I got an apartment. But there was three weeks till I took possession. So I just couch surfed. Yeah. And like, I was just like, I did what I had to do the landlord even offered for me to sleep on the floor of like a different apartment. But I was like, No, I didn't want to start my relationship in the building like that. You know, I think like the leaving an abusive partner is really fucking hard. I can't even I can't even imagine adding a kid into that, like, for me, I tried to leave this person a few different times. And, you know, it's a cycle and you I wasn't putting money away, I had a business and I was so depressed that I couldn't make money. And I think was the rock bottom. Like, I figured it out. Like, I didn't have good credit. But I basically convinced businesses that were looking at hiring me to hire me and give me a deposit. And that's what I went apartment with. And it's kind of like, you go, you get kicked into survival mode, right? And you like your do what you need to do to survive. And it's yeah, like you find the strength within that you didn't know you had, right.Brooke Bergman Parr:
Yeah, and you know, it's, it's funny at the time that I was going through it, I remember calling a friend of mine, who had also left an abusive relationship. And I said to her, Vicki, I am proof. This is really, really rough. And she goes, I know, honey, it's so scary. And she goes, but I just want you to know that you're planting the seeds have a really beautiful garden right now. And I was like, oh,Blair Kaplan Venables:
you can't see it in a hurricane. Right?Brooke Bergman Parr:
I couldn't. But you know, it's so interesting, because I look back on that time, and I look at the strength I had to develop during that time. And it still carries me through to this day. And it is such a like, gosh, if I can do that. And if I can get through that. Then I it does it makes you feel so strong and powerful. AndBlair Kaplan Venables:
yeah. And I want to talk about something else, because you're a couples therapist. Okay. And the coach. Yeah. And you were doing you were becoming a therapist, or you are a therapist, while going through all this. Like, what a duality, like, I mean, I got, I don't know, like, do hairdressers cut their own hair? I don't think so. Like, can therapists therapy themselves? I don't know, like, I mean, you know, the tools, but like, you know what, like, walk us through that duality? Because sure, like, what would you like, if you were not you? Yeah, you know, you know what you would say?Brooke Bergman Parr:
So I had been in therapy, obviously, before my divorce just for myself. And I just remember the day it all clicked, is because none of the things I was telling other couples to do worked in my situation. And so that's actually a distinction that I help people make and kind of come to when they're in a relationship or with another person is like, if you're in an abusive situation, the tools actually just don't work. There, they just do not work in your inner. And I'm not going to say a healthy relationship, because it's all along a continuum. But I do think that there is a big difference of like, like, I can tell now, like with my husband, now, if I come to him, after going to my own therapy, and I approach him with better tools. Things go better. Yes.Blair Kaplan Venables:
Right. But I think like the difference between like, what you're saying is like, I think when there's an abusive relationship, the only tool you need is like a one way ticket out of there.Brooke Bergman Parr:
Yes, yes. And I, and a lot of times, people don't realize they're in abusive relationships and tell some light bulb or something clicks,Blair Kaplan Venables:
we should talk about that because I have you here and not everyone can afford a therapist. So I think if you're open to it, like what are like some of the things that you see people realizing where they don't know they're in an abusive relationship.Brooke Bergman Parr:
So I would say one of the hallmarks of an abusive relationship is that one wow, you feel really scared and anxious all the time. I remember driving home and just feeling like a pit in my stomach every day. Yeah. And there's just like a constant sense of anxiety and unease. And you can never really pinpoint where it's coming from. And that's because it's in your home. But which should be your safe place? So, I think that's one thing to look out for. I think. Another thing is that emotional abuse, precursors, all the other type of abuse, and emotional abuse is really the cutting down of you as a person. So, like for myself, one of the things that my ex used to say that now in retrospect, I'm like, Oh, my God, I can't believe I believed him, but he would be like, you'll never find anybody better than me. Like, I'm so hot. I'm so amazing.Blair Kaplan Venables:
I know, right? It's so gross.Brooke Bergman Parr:
And like, I didn't actually I wasn't like, and when he would say that, I would just I have such low self esteem for myself. That it was just like, yeah, you're probably right, like,Blair Kaplan Venables:
but also like, you're so beaten down, right? In those situations like you believe it? I don't know, what's it called? Is it Stockholm Syndrome?Brooke Bergman Parr:
Yeah, it's Stockholm Syndrome, you're kind of held hostage, youBlair Kaplan Venables:
know. And it's a cycle, it's hard to get out.Brooke Bergman Parr:
It is it's a cycle. And so I would also say that one of the hallmarks of abusive relationships are like, you feel like you have zero choice. Like you're not choosing consciously to be there, because you believe this is a good thing, and that we're doing things in the world. And we have shared goals, common interests, like it just feels like you're stuck, like totally and completely stuck. But I'm gonna, I want to kind of list some of the other things that are just super, like, basic in terms of like, what are abuse? Okay, so emotional and verbal abuse, any kind of name calling. So, yeah, like you said, your axe would just yell at you and call you awful names. Any kind of name calling. Any kind of belittling, like, be literally your accomplishments, belittling. And by be literally, and I mean, like, like, Oh, that's so cute, that you did that thing. You know. And that's, that's called belittling, right. And it's just making another person feel less than and so there's always this power dynamic. So it's always like, I'm trying to make myself feel bigger than you. So name calling, belittling, also beginning to isolate. So I didn't realize how isolated I was. From both family and friends. It turns out, I'm pretty good at making friends and relationships, and my community just blossomed after my divorce. I was like, oh, people like me. So isolation, also, control of both finances and what you were, who you spend time with, again, that's part of the isolation. And then if we move on to the physical abuse, any kind of any kind of physical contact, including pushing or throwing things, or attempting to intimidate, by like, destroying your property, that sort of thing. SoBlair Kaplan Venables:
Wow. Yeah. So you know, if you're, if you're listening to this, and it's resonating, you know, Brooks information is going to be in the shownotes. And in your community, I'm sure there are people, you know, professionals who can help you.Brooke Bergman Parr:
Well, there are hotlines. And there are websites and so we'll be sure to include that.Blair Kaplan Venables:
Yeah, you'll you'll send them to me. I'll make sure they're in there. Yeah. Yeah. And I think this is such an important conversation because what you were saying is some of the things that we don't know are abuse like the be little Yeah, the name calling like once in a while something slips out, I think, is that okay once in a while, like if you never call names and likeBrooke Bergman Parr:
I think there's a big difference between like playful, Yeah, him calling and, like militias full of hatred patterns. Yeah. And that is where the abusive system really takes root is in the patterning the dynamic and that's why then people find it so hard to get out.Blair Kaplan Venables:
You know, like, off by, I mean, I really didn't prepare like stats or anything. Do you do any sort of statistics? Like, I know, I tried to leave my axe? Like I think on the third time I tried to leave him I've permanently left him like, Are there stats that you know about?Brooke Bergman Parr:
Yeah, I mean, people say, I'm an average of seven times, which I actually did attempt to leave my really i i wouldn't call it turn to leave the relationship. But I said to him, I'm going to move. And actually, that's how I ended up in Southern California is because I said, I'm moving. Yeah. And then he was like, Oh, well, I'm moving to what do you Yeah. If I don't like Oh, okay. Like that. It. But I didn't have. I'm just gonna say the courage to say, I want to leave you. And I'm moving. And I don't want you to come with me. Yeah. Because I just wasn't that courageous yet. And I also didn't believe in my own experience enough yet. But I want to go back to that duality piece, because I think we kind of got on a sidetrack. Yeah. Okay. So the duality piece. I do remember feeling a pretty significant amount of shame around being a marriage and family therapist, and then leaving an abusive relationship and being like, how do these two truths coexist. And, thankfully, I've had a lot of good therapy, who therapists who have helped me just work through that shame, and just say, I'm a human too. And part of what makes me a good therapist can also make me susceptible to bad behavior. Because I'm really kind and open hearted. And I was also super young when I got into this relationship. And so I became an I also believe, though, in the growth instinct, and I became a therapist during the course of that relationship, and it was like, the onion revealed itself, I'm pretty sure that I, that part of me becoming a therapist was my own way of trying to heal. I just didn't know what at the time. And it gave me the courage, it gave me the confidence and it gave me It ultimately provided a way out.Blair Kaplan Venables:
I think that's so beautiful that you look at it that way. And it's one of those things that we don't know what we don't know. And like you said, You got married really young, like nine. Oh, my gosh,Brooke Bergman Parr:
I still like there's this picture of me at my bridal shower. I found it the other day, like a couple months ago. And it's a picture of me at my bridal shower for my, for my first wedding. And I literally had braces on. Oh,Blair Kaplan Venables:
I love that. Oh my god. I just think like when I was 19, I was like working in the bars and like young drunk and like, having fun and traveling the world. Like I couldn't even imagine like bursting a human. I mean, I still haven't birth to human, but like, you know, and a little older than 19. But, you know, so you move to California, like, let's maybe fast forward to what life is like now. So how old is your daughter?Brooke Bergman Parr:
So she is nine years old. So I didn't I actually waited a long time to get pregnant. So I didn't have her till right before I got divorced. And I always say that she actually she's sort of ushered me into the realm of the feminine, because I was becoming a mother. And she helped me wake up to what the fuck was actually happening? Yeah. Because I was like, oh my god, okay. Like, wake up here. This is real, another little small person is very dependent on you. And so I do credit her arrival with me finding the courage to really do what I needed to do. But life now I have my daughter is nine and then I married a man who also has a daughter and so I have a beautiful Bowness daughter who is 11 that I know and we have a dog, and we are by no means perfect. But we are connected and growing, which I think is a big difference. Because in bad relationships, things are just getting worse and worse and unhealthy relationships There's the potential for change and growth, new energy to enter the picture. We like to ski. I don't know, my husband's an artist, he paints.Blair Kaplan Venables:
I love it. Like it just sounds like a harmonious, like a peaceful. Like,Brooke Bergman Parr:
right? It's so different and so fun. I mean, I would say that what's challenging for my husband and I is that we still have to deal with are the parents of other other parents, and then that can present a challenge. But he and I have worked really hard to develop a deep trust in each other that like, I've got your back. I've got your back, even though this other person may be challenging or difficult, like, we're a team, you know, niceBlair Kaplan Venables:
is that. So it sounds really beautiful. Like you're in a partnership. It sounds like you feel very safe.Brooke Bergman Parr:
I do.Blair Kaplan Venables:
Yeah. I mean, you deserve it. Right survival from survival to thriving.Brooke Bergman Parr:
Yeah, yeah.Blair Kaplan Venables:
I feel like I can talk to you forever. I before before I like I have a couple final questions. But what I want what's the light fairy? Tell us what?Brooke Bergman Parr:
Oh, I'm? So that's a great question. But this image came to me during one of my deep healing session that I did. And it's just this feeling of being connected to the light. And when I say light, I mean the light in kind of a broad metaphorical sense. And it's that clear, safe energy that just makes you feel warm and good. And I really try to bring that lightness wherever I go, and with whomever I'm interacting with,Blair Kaplan Venables:
and like, it's legit sparkles and twinkles like she's a ball of energy and light and, you know, good vibes. Like, it's like you have this like, or have good vibe. So I love that, you know, Brooke, you're awesome. And if people are falling in love with you, like I have, how can they get with you? How can they find you? Where can they like, where can they stalk you?Brooke Bergman Parr:
So the best place to stalk me, it's probably Instagram. It's, it's pretty easy. It's just Brooke, and then double underscore Bergman. That's the best place to follow me. And then I've got links to like my website, and also Zen founder. I do a podcast on there pretty regularly as then. founder.com. I partner with Sherry Wildling. Who is I know a friend of ours,Blair Kaplan Venables:
too. She was on again. She's actually on our podcast, too. Oh, amazing. She's like one of our first few episodes. Yeah, of course she was. I love it. Yeah, I mean, I love that. Like you guys work together on that on Zen pounder. And okay, so let's wrap this up with some advice. Like we talked about signs and you know what an abusive relationship is in your journey? What advice do you have for that woman listening to this episode? Who has that child or even young baby? Yeah, realizing just now shit. I'm actually in an abusive relationship. Yeah, to get out what is yourBrooke Bergman Parr:
the first thing that comes to my mind in my heart is trust yourself. Trust what you're experiencing is true. And then believe that you will make it work that you will find a way out and that there is a wild wolf mama woman in there that sniffs her way out. Wolf mama, huh? And that I think in those situations, you really kind of have to find that there's kind of a wildness that you have to find a fierceness that you have to find.Blair Kaplan Venables:
It's like a primal it gets kind of like a primal instinct, rare, veryBrooke Bergman Parr:
primal. And in order to get in touch with that primal energy, you have to first believe your body and your body is telling knew the truth. Wow.Blair Kaplan Venables:
Such great advice. That's so beautiful. Brooke, thank you so much for joining us on this episode. Oh, it's my pleasure. So good. And thank you to everyone who tuned in for another episode of radical resilience for welcoming me and Brooke, Brooke and me into your ears, your living room, your car, your job, whatever, you're doing your bath, tea, listen to the bath, I don't know, I listen to music in the bath, not podcasts. But, you know, life is fucking hard. And, you know, we all have a story. That's why we exist, we create a safe space for you to share your stories of resilience for you to listen to other people's stories or read other people's stories so we can navigate our hard stuff together. Our first book, The Global Resilience Project. That's how it all started, you know, we became an international best seller. If you're listening and you want to share your story and be published in our second book applications are now open the global resilience project.com You can go there you can read about what you get in the book to be a part of it. It's really awesome. We're going to be on amazon prime on a new TV show and I want you to feel comfortable to share your story and to get your message out there and I've created this space for you. So if you want to be a part of the second book are you want to explore that and get on a call with me? Go to the global resilience project.com And you know what? You don't have to go through the hard stuff alone. We are here with you. We can walk alongside you. It is okay to not be okay. Let us be the lighthouse in your storm. And just remember you are resilient.