Deanna Coyle, October 2016
There I was… 44 years old, mother of two young boys, and newly separated from my husband of ten years. It was August of 2008, and I was looking around my small, rundown, one bedroom apartment, while agonizing over how to revamp my resume.
After five years out of the workforce as a stay-at-home mom, how was I ever going to regain my footing in the highly competitive financial services industry?
It was time to make dinner and I was putting off the task that I normally loved doing. Not only did I have no one to cook for, but I could not even open the door of the oven all the way, because it would bump up against the knob of the cabinet underneath the adjacent kitchen sink.
It was hard to believe that just a few weeks prior, I was living what appeared to be the ideal life in a beautiful home in a friendly neighborhood where the majority of moms stayed at home.
I had met my husband on Wall Street, started a family, and then left my career to be a stay-at-home mom focusing on the home and the children while my husband focused on his career. My husband was able to increase his salary substantially and we were able to build equity in our home, and had saved money for both our retirement and our kids’ educations.
My kids went to private school and I loved to cook and throw dinner parties for our friends and neighbors.
I enjoyed the feeling of community and family around which we had built our life. My typical day consisted of getting my kids off to pre-school; running errands; going to yoga and aerobics classes; picking my kids up from school in the afternoon and taking them to friends’ houses for playdates; then coming home, making dinner, and getting my kids to bed.
Then, seemingly suddenly, everything came crashing down when my husband and I separated and decided to divorce.
I felt forced to move out of our beautiful home and neighborhood leaving my sweet boys, ages four and six at the time, with my husband in order to stop subjecting them to the ever increasing arguments that were happening between my husband and me.
I wondered, how did I end up alone in this small apartment?
THIS was not the life that I had envisioned and had worked so long and hard to attain. I had worked for years in the grueling financial services industry, received my MBA from a top business school, and obtained the highly sought after Chartered Financial Analyst designation. I had finally attained what I thought was my dream career, as a securities analyst on Wall Street making money I had never imagined earning.
As I looked around my apartment, a stream of questions went through my mind.
How was I ever going to get through this?
Would I ever be able to rebuild a career and support myself and contribute to my kids’ future?
Would I ever be able to rebuild a social life?
Most importantly, how would I be a great role model for my boys and raise them to be the amazing men that I knew they were capable of being?
And how would I stop the pattern of divorce and turmoil…that started with my grandparents, then went to my parents, and finally to me…from extending to my kids?
Let me take you now briefly on the eight year journey that followed my separation from my now ex-husband in that summer of 2008.
My name is Deanna and I am a recovering people pleasing divorcée.
My divorce took three years and was long, arduous, very expensive, and highly emotionally draining. In the five years since my divorce was finalized, I have done a lot of self-evaluation and personal and professional development work. I have realized that I am a people pleaser, and that those tendencies stem from my childhood.
When I was five years old, my parents divorced and my mom moved out of state with my baby sister. I lived with my dad and I remember when my mom and sister would occasionally come to visit. I would ask her to stay with us, and did not understand why she had to leave. I remember thinking, “if only I were a better daughter, then my parents would not be apart and we could all live together again.”
Of course, my parents’ divorce was about them and not about me…however, I did not know that at the time.
In the past few years, I have discovered that I have gone through life thinking that if I can please people and make them happy, then they will like me and not leave me.
I now know that my people pleasing tendencies are not truly about pleasing others, but about my desire to be accepted by those around me, and fending off my fear of rejection. The simple fact is that when we try to please everybody, we end up pleasing nobody, especially ourselves.
In the self-development work that I have done in the last few years, I have learned that I will always have those people pleasing tendencies. However, I now can move beyond those defeatist, self-sacrificing patterns to a more self-respecting and affirming way of being in the world.
Interestingly, as I wrote this article, a friend who sends me daily inspirational quotes sent me this gem: “There’s a tremendous amount of power that comes from not having to say yes.” – Jodie Foster
Fast forward to now, October of 2016.
Here I am: divorced, happier and stronger than ever!
I’m working now in what truly is my dream career with wonderful and caring collaborative business partners. I have a multitude of amazing friends. Best of all, I have a closer than ever connection with my happy, loving and smart boys. And I am on great terms with my ex-husband and his wife who live near me, successfully co-parenting our combined three boys.
I am building a thriving business that has a focus on transforming the divorce process so others can benefit from what I have learned through my own experience.
As a person whose former greatest fear used to be talking in front of even a handful of people, I now host educational seminars, social events, and divorce retreats for multitudes of people who are divorced and going through divorce or separation to transform the process and the resources available to them and their families.
Any experience, even highly painful ones, can help us grow and become stronger if we are open to learning the lessons that life presents to us; e specially if we are willing to ask for help, and have the resources available to guide us through the process. I took the challenging experience of my divorce, and transformed myself, my life, my career, and my family. Now my greatest joy, aside from my wonderful boys, is to be a contribution to others by helping them avoid the costly mistakes that I made during my divorce, and to make a real difference in their lives.
I have established a network of smart and caring professionals from diverse fields in the areas of divorce and self care, and carefully collaborate with each professional based on their expertise, integrity and character, as well as their unique experiences that allow them to relate empathetically to what our participants are going through.
We are dedicated to transforming the divorce process by helping people avoid courtroom battles and the resulting anger, resentment, and hurt caused to all involved; and instead focusing on the financial and emotional health and well-being of both parents and children.
Through educational seminars, social events, and one on one consultations, we provide education and resources covering all aspects of separation and divorce, including finances, legalities, real estate, parenting, emotional well-being, career changes, nutrition, fitness, fashion styling, confidence building, dating & relationships and more.
Together, we provide people with vital support and help them move through the divorce process more smoothly, empowered with greater knowledge, confidence and peace of mind. In addition to being connected with valuable professional services, our event participants are able to meet others who are in the same situa tion and form new and lasting friendships.
Our vision is to educate and inspire people to access their highest potential and create a happy and empowered life for themselves and their families.
Our largest event to-date has been our Sail Your Way Through Divorce Cruise in July 2015, where 150 attendees throughout all stages of divorce and separation gathered on the Odyssey Boat in Boston on a beautiful summer evening to enjoy a night of guidance and empowerment along with dinner and dancing. The attendees were able to talk openly to the professionals to learn ways to empower themselves and transition through a difficult time in their lives.
The event, while helping those going through divorce, was also able to raise $3,500 for Habitat for Humanity Greater Boston.
Those who attended the cruise raved about it saying things such as “First time to this kind of social event. It was happier than my wildest expectations!” and “It was the first time in almost a year that I chose not to feel the pain in my heart, and instead focus on the new friendships I have formed and connections I have made.”
In 2016, we began hosting Divorce Retreats, which have become our most popular event!
Our retreats are part social and part educational with a focus on both divorce information and self empowerment.
Attendees of our retreats form new friendships and connections, and are able to benefit from both group presentations and one-on-one consultations from inspirational speakers and Vesta’s experts in the areas of divorce law, finance, nutrition, therapy, parenting, fashion styling, and more. We absolutely love our divorce retreats, and I cannot express the wonderful feeling that it is to see the attendees transform before our eyes during the retreats, as well as afterwards.
In conclusion, I took my greatest fear — public speaking — and turned it into one of my greatest joys!
I love providing inspiration to others and connecting them with the people and resources that will make a huge difference in their and their families’ lives.
I invite you to take whatever adversity you have faced in the past or are currently facing, and use it as a catalyst for positive transformation.
The point of this article is to use my story of struggle and triumph to inspire you to be your best self, whatever the circumstances. I encourage all of you, whether you are divorced, divorcing, single, married or cohabitating, to step outside your comfort zone and turn whatever struggles or challenges you face into opportunities for creating a life that you love.
If you have specific questions relating to your divorce or separation, or would like to find out more about Vesta’s events and resources, please feel welcome to contact me.
Deanna Coyle is the Founder of Vesta: Redefining Divorce , which provides informative and social events & retreats that educate, empower and connect people to help them navigate life before, during and after divorce with confidence. Our mission is to provide people with trusted resources and a supportive community to enable them to take that challenging life transition and turn it into an opportunity to create a new and happy life for themselves and their families. You may contact Deanna at (508) 744-6014 or Team@VestaDivorce.com.