“How could they have fooled me?” “Why didn’t I see it coming?” “I feel like I don’t know who I am anymore…”
These are some of the things that could have run through your mind if you’ve ever come under attack by a predator in the business world. These predators may have had the ability to turn your world upside down before leaving you in a deep, dark hole and confused about your own identity.
What they may have taken from you is so much more than money and your time. But your self- worth, your confidence and your ability to trust others and to trust in yourself and in your own judgement.
Their tactics may have included constant criticism and pickiness, shaming, gaslighting and mind- games. They may have gone so far as to isolate you from others, worming their way into your personal life and playing the victim when you won’t do as they want. They could even have gone to extraordinary lengths to lie about who they are and to manipulate you into taking actions that benefit them.
Make no mistake that this is abuse.
Just as mental abuse happens in romantic relationships and within families, so it happens in the business world. Almost every entrepreneur I’ve spoken to has experienced a version of this to some degree, but there seems to be a deafening silence around it. I’m here to break that silence!
If you have experienced this, here’s what I want you to know:
It wasn’t your fault
You did not deserve what happened to you. You are not stupid, gullible or any other negative phrase you may have been torturing yourself with. What you are is a good person. A person who would never dream of treating anybody in that way. It’s incomprehensible to you and that’s why you may not have recognised the signs early on. Forgive yourself.
You haven’t lost
You may feel a deep sense of loss. Grief, even. And that’s OK. When the darkness fades, you will look back and realise that you didn’t lose anything that you can’t build back up and when you do, it’ll be 10 times stronger.
Ask yourself this – what have you gained through the experience?
You get to choose how your story ends
Understand that your predator created stories to change the way you perceive both them and yourself. This was part of their manipulation tactic and it was essential for them to be able to control your actions.
Now that you are away from the situation, it’s time for you to take back your story.
If the experience is still fresh for you, take some time out to be by yourself to figure out what parts of the story to keep and which to dispose of as the lies that they are.
Then focus on YOU, they’ve had enough of your energy. This is your time to heal, to build strength and to use the experience as motivation to rise even higher than before. You’ve got this!
About the author
Bestselling author, speaker and orchestrator of daring publicity campaigns, Luana Riberia helps coaches and entrepreneurs to connect with a larger audience. With appearances on FOX TV, ITV, BBC and Channel 4, Luana is as comfortable in front of the camera as she is in a one-to-one situation. After becoming one of Forbes Top 21 Emerging Females to Watch in 2018, she developed relationships with many media outlets, including NBC, ABC, the Miami Herald and the Huffington Post. Luana’s latest book, Game of Phones, is the first in a 3 part series set for release in 2020.