My Story

Hi! I’m Jeanene Mack. If my personal story resonates with you, please reach out to me I can help you let go of the past and move on to a brighter future.
I Want to Wake Up Now...

I had a rough start in life, but I have come so far from that place where I felt like nothing but a

helpless little girl.

I never met my father. My mother was only 20 when she had me, and while he was willing to provide financial support, he was married and already had several children that were my mother’s age. I know he tried to do what was right for his own family and me, but part of doing right by them involved never having any physical contact with me. That’s a part of my family tree that I will never know.

I don’t know much about my mother’s upbringing or how much she knew about being a parent when she had me. What I do know is that by the time I was old enough to build and store memories I had a life that no child should ever have to experience.

My mother eventually married, giving me a step-father, and then not too long after that I had a baby brother.

I wasn’t even in school yet, but I was old enough to know that I had to try to protect my brother from the things that were happening to me. Our parents had other priorities that came before our safety and our most basic of needs.

So, I became a mother at the age of 4.

Choices, Choices, Choices: Abuse or Abandonment?

I knew the things they, and their friends, did to me weren’t right. But who do you cry to when the people who are supposed to be protecting you are the perpetrators? I had no one to confide in or defend me, and I learned to live in that reality, pushing those thoughts and feelings to the back of my mind and ignoring them as much as I could.

On top of the emotional, physical, and sexual abuse we endured at their hands, our parents also had no problem with turning our worlds upside down.

As if everything else they had put us through wasn’t enough, they broke up our family without any attempt to explain to us what was happening, or that I would never see my step-father or my brother again. I felt abandoned by them and didn’t understand why they were just suddenly no longer a part of my life. Unfortunately, that wasn’t the last time I had to experience this feeling of being abandoned with no warning.

Apparently, my mother wasn’t much for goodbyes.

When I was five and a half, my mother drove to the airport and put me on a bus. I had no idea where I was going, what was waiting for me there, why she was sending me away, nor that I would never see her again.

I rode that bus, at five years old, all by myself from Missouri to Arizona where my adoptive parents met me and, thankfully, changed the course of my life. I was in that safe place with them for a full two weeks before I realized my mother really wasn’t coming for me.

It may seem strange, but I really did grieve over losing her. She was all I had ever known, my only frame of reference, and by leaving she was proving that anyone, at any point in my life, could just disappear.

She had abandoned me on that bus and left my fate up for grabs. I was psychologically orphaned that day.

A Second Chance at Life

I was lucky enough to have amazing adoptive parents who did everything that parents are supposed to do. They took care of me. They loved me, and I loved them back. I had no problem referring to them as Mom and Dad from the very first day they took me home with them.

But even thirteen years of their influence could not erase what happened to me before they came into my life.

Be Normal Already!

It didn’t help that we didn’t talk about what happened to me before I came into their lives. They didn’t take me for counseling or seek any assistance to help me deal with the wounds that were already creating thick, painful scars. So, once again, while they weren’t the least bit abusive, I was still left trying to deal with the horror of my past on my own, reinforcing that I should just forget it, as if that could actually make it go away.

I understand that people who haven’t been through the things I have may think the best course of action is to submerge a child in normalcy and pretend that the bad things didn’t happen. It would seem logical that those memories would just go away over time.

But that isn’t how it works. When you have scars that deep and intrusive, they become a part of your being, of how you define yourself.

If they had just acknowledged the terrible things that I lived through and supported that it wasn’t my fault, I might have healed at least a few of those wounds, but instead we left the past in the past.

My Beautifully Normal Upbringing – A New Frame of Reference

My life with my adoptive parents was wonderfully traditional. They were very conservative and religious and believed in making a difference in the world. They were the polar opposite of my genetic Mother.

Throughout high school and even college, I traveled the world on mission trips to work with others less fortunate than me.

Those volunteer experiences were very fulfilling, but beyond the tremendous satisfaction you get from altruistic work, these life adventures also provided me with a worldview into other ways of life and different perspectives.

My parents also lovingly encouraged expression through other channels and started paying for violin lessons when I turned 6. I proved to be a natural talent, and they continued supporting this gift through high school, where my skill ultimately earned me a music scholarship that paid for my undergraduate education.

By the time I finished my bachelor’s degree at Evangel University in Missouri I had seen more of the world than most people see in their entire lives. Being exposed to different places and cultures reinforced the understanding that, at our most basic foundation, we all share similar emotions and our experiences help shape the people we become. I enjoyed knowing I was playing a part in providing good experiences for others.

Charting My Own Path

Now I just had to decide what to do with the rest of my life.

I studied psychology as an undergrad and was drawn to the theories of Freud and Jung. That, paired with my lifelong love of helping others, led me to decide on a graduate degree in the field of psychoanalysis. Never afraid of a challenge, I moved myself to the Big Apple and worked as a nanny for the next five years, carefully stashing away every penny I could to pay for my grad school tuition.

Relationships Are Tricky

I had several unsuccessful relationships throughout my young life, but then I met my future husband in New York, and I thought things had finally turned around for me. That all of my hard work was finally paying off and I was getting the life I deserved.

We married the same year I started my graduate program at the Boston School of Psychoanalysis, and that same year we welcomed our first child, Ella.

I successfully finished my graduate program and dreamed of opening my own practice, but by that time we had another baby, Izzy. I was determined to be a better mother than my own had been. I never wanted my girls to experience the feelings of neglect or abandonment that I had. I couldn’t see leaving my two girls for long hours every day to commute to an office and build my business.

I decided I would find another way to use the life lessons I had cultivated over time to help others.

What My Education and Experiences Taught Me

It was in my graduate school program that I was forced to take a long look at who I was and why I did the things I do, and that is when I discovered that even though I was in a much better place, I was still being held back by my past.

I had to go through therapy as a requirement of the degree program, and through that I learned that some of the bad things that happened to me as an adult, or the bad relationships I had had, were patterns I kept repeating as the result of the trauma I had endured as a child.

I learned that I a form of PTSD, called Complex PTSD, that some abused children often suffer from for the rest of our lives.

When people go through traumatic events and aren’t able to work through it in their day to day lives, it doesn’t just go away. The unconscious takes over to keep those thoughts from your immediate memory, but it can’t prevent them from resurfacing forever, especially in stressful situations that somehow remind you of your prior trauma.

I realized that, while some of the people in my life weren’t good to me, I was also responsible for continuing to choose the same type of people and inviting them into my life.

As a young child, I had learned that love equals abuse.

I had carried that belief in my unconscious mind, repeating the same mistakes over and over by choosing partners who I could subconsciously sense would ultimately be abusive in some shape or form.

I decided I would find another way to use the life lessons I had cultivated over time to help others.

As a young child, I had learned that love equals abuse.

All those feelings of helplessness, distrust, anger, guilt, and in my case, severe abandonment, created some emotional triggers that I have a hard time fighting even today.

I live in a constant state of unconscious fear of abandonment that has affected all of my relationships.

My husband was no different. I did find the strength to divorce him shortly after completing my graduate degree, knowing that I had to in order to change the path of my life, and that of my daughters.

My Life Today

Today I am happy to say that I am enjoying life more fully than I ever realized possible. I listen to myself and monitor my thoughts in the context of the Now, and as a result of this mindfulness I am able to respond appropriately to life stressors instead of letting them trigger reactions from the scared little girl I used to be.

I have my two beautiful girls that inspire me everyday to be the best mother and person I can be. I work hard to teach them to believe in themselves and to provide them with a strong foundation. They will undoubtedly have dark days and trials that test their strength, but a solid foundation will give them the ability to weather any storm.

I have learned to recognize the red flags and pass them by, only inviting good people and energy into my life. My relationships today are so much stronger and rewarding than I ever thought possible.

Let Me Shine a Light on Your Strength

All of my experiences and education culminated in the services I offer today. I have used my knowledge to build tools that have helped me break my cycles and learn to respond to life in a different way, and they can help you too.

I’m not going to mislead you into thinking that this process is easy. It isn’t something that you can do just once, or even once a week. It requires mindfulness every single moment of every single day.

But doesn’t anything worth having usually involve a lot of hard work?

It is hard.

And it is also so worth it.

I won’t lie. Even I still struggle some days. But, like anything, it gets easier with time. My past still haunts my present, but I have learned to give it as little space in my life as possible.

I found a way to press pause on the unwanted memories and repercussions that have followed me my entire life and to stop feeling like a victim.

And that is what I want to share with other women who have had similar experiences, or who just need help feeling empowered to make their lives their own.

Your experiences may seem to have been a lot worse or easier than mine, but that isn’t what matters. There are numerous forms of abuse, and traumatic events are subjective. Any event that changed who you are at the core and is hindering your ability to appropriately respond to life events was traumatic for you.

There is no comparison when it comes to traumatic events, no scoreboard keeping track and valuing each experience we have. We are the ones who put values on those events. What matters is the wounds they leave behind and our ability to work through those to get to a better place.

Through mindfulness in your everyday life, I guarantee that you can begin to eat away at those infected wounds from the past. When you are mindful, your brain is only registering the current moment, so there isn’t room for those other thoughts to bubble up. It is incredibly effective, but again, it isn’t easy.

It requires you to get out of your comfort zone, to face your fears, and face the reality of something new and scary that you’ve never experienced before

.....a happy, rewarding life.

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how I help women, just like you, every day.