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Approval Not-Seeking

Approval seeking and people pleasing are wicked habits.

Inherently you have strength, intelligence, potential and talent. Add to that all that you have cultivated since your earliest days.

Life can be traumatic and wounding and may interfere with our natural ability to feel confident and capable. Sometimes it can feel like we have lost access to our own wisdom.  It can feel like a siren overpowering and drowning out  the quiet voice inside telling us the things we know to be true.

Underneath figuring out how to fit all of life into our new framework of days, our wisdom remains; no one can take it away.

Self-care is much more than a facial or a pedicure (though those are two really lovely examples!).  Self-care at it's truest is saying no to something requested or demanded or expected by others in order to say yes to our own emotional, physical and mental well being.

Self care sits opposite the defense mechanisms of people pleasing and approval seeking.

In self care....

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Saying "no" to something in order to say "yes" to your own emotional, physical, and mental well-being.

Here’s a little reminder that we ALL need to hear every once in a while (myself very much included!):
As you contemplate your life that was and your life that can be, remember that underneath any fear that you may feel is a rich storehouse of strength, potential, and talent. The trauma that occurs with divorce may interfere with your ability to feel confident and capable, wise and knowing, but your riches are there nonetheless. As you begin to make some changes, no matter how small they may seem compared to the size of your dreams, an increased sense of confidence will follow. It will grow and expand as your transformation unfolds. There is no end to what you can accomplish. Karen Wilson
Listen, my friend: life is short.
That’s why we need to let go of never having time to do anything for ourselves and focus on the heart ❤️of self-care, which is saying no to something in order to say yes to your own emotional, physical, and mental...
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Why I Say NO to Divorce Recovery.


I want to see you well rested. I ask my clients, how are you sleeping? It's more than knowing about if they got eight hours of sleep. Their answer tells me they're making the time to get rest  that they're feeling less fearful, less confused.

It's a sign, they're gaining inner strength and clarity, that they have dreams that have become rooted in a bright future.

 Another question that is much more than a factual question that I ask my clients is what's your story. I believe in the power of narrative and that the stories we're telling ourselves have an extensive impact on our perspective and our lives.

It's so important that our stories reflect our values and our truth.  Get used to me asking, what's your story? Each module in break up to brilliance is meant as an access, not just to healing, but to growth. Break up to brilliance is more than healing wounds from the past, it's more than returning to a place.

 It isn't just about coping because coping is about...

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The Barely Noticeable Erosion of Sense of Self

During and right after divorce, feelings of loneliness and emptiness surround. The emptiness is the result of The Barely Noticeable Erosion of Sense of Self that occurs when we have been the codependent partner in a marriage.

Divorce tries to convince us that we are alone and trapped in a darkness that will never lift. We need to speak back, "You are wrong."

We can connect with ourselves and with others going through a similar experience and begin our healing journey.


Emerging from the marriage, we are left looking for the moment when all of this withering away of self started.  We sense that knowing when all of this began will allow us to travel back in time, recoup, and move forward again; this time whole. 

I do not believe pin pointing that exact moment is necessary.  It is this moment, the one we are in right now, that holds the answers we are looking for.

If we can stand tall, right in this moment, as much as we may wish to lie down and never get up,...

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Break Free From the Toxicity of a Narcissistic Partner

I sense your hesitation. 

The headline caught your attention.

There is so much you have tried to understand about your partner while simultaneously trying to bury in your subconscious the truth of who they are. Oh, the stories we won't let our own selves live with.

There is rarely a diagnosis of Narcissistic Personality Disorder.  Why would there be? As you've heard leave their lips often enough..."There is nothing wrong with ME! You're the one with the problem. "

Knowing is not easy.  Especially if you were drawn in by a narcissists charm.

Not knowing?

Not knowing is not easy.

But it may be a way to push you beyond the  blaming of yourself for outcomes the narcissist feigns to have no involvement in.


You being here and reading this tells me that, you, my dear, are ready to break free from the toxicity of being in a relationship with a narcissist, ready to break free from the feelings of profound isolation, guilt, being in a never-ending battle, feeling...

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How Can Divorce Be An Opportunity for Transformation?

I will answer this question by posing 4 critical questions.

First question:

Will you give yourself permission to experience the opportunity for transformation divorce uniquely positions you for?

Cut to a typical afternoon at work.

New clients look at me as if I'm BONKERS when I share that divorce is an opportunity for transformation. 

"Are you kidding?" MaryAnn asked "This is the absolute worst time of my life!"

I understand.

Having been divorced, been a divorce attorney, and a psychologist who specializes in helping people get through divorce, I absolutely get how torturous and heartbreaking divorce can be.

Divorce affects every nook and cranny of our lives! 

Not just affects but scrambles or smashes it all into pieces.

That is precisely why I call divorce a "LIFE QUAKE" which might as well be an earthquake if you happen to be caught in one.

Let's Be Clear: I take heartbreak very seriously.

It's because I do that I know divorce can do more than torture; it can be a...

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Anyone can be a victim of domestic violence.

I was delighted to learn that The House of Representatives  passed H.R.1620, the Violence Against Women Reauthorization Act of 2021, with strong bipartisan support. H.R.1620 is a modest bill with targeted enhancements that increase access to services and prevention for all survivors.

Anyone can be a victim of domestic violence. There is NO "typical victim." Victims of domestic violence come from all walks of life, varying age groups, all backgrounds, all communities, all education levels, all economic levels, all cultures, all ethnicities, all religions, all abilities, and all lifestyles.

I have worked with many women who have stayed in abusive relationships for decades.

(Men are also victims of domestic violence; I am speaking here from my own limited experience of persons I have personally worked with without any intention of negating  or discounting the facts as to the occurrence of male victims of domestic violence.) 

Countless times, women, who have children...

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Plan a response to future abusive incidents and how to get to safety.

Although you can't control an abuser's use of violence, you can plan how you will respond to future abusive or violent incidents, prepare for the possibility of an incident happening, and plan how get to safety.

Personalized Safety Plan

Although you can't control an abuser's use of violence, you can plan how you will respond to future abusive or violent incidents, prepare for the possibility of an incident happening, and plan how get to safety. It is your decision if and when you tell others that you have being abused, or that you are still at risk. Friends, family, and coworkers can help with your safety plan if they are aware of the situation and want to help.

Ask yourself the following questions:

  1. When I have to talk to the abuser, I can ____________________. 
  2. When I talk on the phone with the abuser, I can ____________________.
  3. I can make up a "code word" for my family, co-workers, friends and counselor so they know when to call for help for me. My code word...
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Why do we hold onto every ounce of stress like it's a precious jewel?

All life transitions bring stress, even the amazing transitions, the ones we have worked so hard to make happen.

Difficult transitions create even more stress and make the challenges and pain worse. Here is speak of this later variety of stress, the raunchy cousin of the stress of witnessing miracles.

So why do we tend to hold onto every ounce of stress like it's a precious jewel?

We grasp and cling to stress like we are afraid that if we loosen our grip it just might, like the proverbial one million grains of sand, slide right through our fingertips.

Stress is coveted for many different reasons.

Don't get me wrong. There are good reasons galore for appreciating stress. One being, it motivate peak performance. But remember, the stress discussed here is the ball and chain kind of stress. The I not only can't run but I can barely walk kind of stress. 

Surely you have noticed how holding on to stress offers diminishing returns. How stress greedily sucks up to fear and leaves us...

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Take a Match to the Divorce Story Edited By Shame.


I created Break Up to Brilliance to both honor the loss women experience when a relationship ends as well as to honor them, their heart and soul. It's important to me that they do not lose sight of all that they are beyond the role they played in their relationship. 

Endings create a clearing for new growth. Sometimes that new growth can be stunted by a story that keeps the past alive, keeps it ongoing.  Listen to the story you are telling yourself about your divorce.  If it were totally up to you and didn't include input from others who know nothing of your experience or includes input from a culture that tries to shame a woman and suggest she is not enough.  If that is the case, you must rewrite the narrative.

This story of your divorce experience must be in your authentic voice and reflect what you actually lived through.

Listen to the story you are telling yourself about your divorce.  Is it a novel? Historical fiction? Is the end of the story meant to...

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Two Step

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