Interview with Anna

Formerly a part-time teacher, now a Curriculum Leader in Education

1. What was it that brought you to seek Lloyd’s services in the first place?

I felt completely powerless to change my life even though it desperately needed to change. Although I was not actually conscious of it at the time, I was in an emotionally and physically abusive relationship that only served to crush my already damaged self-esteem. I felt lucky to have the opportunity to teach part-time but feared that even this could be taken away from me at any time. I felt small, weak and fearful and felt unable to prevent my husband from controlling all aspects of my life. He resented me working and didn’t want me to spend time with anyone other than him or the children. I felt that I was responsible for what was happening to me, that my failure to meet my partner’s expectations and needs was entirely my fault. I was ignoring my own needs, desires and ambitions trying to fulfill the role that my partner had mapped out for me. I was aware that I no longer had any idea who I was or what I wanted, that I could only see my own value in relation to being a good mother and good wife rather than as a person in my own right.

2. Compare your feelings about working with Lloyd before and after you had actually done so.

I was nervous initially about seeking the support of a mentor but something propelled me into seeking that support. I had an inherent understanding that in order to make some kind of change I needed the support, challenge and guidance from someone not connected with my daily life, someone who had no agenda of their own, who would be impartial - unlike family and friends.

Within hours of my first session with Lloyd I started to question my own thought processes. This felt uncomfortable to begin with and initially led to greater conflict with my partner as I slowly but surely started to assert myself and challenge what was being said. The knowledge that I had someone I could talk to when I felt the negative thought processes taking hold gave me real strength. Lloyd was the voice of reason initially when my confidence in my own voice was still fragile.

3. How would you describe the process of working with Lloyd?

A challenging but supported journey. I was climbing the mountain but when I got disheartened he was there to either push or pull me upwards and onwards. The initial stage was very hard and there were frequent lapses of confidence. If I retreated into self-criticism, negative thoughts and self blame he would, through gentle but uncompromising questioning, enable me to recognise where those thought processes were leading me. Very occasionally I resented that challenging as the easier path was to fall back into old thought processes. It was a bit like wearing a new pair of shoes, although they fitted and I like the way the looked on my feet, they pinched a bit and sometimes I wanted to put my old slippers back on. It was at these moments that his mentoring and support was invaluable. Over time, the new me became more familiar and comfortable. I slowly began to need less support to maintain my sense of self, to retain my sense of value and self belief. The rewards were obvious, I no longer felt devastated, bullied and devalued if I disagreed with my partner, I no longer took responsibility for his insecurities and feelings. I began to assert my needs whilst acknowledging that he may not be comfortable with that. The bullying ceased and I am intensely aware now that it only developed in the first place because I let it happen.

4. What did you get from your work together?

Where do I start! Self-belief, self-confidence, self-value, which has led to a happier relationship, rapid career development and promotion. I am now working at senior leadership level in Education, working on strategies for change both at a local and national level. It’s a long way from where I was just a few short years ago.

I am able to reflect carefully when faced with negativity and rarely take constructive criticism personally these days. I can recognise when an emotional response is out of proportion to the situation I am in and am able to take stock and think before I react. I anticipate and prepare for situations that might be difficult and am rarely ambushed by feelings of self-doubt and low self esteem.

5. What might have happened in your life if you had not sought help?

It is likely that I would have remained a part–time teacher in an abusive relationship, deeply unhappy, frustrated and bitter, blaming my partner for my situation rather than looking at my own actions and thought processes and how these were influencing the way that others treated me.

6. Is there anything personal you would like to say to people who are thinking of working with Lloyd?

Do it!! Stop prevaricating! If you have even looked at this page it is because you know something is missing in your life and that you need encouragement and support to make that change.

Thousands of us access support to stop smoking and to lose weight every year, and changing the self beliefs and attitudes that are preventing us from leading fulfilling and successful lives needs the same sort of positive help and encouragement.

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