There is a hidden epidemic of childhood neglect which many are suffering from and this can lead to a difficult journey, often times leaving children in a state of wonder of their own self-worth. A cycle that SHERO Sarah Prout knows oh too well; although her story is different from many the quest for approval and acceptance followed resulting in a cycle of abuse and shame that she later awakened to ending in a complete transformational story, from poverty to a million dollar business owner.
Me: Tell me what life was like for you growing up as a child Sarah?
Sarah: I was born in New Zealand and I moved to Australia when I was 5 years old. There was a lot of arguing in my household over money. It was tough at times to figure out who I was in the world. I was the first child my mother kept; she gave away her first 2 children for adoption. She had so many blockages emotionally from it that she didn’t know how to really deal affectively with my sister or me.
I didn’t directly experience any abuse but I felt there was a certain level of neglect that took place. Although there were parents in my household they were too busy fighting for their own emotional freedom. So I had no guidance on what a normal caring relationship looked like, that molded me for what happened later on.
Me: So how old were you when you first experienced abuse? Where was your self -worth?
Sarah: I was always trying to prove myself and distract my way away from the dysfunction. I had a string of boyfriends that treated me very badly; they had little respect for me. I remember one boy said to me, I was 15 at the time, “All I need from you is a pair of tits and a C*** that set the tone early on for what boys were looking for. Then I met my husband when I was 19, and he was 11 years and 11 months older than I was. It was a different level of control then what I experienced before. I became an instant stepmother. We met in an art gallery, he meditated regularly and that captivated my attention. I realized later on that I modified who I was to gain his approval so I wasn’t living my authentic self.
Me: So here you were 19 and he was 31, you were living together while wearing a mask. How did the abuse start, what are some things that he did and said that made you feel you couldn’t be yourself to the point that you bought in?
Sarah: There was a lack of intimacy and when there was intimacy it was his rules. For example he wanted to have sex without a condom yet I didn’t want to get pregnant. He expressed that he wouldn’t feel as close to me if we used protection. We got engaged 6 months into the relationship, there was no attention and total neglect.
Me: So if you felt neglected what made you decide to get engaged?
Sarah: My only other choice I felt at the time was to go back to my parent’s household where there was more neglect and constant fighting. I wanted financial security and to explore who I was. Now that I had this false sense of security I wanted to have a child to fill the void, the lack of attention I was getting from him. Let’s face it, it was immature thinking on my part but I was only 19 trying to find my way in the world. We were spiritually married but not physically. On our wedding night there was no sex he just wanted to watch TV. I sucked up how I felt until a year later I got pregnant once we finally were intimate. I was months into the pregnancy when I started to bleed but I kept it a secret from my husband for 2 weeks because I didn’t feel comfortable owning my voice. I didn’t want the reality to collapse that I couldn’t hold onto the relationship. We lost the baby at 16 weeks and we never spoke about it. On the day I lost our baby he said, “You are not the only woman who has ever lost a pregnancy.” I remember crying and wanting him to show up. We were planning on getting legally married at the time and whenever we had arguments he would slap my face to calm me down. I thought, “This isn’t the worst thing in the world, let’s just keep moving forward.” Eight weeks later I got pregnant with my son. In that year and a half we were together we only had sex about 5 or 6 times. Then the abuse escalated, I was about 4 weeks pregnant, I remember we had an argument, he locked his son out on the porch, the one he had with a woman prior to me, and he chased me around the house, he chased me into the bathroom and slammed me up against the towel rail and he started to repeatedly beat me as hard as he could with a clenched fist. I pleaded with the Universe to not let my baby get hurt, so I was hunched over and covering my stomach. He would hit parts of my body where the bruising wouldn’t show. Despite all of this I moved forward with the wedding with bruises on my arms, I was 21, and felt I had no other choice. I was 4 ½ months pregnant and the year was 2001. That was one of the most eye opening experiences I had with abuse. Once married I learned very quickly how much I could and could not use my voice where he would explode and come after me. In the total 10 years that we were married there were over 40 physical assaults. I never called the police nor told my parents.
Me: Can you describe for me the most horrific assault moment with your ex?
Sarah: Oh wow, I was in my 20’s, I didn’t drive and I didn’t have access to any money, but I found myself sometimes egging him on telling him to hit me wondering if I would actually call the police this time. He would tell me on several occasions that nobody would love me with a spare tire around my waist since I had left over baby weight. I remember we had moved in with my parents because his job was unstable at the time, an argument broke out; he pushed me into the bed and kicked me in the shin as hard as he could. My leg ripped from the back of my knee down to my ankle, causing me to need stitches. I didn’t tell anyone, I just bound it up and put my boots on completely in agony. There was a cycle of abuse and forgiveness and I would believe that things would change. I started to take responsibility for the abuse and think I needed to change. A few weeks later we had makeup sex and I conceived my daughter that was 2006. I was in a cycle believing I would finally get the attention because I was pregnant. Until 1 day he took me by the neck, he threw me on the bed and he said, “If I ever caused this again he would kill me.” I towards the end would fight back and become the abuser; it was the only way I knew how to gain my power. I believe I took responsibility for the abuse because I didn’t have an education, I couldn’t drive, I didn’t have access to money and because I was born in New Zealand I didn’t have access to any government money, I wasn’t a permanent Australian resident so there felt like no way out. Remember my parents never had any money either. The jobs I could get would just cover childcare nothing else. Plus my husband reminded me that he was my meal ticket and nobody would love me as a single parent in my condition.
Me: I have been in your shoes but a bit different so I don’t judge you for staying, it’s like the abuser brain washes you into thinking that you are not good enough for anything. But so the readers can get their mind around this, what made you stay.
Sarah: You see the abuse cycle is such that there were moments that were great so it tricks you into thinking it will be OK, things will change because they aren’t always bad. We were so good at convincing each other that we weren’t in pain that we couldn’t truly see the suffering we were both experiencing.
Me: Were either of you drug using or drinking heavily at this point? Were either of you cheating?
Sarah: In 2009, I started using social media, which is how I taught myself online business. Through that I met this guy and we had a connection so I had an affair, I felt so alive! I was 29 at the time. I confessed within 48 hours and my husband’s response was, “Well if you didn’t do it first I probably would have.” There was an awareness that we were both suffering. It was May 2nd, he told me, “Go out, talk to this guy, and dismantle the relationship so we can work on our marriage cleanly.” I had dinner with the guy and I was honest with him and what was going on. My son was 9 at the time and my daughter was 4. I tried to get a taxi home after the dinner when I started getting a bunch of threatening phone calls from my husband, he was threatening to kill me and he was looking after our children. So when I got home it was the worst night of my life in history. I couldn’t get a taxi home and I believe it’s because the Universe was protecting me. I got home and he was storming around the house in his underpants looking for matches with a can of petrol (gasoline) in one hand and a hammer in the other. He was trying to destroy all of me, all of my clothes had been ripped and my desk was cut in half. He smashed my Mac book and destroyed photographs and letters from my Grandmother. All I had were the clothes on my back and the little bit that were in the laundry hamper. My children were there with my alcoholic sister, and that’s when that beautiful moment of sobriety kicked in when I was in the middle of a stone cold emergency; safety first! I went to the bedroom, peeled backed the covers of the bed, found my children and they said, “Mommy I’m so scared!” I remember telling them it will be ok. My husband was drunk, he consumed 3 bottles of vodka, and my sister was drunk in the bathroom in her underwear. I got on the phone to my Dad and he told me to call the police. The police showed up and I was looking for a pair of sox for my husband because I didn’t want him to have cold feet. This is how bought into the abuse cycle I had become. This is how bad malignant energy is when you are lonely; you have a warped sense of connection to the outside world and how you connect with other people.
Me: What did the police do and what happened to finally end the marriage?
Sarah: The police intervened, my husband had to stay away which he of course breached and I never called the police in fear my kids would reject me if he went to prison. So I decided to move out and in with the guy I had an affair with. I jumped from one household to another and of course that didn’t work out. So I went back to my ex and we tried to make a go of it. I was 30 years old at the time. The relationship was so strained; there was no way it could work. I realized that my children were scared and kept trying to defend me and as my son grew how it was shaping who he was. The environment was affecting my kids’ self-esteem. What was healing me was my connection to the outside world and my involvement on Twitter. I remember I decided to manifest my way out of the relationship, I got 12 coaching clients from social media to pay me $1,000 each, it was a Friday in 2010, I got my money together and I left with the kids. I moved from Melbourne Australia to Queensland and I got government assistance. I was living in poverty but I didn’t care. There were days when I couldn’t feed my children and I had to wash my clothes in the bathtub but it was freedom, it was like having a plastic bag removed from my head, I could breath freely. I was on welfare from 2010 until mid 2011. I met the love of my life on Twitter and now we have built a 7-figure business together. We’ve been together almost 9 years and he is the complete opposite of what I was used to. So I have had to deal with the shame cycle and all the toxicity of my past so that we can have a loving relationship, which we both deserve together.
Me: Wow what an amazing story, I hear more and more of how people are meeting through social media so good for you. I’m glad you finally turned the corner of the abuse cycle. Where are you living today and how are you positively impacting the world?
Sarah: Shawn from Twitter is younger than me, my kids love him, and we got married in Vegas in 2013 and fell in love with Vegas so much that we moved there in 2015. I have been pregnant 10 times and have 4 children, there were many miscarriages along the way; I needed to heal before my miracle babies came along. Shawn and I have a super successful business together. We studied the work of digital marketing and we built a machine. I got a multiple 6-figure book deal to write my book (Dear Universe). My abuse story has helped millions of people around the world and it’s my passion to bring healing to others. My podcast has over 1 million downloads and our team for email marketing and social media is incredible. Our success has happened over the past 3 years so now I can focus on empowerment coaching.
I would like to encourage all the readers who may be struggling right now to take one day at a time, acknowledge how you are feeling, remember you have the power to guide your energy at any given moment, and don’t over complicate things because you’ve got this!
Wow what a story of total transformation. Sarah took risks and in the end they paid off. She learned to trust the Universe and the powers in it and connected to that higher power which serves her well today. She truly has become the best version of her authentic self. Well-done Sarah. A beautiful message that we may not always get things right but it’s important to stay open and try new things, a conscious decision to always work on being our best self. By rising above the fear of how we will be perceived that’s where greatness lies. Vulnerability can be scary but when we surrender it releases us from our shame cycle and brings healing to others. A great message that when we step out and take a chance at fulfilling our dreams all eventually comes into alignment exactly as it’s supposed to.
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Sarah Prout is the host of the Journey to Manifesting podcast and co-founder of the Manifesting Academy. She’s a motivational speaker, an award-winning entrepreneur and a writer. Named a ‘manifestation guru’ by Cosmopolitan Magazine, her message — that you manifest through your connection to The Universe and empowering your emotions — has inspired millions of people across the globe to create magic in their lives.
Sarah believes in magic, limitless possibilities, energy management, seeking joy in each moment, and the power of transformation.
The #SHEROproject will include stories of SHEROS from around the world throughout the next 11 months. In an effort to support our thriving SHEROS, there is a panel that will be selecting the most inspirational story for the 2019 SHERO of the year award, which will be announced on 12/1/2019.
The SHERO of the year award winner will receive a 4-day/3-night retreat at 1440 Multiversity. An opportunity to explore their potential in an environment like no other; get away for rejuvenating downtime and immersion learning on their state-of-the-art campus in the redwoods of Scotts Valley, CA and experience the perfect blend of learning, vacation, and space for reflection.
1440 Multiversity is a place to experience time differently—exploring what matters, while surrounding yourself with fresh air, delicious food, many ways to unwind, and opportunities to connect with yourself and others. SHERO, during your stay, you can look forward to daily 1440 specialty classes such as yoga, meditation, qi gong and Pilates. Or enjoy hiking in the 75 acres of redwood forest surrounding the campus and finish off your day with a soak in their signature infinity tub.
The creation of 1440 Multiversity stemmed from a desire to establish a beautiful and nurturing physical location where people of all walks of life could come together in community—to explore, learn, reflect, connect, and reenergize.
Also, each SHERO featured will receive a relaxing mix of Nectar Bath Treats’ most popular bath and body treats. Nectar Bath Treats is a cruelty free bath & body company that creates bakery inspired treats for deliciously smooth skin. Their delightful handmade treats range from adorable cupcake soaps and milkshake inspired coconut milk bath soaks to stress blasting bath bombs, all natural sugar body scrubs, ice cream shaped bubble bath scoops and so much more. If you need to relax after a long day or give yourself smoother more kissable skin, Nectar Bath Treats has you covered head to toe. Each treat is handmade with love by their team of professional soap artisans and skin care specialists for skin so soft and smooth you’ll swear you just left a luxury spa treatment.
Each featured SHERO will also receive a Rustic Cuff representing Joy & Courage. Celebrities such as Miranda Lambert, Giuliana Rancic, Kristin Chenoweth and Gayle King to name a few, wear founder Jill Donovan’s designs. Her bracelets have been featured on a multitude of national talk shows and in magazines including Elle, People, In Style, etc. For Jill it’s all about the inspired connection that is made between two people.
The SHEROs will also receive a candle by Sugarboo and Co…Dealers in Whimsy, reminding them that they are a light in the world. Sugarboo believes in putting good out into the world whenever possible. Their hope is that each Sugarboo piece sent out into the world will add a little good! Rebecca Puig’s (artist and owner) inspirations are family, nature, animals, old things, children’s art and folk art. She loves juxtaposing old and new, light and dark, serious subject matter with fluff and anything with a message! Sugarboo’s Motto is “Put Good Things into the World”!
Each featured SHERO will receive a private invitation to The B.E. A S.H.E.R.O. Foundation annual Gala in Las Vegas 2/8/2020 where they will be interviewed on the red carpet. B.E. A S.H.E.R.O. foundation’s mission is to provide resources needed to support, sustain and empower young girls and women under the age of 25 who have been abused, abandoned, and exploited. We intend to accomplish this mission by bringing other agencies with similar missions together and being a resource center for these organizations.