Divorce rates are climbing.Everyday we hear the news about another couple calling it quits.
For some, it’s a simple process. For others it’s a complicated, hot mess.
Listen as Tonya Carter shares how it’s not enough to just divorce legally. Some of us must divorce our story.
For years, she was stuck because she was holding on to the story of being divorced.
Listen as she shares how she broke free.
Listen to the entire episode !
Nicole Cleveland (00 : 01)
Welcome to the show.
Tonya Carter (00 : 03)
Thank you so much, Nicole, for having me. I appreciate it. You
Nicole Cleveland (00 : 08)
Let me first say thank you. Thank you for sharing your story. Thank you for the work that you're doing, um, out in your community, you're reaching out to individuals that have been through what you have been through. Um, and it's not an easy task, but you are willing to step forward and help those that are suffering in silence and suffering in secret. So thank you.
Tonya Carter (00 : 31)
No problem. Thank you. Awesome. So, Tanya, how Would you describe yourself? Tell us a little bit about who Tanya says Tanya is?
Tonya Carter (00 : 41)
Well, Tonya is just a girl from the south. I'm from Decatur, Georgia, which is a little bit outside of Atlanta, Um, born and bred it here, Um, very down to earth. Straightforward. Um, no fluffer at all, um, love to laugh loud, too loud and country. And seriously, just loud. Um, truthfully, just just really want to fulfill my purpose here on Earth. Um, I mean, I don't have a long like this long thing. I'm just I'm just a woman who has found her purpose in life and now just really wanted to help. You know, women find there's a swell
Nicole Cleveland (01 : 29)
Wonderful, wonderful. Well, look, I was reading, um, a little bit about you. And you said you were married for 10 years. Divorced? No. You were married for seven. You were divorced for 10, but really divorced from your story for five after the 10 years. And I said, Oh, that's good. I want you to unpack that. What does that mean, Tanya?
Tonya Carter (01 : 52)
Well, what I realized was that walking away was just half the battle. The rest of it is how you allow it to impact you, whether that be anything in life. But for me, it was more so. My divorce. And so what I saw was that I saw a lot of saying a lot of the same patterns show up in my life. Um, from my mindset to my emotions, to the relationships or, you know, that I had with men and it made me see how. Yeah, I walked away legally, but mentally and emotionally, I was still stuck. And so I had to detach myself from that. So it's more. It was more about changing my own narrative. on how I looked at, um, life and most importantly, how I viewed myself. And so I had to go down that journey of really rediscovering reinventing myself from the inside out.
Nicole Cleveland (02 : 47)
Yeah. What are some of those things that triggered you to say? I'm still stuck. I need to deal with what I need to deal with. What are some of those things that would come up?
Tonya Carter (03 : 01)
Well, one thing I would say. What truly allowed me to really see that I wasn't happy with my life was back in 2015 when my father had his heart attack. I think that just allowed me to see what was already there as opposed to pretending. You know what I mean? Like, I just woke up. I felt like I've been sleep, um, this whole time. And so seeing that or experiencing that with my dad, just let me see how short life really is. And it just allowed me to say Okay, Tanya, you need to get real with yourself and stop pretending and acting like you're good when in reality, you really ain't happy with the choices you making. You ain't even happy with the woman you've become bond. So I just gave myself permission to say yes to something that I already knew. It was just now taking the necessary faith walk to do what I needed to do.
Nicole Cleveland (03 : 56)
Yeah, that's really good. Um, you also wrote that you lost five jobs in four years, and you did not realize that you were You were kind of depressed, and it all stemmed from the divorce. Um, where were you at in your mind at that point where it seems like you were just existing. And a lot of times a lot of us we are are not living. We're not thriving after we've come through. Ah, a really hard break up. A betrayal of divorce. Um, we find ourselves stuck, but we know how to play the game. Right? We know how to do church. We know how to put that smile alone. We know how to mask mask up before we go out. Even outside of the corona, right? so if that's what it seems like, it seems like you were just merely existing.
Tonya Carter (04 : 50)
Right. Um when my ex and I decided that this was done two weeks later, I lost my job, and then I lost four jobs after. I mean, it was a recession, but it was more about the mindset that that created it. Created a fear. It created unhealthy fear. It created a mindset of scarcity and lack and desperation. Okay, well, let me just find a job. Let me just get whatever I could get. I'm a single mother with two kids. Even if this job pays me less than what I deserve, let me just go ahead and take it anyway, because I got to do what I gotta do. And I respect that. But in the same mind And in the same token, I was still accepting less than what I deserve. And it was in other different areas of my life. And so I had to learn how to create and renew a new mind, even from a place of money.
Nicole Cleveland (05 : 36)
Yeah. So, Tanya, how did you do that? What were the steps that you you talk to get Tanya back to move past those insecurities and those feelings of being unworthy?
Tonya Carter (05 : 49)
Okay, well, the first thing and I always say this and I know that this may sound very minor, but it's the most important one. And that was to make a intentional choice. Because what happens is you feel good, like, Yeah, I'm gonna do it. I got it. And then tomorrow the mind is so powerful and it plays tricks on you. And now you're like, you know what? No e don't feel like I ain't doing it, you know? It ain't happening 24 hours, so it ain't gonna happen. And so I had to say, no. I'm going to commit to me and renew a new covenant to myself. And so making that choice allowed me to understand that there was no other option, and that was the first step. And the next thing I had to do was just start planning my head with something different. And this is really I started with a book. I always tell people like, if you ain't got the money, get on YouTube, you know, follow people who you feel like really feeds your soul and spirit. Because I had to start detoxing mentally and truthfully, I didn't know all the answers. I know and and nothing is cookie cutter. You have to customize this thing according to who you are and where you are in your in your journey. I had to face myself. I had to realize that this was a fear. I had to stop pretending like I was okay. I had to stop saying you know what? I'm strong. I had to just really get deep with me. I had to say, You know what? This really does bother me. This is a trigger of mine. I had to face the fact that I was hurt. I had to stop acting like I had to be the strong black woman for everybody. I just had to let go of that s so it was about that part that I needed to do. And that's very important. Because sometimes we're told you're strong and you wear that with a badge of honor and strength. Is knowing who when is too much strength is knowing I'm not okay. Because now you can do something about it. And I think for me one of the biggest things I had to learn how to do this process, my emotions. I had to build an emotional intelligence, and I had to understand my thoughts. I had to understand my feelings. Um, but understand that this wasn't a 24 hour process. It was just along the journey on what I needed to do. But I started feeding myself with something on purpose. I wasn't listening to just anybody. I was listening to certain people I was listening to, like the less Brown's, the Eric Thomas the You know, I was listening to people like that and, you know, they were really feeding my soul bond. So I had to understand that what I used to do and how I used to think no longer fit in the new journey. So I had to start choosing consciously, you know, those. It was just those small things, those micro things that I really put a lot of emphasis on because I know everybody wants this overnight like gratification fit because we're on the social media where I needed tomorrow, and I'm like, Well, I hate the Bush of Bubble, but it doesn't technically work that way. So you have to really, um, think micro and really say Okay, how do I start? And making that choice is probably one of the biggest things, because people give up on themselves to easily, you know, And so I had to make a decision and really And under trust my path and know that if this didn't work, what else can you know? What I mean? Like, it wasn't like, OK, if this don't work, I'm done. It was I was just I made a commitment. I renew the vow.
Nicole Cleveland (09 : 03)
That's good. So let's talk about that whole strong black woman.
Tonya Carter (09 : 09)
Yeah, You know,
Nicole Cleveland (09 : 12)
I often tell people, you know, because I think the ones that are the strongest, those individuals that are independent, they do it on their own, they never get help. And so when the question comes up, well, you could have asked if I needed help. Well, you had it. I think you look like you
Tonya Carter (09 : 29)
Got it. You look like you got
Nicole Cleveland (09 : 30)
It. Talk to me about that. That whole strong black woman vibe. And I got this and I'm good because we're really not good.
Tonya Carter (09 : 40)
Yeah, I tell like when I'm on my lives and even when I tell my clients and I'm like, Look, there's nothing wrong or is a week to need help. Yeah, it doesn't. You know, we unfortunately, in our culture, we pray struggle quite often. We think everything has to be so hard, you know, way praise that we thrive off that if it's not hard that something ain't right on it's like, No, I mean, just today I was just really like, thank you guys So much for giving me a community to help me as a mom of two kids because I couldn't do it by myself. Um, and I don't want to. And I had to let that go, like, you know, receiving It's okay to receive, like some of us don't know how to receive. And we're blocking our own blessings by doing so. And then we say, Well, no one here, here's to help, but you always act as if you got it together. And so when you put that image as if you do your sit, you're putting the energy out there that you don't need nobody, and I don't think people get that part. Yeah, you know what I mean?
Nicole Cleveland (10 : 51)
That's the unhealthy portion because then you find yourself with having a nervous breakdown. Find yourself sleep deprived, stressed out overworked and just mad and angry, and you're really depressed. Talk to me about seeking help counseling um, that portion is so needed when we're going through when we're dealing with the divorce to break up the betrayal. Um, it Z not a bad thing.
Tonya Carter (11 : 22)
No, it's not. It's life. It's things that we, you know, some things we just can't control. I believe, regardless of who you are, you always need a team. And one thing about going through a divorce, or even if you're a person in a really bad relationship that's done, you need to understand. You need to successfully plan for that. No one teaches us that they think Well, once you get out of this relationship, you're just gonna ride into the sunset and everything's just gonna work out. That's what you see in movies. Okay, E. I mean, for real, you do. You see that in the film and you think that's gonna be your life and it's not gonna be in a two hour or 24 hour turnaround. It's like, Okay, what's next? And that's when you have to get very intentional and know that you could be emotionally intoxicated. Right now, it's just like a person who drinks a lot of alcohol. You don't think clearly you make really poor decisions in that season. It's easy to do. I mean, it's just is and then, But you wanna pretend you strong And this is when you got to say, you know what? This hurts and give yourself permission to understand that it does, like, you don't have to show anybody that you good like you have. You have nothing to prove to them, to nobody, nobody. And but you do owe you. And so now we have to intentionally move forward and say, Okay, I really don't know what to do and let me allow myself to get help, whether that be therapy, right? Um and that's okay. Whether it be coaching or both, it really just depends on the individual and where they are in their own current growth and development. You know what I mean? Some people may just need a coach. Some people need both. Some people might need therapy, but I really recommend that regardless, if walking away was the best decision because truthfully is not about your ex is more about you and how you're gonna allow this to impact you because that's what people don't understand. When we go through adversities and life, unexpected life, circumstances that we didn't want or prepare toe happen. It can really change your mindset. And it could keep you very limited on how far you could go. Eso getting the help is more about you regard whatever I tell people. That's your ex for a reason. Now let's focus on you. Let's let's put the energy back on the most important person in your life and that's you. And that's building an intentional relationship with yourself. So you can really, really live a thriving life. You don't want to just survive. You really wanna be very purposeful about moving forward.
Nicole Cleveland (13 : 51)
Yeah, I think a lot of times people are stuck in the story because they have not forgiven. Oh, yes, Tania, talk to me about
Tonya Carter (14 : 01)
The forgiveness part. You know what, Nicole? Truthfully, I don't think we talk enough about people for giving themselves right now. I do believe you should forgive other people. Forgiveness is really a healer. But I don't think we give ourselves that. That that grace that really grace? Not well, girl, I forgive me, but you really ain't really Yeah, I forgive me, but no. Have you really have you really said. You know what? This isn't the end of my life. This was a chapter and see what happens is that's when you know you really forgiving yourself because you don't hold yourself to what has happened in the past, when you that's how you know you really forgiving yourself when you made peace with it where you say, even though I don't know all the answers, I'm going to still move forward. I'm not gonna hold a grudge against myself because something didn't work out his plan. So I believe that when you really understand the importance of healing that you can't skip forgiveness. And I also believe that when you really learn how to develop a really self forgiveness for you, you're able to forgive the other person on and really understand the true art of forgiveness and not think that it's this because, you know, I had a bad philosophy, man. Forgiveness weren't. We just didn't like forgiving other people, which is not my strength. But I had to learn how to forgive. I had to learn, like, literally understand, that I needed to know what it meant and what it didn't mean on dso. Truthfully, it allowed me to really see people for who they are. It allowed me to understand that they got their own story to that they haven't healed from. That's the power of forgiveness. And this is what I teach my clients. Because I'm like, Listen, I know you in this season, you might not be feeling your ex right now, but they have a story, and they have trauma and they have pain. It doesn't excuse their behavior, but it does allow you to have some level of empathy. Absolutely. However it's up to them to do the work. That's not your responsibility.
Nicole Cleveland (16 : 02)
Yeah. Yeah, that's good. That is really, really good. Because a lot of times people are in that place where they don't know how to forgive. And they have a bad relationship as well with forgiveness. Because I've heard people individuals say over and over, I will never forgive for that. I will never forgive for this. But you're so right, Tom. You talk to me a little bit about your book. Your book, your book is divorce. Your story. A woman's guide to heal and thrive after divorce.
Tonya Carter (16 : 33)
Yes. I wrote the book last year. Um, that wasn't my plan, but my coach at the time, she said, You need to write a book, My girl, right? No book. But I said, All right, let me write this book. So I decided to write the book because, you know, I think it's a good starting point for those who just need to know what next. And and there's power in reading. And the goal of that book is to really divorce your story. It's called Divorce Your Story because it's again, we're not talking about the legal part. We're talking about the mental, the emotional, the financial, all those other layers that you need to intentionally divorce. Right, because divorces only looked at as this legally binding document. When there's so much more deeper than that, it means to disassociate, disconnect, detached. And so what you want to do is detach yourself from things that will hold you back from living your best life. And so we'll talk about all the things. It is 20 chapters on 20 different things You need to divorce out of your life.
Nicole Cleveland (17 : 41)
Awesome! Awesome. And how can one purchase the book?
Tonya Carter (17 : 45)
They can actually go to my website divorce your storybook dot com or they can purchase it on Amazon.
Nicole Cleveland (17 : 52)
Wonderful, Wonderful, Tanya. Breathing in is a moment of hope, inspiration and solutions. If you had a coaching client in front of you and they're just a mess, they don't know which way to turn. They're stuck in the story. Um, how would you minister to that individual?
Tonya Carter (18 : 09)
Yeah, The first thing that it's important that one thing that I do to to minister them because everybody is different on where they are emotionally. Um, one thing that I never do is I never want you to feel like you don't have feelings towards your situation. So one thing that I like to do is to really get deep with them on how they feel. But the most important thing I always ask people is that do you want to help?
Nicole Cleveland (18 : 38)
Because not everyone wants to help. They say they want it.
Tonya Carter (18 : 43)
No, Unfortunately, everybody Doesn't some people wanna. Some people don't understand that. They still they really have gotten very addicted to pain.
Nicole Cleveland (18 : 53)
No, that's good. That's a whole another episode that is so true.
Tonya Carter (18 : 58)
Go, go on. So you like, Go on. But yeah, that's a That's a real thing. Some of us have become addicts and we'll stay long. We'll stay stuck in our story, and then we will, um, disguise it as well. Can't nobody tell me how long I can heal and I get it. I think everybody healing journey is different. However, when you really want to get out of something, this is when you have to set an intention because it's not easy. Just because you walked away doesn't mean it's easier. You know what I mean? And so now it's that thing of Do you really want to help or do you just want to relief? I see women, you know, because I'm in a few groups and I read things and it's the same thing, just a different day. It's a new year, a new age, but the same story. And that's how I was stuck in my story. Remember I said I was stuck half of the decade, and that was because I did not set the intention. I played a victim even though I didn't think I was. I thought I was being a realist. I put limits on how far I could go because of what happened to me. So I was paralyzed to the past, and that's a easy thing to do. And sometimes you don't even realize it, because again everyone else around you was co signing on your story. And so that's why it's very important to know, Do you really want to heal or do you want to stay hurt? You wanna hurt?
Nicole Cleveland (20 : 21)
And most people don't want to do the work because this work,
Tonya Carter (20 : 24)
It is definitely work. It zvehr e difficult when I work with my clients in my 12 week program. You know, I tell them in the beginning is, you know, in the beginning your height, because it's new, but then it gets messy. But then, before you know it, you start going, you going into a metamorphosis and you're turning into a butterfly. We're rebuilding a new foundation. You have to understand that some of us have a very sandy foundation, and so now we gotta build as the foundation on solid rock, and that takes some ownership that takes nothing but ownership from you. You know the person who hurt you. That's not your fault. But the healing is all of your responsibility, and that's the part that you know, some of us really just don't wanna play because that means I got to show up now and I can no longer like point the finger. I could Onley look within and that tastes a while to really, really get mentally, you know?
Nicole Cleveland (21 : 20)
Yeah, that's a good time. You That's really good. You mentioned your thrive program. Talk a little bit about your master class, your program and how individuals can, um, sign up.
Tonya Carter (21 : 31)
Yeah, my 12 week program that's more intense. Um, that's when we get real deep raw riel. Um, you have access to me for 12 weeks. I'm very selected on who I put in the program because that's the part. And it's like, Okay, do you want to help? Because now I know when you sign up for 12 weeks Oh, you won't help because ain't nobody doing nothing that long, right? So the goal of that program is to to create a new normal, right? So, like a lot of stuff that you probably was doing before you're gonna eventually stopped doing because every weekend, that program way link up virtually on his own. Um, it's a group coaching program. So there's other women in the group because everyone always feels like they're by themselves. You're never alone. And so every week it's a class like, you know, how you go to school. It's a class. You gotta show up. You better have your binder because I'm giving you homework every week. Absolutely. Because this is accountability. You paid your money, and I take what I do seriously, and you're not going to be the same woman coming out of that program. And so we we talk about a lot of things internally. Externally, we get deep understanding the unhealthy patterns you you may have created that you don't even know it may be aware about. We talk about forgiveness, we talk about setting goals like we really, really, really go deep. And that whole entire 12 weeks. Yes, ma'am.
Nicole Cleveland (22 : 56)
Yeah, that's what it sounds like. Unpeeled ling the layers. That's what it sounds
Tonya Carter (23 : 01)
Like. Oh, yeah, you got to because the authentic you has to show up. And so that's what some of us don't even understand because of our stories and how we even were raised. In many cases, some of us have been raised on very cracked foundations or we picked unhealthy habits that may not have been intentional. But then subconsciously, we just do it and we don't even know it. And so this program is for you to really focus on you, because when you're a parent, your mom you're working. You're doing this. You're all over the place. You don't think about you. That's right. You're absolutely You don't You just don't you Because you feel like you know what? I'm still handling my business. I'm good, but yeah, but truthfully, a lot of the times you're not. You could still be handling your day to day and still be hurt. But you just so usedto working and taking care of everybody else that you don't take the time to fill your own cup. So the homework is for you to really sit down and think for yourself and about yourself for once, you know what I mean. So that's why I give the homework. Because it gives that added extra accountability. Not to mention you build relationships with like minded women alone away. And that's more important now because you need a village. You need people who gonna hold you accountable and who want to grow because Some of us are trying to grow in environments that we've already outgrown.
Nicole Cleveland (24 : 19)
That's good real good. Now, how would the audience reach out to you to purchase your book or to sign up for your thrive program?
Tonya Carter (24 : 28)
Okay, so right now, my thought program is about to close for the rest of the year, so I'm I'm actually not taking anyone into January. However, you can always reach out to me on my website at Tonya carter dot com. You can follow me on Miss Tanya Speaks on Instagram. Or you can email me at info at Tonya carter dot com
Nicole Cleveland (24 : 48)
And they can purchase that book from the website as well.
Tonya Carter (24 : 51)
Divorce your storybook dot com
Nicole Cleveland (24 : 53)
Wonderful. You know what, Tanya? That has been our time. Thank you so much for joining me and for sharing your story and those wonderful tips.
Tonya Carter (25 : 01)
Thank you so much. I appreciate it.
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