Today, May 8, I could have been married for 25 years. Instead of celebrating my wedding anniversary, I celebrate twenty years of freedom. Freedom because the marriage was a toxic mix of lies, deceit, narcissism and abuse. It only came to an end when one day he said he was going on vacation. I said bye and he left. We never saw him again after that. As far as we know, he is still on vacation.

What I did see, after he left, were the skeletons he left in his closet. The debt collectors tumbled over each other on my doorstep demanding to get their money back. He left me with almost 200.000 euros in debt. I lost everything I had, that still had some sort of value, including our house. I moved with my baby and toddler to a rental house two blocks from our old house where I, just like J.K. Rowling rebuilt my life on the solid foundation of rock bottom. It was the start of my successful business and our new life.

Fast forward twenty years later, this year I celebrate the twenty-year anniversary of my company, which I started immediately after he left. The toxic marriage made me realize, I was holding back on my full potential of what I could become other than being a beaten-down wife. It gave me the strength and perseverance to grow my company into what it is today, an international graphic design and web design company based on honesty, openness and trust.

Will I drink a glass of champagne at my wedding today? I won’t raise my glass on the five toxic years I experienced but I will certainly raise my glass with pride on the after effect and results of what those five toxic years taught me. Because without that experience, I would never have had the guts to start my own company and grow as a person into what I am today. This was a clear case of when life gives you lemons…

With a little push from the universe, I became the person who I was supposed to be…
Cheers to me!

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