Overcoming the trauma of past abusive relationships is super difficult; Melanie Banayat shares her story of healing from abuse, including physical, emotional, and sexual abuse, and learning to trust, form deeper relationships and to live a fulfilled and happy life.

Melanie is a certified holistic health coach, an author, and a professional artist. She lives in Prescott, Arizona with her husband. She loves dancing, gardening, hiking, and mountain biking. Melanie is the author of an award winning book titled, Stretch Your Brave Hack Your Story: Break Through Chronic Disease with Storytelling. The book features her own story of recovery, as well as 14 other case studies from clients she has worked with through the years. 

Nuggets of Wisdom in this episode:

“Life shrinks or expands in proportion to one’s courage.”

“Back when I was a kid I experienced quite a bit of abuse – physical, emotional, verbal, sexual. And when you’re a kid you go through it. You figure out a way to survive it. But then I was stuck in that pattern and ended up getting into a lot of other relationships. I was a magnet for this behavior. I finally realized at 40 years old I had lived a long life of toxic relationships.”

“I was definitely frozen and not functioning well.”

“It sounds like this really horrible, ridiculous, tragic story, and it was in many ways, but it wasn’t the end of me.”

“I had to learn how to trust people again.’

“My safety plan was to learn how to stand confident and not be that flashing red light for narcissists that says, ‘Here I am. Come take advantage of me.’ I learned how to stand tall, how to look confident, and even though I was faking it for a long time, it was very helpful for me, and eventually I wasn’t faking it anymore.”

Some of Melanie's Favorite Things:

Personal habit: Saying no when I need to say no and saying yes when I need to say yes.

Easy meal: Leftovers.

Possession: Ergotron Fit (contraption that her computer sits on and allows her to stand or sit when she works).

Book: Big Magic by Elizabeth Gilbert

Best advice received: To go on a trip to begin her healing from past abuse.

Happiest memory: “When I stood up in court and I chose to use my voice for the first time and I won. That was one of the happiest moments in my life, that I stood up for myself and was no longer taking the abuse.”

Melanie's Happiness Formula:

  1. To always take time to assess and evaluate your personal truths. If you’re off course you need to assess and evaluate and get yourself back on course.
  2. To make sure you’re really addressing your emotions, whether they need to be released somehow and really learning how to regulate your emotions.
  3. To always have some sort of safety plan in your daily life, which includes having healthy boundaries and having really healthy relationships and not isolating yourself.

A Challenge from Melanie:

“Stretch your brave and speak the thing that’s limiting inside of you right now. Whatever that is, let it come out with someone you trust, who is safe.”


Stretch Your Brave Hack Your Story
Big Magic by Elizabeth Gilbert
Ergotron Fit
The Sweet Undoing (Free E-book from Melanie)
Melanie's Website

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