001: My story and why this podcast – Tegan Mathews
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In this episode:
In this episode of The Fearless Females Podcast your host Tegan Mathews shares:
- Why it’s so important for women to share their stories of courage & overcoming adversity
- How that plays a part in overcoming shame and guilt
- Plus provides inspiration and support for other women going through the same experience
Tegan also shares her story:
- How she overcame a childhood of abuse, suicide, and bullying
- How she had to face her fear of being alone in order to escape
- How she made the decision to leave behind the only family she had ever known
- The strategy and tools she used to overcome her fear of being alone
Tegan’s Take Aways:
- When facing a fear, evaluate the situation logically first and then make a decision
- After making a decision, create a plan
- Don’t do it all on your own – get some help
- Let go of the anger and pain, it’s not good for you
- You are worthy of all the good this world has for you
About Tegan Mathews
Tegan Mathews is known as The Fearless Female due to overcoming her own fears of loneliness, trust, vulnerability and much more after enduring a childhood of abuse, suicide, rape and loss. She is the founder of FacingFears.com.au where she empowers women throughout the world, with the tools, training and support to face their own fears. A published author of Facing Fears – Finding the courage to reveal the real you. Founder of The Fearless Females podcast sharing inspiring stories of how other women have overcome adversity. And a motivational and entertaining public speaker for businesses and women’s groups.
Contact Tegan Mathews
A Gift For Listeners From Tegan Mathews:
Download the 7 steps to facing any fear – The Freedom method.
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Show Notes: Episode 001: Tegan Mathews
Why I started The Fearless Females Podcast
- Hid my story for over thirty years for fear of judgment and shame and guilt
- Finally found the courage to share it in my book Facing Fears – finding the courage to reveal the real you
- It took an immense amount of courage to do this and the rewards were I accepted I am beautiful in my own way, exactly as I am
- As a result my relationship grew even stronger
- Most people loved it but some felt uncomfortable discussing the topic of abuse
- This silence is what perpetuates the problem by protecting the perpetrators and making the victims feel even more guilt and shame
- I didn’t want another woman to feel that same feeling
- There is no reason why anyone should be made to feel guilt or shame about any adversity that they have had to overcome
- They should be proud of having made it through that
- I decided I wanted to create a safe space where other women could share their stories of courage and resilience and podcasting was the perfect platform
- Through The Fearless Females Podcast it gives women from all walks of life the opportunity to share how they have faced their own fears and inspire others to do the same
- I also share “HOW” they did it in as much detail as possible
- And that’s what you will find in each of the episodes: a compelling story shared by a real woman and the how to’s to apply to your own life
- Alex Mitchell from Author Support Services then discusses the importance of sharing your story and the benefits to yourself as well as the listener.
My Fearless Story
- Born out of wedlock in the 1970’s when it was frowned upon to be a single mother
- I was put up for adoption because my natural mother wanted me to have a better life than the one she thought she could provide herself, and that’s how it should have turned out
- Unfortunately, I was adopted into a family where I endured over ten years of sexual, physical and emotional abuse from both parents
- With the sexual abuse I was constantly told that this was what all fathers did and the rest of the abuse was just what I thought was normal.
- To the mother I was disposable and therefore was often used by her as a shield from the father.
- I spent my childhood forever trying to keep the peace and pleasing the needs of others which would become a difficult thing to change later in life.
- I grew up on a farm and we survived through three droughts. There isn’t a time I can remember when we weren’t in extreme poverty
- Yet somehow the father always seemed to have enough beer for him to get drunk on almost every night.
- I was skinny and shy at school so I was an easy target for bullying
- My nickname throughout high school was “Ugly”.
- After a chance viewing of a documentary I finally discovered that this behaviour was not normal and what was happening to me was actually a criminal offence
- Eventually I did escape thanks to a teacher at school who noticed something was wrong and questioned me on it
- I entered into a system that is full of people trying to do their best but where the problems far outweigh the resources.
- I decided I could do better on my own and so I did.
- There were times when I was homeless and living on the streets but nothing I endured after that was as ever as bad as what I had put up with as a child and how bad I knew it would have become if I had stayed.
- I made a promise to myself that my past would not dictate my future
- I did a lot of therapy and personal development to come to a place where now I am truly grateful for all of the experiences I have had and am proud of who I have become.
What did I learn from the experience
- When I discovered the truth it was some time before I was able to escape. This was because my fear of being alone kept me trapped there.
- I was afraid of leaving the only family I had ever known, even though they were monsters
- I never quite felt like I fitted in.
- It was the fear of being alone and the unknown that kept me trapped there
- This is the same for a lot of people in abusive situations
How did I overcome this fear?
- For some people it may look simple from the outside like that should be an easy decision but I had been conditioned to put them first and they were the only family I had ever known.
- To do this I took out the emotional responses and just looked at the facts.
- I knew that if I stayed in that environment my life would be over sooner rather than later
- Once I had made the decision it was a matter of making a plan to escape
- I’ve learnt that challenges are much easier to overcome when you have good support and advice.
- In the days leading up to my escape I had a list of the reasons why I had to leave and I kept reading it every time my fear tried to change my mind
- Once the day came, it was simply a matter of taking the first step and then it all just kept going from there.
- Was it ideal? No. It was messy. Where there times when I thought I had done the wrong thing? Yes, often.
- But nothing outside that family was ever worse than being in it, so I knew ultimately that I had made the right decision.
How do I feel about that experience now?
- I can now say that I have forgiven myself and The Parents
- I understand that it had nothing to do with me and although their behavior is unacceptable and I don’t condone it, holding onto that doesn’t have any effect on them and it certainly doesn’t do me any good
- So I have learnt to let go of the pain, the anger, the hatred and instead choose love and happiness
- I have an amazing life now and am at peace with my past and proud of who I have become as a person
One of my most memorable moments
- Being there for someone who had just come out of hospital after a suicide attempt to remind them that their life is worth living
- That they have a gift that the world needs
- That they DO matter to a lot of people, especially their friends and family
- I could never have been able to support them the way that I did without experiencing all that I had gone through myself.
One of my biggest A-Ha moments?
- Reading the book Fearless Living by Rhonda Britten almost twelve years ago
- I finally realised that there was nothing wrong with me, it was just my fears that were holding me back from being all that I wanted to be
- I then went on to become a Fearless Living Coach and now I love helping others realise the same thing.
What currently brings me joy?
- This – The Fearless Females Podcast.
- I am super passionate about women sharing their stories without shame and guilt
- I want people to be proud of where they have come from and what they have been through
- Creating more programs helping others to overcome the fears that stop them from being their true selves and the podcast is jam packed full of useful tips on how to do that
Something in my future plans that still scares me?
- Everything in my future plan scares me because it involves continuously stepping out of my comfort zone.
- I truly want to change how society hushes sexual abuse like it is a dirty word that shouldn’t be discussed
- I want to bring it out into the open more as something we can all contribute towards stopping
- And for the victims I want the focus to be on what they have achieved since their abuse and how far they have come rather than on the abuse itself
- I want to banish the guilt and shame as much as I possibly can and for them to feel proud of who they are and find peace and happiness
- To do all of this involves sharing my story every day and that scares me but the rewards are what will support me to get through that.
Five Fast Fun Fearless Facts about Tegan Mathews
- Who inspires you? My podcast guests. Their courage and commitment to help others inspires me every day.
- Favourite thing to do each day? Have a shower – it’s the one thing I could never do safely as a child and so every day it reminds me of how far I’ve come.
- What’s something that still scares you? Spiders for sure!! Yuk!! J
- Favourite technique or app or book? Technique = daily gratitudes, App = Dashlane for saving passwords safely and securely, Book = Louise Hay – You can heal your life. it’s the first book I ever read on self help and it has had an ongoing effect on how my life has turned out.
- If you could wave a magic wand and fix one thing in the world right now, what would it be and why? That no woman (or man) or child would ever be abused again from this day forward and to remove the shame and guilt for the victims.
If you could turn back time what’s the one piece of advice you wish you could give your fourteen year old self?
- You’ve got this. You are smart, you are beautiful, and you are worthy of all the good this world has waiting for you. Go get it girl!!
Where can people reach you?
Facebook: Facing Fears with Tegan
A Gift for Listeners From Tegan Mathews:
Download the 7 steps to facing any fear – The Freedom method.
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