Treasure had it all-a husband who loved her, two beautiful "bonus" children, a successful small business, rewarding volunteer work, and the icing on the cake, a glamorous life that took her all over the world.
But on a fateful Monday morning in 2009, her world turned upside down. She discovered that her loving husband ... loved only his secret life. She learned that for the past twenty-four years her marriage was a lie.
Wounded and betrayed, Treasure fought to fi nd the strength to start over. From her darkest hours, she summoned the courage to look within and start the journey of transformation her soul craved. Her insufferable pain propelled her to a new life as an empowered woman living her authentic life by assuming full responsibility, practicing self-love and forgiveness. Most of all embracing a massive paradigm shift from victim to victor.
Holy Divorce: A Mindful and Spiritual Act of Self-Love is a diverse self-help handbook and novel inspired by licensed clinical counselor Barbara Kiao's personal and professional work with her clients. She shares healthy ways to face your own fears, reach your highest self-understanding and fulfilment of your authentic self-and create true love and happiness.
|Publisher:||Balboa Press Australia|
|Product dimensions:||5.00(w) x 8.00(h) x 0.33(d)|
Read an Excerpt
A Mindful and Spiritual Act of Self-love
By Barbara Kiao
Balboa PressCopyright © 2014 Barbara Kiao-Muller
All rights reserved.
When someone shows you who they are, believe them the first time!
Shanghai, PR China
Bad Boy: "Hi, baby, I am back; tight hug and soft kisses."
Cowgirl: "With warm and wet lips ... sweet kisses."
Bad Boy: "Hmm, sounds very good to me ..."
Cowgirl: "U r tired from paddling?" Bad Boy: "No, not really. Didn't go on the boat, had to prepare for filming by two different TV stations."
Cowgirl: "Okay, was thinking, I'd love to give ya a nice massage on ur head and back."
Bad Boy: "YEEEEEESSSSS?????"
Cowgirl: "When u lie between my legs, I can give nice head massage."
Bad Boy: "I want it all over ..."
Cowgirl: "I am a bad, bad, bad girl!"
Bad Boy: "Never mind my head ... oh, maybe the other one!"
Cowgirl: "Back scratch should be comfy."
Bad Boy: "We know how bad you are—not badder than me, though!"
Bad Boy: "I am the real bad, bad one ... dirty mind, horny all the time ..."
Cowgirl: "Thinking of you makes me horny now ..."
Bad Boy: "You are getting to me too, playing the same movie in my head, over and over ..."
Cowgirl: "I don't really want to become a juicy fruit right here in the office ..."
Bad Boy: "That's okay, but you'll notice that you are becoming wet."
Cowgirl: "What if I want to come?"
Bad Boy: "Go to the little girl's room, and just help yourself. You're also making me hard ... thank God I've got a desk to hide it."
Cowgirl: "Ha-ha, this is totally bad, bad, bad!"
Bad Boy: "I think tomorrow we'll both have a problem! When you arrive, I need to do a room inspection FIRST THING, to make sure you are satisfied with the service, facilities, and all, but I also have to be on time for dinner, so people don't get suspicious."
Cowgirl: "Well, I'm not sure. How would that work?"
Bad Boy: "Wear something easy to remove and put back on."
Cowgirl: "Ha-ha, this is just bad, bad, bad, man! It's summertime, anyway, things are easy to remove ... I'm soaking wet now, baby!"
Bad Boy: "Want me come over?"
Bad Boy: "I love a wet girl ..."
Cowgirl: "Nah, I am a juicy fruit!"
Bad Boy: "Like to taste that juicy, sweet fruit ... would u like that?"
Bad Boy: "Me tasting it."
Cowgirl: "Sure, I would love that."
Bad Boy: "Good! Did I tell you before that I cannot make babies anymore? Got 'clipped' after my second daughter was born."
Bad Boy: "So I only shoot blank ammunition."
Cowgirl: "I don't mind! Ha-ha, we are talking like we are going to do something bad right now."
Bad Boy: "That's right, exactly. I am sooo ready! But it's not bad; it's something wonderful to enjoy. We need to do it slowly and take our time."
Cowgirl: "I have time, plenty of time; but we don't have a venue."
Bad Boy: "I love to touch, kiss, and cuddle as long as possible. We can meet in your room. Remember, you need to do an in-depth interview with this BAD BOY! I'll call you when I can come to your room, and you just keep the door open. Is your number still 555-348?"
Cowgirl: "Aren't there monitors in the hotel? You're not afraid people will see u on the video? I don't feel safe."
Bad Boy: "Of course there are, but I'm wearing my hat, sunglasses, bandana, and a pipe."
Cowgirl: "Ha-ha. Oh God, u r cute, man!"
Bad Boy: "Don't worry, I run this place. Nobody will disturb us."
Cowgirl: "But I feel—"
Bad Boy: "You are sitting at my table tomorrow. Can't wait to be close to you."
Cowgirl: "You have the seating arrangement? Am I right next to you, darling? Now I'm nervous, when it's really coming to reality ..."
Bad Boy: "I told May that you are the only one I know and the only one who speaks English, so yeah, probably."
Cowgirl: "What shall I wear to impress you?"
Bad Boy: "You impress me wearing absolutely NOTHING, but not there. My little secretary will probably sit next to me too."
Cowgirl: "Little? I'm not sure I met her."
Bad Boy: "She's short, on the plump side, and just out of college. Not my taste, though, if u know what I mean. I like strong, intelligent, cuddly, and sexy women."
Cowgirl: "Ur telling me I'm your type?"
Bad Boy: "Wouldn't do this if you weren't my type. I am VERY selective and haven't had a lover in years. Just fell for you when we met last year, I guess, but didn't want to push it. Wasn't sure if you wanted it."
Cowgirl: "Well, I had a crush on u and didn't dare even mention it, and u asked if u could drop by when visiting Shanghai and have a drink, but we never did."
Bad Boy: "True—I was never alone."
Cowgirl: "So can I be your little secret lover?"
Bad Boy: "Sure can ... I like that!"
Cowgirl: "What does a lover need to do?"
Bad Boy: "I don't want you to do something you feel awkward about ... you always need two to tango!"
Cowgirl: "We'll do whatever I feel like doing: think about u, dream about u, talk to u in my mind, picture your strong arms holding me tight."
Bad Boy: "And I'll always honor your wishes."
Cowgirl: "I do think u r strong enough to be my man!"
Bad Boy: "Are you strong enough to be 'just a little lover'?"
Cowgirl: "I am definitely strong enough to be your woman!"
Bad Boy: "Women ALWAYS have to pull the short end of the stick, and you know my situation here. But yes, I'd like u to be my woman. Gotta run, will talk again when the coast is clear."
Treasure could not bring herself to continue reading the rest of the saved messages. She sat in front of Xavier's computer, feeling numb yet abnormally calm. She wanted to cry, but in her shell-shocked state, there were no tears, just horror. This cannot be happening to me. Not my Xavier, not me!
As her mind whirled, she suddenly realized she knew the identity of "Cowgirl." Almost immediately another woman's image popped into her head: Heather. If Xavier could have had a thing with Cowgirl, surely he would also take advantage of Heather.
Heather was the girlfriend of one of Xavier's corporate clients. She was well-known to be desperately seeking men. Treasure even teased Xavier that she had a crush on him. Little did she know Xavier had already used Heather for his own selfish needs.
Before her mind could even make a decision, her fingers had moved ahead, doing the thinking for her. Another file was open, and Treasure's suspicions were confirmed; a photo of Heather, topless, stared back at her from the computer screen.
By now Treasure had stopped thinking altogether. She was on autopilot, focused on finding out everything she could. She could no longer hide from the ugly truth; she had to face it. Heart pounding, she double-clicked the files "ME2001," "ME2002," and "ME2003"—pictures of Xavier posing nude in front of a camera. These pictures were definitely not intended for his wife. Tears started to roll from her hazel eyes, but she ignored them. Her index finger on the mouse went faster and faster, closing and opening different files. There were photos of women she recognized and some she did not. She found Xavier in chat rooms and on porn sites, looking for women to be "friends ... discreetly."
At least he did say he's married and needs to be discreet, Treasure thought, trying to be positive. But then she came across a hermaphrodite, looking at the woman with both breasts and a penis. She could no longer restrain her professional mind; Xavier needed professional intervention. Treasure's head was spinning with a million questions.
How could I have missed this? Why didn't I see that he's a cheat? Why was I so blind? What should I do now? Do I still love him? Does he still love me? Could I ever trust him again? What's going to happen to us? Was he abused when he was young? Was he molested as a child? Maybe he's a closet gay or bisexual? What's going to happen to Sabrina and Vanessa when they find out their father has done it again? Old wounds will definitely reopen, damn him. Damn Xavier!
Our First Session
It was a cool autumn day when I first laid eyes on Treasure. She was sitting in the waiting room, busily completing forms.
When she walked into my office, Treasure greeted me with a broad smile and firm handshake. She had a sincere smile, and since I like a firm handshake, I couldn't help but take an instant liking to her.
My first impression of Treasure was that she was an attractive woman, extremely well dressed, with excellent taste. She was stylish, sophisticated, intelligent, and a possible perfectionist. In short, she looked like a woman who had it all. I was curious to learn the reasons that had brought her to my office.
"Hi, Dr. Adams, how would you like me to address you—Dr. Adams or Alicia?" she began.
"Please call me Alicia," I replied. "I'm not big on formality. Please, make yourself comfortable."
"Thank you, Alicia. Where do I begin? I am Australian, but my husband and I are now living in Shanghai, China. We have been married for twenty-four years. About a month ago, I found out he's been cheating on me for a decade. Needless to say, I was devastated and absolutely shocked. Now I'm just angry, and I still can't quite believe it."
I have been counseling for more than twenty years, and it takes a lot to shock me. But I was stunned by the similarity of our predicaments. I tried to keep my facial expression in check, hoping Treasure wouldn't pick up on my uneasiness. "I see. Please tell me more," I replied.
"As it turns out, I knew all the women that he slept with—well, as far as I know, anyway! I'm sure he had others, but I don't want to think about that. The first betrayal happened while we were living in Kota Kinabalu, East Malaysia, and he was pre-opening a hotel. Her name was Mickey, and I used to counsel her—I can't believe it! She even sent me birthday and Christmas cards each year, thanking me for the help that I gave her ... blah blah blah. Gosh, it makes me sick! I don't know how she could face herself. You know, I told Xavier to write to all those women and to apologize for using them as sex objects. He's been in touch with all of them. It's just sick! Sorry, Alicia, I'm not talking sense, am I?"
"You're talking fast; slow down. How did you find out?"
"Oh, I guess I was ready to find out, and I believe that subconsciously he wanted to be found out. One weekend I was relaxing in front of the TV, and Xavier yelled out to me from the study: 'Hey, did I tell you Chelsea's married?' He wanted me to look at her wedding photos. Actually, I got a bit annoyed—he kept on asking me to look at her wedding photos, and I don't know the woman well and really had no interest in her wedding photos. When he wouldn't stop pestering me, I gave in. He was still looking at the computer screen as I approached him, when suddenly he looked anxious and quickly exclaimed he had deleted the file by mistake. I found his behavior strange but decided I would try to be helpful and locate the file for him the next morning—after all; Xavier is a bit technically challenged. I've asked to use his computer before so I decided to just go ahead with it. You know the funny part? He, who has everything to hide, doesn't even have a password, and yet I, who have nothing to hide, do!"
"What did you find?" I asked.
"Well, my intention was just to find Chelsea's wedding photos, and when I did, it slowly dawned on me that Xavier could be hiding something. Call it a hunch. I decided to check other files, and that's when I saw the MSN messages between the two. He called himself Bad Boy and her Cowgirl. I have no words to describe how I felt, except that I was suffocating in a tsunami of mixed emotions that I didn't even know I had—I immediately thought that this must be what death feels like."
"Do you have suicidal thoughts?" I asked.
"Oh no, are you kidding me? He's not worth it! Sorry, I didn't mean my own death—I just meant death in general, though my Mom did kill herself. I guess I'm relating this trauma to the trauma of my Mom's death."
"I am so sorry, Treasure. How old were you when your mom committed suicide?"
"Well, I was twenty-five, but honestly, I don't think my age at the time matters; I would have been devastated no matter what age I'd been, because I considered her my protector. It might have been easier on me if she had died of natural causes, but she took her own life. I think unconsciously I felt she'd abandoned me, and therefore I was attracted to Xavier. You don't need me to tell you how it works with our human psyche; what we didn't understand, we will reenact in order to heal and process those emotions. Do you agree with my analysis, Dr. Adams ... Alicia?"
"Yes, Treasure, it's highly possible," I replied with a smile, beginning to notice that Treasure was doing my job as well.
"Soon after I confronted him, I ran, sobbing nonstop, and hid in the walk-in closet. He tried to hold me, but I pushed him away and screamed to him that he had 'committed suicide' with our marriage. Alicia, I do not believe in coincidences, and I believe everything happens for a reason. You have no idea—I so wanted someone to hold me that very moment. I felt so alone and helpless. But how could I let the same person who hurt me comfort me, right? Not only that, I also called him an asshole, and I said if he's an asshole, and I'm married to him, what would that make me? Mrs. Asshole, right? And I told him I didn't want to be Mrs. Asshole, so I had no choice but to leave him. As soon as I spat that out, I knew that he had finally broken the camel's back—I no longer wished to be his wife. It was then. But I'm not so sure what to think now."
"Yes, Treasure, it's absolutely understandable how you felt, and it takes courage to get professional help," I agreed, secretly thinking that she was a much stronger woman than I am. All of a sudden, I felt like a fraud being her therapist.
"Well, I did not manage to find him out all these years. There's something there, right? I need to find out the role I played in all of this, or I'll attract the same type of man again. With 20/20 hindsight, I always knew something was not quite right, but I could never put my finger on it. He was never 100 percent present; he was neither here nor there. I suppose it's easier to be in denial and not examine what you know needs to be looked at. But he got worse as he aged. It was when we were still living in Nanjing, China that it got worse."
Dutiful Wife: Her "Loving Too Much"
"Hi, Treasure, come on in. How have you been since last week?" I asked.
"I'm fine—all things considered," came her reply. "I can't believe this is going to be our last session before I go back to Shanghai to face the music. I am so dreading it."
"That's completely understandable," I reassured her, adding, "I was quite surprised that you came back for more sessions."
"Oh? Why would you think that?" Treasure gave me a puzzled look.
"Because I always knew you would know what's right for you, with or without me working with you," I responded.
"Thank you, Alicia, but you know, I find myself less anxious after our sessions, because I don't have to explain myself to you like I do with laypeople. I'm coming back in October," she said and smiled, "so you're not getting rid of me yet."
Somehow, I felt flattered. "Well, thank you, Treasure. I enjoy talking with you too." I couldn't help but wonder what she'd think of me if she knew how much I had looked forward to our weekly sessions for the past few months. Deep down I so wanted to find out whether she would leave or stay with Xavier. The personal side of me so wanted to see if I could learn from Treasure's experience.
After a short silence, Treasure continued. "You know, I've been wondering why I married someone whom I don't consider my best friend. Okay, sure, I thought he was a good catch when we first met. I find him charming, sexy, and dynamic. Many people commented that we looked perfect together, and we played the part of a handsome couple. He's always doing little things for me; he sent me love notes and flowers on Valentine's Day. We often went dancing because I love to dance, and he even learned to play tennis because it's my passion. But the tennis and dancing all stopped soon after we got married. Last year for my birthday, he gave me a surprise first-class ticket to Chicago to see The Oprah Winfrey Show. He knows Oprah is my idol and that I longed to see her in person. I was so touched by his thoughtfulness and the effort he had put into making it happen. I felt loved, and I'm sure all people thought I was. I was the envy of all my friends and Liz, my sister. For crying out loud, I was the envy of myself, and it came as a shock to all my friends when I found him out, most of all me!
"I keep thinking back to how we couldn't keep our hands off each other in the beginning, always hugging and holding hands. I guess the only thing that really bothered me about him was his insensitivity. Of course, now I know it's more than that."
There was sadness in Treasure's voice as she continued. "He used to tell everyone I was his best friend, and I'd bluntly announce that he wasn't mine. He never expressed how he felt by my comment, and I guess I spoke out of resentment toward his lack of emotional support of me all those years. I was so ready to move back to Australia the year he got another transfer from J. B. to K. K."
"Where exactly is that?" I asked.
Excerpted from Holy Divorce by Barbara Kiao. Copyright © 2014 Barbara Kiao-Muller. Excerpted by permission of Balboa Press.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.
Table of Contents
Act 1: Reality Hits, 1,
Scene 1 Emotional Tsunami, 3,
Scene 2 Our First Session, 11,
Scene 3 Dutiful Wife: Her "Loving Too Much", 17,
Scene 4 He Who Can't Love Back, 49,
Back Stage Self-Reflect and Awareness, 55,
Act 2: The Beginning of the Journey (A Slow Awakening), 57,
Scene 5 Without Boundaries, 59,
Scene 6 Darkness before Light, 71,
Scene 7 Facing Her Shadow, 75,
Scene 8 Lurking Shadows, 81,
Back Stage Self-Reflect and Awareness, 87,
Act 3: Wisdom Born of Pain, 89,
Scene 9 Myths about Love, 91,
Scene 10 Light after Darkness (The Final Decision), 97,
Scene 11 Learn to Love Thyself, 101,
Back Stage Self-Reflect and Awareness, 109,
Final Curtian: Growing Old is Mandatory and Growing Up is a Choice, 111,
Scene 12 Grow Old or Grow Wise, 113,
Scene 13 Forgive the Unforgivable, 121,
Scene 14 Love and Respect: Accept and Approve of Thyself, 127,
Back Stage Self-Reflect and Awareness, 133,
About the Author, 141,