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My Story - Debbie Dubickas

I feel my own personal life experiences have made me more relatable with every client I have worked with. If the truth be known, my clients have been my Therapist. I often make light of the fact that I am living my third life in this lifetime.

My first life, as I call it, was my younger years before the age of 21. My twin brother Ian and I were born on March 11th 1964 to Anne and Sandy Craig who already had 3 older girls. Anne was delighted to have produced a son for Sandy and as Ian’s twin there were many occasions I felt like the “second fiddle”. Longing for attention, I took on the role (was also given the name) of “Drama Queen”. I would be the outspoken one that would talk about forbidden subjects such as “periods” as well as being the “Pleaser” by tidying the house every morning before school and making dad’s supper before bed. I received the most attention from a family member who also took advantage of the “vulnerable younger me”in ways he should not have. The attention was good but little did I realize the affect it would have on me in my adult years.

It was at my sister’s engagement party; I met her fiancé’s brother Richard wearing his Bay City Roller outfit. His mass of curly hair and dance moves got me going and when he asked me to dance, we danced, and everybody watched. I was aged 14 and he was 3 years older than I am being 17, which back then seemed a huge age gap. He showered me with gifts that I had never been used to and took me places where I had never been. I remember looking out the classroom window to see his motorbike arrive to pick me up. It felt so good, and I certainly got lots of attention from my classmates. His family owned an Italian Restaurant, and I loved the Sunday brunch gatherings where we all cooked and ate together. His father welcomed me, and it wasn’t long before I was working the restaurant floor and being his father’s office assistant.

For the first time, I remember feeling useful and wanted by his father by the tasks I did for him. I remember the green box of chocolates he gave me that had 3 drawers filled with different chocolates and a koala bear that sat on top. He gave that to me as a gift for helping him so much. The more appreciated he was towards me, the more I wanted to learn the restaurant business and do more for him. Richard encouraged me to work in the family business and I was a quick learner.

On turning 17, we got engaged. I would have preferred to have lived together as Richard had his own place and I was treating it like my home anyway, but my father had other ideas. No daughter of his was going to live in sin. 4 months after my 20th birthday we were married by Father Lynch at St Mary’s Cathedral, Edinburgh on July 2nd, 1984.

We spent our honeymoon in Honolulu and I was so happy to now be Mrs Alongi. Returning back from our honeymoon Richard told me I had to leave my office job which upset me. I loved my job and looked forward to getting dressed up in my pencil skirt and high heels heading to the office Monday thru Friday and then working the restaurant floor on the weekends. For 2 weeks he never spoke with me and refused to attend my twin brother’s wedding if I did not leave my job. I turned to my father-in-law who agreed with my husband. I left my job.

Our first child was born 9 months later at the same time as the emotional abuse worsened. Our second child came 2 years after the first. After 5 years of physical and emotional abuse I weighed just under 100 pounds. My list of reasons to stay with Richard became shorter whilst the reasons to leave the marriage looked more like a long shopping list. On a good day, I remember waking up and holding him and there I saw a young man who loved me more than I believed anybody would ever love me and I wanted to hold on to that. What happened to the young man I felt safe with before we were married? It was as if I did not know him anymore.

I remember the first attempt at leaving him, he promised to change and did for a while. He promised to stop being angry and lashing out at me. I knew he had other girlfriends as he would pretend a late party came in to eat at the restaurant and he had to cook for them when in fact I knew the restaurant had closed early. I guess I pretended it wasn’t happening even when people were telling me they saw him with a girl in town and they were very much an item. His mind would race with thoughts of me cheating on him when in fact his own guilt was driving him crazy.

Our marriage had become a roller coaster of “abuse and make up” periods whereby my husband had lost control over me, and I had become numb. He had so many outbursts with the same excuse for his behaviour being that his mother had died when he was 3 and how he loved me so much and was scared of ever losing me. It came to the point I would go to bed with an “Andy Pandy Pyjama Suit” on which covered everything up to my chin. I was the one who would curl up in a ball and rock myself to sleep at night in the hope that I would be sleeping when he came home from work.

After the second attempt to leave I started to neglect myself, stopped caring what I looked like and went into robotic mode. I remember my doctor telling me there was a very thin line between sane and insane. My periods had stopped, and my hair had started to fall out and my Dr was worried about my weight. I crossed that line on the night of 10th March 1991 just 7 years into married life. The third attempt was the final one that lead to our divorce becoming absolute on 23rd August 1993.

The third attempt was the final one that lead to our divorce becoming absolute on 23rd August 1993. This particular night my husband sat next to me on the bed and told me he was going to kill himself. I said nothing and went back to sleep. Then I heard him wake up our little girl and take her through to the bathroom where he opened the bathroom cabinet and took out some pills and swallowed them, not before telling our daughter “Mummy is killing me”. I grabbed our daughter and went back to bed and started singing nursery rhymes. I later went through to the living room and found my husband on the floor foaming at the mouth. That was my threshold. He was taken to hospital and got his stomach pumped. His sister phoned me the following morning and told me he was fine and hungry and wanted me to cook him breakfast. I told her 2 words “F—- Off”.

During that time, I was blessed to have met someone who I really felt a connection with. He was involved with someone and had moved out of town to open his Auto Repair business whilst I was going through a messy divorce. We began the affair during my separation, and I thank him for those times. He had his own issues, the main one being his love of alcohol. I certainly did not want to jump out of the frying pan into the fire but the times with him gave me the strength to go through my own challenging times. We made a promise to each other in that if I met someone then I would leave our relationship quietly as he was not ready to move on from his relationship.

Here I was at the age of 27 going back to college and living on my own with 2 children ages 6 and 4. I had moved away from town and relocated to a small village in the country. I loved it but felt lonely most of the time. My out-of-town friend kept in touch, yet he was tied into his own personal relationship as they were joint owners in his auto business, and he did not want to make things more complicated. I understood and was grateful for the times we could talk and meet. This is where my second life began.

Having moved into a small cottage on the outskirts of Edinburgh with my 2 children, I met my second husband as his family were my neighbors. They owned the land, auto repair business and houses next door to the cottage. Derrick was only 21 to my 27 and there was no way in hell that I was ready for any committed relationship. He had recently split up from a long term relationship and our friendship began. I remember feeling safe enough with him to open up as there was no intention of being anything more than friends. His father encouraged me to take him out and about in the City as he has been some what secluded by living on the outskirts of town.

Mum and I spent a lot of time together since dad had died in a car accident 10 months after I gave birth to my first child. I was only 21 but I knew I had to be strong for mum. Mum and I became closer. I guess you could say we now had the relationship that I had wanted as a child only now I was 27 and she was getting more and more forgetful at 65. Dad’s sudden death had taken a toll on Mum. He died on his 58th birthday when his car drove into a stationary lorry. They say he had an attack of some sort and we discovered he was diabetic and did not know it. Mum and I spend virtually every weekend together at my place.

Mum liked Derrick even though he was 6 years younger than I was and she could not understand a word he said. He was from the county and every second word seemed to include the “F” word. My mum would laugh and say, “Derrick is nice, and our Deb is educating him”. Bless her. We spent a good year getting comfortable with each other and as time went on, we were looked on as a couple. Mum would get more and more confused and call me 10 times a day forgetting she had called me. Out the blue Derrick asked me if I could have more children and I said yes as this is what he wanted. He wanted a large family. I told him that I wanted to immigrate to the USA and that my sister was going to sponsor me but did not as I was going through a divorce. We agreed that if our relationship was going anywhere, we would have children together and that one day we would move to the USA.

Shortly afterwards, I found out I was pregnant. That was a shock. In the middle of a crazy divorce, looking after mum every weekend while she got more and more forgetful, going to college and now living with a young man who worked with his family next door and had to ask his mum for money to take me out for dinner. I remember telling Derrick I was pregnant, and he said, “What will my dad say”?

I had the abortion and still regret it to this day even though I know it was the right thing to do at the time. Some things you have to live with, but it is not easy. Derrick’s family decided to disown him if he continued to see me as his father had already planned Derrick’s life for him which did not include living with a married woman who was 6 years older than him and who had 2 children. I sold the cottage the following year when I discovered I was pregnant again and this time we were having this baby. Derrick decided that he did not want me to have an illegitimate child and that we were to be married. I said no and that we would have the baby and see how things turned out. Derrick said he may not stay around then, and he wanted to get married now. My divorce came through on 23rd August 1993 and Derrick and I were married 29th September 1993. I knew I could no longer keep in touch with my out-of-town friend as I was now a married woman, so I kept my promise and disappeared without trace. No goodbyes. Derrick and I moved house away from his family and away from any contact with my friend.

Married life was not easy. Mum had been diagnosed with dementia and my eldest daughter Louisa had been diagnosed with an eating disorder and to top it all, Becky was 5 months old and I discovered I was pregnant again. Derrick had left his family and was working for a Printers Business together with buying and selling the odd car here and there and I was running Slimming World classes twice a week and lodging International Students.

One night a friend called me and asked me if I knew of a “guy named Deek in Stornoway”. I said yes we were friends and she said “I thought he knew you. He shot himself, committed suicide”. I shall never forget that time. I was heavily pregnant with our son Peter and sitting on the sofa with Derrick sitting on the chair. I wanted to scream and cry and felt I could not as this would show my true feelings for him and that may hurt Derrick. I held it all in and went to bed but Derrick knew how I felt as I had told him about my friend. The following day Derrick went out and when he came back he told me “Deek shot himself, they think by accident when he was drunk and he owed a lot of money and his girl friend had met someone else”. Derrick knew someone that knew Deek and had went to find out what happened. We never spoke about it again.

The divide with Derrick’s family continued. My ex-husband was not paying any child support and money was short. We decided it best for me to go back to work full time and for Derrick to be the stay at home Mum. It worked. After working for companies for a few years, I then created Family Circle Care Ltd which was established in September 2000. A service providing childcare workers within the nursery sector and matching nannies with families. It took off and I loved it. Many of the rich and famous had moved from London to Edinburgh looking for nannies and they found me. Before long I was placing nannies with clients such as JK Rowlings and Joyce and Fred Goodwin. Money was coming in. We were going on vacations and renovating a country home in East Lothian. Mum had settled into a nursing home. Louisa was managing her eating disorder and things were going well. Due to the growth within Family Circles, we decided to relocate to a larger office. Not long after the move my sister asked me for lunch with my other sister. We all met in an Indian Restaurant for lunch and she had some news to tell us.

Gill was 8 years older than I and had suffered with Crohns Disease most of her life and now in her early 40’s had not been feeling that great. At the age of 45 my sister was diagnosed with Cancer. So young and having lived a life battling Crohns had now resulted in Vaginal Cancer. I shall never forget that lunch. The disbelief in how calm she was in telling us. I on the other hand, once again, went into robotic mode. We had 6 months with her and between my two older sister and myself we nursed her at home until the end. I remember she wrote letters to us all and I shall treasure my letter for ever. To this day I question myself. I wanted God to take her as she was in so much pain but I wanted him to keep her with us as I did not want to lose her. Her last hour, we were all beside her bed. My twin brother, my sisters, her husband and teenage girls and don’t forget her dogs. She had been less responsive for 3 days then she sat up. She looked at all of us and said goodbye to us one by one. I was crying and she said “Deb don’t cry”. I remember feeling her skin after her last breath and it was like an egg shell. She was so beautiful. My big Sis.

I remember a month or so later Derrick getting a hold me me in the kitchen and shouting at me “Stop It, we need you”. I had went into robotic survival mode and brushed off losing my sister and ploughed myself into working Family Circles, day and night, 7 days a week. He was right. I fell like a ball in the corner of the kitchen and cried and cried and cried. The following day I went to work and felt such a pain in my stomach then I felt wet down below. The blood was pouring out. I went to the bathroom and saw a bloody jelly ball. The hospital said I had miscarried and that I had to go in the following day for a D and C to clear me out. I was in such a mess emotionally and physically yet something told me it would be good to have another baby. Blu was child number 5 and a blessing to us all. I was convinced I was carrying a girl and she was to be named Megan. How wrong was I ? Blu was spoilt as there was an 8 year age gap between Peter and Blu so it was only a matter of time when we thought it best to give Blu some company. Joe our youngest was born 2 years later. When I think about it, I had 2 children in my 20’s, 2 in my 30’s and 2 in my 40’s.

My eldest sister had sponsored us in getting our Green Card into the USA and our application was submitted in 2000. They said it would take 10 years and they were pretty spot on. Between the loss of my sister, and the loss of my mum in a way as she was living in a nursing home and did not recognise me, a busy family and business life was a distraction from feeling my own hurt and pain. The money rolled in and we enjoyed the material things in life. A Nice car, holiday home in Tampa, private schools, eldest children in University and the beginnings of getting back in touch with Derrick’s family. His father had his own issues relating to woman, and struggled to have any communication with me. Needless to say I kept myself to myself a lot and did meet at family events and to see Derrick’s mum but it was not easy. I had my own triggers in that I believed my kids came first before everything and I struggled to understand how my mother in law could allow herself to be controlled by such a man to the extent she could not see her own children or grandchildren or attend our wedding.

Running the business was beyond stressful dealing with the political issues of government funded care. I would give so much of my time and money in buying Christmas Hampers for the elderly when they were alone on Christmas Day and even taking clients out in my own time. My heart won often to the extent that I was neglecting my own family of time with them The pleaser in me got so much satisfaction in helping others that it was hard to stop.

My marriage suffered. When I think back Derrick lost his own identity in becoming the stay at home mum and I also lost my identity by taking over the role of being the financial provider and determined not to drown. Our highlights were getting drunk, smoking weed and crazy sex yet I missed the socialisation of meeting friends and laughter. We made our own highs with what we had but when the lows hit us, they hit us bad. Derrick would get so depressed and I would get so lonely. My “GO TOO” was the dream. I would hold on to The American Dream that we would be there one day. The house, the pool, the kids, the friends, the dogs and the sun. It kept me going the dream. Little did I know that it was to be the dream that never was with the man that never could be.

By 2007 we were used to spending all the school holidays in Tampa flying back and forth at least 4 times a year. Our eldest two were young adults studying and working. It was 16 December 2007 whilst in our UK home “Tyneholm” that I received a call from my niece. My first husband (age 45) had had a heart attack in his car. It wasn’t good. We drove to Glasgow University to pick up Anthony and Louisa was flying back from Spain. It all happened so fast. One minute I am hearing this on the phone and the next thing I am being looked on as his Spouse as he never remarried.

Once again I reverted back to robotic mode and went to see my ex-father-in-law (Nonno) a man who had won my heart many years earlier and was the main reason I stayed married to his son. He was heartbroken losing his son and my heart was broken seeing my first son have to organize his father’s funeral.

It was 2009 and my eldest daughter had moved to Spain and my eldest son was at Glasgow University. Becky and Peter were at High School and Blu and Joe were under 5. You could sense recession was coming but life was as normal as it could be. We received the email from the US Embassy giving us 6 months notice to follow the process in receiving our Green Card - Now my third life

We arrived at Tampa International Airport on September 10th 2010 with a large brown envelope containing our medical records. Immigration were waiting for us and all admin was completed. The older children stayed in the UK as they were over the age of 21 and had already started their careers. Becky was 16, Peter was 15, Blu was 5 and Joe was 3 along with Derrick and myself were now legal immigrant of the USA.

We had already purchased our Tampa holiday home a few years prior which was a 1,200 sq ft single family home. This was to be our main residence which was a far cry from the UK home we had left behind. We had relocated during recession and had no jobs waiting for us. I had left my UK business behind in the safe hands of a man who I like to call my “Business Husband” yet there was little profit to provide an income for us in the USA. A close friend back in the UK who had mentored me for several years recommended I go to the Florida School of Hypnotherapy in Tampa and gave me all the details. I started the course with the support of my husband as he had to be, once again, the stay at home husband. It was as if history was repeating itself only we were in a different country.

During the Hypnotherapy Course, I was not prepared for the emotional impact that it would have on me. I had lived my life being strong, robotic and doing what I had to do to survive and now I was feeling emotions that I had no control over once they came to the surface. It was the most challenging 10 months of my life, yet the most healing. 8 months after graduation, my panic attacks stopped,I stopped smoking, I no longer had the need to bite my nails, my red rashes had disappeared and I had set up my own Hypnotherapy practice.

I believe the Universe sent me clients with issues/habits that I once suffered with but had now moved on from. My working day consisted of working with clients that wanted to stop smoking, lose weight, feel more confidence or who were struggling with a major change in their lives. I had offered a Groupon Package for all new clients with the knowledge that this was more a “Stepping Stone” to working with as many issues as possible and I did. Over 750 client sessions which I looked on as a mentorship. I stopped working with Groupon and decided to focus on working with private clients who suffered from anxiety and depressing symptoms and was fortunate enough to be found by a Dr Eric Weinstock, MD.

I also continued my education by attending a Tony Robins Workshop, further training in Coaching and NLP and completing the Maris Peer RTT Program. Clients were reaching out to me from all over the USA and I was honored to be so busy. Throughout the 20,000 client sessions, there was a part of me that was healing too. Whenever a client came in with an issues that we went back to the cause of and a small part of me could relate to this, then I was getting a session too.

Today I look back on the numerous events that I have lived through and refuse to live my Story. I do not believe we have to live our Story and that is why I have taken the time to write mine. It is a choice we all have. I chose learn from my story and accept the unique person I have become because of it and continue to grow. There is no blame, shame, guilt or remorse, there is only the truth. A wise ex client of mine told me years ago “It is only the truth that sets you free” - I am now free to be my own person and choose to live a fulfilled and purposeful life which includes being of service to others in guiding them to be their own person and live a happy, fulfilled and purposeful life.

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