Marlene Phillip is a Certified Life, Mindset and Trauma-Informed Coach, Certified Neuro Change Practitioner, Mentor, Entrepreneur, Transformational Speaker, and Published Author of The Interrupted Journey where she shared on how she overcome the residue of trauma after experiencing rape, teenage pregnancy, and homelessness at age fourteen. Her passion and purpose are to empower others to heal from their traumatic experiences, overcome self-imposed limitations and unlock their limitless potentials so they can create the life they desire. Marlene’s experiences, trainings, and academic teachings in the field of psychology, traumatology, sales and business, have allowed her to develop proven techniques, powerful interventions, and practical assessment tools to help break through mental barriers by rewiring the brain using neuroplasticity and therapeutic approaches. Marlene is currently a student at Liberty University studying for Doctor of Education in Community Care and Counselling; specializing in Traumatology. She is also in the process of becoming a Psych-K Facilitator.
Marlene speaks exclusively to Sunday Oyinloye, Publisher, Green Savannah Diplomatic Cable about the story of her life
You were rapped and became pregnant at the age of 14. Can you recollect how it happened?
At 13, I was out of high school so that I could take care of my five siblings because my mother had passed away when I was 10. My father was an alcoholic, so he had some of his friends always coming to the house. So, I was sexually abused.
Who did that?
One of my father’s friends sexually abused me. My father’s friends were always coming to the house to drink.. On a certain day, one of the guys came into my room and assaulted me sexually. At 14, I realized I was pregnant. My dad got upset with me and blamed me for getting pregnant, and so, my dad sent me out of the house and had to live with his friend that sexually abused me. I lived with him for about four years and experienced violent domestic abuse. At a point, I couldn’t take it any longer and left. Then, I began to go to different places. I was on the streets, and at night I would be selling drugs.
How were you able to overcome the trauma?
I was living a life of survival, just trying to make ends meet. Sometimes, my son would have nothing to eat for a day and had to go and beg for food from my neighbor. I did a lot of odd jobs. However, when I was 23 and working at a restaurant; I met a lady called Lucy Ottley. She was God-sent. We had different backgrounds. I came from a poverty stricken part; ghetto, yet she related with me. God used her to change my life. She was constantly telling me to go back to school and that I could make it in life. She was always encouraging me. At the same time, Lucy was helping with my son. I got saved when I was 26. She actually encouraged me to do that. That was when everything started changing. The lady was a life coach. Her coaching and my new relationship with God started the healing process.
Where were you then?
That happened in Trinidad. My healing and everything happened in Trinidad. I can say that the first part of the healing process was in Trinidad while the second was in the US. It was spiritual healing first. When I became aware of whom God was in my life, that was when my eyes “opened” and I started to see things differently. After the spiritual healing, other things followed
At what point in your life would you say you had a breakthrough?
There are so many breakthroughs, because at different points in my life, there was a breakthrough that took me to a different area of life with a better picture. But I will say when I got saved was a breakthrough. Another major breakthrough took place when I was about 40. I became more strengthened spiritually. Physical problems need physical solutions; you can’t pray trauma and depression away. I tried it several years. If you are sick, you go to a doctor, that does not mean that you don’t have wisdom, it’s not everything you can pray away. Even though, I was saved, I was still struggling with fornication; with the things of the old. However, when I knew the truth, it set me free
What about career and business breakthrough?
My breakthrough came when I got to the US. I moved here 7 years ago. My career breakthrough happened here. To be specific, my breakthrough came in in 2018/2019 before the pandemic. That was when God told me to leave my job, so I left in 2020. I registered a company in 2019, and I left the job in 2020. When I moved here in 2016, I had a good job and good pay; the highest paid job in my life. After that, I started my own business and then things moved to another level
Some persons might be going through what you went through while in Trinidad, what advice do you have for such people?
I will tell them to seek God. Forget about what everyone says. Take your time to pray and seek goals for your assignment and your destiny. Nothing is ever wasted. They should seek the face of God who owns the assignment. There is a reason why we go through what we are going through. They should never ever give up.
What are the basic ways of dealing with trauma?
The first thing is to seek professional help because you need professional help. There are categories of trauma, so depending on the type of trauma they have. There is trauma that is probably one incident, there is trauma that can be two incidents, and then there is trauma that is complex. Therefore, you really have to know what type of trauma you have been exposed to because trauma affects us differently. You can’t recommend something to somebody if you don’t know what they are dealing with because trauma affects us differently. What might be traumatic for me might not be traumatic for another person. For instance, what leads to depression in one person might not lead to depression in another person. So, the first step is to get an assessment. Once the assessment is done, they can say this or that is what you should do. It might needs meditation, journaling or exercise
You are a life coach, can money buy happiness?
What I will say is that money answers all things. That is what the Bible says. Can it buy happiness? Yes to a point; it can because it gives you options which can make you happy. If you need something and you are struggling, you will be sad and depressed, but if you have money, and you are able to buy it, you are happy, your children are happy, they are able to eat. So to some point, I believe it can because it gives you option to buy what you want and live in the neighborhood that you want to feel safe and to do things that you want for your family which will make you happy in the end.
For those who are not going through trauma, how can they keep their minds and brains safe?
I will tell them to continue to show gratitude. It is one of the greatest emotions. When you wake up every morning, write three to five things that you are thankful for. That is one of the most profound things that they should be doing to keep their minds. Most times, the reason why many get traumatic has to do with their thoughts. We have to be very careful and be mindful of our thoughts. Start your day writing down what you are thankful for, not just material things; it can be your health, your functioning organs, your ability to see, ability to taste or ability to smell. These are things we take for granted but which some people lack
There must be a certain day you won’t forget when something special happened in your life?
One day that I will never forget in my life was when I moved to the US. Another day I will not forge is when I bought my house in the US. I bought it less than three years that I moved in here. From being homeless living in about 20 different places to coming here to have my own house and stability is significant to me. .I should also not forget the day I started my own business full time. That was 2020 I never believed that I would be able to do what I am doing now with my business, as a Life coach and still in school studying for my doctorate. Starting my own business is one of the best decisions that I ever made.
Can you recollect your worst day?
I have so many bad days. But one of my bad days was when I couldn’t give my son food to eat. He was two years old and very hungry but I had nothing to give him. A neigbour had a thanksgiving. I was not invited, but I invited myself because my son was hungry and I was desperate to get food for him. It was a sad moment for me, looking at my child hungry and I couldn’t give him food until I went for the thanksgiving ceremony.
What would you say to a 16- year- old girl?
I will say it doesn’t matter what you are going through, you will make it. Keep your focus. God has sent you here for an assignment, even though you are going through some challenges now, you are going to make it. There is light at the end of the tunnel, don’t give up and don’t think that you are not good enough.