Many people tend to shy away from therapy, as though the very word itself is a dangerous combination of letters that somehow signals weakness or defeat. Denise Carron, however, is not one of those people. She’s a therapy veteran, and she credits it for helping her get through her divorce. 

Denise’s marriage ended in 2020, after two years of separation and 3.5 years of going to couples therapy with her now ex-husband. When she realized that progress wasn’t being made in her relationship, and would likely never be made, she decided to stop the sessions. 

“The therapist told me that some couples spend a lifetime going to couples therapy, but I didn’t have a lifetime to work on something that wasn’t working,” she said, adding that her husband seemed perfectly capable of growing as a person, but not as part of a couple. 

Denise then took six months off from any type of therapy, but eventually sought out a trauma therapist who helped her gain much needed clarity. 

“I’ve always been a big proponent of therapy,” said Denise. “I also didn’t have an inner circle that could handle all the stuff I was going through; I have very little contact with my family, and it felt very heavy to put that stuff on my friends.” 

Once she started going to trauma therapy, it didn’t take long for her to realize that she was in a toxic relationship which included narcissistic abuse.

The revelation was a far cry from what had happened in the couples therapy sessions, where she was often told that she needed to learn to nurture herself, speak up in the relationship, communicate, and develop boundaries. 

“Those things are definitely important, but positive changes can’t be made if you’re in a relationship with a toxic partner,” she said. 

Trauma therapy also taught Denise that she tended to attract toxic relationships – not just romantically, but also when it came to friends and work colleagues. This was partly due to the fact that, as she would soon discover, her mother was a covert narcissist, and her father was a malignant narcissist. 

“I had grown up in this dynamic of never being enough and never being able to fly high. All of a sudden it made sense that I was dealing with confidence issues, and that I had a hard time speaking my truth.” 

Once she put all the pieces together, Denise went through “a dark depression and a dark grieving period of everything that had happened up to 51 years old,” noting that she was “really blindsided” when she connected the dots. 

Finding purpose after the pain

But from tragedy came triumph. Denise soon realized she could offer help to other women who were facing similar situations and decided to become a relationship and self-love coach – a job she truly loves. However, Denise’s chosen career doesn’t take away from the respect that she still holds for therapy. 

“I really do believe that therapy is the number one thing needed to get someone whole. It’s so great to have that inner circle person who you can go to and say anything to, and who will be there for you non-judgmentally.”

She encourages anyone who is considering therapy to recognize the importance of finding the right therapist for them, and to be ready to fire anyone who isn’t a good fit. 

Although Denise is no longer in active therapy, she credits trauma therapy for getting her to where she is today. 

“Getting through my divorce was hard, but I’m at the point where I can say I’m thankful that my marriage came to an end. I’ve been able to work through a lot of my trauma and I finally feel like I’m enough. I’m better aligned with my beliefs, ideals, and standards now,” said Denise, who recently relocated from Washington state to Texas for a fresh start. 

Denise also said that if she ever finds herself in a romantic relationship again, she’s likely to pay another visit to a couple’s therapist, “just to make sure everything is good and to identify any potential struggles.”