When you hear of women involved in the escort business do you ever wonder what got them there? Although, escorts are generally seen as middle class, high end sex workers, many are lured into the profession by the opportunity to make big bucks quickly in a job that’s ‘just like any other’. Others get involved through coercion and trafficking rather than by choice.
My Page 1 Woman, a former escort, got into it through a mix of conditioning and choice. “When I was around nine my father told me that when I grew up I’d be a prostitute making him a lot of money. I believed him when he said Father Christmas existed, so I must have believed the prostitute prediction subconsciously.” Some people say, “You are what you believe”. Now add in layers of trauma – domestic violence, sexual abuse and conditioned secrecy - and the prediction becomes self-fulfilling.
So, meet Angelika Breukers, a woman intent on ‘platforming’ her story to enable trauma victims and people that are stuck with negative beliefs about themselves to change those beliefs and get liberated. Against a backdrop of stereotypes and stigma, it takes great courage to launch a business based on this. But that’s exactly what Angelika has done.
Read on and learn more about her mission.
Describe what you do.
Angelika: I'm a Change Your Story mentor in my business ABChange 4 Life. I help women to change the story they keep telling themselves, which perhaps stems from a traumatic experience which is difficult to accept so they can't move on. I help them to gain acceptance, change limiting beliefs, ways of thinking and old patterns that keep them stuck so they can move forward and enjoy a life of joy and purpose.
I’ve been through my ABChange 4 Life process over and over again. I share my story to demonstrate that changing your life is possible.
I grew up in a toxic environment of domestic violence, emotional, physical and sexual abuse. My father was an alcoholic. When I was aged five, he began sexually abusing me. Several years later, he got found out and was told to leave. When I was a child no-one spoke about abuse. It was a very dark secret both for me and for abused people generally.
Whenever I spotted my father around town I’d hide because I was scared. But I didn’t want to be scared forever. So, I visited him and left feeling liberated. That was step one in realizing that I had choices and I could take action.
I later attracted the man that introduced me to prostitution and I worked in London for many years as an escort. I left and started to work in an IT company in sales support. I appeared confident outside but on the inside, I was terrified. And I was terrified that my past would be discovered.
Then I met my husband and we were together for 9 years. When we broke up I suffered post-traumatic stress disorder. I had counselling and my self-development and healing journey started from there. I decided to find the best version of me and do something better in the world. So I read self-development books, listened to many experts on YouTube and heard motivational speakers encouraging me to do what I became passionate about which was helping others to change their story.
What essential steps took you to where you are today?
Angelika: I kept looking for opportunities to learn and improve myself. Having mentors, attending seminars and reading all taught me that to transform my life I had to change what I was thinking - from negative thoughts and beliefs to self-belief. I developed self-worth and authenticity, so I can share my story and motivate others to change their stories too. I also follow my own ABC programme - A for acceptance + B for belief + C for choice = Change
What was the most significant thing you did that got you into your current position?
Angelika: The most significant thing was overcoming shame and integrating my past into who I am. I tried for many years to eradicate my past and be somebody else, which didn’t work. You have to be truthful and accept what has happened to you to start your healing journey. That’s why I wrote the book ‘Free to Be Me’.
What was the greatest challenge on your journey and how did you overcome it?
Angelika: Going through the healing process, often makes you revert to moments of despair. The challenge is getting back up repeatedly, even when you’re resisting. People often don’t understand the ongoing emotional trauma, of victims of mental, emotional and physical abuse. My dad would say, "This is our little secret; you're my special girl." And "If you tell anybody, I'll send you to the children's home." Sometimes I wanted to die because of the emotional pain. And many times I tried to stop him and failed.
The biggest challenge was going through that process alone when I was working on myself and feeling unsupported. I didn’t get help until my forties when I saw the counsellor. Until then, I couldn’t tell anyone because you get judged by people. And keeping it secret was deeply ingrained within me. But I was slowly growing and becoming the real me. I was developing the courage to share my story on stage to give hope to women and men who’d had a similar experience and to people who felt stuck and unhappy.
What was your greatest lightbulb moment?
Angelika: One of my great lightbulb moments was learning that to have control is not to be in control. The control I am talking about is control over the bigger picture in life. Life can change very quickly whether we like it or not and in my experience it’s best to respond positively and constructively as it helps you make better decisions and get better outcomes.
What resource has been crucial to your success?
Angelika: My own resourcefulness and resilience were crucial to my survival. I always found a way of thinking out of the box in order to deal with the extreme emotional pain. I found the strength within me to deal with it as a child. I had no choice. Being a young child, I couldn't get out or walk away from it.
Another resource is meeting like-minded people who are into self-development and are interested in becoming better versions of themselves and will go the extra mile to do so.
What do you understand by leadership?
Angelika: In ABChange 4 Life, leadership is leading by example and helping people to be the best version of themselves in any area of their lives. Leaders encourage people to go for their goals and aspirations so they get the life they desire. As a woman leader this is what I aspire to, so I can help people make significant changes in their lives.
What three top tips would you give to women who want to be leaders in their field?
Angelika: First, accept yourself for who you are and for what’s happened to you. You’ll connect with the real you and become authentic. Real leaders are authentic. If I hadn’t accepted myself and my experiences I wouldn't be here now. I'd be still stuck, fighting against what happened to me.
Second, identify your values and beliefs. Ask yourself, ‘Is this what I really believe, or is this somebody else's belief? You’ll get a broader way of thinking, reconnect with yourself and be who you really are, you’ll live in a congruent way and be happier.
Third, choose wisely what you think and say because your thoughts determine your outcomes and what you say expresses those thoughts. It’s the Law of Attraction; if you think negative thoughts you attract negativity. So choose to think positively. And even when you think you’ve no choice, you still have a choice. For example, you can choose how to respond to the situation or you can choose to do nothing. And when you choose to respond that’s when you come into your power.
To find out more about the ABChange 4 Life, click here.
Angelika’s book ‘Free to be Me’ can be bought on Amazon.
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