In today’s episode, I’m chatting with Krisi Vadnais. Krisi is a Hypnotherapist, Life Coach and an award-winning Public Speaker. When she is not helping women bring out their inner badass self, she is an only parent to two precocious boys who are 6 and 9. To date, her greatest accomplishment is keeping them alive and (mostly) clothed.
Listen in as we discuss being raised as a circus monkey, healing beliefs that no longer serve you, the shame and guilt around living with an alcoholic partner and forgiving yourself so you can love who you are. And, kindred spirits that we are, Krisi’s hype song is the same as mine.
Alcoholism is an exceptionally difficult topic for people to talk about. So I’m extremely grateful and honored that Krisi was willing to come on the show and share her experience.
Remember to take advantage of Krisi’s generous offer of the 10 minute video on how to do really basic EFT tapping to get rid of negative thoughts.
You can go to www.CoachKrisi.com and there is a link to click to sign up for it, or you can email Krisi at Krisi.Vadnais@gmail.com, put TAPPING in the subject line, and she will send you a FREE video of how to use tapping.
Come join us in the Fine is a 4-Letter Word Facebook group.
This episode is sponsored by Zen Rabbit. When you’re asking yourself “what’s next for me? Who am I now, in this next season of life? And where do I even start figuring out my purpose?” the F*ck Being Fine Experience is here for you. Go to https://zenrabbit.com/ to learn more or to schedule a complimentary call.
Lori Saitz (00:00):
My guest today is Krisi Vadnais, and I am so excited to have you on this podcast. We were introduced by our mutual friend, Jen Glacken and on our first conversation, we just totally hit it off. And I love your story. I love that you're willing to share it. Welcome to Fine is a 4-Letter Word,
Krisi Vadnais (00:20):
Lori, thank you so much for having me on here. I am so excited to be sharing my story and if it can help one person I've done my job. Yeah.
Lori Saitz (00:29):
Well, I imagine you were going to help far more than one person. So let's start off with the question that I like to start with because I like to tie things together. And I'm so curious. What were the beliefs that you were raised with, or the beliefs that were instilled in you when you were younger, that contributed to who you are, who you, who you became as a young adult.
Krisi Vadnais (00:52):
One of the great things about waking up and realizing that you don't want to be buying anymore is that you have the opportunity to look back in your, your history and your past and growing up and figure out where these beliefs come from so that we can heal those beliefs and begin to think something better. And if we don't acknowledge them, we can never heal and we can never grow from them. And so through my process of realizing that fine is no longer good enough for me, I had to look back to my childhood and see where it came from. I am an identical twin. We look just alike. We're two separate people, but we look alike. We get mistaken for each other all the time. We both live in the same town that we grew up in. We get mistaken for each other constantly.
Krisi Vadnais (01:43):
In fact, just today, it happened to me and Saturday it happened to my sister. So it happens so often. And growing up, it was a huge ordeal because identical twins were not as well known. You know, I was born in 81. Twins became a lot more popular in the late nineties. And when fertility stuff came about, but identical twins are still not any more common. But even in the beginning of the eighties, it was really weird because we didn't have social media to share those kinds of things out in public. My sister and I were always the thing. We were always having to dress alike. And, you know, my mom was so proud of us. She was a mother of twins and we had to act a certain way. And it was like once we went out in public and we were identical twins, we were buddy, but then we'd come home. And it was like a totally different home life. I don't have a ton of memories of my mom playing with, if I don't have any memories of my mother playing with me, I don't, it was me and my sister kind of in our room.
Lori Saitz (02:43):
Was it just the two of you or were there other siblings too?
Krisi Vadnais (02:46):
I had two older brothers. They were four and six years older. So they were a little bit older than us. And it was kind of, we were separated the girls and the boys, but at home we were, if we had an emotional issue, I would just like crave attention. I needed someone to help talk me through it and get me through it. And that was just not there. That was an adult. I realized my mother did the best she could, she didn't know how to regulate her own emotions. So she couldn't regulate our emotions. And so we were forced to keep everything inside, not have emotions, big emotions, whether they were happy or sad, or we needed anything. We weren't allowed to have any of those. But we earned our love from being cute out in public as like identical twins. So very early, I learned that I had to earn my love for someone to love me. It wasn't something that was just a given. You know what I mean?
Lori Saitz (03:38):
Yeah. That's, uh, that's incredibly difficult. I'm sure for a child to have not ha not have unconditional love or to not feel it, at least
Krisi Vadnais (03:50):
Not feel the unconditional love. And it's not something I was aware of growing up. It really was not until I got divorced and looked in my past and realized the patterns that I have been over and over and over again, I've been repeating and it's all from when I was a young child and it's not that my mother was malicious or that she didn't love me or she didn't try. She did the best she could. It’s just, I needed more. And so from a five six-year-old standpoint, even younger than that three and four, I began to learn that love for me is conditional that someone's not going to love me unless I do exactly what they want me to do. And I act the way they want me to act. And I, I perform like a little circus monkey and then I can be loved. And then when I go home, it's kind of like, okay, we're done now. We've, we've had our fun put, put you away into your monkey cage and take you out when we're going out again.
Lori Saitz (04:42):
Wow. So I'm curious because you have a twin, has she had, does she feel the same?
Krisi Vadnais (04:57):
Yes. So my sister and I both do therapy and our aha moments because we grew up in the same household, pretty much similar our aha moments. She'll call me and say, oh my gosh. Guess what? I just found out was there with me. And I'm like, oh my gosh, guess what? I just found out therapy. So we like switch back and forth. Cause we're like, wow, that makes so much sense. I didn't realize that that's what I was doing for 40 years. You know, it takes that reflection. It takes, or, you know, when I think of something, I'll come back to her and I'll say, this is why I do central go, oh my gosh, I do the same thing. So her and I both really battle the same kinds of things as adults, because we grew up the same way. Yeah.
Lori Saitz (05:38):
And it's interesting though, that you get to make discoveries that you share with each other to help each other's growth. So yeah. You're discovering something, she's discovering other things. And then you both benefit by sharing with each other. That's kind of an unusual, I don't know if I should say benefit, but I mean, it's a benefit of a twin I guess. And having had those same experiences.
Krisi Vadnais (06:00):
Absolutely. And you know, I think we all grow up with some kind of our needs were not a hundred percent met everybody,
Lori Saitz (06:09):
Whether your parents were June in, what was it? The guy Cleaver, cleavers
Speaker 3 (06:15):
Cleavers, or, you know, I
Lori Saitz (06:17):
Don't know anybody who grew up in family like that, but, uh, no, regardless of what your actual family situation was, we all interpret things in different ways. And so that creates these beliefs, limiting or not. Some people have developed beliefs that serve them very well. And, but we all, we all do interpret things in different ways, whether our parents or grandparents or whoever was around us was intending them to be interpreted that way or not. Like we all, yeah, that's what we do. Yeah. Like,
Krisi Vadnais (06:48):
And even as a mother, I can anticipate my child's needs. I've got two children, so I can anticipate, and I can do everything I can, but there may be something they need that I'm not giving to them. And I don't know because they don't know how to ask for it. And it's the same thing when I was five. I didn't know how to tell my mom, this is what's bothering me. This is going to affect me as an adult.
Lori Saitz (07:11):
Yeah. Right, right. Right. So that leads into the perfectly, how did it affect you as an adult then? What happened as you grew up and you were talking about still seeking conditional love.
Krisi Vadnais (07:21):
Yeah. Still thinking that I have to earn love from somebody. So I got married. I met my husband at 28. We got married when I was 29. I had my first son at 30. And when I was four months pregnant with my oldest son, he told me he sat me down. He said, I have something to tell you, is that I'm an alcoholic. And I was floored.
You didn't know before he told you?
I did not know. He was so good at hiding it. He had already been hiding it for a decade. He had been an alcoholic for 10 years. So he would drink vodka with his monster so that you couldn't smell it. So you couldn't, nobody knew. And he would drink so much just to exist throughout the day, not to get drunk. So at that point he was not getting drunk every day.
Krisi Vadnais (08:07):
He would get drunk occasionally, but it was actually pretty rare for him to drink that much to the point where I noticed he was really drunk, he drank just to exist. So he would get up in the morning and started drinking. And he then his day drinking. And I had no idea. And through that, I was with him for 10 years. Uh, yeah, about 10 years. And the drinking got worse and worse and worse as alcoholics do. There's two ways out of an alcoholic sobriety or death, that's it. And so if you're not getting sober, you're headed in the other direction. It is a progressive disease. It does not get better unless you get sober. So through the 10 years I realized how much work I had to do because I was still trying to earn his love because he wasn't just giving it to me.
Krisi Vadnais (08:54):
And he knew that like, there's, there's something about when there's an addict, they become very manipulative and narcissistic. I don't know if he was a nurses system manipulator before, or if it was lifted. I don't know that's for a psychologist on a different day, but he became so manipulative that he would feed off the fact that I was trying to earn love. And so he would guilt trip me very easily. And I was still trying. So I would try to do everything I could to make sure that the kids were taken care of and the house was taken care of and all of his needs were met so that he was still loved me. And he would, every time I would, I raised the bar, he would raise the bar of, once you get here, then, then I'll accept you. Then I'll love you. And it just kept going up and up. If I did everything for the kids and the house was clean and dinner was made and everything was taken care of, then he wouldn't have to worry about it. And that's one less reason for him to drink. So he would find another reason to drink.
Lori Saitz (09:55):
Yeah. So you were trying to fill a void that couldn't be filled
Krisi Vadnais (09:59):
That could not be filled. Cause I just, I just have think if I just do a little bit more, if I just do a little bit more, everything will be fine. Everything will be fine. I'm fine. He's fine. We're all fine. I just need to do a little bit more, give a little bit more of myself.
Lori Saitz (10:14):
This is similar. Certainly not the same story, but in a previous episode with Helene Masyr, what came up if I just do this? Yes. Everything will be fine. Everything will be better if I just.
Krisi Vadnais (10:32):
That was my mantra. If I just, if I just, if I just said everything will be fine and I was reaching for fine.
Lori Saitz (10:42):
As, as that was the place you, that was your aspiration, not what you wanted to get away from.
Krisi Vadnais (10:47):
I was pretending like everything was better than fine. You know, if any of my family members or even my closest friends, they all thought that I lived a much better life than I did. And I was fooling myself as much as I was them. You know, me trying to be positive person would say, okay, let me find the positive in what's going on. Let me, let me think about what he does do instead of what he doesn't do, because there's so many things out there that say, oh, you'd love your husband. You know, let's think about what he does. Let's not complain. Let's not whine. Let's not be the nagging wife. And so those are the pieces that I picked up and ignoring all the rest because it was easier to just stay where I was at and not have to figure out a new life. Like I had figured this one out.
Lori Saitz (11:35):
Right. And even though it's not really what I want, it's comfortable.
Krisi Vadnais (11:39):
That's a great way of saying it is, it was comfortable
Lori Saitz (11:43):
As you know, what your, what you have. And if you change, you don't know what that looks like. Exactly. It'd be worse.
Krisi Vadnais (11:50):
And I knew what was going to happen everyday. I knew he was going to get up and drink and it seemed easier. And more like you said, more comfortable to just stay in a world where I knew what was going to happen. And I knew it, you know, especially after 10 years, I knew what to expect and I knew how to handle everything. And I thought I was doing a good job.
Lori Saitz (12:09):
Now that leads to what, what happened? That was there. Was there a particular incident that happened that you just went, okay, this is the line. The line has been crossed and now I need to do something. Or what was, what was the moment that you decided I'm not okay with fine?
Krisi Vadnais (12:28):
You know, I think the moment I stepped up to him and did not seem like a big step, but I think it was big enough for him to leave me because of his alcoholism. He had not slept in the same bed as me. We had not gone on a date. We had not held hands. We had not kissed in years, years. And I had an ex-boyfriend of mine, reached out to me and I had never gone out of my marriage. He reached out to me and he was just saying things that I needed to hear from my husbands. He was saying things about, you know, the way I looked or the way, um, you know, he missed me. He loved my personality. He, you know, missed my, my smile and my little things that I wanted to hear from my husband. And I felt like that conversation with him was going to start going way off.
Krisi Vadnais (13:19):
And so I was, I thought, I need to end this. I need to get this from my husband. And so I went to him one night and I said, my, my husband, I said, I need you to date me. I need you to hold my hand. I need you to sleep in the bed with me. I need to be your wife. Because right now, all I am is the mother and the person who cleans everything up that to me was the moment where I went, I can't do this anymore, but there was no ultimatum. So that was on a Friday and Sunday. He hadn't said anything on Sunday. I said, did you think about what I said? And he said, I did. And I'd rather divorce you than date you. And so that was it. And then the next day he said, I quit paying all the bills.
Krisi Vadnais (14:00):
Four months ago, he was the main breadwinner. He said, the house is in foreclosure. The car was in repo. The electric was getting shut off. And then a week later he got fired from his job for drinking. And he hasn't worked since. So it was, it was literally like this, this was my life and it was comfortable and it was predictable. And then all of a sudden it was rug pulled out from underneath me. And none of that was there. None of what I thought that the life that I had pretended to live for 10 years was just not there anymore. It Was good. It wasn't even a thing.
Lori Saitz (14:34):
But back up for a second, because, so you asked him this on Friday and Sunday, he tells you he hasn't been paying the bills. So we're, when was he going to tell you that, like, that was going to have to come up at some point soon.
Krisi Vadnais (14:52):
And I do, I too, believe things happen for a reason. I think, you know, when my ex reached out to me and listen, this was an ex boyfriend that I dated when I was 19. Like I hadn't seen him in 15, 16, 17 years or whatever. He had reached out to me on social media. And I hadn't spoken to him in well before I met my ex husband. So the fact that he came up just at that moment to say the things that he did, that helped me to step forward. I really think that those things happened to prepare me because if he had stopped paying the bills for months before that he was preparing for what was about to happen, whether he consciously knew it or not, he was, I think he saw that as his way out of this.
Lori Saitz (15:34):
Yeah. It's just interesting. The timing that you came to him, and then everything started falling apart.
Krisi Vadnais (15:41):
I think he had been preparing for it. And honestly, I honestly believe that a big part of the reason he wanted the divorce and do move on is because he wanted to be alone with his disease. You know, he wanted to go be alone with, and he has spent alone with it. He lives with his mom. Now, he hasn't worked he's drinks way more than he ever did, really were married. Um, he's had several scares of, we thought that he was, it was just a matter of days because his organs are failing. So I really believe that was him saying I'm ready to, just to come to my disease.
Lori Saitz (16:19):
And was he saying it because he kind of wanted to save you and the kids or was there was no thought of that? He was only thinking of it?
Krisi Vadnais (16:27):
I don't know. Um, I think if I had to guess, I would believe he was only thinking of himself, but whatever your higher power, whether it's God or the universe or karma, whatever it is, I think that was conspiring to do all that thinking of me and the kids.
Lori Saitz (16:44):
Yeah. Have you,What have, what steps or processes or things have you done to heal from that experience? Because you know, people talk about going to Alanon or to, you know, some kind of support. Were you doing that when you were in the marriage and have you, or did you not do that?
Krisi Vadnais (17:01):
So Alanon for, for those that don't know, those that are in active addiction go to AA should go to AA. And those who love somebody with an addiction go to Alanon. So this is the support of the family and friends of those that are in addiction.
Thank you for clarifying that.
Yeah. I had belonged to Alanon prior to this, and I learned so much once he left, I was an only parent to, a three-year-old and a six-year-old and I now had to juggle work and babysitters and you know, so there was that's part of it was put on hold, but all of that stuff, I still remembered. So now I'm back involved with Alanon, but I had to put it on hold because I had to, you know, one step at a time, which is something we learned in Alanon I had to, because I had no money.
Krisi Vadnais (17:48):
I had time, I was now working four jobs, trying to make ends meet. And I have these two small children to take care of. So I dove into meditation. I dove into hypnosis and every time I would come across something that I, I didn't like, I was bound and determined. And I think that's what takes me and anybody from fine to better than fine is that you wake up one day and you go, this is not good enough. I have to get, I have to get through it. Like I can't ignore anymore. I am forced to face all this stuff from 37. I was 37 at the time. So 37 years of my life, I have to get through it because I don't want to be here again. So every time that I would come up with something new, like, oh, look, I realize I'm not good at boundaries.
Krisi Vadnais (18:37):
And so I would pick up a book about boundaries and I would do YouTube videos. And I would look on Google and do blog posts, anything free resource for me, I soaked it up. But meditation was really the thing that got me through it, because it, it eliminated all the, I call it the record player. We all have a record player of those things that just spin and spin and spin. And you can't even figure out what song you're on because it's spinning too fast. And meditation for me was the thing that like, okay, slow everything down and figure it all out, figure out what song we’re on so we can deal with it. And then we can move on to the next thing.
Lori Saitz (19:15):
That analogy that I haven't heard that one before, but yeah, I get, and we talked beforehand about, about the setting up boundaries and asking that question of what is your part in it.
Krisi Vadnais (19:27):
And that was a huge part of healing from that. It's so easy. You know, when I tell my story, when I tell my story, and there's so many pieces of it living with an alcoholic, and there's so much that you do and you deal with that, you don't tell anybody because of all the shame and all the guilt and when that relationship ended and I was moving on, I knew I couldn't move on until I took responsibility for my part in it. It's easy to say to hear my story and go, oh, it's all him. He was an alcoholic. He did this, he did that, but that's not going to help me if I keep blaming him, it's not going to help anybody.
Lori Saitz (20:04):
Yeah. It just puts you in victim mode
Krisi Vadnais (20:06):
And I'm never going to heal. And my goal was to heal so that I can move on from that. If I continue to blame him, that meant that the next relationship was going to be exactly the same and the relationship after that. And so I had to look back and go look at all the things that I did through that, that I could have done better. And a big part of that was again, trying to earn my love, trying to earn his love from him, that I was never going to get, but I gave him permission to treat me the way that he did. I covered up for him, which was not good for him. You know, that was enabling him, fixing his mistakes,
Lori Saitz (20:40):
Fixing his mistakes. At the same time, you have to let go and forgive yourself because just like you mentioned, your mom was doing the best she could, you were doing the best you could with the information and the tools and the knowledge that you had at the time.
Krisi Vadnais (20:57):
Absolutely. And I will say that was the hardest part. Forgiving him was easier than forgiving myself. You know, you feel like you can actively forgive someone else. It's harder as a verb to actively forgive yourself.
Lori Saitz (21:17):
Not just that, not just the two of us struggling with that. Everyone who's listening struggles with that in some regard of whatever, something, whatever it was that happened in the past. Yeah. Forgiving yourself for a decision. You made a choice, uh, a situation you found yourself in whether it was your, your doing or not like, you know, you just show something happened and forgiving yourself for that experience.
Krisi Vadnais (21:46):
Absolutely. And I think the hardest part about forgiving yourself is because, you know, that impacted other people if forgiving him for his part in it, because it impacted me. And so I want to move on, but forgiving myself for the impact that that's going to have on my children. It's like, how do I forgive myself when they're going to have to deal with this as an adult, do I deserve forgiveness when they're going to have to deal with it? And the answer is yes. And it took so long to really dive into, he gets to be forgiven, not for me, but for him because he's a human and he's flawed. And I get to be grateful. That's really where my forgiveness started was because I was grateful for going through all of that because of that. I'm where I'm at now. And I wouldn't trade this for anything. And so I know that everything that I've done, maybe I'm not perfect. Maybe it's a slight chance. I'm not perfect, but my kids are going to end up where they're supposed to end up because of this as well.
Lori Saitz (22:52):
Yeah. Yes. And so take us to where you are now.
Krisi Vadnais (22:56):
So now, you know, right when that happened, I started working for a friend of mine. We opened up a coffee shop, which I loved working in the coffee shop. I was good at it. Um, I love people. I love coffee. It seemed like a great fit, but something happened where I felt like, oh, I'm comfortable. Again, I'm predicting, it's predictable, I'm comfortable. And I just felt like I was holding myself back. Like I've been holding myself back for so long, trying to earn people, love, trying to get comfortable. And I thought, you know what? This isn't for me. So I turned 40 this year and for my 40th birthday, I got boudoir shots done.
Oh, wow. Nice.
Yeah. If you don't know what they are, they’re with sexy lingerie. And they’re just for me, I don't, I don't show them to guys. I'll show them to all my girlfriends, but not my guy friends, because that's not what they're for. They're for me to feel sexy. And I thought, man, if I could do anything in this world, it would be to let every woman know that they are allowed to fall ridiculously in love with themselves. And I came out of that shoot, wanting to make help women love who they are as they are exactly as they are in this moment.
Lori Saitz (24:07):
It would go further to say, not that they should, but that they have a responsibility to themselves to love themselves.
Krisi Vadnais (24:17):
Oh, I love that, Lori. Absolutely. They do. They do like you, you don't have to beat yourself up anymore. You can love who you are. I am a size 22 and I absolutely love who I am. You don't have to be a certain person. You don't have to wait. You don't have to be in married to somebody to love who you are. And so I get so pumped up thinking about it. I can tell it's awesome. I thought about everything that I've done the last three years, going through the divorce and I've been a public speaker for about six years now. I've been competitively, I've got trophies and I've gone to the international level. And I went all of this stuff that I've been doing for the last years. I want to help women love who they are. And so I decided to throw a bomb into my own and quit holding myself back. And so I quit the coffee shop and I started, um, as a life coach, a hypnotherapist, I helped with negative belief, clearing law of attraction, manifestation, meditation, all of everything that I've done for myself. I now have this giant toolbox that I can help other women. I want them to love who they are, wherever they're at
Lori Saitz (25:31):
Such important work. Yeah. And I, I love that your taking all of your experiences, again, that every piece, everything that happened to you up to this point and using it as fuel to move forward.
Krisi Vadnais (25:46):
And I'm so excited. I mean the amount of women that I've already helped, and even I've got men coming to me for the same reason and the fact that I'm able to help them, they're going to be able to help others. You know, it's a, it's a ripple effect. And it's the same thing. What you're doing with this podcast is that, you know, if you can inspire one woman, who's going to smile today and go, I'm not alone. Like there's other people who are like me just kind of fine. Yeah.
Lori Saitz (26:11):
That exponential absolute fact. I love it. All right. The question that you knew is coming, what is the song? So you are super high energy to start with. What is the song, your walkup song, the hype song, the song that you listened to get you energized when you need an extra boost,
Krisi Vadnais (26:31):
It is 100%. This was not a hard question to answer. This song is called champion and it's by Carrie Underwood.
Speaker 3 (26:39):
No way. Oh my gosh, that, that is my song.
Lori Saitz (26:46):
It has never come up. And nobody has asked me what my song was. So I'm so happy that you mentioned it. I love all the songs that my guests share, but that one is, that's my song too. That's awesome. I, you know, Krisi kindred spirits, I'm telling you. Yeah. All right. Before we close out, tell, tell us where people can find you. If they want to reach out to you for more information, if they want to talk to you about your experience and how it relates to their experience, like how can people get in touch with you?
Krisi Vadnais (27:15):
You know, the easiest way to do it is to go to my website and it's coach Krisi, which is spelled coach C O A C H K R I S I, I have a weird spelling to my name. So it's coach Krisi. You can email me at Krisi dot V A D N A I S, which is Krisi.Vadnais@gmail.com. You can find me at Facebook at coach Krisi, and I'm actually giving away to all your viewers. If they go to my website or email me and put in the subject line “tapping,” I'm going to send them a 10 minute video of how to do really basic EFT tapping to get some of those negative thoughts out. So yeah,
Lori Saitz (27:55):
That's such a powerful tool that EFT and the tapping. I love it. Thank you. That's fantastic. I'm so happy you're offering that to the audience and we'll put all the links. I'll put all the links in the show notes too, so people can find you there. Awesome. Well, thank you so much for joining me today, Krisi.
Krisi Vadnais (28:14):
Thank You so much for having me. I feel like we could talk for hours and hours.
Lori Saitz (28:17):
We Could and we won't. Well, not right now.
Thank you, Lori.