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Jan. 10, 2023

Reclaiming Trust and Finding Abundance After Heartbreak | Claudia Noriega-Bernstein

In this episode, Claudia Noriega-Bernstein shares her story of betrayal and how it has shaped her life.

“But I have learned in all these years to take that responsibility of what could I have done different. And when I think about our marriage, I was very happy. He seemed to be very happy.”


In this episode, Claudia Noriega-Bernstein shares her story of betrayal and how it has shaped her life.

“But I have learned in all these years to take that responsibility of what could I have done different. And when I think about our marriage, I was very happy. He seemed to be very happy.”

 

After experiencing a devastating betrayal, Claudia was determined to regain control of her life. She faced her fears and confronted the person who had wronged her, refusing to let them off the hook. Through this experience, she learned that the power lies within herself and that she is enough.

 

Despite facing a cancer diagnosis three times and losing her father when she was 25, Claudia has found strength in her pain and used it to grow. She now coaches others on creating an abundant life within themselves and shares her story of resilience with those who need it most.

 

With courage and determination, Claudia has shown us that no matter what life throws at us, we can always come out stronger on the other side.

 

Claudia is an artist, writer, philanthropist, abundance coach, mentor, mother, and wife. During her career as a journalist, she has worked for magazines and television in South America and the US, touching on subjects from parenting, forgiveness, and growth to political issues.

 

She has dedicated the last twelve years of her life to empowering people, especially children and women. As a life/abundance coach, she has helped people from different backgrounds discover and implement their creative powers' full potential for personal growth and self-healing.

 

www.BrighterDaysBook.com

Instagram: @Cindifreakinrella

FB Page: @MyBloomingFamily

Twitter: @Noriega_Clau

Resources:

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Other episodes you'll enjoy:

Triggered by Two Words | Leaving a Toxic Relationship | Diane Diaz

Burning Everything to Find True Purpose | Kelly Anderson

 

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Transcript

[Matt Gilhooly]
I'm Matt Gilhooly and this is the life shift, candid conversations about the pivotal moments that change lives forever. Hello, my friends welcome to the life shift podcast, I am here with a brand new connection, Claudia. Hello, Claudia.

[Claudia Noriega-Bernstein]
Hi guys, everybody,

[Matt Gilhooly]
I'm happy to have you here. And we were actually just talking before we started recording about all these moments in our lives that kind of changed things. And Claudia has a lot of, of little or not little, a lot of big moments in her life that have changed things and surprise. Right before we started recording, we kind of, we decided we're gonna go in a little bit of a different direction and I'm excited about that because I think what Claudia wants to share today is something that many people unfortunately go through and experience and I think what's gonna be cool is to hear what you Claudia have done with that moment where a lot of people might have done something different uh and maybe less productive. So, uh that's a lot of teasing right there for for everyone to listen to, but maybe before we get to that specific moment, you can give us a little bit about you and what your life was like leading up to this moment. So we can kind of see that before and after for you. So,

[Claudia Noriega-Bernstein]
um yes, you're right, I had a lot of uh that worry is always hard for me to say pivotal, pivotal moments. How do you say that pivotal moments um in my life and I was thinking a lot about it because I don't think I can, you know, I didn't think I could pick one specific, you know, and and and kind of dismissed the other ones because to an extent, all those moment had brought me to where I am right now and and to be the person that I am right now. So um belittling or or dismissing one or another one, it didn't seem fair to me. And when I was thinking about it, you know about having cancer three times or losing my father finding out that my dad had passed away right after my daughter was born. When I called him to tell him that my daughter was born was extremely hard for me because you know, I faced death and birth in life all at the same time and I honestly didn't know how to handle it. Um betray has been part of my life so many times that sometimes I ask myself what is the other lesson that I need to learn, You know why this keeps happening to to me when I have worked so hard to teach myself that when something happens is for me not to me. So why am I continue being triggered with these relationships in my life that I don't appreciate me or make me feel, not appreciated or not value or or not worthy. You know, when I am working so hard on feeling worthy and and trusting myself and believing in myself and last night I was really thinking about this show. I listened again to a couple of their episodes and I felt that it would not be fair to talk about my divorce because it wasn't just a divorce. I really, I had just been diagnosed by my first cancer. Um I just had had the surgery. You know, I still have stitches in my neck. And um I was working with my husband at that time and we had the dream life. We really did. We work together. We got along very well. We had three beautiful kids. We grew financially. You know, I I worked with him. I managed him and we managed both him. But you know, I had the title per se. So we had created the life that we wanted. And one day after I had my surgery, I called him and I said, when you come back from work and you bring me a gallon of milk and he said, yeah sure. Um I was asleep and I for some reason I woke up and I went to the window and I saw somebody sitting in my car. His car was in the shop. So I was like who's sitting in my car and why is this person in my driveway was the first thing that what's going on. So I went downstairs and we had a living nanny at that time and I said to her, I'll be right back and she's like where are you going? I mean you had a surgery yesterday, where are you going? And I said I need to do something, I'll be right back. So I got my we had we had he had his car and we had the family car and I have a little convertible and he was in my little convertible. So I grabbed the family car and we went to and I went to the office which was an apartment and I thought um where else he gonna go? He didn't come all the way here to go back to the strip, you know he had to go somewhere close and and that was close. Um when I got there I saw my car parked outside and my my stomach just twisted. I mean I mean

[Matt Gilhooly]
I

[Claudia Noriega-Bernstein]
I didn't know what to do, I didn't know if I should just turn around and go home and tell him what I assumed happened or should I

[Matt Gilhooly]
just recognize the person in that car.

[Claudia Noriega-Bernstein]
No, I have never seen it. Um but he was an entertainer. So I figured it was somebody from the audience maybe or I had no idea. You know I was so lost because that that was not the person I knew, I was like wait what, you know what's going on? Is this a prank? I mean what? Um So I had kids obviously of the, of the office, we had an office in an apartment and in the office we have a sofa bed. Um So I walk I walk into the place by the way, I look horrible because it was I just had a surgery, it was raining. So you know

[Matt Gilhooly]
my house, I

[Claudia Noriega-Bernstein]
rushed out of the house. My inspector gadget brain decided to bring the spare case of my converted convertible because at that moment was like how dare he took somebody in my car you know because in that moment you don't think straight. You know the the point here was like why he has somebody period, they're not in my car you know? But it was like so I moved my car to another parking lot around and I walked back so I was soaking wet for the rain. Not a pretty picture.

[Matt Gilhooly]
It doesn't matter,

[Claudia Noriega-Bernstein]
it doesn't matter

[Matt Gilhooly]
for you

[Claudia Noriega-Bernstein]
because I needed to see it because I couldn't believe it because why somebody would do that to me. I I was a good wife, I was a good mom. Why did you do that? And I was and I told you at the beginning I don't talk about this, I'm getting a little emotional about it. I was in that moment because I'm trying to feel what I felt in that moment. It was like why why did you do that?

[Matt Gilhooly]
You

[Claudia Noriega-Bernstein]
had it all? You had it all? Why what was the need? You know

[Matt Gilhooly]
and this is all in your this was all happening in

[Claudia Noriega-Bernstein]
your head

[Matt Gilhooly]
even had confirmation

[Claudia Noriega-Bernstein]
before I even see anything. So I went up the stairs because this place had um like a garage underneath. So I went up the stairs and I stood up outside and I could hear them which was terrible, you know you don't want to hear, you don't want to hear that. Um But it wasn't enough for me. I needed to see,

[Matt Gilhooly]
I

[Claudia Noriega-Bernstein]
don't know if I was being a masochist, I don't know if you know my heart was telling me maybe it's not him, maybe you didn't see him in the car, Maybe he lent your car to somebody else, maybe whatever, you know and and honestly if that would not have been him it would be a more awkward moment to walk into somebody's room with some girl you know. But anyway

[Matt Gilhooly]
um

[Claudia Noriega-Bernstein]
I stood at the door and she saw me and she said I stood at the door at the frame of the door, the door was open and she turned around and looked at me and then look at him, he was in his back and she said who is that and he said my wife and when he said that I had a million emotions

[Matt Gilhooly]
because

[Claudia Noriega-Bernstein]
he could have lied. You know he couldn't say whatever, he's he was already

[Matt Gilhooly]
there,

[Claudia Noriega-Bernstein]
you know he couldn't say, I don't know, I don't know or my ex wife or whatever, you get out of my place or whatever. Um So I walk away and I I said to him I didn't throw a fit, I didn't make a a scene. I look at him for like a minute and I couldn't find in my head the right words and I said, please come and get your stuff tomorrow, even say please

[Matt Gilhooly]
very

[Claudia Noriega-Bernstein]
calmly. I was very surprised, not that I, I don't throw fits like that or two scandals, but I was proud of myself for not losing my cool and I went back home and that was a moment where I look at myself in the mirror and cry for a long time. My kids were little, my kids were My youngest one was 11 months. Um my second one was two and my older one was three. So I cry, I cry a lot. Um and then I keep looking myself in the mirror like, well I can't believe it, you look like crap, you know, like, oh my God, I can't believe you did, and like I was going back and forth, you know, I can't believe you did that and go there and I can't believe he did that and and in that moment, you know, you feel that you're not worthy. You feel, you feel this little, you feel like you don't matter and it's the worst feeling in the world to feel like that and he took me, it took me a while, not a while per se, you know, months, No, but it took me a few days to snap out of it and look at myself in the mirror again and say, hey you got this

[Matt Gilhooly]
right. Yeah. I mean, I think it's interesting because I mean that's such a you talk about how you had this like idyllic life, you had a successful business, a happy marriage, you had three kids and then

[Claudia Noriega-Bernstein]
he

[Matt Gilhooly]
didn't come home quick enough one night and all these thoughts started going through your head, you see someone outside in your car and like you just painted the picture of a movie. And to me it's like you said the perfect thing in my opinion. If someone because like he probably expected you to yell or get mad or something, but you were very calm and you were like just come get your stuff which is probably the most hurtful thing you could say to to someone like that that gets in trouble. So I commend you for that actually keeping your cool and feeling that. But you said that like why me? This is the small moment in my life. Did you start to internalize like did you start, was there any part of you that like I was like, what did I do or Absolutely

[Claudia Noriega-Bernstein]
okay now I listen coming forward, you know like When I where I am right now I truly believe right now that we all have some some sort of responsibility and everything that happens. You know? Um maybe it's 0001%. But we do, we do you know when I was 15 years old, I was attacked in the street. Not not in the street, but coming down to the beach in my country. You could take the road or you can take the the um

[Matt Gilhooly]
the

[Claudia Noriega-Bernstein]
faster way down, you know, and then you go to the dirt and whatever. And and there was a homeless one day there and he jumped me. And so was it my fault that he jumped me? No, but was what? I had some responsibility on going that way instead of going the way where everybody was going. Yeah. I should have not gone that way. You know. So of course every circumstance is different. But I have learned in all these years to take that responsibility of what could I have done different. And when I think about our marriage, I was very happy. He seemed to be very happy. And he has said it to me many times because um we had had many talks, he passed away two years ago. But you know, the last many years of his life, we were in a very good place that we talked about everything. And I came to understand that he had demons and he had, you know, things that he couldn't control. And probably he should have gone for help. And probably I should have seen a lot of red flags that I refused to see. You know, and that's where my responsibility was. And I didn't you know, I remember one time coming back home and finding a message in the answering machine uh to him saying I wonder if your wife know what you do after the show, so blah blah blah, you know. And I was like to him like it was so foreign to me that you know and I

[Matt Gilhooly]
said

[Claudia Noriega-Bernstein]
right, I'm like who is saying this to you? And he was like this is this new guy that he's a jerk and forget about it. You know, he he just is a troublemaker but I will take care of this. I will go and talk to him, how dare he does that. And I'm like yeah how dare you know we have the perfect family here and he's trying to create trouble. I didn't think that was something that could happen in my

[Matt Gilhooly]
life. So anything that was trying to warn you was kind of just dismissed because you were, it could never happen to any of us, right? Like if we're living in this perfect space, we think that you know going back to what you said about how you feel now. I mean we should all be so lucky to have that mentality that you have now about kind of taking responsibility for for everything that happens in like could I have done, could I have walked half a second faster. You know like even if you had gone down that

[Claudia Noriega-Bernstein]
hill in

[Matt Gilhooly]
your country and you had gone down five minutes later or someone had gone before you know like who knows and so there is yes there is some responsibility but that's so like emotionally mature of you to to understand that. I think just people listening to this, I don't know that we all have that awareness that that everything we do has some kind of consequence. Good, bad indifferent so we do take some responsibility for those moments. So thank you for putting that out there. I think that's something that will definitely stick with me. I never really thought about it like that. So

[Claudia Noriega-Bernstein]
but I feel that that is thank you. I feel that that is the beginning of your healing when you start. It's like I mean for the longest time I accepted apo an apology that was never given to

[Matt Gilhooly]
me

[Claudia Noriega-Bernstein]
now that I needed him to come and tell me I know I hurt you. I'm sorry I it's not that I really needed that, I just needed him to regret what he did and he wasn't there and he wasn't there for like 23 years after we got divorced. You know it was still him in the victim place. Um he told stories to people to justify his behavior. Um He accused me of being unfaithful, he did whatever he could to justify and not take responsibility and because listen and and and every every relationship is different you know I don't judge anyone that decides to continue a relationship after an infidelity has happened, everybody is different and I actually know somebody who cheated once and never cheated again, you know, and and he's in a relationship and his marriage and and he's fine, but not everybody is the same and not there is not a formula for everyone for me because I had so many trust issues. I knew that I was not gonna be a good wife for him. I knew I was not gonna be a good mom for my Children and I knew that I would resent myself for shrinking to fit for becoming somebody that wasn't what I wanted to be or I aspired to be. How long did it take

[Matt Gilhooly]
you to get to that feeling? Because I think we, we often, I think at least in in my awareness and the people that I'm around were often like, that's a, that's a big thing to understand like leaving the quote unquote, comfortable to the unknown. How long did it take you to kind of feel like this has to change. This has changed me.

[Claudia Noriega-Bernstein]
I believe that the reason was different in every stage of my

[Matt Gilhooly]
growth. I

[Claudia Noriega-Bernstein]
think that at the beginning was more a pride thing, how dare you did this to me, I'm leaving you. I'm leaving you. And he actually said to me because I had all my eggs in one basket. So he actually said to me, you're gonna come back crawling, you're not gonna be able to make it on your own. And because at the beginning, you know, we both went through a grieving process in a different stages, you know, the grieving process, you go through, you know, denial, you're in shock, then you're angry, then you're sad, then you go through all that. We both went through that because there was a huge amount of love also. I mean, I I have no doubt in my mind that he adored me and I I love him a lot too, you know, and I love what we have and I love our family. So I know we both felt that we have lost, not just the other person, but what we had and what it could have been. And we both went through a lot of grieving and he handled his grieving differently, you know, he started partying, he started, you know, being crazy and dating a lot of different girls and whatever and I didn't, I went in, I went in because I didn't want that energy be share with my kids. I wanted my kids to have that sense of consistency and security and everything is fine and if mom is okay, we're gonna be okay and nothing is going to, nothing bad is going to happen, you know, um it was hard, it was very hard at the beginning because as I said, he didn't he didn't want it, the divorce and and that's another thing that I had to understand. I didn't understand that at the beginning, but I had to learn to understand that for a lot of men love and sex are two different things. And it wasn't for me, I mean for me, I have to love you to have sex with you for him. He said it to me, he said it was just sex and I would look at him like, okay, but there is

[Matt Gilhooly]
no

[Claudia Noriega-Bernstein]
right. There wasn't any intimacy because intimacy also could be just sitting in a couch and talking until three in the morning, you know, so a lot of things went through my head to try to understand, but the constant feeling was I'm not worthy, I'm not enough and this is what happened because I wasn't enough. And yes, and it and it brought me back to my childhood when my dad left and you know, it took me back to my first relationship that was extremely physically abusive and even now I'm 55 years old and I have worked a lot on myself and I I was able to help other couples to and and other people overcome that feeling and that fear, excuse me, I still go through that sometimes even with my current husband, not that I think that he's gonna cheat on me, but if we have a blended family. So if he doesn't acknowledge or I feel that he's not acknowledging my feelings and he's acknowledging somebody else's  feelings. I feel for a second that unworthiness, you know, and I and I have to remind myself the process that I have gone through and shift and say, no, this has nothing to do with me. That's his choice. Those are his priorities. That's those are his beliefs and I still stand where I am a whole, I'm a whole I'm not half, I'm not a quarter, I'm who I am. And his behavior is not gonna define me, his opinion is not going to define me and certainly his actions are not gonna define me, but it's a process.

[Matt Gilhooly]
Yeah. And you just two things you just said, you know, you're a whole person was that first marriage. Did you feel that it was that jerry Maguire kind of thing you complete me. Was that kind of how your relationship was where you needed that other person? As as were you a whole person at that point in time. You know, mentally and emotionally?

[Claudia Noriega-Bernstein]
No, I mean, I got married after I was heartbroken. I I saw the person that I was gonna get married with a family member, I saw them. So when I saw my husband with somebody else, all all those triggers and that trauma came back and again, I wasn't worthy. This is what happened the same way that my first love choose or or went with somebody else, even if it just was a physical thing, you know, and and again, I mean it's kind of weird, you know, but that person passed away three years ago and we also had the opportunity to have a heart to heart conversation and he said to me, I regret the rest of my life

[Matt Gilhooly]
what

[Claudia Noriega-Bernstein]
I did and he never married, he never got married, he says, I regret

[Matt Gilhooly]
being

[Claudia Noriega-Bernstein]
weak and again, it was sex, it was in love, you know, and and so when I married my first husband, I married him for the wrong reasons and then being abused by somebody that you married for the wrong reasons is like how do you hold on to that relationship? You know? So it was the trust is such an important thing, you know, trusting and not only trusting the other person, but trusting yourself. It's so hard sometimes.

[Matt Gilhooly]
Oh, 100%, especially after abandonment, whether that's in a relationship or you briefly mentioned, you know, your father leaving when you were a child. I think a lot of those early experiences, even like when my mom died, I was always afraid, like I did things that maybe I wouldn't have done before, you know, like I got better at school, I did more studying, I made sure that I got all a's because my irrational eight year old brain, I thought if I don't my dad's going to leave, like my mom left, not on her own choice, right? I always felt like I had to Do the extra things because everyone's gonna leave if I don't make them happy. So I can understand that from a different perspective and you know, it's funny too and I'll go to another question. But what's funny is lately, I've been doing this podcast now since March of 2022 and lately I've wanted someone to come on the show to talk about cheating of some sort infidelity of some sort in the past. I've I've been the, I guess we'll we'll say the victim of of said uh event in a relationship. And it it has it's it's a hard thing to trust again. And when you get when you get into like a new relationship, there's always that piece for me. At least

[Claudia Noriega-Bernstein]
you,

[Matt Gilhooly]
right? And so you're like, well they didn't call in the last four hours, what are they doing? Right? And they could be the best people you've ever met. But there's always this attachment to what's happened to you in the past that's going to happen again until you become that whole person, right? You kind of get that healing. But I can relate to kind of that feeling of, well, even, you know, your dad leaving and then you finding these relationships in which they needed you as well and you kind of shrunk yourself to fit into the mold that they wanted,

[Claudia Noriega-Bernstein]
but I wasn't ever a jealous person and I'm still not a jealous person that's, that's the twist on this. Um even though I was cheated and even though I was betrayed because also my first marriage was a betrayed because I trusted this person and then he became abusive. I mean, I got my first lap on my honeymoon, you know, So he wasn't the person I knew

[Matt Gilhooly]
or

[Claudia Noriega-Bernstein]
I thought I I knew, so for me wasn't and it's not a jealousy issue in the sense that I feel he's going to betray me again, or my husband is going to betray me, or my friend is going to betray me. My mom always said to me, you think everybody is like you um because you don't expect people to do to you what you're not able to do or you're not capable to do. So you're kind of naive in that sense, you know, and then somebody does something and you're like, I can't believe they did that because you're not capable to, you know? So my struggle is with trust,

[Matt Gilhooly]
you

[Claudia Noriega-Bernstein]
know, can I trust this person to be what I feel, or I expect or I hope that person will be because of my fear of betray and And and and I, even when my husband, you know, my my actual husband, I mean, we've been together 17 years, but when a situation happens, you know, I have to shift myself, I remember one time when I was married with my first husband and my dad divorced my mom, but he was always part of our life, but he left our home um and he was a wonderful father, but he just that moment that he left was very detrimental.

[Matt Gilhooly]
And

[Claudia Noriega-Bernstein]
yes, so I remember clearly one time that I was at home with my with my first husband and my dad came to visit me and I had a black eye. So I I pushed the button and you know from the intercom and my dad said I came to see you and I said, I'm sorry, I'm very busy, I cannot see you right

[Matt Gilhooly]
now.

[Claudia Noriega-Bernstein]
And I knew that I was breaking his heart by doing that. But at that moment I and this is horrible to say okay, but at that moment all those fears and all those insecurities and all those, I don't trust people or I'm not worthy came into those conversations were in my head and I was like what if he knows and he doesn't do anything about it. So it's better if he does say no right? It's better that he doesn't know that I'm being physically abused so he won't

[Matt Gilhooly]
let you down, right

[Claudia Noriega-Bernstein]
hmm. You know what I'm saying? So

[Matt Gilhooly]
it

[Claudia Noriega-Bernstein]
is hard when somebody betray you, it takes a piece of you and that takes so much to bring back and even when you manage to in paper understand what a betrayed is and what impact had had in your life, they're gonna be those moments where the trauma is gonna make itself present and I hope you have the tools to shift and say this is not true and if that person is not going to defend me, that's okay, I can defend myself.

[Matt Gilhooly]
Yeah, I think, I mean that defines this whole version of you, right? This this fully formed version of you before we get into kind of like how this really changed you. I mean we've tapped on it a little bit, but I'm wondering if having that first cancer diagnosis and going through the surgery and anything, do you think that that facing mortality feeling that people that have a diagnosed illness or disease kind of go through, was that do you think that was helpful in you moving forward after the betrayal?

[Claudia Noriega-Bernstein]
It was a distraction for sure it was a destruction because I didn't trust my husband. So I didn't trust him to be able to be there for my girls. If he was not there for our family. So you empower me to find strength and say to myself, If it's to be, it's up to me, I'm gonna get this in control. I am gonna raise my kids with love and joy. I'm not gonna allow all these feelings that I'm feeling right now to change my heart because I need to be a little selfish and I need to take care of myself because if I am not if I don't have my cup full, you know, I cannot help anyone and whatever is inside my cup is mine. whatever overflow my cup. So I can give to everybody else. But I need to have my capital and I need to take care of myself and I need to love myself again. So I can teach my girls to love themselves in spite of anything, betray lies. Um, people not valuing you, um, divorces firing you, whatever it is, that is a rejection in your life or you perceive as a rejection, you are enough. They are not pushing you away because you're not. And and and I and I do believe that, I mean, I do believe that I am enough. I'm not telling you, I believe I am enough all the time because as I said, I have those moments in my life that I go back to the trauma, you know,

[Matt Gilhooly]
because

[Claudia Noriega-Bernstein]
I'm human and and I feel lonely and I feel like that six year old when my dad left, you know, but I have the tools now to shift and I have those conversations with myself and when I journal, I write about how I feel. So then when I go back to those pages when I am in a much better place, emotionally and psychologically, you know, then I can see that Yeah, I was in a really low place that day, but I'm okay now. So if I was able to overcome that, then I can overcome anything because the power is in me. The power is not in the person that is next to me is not in my kids, it's not in my job is not in the house I live and that's why I coach abundance because my abundance it's in me. I will take my abundance anywhere I go anywhere I go. I am not, I don't have a life of abundance because my husband is successful or because I live in a nice neighborhood. I have a life of abundance because I have created that life within myself. And my abundance is shared with everyone that wants to receive it in their open to receive it. And I want that abundance for my Children as well.

[Matt Gilhooly]
So how did you get from that? What did I do? How could this happen to me to a space where I don't know, I don't want to put words in your mouth but that you're almost grateful for some of these experiences and what they've taught you to become cup full. How like how did you get from from that moment to where you are now in that feeling

[Claudia Noriega-Bernstein]
for for a few years I pretended to accept whatever people thought of me from the outside. You know, Oh my God, you're a great mom. You're you're so creative. You're this, you're that. So I accept all that as true and I had a moment?

[Matt Gilhooly]
No, no, I

[Claudia Noriega-Bernstein]
adopted it. I adopted you know because it made me feel good. But then were those moments that I would say but do I feel that that is true. You know? And the first years were very hard because I really had to work hard to support my girls. I mean you know until he understood and was on board about how we should raise our girls together even though we were not together it was a struggle and it was hard and in a way I thank him for that because it showed me that I really don't need anyone that I don't care if I have to have three jobs. I'm going to provide for my girls because I am capable to do it. I am not gonna going to call my mom or or anybody else to help me because I'm going to be a victim. No, I can't do this and I'm gonna prove to myself that I can do it and that was the tip of the iceberg because once I prove myself that I didn't need anyone then I start valuing myself and I changed and I I have it on a sign in my studio, Fear for me is face everything and rice and that's how I change it. And I start putting notes everywhere that I could to remind to empower myself. So I started my healing by myself and then I started reading a lot. I start um opening up to have friends again because I didn't even trust anyone

[Matt Gilhooly]
you

[Claudia Noriega-Bernstein]
know. Um so it was a process then I went um years later, um you know, I went to an emotional intelligence seminar. I learned a lot about, you know, emotional intelligence, I work a lot of myself. I did some trainings, I you know, I trained to be a coach. I you know, I um started coaching people and learning from people as well. So it was like a buffet, you know, I picked and choose what was working for me because number one, even though he was part of my kid's life at that point, um I needed to be healthy and I needed to be um good in my head as well to be a good parent and in a constant in my kid's life. So I had cancer twice after that, but I never fear that I was gonna die because I was like this is not gonna kill me, I'm gonna raise my

[Matt Gilhooly]
kids. Yeah,

[Claudia Noriega-Bernstein]
this is not gonna kill me. You know, and I don't know what's gonna kill me because we don't know. But I was convinced and I convinced myself to the point that when my kids see somebody with cancer, they feel empathetic and they have compassion, but they said my mom had it three times, you're gonna be fine. You know, they are convinced that if you have the willingness to do something, you're gonna achieve it.

[Matt Gilhooly]
You said that, you know, in those first couple of years people were saying like you're a good mom, you're a great, you know worker, You're all these things and you said you kind of accepted that, but you didn't quite believe it. Do you remember the moment in which you were like, you know what I am,

[Claudia Noriega-Bernstein]
where

[Matt Gilhooly]
that kind of started to do You remember what made that happen

[Claudia Noriega-Bernstein]
when I hear my kids talking when I started to listening because I was so overwhelmed with everything that I was like a like a robot, you know? And when I took a step back and started watching them really how happy they were and how great the relationship with their dad was and how happy they were to see their dad and how I had achieve not to pass on whatever feelings I had at the beginning because I also forgave him and forgave myself because I did I mean not forgiving somebody is like, you know, drinking the poison and and and hoping that the person died. You know I mean No, it doesn't work that way. So I had to work on that and but we had to talk and he had to say, I'm sorry, you know, I'm sorry. I mean, I was so stupid and I I regret my whole life. We had it all and I was stupid. You know, I I thought with my pants instead of with my head and my heart and I said and I'm sorry I didn't see the flags and I'm sorry. I you know,

[Matt Gilhooly]
I didn't

[Claudia Noriega-Bernstein]
realize what what you were fighting and what you were going through because you have to also be empathetic. People think that having sympathy and empathy is the same thing. You know, when when you have empathy, you have compassion for that person. You you were the shoes of that person in at that at the beginning I saw him as my enemy. You know, he's my enemy. But I had to put my shoes in myself in the shoes of my enemy to understand. I might not have ever accepted what he did as how dare you. You know, and that was wrong. I'm not gonna accept it as something that I'm not gonna justify you, but I had to understand to be able to forgive him.

[Matt Gilhooly]
Yeah. And then, you know, just having listening to your kids talk about you and probably saying like good things or just how great their life is. It's kind of in the same concept of you know, personal branding in a way is like what you hear other people say about you is probably what you're putting out there. And so now finally what other people were saying to you and what you're putting out there, Everything was matching and your kids were living

[Claudia Noriega-Bernstein]
the

[Matt Gilhooly]
product of that, right?

[Claudia Noriega-Bernstein]
And for me, I think during this process I learned that oftentimes um we justify when people has betrayed ourselves and we stay in those situations. But at the end of the day, we are betraying ourselves by justifying somebody else's betray. And as I said earlier, every relationship is different and everybody will take the decisions they think is best for them. But I think in in re, you know, wrist respect, that's what he said. Um, I think about the past and I think about the decisions that I made. And I even when when he passed away, you know, I thought I was devastated when he passed away. He was my friend. I mean he was the father of my kids. You know, it was hard. Um, and it was hard also because I'm married again, I'm, I'm with my husband 17 years and you know, we are in a celebration of life and and everybody's sorry for my kids as they should be. But nobody thinks that I would be morning, you know, and I was mourning and, and to an extent I still, um, for a lot of reasons and like I lost my dad when I was 25 when my daughter was born and my daughter lost her dad when she's 25. So I think I know her, I know her pain because I experienced it. So now I'm experiencing her pain plus my pain all

[Matt Gilhooly]
together. And

[Claudia Noriega-Bernstein]
it's hard.

[Matt Gilhooly]
It's hard. But you know what I mean?

[Claudia Noriega-Bernstein]
You're making me cry, don't make me, I'm

[Matt Gilhooly]
sorry. It's not my fault. The human experiences. I mean

[Claudia Noriega-Bernstein]
this is

[Matt Gilhooly]
this is a good thing. It's good that you're sad because I think not too that sounds really bad,

[Claudia Noriega-Bernstein]
but it's true. What you say, you're

[Matt Gilhooly]
connected. You you made your peace with the situation. You created a a relationship with this person in a different way after the fact right now you're mourning the loss. I mean, I think that's I don't know, I have these conversations and and luckily all the people on the show have this understanding is like we have to go through some of these moments and some of them are really hard. But those hard ones are the ones that really make us. So I get it. I get why. I mean, I think it's I think it's beautiful that you are mourning your ex husband who did something to what your life was before. You know? But at the same time do you have this thought? I don't know how I'm gonna word this. But do you have this thought in which you're almost grateful for the mistakes that he made because of who you are now.

[Claudia Noriega-Bernstein]
Yes, I know because sometimes I think how how would have been my life with my girls in him And I I think of the pain that he had to go through as well. And that makes me sad that he had gone through that pain, you know, so that's 11 side of the coin at the other side of the coin is me um taking care of myself and growing and showing my daughters that you don't need a man or a partner you want, you know somebody to share your life with, but you are everything you need your enough by yourself. So a it depends from which angle I see it. But altogether if I'm going to Give myself or if I'm, you know, if I'm gonna give self love, hmm then yes, I like the person that I am right now much better than the person that I that I was, you know, 30 years ago.

[Matt Gilhooly]
Yeah. But I also wonder too and I mean he's not here to share this, but I wonder if that moment changed him as a human in a positive way. You know, after you guys had, you know,

[Claudia Noriega-Bernstein]
value at least you know when something important in your life happens, you know? No, don't, don't dismiss it, don't take it for granted because it might not be there again. You might not find it again. Yeah.

[Matt Gilhooly]
Or you know with what he was facing and and what he ended up doing and understanding that there are consequences and certain things, but also how can I learn from this? And so you know, I, sometimes people are like, if you could go back in time, would you change things? You know, would would you make sure your mom didn't go on that motorcycle trip and I'm at this point in my life, I like who I am, where I am, who I surround myself with.

[Claudia Noriega-Bernstein]
Yeah.

[Matt Gilhooly]
So I wouldn't and it sounds so terrible.

[Claudia Noriega-Bernstein]
It sounds Yeah, but I understand what you're saying. I understand what you're saying.

[Matt Gilhooly]
I mean

[Claudia Noriega-Bernstein]
perhaps the price

[Matt Gilhooly]
the

[Claudia Noriega-Bernstein]
price of me becoming who I am was him going in a spiral after we got divorced and doing a lot of dumb things and you know, I'm sorry for you. But look who I have become, if I see it from that point of view, Absolutely. You know everything that I lived in my life has brought me to where I am right now and and I can't wait to make more mistakes and I can't wait to learn more because that's the only way you learn. You know, I mean you don't know if you like vanilla or chocolate until you try them both.

[Matt Gilhooly]
Exactly.

[Claudia Noriega-Bernstein]
And go like, no, this is not for me. You know or whatever. I like them both, whatever it is. But you have to go through those experiences And sometimes because of fear, we don't go through that and we stay in a situation where we are not happy when we are not making anybody happy where we excuse me teaching our Children that you're supposed to settle because security is more important. I had people coming to me and say, are you nuts? Look the other way,

[Matt Gilhooly]
look

[Claudia Noriega-Bernstein]
where you live. Look what you have. And I was like, yeah, but then I have to look at myself and I'm not gonna like what I

[Matt Gilhooly]
see.

[Claudia Noriega-Bernstein]
So I have to make a decision that it's gonna help me and my kids have a better quality of life.

[Matt Gilhooly]
No

[Claudia Noriega-Bernstein]
quantity of things.

[Matt Gilhooly]
Which that's a whole other story. I think what really struck with what you just said is I can't wait to make my next mistake. Do you think that that happily married version of Claudia would have said the same thing?

[Claudia Noriega-Bernstein]
No, because my mind and in my my perception of life and and even even my perception of abundance was different at that moment. You know more

[Matt Gilhooly]
the things was it more quantity and

[Claudia Noriega-Bernstein]
I always have been very spiritual. But yeah, I think to an extent was like, you know, we have a great life, you know I have you know a gorgeous husband and we have three gorgeous kids and you know our our sex life is wonderful and we travel and we had a lot of

[Matt Gilhooly]
fun and

[Claudia Noriega-Bernstein]
we checked all the boxes exactly. You know, so why would I waste my time thinking what abundance

[Matt Gilhooly]
is? I'm

[Claudia Noriega-Bernstein]
fine.

[Matt Gilhooly]
You know, I'm so glad that that before we started recording, you decided to talk about this. I think it's so important to see how something that a lot of people experience, you know happens and what kind of that trajectory can look like for other people not saying like you said, everyone can choose their own way to process but I'm wondering I'm thinking of the claudia that is one day from surgery, soaking wet heading home after discovering what happened. If you this version of you could go back to her and say something about what you know now, is there anything you could tell her that would help her?

[Claudia Noriega-Bernstein]
Well I would definitely tell her that everything is gonna work out. But I would give the heads up about something that I learned many years ago, which is, we tend to get attached to the worst version of ourselves because it's comfortable and we do have a best version of ourselves that is available for us if we do the work. So I would say that to her, you're gonna be okay. But don't get attached to this bad version of yourself. We are all capable to do wonderful things and we are all capable to do nasty things and it's our choice to decide which route we're gonna take. I could have been a total different person. I could have poisoned my kids against their dad. I could've allowed my anger and my frustration to spill everywhere. You know, and I would be a very different person right now. And I make the conscientious choice to look to be a better person. I used to say I'm working on my wings. That's what I'm doing. I'm working on my wings. And if somebody else betrays me that's on them because I know in my heart that I did my best to be the best version of myself and if it wasn't appreciated is there lost. It's not my lost. I'm already in a different level. I'm already in a different vibration and that's where I wanna be. So

[Matt Gilhooly]
yeah, I always think it's so interesting too because a lot of people will say like, well I would say these things, but we have to go through it all, we have to go through that mess to realize those moments are actually going to come true. I don't think my eight year old version of myself would understand where I am now when his mom died, but I'd like to ask that question because what you just shared is so helpful for people to understand there there is the best version of you, but you can take it to the nastiest version of you as well and that's your choice on how you kind of build your life and build who you are. I'm really glad that you wanted to be on the show. I know you reached out to me a couple months ago and we made it happen and I'm really blessed to have this conversation with you and and that you trusted me since you said you don't really talk about this out loud. So thank you for just being a part of the life shift podcast.

[Claudia Noriega-Bernstein]
Thank you. I really appreciate it and if anybody is going through, you know, I betrayed or or or cheating or something like that. Listen to yourself. Every story is different. You know, don't do what other people tell you you're supposed to do or you must do or what's the easiest road because at the end of the day, you're gonna have to face yourself, the only person you have to give an explanation to is to the higher power in yourself. So have those nice conversations, give yourself some self love and and talk to yourself and decide is this for me? Is this am I gonna be okay in five years if I stay in this relationship and if not then trust the process,

[Matt Gilhooly]
trust

[Claudia Noriega-Bernstein]
the process, you are capable to overcome anything. Believe me, we are the best

[Matt Gilhooly]
machine

[Claudia Noriega-Bernstein]
invented or created. So trust the process.

[Matt Gilhooly]
I think that's a good way to end this. What I'll do for everyone listening. I'll share Claudia's information. You have some books that you've published as well that they can check out and we'll put your website and all those other things in there so that they can connect with you if if they feel connected to your story or what you offer. So thank you for just sharing your life and your human side with us

[Claudia Noriega-Bernstein]
and thank you for being so kind you u um show up very in the way you show up. Makes me and I'm sure your guests to be in a very self place to open up and that is very important. You know, I wanted to have that conversation before the show with you

[Matt Gilhooly]
to see

[Claudia Noriega-Bernstein]
how I felt

[Matt Gilhooly]
because

[Claudia Noriega-Bernstein]
always trust comes you know around me, let's see when I trust this person to open up and you have a way to communicate that is very trustworthy and and I appreciate you giving me the time and the space to share my style, my story.

[Matt Gilhooly]
I think you're trying to make me cry at this point, Thank you for saying that for everyone listening. If you're enjoying the show and you want to help me out, a rating and review is super helpful on Apple podcasts, you can rate on Spotify, but apparently those help and if they don't, they just make me feel good at the end of the day, we only do it if you're gonna give five stars, So thank you to Claudia and thank you guys for listening and we will be back next week with a brand new episode. Thanks so much. I'm actually and this is the life shift, candid conversations about the pivotal moments that changed lives