Squamish business coach Mike Skrypnek shares stories of men healing from childhood trauma

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Squamish’s new book by Mike Skrypnek features stories of men who successfully healed from childhood trauma

It would have been so easy to step over the edge.

Mike Skrypnek was standing on the banks of the Stawamus River, 18 months into the pandemic, when he first thought of ending it all. In early 2020, business coach and author Squamish had just released a new book and was scheduled to give workshops and speaking engagements all over North America. He had a busy client list and eight books to his credit. Now all that was gone and he faced overwhelming financial uncertainty. He thought his family would be better off without him, living comfortably off life insurance. For a long dark moment, he almost gave in to his despair. But then he withdrew.

Reflecting on this scene years later, Skrypnek can identify the toxic mix of shame, unresolved trauma and unhealthy lifestyles that led him to this place. Circumstances were just an excuse – in fact, he had never really healed from the sexual abuse he suffered when he was 11, an experience he had never shared with anyone. other than his wife. While searching for these memories and exploring them through therapy, he was inspired to weave his personal narrative into a non-fiction book about the mental health issues men often face after trauma and how silence exacerbates the problem. Called UNLimited WORTH, he shares his journeys and those of other men to make peace with their past and come to love each other.

“I’ve been writing this book for years, but it’s always been my memoir. Then I went through healing and treatment, and I interviewed these men about the patterns and the words that limit and define us when we’re not well, and where we are afterwards. It was one of my curiosities that brought the book into play,” Skrypnek told Chief Squamish.

“I waited 40 years before telling anyone about my abuse. I want to use it to help men normalize this conversation, so they share much sooner than 40 years later. People shouldn’t have to go through suicidal considerations just to bring it up in conversation. »

His goal is to reach one million men and their families, through the book and a new podcast he’s launching, as well as a North American tour following the book’s release this summer. He doesn’t view it as a memoir, despite the fact that it includes his personal narrative, as it interweaves lessons from his interview topics with thoughts on how best to tame your personal demons and achieve actualization. in business and in life.

“I thought, who wants another memoir about someone’s trauma? I did not experience war. I wanted to know what is the lesson, what do we want to gain, how do we connect? I mean, ‘I understand you, you stayed silent and that’s fine.’ Men bury these things for 24 years on average, and there are good reasons for that,” he said.

“But the biggest fears you have about breaking that silence are not as big as you think. The greatest risk is not to share. Statistics indicate that one in six men will experience abuse and it will take them decades to break their silence. Now I personally know dozens of men who have committed suicide in the business world or in my peer group. You hear these stories, and you don’t know what tormented them. There must be a reason why men kill themselves four times more than women.

He thinks the true statistic of abused men is actually much higher. And writers are often the last person you expect, as they were when he was little. Skrypnek was targeted by a stalwart of the community, a decorated World War II veteran who was often the most respected man in the room. When Skrypnek got out of the situation, he also got to call him what he really was: a predator and an aggressor. From then on, throughout his professional life, he carried a fundamental distrust of “good men”.

“I was oblivious to all of this. Patterns and shame, guilt, anger, fear and worthlessness. These negative emotions defined me to my core, and I was there in the realm of help. I was prepared to never tell my secret. But when I shared, every risk I perceived, every disclosure that I thought would bring too much vulnerability and push people away was a mistake,” he said.

“Every concern I had about [breaking my silence] and the sharing was wrong, because the reverse happened. My family loved me more and took on more, carried the weight while I healed. And good men who hadn’t brought me home, they opened their arms and their hearts to me. Suddenly I was having better conversations than ever before.

Skrypnek ultimately interviewed 12 men for the book, from across North America and Europe. He heard stories of human depravity that absolutely shocked him, but it was coupled with an inspiring resilience he saw time and time again in his subjects. In many ways, their suffering has led them to be more compassionate and to understand what others are struggling with.

“I even want to reach men who haven’t been through trauma, so they understand what their peers are going through. And to show them that it’s always good to hang out with your homies after something like this, you don’t want to wallow in your trauma all the time. You didn’t do that when you were silent, did you? We all want to be well and normalize the narrative,” he said.

“No matter the trauma, whatever the type, it’s about what sits in your head and sets you up for a lifetime of negative patterns until you fix it. [I healed with intense EMDR therapy.] Now I know I should have said something all along. I should have taken it out sooner. And it can be a normal conversation like any other injury. Like destroying your ACL. [In fact, it took me longer to heal that than my brain.]”

Learn more about UNLimited WORTH at Mike Skrypnek website.


Corrections: Please note that this story has been updated to clarify the timeline. The anecdote at the start happened eighteen months after the start of the pandemic, not at its start. The story also previously stated that Skrypnek was facing financial ruin. In fact, he was facing financial uncertainty. Finally, the story has been updated to add more detail and clarity on how Skrypnek healed, among other things.

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