Rising up from childhood trauma

Career coach launches new book


Deborah Brown-Volkman wants people unhappy in their jobs to successfully make a career jump and succeed. Especially after experiencing childhood trauma, like she did.

The East Moriches career coach for over 20 years has just debuted her book, “Childhood Trauma. Some Rise. Some Fall.”

“The book was 58 years in the making,” Brown-Volkman said during a Tide interview in her home. “This is my sixth book. I haven’t written a book in almost 20 years. In the meantime, I had a son and did a tremendous amount of healing work.

“There are two pieces to getting back up,” she said of childhood trauma, “inner harmony, which is healing, and outer growth, which is goals.”

“Childhood Trauma. Some Rise. Some Fall” is 118 pages with simple, practical examples and suggestions that most people have at their disposal, but don’t know or realize how to utilize. Easy to read, it also chronicles Brown-Volkman’s journey.

In spite of abuse at home, Brown-Volkman was an achiever who got a B.A. in marketing from Hofstra University, then worked in sales and marketing for high-powered companies like CitiBank in Manhattan and smaller startups on Broad Street for 12 years.

“I loved it,” she said. “I was young, in my 20s, living in the city with two roommates, and it was awesome.”

What wasn’t awesome was an explosive temper. While good at jobs and known for an amazing work ethic, “I was emotional and combative,” she said. “I didn’t communicate my needs or boundaries until I’d explode and yell at co-workers and would send emails I shouldn’t have. I never got fired because I did great work.”

The pileup of shameful feelings urged her to seek a change. A flyer arrived in the mail at her apartment offering life coaching classes at The Annex. That was the defining moment. She wanted to help others.

“I signed up for evening and weekend classes for three and a half years and was working full-time,” she said, “then took a part-time job, eventually left, and started coaching.”

Her first client was a nanny. “She loved the family she worked for; it was hard for her to go, but she eventually went into marketing,” recalled Brown-Volkman.

Coaching these days is mostly via Zoom. She has professional certified coach certification from ICF, the International Coaching Federation.

Clients come to her “because they’re unhappy in their career, are unfulfilled, and their self-confidence is lower because of it. They’re uncertain and afraid and don’t know what to do with it.” She’s helped at least a thousand find their way.

Without rancor, but surprising grace and understanding, she frankly described her background in her book and during the interview.

Brown-Volkman’s dad started hitting her when she was 5. It was always after he drank after work. The abuse continued to age 15. Her mother was complicit; she called her husband with, “You can’t believe what the girls did today,” handing over the discipline of her daughters.

Then she challenged him with, “Is that the best you can do?” which then fueled emotional abuse.

Not understanding a lot of things about life caused her to operate in the corporate world on her own and not ask co-workers for help. After all, her mother wasn’t an ally regarding the family abuse. So that mounted her frustrations.

And she wasn’t open to feedback; it wasn’t an option when feedback at home was a smack or a taunt.

Eventually realizing feelings and aspects of herself needed to be faced, the author chose a spiritual route, personal healing methods, and helping others. “Inner harmony gives you inner strength,” she said. “Outer growth makes you stronger.”

Like achieving your goals. One at a time, which are outlined in the book.

Brown-Volkman, who lives near Camp Pa-Qua-Tuck and is the Rotary Club of the Moriches president entering her fourth year, said, “If you’re going to do this work, you’re going to change, like getting your resume ready and your plan of attack.”

Who gets back up?

“It’s inner determination. You decide you’ve had enough and are more afraid to stay where you are than leave.”

Deborah Brown-Volkman’s book is on Amazon. Her website:  www.surpassyourdreams.com.


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