Negotiate A Happy Life

Negotiating A Transition
April 19, 2013
Negotiation Language – How You Say It Affects It
April 30, 2013

Mildred Lucy English – my mother as a young woman.

My mother. I resented her for so many years from her disease of alcoholism. She died from it 39 years ago tomorrow when I was only 12 years old. She left me with low self esteem from her lifetime of abuse that she hurled at me through all the awful things she did to me; yelling at me, purposely leaving me in a store when I was 5, slamming my face into a wall giving me a black eye when I was 11, tearing my room apart constantly and throwing my things away that she thought to be junk, belittling me, threatening to send me away to boarding school constantly, you name it, she just about did it to me. She had scotch bottles stashed all over the house. I found some of them as a young girl and didn’t understand what they were doing behind the curtain or in the closet of the guest bedroom.

I had a right to be resentful; after all she put me on a loser’s path. I dropped out of high school, ran with the bad crowd, got into one abusive relationship after another, and struggled with self esteem all my life. I remained angry and resentful for years. I carried that resentment like a badge of honor but one day realized that the only person it was hurting was me. I did a significant amount of work to come to terms with my anger and resentment and release my resentment towards my mother. I negotiated my way to a happier life.

Three years ago I visited both my parents’ graves and read letters of amends I had written to them to finalize the work I’d done some years before to let go of the anger and resentment I had. I now understand she had a disease, an addiction that she could not control and it ultimately took her life.
Today I am thankful to my mother for bringing me into the world to share my gifts and live my purpose. I didn’t know her as the amazing woman she was before alcoholism took the real her away. I don’t know her in an adult mind but I see her in me every day.

She was beautiful, stylish, and classy. The lineage on my mother’s side comes from England and through her I am related to Charles Carroll of Carrollton who signed the Declaration of Independence. She was an artist and I used to draw as a kid. She used to sew some of my clothes and I taught myself to sew and made a lot of my daughters’ dresses and my maternity clothes. She taught me how to cross stitch and do other crafty things which I have enjoyed doing throughout my adult life. She taught me how to play cards and we used to play rummy 500 every Sunday night and when that game was over she taught me how to play poker.

She was an awesome cook but she never taught me how. She screamed at me whenever I was in the kitchen and told me to get out. I struggled with cooking for many years, still do somewhat today. Writing this, I just realized why.

She knew how to entertain and taught me some etiquette but started to lose herself slowly over the years. Her death brought a lot of pain but it wasn’t me feeling the pain, it was me living the pain, making choices that caused me pain in my life.

I am sure there are many more qualities my mother had that have been passed onto me. I just don’t know what they are but I embrace the possibilities that many of the good qualities I have came from her. Some of them had to of, I came from her!

Eldonna Lewis Fernandez
Eldonna Lewis Fernandez
Veteran negotiation and contracts expert Eldonna Lewis-Fernandez, author of “Think Like a Negotiator,” has over 30 years of experience crafting killer deals both stateside and internationally, many in excess of $100 million. She’s currently the CEO of Dynamic Vision International — a specialized consulting and training firm that helps individuals hone negotiation skills — as well as a nationally regarded keynote speaker, session leader and panelist on the Art of Negotiation. Eldonna may be reached online at


  1. What a beautiful message Eldonna! I am thankful for people like you who teach us to see beauty in a situation where others might find only darkness. Our world is a better place b/c your mom brought YOU into it! Thank you for sharing your bright light!

  2. rdmomentsga says:

    What an awesome post! It shows us how we can go from tragedy to triumph regardless of our past trials. Thank you for sharing!

  3. Thank you Eldonna for being so open and sharing your world.

  4. Lani (Crosson) Holdt says:

    I knew that your life at home was difficult and painful but I had know idea how much…I’m so glad we were friends back and I am so amazed at how you have overcome it all and become the incredible woman you are today…looking back I did see it in you then, a seed.

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