Interview With A Vampire
Got your attention with that title, didn't I? I know no vampires. I do know an amazing fellow life coach that is worthy of at least as lengthy an interview as Anne Rice created for her vibrant and - thankfully - fictional vampires. Please read my interview with my friend Ingrid Abild-Pedersen, edited for clarity. Ingrid is a life and relationship coach who helps her clients deal with trauma and move away from self-destructive patterns.
Alright Ingrid. I thought it would be really nice for my readers to get to know you and learn a little bit about you, so - talk about yourself.
OK - where do you want me to start!?! Well, I’m Danish but I grew up in the Northern part of Germany. I see myself as international because I’ve also been living in England and I’m a bit all over the place! The last nearly 11 years we have been in Menlo Park, California. Time flies. I have a husband and two kids. One is an adult - he’s 18 now - and my daughter will turn 15 this month.
So when you were growing up, what did you want to do?
I wanted to become an actress, or a singer, or a ballerina. I have always been dancing or singing or acting and for me I thought that was what I wanted to do. I think now as an adult I look back and I’m actually grateful now that it didn’t happen and I see more and more that my intention to become that was to make my mom proud of me. She had originally had a dream of becoming a professional singer, but then she got married and had kids instead. I think for me I wanted to make her proud of me and maybe live out her dream.
How did you come to be a life coach in the United States?
Yeah - that's a big jump! Well, I had a breakdown in 2011. I went into PTSD treatment and it organically developed into me thinking I need to use all of this to help others and how do I do that. I have been in therapy most of my life and therapy is good, but what I really loved about the life coaching was how practical it was. I understand the whys, why my life has been like it was, but how do I move on, how do I change it? And the coaching is so practical and helps you do that. You can cry so much but at some point you want to move on and I think I reached that limit and I wanted to turn it from being a victim to victory.
Some people find the life coaching process pretty draining, having to confront and address the internal mental blocks that hurt us. What do you say to the person who is hesitant to give coaching a try?
Well, if you’re not ready, you’re not ready. I can only try to inspire people. I know it's hard and I’m very honest about that. But at the same time if people are not ready, they are not ready. You want to be ready to do the work that it takes to make those changes. It’s a choice you make. You can come and say I want to do something but if you aren’t willing to do the work you are choosing to stay where you are stuck.
I’m sure your clients love to hear that!
Well, I’m known as being a very tough coach. I say it as it is. It is how I see it. I have people in an intro call and I tell them it's up to you. I don’t want you to make your mind up now because I am a tough one and I love results. But at the same time I’m your biggest cheerleader. So if you aren’t ready now come back later, otherwise, let's do it. But just know that I will be there to push you out of your comfort zone.
So many of my clients talk about how they just don’t feel very good. They are down. They aren’t motivated to reach any goals. Just feeling blah. What is one important thing you think people can do to start feeling better right now?
You know when people come saying “oh i’m not feeling good” or “I’m always tired” or “I always have this problem” and “things are not working out” - I’m like - it's an excuse. And I’m like - yes, I hear you, but what are you willing to do about it? The one thing you can do is make a choice - I WANT to change. From there the things will be easy. We make action steps, I can hold you accountable. The one thing they can do is make the choice. Often we can be very addicted to suffering. Many of us are. We blame everybody else and we blame it on our lives and we can keep doing that. But you will not change if you don’t make the choice to change. And also, I have clients who come and they might be alcoholics. They might stop drinking but if they don’t deal with the real issue, then they’ll just get something else to numb the issue. They will just go from one thing to another until they deal with the true cause. But you have to want to change. Nothing else matters unless you do.
What part of your coaching style makes you the most proud?
I never give up. I never give up on people. I know they can do it. I know they have all the answers inside them and I’m very straightforward about that.
People need someone in their corner to be fighting for them, even if they aren’t fighting for themselves!
Yep. Yep. That's so true.
Well I happen to know about a new exciting project you are working on. Do you want to tell us about it?
Yes - I have been writing my book. I have completed the manuscript. I am very excited to be sharing my story. The title right now is Letting Go of the Mask - From Childhood Abuse, Eating Disorder, PTSD to Happiness. It is my journey. I have been trying many, many years to write it. But it's been complicated. My sister died in 2018 and it was really a wake-up call for me. We only have one life and she had just turned 52 when she died. We only have one life and we don’t know what happens and it was time for me to share. And I’m going to dedicate the book to her. It's time to let go. I am going to talk about family secrets - part of why she died also. There are all of these family secrets of childhood abuse and it's time that we talk openly about those things so that we can heal and help other families. What I really want the book to be is an inspiration to people to understand that they might have been through difficult things and it's not their fault but it is their responsibility to help themselves and change patterns, and break patterns to heal themselves. And especially when they become parents - to break those abuse cycles.
I know how hard this project has been for you. I’m really proud of you for writing your book!
Thank you, Lory. Well I’m very grateful for all of your support! You have been saying “I believe in you Ingrid” and "you can do this".
Well I was trying to take your approach - I never gave up on you!
You see! There you see! We all need one!!
Thank you for this interview. I was really excited to share YOU with people I know. You have been such an important part of my life and my journey. My only regret is that we didn’t meet 30 years ago in the theater.
We would have had fun! I’m so proud of you for pushing yourself out of the comfort zone and developing yourself. It is wonderful to see.
Well - thank you, Ingrid. I wouldn't be here without you.
For more information about Ingrid and her work, please visit her website or email her directly at firstname.lastname@example.org.