Sep 4
  • Written By Scott Drochelman

  • #200 – Kimberly Shannon Murphy

    #200 - Kimberly Shannon Murphy

    Hollywood Stuntwoman On Surviving Familial Sexual Abuse

    As an award-winning stuntwoman, Kimberly Shannon Murphy was intimate with pain. For years, she propelled her body through dangerous spaces—medicating the trauma of her childhood sexual abuse with the adrenaline rush that came from pushing herself to the absolute limit. But as Kimberly learned, no matter how much you suppress your past, it always catches up with you.

    In May, Kimberly released Glimmer, which details her remarkable journey to the top of her field as a Hollywood stuntwoman for many A-list celebrities, including Cameron Diaz, Charlize Theron, Angelina Jolie, Taylor Swift, and Sandra Bullock, while carrying the pain of her childhood of sexual abuse in a family that refused to acknowledge its reality. In her memoir, Kimberly reflects on her past and present, chronicling her path to recovery and calculating the long shadow of trauma.

    Glimmer is the story of one woman’s quest to reclaim her life and to shine a spotlight on the dark topic of intergenerational familial abuse. As Kimberly reveals, being strong isn’t about getting your black belt, leaping out of four-story buildings, or putting 200-pound stuntmen in chokeholds—it’s about waking up every single morning and choosing to love yourself, no matter your history.

    Tune in to learn about:

    The Double Life of a Stuntwoman: Kimberly shares her unique perspective on the world of Hollywood stunts, from working with A-list celebrities to the adrenaline-fueled highs. Discover how she used her career as both a refuge and a coping mechanism.

    Confronting Childhood Trauma: Delve into Kimberly’s courageous journey of acknowledging and addressing her painful past. Learn about the challenges she faced in reconciling her professional success with the shadows of her childhood.

    Shining a Spotlight on Intergenerational Abuse: “Glimmer” isn’t just a memoir; it’s a call to action. Explore how Kimberly uses her story to raise awareness about the dark topic of intergenerational familial abuse and the importance of breaking the cycle.

    The True Strength in Self-Love: Kimberly’s story is a testament to the power of self-compassion. Discover how she redefined strength, showing that it’s not about daring stunts or physical prowess but the daily choice to love oneself, regardless of one’s history.

    Join us for an inspiring and candid conversation with Kimberly Shannon Murphy, as she shares her journey from Hollywood’s heights to healing’s depths, offering profound insights into resilience, self-discovery, and the transformative power of self-love.

    To find other similar episodes by topic, click here.

    Connect with Kimberly

    Book | Glimmer-Story-Survival-Hope-Healing

    Instagram | @kimberlyshannonmurphystunts

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    Episode Transcript

    Ashley Loeb Blassingame:

    Coming up on this episode of The Courage to Change, sponsored by Lionrock.life.

    Kimberly Shannon Murphy:

    I have a lot of friends who have the same experience that when they say it out loud, they’re like, “Oh, my gosh, why are you lying?” I think that that actually comes from your abuser and how they spoke to you, because how my grandfather spoke to me was in this very aggressive, horrible way, “No one will believe you.” So that’s ingrained in our brain, and it’s at a time, if you’re abused when you’re a child, that our brains are developing. Then when we finally get the courage to say it out loud, it’s almost like their voice is still in our head saying, “No one’s going to believe you.” So it’s then we turn around and say, “Why am I lying?” It’s really, I think, his voice that was in my head.

    Ashley Loeb Blassingame:

    Hello, beautiful people. Welcome to The Courage to Change: A Recovery Podcast. My name is Ashley Loeb Blassingame, and I am your host. And today I have an incredible woman here, Kimberly Shannon Murphy. As an award-winning stuntwoman, Kimberly Shannon Murphy was intimate with pain. For years, she propelled her body through dangerous spaces, medicating the trauma of her childhood sexual abuse with the adrenaline rush that came from pushing herself to the absolute limit. But as Kimberly learned, no matter how much you suppress your past, it always catches up with you. In May, Kimberly released Glimmer, which details her remarkable journey to the top of her field as a Hollywood stuntwoman. For many a-list celebrities, including Cameron Diaz, Charlize Theron, Angelina Jolie, Taylor Swift, and Sandra Bullock, while carrying the pain of her childhood sexual abuse in a family that refused to acknowledge its reality. In her memoir, Kimberly reflects on her past and present chronicling her path to recovery and calculating the long shadow of trauma.

    Glimmer is the story of one woman’s quest to reclaim her life and to shine a spotlight on the dark topic of intergenerational familial abuse. As Kimberly reveals, being strong isn’t about getting your black belt, leaping out of a four-story building, or putting 200 pound stuntmen in choke holds. It’s about waking up every single morning and choosing to love yourself no matter your history. What’s so great about Kimberly is that we already know she’s a tough badass because she does all these stunts. Hollywood has already confirmed what we will see from her, but she’s not just a badass on screen.

    And wow, that sounds like a corny line, but it’s true. She’s not just a badass on screen. She’s a badass in her personal life, because as she says, waking up every single morning and choosing to love yourself when you’ve had the childhood and the struggles that she has had is no easy feat. I was absolutely blown away by her story. Her book is incredible and goes through the details, but not so much that it’s gory, enough so that you understand the seriousness of what she experienced. But it also takes you through what it’s like coming out with this information to the rest of the world and to a family that does not want you to talk about it.

    And I think that is a trauma that many people experience when their abuse is an inconvenient truth. So I am just so impressed and proud of Kimberly for coming out with this, and the book is amazing and beautiful and such a beautiful story. At the end, it had me in tears, and there were moments of visceral knots in my stomach, which means that I was absolutely able to connect to it, and also a commentary on what we can be doing better in our world and in our communities to make sure that this is not happening and to make sure that if it is happening, that we aren’t doing things that keep it in the dark. So I hope you are inspired by this interview and feel moved to buy the book Glimmer: A Story of Survival, Hope, and Healing. All right everybody, let’s do this.

    You are listening to The Courage to Change: A Recovery Podcast. We are a community of recovering people who have overcome the odds and found the courage to change. Each week, we share stories of recovery from substance abuse, eating disorders, grief and loss, childhood trauma, and other life-changing experiences. Come join us no matter where you are on your recovery journey. Thank you so much for being here, Kimberly.

    Kimberly Shannon Murphy:

    Thank you for having me.

    Ashley Loeb Blassingame:

    I know you’ve probably done 1,000,001 interviews, and hopefully we’ll get to talk about some different stuff here. But I want to talk a little bit about your book and the experience of that as we get into your story of what it’s like to come out with how you grew up. What has been the experience of airing this incredible masterpiece of your life?

    Kimberly Shannon Murphy:

    It’s been a journey. I’ve always wanted to do it, so I’m grateful to be in a space where I am doing it. Of course, it’s emotionally draining to obviously constantly have to revisit and speak about it, but that’s all part of it, obviously. And it’s necessary, because if you just write the book and then leave it, then it doesn’t go anywhere. So this is all part of it. It’s definitely been interesting with I think my family the most because that’s been the hardest part for me, because we’re not on the same page with speaking our truths, and so that’s been the most devastating part of it. But standing in my truth gives me so much power and so much strength for my own life and my own family that I’ve created. So that’s been really great.

    Ashley Loeb Blassingame:

    Yeah, that is one of the… There’s so much in your story, but I think some of the stuff that happened in your story that I related to was discovering that the trauma was much more about the reaction of the people around you than the actual event. And it’s funny, you and I talked about this a little bit, and then I read your book deeper, and that was exactly the message that you got. And it took me so long to figure that out for myself.

    And getting into your story and your childhood a bit, your grandfather was the sexual abuser in your family, and there is proof, so to speak. There’s evidence written by him, images, et cetera that came out about this. And yet it’s still something that is debated. And I found that to be the ultimate expression of a family denial, right? Is like this person by their own admission eventually says that this is happening, and yet it’s still something that people want to cover. And I wonder how that has been processing it, like, “Well, wait, there’s proof now. Why don’t you believe me now?” Has there been anything around that?

    Kimberly Shannon Murphy:

    Well, everybody believes me.

    Ashley Loeb Blassingame:

    Okay, okay.

    Kimberly Shannon Murphy:

    It was never… My father and I went through a time where he did not believe me, and I think that was his own just ego really not being able to wrap his head around something like this happening, as he puts it, on his watch. And so instead of it being about me, it became about him, which is his narcissistic tendencies, which is all of these things that I’ve learned since I’ve been writing the book and since I’ve so luckily been able to connect with these doctors who have made me feel less crazy about these things I’m experiencing and how normal they are in family systems that are so toxic that continue the toxicity. And what I learned is my family continued it not in the form of sexual abuse, but they continued it in other ways, whether that was, “Okay, yes, we all get it, we were abused, we’re going to put it over here and we’re all going to live our life and we’re going to have kids and we’re going to be happy and we’re just going to move on.” Which it would be very amazing if that’s how it worked.

    And if you are really doing the work and you really understand what that looks like, it just doesn’t work that way. And our trauma bleeds out on our kids if we don’t heal it, and our partners and the partners we choose and who we choose to have in our life, friends, everything. So it was really interesting for me to take a step away from my family, which is what some of them chose to do when I got my book deal and I chose to do when I got my book deal because I needed to just have some space around the reality of… And Dr. Matay had said this to me in one of our early discussions that my first actual primary trauma was the fact that I had no adult support around me, no adults in my life that were there for me, because if I did, the abuse would’ve never happened in the first place. And that was something that I had never heard anyone say, and it made me really look at everybody’s role and how they played into enabling this to continue to happen in our family.

    Ashley Loeb Blassingame:

    So in your story as a little girl, you discuss or you portray experiences of going over to your grandparents’ house and your grandfather finding opportunities to be alone to isolate you, and then that’s when the abuse happened. When you have done the work, do you see opportunities that people actively resisted to see what was actually going on? Or were they just oblivious?

    Kimberly Shannon Murphy:

    Through my psychedelic journeys that I’ve been doing a lot, which has been life-changing for me, I have remembered a lot of things. My mother walked in on a few occasions of him abusing me, and I think because she was abused by him her whole life, he had this power over her, he had groomed her, and he was terrifying to everybody that he had affected. So when he spoke, people listened, and my mom left the room. He told her to leave and she did. My dad was an alcoholic, and so he was just… We were there and my dad was drinking, and I don’t ever remember my dad being around or actively ever looking for me or anything like that.

    It wasn’t like we were ever in this big mansion of a house where you could be on one side of the house. It wasn’t like that. And also my aunt, Pat, who’s in the book as well, she came forward when she was nine years old and told her mother that this was happening, and it was dismissed and not ever taken seriously. And so that’s when the truth started was when she was nine. And that was in 1950 something. He died in ’87, I believe.

    Ashley Loeb Blassingame:

    Can you talk a little bit about your grandmother and grandfather and their relationship? I think that backdrop is helpful to understanding a bit more of what ends up being a really critical part of the story.

    Kimberly Shannon Murphy:

    Yes. My grandmother was a complete narcissist. She was a terrible person. She was a terrible person. Clearly she was fully aware. I don’t think that you can be married to somebody and be a coherent human being and not know that these things are going on in your home with your children.

    Ashley Loeb Blassingame:

    Even, I mean, some people they’re married to a serial killer, they don’t know. But she was told.

    Kimberly Shannon Murphy:

    Yes, she was told, and she dismissed it. And also was… There was also other confession letters that he had left before I was even born, actually. We didn’t put that in the book because when you’re writing a book, you can’t put everything in or it’s 3,000 pages. But he had left confession letters for one of my mother’s cousins who would come and house sit when they would go on vacation, and he would write these letters to her. And this was my grandmother’s sister’s child. So she would come home to her mother and bring them to her mother. And I don’t know what her mother ever did with them. Her mother’s not here anymore. I spoke to her on the phone, I asked her about them years ago.

    Ashley Loeb Blassingame:

    What’d they say?

    Kimberly Shannon Murphy:

    What he was doing.

    Ashley Loeb Blassingame:

    Will you tell us about the confessions for people who don’t know?

    Kimberly Shannon Murphy:

    So he was actually… He was abusing her as well, and he was confessing in those letters what he was doing to her, and he would leave those letters for her. So I believe as he got older, he got sicker, and he became more careless. And it was almost like he wanted to get caught. It was almost like he couldn’t live in his body anymore. I think it was becoming too much for him. And when we were all born and all of the children, and I wish that I could sit down and have a conversation with him, honestly. I mean, it would probably end up with me in jail.

    Ashley Loeb Blassingame:

    Yes.

    Kimberly Shannon Murphy:

    But he would leave these letters for her and say, “This is what I’ve done to you.” And she would bring them home to her mother. And her mother never did a thing with them, and I only found that out through her. She told me that.

    Ashley Loeb Blassingame:

    Yeah, it’s hard to imagine the description and the story. He’s confessing. And then also photos were found of little children. Did I get that right?

    Kimberly Shannon Murphy:

    Yes.

    Ashley Loeb Blassingame:

    That he had abused. So people knew. Suffice it to say people knew what was going on and…

    Kimberly Shannon Murphy:

    Yes. Yes, people knew and things were happening. And I’ve talked to everybody in the family, things were happening at Christmases and with certain adults in my life when I was a child that he was interacting with in inappropriate ways. So again, another adult who knew that there was something wrong with him, that he was not okay, and that he was doing inappropriate things and didn’t say anything, and it could have saved a lot of children.

    Ashley Loeb Blassingame:

    Yeah, I think something that’s very different nowadays, that would’ve been a huge, I hope, red flag for a clinician was when you were eight years old and you came in with herpes on your face and you didn’t know, but you had genital herpes as well. And when the doctor said that to your mother, she freaked out and you guys left without the proper treatment. When you describe this childhood of being terrified of being left alone or just being so afraid to go to the bathroom at your grandparents’ house or all these different scenarios, and then we cut to life as an adult and we look at all the different coping skills that you had, it all makes sense.

    All of the things make complete sense when you understand the psychology of it. But what I think is so important for people that many don’t know or understand is this ability to black out or to have this amnesia around abuse, and these memories can come back to you. And you had these memories come back to you while you were watching a Lifetime movie with your mother. Something that I related to so much was this questioning of, “Am I lying?” Because people in our lives, my experience as well, told us that we were lying. And so then you start to question your reality, but you have these memories. Can you talk about what that’s like of just questioning, “Am I losing my mind?:

    Kimberly Shannon Murphy:

    And that’s really interesting because every survivor, and I have a lot of friends that I think we find each other, we just gravitate towards each other or something, I have a lot of friends who have the same experience, that when they say it out loud, they’re like, “Oh, my gosh, why are you lying?” I think that that actually comes from your abuser and how they spoke to you, because how my grandfather spoke to me was in this very aggressive, horrible way, “No one will believe you.” So that’s ingrained in our brain, and it’s at a time, if you’re abused when you’re a child, that our brains are developing. Then when we finally get the courage to say it out loud, it’s almost like their voice is still in our head saying, “No one’s going to believe you.” So it’s then we turn around and say, “Why am I lying?” It’s really, I think, his voice that was in my head.

    Ashley Loeb Blassingame:

    Yeah. My experience was that I was asked, forced, whatever to recant.

    Kimberly Shannon Murphy:

    Yeah, that’s fine.

    Ashley Loeb Blassingame:

    Yeah. Under duress, and so there is something so destabilizing about this questioning of whether or not I even am in touch with my own reality. And it changes how you move through the world and it changes how you have interactions with people. And I think that happened to all the women in your family.

    Kimberly Shannon Murphy:

    Yes, and in different ways. And the interesting thing is my mom is one of six, I am one of four. We have a sister in the book that we put in there to embrace all of my sisters because they did not want to be a part of it. I didn’t want to act like I didn’t have sisters, but I have three sisters, and watching, I don’t have a relationship with them right now, but when I did and watching how we all were moving through the world and how everybody was dealing in their own way or not dealing or coping, and my mother’s siblings as well. Everyone has their own way of doing it. And it’s so destructive and it’s so sad and it’s so unfortunate that somebody can have the power to do that to so many people and that it literally takes a lifetime.

    I said this to Gabor, I was like… I emailed him a few weeks back and I said, “I feel like the healing thing is going to be my whole life.” And he’s just wrote back and he said yes. And that’s been interesting, too, coming out and speaking about it. I think people expect you to show up healed. You’ve written this book and you’ve done this thing, and now you’re going to come out and you’re going to just tell us all how we can all just be healed. I’m not healed. I still get triggered. I still have a hard time. I still have to check in with myself. I still have to do therapy. I still have do the work. I’m not showing up in the world, and I don’t want to show up in the world as healed, because I’m not. And I don’t think it’s realistic for survivors to have to try to relate to that or try to put themselves in a place where they’re like, “Oh, gosh, look what she’s done and look where I am.”

    I think we all have to understand that we’re all struggling in our own ways and we all have our own journeys and our own paths, and they’re not linear and they’re not the same. And that’s the biggest thing that I learned from speaking and doing all of this, talking about it, is that I felt like people thought I was going to show up and be this healed amazing version of myself, and I was going to say all the right things and do all the right things. And it’s just not realistic. And I think it’s unrealistic for us as survivors to put that on other survivors. I think it’s actually really detrimental.

    Ashley Loeb Blassingame:

    To me, if you are a survivor, I’m not an incest survivor, but a sexual abuse survivor, to me, I would expect that you would know that because even those of us, I’m sober a long time and I’ve done a lot of work and been to a lot of treatment and EMDR and every type of therapy, and what I can tell you and what I read in your book was there are at each stage of my life with each relationship, each job, each having children, getting married, each of those things presents a different trigger about what happened and how my world is going to interact with that. And so that’s what I heard for you, is each of the relationships that you described were bringing up different things. When you were a dancer in New York, all the different parts of you, even if you had healed a certain part, this was a new scenario that you were going to have to walk through.

    Kimberly Shannon Murphy:

    Yes, completely. A hundred percent. And I even… It’s interesting because I did an interview with Dr. Nicole, the holistic psychologist, and she posted something this morning, something about that we have trouble playing as adults when we’ve had trauma. And it was so refreshing for me to read that because I have such a hard time with my daughter, and I always have, to just sit on the ground and play. And what I realized is that I never got to play as a kid. And so I don’t know what it feels like. So there was this total disconnect, which when it comes to our kids, it gets really hard.

    Ashley Loeb Blassingame:

    I know. It’s funny, I didn’t read that, but I so relate. I used to text my girlfriend, so I have six-year-old twin boys, and I used to text my girlfriend that, God, I hate saying this, but it’s the truth. When they were little, the worst part of my day was having to entertain them, that I would rather change diapers and cook for them and do all these other things rather than do this unstructured play. It was excruciating for me. And I would see the other moms, and for me, I work full-time and I could not get back to work fast enough. I could not. It was just… And it pains me to say that out loud, because I know how awful that sounds. But I just don’t know how to do that. I know how to do structured. This unstructured childlike play, I just don’t relate. I find it really painful.

    Kimberly Shannon Murphy:

    I don’t think it sounds horrible, and I think it’s really beautiful and normal for you to be able to do everything that you’re doing and everything you’ve done for yourself, because you did it ultimately for yourself and your children. You wouldn’t have them if you didn’t do all the work you did on yourself, but there’s always going to be things that we have. And I think that being able to now have a community, that’s the one positive thing about Instagram, is that you do have this community of feeling less alone. And that’s why I feel like my book is so important, because that was my exact intention, was for people to feel less alone, because I always felt so alone and I always felt like I was the only one who was going through this. And through all the different parts of my life, there wasn’t anybody else on the planet that was dealing with what I was dealing with. And that is a very lonely way to feel.

    Ashley Loeb Blassingame:

    It is. And ironically, most of the people in your family were going through what you were going through, but it feels like you’re all alone. You went to SIA, Survivors of Incest Anonymous. Talk to me about that introduction. It’s a really beautiful part of your story.

    Kimberly Shannon Murphy:

    Well, first I went to a sex addicts meeting on accident, which was-

    Ashley Loeb Blassingame:

    Less beautiful.

    Kimberly Shannon Murphy:

    Less beautiful. I was like, “I’m in the wrong room. This cannot be what this is.” And then I couldn’t leave because I felt so bad, because these people were-

    Ashley Loeb Blassingame:

    Pouring their heart out?

    Kimberly Shannon Murphy:

    Writing their life out, and the guy didn’t believe me that I was in the wrong room. I’m like, “I think I’m in the wrong room.” And then he is like, “It’s okay. You don’t have to talk.” I was like, “Oh, God.” Anyway, when I finally did find SIA, it was really nice to sit in a room with women of all ages that had been through similar experiences. It was sad to see some of them that were older that were still struggling so much. Some of them that literally only came out of the house for the meeting. And that was very eye-opening to me, because it was something I knew I couldn’t let happen to me.

    And then I had this younger girl in the group that I looked up to so much, because she was younger than me and she had put her father in jail. And she was such an inspiration to me, because I was like, “Well, if she can do that, I can do,” whatever hurdle I was dealing with at the time. That was really helpful. And I did that for a few years, but it was definitely a good start to my healing, because it wasn’t like I was in a therapist’s office, which I did a lot of as well. But I think it took me a really long time to find a good therapist, as it does.

    Ashley Loeb Blassingame:

    You talk about motherhood, and this goes back to people expecting us to be healed. And my experience having children was that things I thought were healed were just, I was now going to do more work on them. And one of the things you brought up in Glimmer, your book, was something I’ve never heard anyone talk about, which I experienced and have never wanted to say out loud, which was that breastfeeding was so triggering for me that I felt like I was going to vomit and that I just… I could not feed. There was not enough to feed two babies for me, but also I had to leave my body to breastfeed. It was so horribly triggering and uncomfortable for me. You mentioned that, and I thought, “Oh, my God, I didn’t even realize that that was part of it.” And how motherhood, when you have a child that’s the same age that you were when you were abused and seeing them and reliving that. Can you talk to us about some of the things that you went through when you had your daughter?

    Kimberly Shannon Murphy:

    Oh, gosh. I was a disaster. I was just terrified that she was going to die. That was the… When I brought her home, I didn’t let her out of my sight. I just needed to see her breathe. And like you were saying, I was really good at doing all the structural things. Everything was structured, everything was in its place, everything was organized. Everything was. But emotionally, I wasn’t present. And when I started breastfeeding her and I started having flashbacks, it was debilitating for me. And I could see it on her face, which was even more painful. And I was an over-producer, so there was so much guilt there because I was making so much milk. And so I was like, “Okay, I’m not going to breastfeed her, but I am going to pump.” And so I did that for four to five months, and I just did that alone in my room.

    And I did weights while I pumped, and I still had the flashbacks, and I still went through it all, but at least she didn’t have to experience it with me, because I could feel the anxiousness in her body when she was feeding. And so I was like, “Whatever, I’m still going to just do this and I’ll just deal with it and I’ll just take it.” And I think that also comes from a place of like, “Well, this is what I deserve.” It’s just like one of those other spaces of like, “Yeah, this is what I deserve. This is what’s going to happen because nothing ever goes right and nothing is ever going to go right in my life because this is what I was told, and this is what was ingrained in my brain when my brain was growing.”

    So yeah, I did it for about four months and then my husband was like, “I think it’s okay to stop and just give her formula and it’s fine and she’s going to be fine.” And it was more of, for me, all of… It was coming from such an unhealed space, but what it felt like for me was my grandfather was on one side and I was on the other, and he kept winning every step. I had to have a C-section because of him, because of the herpes, my breastfeeding, I had to change all of that because of him. It just felt like even him being dead, he was still able to affect these massive things in my life that were supposed to be joyful. So that was really hard.

    Ashley Loeb Blassingame:

    Yeah, really frustrating feeling like, “Well, wait a minute, you don’t get…” Because there’s this feeling like, “Fuck you, I’m going to win this all back. You’re not going to take me.” And it’s so funny because I don’t know if you’ve seen this, but there’s often two types of survivors that I see, the ones that really embody the victimhood and it just sucks their soul away and they’re sad. And then there’s ones like us that are angry and like, “You’re not going to take this from me,” and out there, and there’s this rage that’s just fueling. And I find, as awful as the rage is, and as poisonous as it is, it’s also fuel. And it often is a better outcome to be angry and fight it and then surrender and find yourself than it is to be mired and just, “I’ve been victimized.” And the people who are angry, I think they more often find recovery, but it’s uncomfortable and you are fighting it. It is a battle.

    Kimberly Shannon Murphy:

    Yes. And it’s a spark. And I remember one of my sisters saying to me, she said, “I feel like if I go there, I’m never going to come back from it.”

    Ashley Loeb Blassingame:

    Yeah.

    Kimberly Shannon Murphy:

    And so that was her, “I’m surrendering, I’m pushing it under the carpet, and I’m going to move on with my life, but I’m not really going to move on with my life because it’s going to come out in so many different ways.” And what I realized with that is that we’ve already survived the worst part of it.

    Ashley Loeb Blassingame:

    Totally, totally.

    Kimberly Shannon Murphy:

    Whenever the abuse happened to you, for me, it was like my five-year-old, six-year-old, seven-year-old self, she survived it, she did it. The hard part is over. Now it’s just, unfortunately, having to heal it isn’t the easiest thing. But I’m not in that space anymore where I’m being tortured by another human being.

    Ashley Loeb Blassingame:

    Yeah, yeah. Let’s talk a bit about your mother and your aunt and their attempt to have this family meeting and your attempt to bring this to your grandmother’s feet, looking for some sort of validation. That experience was very eyeopening. And then, of course, going up to the bedroom upstairs.

    Kimberly Shannon Murphy:

    Yeah. The meeting was actually always… All of those things were kind of pushed by me. I always wanted to… I just wanted answers. No one wanted answers in my family. Everyone was very comfortable with just being like, “Okay, he’s dead.” And I just couldn’t let it die like that. I knew that if I didn’t explore it and I didn’t do all these things, that I wasn’t going to survive in the way I needed to. And so I was always the one asking the questions.

    And I tried with my grandmother, I felt like she held so much knowledge in her body that I wanted her to share with me before she died. And so I really… When we did that meeting, looking back on it, I can see so many things and just how incredibly almost psychotic she was. I don’t know what she’d be diagnosed with right now if she was alive and saw a doctor, but she just didn’t… She never denied it, but never… It was like she was not sorry for any of it. And her thing was always like, “I never not believed you. I always believed you.” And that was always such a strange thing to me, because I just felt like if someone came to me and said that about my husband, I would be the complete opposite. You’re crazy. There’s no way.

    Ashley Loeb Blassingame:

    There’s more to it. Not someone. It’s both her daughters, your mother at her feet crying, telling her, and granddaughter. So there’s someone, and then there’s your daughters and your granddaughter.

    Kimberly Shannon Murphy:

    Yeah. And at that time, she had had… She was the one who found the confession letter. I don’t even know why she told anyone. That was bizarre to me, too. If she’s going to play this role, why not just set it on fire? Which is what she did to it. But she told us that she found it. She told us what it said, but-

    Ashley Loeb Blassingame:

    What did it say?

    Kimberly Shannon Murphy:

    That he had been abusing all of us. One of the things that he said, which is just so insane, that as the children got older, that sex was not involved because he was worried about how fertile he was, which is absolutely insane.

    Ashley Loeb Blassingame:

    About how fertile he was.

    Kimberly Shannon Murphy:

    So he was scared he was going to get someone pregnant, which means he was raping children before they had their periods, which is what happened to me, because I was younger. But then said that when they got older, it was harder for him to be around them because he did not want to get anyone pregnant.

    Ashley Loeb Blassingame:

    And there were photos. What were the photos?

    Kimberly Shannon Murphy:

    The photos were of… They were Polaroids. They were of naked boys, young boys. The heads were cut off, so I don’t know who they were.

    Ashley Loeb Blassingame:

    So he was a full on pedophile.

    Kimberly Shannon Murphy:

    Yes.

    Ashley Loeb Blassingame:

    And so your grandmother finds these, she burns them. And talk to us about the room that you found. I can’t remember if it was at that specific… If it was after the meeting or if it was later the same, but you eventually find this room in your grandmother’s apartment.

    Kimberly Shannon Murphy:

    It was in her condo, and it was just basically a shrine to him and pictures of him everywhere. But she always wore his wedding ring around her neck, always. And she always drank from a mug that said, “I love my husband.” While we’re downstairs having this conversation about the things that he did to us, she’s got this shrine upstairs of him and all of his amazing things that he did in his life.

    Ashley Loeb Blassingame:

    Just different planets.

    Kimberly Shannon Murphy:

    Yeah.

    Ashley Loeb Blassingame:

    Listening to, or rather reading your book about your relationship with your husband and starting… I related so much to just the thinking to yourself, the weird quirks that we have. I have night terrors, and so I had to disclose to my husband like, “Hey, you’re going to wake up in the middle of the night. I’m crying. Sometimes I dream I’m in Vietnam.” Just all these horrible things you have to disclose to somebody that you don’t want to disclose to them as a result of this trauma you have when you’re just trying to date and be cute. And so I love the… If you’d share with us the story of you trying to date your husband and eventually being together.

    Kimberly Shannon Murphy:

    Well, I kind of got to this point where through my twenties I was dating guys, and I was always very open about my herpes, because obviously I didn’t feel like it was fair to sleep with someone and not let them know because it’s a very contagious thing. And many guys walked away from me when I told them that. And so I think I got to a point where I was just like, “Okay, you like me? Here it is. I have herpes. I’ve been abused.”

    Ashley Loeb Blassingame:

    You gave him a book to read or a journal to read.

    Kimberly Shannon Murphy:

    I’m like, “Here. Here’s my journal. You can read it and let me know if you still want my phone number.”

    Ashley Loeb Blassingame:

    Oh, I love it. Yeah, yeah, yeah. No, it was brilliant.

    Kimberly Shannon Murphy:

    It was like I think I terrified him. But he had a very normal upbringing, which is really interesting, especially at that time in my life that I was even attracted to him, because I wasn’t in the best space still. And we tend to attract not so great people when we’re not in great spaces. I think he just really didn’t give up on me, and I think that was a big part of it.

    Ashley Loeb Blassingame:

    You take your talents with dance and gymnastics and you parlay them into the stunt world. And of course, there are parallels to self-harm here. That reminded me. I worked in the tattoo industry many lifetimes ago and was a piercer and would see people come in who they were tattoo obsessed or they were piercing obsessed. And it was clearly self-harm. Other people might not have known that, but to me, I could see it from a mile away. But it’s tattooing, so we normalize. And for you, when I’m reading the stunt stuff, going through the window, your face bleeding, let’s get back to the shoot. I’m going to tough it out. I kept thinking how similar to this masked self-harm thing, this, “Look how I can take so much. I can physically endure so much, and I’ve found a way for the world to give me accolades for this thing I can do.” Talk to us about that journey.

    Kimberly Shannon Murphy:

    Yeah. Well, I have a lot of piercings, all the way up my ear, and I have a lot of tattoos, so there you go.

    Ashley Loeb Blassingame:

    There you go.

    Kimberly Shannon Murphy:

    I didn’t realize that that’s what I was doing at the time. And when I got really hurt on I Am legend, and that’s the prologue of the book, is when I smashed my face and it’s clearly any normal human, sane person would go to the hospital right away. And I was determined to prove to all of these men in the room that I could get back up and do it again. But yeah, it was just like, “Give me some band-aids.” And I remember going into the trailer and I just grabbed a bottle of peroxide from the medic and I just kind of dripped it all over my face and put the band-aid on and was like, “Okay, I’m ready. Let’s go.” And stayed for six more hours probably.

    Ashley Loeb Blassingame:

    Yeah.

    Kimberly Shannon Murphy:

    Yeah.

    Ashley Loeb Blassingame:

    But what people don’t understand is that we have the basis of that, right? Is I can endure, I can leave my body, I can endure. I would do the same thing with I would get in fist fights with men because… Not that I won them, but it was like this, “I can hang,” this bravado. And it comes from this having this skill, so to speak, or this talent, or whatever you want to call it, and trying to use it in a way that the world will recognize. And that’s the only way we know how to build self-esteem at those particular points in our lives, because it doesn’t feel like a positive thing for us to take care of ourselves and to say, “Yes, help me.” That doesn’t feel good yet.

    Kimberly Shannon Murphy:

    Yes. No, completely. And I also think that I was a cutter for a long time and I didn’t… A lot of people cut themselves in places where you don’t see, and it’s more for themselves. For me, it was for attention, and I would do it on my face, and it was through high school. And it was wanting my mom to notice and say, “Why is your face cut?” And notice that I was in pain and I was struggling. And so when I got into stunts and when it was similar, people were actually, “Are you okay?” And I was getting all of this attention because I was hurt on the outside that I was yearning so much for what was happening on the inside, is what I really came to terms with is what it really was.

    Ashley Loeb Blassingame:

    As your stunt career grew, things that you started to work on in terms of your healing, did you see that change what you were willing to do, how you interacted on set? What kind of changes came about as a result of your healing process in your work?

    Kimberly Shannon Murphy:

    It could still come out in me, for sure. Not as drastic, but I could go there if I needed to.

    Ashley Loeb Blassingame:

    What does that look like?

    Kimberly Shannon Murphy:

    I think maybe a year ago, two years ago, I did a car hit, and I was in a completely different mental space. I was able to just go back to that space. And again, that’s why I say the healing process is not a final thing, because I can still do that. It doesn’t happen often.

    Ashley Loeb Blassingame:

    Leave your body?

    Kimberly Shannon Murphy:

    Leave my body and be like, “I got this. I can do this. I don’t need a mat. I’m going to just do it,” kind of thing. But it has changed a lot and a lot of that happened when I met Cameron Diaz, because she just was this amazing human and we became such good friends and she saw value in me and in my story and in my life, and there was a lot of care around me for her when we became close friends.

    I remember when we were on The Other Woman, I had to do a fall out a window, and she’s up there making sure everything is set up right and just being really protective of me. And no one had ever really done that for me before. And so I was like, “Oh, my gosh, she actually values me and my life and cares and does not want me to get hurt and is not… She’s going to sit here and make sure that this is set up correctly for me, and she’s going to watch it all and she’s going to make sure I’m okay.” And so that was a big shift for me with her.

    Ashley Loeb Blassingame:

    Is it unusual for people to have a lot of care for the stunt people, or just unusual for the person you’re doing the stunts, the main actor to pay a lot of attention?

    Kimberly Shannon Murphy:

    I think it depends on the actor. Some care more than others, some don’t even stay to watch what’s happening. And I think, too, when you get to a certain level in our business, it’s like there’s certain things that we do, but they’re always set up really well and we’re always really safe and something can look really scary and gnarly, but we’ve been practicing it for three months to get to that place. It’s not like we just show up at work and we’re just like, “Okay, let’s just see what happens.”

    Ashley Loeb Blassingame:

    Just going to jump out this window.

    Kimberly Shannon Murphy:

    Yeah, so there’s a lot that goes into it, especially now. The business has changed a lot.

    Ashley Loeb Blassingame:

    Your job is about the physicality, right? Your acting is about the manipulation of your physical form. Does that have any bearing on the rest of your life experience? How do you visualize your body now versus how you saw it before in terms of a physicality, your body in its form? Is it different now? Do you feel different in your body?

    Kimberly Shannon Murphy:

    Definitely. Yeah, definitely I feel different in my body. I feel… Especially the past three years I think have been significant shift and change for me with the healing I’ve been doing and the different ways I’ve been doing it. And that needed to happen, just I needed to go deeper in order to get what I needed out of all of this. I think, for me, and I know a lot of survivors don’t feel this way, and I didn’t feel this way for a long time, which is I get that I was abused, but I don’t want to remember. I don’t need to remember everything. And I was in that space for a really long time, especially when it’s an incest situation where you know it’s happened more than once and it was reoccurring for a big part of your life. I was in a space where I’m like, “Okay, I get it. I was abused. I don’t want to remember everything.” And now what I’m realizing is that if I don’t remember everything, I’m constantly going to not understand my triggers.

    And so then I can’t heal them when they pop up, because I don’t understand them and where they’re coming from. And a big part of that was I gave birth to Mother Nature, literally. She’s like a child of the trees. And I am so… There’s an actual name for it. And Dr. Amani was the one who said this to me. And I don’t know the name of it, but when you’ve had trauma in your life, it’s hard for us to experience nature in ways that other people do. Where my husband will be like, “Look at the stars. Aren’t they beautiful?” It’s an actual thing, which was actually really good to know.

    And then I gave birth to literally Mother Nature, and she was like, “Okay, mom, I want some plants in my room.” And I always had this thing with indoor plants, and I was like, “I just don’t get it. I don’t understand why we bring dirt… Why would we bring dirt into the house when we’re trying to get it out of the house?” But it came to me in a psychedelic journey that there was something around a houseplant that had happened to me that my grandfather had done to me. And so that’s where it was coming from. And so once I had the memory and I was able to process it, I was like, “Get in the car. We’re going to the plant store.” My child has 45 plants in her room now.

    Ashley Loeb Blassingame:

    Yes.

    Kimberly Shannon Murphy:

    They have names and they have birthdays and they have all the things.

    Ashley Loeb Blassingame:

    I love it.

    Kimberly Shannon Murphy:

    But if I didn’t explore that, I would’ve just been in this state of, “No, we just don’t do this.” And then I’m stifling her as a person, because I’m not allowing her to be her full self and I’m not allowing her to experience her life the way she wants to experience it. And then I’m bleeding my trauma onto her.

    Ashley Loeb Blassingame:

    It’s so funny that you mentioned that, because my husband and I have this thing where, mostly when the kids were a little bit younger, but I would find myself, “Mommy, can I…” Insert something relatively innocuous. And my immediate response would be no, because it was inconvenient or annoying or whatever it was. And, “Can I turn the TV on right now?” And I would just say no, because in our head it just didn’t seem like it was a good idea. I didn’t think it through. And my husband and I started doing this thing with each other where you’d say, “What’s the harm in it? Why are you saying no?” And what we realized was there were all these things. I had a problem with my children not finishing a book. Okay? I’m reading the book for their enjoyment. I don’t care.

    It’s a board book. But we couldn’t move on, we couldn’t… It had to finish. And I started to see all these things that we were doing that were totally about us. It had nothing to do with whatever it was we were trying to give our kids or what they needed or what they cared about. We would say no for some reason that we weren’t even sure. We just thought that that was what parents do. I don’t know. And when we started to question, like you’re saying, “Well, why would we have a plant in the house?” Or, “Why can’t he sit on the counter?” I don’t know. Is the counter going to break? Probably not. What are the things?

    And it was so interesting how often we just responded to various things with no idea why, but we knew that was the right thing or what we needed or what we wanted. And when we started to peel those back, it wasn’t like everything was related to trauma per se, but how many things were related to out-of-date ideas. And I love that you went through this and you explored why it is I don’t let my kid X, Y, Z, because so many parents, we are putting whatever unprocessed trauma we have onto our kids as a result of not wanting to remember, not wanting to talk about it, not questioning why it is that we feel whatever way we do, and then we are putting it down one more generation.

    Kimberly Shannon Murphy:

    Yes, a hundred percent. And I’ve watched it play out so much in my family that it’s terrifying, honestly, and really sad. And I feel like my book, too, is for all of my nieces and nephews when they get into their twenties and they’re wondering why their mom was this certain way or why did this happen, or whatever went on in their families. And I feel like it will be an answer for them.

    Ashley Loeb Blassingame:

    Yeah. Yeah. I love that. I love that. I’m sure your sisters are loving it as well.

    Kimberly Shannon Murphy:

    Real excited. Yeah, loving it as well.

    Ashley Loeb Blassingame:

    Super excited. Super excited. Yep, yep, yep. Hold on, I have your book right here. I highlighted something. So you do your psychedelic journey to go deeper, and you talk about accessing your most painful memories from a place of safety and then holding the hand of your little girl. And I was so overcome by the image. You picked an element, fire, and your little girl said, “No, we’re not going to burn down the forest.” Which I thought was so, I don’t know. I don’t know what that was. Maybe it’s your daughter’s energy or something, and then water washing his hand prints away together and just your psychedelic journey.

    I was on an airplane reading this and it made me cry, which is a feat, honestly. And I think it was so relatable of going back and the inner wisdom of us as children far surpasses anything we have today. And that is not what I expected when I did inner child work. I thought inner child, I’m going to go back to the immature version of myself, but it’s not, it’s the most connected, mature version of myself. What was your experience? It’s just beautiful.

    Kimberly Shannon Murphy:

    I think it’s the version of yourself that you would’ve… I struggle with this too, that I would’ve been if he didn’t touch me. So it’s like that still is something that I struggle with, I think, and probably every survivor does, is who would I be if this never happened to me? But you could do that all day long, and it’s not going to help anything or help anybody. So when I did my… You do these intentions and you’re working with a doctor, so it’s completely supervised. It’s not like you’re just going and doing drugs and being crazy. You’re doing therapy beforehand, therapy after. And this woman who I do it with, who now has become such a safe space for me, kind of what it does for you is take away your fight or flight. And so you’re able to just experience the experience.

    And my first intention was that I want to connect with my inner child, because I was always so angry with her and just like, “How could you let this happen to us? And why didn’t you fight back and why didn’t you…” All these things and all these things I was harboring to and about her and putting on her, which she did not deserve. And so when I connected with her, when the medicine started kicking in, and then she just appeared in front of me and she was just smiling and happy and in nature, and maybe that’s what I would’ve been if… Maybe I would’ve been my daughter, maybe that was what was actually in me and part of what he took from me. I don’t know. But she was just there and she was so happy that I was there and she reached her hand out to me, and I couldn’t take it at first.

    And so my doctor had to sort of talk me through just being able to even hold her hand. And I was able to, in the space, she was still in the same clothes that she was abused in, so I was able to change her clothes and do all these things that they work with you on. And it was just such a beautiful gift that I was able to give myself to be able to be with her and actually understand that she was the reason that I was still alive, literally. And as I have done my journeys, realize how much she fought and how hard she tried to get away and how much the system of my family kept her where she was, and that none of it was her fault and that she was actually the strongest one out of all of them.

    Ashley Loeb Blassingame:

    Absolutely, absolutely. And there’s so many moments in the description of the journey. She’s in the clothes that she was abused in in one of the scenes. And she says, “It’s okay. I don’t need to change.” And then, “No, you do need to change.” And so you help her through that. And she’s almost… There’s just a serenity and a maturity in this exchange of healing back and forth. She has this sense of strength, and you come in and you’re saying, “No, we’re going to change and we’re going to wash it away and we’re going to rewrite this story of ourselves.” And there’s so many beautiful pieces to it. As you’ve gone back and looked at, worked on internal family systems, which is a type of therapy, for people who are unfamiliar, also looked at when you go back to your inner child that way and you are looking at all the things she did, all the ways she fought, all the things she tried, how did you or how are you processing anger towards people who let you down, who you have relationships with?

    And I’ll just add to that, which is that I find that I can see my parents in this really loving, forgiving way, but I also have to manage the reality of what happened. And that can be confusing, because I have this version of my parents that I see today, and then I have the version of them that they didn’t do the job they were supposed to do, and I have to hold those two things at the same time. And it’s confusing, and I sometimes negate my own feelings in order to see them more humanely. So it’s this back and forth. You opened up that box to really look at what she did to fight and how the system failed you. When you look at internal family systems, how are you handling the information coming to you?

    Kimberly Shannon Murphy:

    It’s difficult with my mom. My father and I don’t speak because my father has his own demons he has not tackled. And so he’s kind of stuck in this space, and I can no longer for my mental health be in that space with him anymore. That is just something that I needed to walk away from. My mom really tries. And so that’s, like you said, it’s difficult, because I have these two parts of me. One that’s really angry with her, and when I do have these journeys and I remember more and more and I’m just like, “How?” And as a mother myself, I’m like, “How in the heck did this…” But then knowing that she was also a victim of his. So it’s difficult with my mom, and that is something that I think is my last struggle that I have not hurdled fully yet. And it was interesting, because in one of my podcasts that I did, I spoke about my mom and how… They take a 15-second clip and then everyone just loves to judge you.

    Ashley Loeb Blassingame:

    Yes, of course. The trailer.

    Kimberly Shannon Murphy:

    Of course I’m triggered and then I’m just like, “I’m answering people that I don’t even know. What am I doing to myself?” But it was that I don’t forgive my mom. And the bigger part of that was I don’t forgive my mom for what she didn’t do for me as a child. I don’t forgive that. I don’t think that you need to. And all of my doctors that I’ve spoken to about that actually feel the same way. I don’t need to forgive to heal my trauma and to move on.

    It doesn’t mean I don’t have to look at it and deal with it and process it and understand it, but I don’t have to forgive my grandfather for the atrocious things that he’s done to me. I don’t have to forgive my mother or my father for not being a mother or a father, for not showing me how to be a parent. I’ve had to learn how to do that on my own. And then I can also have a side of me with my mother that has a compassionate space where I know that she was terrorized by the same person I was, and I know that she went through similar things that I did. And so it is a difficult thing that I’m still working through.

    Ashley Loeb Blassingame:

    Yeah, I think it’s beautiful that you’re talking about it that way. And forgiveness is a wild journey. And it’s interesting how you can hold someone… There’s all sorts of different ways to forgive. You can forgive and separate, you can forgive and not separate. You can not forgive and stay, have a relationship, but it’s different. There’s so many different ways to do it. There isn’t one formula. I do think that holding someone accountable for the things that happened is valuable and okay. It’s a really hard thing for us to do when we finally see our parents as people or even children in that same system. It’s very painful because you get it. But they had a responsibility, and there has to be some accountability there. And it’s just when you let the world into that conversation, I can imagine it got real wild.

    Kimberly Shannon Murphy:

    Everybody has so many opinions. It’s so interesting to me because I’m like, “Did you live my life? I don’t think so. Okay, thank you.” Yeah, and I think that’s the one problem I have with social media, is that we have so many amazing people that show up and say these beautiful things. Are they really living that life? I don’t know, but I don’t want to show up as someone who’s trying to say that I went through this horrific thing and I’m just like, “Everything’s great and my life is beautiful.” And my life is beautiful, but I still have pain and I still have hardships and I still have hurdles that I need to get through and get over and work through. And it’s not easy all the time. That’s okay.

    Ashley Loeb Blassingame:

    Frankly, it’s more than okay, it’s important to say, because it’s an inauthentic expression of what the experience is if you’re saying it’s fine all the time. That’s just not the truth. And the bravery of opening up to the outer world about your story. The statistics are right now, one in three women are sexually assaulted, abused in some way, shape, or form in their life. So it isn’t uncommon. So if those are the statistics, it’s very, very common.

    However, the outward expression, allowing other people into that conversation, that’s the part that’s uncommon. And that’s the bravery. That’s the courage, is, “I’m going to tell you some information and you may or may not have an opinion about it. I have figured out a way to protect myself enough from the outer world.” And it’s not a perfect thing all the time. And luckily, you are in a community in Hollywood with actors who are on display and critiqued 24/7. So I’m sure that there’s a lot of support there with how to handle all the opinions about what you do and how you do it and all those things. That was probably very necessary for putting this out there.

    Kimberly Shannon Murphy:

    Yes, a hundred percent. And I’ve seen it with Cameron for years. It’s something that she beautifully navigates, but it’s not easy. And she will say, “It doesn’t matter what you say, someone’s always going to say something.” And it’s funny because then you’ll go and click to their page and they’re like, “Child of God,” and they’ve just said the most horrible thing to you on the planet.

    Ashley Loeb Blassingame:

    That stuff really freaks me out, really freaks me out.

    Kimberly Shannon Murphy:

    I’m like, “Okay, all right.” But I think that’s been an important lesson for me. Again, it’s a lesson. It’s okay, Kim, this is what you’re doing, and you’re putting this out in the world. You don’t need to read the comments. Everyone’s going to have an opinion. If you read them, all you’re going to do is spiral yourself into some sort of abyss of strangers and answer these people. So it’s all a lesson for me, and obviously putting this out in the world is a new experience for me. So I’m learning as I go and trying to do the best that I can.

    And ultimately I didn’t… I did this book for myself. Obviously it helped so much in my healing, but I wrote this book because I didn’t have something like this when I was 15. And if I did, it would’ve changed my life in a lot of ways. So many ways, I mean, there’s so much knowledge that I didn’t have then and so much confusion and so much pain that I wanted to give the world something to read that people like me or people that have survived any sort of anything, survived anything. Trauma’s trauma.

    Ashley Loeb Blassingame:

    What is the conversation? I think your daughter’s 10, nine?

    Kimberly Shannon Murphy:

    Nine.

    Ashley Loeb Blassingame:

    10?

    Kimberly Shannon Murphy:

    Nine.

    Ashley Loeb Blassingame:

    Nine. What does she know? What are the conversations with her at this stage?

    Kimberly Shannon Murphy:

    She is very inquisitive and very smart, and obviously I’m doing this. And so she’s, “Okay, mom, can I have a copy? I’m going to read your book,” because she’s reading. And I’m like, “Yeah, it’s not really appropriate.” Something had happened last summer, which is when I cut ties with most of my family, where we were all in one place in one state at a time, and my daughter was left out of a beach day, and it broke her. It literally broke her. She knew they were all there. She knew her cousins were all there. She was so excited to see them, because I had spoken to one of my sisters prior who had said, “Absolutely, we’ll get together.” I reached out, didn’t hear anything until they all left New York. And then it was like, “Sorry. It was so busy. We didn’t have the time.” When I knew that they were all doing all these things and that my daughter wasn’t included, so she was devastated. And of course her… She was eight then. So her eight-year-old self was like, “What did I do? Why doesn’t anyone want to see me, Mom?”

    Ashley Loeb Blassingame:

    Oh, God. Hard.

    Kimberly Shannon Murphy:

    And it was in that moment where I realized, okay, if I continue these relationships, this is just going to keep happening because no one-

    Ashley Loeb Blassingame:

    It wasn’t the first time it had happened?

    Kimberly Shannon Murphy:

    Well, I knew it was going to keep happening because there were certain people that chose to remove themselves from me, which is why she wasn’t invited.

    Ashley Loeb Blassingame:

    Got it. Okay.

    Kimberly Shannon Murphy:

    Once I got the book deal, there were certain people that were like, “Kim, you’re done. I’m done. We’re done. I’m not having a relationship with you.”

    Ashley Loeb Blassingame:

    They’re done with your daughter, too?

    Kimberly Shannon Murphy:

    My sister said, “You can drop her off at my house, but you can’t come in.” And I was like, “I’m not dropping my daughter at your house, and I’m not coming in.” And if you can’t see the toxicity in that, we’re not going anywhere else. If you can’t see how toxic that is, to say that to me, to think that my daughter is not going to be immensely confused by the fact that she’s invited to your home but her mother isn’t, and you think that’s okay, we’re on different planets. We’re just not even seeing the same thing at all. So when that happened, she was very upset and very, “What did I do? What did I do?” And thankfully, my husband was with me at the time, and she just said, “Mommy, I don’t understand. I need an example. When things happen at school, you always want an example and you’re not giving me an example. And so I’m not understanding. If so-and-so does something to me at school. You want me to tell you the example of why I am feeling a certain way?”

    So thankfully my husband was with me, and I just said to her, “You know how Mommy and Daddy’s number one job is to protect you?” And she said, “Yes.” And I just said, “Mommy wasn’t protected when I was a child.” Of course, I get so… When I’m talking to her, it’s just the most difficult. And my husband… And she said, “Well, Mommy, who hurt you?” And she called my mom Mina. And so I said, “Mina’s dad hurt Mommy.” And she said, “Did he hurt you with his heart or with his hands?” And I just said both. And she just hugged me and she said, “I’m so sorry, Mom.” And that was it.

    And it was in that moment where I realized that coming from a family of lies and secrets and covering up and telling one lie to cover up another lie, another lie, and everyone not living in their truth and standing in their authentic self and in their truthful self, that it was so easy, that she just accepted it and just took it. And we just moved on and went to dinner, and now the conversation is open and she knows that she can ask me anything and I will answer her as it’s appropriate, but it was never an option for me to not tell her about my life.

    Ashley Loeb Blassingame:

    I’m asking this because I think this is very common in families who have experienced incest. Why do you think the family is so angry? Everybody’s got their individual reason, but why do you think there’s such resistance to saying this person? And in many ways, it’s not their dirty laundry, it’s his. Why do you think that families protect the individual when the stain is on the person and it’s not on them? Why are they so angry at you for doing that?

    Kimberly Shannon Murphy:

    I think it’s because when our brains are developing and these things are happening to us, our brains are being shaped in this way, and so there’s so much anger around it and you either have two choices. You either explore that anger and you get curious about it and you heal it or you ignore it, which only makes you angrier, and it only makes you… I think I am something for them that they can’t do, and that makes them angry because they can’t access that part of them because it’s too painful, and they think that they’re not going to come back from it.

    Ashley Loeb Blassingame:

    If there is someone listening to this who’s starting on their journey from where you were, where would you suggest they start? Let’s say they think they’re remembering abuse. Where would you suggest that they start on their journey?

    Kimberly Shannon Murphy:

    Now, fast-forward, I would say to find an IFS therapist, because I truly think that, for me, I found them way late in life. And I think his work, I work with Dr. Schwartz personally, and their work… But he has a million therapists that do his work, so you can find one anywhere. And I think that the work that he does is so important and it changes your life. It’s really changed me and it’s really helped me.

    Ashley Loeb Blassingame:

    Well, your book was amazing, is amazing, and I hope people run out and get it in whatever form. Glimmer is the book, it’s available everywhere, anywhere. And of course, it has lots of fun Hollywood stuff in it that we didn’t go through as much, but there’s lots of stuff there, and I’m really grateful that you wrote this and really grateful that you’re coming out. And I know it’s cost you a lot, but I think that it’s also given you a lot, and it’s an incredible story.

    Kimberly Shannon Murphy:

    Thank you. Thank you so much. I appreciate that.

    Ashley Loeb Blassingame:

    Where can people follow you on social, or do you have a place where people can follow along with what you’re doing?

    Kimberly Shannon Murphy:

    I think I have everything. I have someone who does it for me, but I do my Instagram. I mean, I don’t do my content, but I am very active on Instagram. It’s the only thing I do because I can’t do everything. It’s just too overwhelming. So Instagram, I literally, I answer people that write me. It’s not somebody else answering for me. I do it myself. I take that very seriously, because when survivors reach out to me, I think it’s really important that they’re hearing from me and not hearing from someone who might be me. So it is me, and I do respond as much as I can to everybody that writes.

    Ashley Loeb Blassingame:

    What is your Instagram handle?

    Kimberly Shannon Murphy:

    It’s like the longest handle on the planet. It’s Kimberly Shannon Murphy stunts.

    Ashley Loeb Blassingame:

    Okay. Kimberly Shannon Murphy stunts. Okay.

    Kimberly Shannon Murphy:

    Yes. But if you put Kimberly Shannon, it usually comes up, so it’s-

    Ashley Loeb Blassingame:

    Yeah. You and I are competing for the longest Instagram. Ashley Loeb Blassingame, so you’re in good company. Just in case. People have to really want to find us, then maybe that’s our tactic.

    Kimberly Shannon Murphy:

    Yeah.

    Ashley Loeb Blassingame:

    Yeah. It’s intentional. It’s intentional.

    Kimberly Shannon Murphy:

    Yes.

    Ashley Loeb Blassingame:

    Well, thank you so much for your time and for being here, and really, really appreciate it. Thank you.

    Kimberly Shannon Murphy:

    Thank you. Thank you so much.

    Ashley Loeb Blassingame:

    Well, hello there. Welcome back from Mexico.

    Scott Drochelman:

    Oh, thank you so much. Do you see my glorious tan?

    Ashley Loeb Blassingame:

    Nope.

    Scott Drochelman:

    It’s because I’m married to a redhead and so-

    Ashley Loeb Blassingame:

    So you had to hide.

    Scott Drochelman:

    No, it means I put on SPF 50 all the time, where I don’t know about how you were as a child, you get some color as well. When I would get sunscreen put on me, it was four, SPF four.

    Ashley Loeb Blassingame:

    Oh, no, we were-

    Scott Drochelman:

    I think that lasts about seven minutes.

    Ashley Loeb Blassingame:

    Four minutes.

    Scott Drochelman:

    Yeah. So I was like very… I’m paying for it now. As the catcher’s mitt you see before you, that was a lot of unprotected sun damage.

    Ashley Loeb Blassingame:

    Unprotected sun. I had unprotected intercourse with the sun.

    Scott Drochelman:

    I did. I was happy. A lot of vitamin D.

    Ashley Loeb Blassingame:

    Yeah, a lot of vitamin D.

    Scott Drochelman:

    Yes.

    Ashley Loeb Blassingame:

    Yeah.

    Scott Drochelman:

    I’m back.

    Ashley Loeb Blassingame:

    And you were there for a month?

    Scott Drochelman:

    I was there for 20 days.

    Ashley Loeb Blassingame:

    20 days, okay.

    Scott Drochelman:

    Which was incredible. I recommend it. If you ever have a nice enough boss as Ashley Loeb Blassingame, who will allow you to try something a little funky with your work schedule, I would highly recommend it. It was the best. It was the best.

    Ashley Loeb Blassingame:

    Highly recommend me being your boss?

    Scott Drochelman:

    Yeah, no, I give that for sure.

    Ashley Loeb Blassingame:

    Yeah.

    Scott Drochelman:

    If we were doing the LinkedIn profile-

    Ashley Loeb Blassingame:

    Annual? Oh, yeah, recommendation.

    Scott Drochelman:

    About The Courage to Change, recommend CEO, Ashley Loeb Blassingame. A hundred percent.

    Ashley Loeb Blassingame:

    If you can handle… Well, you’re married to someone who has the focus.

    Scott Drochelman:

    It’s true.

    Ashley Loeb Blassingame:

    What is it? Gift.

    Scott Drochelman:

    The gift.

    Ashley Loeb Blassingame:

    The gift of multifocals.

    Scott Drochelman:

    We talk about it as a race car mind.

    Ashley Loeb Blassingame:

    Yes.

    Scott Drochelman:

    With bicycle brakes.

    Ashley Loeb Blassingame:

    Yes. That’s exactly what it’s like.

    Scott Drochelman:

    That’s what we call it. That’s what we say around here.

    Ashley Loeb Blassingame:

    Boppity bop.

    Scott Drochelman:

    Yep, boppity bop.

    Ashley Loeb Blassingame:

    There’s a video I’ll send you of this woman who’s like, “I didn’t take my ADHD meds today,” and I sent it to my entire family and was like, “I feel seen.” She goes through the house and narrates what it was that was going to happen. She starts from where she ended up and works her way backwards to where she started. It’s brilliant. It’s so relatable. It was one of those, like, “I thought I was going to make a dinner, so I pulled out the pan and realized that I needed to organize all of the Tupperware. So I started organizing the Tupperwares and realized, oh, my gosh, the…”

    And then all the cabinet in the kitchen, all the cabinet doors are open, which is my singular move. If your house has ever been broken into and all the cabinets are open, it was probably me because that’s just every room I go into. I don’t even see it. I can’t begin to tell you how accurate that is. If my ADHD is not treated, I am not capable of organizing something. It’s like I’ll… I don’t know if you guys have done this, but we’ll try to do a big clean out organization. I’ll find one photo album during the process. The next thing I know, it’s like a blackout. Now I’m organizing all the images, going back to… Everything else is still out, though. It’s just, oh, my God, my brain.

    Scott Drochelman:

    It’s mostly just funny, because sometimes if you just watch-

    Ashley Loeb Blassingame:

    You can say it if you don’t live with it.

    Scott Drochelman:

    If you just watch it for a little bit. You just sit there and you just kind of watch this thing happening and you go, “Where are they going to go now? All right.”

    Ashley Loeb Blassingame:

    Oh, my god, it’s just-

    Scott Drochelman:

    “Why is that in their hands? Huh? Okay, that’s interesting.”

    Ashley Loeb Blassingame:

    Huh? That’ seems like a [inaudible 01:12:32] for you.

    Scott Drochelman:

    Interesting. I’ll be like, “Okay, well let’s watch a show at this time.” And then I come down and the whole basement is just exhumed, and I’m like, “So we still going to watch a show?”

    Ashley Loeb Blassingame:

    So speaking of ADHD, am I right?

    Scott Drochelman:

    Speaking of ADHD, we just had an episode with Kimberly Shannon Murphy that was amazing.

    Ashley Loeb Blassingame:

    So the universe definitely conspired to make this episode happen because I was in New York City with a friend of mine and her husband has a podcast, and he had just interviewed Kimberly, and he said, “You got to interview this woman. She’s amazing.” And so he introduced us, and she and I had a little chit-chat here and there. And I was about to let you know to send her stuff that I had talked to her and blah, blah, blah, and she just needed the information to schedule. And as I was doing this, bing, I get a notification that says, “Kimberly Shannon Murphy,” and it’s the invite to her recording. Because I have ADHD, it was not out of the realm of possibilities that I lost time and had already told you and completely forgotten that I had told you, right?

    Scott Drochelman:

    Right.

    Ashley Loeb Blassingame:

    So I was like, “Oh, my God, I’m losing it. I’ve already had… How did he know?” All this stuff. And then I go back through, and I realized you had previously contacted her without me knowing. And so both of us were…

    Scott Drochelman:

    Had the same great idea.

    Ashley Loeb Blassingame:

    We were conspiring.

    Scott Drochelman:

    Had the same great idea. That’s all. It was just like, yes.

    Ashley Loeb Blassingame:

    Exactly.

    Scott Drochelman:

    We both immediately were like, “Yes, she’s absolutely yes.”

    Ashley Loeb Blassingame:

    Yes. I think something so important that she talks about are repressed memories and this ability to remember things. So she describes the abuse that’s happening with her grandfather, but then doesn’t really remember it and suppresses it. And of course, he’s grooming her to suppress it. And then she and her mother are watching a Lifetime movie, always triggering, if you know what I mean. And so they’re watching a lifetime movie. The woman in the Lifetime movie is having repressed memories of being abused. And Kimberly remembers, she’s like, “Oh, my gosh, I have that, too,” in that moment. She’s with her mom, and she tells her mom, and then her mom starts to react really strangely. And I guess her mom had just started to have these memories and was now secretly seeing a therapist. And her mom had just remembered, so after however many years. And so the repression of memories is a really confusing thing for people, but it is the brain’s way of managing extreme stress and trauma and managing ongoing denial of reality, which is also what happens particularly in incest situations where there’s constant exposure to the perpetrator.

    And so I think it was really important that she talked about that, that you can have these repressed memories, what it feels like to have them come up, have people say, “Oh, that’s not true.” Or question your own memories, like, “Is this true?” And in her case, I think it was very, and lucky is just not the right word, but helpful that her grandfather had admitted to that there were other corroborating people and evidence and things like that, because many people do not have that experience. Many people just have the memories, just have the people trying to repress them, and they have to manage that themselves. And I think something that was useful in this situation was that Kimberly was able to have that shared experience with her mother, which at least brought some level of even minor clarity or minor corroboration to what she was managing.

    Scott Drochelman:

    Yeah.

    Ashley Loeb Blassingame:

    We might not be able to stop every single… We’re not going to be able to stop every single situation, but what if we armed kids with more resources or more understanding about how they could ask for help, who they could ask for help, maybe at school, maybe other places? Is it going to work every time? Absolutely not. Is it going to be comprehensive? Probably… But man, if we could just start, we could just start. Because really what Kimberly is saying is this is happening, this is real, I’m not alone. I’m not unique in my story, but I’m unique in the fact that I’m talking about it, and I am being persecuted by my own family for talking about it. Which can you imagine? They’re ones who went through it with her, you’d think they’d be… I know I’m kind of on my soapbox about it, but it’s just so hard for me to hear all these stories and not say guys, we got to do more than just help the survivors. We got to stop the perpetration from happening. We can do more.

    Scott Drochelman:

    One tiny thing before we end. This is just something that it didn’t really ever occur to me. I think our puritanical nature as people, we’re prone to talk about kids’ private parts in cutesy little fake terms.

    Ashley Loeb Blassingame:

    Oh, yeah. Yeah, yeah, yeah.

    Scott Drochelman:

    And one of the most protective things that you could do is call them by their anatomical names. Don’t get all sheepish at this moment, because there is a lot that can hide when a perpetrator can use all kinds of cute names and you don’t know what the kid is talking about. When they finally do come and get the courage to tell you what’s going on, let them know what the anatomical names are for their private parts. That is actually a really seemingly small but very important factor in keeping your kids safe.

    Ashley Loeb Blassingame:

    And there are books out there talk about, that put into language how to talk about these things. And so there are a couple books that I like. Again, I’m not an expert in this, but this is just what we used. There’s a book called Some Parts Are Not For Sharing. Again, this is picture book. My boys are six. So these are ones that we’ve used from when they were little up to now. One said, I Said No! A kid-to-kid guide for keeping private parts private. And then there’s another one that we like called A Little Book About Safety, and it’s got a hippo on it. There’re probably a ton of other ones, but I liked these for the boys. They really talk about a safe person. One of the things we also talk about in public is if you’re lost, going and finding a mom with children.

    So there are all these different little things that I had never thought about that were in some of these books about ways to think about things. Again, we’re not saying, “Hey, the world’s full of pedophiles, don’t whatever.” That’s not what we’re doing. We’re not trying to scare them. We’re just teaching them like, “Hey, it’s not okay for anyone to touch you. And if there is, you find a safe adult to tell,” whatever. So just having these conversations. It’s so hard to listen day after day, year after year to these stories for me personally, having listened to them for 20 plus years, being in treatment with these people, with these children, with these girls, boys. Please, let’s do more. We can do more. We can do more to protect our kids, other kids. We can do more to try to prevent. Let’s work on prevention.

    Scott Drochelman:

    We’re really thankful for Kimberly for coming on the show and sharing her story.

    Ashley Loeb Blassingame:

    Yeah, she’s incredible.

    Scott Drochelman:

    It’s not an easy story to tell or to talk about, but it means so much for her to do so. We are rooting for you this week, as we always are. If something in this story affected you in some way and you’re just not sure where to go, please, we really do respond. Reach out to us at podcast.lionrock.life. If you get the newsletter, Change Mail, you don’t even have to remember our email address. If you just go to our podcast website and you sign up for Change Mail, our newsletter, all you got to do is reply to our newsletters anytime and we will get those as well. So just a quick plug for that. Ashley, anything you want to leave the people with this week?

    Ashley Loeb Blassingame:

    Yes. So just a reminder, the book is called Glimmer: A Story of Survival, Hope, and Healing, by Kimberly Shannon Murphy. So if you want to buy that, the hard cover is out on Amazon. And Kaitlin Olson from Always Sunny in Philadelphia did the audiobook, and I’m sure there’s a Kindle version. So anyway, if you do want to read the book Glimmer: A Story of Survival, Hope, and Healing, by Kimberly Shannon Murphy. I hope this was helpful for you. And please, as Scott said, reach out to us if we can be of any further support. We always want to hear from you. All right everybody, see you next time.

    This podcast is sponsored by Lionrock.life. Lionrock.ife is a diverse and supportive recovery community offering weekly over 70 online peer support meetings, useful recovery information, and entertaining content. Whether you’re newly sober, have many years in recovery, or you’re recovering from something other than drugs and alcohol, we have space for you. Visit www.lionrock.life today and enter promo code courage for one month of unlimited peer support meetings free. Find the joy in recovery at Lionrock.life.

    Scott Drochelman

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