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Beyond the Breaking Point

Surviving an Abusive Mother and Getting a Life Abundant

Debra Pauli

By Adrienne Papp

Life, even under the best of conditions, is often extremely harsh.  Even those who live a charmed one suffer their share of pain, disappointment and loss as life takes its toll on even the most privileged among us. As if there was always something to “pay for.”

But imagine what it would be like to start out a life in an atmosphere of total fear, humiliation and hopelessness, to be deprived of the joys of childhood, to be brutalized and taunted from birth and treated as evil by the people who were responsible  to love and nurture you — your parents? That was the torture inflicted on Debra Pauli from birth, a case of parental brutalization so severe that it has been documented as one of the worst child abuse cases in U.S. history, which puzzles the mind even more: an innocent baby is “made to pay” for something that she does not even know about. Instead of unconditional love, she receives unconditional hate.

“My Mother  had no time or tolerance for her daughters, me or my sister Danielle, who was born eleven months after I was in 1962. Both of us were kept isolated in separate small closets as infants and in the basement as toddlers. The meager food we received was placed in a bowl on the stairs, as if we were pets.”

Physical torture was continual and included cigarette burns and the use of pharmaceutical drugs (four doses of valium per day) to keep Debra quiet.  “I was fed an assortment of pills beginning when I was about two years old.  My mother had convinced a doctor that she needed adult prescription drugs for her stress, which then she used these drugs to keep me sedated,” Debra says.

Debra Pauli lived every day of her childhood being demonized by her mother and was psychologically and physically tortured well into adolescence.  Yet through sheer willpower she was able to survive the horrendous abuse.  It’s a story that has drawn a lot of national attention, a childhood drama worthy of an uplifting Lifetime Channel biography.  And the best part is that there is no tragic ending.  Instead, Debra Pauli was able to triumph over her nightmares and become recognized as an inspiration and champion for victims everywhere, an author, motivational speaker and role model for us all.

Debra at Her 50th Birthday

How is this possible? How can someone with such a horrific history become such a guiding light for abused and downtrodden souls everywhere?

Debra’s early life has been published in a series of candid autobiographical books, searing personal memoirs that reveal a life of unspeakably sadistic treatments as a child.  Hers was a nightmare that began at birth as Debra was branded “The Devil’s Daughter” by her paranoid schizophrenic mother.

But that’s all behind her.  The most important part of her life is what’s happening now.  She has been able to share her survival story and healing process as she has become recognized by the public as a respected and truly extraordinary woman who has the strength that is almost impossible to obtain and yet maintain, especially at her age, and on top of it all, she was able to rely upon this higher calling her entire life! Against all odds, Debra Pauli faced daily torture, along with numerous near death experiences  from birth, yet somehow survived to be able to share her message of hope with us all!

“One day I heard a tiny but powerful voice inside me say that things would be all right, a voice telling me that ‘It’s not you, it’s her, your mother” Debra recalls.  “If it hadn’t been for that message, I don’t know if I could have survived my crazed mother. Something deep inside me told me that there was something better for me, that my mother’s hatred would not destroy me. My mother could physically and emotionally torment me, but she would NEVER take away my will to survive, but only make it stronger.”

When she finally gained freedom from her horrendous home life, Debra ran into a new set of problems, getting pregnant in her freshman year of high school. “My first husband was also physically abusive,” Debra says. “In my ninth month of pregnancy, he pushed me out of a moving car. During an argument, he leaned over while driving and opened the passenger door and shoved  me out. I rolled down into a ditch while desperately trying to protect the life of my unborn child.”

With an indomitable will to succeed, Debra finally got her GED and, though busy raising four sons and taking care of her family, still found time to pursue a higher education, earning a 3.7 to 4.0 GPA and degrees for Graphic Arts/Word Processing and Psychology/Sociology thru a State University.  She was finally on track to a healthier, more productive life.  There were still numerous pitfalls to be overcome, however, and, after a divorce from her first husband, Debra was to suffer through two more disastrous relationships, including a sham marriage to a man who turned out to be a closet homosexual.

Tormented by the memories of daily childhood terror, torture and near-death experiences, Debra began exorcising the demons of her early life in a series of books, including A Survivor’s Closet, And Then There Was LightMy Spiritual Cleansing, and Why We Cry for a Soul Set Free The books are brutally honest accounts of Debra’s childhood, and were part of the process of liberating herself from her horrors.

The unlikely ending to this horrific story of torment and abuse is that today Debra has become one of the most sought-after motivational speakers in the country. Through her cathartic presentation of raw passion and brutal honesty, she is a living example of perseverance as the key to survival. Her searing life story is testimony to the incredible amount of courage needed to survive even catastrophic child abuse cases. Triumphing over her imposed demons, instead of escaping into drugs or alcohol, she has become the successful role model who now inspires others to overcome life’s harshest realities.

Against all odds, Debra Pauli is now a highly successful businesswoman, best-selling author and life coach who can teach others, as individuals or in groups, not only how to survive harsh realities, but also how to become successful, decent, passionate and loving humans. Her story is one for the ages, and is now attracting the attention of Hollywood for development as a feature film or television mini-series.

Through her efforts to honestly expose her life in books, speaking performances and seminars for small, medium and large corporations, Debra Pauli has become an inspiration to us all,  a legend who can show us that, no matter how big our life problems are, we can not only survive, but also make our dreams come true.

Debra Pauli’s story gives us hope and courage. Her triumph over horrific adversities is a message that she now shares with people in desperate need of a voice of encouragement or better known as “One Survivor’s Voice for Millions of Silent Victims”. Through her books, speaking tours and a feature film in the making, we can all be grateful that Debra Pauli is not only a survivor, but also is able to share a personal message that can make the world a much better place for us all.

About the Author of This Article:  Lady Adrienne Papp is a recognized journalist who has written for many publications including Savoir, Beverly Hills 90210Malibu BeachSanta Monica SunThe Beverly Hills TimesBrentwood News, Bel-Air View,Celebrity Society,Celeb Staff, It MagazineChic TodayLA2DAYWest Side Todayamong many others. She is the President and CEO of Los Angeles / New York-based publicity company, Atlantic Publicityand publishing house, Atlantic Publisher. Adrienne writes about world trends, Quantum Physics, entertainment and interviews celebrities, world leaders, inventors, philanthropists and entrepreneurs. She also owns Atlantic United Films that produces and finances true stories made for theatrical release or the silver screen. Spotlight News Magazineis owned by Atlantic United, Incwith Adrienne Pappbeing the majority shareholder.

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    This woman is remarkable. I do not know how someone can come out on the other side like this. Plus, she looks like a queen in the photos. Kind of amazing. She should be teaching all these!

  • This woman in truly remarkable. She is beautiful! What is that photo? She seems to be getting crowned? A beauty queen? It is very inspiring that even at her age she can be this much fun and this gorgeous!

  • How can she have gone through all this?

  • She is a beauty queen and a queen of survival. Period. We just need to learn from her. She should lecture sooner than later.

  • I absolutely admire this woman. I wish my partner would be half of who she is! She must be really proud of herself!

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