Monday, October 14, 2019

Unbraided by Karla Monterrosa - Book Tour & Review


Karla Monterrosa

* Non-fiction/self-help/overcoming abuse/Christian *


Author: Karla Monterrosa

Publisher: Inspire Books

Pages: 250

Genre: Non-fiction/self-help/overcoming abuse/Christian

Vulnerable, courageous, and deeply personal, Unbraided: Transform Your Pain Into Power and Purpose,
will help you to identify the areas of your life that are being
affected by abuse and provide a path for you to experience breakthrough
and healing.

Karla Monterrosa experienced physical, emotional, and sexual abuses
early in her life. She was able to take those negative experiences and
use them as fuel to propel her forward for a time, accomplishing
personal, educational, and professional successes. Eventually, within
the stresses and pressures of marriage and motherhood, her scars became
utterly exposed. She realized that her past was beginning to harm her
family in the present, and it was then she chose to take courageous
steps to heal from abuse—to become the woman, wife, and mother they

If you’re ready to experience healing from abuse, Unbraided
will help you get healthy emotionally and spiritually so you can
cultivate the self-confidence and courage needed to follow through to
freedom. Learn how to deal with the long-term effects of abuse—fear,
shame, lack of trust, and anger—in order to build strong relationships,
enjoy intimacy, and experience joy.

Using thought-provoking journaling exercises, biblical principles,
and her one-of-a-kind 7 Steps Toward Healing framework, Karla will
gently guide you through a journey of self-reflection and healing—while
making it feel like an intimate conversation with a trusted friend over
coffee. Are you ready to step forward into the life you desire with
renewed energy, unshakeable confidence, and purpose?



I want to begin by congratulating you for your courage to
this book. The topic of childhood sexual abuse is a difficult
uncomfortable one, especially if you have experienced it
yourself. As
you know, those memories stay with us, sometimes only
partially, but
remain difficult to revisit. It is important, however, for
us to courageously
reflect, analyze, and feel through those memories in order
to experience
healing. When left unaddressed, those traumatic experiences
our view of ourselves, how we respond to life’s challenges,
and how
we either relate to or distance ourselves from each other. There
isn’t a
single thing in our lives that isn’t perceived through the
sense of the
victimization we experienced.

If you were sexually abused as a child, or experienced other
forms of
abuse in your childhood or adult life, there are areas in
your life that are
being affected right now by your trauma and you may not yet
know it.
Once you are aware, you can begin to take steps to change
this. Once
you are aware of the power those emotional and spiritual
wounds have
over you, you can begin to do something about them.

Perhaps you find yourself well-aware, tired, and hurting but
know how to get free from your past. Or perhaps you have
your pain so far under the rug that you are comfortable with
it and
don’t really want to bring it out and think about it again. You
may be
thinking, Do I really want to read this book and have to
deal with this?
I know it can feel heavy, but as with anything that involves
work and
struggle, the reward at the other side is so worth it.

I want you to know that I understand. I was there once, and
through self-reflection did I begin to connect the dots
between my
painful past and the struggles I was experiencing in the
I was sexually abused by people I knew and trusted between
the ages
of five and ten years old. The abuse I suffered early in my
life turned
my childhood into a set of dark memories that haunted me for
of my life. The experience left me feeling ashamed, angry,
and unsafe.
When I grew up, for a time I was able to use the pain I felt
as fuel.
I achieved personal, educational, and professional successes
thanks to
that drive. I stood strong as an educated and professional
woman. I
was married and a mother to two beautiful little girls. I
spent nearly
twenty years working in government and helping to improve
the lives of
women and their families. Our household income exceeded six
and we owned a home in a quiet suburb in Los
Angeles. Based on these
achievements, I thought I had overcome the trauma I had
early in my life. I worked hard to break the cycle of abuse
I was born
into, and I thought I had won. I had built a life and a home
that looked
nothing like the one I was born into. I could see the
darkness of my
childhood experiences as a distant past, and yet freedom and
eluded me. I didn’t yet know it, but I was actually only
halfway through
the dark tunnel of my past—not on the other side as I had
I had suppressed memories and ignored feelings, and fought
to do the
opposite of what I had seen in my childhood for nearly three
decades. I
had buried the feelings deep inside where I thought they
could not hurt
me anymore. In reality, I struggled with fear, anxiety, and
an inability
to trust people. For a long time, I didn’t know these
feelings were rooted
in the abuse I experienced during my childhood. Meanwhile,
they were
influencing my life in insidious ways and affecting my
relationships, my
marriage and experience as a mother, and even my career. Eventually,
arrived at a season when I could no longer ignore my pain.
My efforts to silence the memories proved to be unsuccessful
the stresses and pressures of marriage and motherhood. It
was then that
my scars became utterly exposed. I came into the harsh
realization that
I had not healed when the memories relentlessly interrupted
my time
with my children. The day my daughter was born and I changed
her first
dirty diaper, I realized the abuse I suffered had wounded me
and motherhood was going to be hard. Diaper changes and bath-time
reminded me of how vulnerable children are. I struggled with
this for
years with both of my daughters. For sanitary reasons, those
were unavoidable, and yet they made me feel dirty and
ashamed, as
though I were violating them when I cleaned and cared for
them. I knew
that was not what I should be thinking or feeling in those
moments with
my children, but I had no idea how to stop the thoughts from
in my life. It was a constant internal battle.

I struggled with memories, shame, fear, and a feeling of
protection of my children. The unresolved pain I was still
inside started coming out as aggression. I was defensive and
toward my husband and struggled to discipline my children
with grace
and patience. I could not control the circumstances that
my memories or my automatic responses to them. In moments of
frustration, shame and anger dominated our interactions.
At the same time, I was giving everything at work, and it
was never
enough for those I reported to. I was exhausted. By the time
I would
arrive home at the end of my day, I would have nothing left
to give but
a bad temper, which affected our entire family dynamic. Eventually,
I made a career move that brought my work closer to home in
attempt to have more time with my family. Unfortunately, the
environment there was such that I had to work extra-long
hours to
keep up the pace, which ultimately resulted in more stress
and even less
time and patience for my family. I wound up dissatisfied
again. I had
had enough but didn’t know what I should do next. It was
then that I
humbly reached out to God for direction.
It started with the decision to take a break from my career.
I knew
in my heart for a long time that I was not walking in my
purpose and
needed the space to figure out what direction to take. Not
how we would sustain the lifestyle we had grown accustomed
to, my
husband and I made the bold decision to trust God fully for
our financial
provision, and I quit my job. The career that no longer
satisfied me was
in the rearview mirror, and I was ready to pursue new things.
I decided
to take some time to reflect and figure out what my next
career move
was going to be. It was within that space and that step of
faith that God
began to move and reveal himself. I started depending on Him
for help
and guidance. He started walking me through a process of
I also recognized that my past was harming my family, and
that was
the greatest motivation for me to seek out true healing. I
realized I would
have to resolve my childhood wounds if I was going to
successfully break
the cycle of abuse and live a truly healthy life with my own
family. That
realization added to the desire in me. I wanted more than
anything to
finally be free from that trauma. And I had no idea how to
go about it.
All I knew was I wanted more than anything to get to know
for who He truly is, to be present physically and
emotionally for my
family, and to align my work with my purpose. Little did I
know, God
was about to show me the reality and depth of the damage I
still held
onto and how desperately I needed Him. Once He began to
the dots for me, I realized the darkness I experienced
during childhood
had grown tentacles and was clinging to every area of my
being, silently
suffocating all of the best things in my life.
Childhood abuse has deep and long-lasting effects that
themselves in subtle and devastating ways in our lives. Unless
we know
it, they remain a part of us, wreaking havoc. I had seen the
signs and
had my suspicions, but without the clarity of the Holy
Spirit, I couldn’t
see it for what it indeed was.
One of the first things I did differently once I left my job
was begin
each day with God. I would drop my children off at school
and come
home to brew a pot of coffee and open my Bible. Through
studying the Bible, and the unconditional love of the people
me, God began to walk me toward healing.
After a short break to focus on my girls and volunteer at
their school,
I began considering my next steps and decided to hire
support to do so. I wanted to make the most of my time away
the workforce, and working with a coach provided me with
reassurance, and an environment of discovery. It didn’t take
long for me
to decide I would pursue my life-long dream of becoming a
author. I always knew I would share my story with the world
one day.
God revealed this to me long ago. I don’t recall exactly
when I first
sensed or received that direction, but I have been thinking
about this
book for years.
What do I mean when I say I “received direction” from God?
do I know if a thought is my own or inspired by the one true
God? For
me, it can come as a subtle nudge to say or do something, or
an all-out
clear instruction to change course.
You may have already had an experience in your life where
knew God was trying to tell you something. You may know it
as your
subconscious, a gut feeling, intuition, or an “Aha! moment.”
you listen to it. Other times you ignore it and then think, “I
have listened to my intuition.” As Christians, we believe
those “Aha!
moments” are, in fact, the voice of God or the Holy Spirit. The
Spirit is a gift from God that allows us to see and think in
new ways.
God’s voice comes to me in whispers I know are not my own. I
know these thoughts are not mine because they address things
I have
been thinking about without having clear direction on my own
of what
to do. I recognize His voice because He quiets my fears,
answers my
questions, and brings peace where there was doubt. The Bible
tells us
that when we draw near to God, He comes near to us (James 4:8).
more we seek His voice, the more clearly we are able to
discern it. As
we deepen our walk with God, we grow in wisdom and are able
to see
more clearly the things that make us feel separated from God
and those
that bring us closer to Him. The voice of God had been
quietly urging
me to write my story and share it with the world.

My Review
Unbraided is an emotional, sometimes intense book about learning to break the cycle of abuse. 
While the author mainly focuses on the sexual abuse she suffered as a child, she also touches upon physical and emotional abuse as well. And as someone who has suffered both physical and emotional/verbal abuse at the hands of both a parent and a spouse (now ex-spouse), this book spoke to me. Especially because it tackles dealing with the inner, hidden pain that abuse survivors tend to carry with them, tucking them away to try and ignore them rather than face them head-on. 
This book was eye-opening, especially because I hadn't realized that that was something I had been doing my entire life. I had been ignoring my pain and using it to lash out at others (namely my husband and kids) when I was in a mood. It took me until earlier this year to start unpacking all of that pain and suffering I'd been dealing with for 30 years, and after reading this book, I've found new ways to help me channel my pain. 
There are a lot of Bible quotes and scriptures throughout Unbraided, and even though I'm not a religious person, I thought they were a nice touch. Reading them made me feel lighter and less burdened.
There are also some journaling techniques to use that could be helpful as well. 
Overall, Unbraided is a thought-provoking, inspirational book that will hopefully help others who have dealt with abuse and trauma come to terms with it and finally work towards relieving their minds and souls from the burden it causes.
4 stars.

Karla Monterrosa, M.P.A. is an author, keynote speaker, and women’s
empowerment coach who has dedicated her life to improving the lives of
women and families. She earned a Bachelor of Arts in Urban Studies and
Planning and a Master of Public Administration in Public Sector
Management and Leadership from California State University, Northridge.

Karla began her career in the City of Los Angeles, where she quickly
became aware of the scale of challenges that large, diverse communities
face. She learned how to address needs by best utilizing what was
already available and, during her tenure, helped to provide women,
youth, and families with programming that increased financial literacy,
education, and economic opportunities. Karla’s ability to pinpoint
trauma and develop strategic solutions would serve as the launching pad
to her own coaching program, Unbraided Life (

A survivor of abuse herself, Karla is passionate about leveraging her
skills to help others overcome their past. She specializes in guiding
women to discover their God-given purpose through honest
self-reflection, application of biblical principles, and her
one-of-a-kind 7 Steps Toward Healing framework.

Karla is a certified Mending the Soul support group facilitator, but
it’s her almost two decades of experience in community and economic
development that make her programming practical, unique, and

You can find Karla on the internet at, @karlabmonterrosa on Instagram, Karla Monterrosa on Facebook.

To book Karla to speak:

A sample of keynote topics she offers:

7 Steps Toward Healing

Marriage, Motherhood, and Memories

Breaking the Cycle of Abuse

The Path to Purpose


Instagram: (@karlabmonterrosa)

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