Spiritual life coach Dr. Iyanla Vanzant candidly spoke about how the sexual, physical and emotional abuse she endured during her childhood distorted her perception and understanding of love. The life coach also explained that the lack of love from her father didn’t help, either.

Iyanla appeared on the Feb. 26 episode of the Counsel Culture show with Nick Cannon to discuss fatherhood and the definition of a deadbeat.

Towards the end of the intimate discussion, the spiritual coach revealed she was promiscuous as a young girl and that she grew up in an environment where sex was a demonstration of love, precisely after her uncle sexually abused her.

“I was so unloved. I was just unloved. I felt unloved,” she said, adding her father died from suicide when she was 30. “Never in my life, I have not one memory of my father kissing me, hugging me or telling me he loved me. And the uncle who raised me, who I lived under his roof, who was a functional alcoholic, who probably said 10 words to me in his entire life, ‘You know I love you’ being one of them.”

“So, when he raped me, I thought that was a demonstration of his love,” Iyanla continued. “So, I was on the other end of being promiscuous, A. wanting to feel loved. And, number two, because I was shuttled around to so many…my job was to make people happy. To please people.”

Also, during the discussion, the 70-year-old TV personality said jumping into bed with other men was her way of trying to obtain her dad’s approval. 

“My father never kissed me, never told me he loved me,” she exclaimed again. “So, any man who told me he loved me; oh joy, oh rapture, let me go home with you.”

Iyanla said she didn’t have an example of how a woman should be, so she continued giving herself to others. At 21, Iyanla’s mindset shifted as she learned that her ways weren’t acceptable. She began to feel “unworthy,” “filthy” and “broken.”

Iyanla couldn’t see her value and felt unwanted, leading her to marry “the first thing hobbling along on the crutch.”

Iyanla is the daughter of Sarah Jefferson and Horace Harris.

Despite her father never voicing his love for her, Iyanla has publicly told her dad she loved him and showed gratitude for him. On Father’s Day in 2016, the 70-year-old Iyalorisa penned a letter to God via Facebook, thanking Him for all He had done for her.

Towards the end, she thanked Him for using her “physical father” to bring her into the world, adding that God was more of a father figure than Horace.

“Thank You for being to me and for me who he was not able to be. Thank You for using him as a teacher in my life. Thank You for allowing him to do Your work in my life, even when I could not accept it and did not understand it. Today, I just want to say Happy Father’s Day to you, my Big Poppa, my daddy, my dearest, closest friend. You have been with me through it all. So, for all I have received and all that is yet to come, I am so grateful. And Daddy, I love you so.”


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