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What To Expect When You're Healing

What To Expect When You're Healing

By Mags Thomson
Welcome to What To Expect When You're Healing (formerly SwanWaters Healing Podcast) your guide to self-empowered healing in the aftermath of abuse.

We'll help you gain insight, learn practical skills and navigate your healing journey and transform from survivor to thriver.

All the resources and ideas shared here and on the SwanWaters website are based on our personal experiences and learning. is a place where you can meet your peers for support and advice:
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Financial Abuse
Aubrey and I (under my previous screen name, Monkey) once discussed Financial Abuse in a podcast.
December 24, 2019
Love bombing can be hard to recognize because abusers use our weaknesses against us. We all want to feel loved and accepted. We all want to be gloriously swept off our feet—something Hollywood happily reaffirms as the norm for blossoming romantic relationships. But what films and TV don’t show is that these whirlwind romances can often be part of an insidious, abusive strategy. Aubrey and Stephen Bach of The Narcissist’s Son talk about some of the warning signs in this podcast below.
December 24, 2019
Identified Patient
In this podcast from 26 August 2015, we delve into the concept of the Identified Patient. The term is used in family therapy to describe the situation where one family member is labelled as "the problem child", and has all of the family issues projected onto them. The identified patient is also often the person that looks for external help or shows the first outwardly signs of inner-turmoil. Stephen Bach and Mags (under her previous screen name Monkey) look at this phenomenon from their own experiences and discuss how a similar situation can occur in other toxic settings too.
November 8, 2019
How Does Resilience Help With Life's Big Stuff?
Resiliency Essentials: Resiliency is our ability to deal with BIG Stuff. We create more successful outcomes the more resilient we are, despite the obstacles and heartaches we all face in life. Originally recorded in June 2016 As survivors of abuse, we sometimes feel we have to beat a lot of odds... I know that sometimes we feel so overwhelmed by life's circumstances that to the rational mind seem marginal, that we want to just give up. Because the prospect of even those small hurdles makes us remember the huge task of healing that lies in front of us. It makes us feel that we will never be able to deal with life's big stuff, the complications that every life knows and every person has to face. Develop resilience and be brave. There are days when it is very discouraging. You have to develop personal resilience to environmental things that come along. If you let every single environmental challenge knock you off your game, it's going to be very, very hard. Renee James In today's podcast, I speak with Michael Ballard about resilience. How we can train ourselves to become more resilient, and how those skills will help take the edges of the big and small issues we face on our path. About Michael Ballard: Michael is an author, speaker, trainer, and consultant. He travels the world helping people learn how to add more resilience into their lives at home, work and community. Michael specialises in helping people, families, organisations and communities learn how to thrive with resiliency. Resilience is a process, a set of key assets, skills and beliefs that can change our lives. Resiliency can change the quality of our journey and often the quality of the outcomes. Connect with Michael on Twitter and Facebook or check his website for more information.  Resources: Michael asked to make these resources available to help you with your resilience journey. Resiliency Essentials - Resiliency is our ability to deal with BIG Stuff. We create more successful outcomes the more resilient we are, despite the obstacles and heartaches we all face in life. Turmoil Breathing - Turmoil breathing is a process and skill set for staying calm and clearheaded during very challenging situations. More breathing/meditative resources by Michael are available here. Self-Leadership Skills Model - Phase 1 | Phase 2
October 28, 2019
Building Confidence and Courage
In today's episode I respond to a quote I found recently:  “Inaction breeds doubt and fear. Action breeds confidence and courage.”  Dale Carnegie  - Fear and insecurity can freeze us into place  - Fear will not go away by staring at it  - You can start with the smallest possible steps  - Being successful at the small steps starts building your confidence
October 11, 2019
How Mags Realised Her Family Was Abusive
I recorded this 30-minute podcast a few years ago. In it, I share my own story of becoming conscious of the abusive situation I was in, and how that lead me to cut all contact with my family.  Want to learn more about escaping an abusive situation? Check out this free Healing Academy module:
October 9, 2019
Co-Parenting with a Toxic Person - Part 2
This podcast was originally recorded in 2015. This is part 2 of 2. Being a parent is never an easy thing to do, and co-parenting after a divorce is even harder. But co-parenting with a toxic person? It is probably impossible... Still, there are ways in which you can make the best of an extremely difficult situation. Aubrey Cole and Stephen, who we first met in their podcast about toxic romance, share their experiences. They highlight some of the challenges co-parenting with a toxic ex and give hand-holds on how to meet these challenges.
September 27, 2019
Co-Parenting with a Toxic Person - Part 1
This podcast was originally recorded in 2015, and is part 1 of 2. Being a parent is never an easy thing to do, and co-parenting after a divorce is even harder. But co-parenting with a toxic person? It is probably impossible... Still, there are ways in which you can make the best of an extremely difficult situation. Aubrey Cole and Stephen, who we first met in their podcast about toxic romance, share their experiences. They highlight some of the challenges co-parenting with a toxic ex and give hand-holds on how to meet these challenges.
September 13, 2019
E76 - Rewriting The Narrative
 When we are addressing triggers and trying to heal from traumatic experiences, we need to change the stories we tell ourselves. Have you ever had an extremely emotional response to something that turned out to be pretty trivial? Well, looking back at that moment, you can probably reconstruct the story you told yourself. They often go something like this: Better not forget my bag on the bus  Yeah, you're going to forget that bag, and it's going to cause problems  You can't be trusted even to bring along your husband's things See, you're a failure at EVERYTHING  You are worthless! Or at least, that's how my brain would respond to such a thing happening. Of course, you won't forget the bag... but it's a rabbit hole. So, how do you stop that story of doom from running through your mind every time something unexpected happens? That's what today's podcast is about. Mags explains how you can change the stories that are triggered and create lasting change. Main Take-Aways: To change the stories, we have to address how we feel about our triggers.  We cannot change from a place of fear. Desensitising is a great strategy, but we can't bully ourselves in that process Encouraging ourselves from a loving compassionate place means taking baby steps It also means celebrating all the progress we make 
August 18, 2019
E75 - What Aubrey Learned About Managing Triggers
In the PTSD module in The Healing Academy, I share strategies Aubrey taught me for coping with my triggers. She based those strategies on the work she did in The Dialectical Behavior Therapy Skills Workbook, a resource she still recommend to anyone dealing with PTSD and other high-stress situations. Here are five life-changing lessons Aubrey got from this book, and my (Mags) reaction and viewpoints on those. If you want to read along with Aubrey's writing, you can find it here: 
July 21, 2019
E74 An Introduction to PTSD and Toxic Relationships
In this podcast Aubrey and Mags (under her previous screen name Monkey) talk about everything from what it is, to how it can manifest. Links to Resources: Effects of Domestic Violence by the Joyful Heart Foundation. And also important to remember is that “violence” does not have to include a physical violence. Remind yourself again of the Definition of Domestic Violence. The Podcast episode that Aubrey refers to at the beginning of this episode is here:  Do you want to learn more about PTSD, how it can affect you and how you can cope with triggers and flashbacks? Check out the PTSD module in The SwanWaters Healing Academy:
June 23, 2019
E73 - Building A New Life
Note: This audio was recorded as a Facebook Live, and it's not the best I've ever recorded. However, I felt the message was worth sharing.  When leaving abuse, we undoubtedly leave a whole life behind. We have to redefine so much of who we are and how we do things. It can be overwhelming. In today's episode I talk about how you can take charge of your transformation and healing. Main Take-Aways * Becoming self-aware helps us better manage our emotions * Taking charge of the things you control, will take away some of the fear and annoyance about the things you can't. * The more we feel we are responsive, rather than reactive, in our life, the more resilient we feel and the more positive choices we can make
June 2, 2019
E72 - Embracing The Imperfection
However hard you try, however much you prepare and try to control your circumstances, even under the best of circumstances, your life is not going to be perfect.  Main Take Away: * Just because things are not the way you'd dreamed, or wished, or imagined, doesn’t mean they are not enjoyable, and memorable. * Instead of focusing on the imperfection, focus on the unexpected fun that the solution created. Or how the mistake highlighted something great about your life.
May 26, 2019
E71 - Compassion Grows Compassion
In this episode of the Pint-Sized Healing Podcast, Mags discusses the way that we can be our own worst enemies (and that we need to be more compassionate toward ourselves in our healing journey). Many survivors find it easier to show compassion to other people than they do to show it to themselves The more we repeat loving messages to other people, the more we hear them and can apply them to ourselves Helping others enables you to heal yourself
May 19, 2019
E70 - From Victim To Survivor
In this episode of The Pint-Sized Healing Podcast, Mags talks about making the escape from abuse. Learn how to make the transition from victim of abuse to survivor and overcomer.    Main Take-Aways As long as you hold onto the notion that life is happening to you (rather than believing you have the ability to take charge of IT), you won't ever feel empowered to change your situation It's important to learn that you are WORTH making changes to your life and also that you CAN make changes to it Learning to react (rather than respond) is the first step to realizing that you have control of the outcome of the situations you face Three ways to start empowering yourself are: creating boundaries, understanding that the abusive situation is an illusion (it is not happy or safe - despite what you want it to be), and strategizing your escape Resources mentioned: Prepare your escape from abuse
May 12, 2019
E69 - The Story of Aubrey Cole and Captain Crazy
In this episode of the Pint-Sized Healing Podcast, Mags talks with fellow SwanWaters team member Aubrey Cole about her experience of living in an abusive relationship for 25 years, how she left, and what she has done to help other survivors since.  Main Take-Aways • When you enter into an abusive relationship, it doesn't begin as obviously abusive. It generally begins as a subtle crossing of boundaries that eventually lead to more extreme abuse • Gaslighting (causing someone to doubt their own perception) makes a person easier to trick and control • Monopolizing someone's perception (when an abuser insists you see things the way you do) is a form of emotional abuse that makes the target feel they aren't entitled to their own opinions • Leaving a domestic abuse generally situation requires you to set up an exit strategy before trying to leave because it can take up to 7 attempts to leave Resources mentioned: • Bodies in the Basement • Preparing Your Escape from Abuse • The Beach, My Soul, and My Shame • Listening to Shame | Brené Brown Listen To More Episodes Here
May 6, 2019
E68 - Focus On Yourself
In this episode of the Pint-Sized Healing Podcast, Mags talks about how easy it is to fall into focusing all your energy on the person who abused you. While it's totally natural, it's not going to serve you in the long-run. Know that it IS possible to build a life where they're no longer the center of your thoughts. Main Take-Aways • You're allowed to be angry. But then it's important to move on to the next step • When you're in an abusive situation, the reality is that everything is about them. Your normal was that nothing was ever about you  • In your healing process, it's important to gently say to yourself, "That was then and this is now. It's about me now."  • After leaving abuse (and because it's about you now), you can focus on learning new skills about boundaries, self-care, and improving your self-talk   Listen to more episodes of the Pint-Sized Healing Podcast here: 
April 29, 2019
E67 - Having The Feels
In this episode of the Pint-Sized Healing Podcast, Mags talks about the way we get too hard on ourselves when we're experiencing lots of emotion during the healing journey. Main Take-Aways: • You can feel conflicting emotions at the same time. joy at not being around toxic family members but ALSO feeling sadness because you love them. They're not mutually exclusive. • In the beginning of the healing journey, it's normal to get overwhelmed by your emotions to the point of not even recognizing what they are. But over time, you will recognise and process your emotions more quickly and with greater ease. • Self-awareness is a key part of developing the above skill. Check in with yourself by asking "What am I feeling and WHY am I feeling that?" Listen to the whole episode here:
April 22, 2019
E66 - The Pendulum Swing
In this episode of the Pint-Sized Healing Podcast, Mags talks about the back and forth of emotional experiences, behaviors, and beliefs when you heal. Main Takeaways: • When you're healing, you can go from being lax about boundaries, for example, to being overly militant and forceful with them; to the point that you overprotect them • It's totally normal to swing from not being able to communicate boundaries to being too forceful when you enforce them and end up being rude • Eventually, as you heal, the pendulum swings less and you learn how to adjust; becoming more confident in your ability to communicate and enforce boundaries Listen to the full episode here:
April 15, 2019
E65 - Healing In Circles
In this episode of the Pint-Sized Healing Podcast, Mags discusses the way that healing often requires you to go back over the same painful territory. And usually at a deeper level  because you haven't dealt with certain aspects of it yet. Main Take-Aways • Deep and complex issues (like dealing with childhood trauma and PTSD, etc) don't heal overnight. So you need to be patient with yourself as you peel back each layer of healing • It's PERFECTLY normal to revisit areas that need to be healed • Healing isn't linear Listen To More Episodes Here
April 8, 2019
E64 - The Not So Subtle Art Of Healing
In this episode of the Pint-Sized Healing Podcast, Mags talks about the fact that healing is often quite an in-your-face process. But that, given time, it can become intriguing—rather than only painful and exhausting.   Main Take-Aways • Healing is less soft piano music and more punk rock • You can mentally forgive someone but emotionally still be holding onto anger and hurt • You have the power to reprogram how you feel about yourself Listen To More Episodes Here
March 31, 2019
E63 - Time For A Break
In this episode of the Pint-Sized Healing Podcast, Mags talks about why the SwanWaters team is taking a two-week break from social media between March 18 - April 1, 2019 (no April's Fools jokes here lol). Main Take-Aways: • We're always talking about how important it is that people take time for rest: we want to make sure we're practicing what we preach in that regard, too • No one, even in (especially in) the workplace, can burn the candle at both ends • It's important to have a break from personal development and healing Listen to other episodes of the Pint-Sized Healing Podcast here.  
March 10, 2019
E62 - Healing Is A Verb
In this episode of the Pint-Sized Healing Podcast, Mags talks about how you have to participate in your own healing or nothing's going to change.  Main Take-Aways: • Healing doesn't just magically happen: it's somthing you DO • You can join all the support groups and buy all the healing programs you want, but if you don't actually apply what you're being taught, you're not going to see healing in your life • Healing takes time and effort • Healing is about developing skills to recover from abuse and also cope with life afterwards Resources: - Healing From Abuse: Find Tools That Work For You by Mags Thomson   - The Healing Academy     
March 3, 2019
E61 - Quality Over Quantity
In this episode of the Pint-Sized Healing Podcast, Mags asks the question, "What if, instead of rushing to do as many things as possible in our day, we slow down and do less, but with greater care and more intent." The Main Take-Aways  • Multi-tasking often means you don't give things the attention they deserve. The same principle often applies to the way you heal: too many cooks in the kitchen = ineffective  • Spending energy on your healing will fill up time so you need to take that into consideration when plans for other things in your life  • Different healing modalities suit different people Resources:
February 24, 2019
E60 - Productivity In Healing
In this episode of the Pint-Sized Healing Podcast, Mags discusses the way we take the capitalist value of productivity over humanity into our healing journey with us.   Main Take-Aways • You can't heal to a schedule. You do it in your own time as you navigate triggers and the curve balls that life throws your way   • Instead of focusing on the ways you're NOT healed, focus on your healing milestones  • Make small, attainable goals instead of expecting yourself to be able to tackle big, unrealistic ones  If you liked this topic, click the following link to access The Healing Academy where we'll support you and equip you for life after abuse:
February 17, 2019
E58 - Brainwashing You For Good
In this episode of the Pint-Sized Healing Podcast, Mags discusses the importance of getting around people who can help you recalibrate your thinking in order to heal after abuse. And also to transform the way you think in order to see the world (and experience the world) differently.   Main Take-Aways:  • When you spend time with other survivors (especially with those who are further along in their healing journey) they can help you when you're triggered by getting you to refocus your thoughts  • When you're experiencing the consequences of trauma, you likely believe that you're not functioning properly. But what if you see those bumps in the road as an invitation to approach problem solving in a different way?  • Learning how to change your mindset and shift your perspective is an important part of healing from abuse  • The extent to which you change the way you think (or heal your emotions), will determine how successful you will be in your healing Links to Resources Link to Instagram post FREE Compassionate Goal Setting webinar
February 3, 2019
E57 - Carrie Stages a Hostile Podcast Take-Over
Inspired by The Life After Podcast episode where Chuck Parson interviewed Brady Hardin, Carrie staged a hostile takeover of the Pint-Sized Healing Podcast to talk to SwanWaters director Mags Thomson about the origins of the organization, her own survivor story, and what The Healing Academy means to her.  -  Main Take-Aways • It’s common for targets and survivors of abuse to feel like they’re crazy • It’s important for targets and survivors to connect with people who understand their situation who will remind them that they’re actually sane in a crazy situation • The story of The Ugly Duckling (the inspiration behind the name for SwanWaters) is the only fairytale where the main character simply grows into who they are—he didn’t have to DO anything to be beautiful or valuable. He simply, inherently was • The Healing Academy is a place for survivors of abuse to learn new skills to build a healed and happy life. It’s not top-down teaching. It’s community learning (we learn from each other) - Links to Resources Event page for the Compassionate Goal Setting webinar Carrie’s life coach, Liz Smith  Meet the SwanWaters team Join The Healing Academy Plus program Hexxus the Oil Monster from Ferngully if you're interested haha 
January 27, 2019
E56 - House of Mirrors
In this episode of the Pint-Sized Healing Podcast, Mags and Carrie reflect on a piece Stewart (Mags' husband) wrote about his experience with her toxic family.  - Main Take-Aways   •  When you're aware that the abusive person in your life likes to drive wedges between people, make sure you compare notes with those who matter to you so that the truth doesn't get distorted    •  Have limitations around what you share with the abusive person so they can't use it as ammunition against you later   •  If you're aware that something isn't right in a relationship you're involved in (even if you can't quite put your finger on it), share this concern with trustworthy friends and family so that they can be aware of your situation - Click here to read the original House of Mirrors blog post.   
January 20, 2019
E55 - Setting Yourself Up For Success
So often, as soon as we wake up our mind flood with everything that we should be doing that day. All the chores and tasks that are on our mental to-do list. From the moment we wake up, we find ourselves in a state of overwhelm, because (if you are anything like me) we usually add too much to that mental list. We immediately begin to think of contingency plans. What can we knock off that list? There goes a long relaxing shower! Bye bye 30 minutes with a magazine and a cuppa! Everything that isn't urgent is off. But what is that if the fluff that keeps you sane? The self-care that is crucial to your healing? What if, rather than assuming you won't finish all your goals for the day… you plan to actually have your cake and eat it too? Main Take-Aways Start your day with intentions, rather than to-do lists. Set smaller, attainable goals for the day Take a moment to breathe, and just be
January 14, 2019
E54 - Make Your Chores Count
When we think about self-care and healing, we often feel overwhelmed at the prospect of adding more things to our all ready overflowing to-do list. So if we can't add more to the list, how can we make the items that are already on there really count? The answer: change how we feel about our chores,and how we view their necessity in our days. It might sound weird, but we can actually make our day-to-day tasks count as self-care in our healing journey.   Main Take-Aways • Your self-talk about the chores/tasks/work you have to do will shape how you feel about them • You can reframe the way you look at the things on your to-do list not as things you "have to do", but things you "get to do" as an act of self-care  • You can choose to look at the "mundane" tasks as a respite from our emotional turmoil  • Choose to do things you have to do with a focus on the feelings you want to experience. E.g. the sense of wellbeing that comes from having a tidy home, or the sense of pride that comes from knowing your dog feels great after taking her for a walk Links to Resources • Clutter Bug: Audio Tools to Get Things Clean and Tidy | A course by Kelly-Ann Maddox If you want to learn more about how to self-care, we actually have a module in The Healing Academy specifically devoted to the topic! Click here to enroll now! 
January 6, 2019
E53 - Productivity In Healing
In this episode of the Pint-Sized Healing Podcast, Mags explores the idea of slowing down to heal—rather than rushing because you think you think you "should" be more healed by now. Main Take-Aways • It's not self-compassionate or realistic to expect that you heal in an efficient, linear way. Healing takes as long as it takes • Healing has layers to it. So we'll often find ourselves revisiting the same issue from different angles • Slowing down allows healing to be deep with long-lasting changes that lead to true joy and empowerment • Don't be fixated on the end result. "Stop counting the steps, instead relish in the walking" • Celebrate the milestones on your journey. You will often be surprised by the victories you achieve as you heal If you want to learn how to heal with support from the SwanWaters team, click the following link to join The Healing Academy: And be sure to join our FREE Facebook group by clicking the following link:
November 25, 2018
E52 - Oppressive Religion & Religious Trauma Syndrome
Before you get started with today's episode, I just wanted to address the fact that we are going to be talking about religion today. Religion is usually something we stay clear of because this topic is quite triggering for us and other survivors of spiritual and religious abuse who are part of our community. This is why we ask our members to stay away from religious expression, unless… it is part of your story or experience.  This request has led to quite a few questions, so…  Today, we are talking about religious abuse and religious trauma syndrome. That means we are obviously talking about religion as part of our stories.  >> Special Guest: Brady Hardin
November 19, 2018
E51 - Two Things Can Be True At Once
In this episode, Mags addresses the temptation we have to exclude one truth in favor of another—as though they can't both be an honest representation of reality. Main Take-Aways • We can experience seemingly contradictory emotions at once. For example, being angry at an abuser while having compassion for them as well.   • People who are targets of abuse can also become enablers of abuser, or abusers themselves • It can be hard to come to terms with the fact that life isn't black, white, and gray, but it's in technicolor—which means it's totally worth making the effort to look at life from multiple perspectives. The link to Awaken With JP Sears Show by JP Sears Podcast is here:
November 12, 2018
E50 - The Blissful World Where the Narcissist Is Never To Blame
In this episode Carrie and I talk about an old blog post entitled: The Blissful World Where the Narcissist Is Never To Blame. You can find the post here: We also reference a video by Kit Kennedy, which you can find here: Carrie mentioned this video by Terri Cole on co-dependency, which you can find here: More on the Healing Academy can be found here: If you want to hang out on Facebook, you can head here:
November 5, 2018
E49 - The Best Revenge
I saw a meme recently that gave me a bit of a giggle. It said: Not giving a fuck, is better than revenge! The more PC version of that is probably: the best revenge is no revenge. That inspired me to talk about revenge today, and how it relates to your healing journey. - Too often we think of Karma as a cosmic revenge dispenser - Revenge is still abuser-focussed. It's based on how your behavior can affect their life. - "No revenge" isn't about a lack of justice, but about filling the need and wants in your own life - Let your own desires drive you. Find out more about the Healing Academy here:
October 29, 2018
E48 - The Passing of My Father
In this episode, I revisit a blog post I wrote two years ago about abusive parents passing away. It was inspired by my friend S who lost her toxic mother, and I wondered how I'd respond when it would inevitably happen to me. Well, a few months ago,  it did. I lost my father. So in this episode, I compare how I expected to feel with how I've actually experienced this phase of my healing journey. You can find the original blog post here: If you need some support dealing with your own healing journey, join us on Facebook:
October 22, 2018
E47 - The Terrifying Euphoria
Today I talk about the Terrifying Euphoria, a concept I reference a lot. It is something that I feel we often encounter in our healing journey. - We sometimes identify with the trauma we have encountered in our lives - As harmful as abuse is, it is familiar harm - Escaping from abuse means stepping into the unknown - It is hard to know who we are without the trauma, pain, and experiences - The prospect of reinventing ourselves can be overwhelming, and scare us into staying still and not healing. Join us on Facebook for support from your fellow survivors: * Since the recording, I have learned that the quote in this podcast is by Ebonee Davis
October 15, 2018
E44 - Road Trip of Narcissistic Abuse
This week I am joined my spiritual mentor and energy healer Jacqui McGinn. We talk about the effects of narcissistic abuse and focus especially on belief, disbelief, and mindset. - Disbelief is equally powerful as belief - Emotional abuse lacks tangible truth that makes it "easy" to remain oblivious - Seeing the abuse is terrifying, and some people chose not to see it for that reason - Coming to terms with abuse means questioning your entire reality - Happy, healthy people don't usually hurt other people - Narcissistic people are stuck in their trauma and create a world of disbelief around them. Everyone around them is dragged into this world of lies - You stop relying on your own observations, thoughts, and emotions - Emotions are our truth-tellers and we stop listening to them - It takes time to rebuild your confidence - The narcissist has to put people down in order to feel better about themselves - Labels aren't always necessary, all we need to do is ask: is this loving behavior?
September 24, 2018
E43 - The Villain Is So Good at Playing the Victim
Carrie Maya and I read an old blog post of mine and comment on how our insights have developed over the years. Here is the original blog post from February 20, 2016:
September 17, 2018
E42 - Moving Through Emotions When Overwhelmed
SwanWaters team member Carrie Maya talks you through her process as she deals with emotional overwhelm (it's real-time!) - Where are you feeling the emotion? - What is the emotion you are feeling? - What is at the root of the feeling? - Once you identify what's going on, come up with a plan of action - Dealing with emotions can take quite some time Remember *Your feelings cannot hurt you*
September 3, 2018
E38 - You Are My Sunshine
In this episode I share a little trick I used (and still use) to quiet those nasty voices in my head that tell me I am not good enough, not worthy of love... After recording this episode I came across this Instagram post, and fell in love with it:
August 31, 2018
E41 - Relationships with Others and Yourself
Today's episode was originally recorded as a Facebook Live. I answer the questions left for me in the Facebook Group. I talk about building and maintaining relationships and friendships. - We may have learned toxic relationship tools in the past - Our relationships are reflections of our relationship with ourselves - So, what can we learn about ourselves from the issues we are experiencing?
August 27, 2018
E40 - Mistake or Abuse
Sometimes we say the wrong thing, we make someone feel uncomfortable, insecure or just plain bad. We don’t mean to, but we cannot always predict how others will react. We are not always 100% switched on to our own emotional state, our tone of voice, and the small or big traumas that we suffered… We are after all only human. So, how do you tell the difference between a mistake and abuse? - Mistakes are occasional and random, not structural and strategic - Mistakes are just that, and they are not blatant disregard - Mistakes are learning points, not repetitive actions - In a healthy relationship, there is a willingness to learn and compromise Check out information about the Healing Academy here:
August 20, 2018
E39 - Welcome to the Human Race
Have you considered that some of your responses are not part of being a survivor of abuse, but simply the result of being part of the human race? - Everybody gets stressed, anxious or worried sometimes - Your lizard brain responds with the Flight, Fight or Freeze response - Talk to friends about their experiences of stress - it will help
August 13, 2018
E37 - Celebrate Your Progress
Healing is a learning curve, and it takes time and practice to get better at it. *** We repeat what we don't repair – Christine Langley – Obaugh *** - STOP kicking yourself - See and celebrate your progress - Learning takes practice (unfortunately)
July 30, 2018
E36 - Overthinking
We were discussing the habit of overthinking in the SwanWaters Facebook Group. I wanted to give you my perspective and share some tools on how to deal with this. - Figure out who the voice belongs to - Let go of voices that no longer serve you - Use meditation to become more aware of your thoughts - Break the inner-dialogue by trying to guess your next thought If you want to hang out in the Facebook Group, go here: If you want to listen to the RuPaul Podcast, head here:
July 27, 2018
E35 - Mindfulness and Healing with Bob Brotchie; part 2
Bob Brotchie and I have both benefited from mindfulness while overcoming the effects of childhood trauma. We share our experiences in this podcast and give you the basics of starting a mindfulness practice of your own. This podcast is a little longer than you are used to and consists of 2 parts. I am joined on the podcast by Bob Brotchie. Bob is a successful private practice counsellor seeing individuals with anxiety related symptoms in person and online aged 8 and up from his office near Newmarket, Suffolk. He attributes his ‘later-life’ inner-peace to practicing mindfulness for everyday anxieties, past life trauma’s and the complexities of life. He shares mindfulness tips where appropriate with his clients - along with other psycho therapeutic models. A regular blogger for mental health matters and particularly ‘mindful approaches’ to life. Want to learn more about mindfulness? You can find Bob's course here:
July 15, 2018
E34 - Mindfulness and Healing with Bob Brotchie; part 1
Bob Brotchie and I have both benefited from mindfulness while overcoming the effects of childhood trauma. We share our experiences in this podcast and give you the basics of starting a mindfulness practice of your own. This podcast is a little longer than you are used to and consists of 2 parts. I am joined on the podcast by Bob Brotchie. Bob is a successful private practice counsellor seeing individuals with anxiety related symptoms in person and online aged 8 and up from his office near Newmarket, Suffolk. He attributes his ‘later-life’ inner-peace to practicing mindfulness for everyday anxieties, past life trauma’s and the complexities of life. He shares mindfulness tips where appropriate with his clients - along with other psycho therapeutic models. A regular blogger for mental health matters and particularly ‘mindful approaches’ to life. Want to learn more about mindfulness? You can find Bob's course here:
July 15, 2018
E33 – 3 Myths about PTSD
PTSD is a natural response to trauma, just as bleeding is a normal response to being stabbed. This is a vital point actually. So often we feel like we are going crazy and some people feel a sense of shame for developing PTSD. Would you feel that same sense of shame for bleeding, though? Or breaking a leg? Same difference. This is the result of your experiences, it says nothing about you other than that you are a survivor. I want to reflect on some of the misinformation that floats around about PTSD. - PTSD does not only affect veterans - PTSD isn't just in your head - PTSD is not a sign of weakness
July 15, 2018
E32 - You Are Loved; a response to the passing of Anthony Bourdain
This is my response on the day of hearing about Anthony Bourdain's passing. It is an emotional appeal to reach out to your loved ones and let them know they are loved unconditionally. We need to have a conversation as people, as human beings, about how we feel. The good, the bad and the ugly! We are not alone in our experiences, no matter how lonely we may feel. If you are struggling with depression or suicidal thoughts, please reach out to people who can help. Here are some numbers: - Talk to your friends about the real stuff - Check up on your friends and family - Check again - And Again
July 15, 2018
E31 - Emotional Flashbacks in PTSD
Realizing that flashbacks could be emotional, and did not have to be disassociative in any other sense of the word, I started to better understand what was happening when I was triggered. That in turn, helped we to better manage my PTSD symptoms. Let me tell you more. - PTSD flashbacks are not necessarily like you see in the movies - Emotions may come up that are not connected to the present moment - Becoming more aware of our emotions can help us better cope with emotional flashbacks
July 15, 2018
E30 – Feel the Pain
As much as we’d like to just stop feeling the pain and the grief in our lives, we can’t just pretend it’s not there. In order to heal it, we need to feel it. And we need to talk about it. If not, it’ll come to bite us in the tush. - Pushing pain away takes more energy than dealing with it - If we do not express pain in a healthy way, we will express it in an unhealthy way - The vulnerability that is required to acknowledge our pain can be difficult to muster - Sharing your story gives you strength. If, you find the right audience - Create space and time to really grief and heal Here is the blog post I reference:
July 15, 2018
E29 - You Are Lovable
In the aftermath of Mother’s Day (this podcast was originally posted on 14 May 2018), you may need a reminder that you are -in fact- entirely lovable. - Happy healthy people do not abuse other people - Their trauma does not excuse the abuser, but it may help us understand why they cannot connect to us in a healthy way - It is important to remind ourselves that we are loveable, the abuser, however, is incapable or unwilling to love us. That is not the same thing! Here is our free Facebook Group if you are looking for some support:
July 15, 2018
E28 – To Should List
This episode of the pint-sized healing podcast looks at personal efficiency and how our obsession with to-do lists may cause us to feel a lot of guilt. There are so many things we feel we should do, and then when we fail to complete our unrealistic list of activities we feel horrible about ourselves. Today I share some ideas about how you can adjust your to-list, so you can feel a lot better about the daily grind. - When we can't stay on top of our overinflated to-do list, we can experience a lot of guilt - Cut big projects down into their individual tasks, so the list is more realistic - Make a list of feelings you would like to experience, and then connect those to activities that can cultivate those feelings - Include the things you really look forward to and are relaxing and fun to your to-do list This is the Positive Psychology course I mentioned:
July 15, 2018
E27 - Mother's Day Is Coming
In this episode, I talk to you about Mother's Day (it was originally published on 30 April 2018) and give you some alternative ways to celebrate the day if you are a survivor of maternal abuse (or if you just want to switch it up). - Take a break from Social Media for a few days - Celebrate the mother you are to your inner child - Celebrate Mother Earth or other maternal energy you experience in your life
July 15, 2018
E26 – Use Ceremony to Let Go
Letting go is an important step of healing, but one we often do not mark or celebrate. Creating a ceremony when you are ready to let go of pain, is an amazing tool in your healing. - Healing isn't linear - Letting go is the final step, one we sometimes forget - Creating a ceremony can help with that step The blog post I refer to is 'Giving Your Memories Wings' and can be found here:
July 15, 2018
E25 – Harness the Power of Positive
Let's talk about the power of positive thought. Not the frantically trying to think negative thoughts type, but actual positivity. - Writing down positive experiences helps us remember them - A focus on positive can help us experience more positive things - This focus makes us more aware of how we experience positive emotions (and become more attuned to them)
July 15, 2018
E24 – Dont Let Your Past Define You
Once we get out of an abusive situation it can be difficult to remember who we are outside of that narrative. But, holding on to our past may get us stuck in victim mode. - Use your experience as a foundation, rather than an anchor - Use a SWOT analysis to get some insight in yourself - Write a Personal Mission Statement My book on journaling can be found here: The Healing Academy Module on journaling can be found here:
July 15, 2018
E23 – Strategize to Influence Your Circumstances
This is the third and final step of my strategy for communicating with people I know are toxic. - Create the circumstances where you can use your communicative strength - An abuser will actively pursue to keep you off your game - Also, acknowledge your weaknesses The Healing Academy Module on Communication can be found here:
July 15, 2018
E22 – Find Your Power
This is the second step of three that I use when dealing with someone who is toxic. - Find out where your strength lies - Respond in a way that makes you feel empowered
July 15, 2018
E21 - Responding With Peace
This is the first step of three that I use when having to deal with someone who I know is toxic. - When we react emotionally we are more easily manipulated - Find a way to return to calm by venting the emotion - Practicing a standard response can help maintain calm if you are ambushed
July 15, 2018
E20 - The Rules Do Not Apply
A little while ago, I was listening to Heather Dane’s Hay House Radio show when her guest Arielle Ford—a relationship expert—shared a disclaimer that I think we should see far more often when talking about interpersonal relationships. And it is the following: Toxic Relationships Are Not Part of This Conversation - We should keep this in mind when we look at general information - An abuser has very different drives and motivations Recap of  Heather Dane’s Hay House Radio show: Talking to Crazy: How to Deal with the Irrational and Impossible People in Your Life:
July 13, 2018
E19 – Self-Care and Self Compassion
Raise your hand if you do this: when you do something to look after yourself you have a huge guilt trip? Is there part of you that things looking after yourself in selfish? Then this is the episode for you! - You can't pour from an empty cup - Self-care isn't a luxury, it is essential - We cannot heal without self-care - We need and deserve some indulgence sometimes - The guilt trip can cancel out the self-care - Our wants and needs change over time - Try what works for you - Everything you try helps, even if it helps determine what doesn't care for you!
July 13, 2018
E18 – Self Care When You Do Not Feel You Can
Today I am joined by Christine Judd. She is a holistic business mentor, author, yoga teacher and Lomi Lomi practitioner. Her journey through depression has led her to explore various different treatment approaches from medical to woo woo. She’s launching a podcast called ‘Living through the hard stuff’ exploring depression through the eyes of different holistic traditions and sharing her tips and tricks of how she manages to ride the waves of depression through daily activities, spiritual practices & other techniques. You can follow Christine on Instagram: Some days it is easier to self-care than others. Christine and I talk about the things we do to get through the days when it is a little harder.
July 13, 2018
E17 – Creative Ways to Self Care
Once you start thinking of self-care as a way to look after different aspects of your being, you open yourself up to creative ways to self-care. - Make your bed - Dress to impress (and start with nice undies!) - Declutter! - Give some of your former clutter to charity - Keep a Praise Love YEAH! Journal - Do something outside of your routine - Get up! or Stay in bed! I discuss more creative ways to self-care in the Healing Academy:
July 13, 2018
E16 - What Self-Care Is and Isn’t
People often think of self-care as bubble baths and fancy chocolates, but I think that a much too narrow definition of the concept. - Many people see self-care as picking ourselves up after we collapse - Self-care should be about not collapsing - Self-care should relate to different areas of our being The Healing Academy Module on Boundaries I mention can be found here:
July 13, 2018
E15 – Toxicity Breeds Toxicity
We see this a lot in toxic relationships. I have certainly witnessed it in the family I grew up in. With our parents constantly attacking our boundaries, my sisters and I developed a defense mechanism: a set of unhealthy attitudes and behavior we developed in order to cope. - Within abuse, we develop toxic ways to compensate for boundaries being constantly ignored - Our boundaries determine our shape in the world so that being disrespected will trigger a response of some sort - Often we resort to toxic behaviors to deal with a toxic situation Here is the Healing Academy module I mention:
July 13, 2018
E14 – Sometimes 1 Big Boundary Is Easier
Sometimes it is easier to just put down one big boundary rather than 100 little, individual ones. The biggest of all big boundaries is obviously No Contact, but I understand that isn’t always an option. Even on a smaller scale, sometimes it’s easier to just set bigger boundaries—at least when you’re dealing with toxic people. - No Contact is the biggest boundary of all - Be black and white with your boundaries, no wiggle room - Boundaries depend on the people and situations
July 13, 2018
E13 – You May Not Be Bad At Boundaries
You might not feel very comfortable with doing it, but in reality, setting boundaries is about communicating what you want and don’t want. I think on average, targets (who are often empaths) tend to be fairly strong communicators. We may often go into over-justifying our boundaries more than being poor at communicating boundaries in general. - We may be inclined to over-justify our boundaries - Abusers are notoriously bad at respecting boundaries - Setting and maintaining boundaries is a skillset you can learn - Happy healthy people typically accept boundaries - While targetted by an abuser your boundaries are constantly under attack, so perhaps you are exhausted from defending your boundaries (rather than bad at it)
July 12, 2018
E12 – Boundaries Are Not Selfish
If we were to believe abusers and toxic people, then enforcing boundaries is the most selfish act in the world; personal boundaries should be outlawed, and anyone who even considers enforcing them should be hanged for their crimes. But are boundaries really selfish? - Boundaries are not just about saying no - Boundaries create the shape of our personal world - Boundaries communicate our wants and needs - Boundaries will not scare people off (at least not healthy people) - Boundaries also allow intimate connections
July 12, 2018
E11 – Compassionate Goal Setting
This podcast was originally posted on 1 January 2018, so I do talk about New Year's Resolutions... but the good news is that compassionate goal setting is something you can do all year round! - Goal setting can be so useful in healing (and many other areas of life) - Be compassionate about your goals - Life happens, we get side-tracked... no biggie - We need a level of stability to tackle some of the bigger issues in our healing - Make space for making mistakes, or getting distracted - Have some fun!
July 12, 2018
E10 - It Is All In Your Head
This episode was originally published on 25 December 2017, that's why there are a fair few Christmas references... What I am talking about though, is how we sometimes project too many thoughts and expectations on certain days and events. - The magic of Christmas is all in your mind (more or less) - Refocus your attention on gratitude
July 11, 2018
E9 – React or Respond, Emotional Mastery
What if you didn't have to be a slave to your emotions? Wouldn't that be great? Well, I think that this is very much possible! - Don't try to cover up or push emotions down - Self-awareness can help manage our emotions - Just because an emotion comes up, doesn't mean you have to hold on to it - Emotional Mastery is a skill, there is a learning curve
July 11, 2018
E8 – Failing at Failure
Failure is hard! In fact, I think failure may be the thing you fail at most... In this episode, I talk about failure and how it feeds into our feelings of guilt and our self-image. - Mistakes are not failure - Adjusted life plans are not failure
July 11, 2018
E7 – Loneliness and the Expectation of Company
The episode where I mention what my first ever boyfriend taught me about loneliness. This episode was first published on 3 December 2017, and talks about loneliness during the holidays. - Loneliness is the expectation of company that isn't met - We may miss the idea of company, more than the actual company - Maybe we should adjust our expectations Link: 3 Hacks to Deal with the Holidays:
July 11, 2018
E6 – Angry Or Not Here I Come
In this episode, I talk about anger. It is an emotion that is often pushed away and misunderstood. - Society seems to tell us not to be angry - Be angry, don't be angry... it's up to you - Feel it, but don't hold on to the anger!
July 11, 2018
E5 – Fleas and Allergies
Last week we spoke about triggers. This week I explain how triggers can influence us in different ways. - You may have copied some toxic behaviors - You may experience emotional flashbacks
July 10, 2018
E4 – Embrace Your Triggers
Today I talk about an inconvenient truth of trauma healing... you may not want to hear this, but you are going to have to! - Triggers highlight where we still need to heal - It is okay to be triggered and to feel raw - We need to learn dealing with our triggers - The intensity of our triggers declines as we heal
July 10, 2018
E3 - Personal Growth Paradox
Have you ever wondered how you are supposed to be happy with who you are, while at the same time strive for personal growth? Yeah, so have I! - Acceptance is important - So is the drive to want to improve ourselves - Healing isn't la-di-da - Strive to learn, rather than change - Compassion is so important when healing
July 10, 2018
E2 - Abuse Is Not Personal but Personalized
Different abusive strategies and weapons are used by abusers to make you feel that what is happening to you is personal. It is not! It is however personalized. - Abuse is adjusted to impact you as much as possible - Abuse is abuse, no matter what the details
July 10, 2018
E1 - Abuse is About Power
No matter the setting or weapon of choice, abuse is always about power. In this episode I discuss: - What is at the root of abuse - Different abusive tactics - Different abusive relationships
July 10, 2018