Man with PTSD leaning his head against a wall

A little while ago we announced in our blog an upcoming podcast about PTSD, and here it is. In the blog we talked a bit about how PTSD really is a normal response to trauma, and we debunked some myths about it too.

In this PTSD podcast Aubrey and Mags (under her previous screen name Monkey) talk about everything from what it is, to how it can manifest.

The Podcast

Approximately 30 minutes each

Part 1

(right-click here to download)

Part 2

(right-click here to download)


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Further Resources

  • 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.

Want to learn more? Here are some resources to get you started!

Adverse Childhood Experiences Affect Your Health and Relationships 20 Traits of Emotional Abusers

Find great resources in the SwanWaters podcast

we love to read your comments below



Having gained experience while working for a variety of European non-profits, I am proud to now work with SwanWaters. My connection with the website is not only professional. I am glad to tap into my personal experiences to help those who are living in toxic relationships whether with parents, partners or in their professional life. We need to make the world more aware of the devastating effects of emotional abuse and help more people on their way to heal and thrive.

Latest posts by Mags (see all)

Aubrey Cole

Aubrey Cole

I survived a quarter century of psychological, emotional, economic and sexual abuse. When I got out, I vowed to help others do the same and founded the Emotional Abuse Survivors Network project in 2012. Now, I offer hope and healing to others on their journey as they rediscover themselves. My forthcoming books, Bodies in the Basement and Define Winning, chronicle my experiences, escape, and recovery. There is nothing so special about me that others can't emerge and thrive.
Aubrey Cole

Latest posts by Aubrey Cole (see all)

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  1. Profile photo of Petunia

    October 8, 2015 at 8:53 pm

    This set of podcasts was very informative. Have the distinction between Intra-traumatic stress and Post-traumatic stress was an eye-opener for me. Some of those who love me simply don’t get why I’m ‘falling apart’ physically now, after the law suits have ended and a relative calm has begun to return to my daily life. I feel pressure from family and myself to just’ get on with it’, ‘hitch up my boot-strings’ and rise from the flames like the phoenix, blah, blah, blah, – like they’d seen me do in other significantly less traumatic situations before. Having my physical ailments treated like weakness is certainly not helping me feel strong again.

    It’s the calling cards you mentioned that keep me on his invisible leash, the subtle stalking and the innumerable triggers that keep me shackled.

  2. Profile photo of Aubrey Cole
    Aubrey Cole

    October 10, 2015 at 4:09 pm

    Oh, my darling Petunia,

    I look back now and realize that those times I felt like I was the only person on the planet experiencing this, I wish I had been! I would not want anyone else to experience this torture.

    Over the course of my healing, I finally came to realize a couple of things that address what you mentioned. First, NO ONE gets to vote on MY experience. Well-meaning people (such as you describe with your family) want you to “go on” and live your life. While that’s a great thought, there is a very specific grief and healing process you must go through in order to do that. Using an analogy that Monkey recent brought up in her writing, would they have the same attitude if you were fighting an illness or injury that they could understand? (Broken bone, accident, cancer, etc.) Secondly, when I got out of the “just keep the peace” mode and decided to adopt the “f–k you” mode, I empowered myself to not let his craziness get to me. Basically, I moved from victim thinking to survivor thinking. What I mean by that is, once I finally stood up to him and dared him to make good on his threats and intimidation, he folded like the pitiful bully he is. Thus, every single attempt he has made to completely destroy me has failed. Miserably. Has it been easy? Absolutely not. I lost all my financial resources and my health. BUT…I claimed a level of independence I had never had before. So when looking back at all he had already done, I thought, “You know what? I’M STILL STANDING! You do NOT have the power to destroy me.”

    I think so often we are stuck in the mindset given to us by the abuser and feel as though we are living in a box. When I defied that box, i.e., refused to accept his definition of me, I truly made progress in my healing. No, I was NOT “crazy”, “lazy”, “a terrible mother”, etc etc etc. In fact, once I got my head clear, I realized it was quite the opposite and he used that to keep me doubtful and controlled.

    Keep the evidence he leaves, for sure. You may need to demonstrate the things he has done (look up the article “Chaos Theory” by Lisa Hockett on, in order to legally protect yourself. As for your family, simply explain that this is an experience you are glad that they cannot understand, and that the best way they can help you is to not assume they know what’s best.


  3. Profile photo of Petunia

    October 12, 2015 at 10:09 am

    Thanks so much, Aubrey for your response.
    Although broke, a bit fatter, wrinklier and feeling quite a bit like the ugly duckling… I too am still standing. I realize that I am fiercely determined to stop the cycle – I can’t heal my mom, I can’t erase the last 15 years, but I can dedicate myself to getting healthy and raising a wonderful daughter. Unfortunately she spends 50% of her time with my ex and his arsenal of flying monkeys, so I keep my distance and focus on her and my time together.

    I try to use humor find the positives in this new life. For example, I noticed after a period of 6 weeks of incredible hair-loss…that it was the grays that fell out!! Ha ha, I thought, maybe this is like the lizard regenerating its tail; my hair will come back full and red and belie the grueling years that have passed in such a confusing blur.

    Another thing I and my DBF have observed over the last five years is that my N-ex’s signature not only has changed from when we first met, but it changes almost weekly…we see it on legal docs, my daughter’s school agenda, etc. And, like many Europeans, he’s got a whole pile of names and surnames…he uses different combinations of them when he signs off an email. This behavior is so peculiar, yet so obvious. It helps me think, ‘well, hell, I’ve suffered, but I still know my name!’

    Here’s to the transition from victim to survivor.
    Take care,


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