The SwanWaters Path to Healing is a roadmap to healing for survivors who are ready to move on from situations of abuse. The path is a generalization only, each survivor must listen to the inner-voice that guides their journey on the path.
Along the way, we have discovered places we each visit on our journey to emotional well-being. These points on the healing path may not all apply to every survivor, but some of these may be places on the path where you spend much time and thought.Of course we use our Ugly Duckling references here, so consider this your journey from an Ugly Duckling to a Strong and Graceful Swan.
We have drawn out the healing path as a linear journey, of course it is not. You will visit and revisit these phases in different orders, and with slightly different experiences each time.
Throughout the site, we refer to these phases on your healing journey, because they are familiar to everyone who is recovering from abuse. We all know the ups and downs and the G-forces of the Recovery Rollercoaster.
So, buckle up my friend. It’s going to be a bumpy ride!
Starting on the Path to Healing
You got to the path by your own intention to heal and the desire to find peace in troubled relationships. One way to start on that path is by learning and understanding the methods and tricks that the Emotional Abusers, Toxic Personor Bully used as their form of abuse. By reading stories on the site and going to the forum and chat, you will discover fellow-survivors who have experienced similar issues. Spending time sharing with others helps you grow and understand your pasts in a new light — the light of truth.
Often when a survivor first comes to an understanding of how they have been abused, they initially feel exhilarated and euphoric. This comes from finally feeling like you are not alone, that there are reasons for your concerns, AND that others have shared your situation.
It is like finally your world, your life… it all makes sense! It is the feeling that ‘you were not going crazy after all’. Finally you are getting back in the driver’s seat of your life, and that is an exhilarating feeling.
Whirlpool of Depression
It is not uncommon for the initial euphoria of understanding to be followed by a downward spiral that can lead to a Whirlpool of Depression. Yes, you now understand what has been going on, but where does that leave you? What are you to do now? How are you going to deal with the abuser? How will you ever be able to overcome all this pain?
Relax! These are all important questions, but good news is you do not need to answer them all today. When you feel overwhelmed with memories, emotions or anxiety, make sure you connect with others who have overcome this ordeal. Talking to fellow-survivors can bring strength and peace.
Black Swan Swamp
Now that you are on your journey, you may want to start sharing your story. This is an important part of your healing journey. Venting, ranting, sharing, bleeding your story… it is all part of the process. Using the forum is a great way to journal about your experiences, and get feedback from people who truly “get it” because they have been there. Wading through the memories is hard going, and you will feel strong emotions. Feel free to express those, we do not want you to feel restricted (of course we still expect you to adhere to our community guidelines).
Some details of past abuse that come to light contain very sensitive topics. It is crucial you feel free to speak the truth of those experience too. Stories about physical or sexual abuse can be very triggering for other members, and also you may feel a little more hesitant to share. Therefore we have created a group specifically for sharing of this kind, The Black Swans Group. It has its own forum where you can share your story, away from the main forum.
Dust Bath, Self-Sabotage Quicksand Pit and the Shedding Station
These places on the path are spots that all survivors will visit and revisit over time. In the Dust Bath, we rid ourselves of bad habits we may have learned from trying to cope with the abuse. We call these bad habits fleas and allergies. Fleas are usually part of a survival strategy we did not know we had and are no longer in need of. Our allergies are the triggers that make us display that old behavior again.
We try to avoid the Self-Sabotage Quicksand Pit, but when there are problems piling up, and we can feel we are powerless to cope. So then we can visit and gain insight, and most importantly gain strength from our companions in the forum, chat and articles on the site.
The Shedding Station is the place where we straighten out our feathers. The insights we gain into our past and our present need some time to sink in and be given a place in our daily lives. The fleas we have dealt with, the problems and self-doubt we have overcome may have ruffled our feathers, but we can now look back and consider these issues tackled. Celebrating these insights with your fellow survivors is important too. We are not used to be proud of ourselves and our hard work, but we should be!
Limited Contact Comfort Nest
Once a survivor realizes the truth about an abuser, they usually distance themselves. Forming boundaries against a Toxic Person and not being at their every beg and call, will help you to start claiming your independence. It can feel very comfortable and empowering to let your voice mail take a call, instead of answering at the first ring.
No Contact Ice Lake
Sometimes, the abuser can be so very toxic that you come to feel that cutting off all contact with them is a last resort in self-defense. This may also be in direct defense of your Family of Choice. Your Family of Choice are the people who love and respect you and treat you right. When an abuser feels they may be losing control of their target, they often resort to creating drama and spreading lies in an attempt to harm you. This can make the No Contact Ice Lake a slippery and difficult terrain to navigate at first, but it is also a place where survivors can come together and comfort one another through the difficulties of this last resort.
Like the Ugly Duckling of the fairy tale, Swan Lake is the reward we give ourselves as we struggle and overcome the issues we inherited through our personal histories. On the forum and chat, we pour out our emotions, negative and positive. These emotions fill Swan Lake and raise us up from the muck of our past abuse.
Through comparison and support, together we are finding strength in numbers and comfort in companionship of other survivors.
Your Swan Journey
To make the most of your healing journey, come and join us at SwanWaters.com. Read, learn and post in the community forum, join like-minded survivors in the chat. Before you know it, you will begin to grow in strength and confidence.
Join fellow-survivors who have conquered the journey before you and share hope, support and encouragement in the positive environment of SwanWaters.