So while having a little girls day out, we were introduced to this wonderfully lively girl. She had the loudest and most infectious laugh imaginable, and since that lunch I have heard her announce her own arrival with it every time we met.
So we are all having lunch and drinks and talking about this, that, and the other. Then the conversation turns to Swan Waters. Well. all of us at the table are Founding Swans—except the girl with the lovely laugh. So we start telling her about the website, and the reasons we wanted to build it in the first place. All of us are daughters of Toxic Parents, and we always figured that brings a lot of quite specific problems to the table.
So as we are talking and telling some of our stories, backgrounds, and examples of the type of behavior we experienced at the hands of our parents, we begin to realize that the girl with the lovely laugh is pretty quiet. As we leave her more room to speak we find out that she recognizes some of the behaviors that we are describing. Although she does not link them to her parents, she suffered similar circumstances while in a long term relationship. She starts telling us some of her story, some of how he had made her feel, and some of the effects of his behavior.
In that moment we realized that the specific problems that children of Toxic People deal with are not necessarily that specific. They are, in essence, the same experiences and effects that other people deal with that have close encounters with Emotional Bullies. As we were swapping stories, we realized that her story resonated with ours at all sorts of levels. Although the relationship between ourselves and the Toxic Person had been different, they played the same games, used the same strategies, and had the same devastating effects on us. All of us had been made to feel two-inches tall, and all of us needed to recover. We all needed validation and support. We all needed to speak out truth, and we all needed to rediscover ourselves.
So in the conversations after this lunch, we starting talking more and more about the different kinds of Swans there are. Swans that have Toxic Parents, Swans with Toxic Spouses, and Swans with Toxic Bosses. All these Swans are hurting; all of them share the experience of intense emotional bullying. And all of them deserve a place where they can heal and thrive. So we decided that we had enough room at SwanWaters for all of them to come together, shed their hurt, and find their Swan wings.