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S.W.I.R.L provides an overview of the essential stages that naturally unfold as part of the healing process. With knowledge, you can take an action-oriented approach to heal through each stage in order to feel better faster. 

You may find yourself S.W.I.R.L.-ing through these stages within an hour or throughout a day - cycles within cycles - the pattern can last for weeks, months, or even stuck for years (without awareness to truly heal). 


It can feel crazy-making... Shattering one moment, Rage the next, Internalizing later that day and back in Shattering by bedtime."You S.W.I.R.L. through the stages over and over... until you emerge out the end of the funnel-shaped cloud, a changed person, better able to find love than before,” Susan Anderson.


overview video (7 mins)


  • Devastation, confusion, despair, anxiety, and hopelessness

  • Likely the most painful stage (you'll find yourself looping back into until fully healed)


Why this happens

  • Humans are relationship-dependent, with a need for 'belonging' in a family or tribe

  • A secure, intimate relationship, allows for a sense of safety and calm to our nervous system

  • When our main relationship is severed, this love-loss and resulting 'aloneness' ignites the same FIGHT/FLIGHT stress response system as in life-threatening situations! 

  • Your nervous system is responding as if you are lost in the middle of the forest alone forever


how to breakthrough: action-oriented self-care

1   Slow Down - Create an 'Emotional Cast' to Heal

Daily Simple Comforts 

3 Plan Sensitive Social Support

4 Meditations and Self-Hypnosis  (Loneliness Meditation)

5 Change 'Environment Cues' 

Prepare for Painful Emotions and Backdraft Emotions

7 Daily Time to 'Feel and Heal'

Schedule at least 10 minutes every day to literally allow yourself the opportunity to sit, feel sad and shattered. If you cry during this time, that is deeper healing work. If you feel sad or need to cry at any point during the day, tell yourself "I'm giving you dedicated time and attention to 'Feel and Heal' later today.



overview video (6 mins)

what it feels like

  • Wrenching anguish, stirring, wakefulness, painful loneliness

  • You may idealize your ex and want them back (even if you rationally don't)

  • Looping thoughts and craving your ex to relieve symptoms

  • Obsessing for distractions or a new love 'fix' 



  • Acute “neuro-biological crisis” - physical symptoms are REAL and similar to a heroin withdrawal, as it involves the opioid system and a drop in oxytocin production

  • Rush of stress hormones, such as adrenaline, norepinephrine, and glucocorticoids

  • Serotonin and dopamine shift more than usual, causing you to feel “on edge,” combined with restless sleep, digestion issues and more


how to breakthrough: GROUNDING & PURPOSE

1   Oxytocin Boosters

Grounding Exercises

De-Idealize your Ex

Idealize Your Future & Purpose

Realize Your Values and Desires

Honor Your Single Phase

#1 cure for heartbreak

finding your 'purpose'


overview video (7 mins)


  • You might beat yourself up with regrets

  • Self-berating thoughts, self-directed anger

  • Most critical stage of the cycle when your heartbreak “wound” becomes susceptible to “infection” because it can impact your core sense of Self, self-worth, and self-esteem


  • To feel somewhat in control, in the midst of this powerless situation, we direct anger at ourselves with self-indictment and even self-hate, in attempt to gain a sense of power

  • This is where working with a professional like me is important

how to breakthrough: acceptance & cleansing

1   Acceptance Work & Cleansing Regrets

2  Building Your Soothing System

Inner Critic Work

Self-Compassion Exercises

Daily Gratitude Journaling

Inner Connecting Journaling


overview video (4 mins)

what it feels like

  • Turning point in the grief process when you begin to externalize your pain

  • Surges of angry feelings towards your ex, or even displaced on your friends and family

  • Although expressing anger can be destructive and counter-productive, EXPERIENCING AND PROCESSING through anger is an essential part of the healing process

  • Revenge and retaliation fantasies are common!

why it happens

  • Attempt to reverse rejection by refusing to accept all of blame

  • Stems from prolonged feelings of helplessness, rejection, agitated depression

how to breakthrough: empowering emotions

1   Mission Statement: Leverage Rage to FIGHT for Your Goals

2  Emotional Health Skills: Process Anger

Understand FIGHT-or-FLIGHT-or-FREEZE

Anger Worksheet: Understanding Anger

Unpacking Shame


overview video (5 mins)

  • Allow for moments of lifting with open arms, yet do not attempt to force them to stay

  • The natural healing process SWIRL's into moments of lifting, with time you will be lifted out of the grief cycle with an emergence of strength, self-trust - wiser for the painful lessons learned

  • You may have lifting stages that feel disconnected and foggy - simply be aware of this and remember just because you are having a good LIFTED day does not mean you’re fully healed and that is OKAY

  • WORD OF CAUTION: When you Lift, it is important to take your feelings with you. Otherwise you lose connection with yourself once again, creating an internal barrier to yourself and others


1   Understand Your Needs and Wants

Cleansing Attachment Patterns

3 Building Balanced Boundaries

Understanding Secure Attachment

Preparing for Love and Connection


"The goal is to find greater life and love than before."

Susan Anderson, Journey from Abandonment to Healing



Idealize Your Future

We tend to have ruminating, looping thoughts about our ex because our minds automatically idealize them, whether we want them to or not. This ends up increasing withdrawal symptoms and self-debilitating internalizing of blame and shame.


Identifying ways you are idealizing your ex and writing down the facts, is one of the most effective exercises you can do in order to catapult through heartbreak recovery. It helps to understand why we put our ex's (or current unfit partners) on a pedestal. 


10 reasons WHY we ruminate and idealize our ex

  1. Your mind portrays your ex as irreplaceable to justify the intensity of the emotional pain

  2. Diverts you from the painful moment of "acceptance" (acceptance is needed to truly heal) 

  3. Keeps you in denial from the reality that your love wasn't what you expected or wanted

  4. Feels better to pine for what “could have been” than to feel the pain of hopelessness

  5. You experienced an “addictive” cycle of highs and lows, "love bombing," or a push-pull dynamic - providing a rush of “feel good” chemicals, followed by confusion and pain

  6. Your ex may have legitimately been amazing and a wonderful fit (yet you must heal)

  7. You may feel loss as "rejection" causing a deep personal wound (your mind tricks you into thinking that getting your ex back is the only solution to feeling worthy of love)

  8. You may have invested a lot, “lost yourself,” or violated your own values, goals, morals in order to keep the relationship going (so you are looping in regrets)

  9. The fear that no one will ever enter your life that compares (a natural and normal fear)

  10. Psychologically “seeking” your ex in order to feel connection, love, and the bond you shared (withdrawal-type symptoms)

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your ex

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your future






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Creating Your Balance LLC and information provided is not intended to diagnose, treat, prevent or cure any disease or condition.  It is not intended to substitute for the advice, treatment and/or diagnosis of a qualified licensed professional. Creating Your Balance LLC and information provided may not make any medical diagnoses, claims and/or substitute for your personal physician’s care.