Rising Strong: Empowering the Warrior Within through Community and Education

elissa swihart healing megan babcock podcast episodes trauma transformation Jul 07, 2023

In this enlightening segment of the podcast, It's Your Story to Tell, Elissa and Megan delve deeper into the journey of healing from abusive relationships. 





Could you be in an abusive relationship? Download this free guide to learn more about what abuse is and how to safety plan if you find yourself in an abusive situation.

Elissa raises an important point about the tendency of survivors, especially women, to make themselves small from a very young age. They learn to minimize their presence, which inadvertently makes it easier for abusers or narcissists to manipulate and control them. This realization underscores the significance of taking up space as an integral part of the healing process.

Elissa uses an analogy to illustrate this concept. She refers to a previous episode where Megan mentioned the impact of her reactions on other people and choose to deny her own feelings to not hurt others.



Elissa emphasizes that this dynamic is particularly relevant in abusive relationships, where abusers recognize and exploit the willingness of their victims to make themselves small. By reclaiming their right to occupy space and assert their worth, survivors can gradually break free from the chains of abuse.

A great workbook to help you navigate this process is the Healing the Trauma of Domestic Violence.



A powerful metaphor emerges as Elissa describes a woman emerging from the woods with her pack of wolves. This image symbolizes the transformation that occurs when survivors learn to take up space, stand tall, and protect themselves. It represents the journey of reclaiming one's strength, power, and agency.

Elissa recounts a personal experience from her voice-acting journey that exemplifies the struggle of learning to take up space. She explains how her voice coach gave her a script for a children's book, asking her to act out the part of a king. Playing this role required projecting a deep, royal voice and physically occupying space with confidence. However, when she attempted it, she found herself overwhelmed with emotions and broke down in tears. This poignant moment revealed the depth of her own journey toward self-empowerment and highlighted the challenges of rewiring ingrained beliefs about self-worth.

Megan empathizes with Elissa's experience and reflects on her own vision during her healing process. She recalls envisioning herself shattering a mirror that represented her past, breaking it into countless pieces. This metaphorical act symbolized the dismantling of her old self, paving the way for a new and improved version of herself. She was determined to rebuild her life on her own terms, free from the constraints of abuse. Megan also mentions another guest on her podcast, Brandi, who went through a similar transformation after a difficult marriage. Brandi envisioned her journey to rebuilding as assembling a mosaic or a stained-glass window, creating a masterpiece more beautiful than before. 



Elissa adds that healing and self-improvement involve education, community building, and the conscious choice to reassemble the pieces of oneself. She compares it to a jigsaw puzzle, where survivors don't have to put the pieces back where they originally were but can rearrange them in a way that best fits their current selves. The person they were before the abusive relationship no longer exists; they are reborn, rising like a phoenix from the ashes.

The process of rebuilding oneself is not linear but rather a continuous cycle of growth and self-discovery. Megan acknowledges that the awakening and empowerment that come with leaving an abusive situation do not instantly transform life into a fairytale. She humorously remarks on the unrealistic depictions of love and happiness in Disney movies, noting that true happiness and healthy relationships require constant effort, honest conversations, and setting boundaries.

Both Elissa and Megan highlight the significance of self-care and finding joy as essential components of the healing journey. They discuss activities like dancing and spending time in nature, which provide a release of endorphins and offer moments of peace and rejuvenation. By prioritizing self-care, survivors can prevent burnout and continue their personal growth. Elissa emotionally recalls a moment of realization when she sat with a friend on a patio, sipping wine, and suddenly felt a genuine sense of happiness. This simple yet profound experience epitomizes the transformation and progress she has made in her own healing journey.

The Feelings Wheel is a powerful tool for increasing self-awareness and understanding emotions on the healing journey. It provides a visual representation of a wide range of feelings, allowing us to expand our emotional vocabulary and articulate our experiences more accurately. By using the Feelings Wheel, we can delve deeper into our emotions, uncover triggers, and develop greater self-awareness. It also enhances communication, empathy, and connection with others as we express our needs and experiences more effectively. 

Megan further emphasizes the importance of self-care by mentioning the science behind activities like dancing and spending time in nature. She recognizes the positive impact these activities have on mental and emotional well-being. Engaging in joyful experiences and taking time for oneself becomes a way to recharge and nurture the spirit. Megan encourages listeners to explore what brings them joy and to prioritize self-care as an essential aspect of their healing process.

Both Elissa and Megan acknowledge that the healing journey is not without its challenges. They discuss the ups and downs, the hard days, and the moments of doubt that can arise along the way. They highlight the need for self-compassion and understanding during these difficult times. Megan reinforces the idea that acknowledging and learning from setbacks or difficult moments is not a sign of weakness but rather an opportunity for growth and resilience. By approaching challenges with a positive mindset and reframing them as opportunities for growth, survivors can continue to evolve and become stronger.

The conversation expands to the impact of healing on various aspects of life. Megan applauds Elissa's growth not only in her career as a voice actor but also as a partner, friend, and mother. Elissa's journey of self-discovery and self-empowerment has a ripple effect, positively influencing all areas of her life. Megan emphasizes the importance of self-care in fostering healthy relationships and being better equipped to support and care for others.

In conclusion, the segment underscores the transformative power of healing from abusive relationships. It emphasizes the significance of taking up space, both physically and emotionally, as survivors reclaim their sense of self-worth and agency. The journey involves self-discovery, breaking free from societal expectations, and embracing personal growth.

Take a minute to assess your current mindset and where you want to be. You too can move through this process and create a thriving life! 



Through education, community, and self-care, survivors can rebuild themselves into stronger, happier individuals. The conversation between Elissa and Megan serves as a beacon of hope, reminding listeners that they have the power to rise from the ashes, create a life of their choosing, and find joy along the way.


xoxo, Megan & the team


Article Resources

  • Could you be in an abusive relationship? | Learn More
  • EP 1: My Story of Survival, Healing & Breaking The Cycle | Watch Now
  • Healing the Trauma of Domestic Violence Workbook | Learn More
  • EP 2: Breaking Chains, Finding Purpose: A Story of Healing & Empowerment | Watch Now
  • The Feelings Wheel - A powerful tool for increasing self-awareness | Learn More
  • [BUNDLE] The Trauma Transformation Essential Skills Series | Learn More




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