S.W.I.R.L. is an acronym which stands for the five stages of abandonment: Shattering, Withdrawal, Internalizing, Rage, and Lifting – introduced in JOURNEY FROM ABANDONMENT.

1: SHATTERING – Your relationship is breaking apart. Your hopes and dreams are Shattered. You are devastated, bewildered. You Succumb to despair and panic. You feel hopeless and have Suicidal feelings. You feel Symbiotically attached to your lost love, mortally wounded, as if you’ll die without them. You are in Severe pain, Shock, Sorrow. You’ve been Severed from your primary attachment. You’re cut off from your emotional life-line.

2: WITHDRAWAL – painful Withdrawal from your lost love. The more time goes on, the more all of the needs your partner was meeting begin to impinge into your every Waking moment. You are in Writhing pain from being torn apart. You yearn, ache, and Wait for them to return. Love-withdrawal is just like Heroin withdrawal – – each involves the body’s opiate system and the same physical symptoms of intense craving. During Withdrawal, you are feeling the Wrenching pain of love-loss and separation – – the Wasting, Weight loss, Wakefulness, Wishful thinking, and Waiting for them to return. You crave a love-fix to put you out of the WITHDRAWAL symptoms.

3: INTERNALIZING – you Internalize the rejection and cause Injury to your self esteem. This is the most critical stage of the cycle when your wound becomes susceptible to Infection and can create permanent scarring. You are Isolated, riddled with Insecurity, self- Indictment and self-doubt. You are preoccupied with ‘If only regrets’ – – If only you had been more attentive, more sensitive, less demanding, etc. You beat yourself up with regrets over the relationship and Idealize your abandoner at the expense of your own self Image.

4: RAGE – the turning point in the grief process when you begin to fight back. You attempt to Reverse the Rejection by Refusing to accept all of the blame for the failed relationship, and feel surges of Rage against your abandoner. You Rail against the pain and isolation you’ve been in. Agitated depression and spurts of anger displaced on your friends and family are common during this turbulent time, as are Revenge and Retaliation fantasies toward your abandoner. Your Outer Child is spurred by abandonment rage and becomes very active and potentially desctuctive.  New Outer Child patterns may set in.

5: LIFTING – your anger helped to externalize your pain. Gradually, as your energy spurts outward, it Lifts you back into Life. You begin to Let go. Life distracts you and gradually Lifts you out the grief cycle. You feel the emergence of strength, wiser for the painful Lessons you’ve Learned. And if you’re engaged in the process of recovery, you get ready to Love again.

A 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 others.

You S.W.I.R.L. through the stages over and over within an hour, a day, a month, sometimes a period of years – – cycles within cycles – – until you emerge out the end of the funnel-shaped cloud, a changed person, better able to find love than before.

HELP is available. Each stage of the SWIRL process is explored in depth in JOURNEY FROM ABANDONMENT TO HEALING, and workbook exercises are provided for each stage in JOURNEY FROM HEARTBREAK TO CONNECTION.


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