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Anna Bowden – From Survival To Success

In this very 1st episode of ‘Off The Cuff with Kel,’ Anna and Kel will have a brave discussion of what it means to be a survivor, peeling away the layers in a beautiful, heartfelt and authentic way which will leave you inspired and encouraged.

Anna bravely shares her story, and we cover themes of shame, breaking the silence, self forgiveness, patterns of trauma, self care tips, protecting kids, reasons for silence and so much more!

Join us by subscribing to the podcast, listen from the website.


16:00 – Fauning for protection

18:45 – Skill developed 1: Reading the Room

19:14 – Skill developed 2: Security Surveillance Mind

20:41 – Forgiveness

22:37 – Predator’s Type

23:06 – Principle of Reciprocity

23:54 – The Protector

28:10 – People Pleasing Behaviour

29:15 – Difficulty in Setting Boundaries

31:30 – Choosing silence because of  the fear of how it may impact others


Anna Bowden 11:07 – Triggers and repressed memories

So I said, “Julie, this thing happened? And surely you can tell me this is not real, right? Like, why would I remember it?” She’s like, “Anna, most people do. And she’s honestly, the more traumatic it is, the more likely you are to have locked it out.” Of course, the brain is doing its thing, right? Often people kind of discover when they’re in that high adrenaline, like running on a treadmill or doing something that’s like, the cortisol starts to release. And for whatever reason, there’s a trigger. And for me, it was like a podcast, and it all just comes flooding back. She’s like, it’s classic. It’s really classic.

Kelly Humphries 14:43 – Trauma response: fight, flight, fear, and fawn

I think when you’re a kid and you’re in that situation, you go into those trauma responses of you know, fight-flight, fear, fawn. We often say that we blame ourselves almost. I mean, I know for myself that I I fought, I fell into that fawning pattern because it kept me safe. For anyone who’s listening is you basically do what you need to do to stay safe.

But in the mind of a child, it almost feels like consent, it feels like you’re saying, I’m consenting to this. And there’s a lot of guilt in that, and there’s a lot of guilt that nobody really talks about. Because, you know, it’s just kind of hidden under that shame blanket.

Anna Bowden 15:56 – Fawning

And so fawn was actually the safest tactic that I had in my books. Right. And that’s just what I had to do to survive. And one of the things that, you know, I’ve kind of I’m trying to convince myself of is that actually, it’s quite, it’s quite bloody clever, isn’t it? If you’re a small kid, to be strategizing how to survive as a six year old to be like, Do you know what, I know that this man or boy is gonna get fired up? If I do something? I just, it’s just best if I just keep this as low-key as I possibly can. Like, it’s, it’s not stupid, right? Like, your brain is actually doing what it needs to do at that moment. It will mess you up for life. But at that moment, that’s not true.


Q: There are a lot of survivors out there who’ve got kids. How is that for you? How does it change the way you parent?

That’s the hardest part. So you know, we talked about how you can own the pain yourself. That last thing, the last thing you want is to spread that pain. And that is a whole different level of awful awfulness.

So with my two little ones, I am so brutally aware that I am not giving them the childhood that I want them to have. And that’s not because I’m doing anything wrong. It’s because I’m hyper, hyper-vigilant. These kids don’t get to play in the way that kids should be able to right? They don’t get to, they don’t get me to, you know, be quiet when they’re climbing the boulders at the park. They don’t get to play in the front garden, because I don’t know who’s driving up.

It’s such a battle to know that I’m holding them back in some ways. But I can’t help myself.

Q: What would be your message to all the moms and dads who are survivors out there? 

I think it’s the words that I would say. But I struggle with hearing myself which is like, just be kind to yourself, right?

The reason you’re feeling this pain is most likely because you love the hell out of these kids. Right? That’s the thing. That’s the most important thing. And yeah, just be kind to yourself, they’re lucky to have you. And I say that to other people. It’s hard to internalise it. But that’s the truth. Right? The reason I get so upset about how this might affect them by osmosis is there’s no one that I want to harm less than my kids, right?

Q: If you can give one tip to anyone who’s working in the industry, who are obviously finding it hard? What would you do if you were to look after yourself?

I’m increasingly flagging when it’s too much.

And I would say that’s, that’s what I recommend the team to do, too. So if anyone feels like, you know what, I’m, I’m out, like, I can’t I just can’t do this for a while, I think having the courage to say that is actually really, really important.

And it’s, it’s a very hard thing to say, right? Like when you’re surrounded by 15 other people in an office who are doing the same work, you feel really weird to be like, do you know what, I can’t hack it? I’m out, I can’t.

But I think we’re trying to create a culture where that’s a very open discussion to have, and I said to the team, even if you want a number, on a scale of 1 to 10 – How’s everyone doing today? You’re a 1, you’re going home, cool.