Victim to survivor to thrivor

I’m fairly sure the last one is not a word, but it needs to be.  Thriving was not part of my vocabulary.  I understood taking orders, I knew how to survive; it is like I knew how to drive a tank but didn’t know how to walk down a city street.  I do believe some city streets require a tank but it really messes up the road.  A victim is one who is harmed.  In the broad sense of the term everyone gets hurt sometime.  Being born is not painless or comfortable, there is a reason babies cry early in life.  From a warm dark floaty feeling into harsh cold light, yea it is not a comfortable change.  However, to me being a victim is a temporary thing at the moment of trauma.  A skinned knee is quickly recovered from and life goes on.  Other events far exceed the misery of a skinned knee.  Unfortunately, people are expected to get over a death of a loved one or a rape as easily as a skinned kneed.  Lists are made of inappropriate things to say to some that suffered pain or loss.  I think everyone could name their pet peeve statement that reflects a lack of understanding or compassion. I’ll list a few that I can think of off the top of my head:

It’s not that bad.

Just think positive and all will be well.

Put it behind you.

Aren’t you over that yet?

Get a grip.

Move on.

Mind over matter.


Here’s my thoughts on these statements.  I had to acknowledge just how bad things were before I could attempt to heal.  With cancer they did all sorts of images to find the source of the cancer.  Abuse is the same way, I needed to understand the source of the problem.

Just think positive thoughts….to me this is one of the silliest and most unrealistic of them all.  I couldn’t take a picture without lights and shadows.  There is nothing in nature that has only positives.  The world is a magnet and has positive and negative.  Right down to atoms with positive and negative charges that hold them together.  Only positive is totally unrealistic and guaranteed failure at some point.

Put it behind you.  I did.  I forget my entire childhood.  My body remembered.  I also didn’t learn anything from what I didn’t remember.  Or I reacted without understanding why.  Connecting to my past helped me to learn how to negotiate the difficulties of today.  I believe I can learn from my past without locking myself there but the past helps me understand why I am where I am today.

Aren’t you over that yet?  Who decides when I am over some hurt, betrayal or frustration?  I do.  I noticed that some people are not comfortable around intense emotions, to avoid feeling uncomfortable they expect someone else to change.  Resolving a hurt, accepting events, or resolving a frustration is done in each person’s own time.  Healing can not be done to order or please someone else.  Few people understand an issue by observing from the outside.  Just as few people realize how massive an iceberg is since most of it is hidden.

Get a grip.  My feeling was ‘get a grip of what?’  This is usually a command from someone else that does not want to understand, empathize or consider your emotions or point of view.  It is a short cut solution that might be needed in a short term situation but rarely resolves issues in the long run.

Move on.  To where?  I first needed to know where I was before I could move to something else. I discovered the hard way that if I moved on without resolving an issue it would come back again and again until I got it right.  The movie Ground Hog Day struck a chord on this issue.

I was lectured to by a cancer survivor that I was weak in not getting over my problems….she reassured me that it was simply mind over matter.  I gave it a shot…..what I learned, “If you don’t mind, it doesn’t matter.”  I also learned it is fairly useless to compare myself to anyone but me.  I measure healing in years.

I believe every person has their own path of understanding of how to move from feeling a victim to ultimately growing and thriving.  Some people derail themselves with addictions, avoidance, and suicide.  Choosing a path of healing is not an easy cliche filled road.  Recognizing your own power and no longer feeling helpless turns a victim into a survivor.  A survivor might be battered and scarred either on the outside or the inside.  Using their power to set boundaries and defend themselves changes their life.  Taking the damaged parts and repairing them with gold (Kintsugi) and using the strength gained from the struggle opens the world of thriving.  Growing. Becoming.  Being all that a person has the potential of being.

201-Tiger_SwallowtailA caterpillar has little understanding of the potential it has to become a butterfly.


3 thoughts on “Victim to survivor to thrivor

  1. I’ve never understood why anyone thinks groundhog day is so funny a movie. I always feel stuck, trapped, and doomed to repeat it all. Regress. heal a bit. regress. Good points here. We all have this power inside of us, but knowing this, and accessing this power though the pain and damage is hard work. Our will and determination carries us along only so far, and then we must rest and recover from the journey itself.

    • Not a funny movie but it is very instructional for me. I feel like I keep going over the same territory until I learn the lesson I need to know. “Rest if you must but don’t you quit.” I know it is a quote from some where. I agree going over the same stuff over and over feels stuck until I realize I am slowly gaining ground.

  2. I think the one I hate most is “All you need is faith” and any variation where faith is used as a be all end all answer. It’s true that I need faith, but God gives a whole lot more than that. If you’re not looking for what God is offering, because all you need is faith, then how will you recognize it when it’s presented?

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