A guide to help victims become survivors.
Can anyone else relate to this?
“I don’t want to be a victim OR a survivor! I want to live an alternate reality. I don’t want this to be my reality and I spend a lot of energy trying to avoid it. I do pretty good until something triggers me and spins me out of control. I have no idea what to do or how to get out. I don’t know how to shove everything back into that box and lock down so I can avoid dealing with it. I am scared. Maybe I am alone in feeling this way. I don’t know.” ~from a victim
I am going to call the “alternate reality” we often live in after surviving some sort of trauma “denial” because that’s what it is. It is totally understandable and a process we all have to go through. It is part of a survival mechanism, but one we have to learn to deal with and be able to accept if we ever wish to move on with our lives.
Back to the Basics
Whenever we experience a tragedy or are the victim of circumstance there are stages, which are part of the natural healing process, that we must all go through. It is tough, it hurts and it may not seem fair, but that is our reality. It is called the grieving process and that is where it all starts. It does not matter what you’re a victim of, because all that means is that you have experienced loss in some way, shape or form and a loss equates to grief. Here are the (excerpt) definitions of loss and grief according to Merriam:
: failure to keep or to continue to have something
: the experience of having something taken from you or destroyed
Full Definition of LOSS
: into a state of distress <events had thrown him for a loss>
: a cause of deep sadness
: trouble or annoyance
Full Definition of GRIEF
The 5 Stages of Grief
Now that we understand being a victim means to suffer a loss of some sort, we must understand the five stages of grief which inevitably accompany it.
The Kübler-Ross model, commonly referred to as the, “Five stages of grief” is a concept introduced by Elisabeth Kübler-Ross and says that someone faced with the reality of impending death or other extreme or awful fate, experiences a series of emotional stages:
- Shock and Denial ~ avoidance, confusion, fear, numbness, blame, disbelief
- Anger ~ frustration, anxiety, irritation, embarrassment, shame, bitter, resentful, blaming
- Bargaining & Dialogue ~ reaching out to others, a desire to tell one’s story, struggle to find meaning for what has happened, asking why
- Depression & Detachment ~ overwhelmed, blahs, lack of energy, helplessness, guilt, loss of faith
- Acceptance (resignation) ~ empowerment, security, self-esteem, seeking realistic solutions to move forward
The First Step
This is where it all starts my friends – these are the first steps to becoming a survivor instead of remaining a victim. You have to want it and be willing to go through the steps though. I wanted my survival and healing more than life itself, especially for my daughter. And sometimes that’s where it has to start…
I know as Christians we are supposed to love ourselves as God loves us, etc. but I sure didn’t. I couldn’t because I didn’t know how to, even though I was a believer. I really didn’t care enough about myself to get through it, because I honestly just wanted to crawl into a hole and die. But, I finally found I was able to do it for my child. I found something or someone outside myself that I cared enough about to help me move forward. And sometimes, it has to start there.
I used to be ashamed of this too, but I am not anymore because you know what… loving and doing things for yourself will come with time. Sometimes you just have to find that reason to live first.
Note: this series is inspired by questions I have received from other victims. I just have to say that I can’t believe the response it’s igniting! At first, I wasn’t too sure, because there hasn’t been much discussion happening online for everyone to see – it seems many people would rather stay anonymous regarding certain subjects though (this is very understandable and sometimes even necessary for safety!) But, you must know that I’ve gotten more emails and requests for personal chat times since I started posting this series, than I ever have before. My inbox has been almost full and perhaps half of my days have been spent giving survivors the 1:1 time they need. I am so grateful for all of you and the time and connections we are making. Talk about a wonderful blessing – thank you God!