It seems as if we all have different opinions as to what a victim or survivor is and many of us disagree with how those words are to be used. I have made up my own meanings as to the difference between these two oversimplified words.
For me “victim” is the stage of grief we must endure to become a survivor in the same way we have to learn the alphabet before we can read a book. We have to be a victim first in order to come out the other end. And it’s nothing to be ashamed of. Nor is it giving any kind of power to the perpetrator. Our culture really makes it seem so shameful and believing this comes at a high cost.
So few people heal because our institutions condition us to shut down and ignore that sacred humbling stage of victimhood. So, as a result, ironically we REMAIN victims where our unresolved wounds rule our thoughts, our decisions, and our habits on an UNconscious level.
What is a “victim”? When we are victims, we have limited power and sometimes due to that, we might relinquish our power to external authority. Babies and children cannot handle the impact of trauma, so to survive it, they dissociate from it. A new “self” (ego) is created while the original self holds on to the baggage. As victims, due to this split, we don’t fully know who we are in spite of thinking we do. Since the pilot (original self) is shut down, the autopilot takes over and experiences life in a limited way. Some might call the “pilot” the “inner child”.
If another person’s “victim stage” is triggering you, it is probably because they are reminding you of your own “victim stage” that you’re not even conscious of. If we are true Thrivers, we have unconditional compassion for where everyone is on their journeys. We hold no stop-watches and count no days. A True Thriver is a lover.
Thrivers are those of us on the healing journey to get our power back. We are giving full expression to the original self’s emotion. The sadness, the rage, the helplessness, the powerlessness, the hopelessness, the terror, the shame, and the grief associated with old trauma is fully being felt, embraced and honored. We are starting to really live now. We begin to see Life as it is instead of through the foggy lens of unresolved forgotten wounds. Also as a result of thriving, we use logic, objectivity, curiosity, wonder, reason and heart-centeredness over fear when making decisions. We understand ourselves now, so we automatically understand others. Because we have experience feeling deep emotion, we now have compassion for others we hadn’t before. We realize we are Powerful. We become responsible for our own Lives, our triggers, our feelings, our choices, our successes and failures. We are piloting our own planes now. Life can still bring us some unwanted visitors, but we’re no longer afraid of them and our emotions anymore and so we can resolve problems much easier. Our souls no longer need to attract the same situations over and over again when we are thriving as we no longer need those triggers. We are less ill mentally, spiritually, sexually and physically. When we are thriving, we know ourselves and aren’t any longer afraid of ourselves, our divine darkness, our feelings and the feelings of others. We are no longer afraid of Life and any symbolism that might remind us of our past. Whereas before we were desensitized from our past traumas and used addictions and denial to cope, we are now simply aware of our past without any shame or apologies. And finally when we are thrivers, we become our own Authority.
It’s a long, humbling, grueling yet liberating process to get from victim to survivor. It could take months or lifetimes. There’s no rush. Neither stage is “good” or “bad” and those who are victims are not “bad”. We ALL must endure the victim stage FIRST before proceeding to becoming a thriver. The whole problem is that we label the victim as “bad”. It is NOT. Just as being a Thriver is not “better-than”. These are righteous stages we ALL move through on our soul’s journeys. Ignoring the silly culture-based fear-driven labels of “good”, “bad”, “right” and “wrong” will make the journey a whole lot easier and will also keep us from comparing our path with others.
On a deeper note, the words “victim” and “survivor” are just words and could even be a distraction. And sadly, sometimes these words cause division. But in the grand scheme of Life, they don’t even matter. The only thing that truly matters is that, through our hardships in this physical realm, we are learning who we really are.
Forget about language and keep your eye on the prize.