Are you a victim or a survivor?

Written by Anne-Marie Wiesman

Victim, it’s an interesting word. At first it can make you feel validated for the hell you have been through, but as you work through your recovery it can end up making you feel offended rather than validated. For example when I confronted my Narcissistic mother over the phone about her not coming to my wedding and not “allowing” my stepfather to walk me down the isle, she exclaimed in an typical narcissist rage “You’re such a victim.” I put the word “allow” in quotation marks because I realize my step father is not a victim either and could have chosen to stand up to my mother and come to the wedding despite her refusal to come. Her not coming to the wedding was her stance to punish me for whatever perceived injustice I had done, which in her words she explained, “I’m not coming to your wedding, because you never call me.”

Beside finding her excuse utterly ridiculous, I remember thinking to myself, “I’m no victim!” It was true, and neither are you my friend. When she said “You’re such a victim” it made me feel powerless. If there is one big lesson I have learned on my recovery journey, it is that I am not powerless! I realize that what happened to me and many other survivors is horrible, it should not have happened and I’m in no way trying to minimize the very real pain that is experienced with any form of abuse that one has endured for anyone, including the insidious forms of abuse that leave no bruises or scars on the outside, but tear the person who has suffered such abuse to shreds on the inside. However it is very freeing to realize that you are the one that holds the power. The abusers want to take away your power, they want to make you feel powerless. They want you to believe that you are powerless, it’s their M.O. It’s their way to maintain power and control over you, because if you realized your power they would not be able to continue their abuse.

Once I realized that no one can abuse me unless I allow it, I was able to change my life. I used to believe that family was everything. I used to believe that I had to have a relationship with my mother, simply because she was my mother. I truly believed I had no other choice. I thought I had to tolerate her verbal abuse because she was the parent and I was the child. Once I let go of that silly belief, I took back my power and ended the 30 plus years of abuse I had endured from her. I called BS and all those dysfunctional beliefs that had been passed down to me from the previous abusive generations before me.

I have learned that stepping out of the victim role mentality is a huge step in your recovery. A huge step that must be taken if you wish to stop re-creating being victimized. Without this important step in the recovery process you will end up creating the exact same abuser/victim relationships you previously had just with different players. The places and faces may change, but the dynamics will be the same. If you don’t make this important mental step toward stepping out of the victim role and releasing the old limiting victim beliefs that have been passed onto you, the recreating of abusive relationships will keep you stuck in the victim role and leave you feeling powerless once again.

This is an important lesson to learn, how to stop the re-creation of abusive relationship in your life. Otherwise as I mentioned, you will keep getting the same results, until the lesson is learned. You are a co-creator in all of your relationships. Once you change what you allow or accept from others, you change your life, and all the relationships in it. If you want a different life, you have to change the set point at which you currently stand- from victim of life, to a creator of your life. You get to decide how you want your life to be. You decide what you are willing and unwillingly to accept. Once you decide and change your set point, the people that wish to victimize or abuse you will no longer be a match to you. They will fall out of your life and find new victims. The abuse ends when you end it. How can something continue if you are no longer participating. The abuse from my Narcissistic mother and Narcissistic, violent ex-husband ended not because they changed, but because I did. I ended their access to me through no contact and put measures in place to protect myself from further abuse. The first step was deciding I deserved better, the second step was doing something about it.

Isn’t it nice to know that you hold the power? To know that you can change you life for the better. It’s like in the Wizard of Oz when the good witch says to Dorothy, “You had the power all along.” You have had the power all along, you just didn’t know it and the abusers didn’t want you too. If you are an adult who is being victimized or abused it is pretty easy to surmise that you were being abused in some form as a child and were taught to believe at a very young age that you had no power, or to give away your power. What better way to gain control over someone else. For survival reasons and because you had to depend on the adults around you, you played along. Most likely you were perfectly trained before your abuser found you. You may as well have had “Victim” stamped on your forehead.

It is not your fault, anymore than the abuse as a child, or as an adult was. The abusers set you up as powerless. You start to believe it, and the trap is set. This is a learned behavior along with the limiting beliefs that you were sold as a child. You are not a child anymore. You can change this. You can unlearn what was learned. You can change those underlying beliefs. You do have the power. Once they know that, and you know it, you will truly never be or feel like a victim again. What freedom! You deserve to be free. Life should not feel like prison sentence under someone else’s rule. It is your life. You are the creator of your life no one else. When you know and believe that, you too will truly see that there are no victims here. You will see that you had the power all along!

Wishing you well on your healing journey Anne-Marie Wiesman

What are feelings about the use of the word victim?

What has your experience been moving through the feelings related around moving into a feeling of being a survivor rather than a victim?


For those of you that have been raised by a Narcissistic mother a book that was pivotal in my recovery is the book below: Will I ever be good enough? I highly recommend reading it as a part of your recovery-

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