Saturday, January 7, 2012

From Victim to Survivor to Thriver

I came across the text below by Barbara Watson while reading another survivor's blog called "Healing Heart - Life After Rape." The text is very insightful - something I think everyone who has experienced any form of sexual or emotional abuse should read. I hope that you find it as beneficial as I have. Enjoy!

Victim: Doesn’t deserve nice things or trying for the "good life."
Survivor: Struggling for reasons & chance to heal
Thriver: Gratitude for everything in life.

Victim: Low self-esteem/shame/unworthy
Survivor: Sees self as wounded & healing
Thriver: Sees self as an overflowing miracle

Victim: Hyper vigilant
Survivor: Using tools to learn to relax
Thriver: Gratitude for new life

Victim: Alone
Survivor: Seeking help
Thriver: Oneness

Victim: Feels Selfish
Survivor: Deserves to seek help
Thriver: Proud of Healthy Self caring

Victim: Damaged
Survivor: Naming what happened
Thriver: Was wounded & now healing

Victim: Confusion & numbness
Survivor: Learning to grieve, grieving past ungrieved trauma
Thriver: Grieving at current losses

Victim: Overwhelmed by past
Survivor: Naming & grieving what happened
Thriver: Living in the present

Victim: Hopeless
Survivor: Hopeful
Thriver: Faith in self & life

Victim: Uses outer world to hide from self
Survivor: Stays with emotional pain
Thriver: Understands that emotional pain will pass & brings new insights

Victim: Hides their story
Survivor: Not afraid to tell their story to safe people.
Thriver: Beyond telling their story, but always aware they have created their own healing with HP

Victim: Believes everyone else is better, stronger, less damaged
Survivor: Comes out of hiding to hear others & have compassion for them & eventually self
Thriver: Lives with an open heart for self & others

Victim: Often wounded by unsafe others
Survivor: Learning how to protect self by share, check, share
Thriver: Protects self from unsafe others

Victim: Protects self from unsafe others
Survivor: Learning healthy needs
Thriver: Places self first realizing that is the only way to function & eventually help others

Victim: Creates one drama after another
Survivor: See patterns
Thriver: Creates peace

Victim: Believes suffering is the human condition
Survivor: Feeling some relief, knows they need to continue in recovery
Thriver: Finds joy in peace

Victim: Serious all the time
Survivor: Beginning to laugh
Thriver: Seeing the humor in life

Victim: Uses inappropriate humor, including teasing
Survivor: Feels associated painful feelings instead
Thriver: Uses healthy humor

Victim: Uncomfortable, numb or angry around toxic people
Survivor: Increasing awareness of pain & dynamics
Thriver: Healthy boundaries around toxic people, including relatives

Victim: Lives in the past
Survivor: Aware of patterns
Thriver: Lives in the Now

Victim: Angry at religion
Survivor: Understanding the difference between religion & personal spirituality
Thriver: Enjoys personal relationship with the God of their understanding

Victim: Suspicious of therapists-- projects
Survivor: Sees therapist as guide during projections
Thriver: Sees reality as their projection & owns it

Victim: Needs people & chemicals to believe they are all right
Survivor: Glimpses of self-acceptance & fun without others
Thriver: Feels authentic & connected, Whole

Victim: "Depression"
Survivor: Movement of feelings
Thriver: Aliveness

Barbara Whitfield 2003 (Click here for her website)


  1. A great post, thanks for sharing :)

  2. @Tara, you're welcome - I am glad that you enjoyed it!