The only person who can decide how to label themselves after a traumatic experience is you
The word victim encompasses many different things and isn’t one-size-fits-all. If you have been emotionally or physically abused, then you are a victim. If you have been manipulated and taken advantage of, then you are a victim. If you have been hurt or harmed in any way, you are a victim.
Often we don’t want to consider ourselves the victims of abuse and trauma.
It may feel heavy to accept what has happened. It may feel like it is weakness to admit you have been hurt. It may bring on shame to reflect on the aftermath of what transpired.
For most of my life, I never considered myself to be a victim. Instead, I pushed the things that had happened to me to the back of my mind. I thought that in order to be a survivor I had to shed the part of me that was a victim.
I thought that in order to be a survivor I had to shed the part of me that was a victim.
For so long, I hated myself because of what had happened to me in the past. I blamed myself for the situations that I had been in.
I told myself that I was weak because I had been used, abused, manipulated, and hurt by numerous men.
I told myself that everything that happened to me was a result of not having enough strength.
I told myself I should be ashamed of myself for ending up in the situation at all.
If you are in a similar situation and find that you are telling yourself the same things, I want you to know that it isn’t true.
Our experiences make up the people that we are. The good moments, the bad moments, the hurtful moments, and the trauma. In order to begin the healing process, you have stop blaming yourself or you will never be able to accept that you were a victim.
Bad things don’t just happen to bad people. Bad things happen to amazing, strong, and kind people as well.
So, what happens after you finally begin coming to terms with what happened to you? It is going to be different for every single individual because we process things in a different way.
For me, coming to terms resulted in the worst pain I had ever experienced because I finally let the feelings catch up to me. It was horrific to look back on events and realize that I had been a victim. I had been taken advantage of and I had been truly hurt.
From there, I felt empowered to start healing because before that I fought against my past. I fought against the parts of me that I hated.
Everyone is different but please remember — you are never responsible for what has happened to you, and you can work through this pain and come out on the other side even stronger.
The following is my new mantra and I hope some, if not all of it, resonates with you as well.
For many years of my life I was physically and emotionally hurt by people I trusted and loved. These experiences resulted in trauma, pain, guilt, and shame.
However, after working through the trauma I can speak more clearly from the other side.
I am a victim but I am also a survivor.