Monday, January 28, 2008

Victim, Survivor and Beyond

I feel uneasy when people who’ve been abused or are dealing with chronic illness are referred to or refer to themselves as “victims.” This word choice seems disempowering to a person who’s faced and lived through such life-altering challenges. A better word is “survivor.” Because even to survive what has occurred and its aftermath is a huge accomlishment.

When the people I work with talk about their journeys of healing life challenges, the progression moves from victimhood and ‘surviving’ to ‘thriving’.” That’s certainly been true for me personally. Over the years, the more I’ve accepted and embraced what happened, the more I’ve let go and found the learning in it, I feel as though I’ve moved from ‘surviving’ to ‘thriving’ in my life.

Still, there were definitely days and moments on my journey when I felt like a victim. Looking back now, however, I recognize that even as a child, I had this refuge of strength inside, this wholeness that couldn’t be broken, not by anything that happened outside me. Not by my father. Not by CFS. A part that could not be touched or harmed – this spark of wholeness, ready to burst into flame. That part shines beyond any concept of victim or survivor. And I truly believe that everyone has the spark—always, that I’m not special in having it.

Here’s a quote from my memoir, Riding Grace, about that:

“But even as a flawed, now healthy human being, mucking her way along the forgiveness path, I recognize in this moment that, in the truest sense, I’m not now nor was I ever my father’s victim. For reasons beyond my human comprehension, I chose this challenging path of spiritual evolution to heal myself on a very deep level, and to reverberate that healing out in a way that might touch the lives of others. I accept this and with that acceptance, I realize the anger I carried about the abuse and the CFS is gone.”


Blogger Anne Marchand said...

Great Questions Alissa. Here on the East Coast we have glimpses that winter is ending and meaning clouds passing into new growth. Time for choices?...sun and some warmth or passionately make a meaning investment or reinvestment, or maybe both!

6:39 PM  

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