It is so easy to be a victim, to live in VictimCity, especially these days, when everyone is looking for a reason to be offended. Trouble is, you miss out on so much with that mindset. Ask me, I know. To be honest, I was too busy surviving most days to notice I was camped at the edges of victimhood.
I decided one day that I was done being a victim, I would now be a survivor. As a victim, the perpetrator still holds the power over you. But as a survivor, you get some control back and are one step closer to thriving. Dr Edith Eger says “Many of us choose to stay victims because it gives us license to do zero on our own behalf.” That was me for so long – thinking I was ok when I was far from it, and believing nothing could change for me.
Thing is, a lot of us may not even know that we are living as victims; others of us have become comfortable in our victimhood. Through the years I have resisted change, often believing it robbed me of control of my own life, when the truth was i had little control anyway. But now I can embrace some change. Think of the caterpillar – it has to go through incredible change to become a butterfly; the tadpole goes through change to become a frog. We need change to become our best selves. I am not saying change is easy, not at all, but we do need change – a change in mindset; thought patterns; in our response to what has happened to us.
We start by acknowledging all of our story, owning it. Dr Eger says “There’s no freedom in minimizing what happened, or in trying to forget.” What I know from my own journey is that as much as I have tried to forget, my body betrays me. Trauma will always come out somehow in your body. I have suffered excruciating headaches, nightmares, fear and anxiety that had me trapped in my home for years, all in an attempt to deny my past, my story.
Instead of being ashamed of my past, I am learning to own it and realise it has made me who I am and I am beginning to like me in ways I never thought possible. I am kind, generous, loyal and resilient. Yes I have faults and quirks but who doesn’t.
“Remembering and honouring are very different from remaining stuck in guilt, shame, anger, resentment or fear about the past.” – Dr Edith Eger. Often the guilt and shame are misplaced – we experience them over things done to us, that were out of our control and not our choice.
I also believe we cannot heal properly without forgiveness. I went on a journey of intentional forgiveness and it has changed my life in so many ways. It is so freeing and i am happier and less anxious. Dr Eger says we need hope to change, and i have to agree. I have hope now and it makes such a difference in my day to day life.
Moving away from Victimhood has been so rewarding and I wish I could have done it sooner but I am not going to live in Regret City. Instead I will live in my new found freedom as I become the best version of me I can.
Let me recommend a few books that have helped me in my journey – Mindset by Carol Dweck; The Choice and The Gift by Dr Edith Eger. These books have changed my life for the better. Let’s stop asking “why me?” and start asking “what now?” instead. Move away from Victim city into the freedom and fulfilling life we are meant to live. Let’s leave the prison of the past and walk into our future where we can be our true selves. It is not too late.