Tuesday, July 31, 2012

from victim to survivor to thriver

Victim: a person hurt, killed, damaged or destroyed
Survivor: a person who manages to live or exist or keep going despite hardship
Thriver: a person who grows or develops well or vigorously


They say everyone has a story to tell. A part of their lives that will help others, touch others and make a difference. I don't know if my story will do that but in my quiet heart I have hidden a story that longs to be told. It is a simple story of overcoming rejection, seeking validation and of thriving under difficult circumstances. This may be one of the hardest things I have ever written but it is a story busting to be told. My heart gently encourages me to tell it. 

My story wants to be set free, to be recorded and remembered. As I type out the words I start to feel the last strands or chains that were holding me back, snap and disappear as I vigorously grow into the future. This is the story of my journey from moving from victim to survivor to thriver. It is a story that continues to be written as I continue to grow and what is most important to me is that I keep moving forward, I keep feeling and living my life in a way that helps me to progress.

Part 1: Victim.

I have been a victim to several unfortunate experiences in my life. There is no need to share exactly what they are or all of the details of what happened. But, to give you a brief picture, it involved me at a young age being hurt, damaged and violated. Now those three words are powerful words and I do not share them lightly. At the time I received no support and my survival technique was to store away those emotions, those memories and that anger. 

As I grew into my youth I came to see more clearly that I was a victim of unfortunate events. The life of a victim is one of sadness and misery and of no self esteem. You know you have been treated unfairly and you start to blame everything that goes wrong in your life on that one event or those events where you were taken advantage of. I felt helpless, over powered, defeated, crushed, trampled on and left an empty shell of a person. My heart was broken, my trust was taken away and I felt lost and alone.

Even though I felt that way I felt comfortable living the life of a victim. The pain and hurt each day was familiar. It was constant, reliable, always there and almost a friend. But after years of suppressing those emotions and memories, I began to grow tired, weary in my mind. It became too hard to lock them away, to push them back and they started to push to the front of my mind. They wanted to consume my thoughts, to be lived in a real way and acknowledged. I began to have trouble seeing past it, it started to consume me and found myself getting angrier and angrier. I started to fear for my own life, my own actions and knew in my heart that living the life of a victim was not the life for me.

I made a decision that would change my life forever.
I decided to be a survivor.

Part 2: Survivor.

The life of a survivor is one of waking up each day, preparing yourself, arming yourself and going into battle. For me, I went into battle each morning against myself, against my own mind and my own thoughts. Some days I won the battle and some days I lost. During this time I struggled, I fought, I wrestled and I gave myself permission to become raw, to become open and to feel pain like I had never felt before. 

I unlocked my mind, I turned the key, I unleashed the fury and hurt and pain that was stored away for years and allowed it all to flow from my mind, my soul and my heart. It is very hard to describe the sorrow, anguish, the frightening details, the anger, the bitterness, the hatred, the absolute terror that was contained therein. Needless to say that I was not in a very stable state during this time as I had strapped myself in to a roller coaster ride with more lows than highs. Being extremely kind to myself was my main focus to survive this ordeal and I went out of my way to do anything that would allow me to feel happy or make me smile.

Unlocking my heart and mind has been a precious gift that I have given myself. I was so scared to turn that key. I remember physically shaking the moment I made that decision. I feared what was stored away, what I had tried to protect myself from and if I was strong enough to deal with what lay hidden, protected in the dark of my mind. I also remember knowing in my heart that this was the right decision to make and I knew that the only way to progress and to move forward was to do so. 

I can see why some people chose to remain living a victim mentality. In some ways it is easier to live with the sorrow and pain each day. Sure it hurts but fighting against it to get better, to be healthier, to be happy takes effort, hard work and is beyond exhausting. It means standing up each day and deciding to be strong, to face reality and to let yourself really feel the emotions that life throws your way. 

During this time I continued to function with my life. I pushed myself to keep going, to try my best to live a normal life all the while fighting the demons in my own mind. I moved through different stages as I worked through my emotions. I worked on anger issues, I worked through depression, I planned ways to take revenge, I fought to stay alive, I clung to any reason to live, I worked hard to forgive, I sought validation, I sought acceptance and I sought peace of heart and mind. 

Seeking validation for the pain and suffering during my short lifetime took up a great deal of my thoughts. I wanted to push, search and seek for validation to come my way. I wasted precious moments of my life letting myself be consumed and depressed that validation was not to be mine. I really believed that I needed to have that acceptance of truth from others to heal me. What a glorious day it was when I realised that I could move forward with only self validation. I reached a stage where I did not need the acceptance from anyone else to heal myself. I knew the details, I knew the pain and I gave myself validation for those feelings and events. It was a wonderful gift I gave myself to move forward to the next stage of my life.

I then made another decision that would change my life forever.
I decided to be a thriver.

Part 3: Thriver.

I am a little passionate about living life as a thriver. To me a thriver is not someone who is happy all the time, I really don't think that is possible, but more someone who is always working on moving forward and who makes it a priority to grow and develop. You may have noticed I am big on taking time out for yourself and of encouraging other women to take care of themselves. Taking care of myself has taken up so much of my life and is a big personal goal of mine. My ultimate goal through all of this has been to stay mentally sane, to keep it real and to respect and acknowledge how I feel each and every day. I have worked really hard to earn every ounce of self esteem that I possess, every ounce self respect and every ounce of happiness. 

I no longer live a life where I am always seeking the approval, the acceptance and the validation of my  actions or thoughts from others. I get up each day and count my blessings. I plan my life so that I move forward and I fill my life with love and light. I still have days where I feel low and I allow myself to feel that. I know that after feeling depressed and having post natal depression that I am more likely to have bouts of depression in my life and I prepare and plan for how to deal with those moments.

In my quiet heart I no longer have hidden boxes of sorrow and hurt and anger that the eye can't see, I have a heart full of love for my family and for life. I have replaced those boxes of sorrow, hurt and anger with fun family moments, of heart bursting joyful moments that are a treasure to me and with the every day moments of life. My life is still not easy and on some days it can be a battle but I am no longer a victim or a survivor, I am a thriver and a thriver knows how to take a stand for what will bring her happiness and for what she wants in life. A thriver spends her time growing vigorously and that is what I plan to do for the rest of my life.

57 comments:

  1. Beautiful post. Big hugs to you as you continue to thrive and may your journey give strength to others x

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  2. So brave of you to share. May you continue to thrive. xxx

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  3. wonderfully written. Well done!

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  4. WOW - Stunning post! - I am sooooo proud of you!

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  5. AnonymousJuly 31, 2012

    Well done for sharing Naomi. I know how hard it truly is. Keep on being kind to yourself x

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  6. AnonymousJuly 31, 2012

    I have just read this and this is me all over! The words you use are words I have been trying to speak for years! I am still struggling as a survivor but it is my greatest desire to reach where you are! Thankyou for having the courage to write this and for letting women like me know we are not the only ones who are struggling or have struggled! Xx

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  7. Beautifully written Naomi and a powerful message for all of us. As a woman who suffers depression myself, I know how important it is not to let myself dwell on the negative aspects of my life and past and to be thankful for what I have ♥

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  8. Arouma MatautiaJuly 31, 2012

    oh what a lovely story Naomi remember im your number 1 fan and your my number 1 female idol, a heroine that i look up to ever since i met you and worked with you in our previous calling, and for you to share this beautiful and sincere even sacred part of your life must have been hard telling by the 20 years it took you to prepare and decide when to let others like me intrude into your privacy as you share your intimate thoughts and experiences from your younger life. I thank you my friend and sister in the gospel as you have helped me to help someone going through similar experiences and growth from it, can i print it and give it to her to read in her time and perhaps with the Lord's help she will be able to go through the Thriving stage of her life and stay there as i can see her moping around even toying with the feelings of going back to her victim times in her life.
    Looking forward to reading more of your fabulous stories and i love your style of writing them using simple words and short entenes for vene someone like me to understand....thank you Naomi for your beautiful spirit that is helping me and many others understand the why of life and the how to cope with its hurdles by learning from your freely shared experiences.

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  9. Naomi - that in brilliant. awesome. fabulous. love it! i read it and hear what you are saying and my spirit says well done!! That is a message so many of us need to hear in so many aspects of our lives. it fits for many situations. well done. i would stand up at might kitchen table and applaud you right now if my kids wouldn't think i was bonkers!! (my computer doesn't like capitals right now :)

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  10. An amazing post Naomi....

    I truly applaud and support you in your journey as a *THRIVER*...that is such a wonderful word!

    Again- you are an inspiration to me beyond motherhood...thank you....

    Melissa x

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  11. Thank you for sharing this. Each brave person helps the next.

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  12. That could have been me. The post I have been struggling to write for fear of the reaction and how it changes the people around you. Well done for having the courage. continue to thrive and know how much this has touched so many

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  13. So powerful...thank you for sharing Naomi xx

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  14. Naomi, such a great post, thanks for sharing. I second everything Caz has said above!
    You have made me think about today differently.

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  15. That's beautifully written Naomi and a story well worth sharing. I work with people all the time on escaping from being the victim in the "drama triangle" to becoming the "creator" in The Empowerment Dynamic. I know that sounds like a bunch of mumbo jumbo, but reading such beautifully written posts like yours can really help flick a switch in the minds of others. I reckon you'll have helped to flick quite a few switches here today.
    Cheers to thriving!
    Thanks so much for sharing!
    Leanne @ Deep Fried Fruit

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  16. What an incredibly strong person you are.
    May you continue to thrive and I dare say inspire many with your beautifully written words and story.
    Heres to thriving and continuing to nurture yourself.

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  17. You will thrive because you have so much strength and determination and love. You're an inspiration Naomi xxx

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  18. I love this post very much Naomi. Thank you for your honesty and your inspiration xx

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  19. I had goosebumps reading your post as I recall being a victim once too. I recognize the process and am now striving to thrive and dwell on what's good and positive in my life.

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  20. Hugs xxxxxxxxx Love you x

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  21. Gorgeous and brave post. I hung onto every word. Thriver sums you up beautifully x

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  22. AnonymousJuly 31, 2012

    Very powerful post I can only imagine how hard it would of been to deal with motions of this but you did it well done!Courtney x

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  23. This is a wonderful and powerful post. You are amazing.

    xx

    Lisa
    pearlmeringue.blogspot.com

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  24. AnonymousJuly 31, 2012

    Naomi...What a beautiful soul you are! Congratulations on your honesty and bravery. Fly high, you deserve it! Love and light to you always...Jenny X

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  25. AnonymousJuly 31, 2012

    Thank you Naomi for writing from your heart. Your article was an inspiration to me and I thank you for it. Cheers! PJ

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  26. I hope sharing this continues to help you thrive. I lived with a victim mentality for over 30 years after my biological father walked out on me. Finding him recently and beginning to form a relationship has changed my life immensely. We do need to take control of our destiny. Much love to you. xx

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  27. That was an aweinspiring post Naomi thank you so much for sharing that with us. I know you will continue to be a thriver and I wish you all the love and happiness you deserve....xx

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  28. Naomi, I know much of what your words mean intimately though more as the child of people who are survivors and never moved beyond that. You are a really amazing woman and you inspire me to be a better person - to look for the happiness more and to be kinder to myself. I can't thank you enough for sharing this, and so many other parts of your life so generously. Much love to you. xxx

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  29. Thank you for sharing your story xx

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  30. Beautiful post, it can be so hard to open up and allow pain to be put in print. We all get to choose whether we remain a victim or become the victor, congratulations on choosing the later! Thank you for sharing, will inspire others not to give up. xxx

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  31. Beautifull written Naomi! I'm coming back for another good read when the kids are down.. I am fighting through the survivor part at te moment can't wait to no longer have boxes of anger sorrow and hurt and be a thrived too xx

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  32. AnonymousJuly 31, 2012

    You are an inspiration to others through your victimisation, survival and success. You should write a book of your experiences, as your road in life could give others the will to travel to success.

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  33. Thank you for sharing your story Naomi, very powerful. xx

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  34. Naomi,
    What a beautiful piece you have written, you have touched a part of my heart that I had kept well and truly hidden. Thank you for sharing and making such a difference to many people. Bless you x
    Louise

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  35. AnonymousJuly 31, 2012

    That is such a lovely story, I have one like that, that is wishing I would unlock it, but have not got the guts to tell it to anyone yet (except my wonderful husband), he is so supportive of me. Keep up the good work and go forward, like I will very soon, even if it is a letter to my beautiful kids who I love very much....Col

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  36. Those three words are indeed very powerful. Many people don't realise that they actually need to decide to survive and thrive - they need to the decision to stop being a victim. To wake up each morning and and decide move forward instead of backwards. It is a decision that I make every day. Our past does not define who we are, but it can help define who we are not. Thank you so much for sharing this post Naomi, I am sure it will help many people have courage to think about whether they are still living in a victim mentality and how they might be able to begin to heal and move forward.

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  37. Naomi - That can't have been easy to write, but you did an amazing job! Beautifully expressed with your gentle, yet powerful spirit BLAZING.

    We all have our stories, but when we learn to make the distinction between having a story and being that story - I believe that is when we are truly free and 'thriving'. Thank you so much for sharing. Like so many people, I have such deep respect for you - even the way you wrote this - gah, I'm tongue-tied!!

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  38. Thank you so much for all of your wonderful supportive comments. So touching and I appreciate your support. I am sorry that many of you understand where I am coming from and thank you for sharing your journey as well. Onward and Forward ladies xx

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  39. Naomi, you are amazing. You get what life is about. You have expressed empowerment here so perfectly. You inspire me. May we continue to thrive. xx

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  40. Oh, Bless you Naomi! The Love and Light that shines so brightly within you obliterates all that darkness. A truly inspirational and soul-awakening post. I understand the courage it must have taken to write this, but this will be the impetus to get so many others to break free from that imprisoning victim mentality, so that they can magnificently and gloriously thrive xxxxxxxx

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  41. Survive and thrive..Perfect ideals to live by.
    I admire your strength and courage and thank you for sharing..xx

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  42. Naomi I hope you feel so very proud of the good you will be doing for others by writing this beautiful post.
    Your words will help many others know they too can thrive,not just survive.
    How wonderful is that!
    You never fail to inspire me and make me feel it is ok to feel the way I feel at times.
    Thankyou for all the time you give in helping others.You amaze me.
    Bless your sweet giving heart.xx

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  43. I know this story, for it is my own. Thank you for sharing xx

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  44. thank you for sharing. I admire you even more now :) xx

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  45. I love that you wrote from the heart, and that you shared your victim-survivor-thriver journey. That takes a lot of courage, and it also means that you can become more of a thriver.
    With post-natal depression...i had that with one of my babies. Its not easy, and it can easily come back! But there is a life with living, and its the little moments in lift that matters.
    Take care xxx

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  46. AnonymousJuly 31, 2012

    We do all have stories to tell, and from a Christian perspectve, I think that it's important we do tell them, to glorify God and to give people hope... Jesus' death is not honoured by those who lay victim... You honour our God with your sharing words... Bless you!
    Naomi G.

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  47. Congratulations on an inspiring post! Sue x

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  48. What a wonderful post Naomi. Your words are inspiring and heart-breaking in the same breath. I am sorry you had to endure so much hurt and pain in your life. But the road you have chosen to travel, sounds like the best possible choice you could have made. Thanks for sharing your story, it has given me plenty to think about... and that is always a good thing xo

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  49. What a powerful story! I see so much strength in you. xx

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  50. Thank you for sharing. What a great way to express it. My story is different I was not really victimised in my growing up, only my own demons, and yet I relate so much to the way you have put this. I have followed my own journey and have come to see that growing and becoming a 'thriver' is wonderful! it has happened naturally and I didn't really have a name for the change in mindset that I was experiencing until I read this. It puts it so well and is so inspiring too.
    thank you

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  51. Your honesty and bravery is inspiring! Thank you for sharing! xx

    www.thesequincinderella.com

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  52. Naomi, thank you. I get it. Truly. xxx

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  53. Oh Naomi. What powerful and evocative writing. I applaud you, my friend. Thanks so much for sharing this deeply personal journey with us. I relate to a lot of it. Now I want to move from being a survivor to a thriver. J x

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  54. Thank you so much for this post and what your doing now. It is wonderful to read your story and be inspired by it. There are so many with similar experiences who are trying to work through these same feelings but don't know how. How courageous of you to share your journey.

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  55. I have only reached this page via your very good list of things to do to protect your children from abuse... I had honestly never heard about the step from survivor to thriver. I am glad I did now. Survivor does really not feel quite right yet. Thanks for sharing.

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