When I was abused, I formed my identity and personality around what happened to me. I wore it as a shield as if to say to people: “Before you start; this is what I have going on so don’t come any closer” I was a victim, yes. And I continued to act that way well into my teenage and even adult life.
I will be honest and tell you I preferred it. By perpetually holding onto the identity of a victim I had an excuse to be angry with the world, to be angry with my family, with my abuser and to be resentful, bitter and full of self-pity.
At the time, I needed to feel this way. I needed to grieve the loss of my childhood, my innocence, the broken and severed relationships that manifested as a result of my trauma.
For a while, this mindset served me well, it kept me safe whilst I was trying to navigate myself through the world but eventually it stopped working. I wasn’t happy in my role anymore. It felt stifling. I wanted to be more because I started to realise I was more than what had happened to me.
That’s when the change started.
I started to really listen to my therapists about the mindset I put myself in, I asked myself the hard questions, I started to work harder on my behavior and I started to realise that it was not helping anyone, least of myself, to carry myself through the world as an angry, resentful, bitter woman.
After hours and hours of therapy, self-reflection and self-study of various spiritual paths, religions and articles, I adopted a mantra that I remind myself of whenever I feel myself slipping back into the victim mentality:
“My trauma was not my fault but my healing is 100% my responsibility”
What happened was terrible, no one is denying that, but when is the time to put down that huge backpack of trauma and associated feelings if not now? It is time to honour and thank my experiences that stemmed from my trauma and set it down.
I understand that I may never fully comprehend or process what had happened and each day, each experience, each stage in my life may bring about more triggers but by losing my initial rigid mindset I am opening myself up to new levels of healing, light and love. And isn’t that what life is all about?