Victim or survivor?


left human fist
Victim or survivor?

“Maybe terror and dread, once experienced, embed themselves into you even when the cause is gone, leaving behind a sleeping horror, which is too easily awakened.”
- Rosamund Lupton

I bet these words ring a bell to at least some of you. Maybe you have been through trauma or maybe you know someone that did. And I guess I just described every person on the planet. This article goes for trauma survivors or their loved ones.
But, what is trauma? Let me use metaphors to describe it.
Psychological trauma is like an emotional “wound”. It happens when we experience something so distressing that we find it difficult to cope with the “weapons” we currently possess. That can be an accident or war, physical or sexual abuse, illness or death of a loved one and even neglect.

Trauma might happen when we are still children and leave deep scars that will stay in our soul forever. You might not remember your kindergarten teacher belittling you, your beloved grandfather getting sick and dying, your father neglecting you, or your mother slapping you in the face. Maybe you were too young to even be able to put your experience into words. But the emotion you felt back then seems trapped inside you. That sadness, anger, humiliation, guilt, they are all there, following you to this day. And somehow they are secretly operating and spreading to your current relationships.
Some people may say you are self-destructing or always overreacting, that you are too sensitive or even a “drama queen”. You see it yourself, some words or actions hurt a little too much. You hate your insecurities, alertness and overthinking or that void you feel when left alone, you are edgy and holding on to things tightly. You may feel different or sometimes, “crazy”. Well, let me just say.
You are not.
What you actually are is a survivor.

Grayscale Photography of Man Holding Boxer's Hand Inside Battle Ring

It is not your fault if the world can, at times, be cruel and unfair. It is not your fault if people are, at times, too harsh on you. There is nothing wrong with you, even though that feels so true. You are not weaker or less worthy, you just had a tougher life. And yes, you may carry some “scratches”. But, who wouldn't? We are not robots but human beings with feelings and vulnerabilities. And that is completely normal. Wherever you are in your healing process, know that your worst fears have already happened. You are now an adult and capable of fighting back. And maybe you do notice that you are more mature and wise than people your age. More understanding and thoughtful. More certain of what matters in life. You tend to defend people in need because you know how it feels to be one. And that is beautiful. That is growth and that is humanity. We all hate pain but at the end of the day, it often makes us better. History, a proverb claims, is written by survivors.

However, if you are not in a good place yet with your trauma, it is still okay and I have faith that, one day, you will. Take time to mourn what you lost, talk to the child you once were and thank them for carrying you to adulthood with all their strength. That little fighter formed friendships to handle what was going on at home, they sought help from a caring grandmother, they expressed pain through art. They were perfect, because you are here today. And they can go to sleep. Because now, you have an adult mind and an adult body to protect you from everything.
You are now, or will be, eventually, a butterfly. Or in other words, a resilient caterpillar, that was patient and courageous enough to survive the transformation.
You should be proud.

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