For all of us that have survived the trauma of abuse, we have definitely been a victim of painful, haunting past. What we have endured we wouldn’t wish on anyone else.
This guest blog post comes from a regular here on Surviving My Past. Rose shares another powerful and encouraging story of hope for all who have been victims of abuse and addiction. Thank you again Rose for sharing so openly and reminding us all what it means to go from Victim to Empowered, as survivors.
Do you know what it’s like to think the whole world is against you? To wake up everyday and believe that all of the ills of this earth are directed at you and that you are some Truman Show type joke for God? To suffer from the delusion that if people only acted in the way you wanted them to, or if everyone just towed the line that you would be okay?
To think that your birth was some awful mistake? Basically, do you know what it is to be an alcoholic victim— because I most certainly do. I knew that I was completely powerless over drugs and alcohol but I am finding strength in sobriety. This is the hope that anyone who starts down this journey please don’t give up and keep going no matter what.
For a very large portion of my life, I felt like a victim. I felt like a victim of circumstance, and I felt like everyone in the world was out to get me. I sort of reveled in this feeling in a sick sort of way. Playing the role of victim seemed to suit me and to be honest I was really good at it too.
The thing is that before long this was no longer a role it was my identity. I wanted them to understand how difficult life was for me, because if they did then maybe I would be able to justify my alcoholism to myself. I would be able to believe the lie that if you had the life I had then you’d drink too.
I will say though that some of my feelings of victimization were justified. I was sexually abused as a child and I was in an abusive marriage for a number of years, I created situations time and time again where I put myself in victim roles. A huge factor in this was my vengeful goal of self loathing and destruction of self. I had to hurt myself and allowed others to because I despised myself.
I used to push the pain away. This was the only way that I could keep the emotions at bay. I had this deep-seated fear that if I ever allowed the to truly surface they would destroy me.
The problem with living life as a victim is that nothing ever gets better. Each day is worse than the previous day and I never truly learned anything from my mistakes. So like with all things that do nothing but hide the truth, in time the thin veneer that was my role of victim began to unravel and I had to face the reality of my situation.
The reality of my situation was that I was an alcoholic and that no copious amount of drugs alcohol or food would ever be enough to cover the pain in my soul. I would have to face my demons and let go of the shame and guilt that had consumed me for so long. For the first time in my life I would have to consider that I was worth something, that I could love myself.
This didn’t occur overnight. In fact it took sometime for me to go from victim to empowered it involved me realizing that my trauma did not define me. It was an experience but it no longer had to control my life or identify me. I was so much more than a victim. I was ok and I was enough. So I set out to feel what I had run from for so many years.
It was the hardest thing that I have ever done. Feeling emotional pain is exhausting and all-consuming. Tears were an essential part of this process, as well as speaking out loud the things that I had experienced. Art became a vital component often I could not put into words the feelings and so colors or symbols expressed the pain. In the end I began to heal, I slowly stepped out of the identity of victim and into that of empowered.
The first place where I really started to leave behind my victim mentality was when I did my 4th and 5th Steps. These Steps took a great many things that I had believed for years and turned them on their head. For one during the first part of the 4th Step, where I wrote down all of my resentments, about halfway through I started to notice a pattern in resentment and started to get sick of hearing myself repeat the same thing over and over again.
Then when I moved onto my part in the resentments I was blown away by the fact that a lot of my resentments were somehow based on something that I had done. Whether it was simply my alcoholism, or my interjecting into a situation that had nothing to do with me, or my actually antagonizing someone into reacting negatively against me.
It was all there in black and white, on paper and I couldn’t deny it, I was at times not a victim of my circumstances, but my circumstances were a victim of me. There were however situations where this was by no means the case and in those I simply had to let go and forgive because the vitriolic hate that I grasped with every ounce of my being was killing me. Slowly but surely I sipped this poison expecting it to not kill me, blinded by denial I felt righteously angry. From personal experience this is one of the most dangerous types of anger for me to feel.
I remember when I sat down and did my 5th Step with my sponsor and said these things out loud to another human being. I remember how I began to truly realize how futile my attempts at controlling life were, and how my need to do so had caused me a great deal of problems. I began to let go of the idea that God hated me and so he was punishing me and I began to accept the idea that God loved me and I had done most of these things to myself.
I also felt for the first time a connection to another human. I never thought that was possible. That
someone would know every bad deed I had done and still love me. That they would accept me was mind-blowing. How could they not see that I was a horrible person? I found out that this was not the case. I am not saying that I have not made some horrible mistakes I have but I am not by definition a bad person. This was a huge relief and brought a lot of relief and healing into my life.
It was an amazing shift to be able to see clearly, for probably the first time ever, the fact that I was not a victim, but rather I had a choice in many facets of my life. I could choose how I let people treat me, and I could choose who I even let into my life. Coming to realize this changed the way that I viewed the world and how I viewed myself.I also began to reflect more deeply on my own actions and whenever I started to feel like life wasn’t treating me fairly, I would take a step back and see what was going on that made me feel this way.
I am not perfect in any of this and there are still times when I feel like the world is making a cruel joke out of my existence, but for the most part today, I am able to recognize how blessed I am and how I am not a victim.
Rose Lockinger is a passionate member of the recovery community. A rebel who found her cause, she uses blogging and social media to raise the awareness about the disease of addiction. She has visited all over North and South America. Single mom to two beautiful children she has learned parenting is without a doubt the most rewarding job in the world. Currently the Outreach Director at Stodzy Internet Marketing.
If you would like to be a guest blogger and share your story. Just contact me anytime and let’s do it!
Feature image and self image credited to Rose Lockinger. Quote credited in tag.