Thursday, September 27, 2007

What I Hate About Being A Survivor

It’s Pity Party Day. See here for more details:
National Pity Party Day

I’m an optimist. I pride myself on that. I’ve worked damn hard to get to where I am and to be able to feel happy most days. But I don’t ever want anyone to think it’s easy. I don’t ever want to forget how far I’ve come. So I decided to write a list of what I hate about being a survivor:

People who minimize the abuse. People who say it wasn’t so bad.

The emotional landmines that can go off when we least expect them.

The push/pull between trusting (the wrong people) too much and being paranoid (with people who can be trusted).

The sense of shame that can be so hard to get rid of.

The sense of guilt that can be so hard to get rid of.

The lack of self-worth that gets in the way of being who we are meant to be.

People who minimize what happened and/or blame the victim.

The fear that surfaces at the most inconvenient times.

The jealousy of people who don’t have to struggle with the handicaps we have to get over.

People who don’t give a damn about anyone except themselves and think it’s okay to hurt others.


People who don’t get what resilience and strength and courage it takes to survive. Who don’t give us credit for that and sure as heck don’t recognize how extraordinary it is when we manage to do more than just survive.

People who don’t get how difficult every day things can be for us. Who don’t understand why we can’t do things the same way as everyone else.

No I’m not in a happy mood right now. One too many hassles in too short a period of time.

Yes, I’m a survivor and a thriver. Yes, I’ve created a pretty good life for myself. Yes, on the whole I’m happy most of the time. NOW. But I’ll be damned if I’ll let anyone minimize what it took to get to this point. I’ll be damned if I’ll let anyone criticize me because I don’t do what they do or what they think I should do. I’ll be damned if I’ll let anyone push me around ever again.

I’m nice. It’s who I choose to be. Because I recognize that everyone hurts, everyone gets scared and almost all hurtful things done are done out of fear. But heaven help anyone who mistakes that niceness for me being a potential victim. If they do, let’s just say it won’t be a very pretty sight.


Enola said...

So well put. I'm glad you posted.

Lynn said...

I can't do things the same way everyone else does, either. I really hate the trust/paranoia thing.

keepers said...

Dear April_Optimist

We agree with everything you said, can we add one? When people support you and say they love you and all that and you naturally do all you can for them, then you begin to get stronger, more self reliant, more protective of your system and others who have suffered, and then you tell one of these people, that is not a good thing to do and they walk away from you because you are no longer too weak to stand up for yourself and others and they don't like that.


motherwintermoon said...

Great post, April. You said it aptly, clearly, truthfully, and concisively, for all of us. Thank you.

I like Keeper's addition too.

April_optimist said...

Thank you all. And yes, Keepers, it does suck that people can say they care but when we grow to the point that we no longer need to lean on them they walk away (and/or attack us).

The good thing is that old friends leaving can make room for new and better ones to take their place.

Karma said...

Ah I'm SO stuck in the push pull between trusting too much those who will hurt me and not trusting those who deserve to be trusted.

April_optimist said...


Yeah, this is a biggie for many survivors. Part of it is that on some level we choose people like our abusers in hopes of rewriting the relationship so we don't get hurt. Not consciously, but it happens. Add to that the difficultly recognizing the difference between abusive and non-abusive people and we get the push pull. We want to be close to people but....we don't want to get hurt.

miss*R said...

Hi, I found you through MW's blog. I can relate to so much you are saying here... thankyou. I have finally taken the step to have some counselling and lucky enough to find an understand woman therapist who has been there herself!

Anonymous said...

"The jealousy of people who don’t have to struggle with the handicaps we have to get over."
What I don't understand is why these people see us rise above our struggles with confident and then get jealous and sometimes try to be negative around us or find a way to get us down. The right thing for them to do is to be happy for us when we triumphantly overcome our struggles. This very thing in part, has led me to sabotage myself because of me being so disgusted and angered at them.