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Moving From Victim To Survivor

One is to be the victim of outside factors, such as another’s actions (whether intended or unintended) or events that are beyond our control. The other is to become a victim of our own choices.

What many people do not realize is that these two different sources of victimization often work in concert together. No matter the source, those who identify as victims easily fall under the heading of disenfranchised grievers as well, even though they may not realize or admit to it.

When you feel the emotional pain and grief associated with being a victim, it can be very isolating. It can be hard to imagine that anyone else has any sense of what it’s like to be emotionally suffering in this way. Sadly, the community of those grieving from being a victim is enormous. Please understand that in no way are we suggesting that you compare your level of pain to that of others. It’s simply important to recognize that you are not alone.

Becoming a victim at the hands of another or through outside events in ways that are easily recognized and understood by other people.

There are many actions that happen that leave victims behind in their wake:

  • Natural disasters are a huge creator of victims. This last year has seen multiple hurricanes that devastated sections of the United States and Caribbean, as well as earthquakes in the U.S., Mexico, Central and South America, the Middle East, Asia and the Far East. Forest fires and flooding have also taken a toll of many all over the world. The grieving victims of these events number in the millions.

  • The acts of organized terrorism and deranged individuals have also impacted tens of thousands of people around the world in terms of both the loss of life and the loss of feelings of safety and security. News stories of random violence seem to appear daily in the media, which cause them to touch, not only those directly affected, but everyone else as well. Often forgotten are those whose stories of loss at the hand of another do not make headlines, such as the victims of muggings, robberies and physical assault.

  • Rarely does a day pass, of late, that we are not reminded of the sexual victimization of women (and sometimes men as well). Many of the stories focus on people in power who make unwanted advances on others in the workplace. Those involved in sexual trafficking around the world victimize a far larger, but often forgotten, number of people. While the bulk of the stories speak to legal actions to deal with this problem, little attention is devoted to the emotional loss and grief suffered by the victims.

  • For some, their source of victimization is based on acts of government. It may be in efforts to repress minority groups, or the relocation of people for one reason or another. It may be due to acts of war within a single country, such has been seen in Syria, or between nations. Sometimes it’s simply based on regulations or taxation. Whatever the cause, the victims of these actions are left grieving the changes that have been brought to their lives.

  • Ponzi schemes, such as those of Bernie Madoff and others like him, have left people financially destitute. Many of his victims lost all of their savings and monetary security. This resulted in an enormous sense of grief in that their lifetime savings were now gone.

These are only the “tip of the iceberg” when it comes to stories of how events and the actions of others can create both victims and grievers.

Some sources of the victimization at the hands of others can be just as emotionally painful, but never make headlines.

  • There are some victims who suffer verbal, physical, and/or sexual abuse in their home environment at the hands of members of their friends and family. These victims often suffer their grief silently and never share it with others. That certainly does not mean that their suffering is any less painful. Since they are silent and do not seek outside assistance, their hidden feelings of pain can be overwhelming.

  • There are those who become the victims of another simply in not receiving emotional support from someone who is normally expected to provide it. They continually find themselves seeking validation from someone who cannot, or will not, provide it for any number of possible reasons. These victims often grieve in silence as well, until the level of pain they are holding inside becomes too great to bear alone.

  • And certainly, there are those who are the victims of the losses of everyday life. It might be due to a death, divorce, estrangement, or any one of the more than 40 different grief issues of living. The emotional pain that these people feel, that is often ignored or discounted by others, can leave them feeling like a victim.

Obviously, based on just this very limited number of sources that have been covered, it’s easy to understand that there are many outside influences that leave people feeling that they are victims.

Sometimes we can become a victim at our own hands.