Victim, Survivor, Thriver: A New Perspective on Grief

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From my perspective, after nearly 37 years, I take comfort in the knowledge that through the devastation left by the murder of my father, I have been able to thrive, bring comfort, knowledge and assistance to others in entirely different ways than I ever thought possible!

Over the past several years, mentors, including Susan Murphy Milano, homicide survivor and nationally known Intimate Partner Violence Expert and Advocate, Delilah Jones, President of ImaginePublicity, and Monica Caison, Founder of the CUE Center for Missing Persons, have given me opportunities and have made indelible marks on my life.  Thankfully, each of them has helped me graduate to true thriver mode in a myriad of ways. And, so can you!  

I would like to share the contents of a unique and valuable concept, with credit given to Dr. Barbara Whitfield a thalantologist (An expert in the study of death and dying). This chart is vital to the understanding of this progressive, useful concept.

As the theory goes, after having experienced a trauma, a person progresses, or gets stuck in a progression, from being labeled a ”victim,” then a ”survivor, followed by a “thriver.”

Upon discovering this material, I was delighted to identify myself as a “thriver” in nearly every category! Reading from left to right (Refer to chart)  from victim, to survivor to thriver, you can really see the progression of less needy, more independence and self-confidence in a person’s healing progression.

I challenge each reader to determine where they fit here and now on this chart. It is a perfect way to determine your emotional health goals. It is truly a map for post traumatic growth. Once you realize this, bask in your progress!

    From Victim to Survivor to Thriver

 

Victim Survivor Thriver
Doesn’t deserve nice things or trying for the “good life.” Struggling for reasons & chance to heal Gratitude for everything in life.
Low self esteem/shame/unworthy Sees self as wounded & healing Sees self as an overflowing miracle
Hyper vigilant Using tools to learn to relax Gratitude for new life
Alone Seeking help Oneness
Feels Selfish Deserves to seek help Proud of Healthy Self caring
Damaged Naming what happened Was wounded & now healing
Confusion & numbness Learning to grieve, grieving past ungrieved trauma Grieving at current losses
Overwhelmed by past Naming & grieving what happened Living in the present
Hopeless Hopeful Faith in self & life
Uses outer world to hide from self Stays with emotional pain Understands that emotional pain will pass & brings new insights
Hides their story Not afraid to tell their story to safe people. Beyond telling their story, but always aware they have created their own healing with HP
Believes everyone else is better, stronger, less damaged Comes out of hiding to hear others & have compassion for them & eventually self Lives with an open heart for self & others
Often wounded by unsafe others Learning how to protect self by share, check, share Protects self from unsafe others
Places own needs last Learning healthy needs (See Healing the Child Within & Gift to Myself) Places self first realizing that is the only way to function & eventually help others
Creates one drama after another See patterns Creates peace
Believes suffering is the human condition Feeling some relief, knows they need to continue in recovery Finds joy in peace
Serious all the time Beginning to laugh Seeing the humor in life
Uses inappropriate humor, including teasing Feels associated painful feelings instead Uses healthy humor
Uncomfortable, numb or angry around toxic people Increasing awareness of pain & dynamics Healthy boundaries around toxic people, incl. relatives
Lives in the past Aware of patterns Lives in the Now
Angry at religion Understanding the difference between religion & personal spirituality Enjoys personal relationship with the God of their understanding
Suspicious of therapists– projects Sees therapist as guide during projections Sees reality as their projection & owns it.
Needs people & chemicals to believe they are all right Glimpses of self-acceptance & fun without others Feels authentic & connected, Whole
“Depression” Movement of feelings Aliveness

 

 

©Barbara Whitfield 2003

 

 

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