Thursday, June 14, 2012

I Am A Survivor/Thriver Of Incest

An online friend recently asked me, "Do you ever -not- feel like a thriver . . . like an off day or something?"

Here is my answer:

Yes, sometimes. It is part of being a survivor that I have gotten used to. Some days the sadness and the tears do come back to visit. It isn't all the time like it used to be.

There are cloudy days. I still have issues that come up but not as often or with the intensity of the early years of healing.

There are still times when a TV program or a Video on YouTube or someone else's story will hit me in a vulnerable place. When they do, I remind myself to breathe and I let the tears fall.

Tears used to be a sign of weakness to me. Today they are a sign of healing and courage.

Anger used to mean rage and violence - not today. Anger is okay to feel and can often be resolved just by saying the words, "I am angry."

I don't have crying jags any more and I don't rage any more because I don't stuff feelings until they build and are uncontrollable.

 To me, being a thriver doesn't mean just sunny skies. Being a thriver is being able to feel it all in a healthy manner and then letting it just flow through me.

A day or two later, someone else asked, "Does anyone see themselves as a thriver?"

Here is my answer:

Yes, I do. Being a thriver doesn't mean I don't still have issues that I occasionally have to work on. It doesn't mean that I am all smiles and joy, even though they are more frequent in my life than ever before. It just means that my life can have joy and peace and calm rather than the chaos that I often created for myself out of my anger, rage, and hurt.

The sadness is not a constant with me any more.  For most of my childhood, I felt like I was the sadness. I knew if you looked in my eyes that you would see the sadness. I rarely smiled. I didn't know how to be a child after the incest started. I felt like there was a hole in me where my heart should have been. That hole was emptied of joy and happiness and filled with sadness.

As a thriver today, I find that I actually enjoy myself and my life rather than just existing. My life has laughter and joy. My heart has melted from its frozen desolation and is now filled with love for myself and my family.

Are you a thriver? What does being a thriver mean to you?


Colleen said...

Great article. I agree with your description of what it means to be a thriver.

I feel as if I am a thriver. Every once In a while the tears come for me. Even the anger. But not as often. And the emotions don't take over, if you know what I mean.

The Sandusky trial has awakened some feelings for me but they are mild and manageable.

And when I am under stress, I see how,I deal with it and I realize some things just don't change. I still retreat into my shell and try to handle it all myself.

God bless us all.

AsAshesScatter said...

Thanks for clarifying the meaning of the term "thriver", Patricia. A few folks I've seen who say "I am a thriver", there's a tone to it that seems to say "I am better than a survivor". Probably me being paranoid, but some folks, in wanting to clarify where they're at along their healing path, leave me, a beginner on the path, feeling "not as good as". Maybe they personally reject the word survivor, as some reject being called "victim"? All I know is that I was starting to reject the word "thriver"; it was starting to make me feel dirty, and "not good enough". Easier for me to grasp with this post that the word describes a stage of healing I'm nowhere near, but that doesn't mean I can't get there someday. It also helps me have hope to know that the word doesn't mean all hardship is conquered, just perhaps that the persons themselves are no longer conquered daily by their pasts. - W.R.R., Ragman.

Patricia Singleton said...

W.R.R., this is just what "thriver" means to me. It may mean something else to another survivor. As for being better than someone else because I am a thriver, that is a bunch of bull for whoever has that attitude.

To me, thriving is just another stage of healing, as you said. I wrote this to hopefully let other survivors know that they are just as capable as I am of healing and reaching this place. Thank you for letting me know that I succeeded with my goal in writing this post.

You may not be that close to being a thriver but it is a stage that you have the capability to reach. I invite you to join me as you continue to grow. I believe that it is a duty of anyone who has done their own healing work to be willing to pass those tools on to others who come along behind them.

Patricia Singleton said...

Colleen, Thank you. Yes, my friend, I would say that you are a thriver. I have seen you grow so much since we first met.

I don't think that being a thriver means we have arrived at the end of our healing journey. I can't imagine that we will ever be completely healed but life can certainly be much better and more peaceful that it was at the beginning of getting in touch with all of the feelings and searching for our identity which may have been lost temporarily because of the incest.

Anonymous said...

Thank you all so much, i'm always comforted just knowing i'm not alone. Excellent article, as well. I'm so grateful to have found your caring clarity.

Patricia Singleton said...

Anonymous, you are very welcome. Thank you for your comment. I am glad that my blog post helps you.

Noelle Picara said...

One of my favorite quotes is a Zen koan that Jack Kerouac loved - "When you get to the top of the mountain, keep climbing." My life gets better and better than I ever imagined it could be - so glad I survived and am able to thrive!

Patricia Singleton said...

Noelle, Thank you for sharing your favorite quote. It has great value to anyone who reads and applies it to their life. I too am glad to have survived and moved on to thriver.