The word “victim” is a heavy label that follows a person—shaping an internal narrative about psychologically damaging events. “Survivor” is much better. There's a reason Gloria Gaynor's song (“I Will Surive”) persists as a cultural staple: the anthemic message is uplifting and champions the downtrodden and encourages them to pick themselves up and persevere.
From personal experience, I can tell you that storytelling is cheap therapy. Even more importantly, it’s empowering. Telling your story gives you control over your narrative. So when you describe yourself as the protagonist, try “survivor” on for size. Even if you’re still reeling from whatever emotional abuse or obstacle life has thrown at you, “fake it ‘til you make it.”
Ultimately, we become the stories we tell ourselves. We might as well write ourselves as heroes.
Are you a survivor? Have you written your story? Do you want to share a story of how you shifted your perception from “victim” to “survivor”? Contact us and let us know. Be featured in this blog and we'll link to your site and books if you have them.
“Storytelling is a powerful way to heal from emotional abuse. Tell your story. You are not alone.”
-S. Jane Gari, three-time Pushcart Prize Nominee and award-winning author