From Victim to Survivor to Thriver
Updated: Oct 7, 2021
Trauma creates change you don’t choose. Healing is about creating change you do choose.” -Michele Rosenthal
The stages of healing are not linear, they don’t proceed in a straight line. Give yourself a break as you move through these stages, as it’s a journey, a process to recover.
Stage 1 Victim- An individual in the victim stage feels as though he or she is still in the trauma — no matter how long ago the actual trauma (s) occurred. You may believe yourself to be hopeless, defeated and vulnerable. The trauma may be defining your whole future.
*Relaxation and grounding techniques are key in this stage.
Stage 2 Survivor- This Is the time when one begins to feel strong and confident and to truly believe that there are resources and choices. The person begins to integrate the trauma into his or her life story, to take control of life, and to recognize potential for change and growth, with less suffering, less pain, less guilt, and less depression.
*A key realization of this stage is that you have gotten through the trauma intact or mostly intact, that you are indeed outside of it.
Stage 3 Thriver- Moving from Survivor to Thriver is a trust step. Trusting yourself and others. Commitment to moving forward, to taking care of one’s physical health, to investing in one’s career, relationships, and love and life allow these gains to occur. On an emotional level, feelings of strength, empowerment, compassion, resilience, and self-determination eclipse the emotions experienced within the victim stage.
You must PACE yourself through these stages.
A- Affective Expression and Regulation
C- Cognitive Coping
E- Enhanced Personal Safety and Future Growth
Therapy can help guide you through this journey. A therapist can help hold that space for you and work through difficult emotions.