I had a friend of mine who quite often would say ‘my god Nikki I don’t know how you are still standing’.
Be incredibly proud of yourself that you ARE still standing! You are here, you are alive and you are are still breathing. Best of all, you are not sat in a room, alone, (or you might be alone, but hopefully someone else’s words will help you to feel less alone), doing NOTHING. You are reading, you are healing. You are doing all that you can, to return to NORMAL
I don’t like to use the words victim or even survivor, as when you do, it keeps what has happened as part of you.
- When you are IN the relationship. You are a victim
- When you leave the relationship, for a while, it is normal feel like a victim, you feel devastated, heartbroken, surreal, paralysed, confused. Of course you feel like a victim. You have been victimised. You need time to heal and recover. Feeling victimised and betrayed, although painful, will help with self love, introspection, healing, learning and processing.
- You might feel anger, as you move to from victim to survivor mode. Moving to the survivor mode, is a defence mechanism, you become soldier in your own castle, and build a fort with a moat around to stop any further pain. This is self preservation mode.
- By working effectively though victim and survivor mode hopefully you can work towards become NORMAL again (whatever is normal for YOU).
Moving through the process of change
When in an abusive relationship , feeling abused you become the victim. Someone else is violating your rights either, sexually, emotionally, physically, financially, or whatever else that consitutes abuse to you. People don’t choose to be a victim. You didn’t sign up to a relationship to be victimised, this wasn’t a choice. If abuse was what was on offer, it is highly unlikely that you would have gone into the relationship in the first place.
It feels vulnerable to be a victim. It is also a sad desolate and heartbreaking space. You feel minimised, you feel small, you feel betrayed, you feel stabbed both in the heart and the back at the same time. You feel insignificant and unheard. The longer that you are a victim, the worse it becomes. Slowly all sense of self, and normality disappears. Constantly in your mind you mull over and process what has happened to you, you wonder how to escape and how to get out.
You might adapt some strength, to get out, to fight for change and your freedom from the abuse that is happening to you. Or perhaps the abuser left you.
You become angry. In a process to protect yourself you become the survivor. For many this is essential survival mechanism (sometimes literally).
When in an abusive relationship, you are controlled through fear. To combat this, you use survival skills and mechanisms, to survive.
Being in the victim mode, allows you the following
- Time to learn
- Time to love yourself
- Time to cry
- Time to process
- Time to blame
- Time to be sad
- Panic attacks (see above)
- Physical and mental health issues
When you are in the victim mode, you are also in learning mode. You are taking in and registering what is happening to you (perhaps, sometime with disbelief). It is the first process of change.
You need to feel a victim, before you can become a survivor. You have to realise that you are being victimised, before you can gain the STRENGTH to become a survivor.
If other people appear to be doing better than you, take heart, that they are probably further along the road of recovery than what you are right now.
You do not have to be a victim forever. Even if the most catastrophic things in the world have happened to you. You do not have to be a victim forever. Actually, is better for you, if you weren’t. Staying too long in the victim mode, will hold you back in life.
Moving to survivor mode
Sometimes this mode comes while in the relationship (although not always with sociopathic abuse, as often you have no idea you are being abused until the horrible truth comes out). You can become a survivor while in the relationship (if you are aware) to cope the abuse that is happening to you.
When you are in survival mode you feel the following
- Knowledge and understanding
- Paranoid (that someone else ISN’T going to do to you what you have just gone through)
- Highly sensitive
- Inspired (through learning in the victim stage)
- Time to see the bigger picture
Warning: It is common to move backwards and forwards from victim to survival. This is normal. Some days you might feel stronger than others. This doesn’t mean that you are not doing so well, or that you have regressed. It is a natural part of healing and recovery.
It isn’t that you are too much stronger in the survivor mode than you are in the victim mode. You just think you are, as you are preventing further abuse (as much as you can) from happening to you. Really, the difference between victim and survivor, is the protective wall, castle and moat, that has been built around you, and you acting as soldier, protector and warrior of you, yourself and your world.
IF YOU MOVE FROM SURVIVOR TO VICTIM – THIS IS NOT A BACKWARDS STEP
Playing the role of survivor, really depends what you are surviving FROM. In the relationship you might feel that you need to adapt the survivor strategy to be able to cope. Being a survivor might be essential to fend off your abuser, to protect you, your world and your assets.
Survivor mode is a positive/negative stance. When you are in survivor mode. You build a wall around you. (aint no asshole going to hurt me like that again), to protect you, to keep you safe.
Learning to trust again – letting down your defences – returning to normal
Normal, what is normal? Well, Freud thought that it was a working balance between the ID the Ego and the Super Ego. I know that I always try to write in clear language on this site, but what this means, is for you to feel ‘balanced’ and ‘harmonious’ within yourself.
Returning to normal comes with acceptance. You don’t have to forget what has happened to you, and probably you shouldn’t either. But forgiveness, most of all, forgiving yourself, is essential, for a happy life.
Working through pain
An important part of healing and recovery is to work through the pain inside of your heart. Feel it, experience it. Dating a sociopath allow someone else to highlight your weaknesses and flaws, for this is what the sociopath preys on. Often, those weaknesses and flaws were there within you, for a long time. Look at what you can heal within yourself. If you are struggling to cope, seek professional help, a therapist or counsellor, to help you work through the pain that you feel.
Two primary emotions in life – love and fear (see this post)
- When you are in victim mode you live in fear
- When you are in survival mode you are establishing self love, but with a wall around you
- When returning back to normal, you live in love, not just of yourself, but of trust to love other people.
The sociopath keeps you held back and controlled by using fear. They also manipulate you, with charismatic charm, and telling you what you want to hear.
This can leave you with confused senses. Confused about who you are, who can trust and who is acting in your best interests. It becomes normal to stand ON GUARD and waiting for the next assault.
Recovery is a journey that you go through, and unlike abuse – a place you hopefully go through – not to.
You don’t have to be a victim for the rest of your life, neither do you have to be a survivor for the rest of your life.
Your abusers issues are THEIR issues. Why keep this as part of you? Yes it was part of your life, and part of your life story, for a while. This doesn’t mean that it has to remain your life story. Forever. You can let it go.
Emotional abuse and the affect to the mind
You might have spent years in the relationship as a survivor. Simply coping with the needs and the demands on you. That doesn’t mean that you have to spend the rest of your life with either the survivor or the victim label.
Sometimes, its OK, to let go, to let down your guard, to trust, that maybe, just maybe that this will never happen to you again.
Instead of jumping into another relationship, focus your time and energy onto you. Look at your own life. What do you want to achieve? What brings you joy? Try to replace things that were taken away from you with the sociopath.
The sociopath moves into your world, and literally takes over every single area of your life. They even take over your thoughts using mind control. They isolate you, they take over your social networks. They control, stalk and hack. They drain you of everything. They basically live off of your life energy and everything that you have achieved. Yes its theft, yes its wrong, yes its psychologically damaging.
You know what the beauty is? The beauty is that now you have time to rebuild, without someone else standing sentry duty outside of your castle, keeping the doors barracked and blocked. No longer do you have to live in fear. It’s a big world. Full of opportunities. There are no opportunities, when you are in the relationship with the sociopath. The only opportunity that you have, is to keep them happy. Everything is always about them.
One day, pick up your shoes, dust yourself down. Let down your wall of survivor. No more moving back to victim. You are, at the essence of you, neither a victim or a survivor. You are YOU.
ONCE YOU HAVE HEALED, LET GO OF FEAR
- Fear of the unknown
- Fear of the future
- Fear of what will happen next
It will take a while to move through the process. Sociopath mind control, can take a while to undo. At first you might still feel controlled by them. It might feel strange to have your own thoughts back. You might have gotten used to not thinking for yourself. You might have PTSD see here for an online test if so, get treatment for this. Nothing is ever broken forever, and always you can heal, recover and move on with your life.
Signs that you are in each mode
If you are feeling sad, depressed, desperate for answers, you are likely still in the victim mode.
If you are feeling strong, overtly strong, almost to the point of aggressive ( I hate them or they are evil etc etc...) you are still in survivor mode.
If you feel at peace. You are going about your daily life, knowing that this happened to you, but that it happened, you cannot change it. You will never forget it, but you do not keep it as part of you, you feel a sense of peace within. You are returning to normal. When you realise that you no longer need to relive it, it’s in the past, it is done. You are back to normal. Likely, a wiser, stronger normal than you were before.
If you feel that you are ‘stuck’ in victim/survivor mode, even years after the event. Seek some professional help to work through what has happened to you. You don’t need to become what has happened to you, to be attached to you forever. You can be you and celebrate the beautiful you, for who you are, not who the sociopath made you into.
Let it go, so that you can grow.
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