Updated: Apr 4, 2022
Your experience is valid when you're a victim of abuse. You are a victim to someone else's abusive behavior/language. Calling yourself a victim is okay because that's what you are in the moment. Yet staying in this mindset can prevent you from healing.
I used to wear my victim status like the Homecoming Queen sash. I was a VICTIM of abuse! I married an abusive person who abused me repeatedly and I was going to let everyone know that I was a victim. I had a similar mindset after my sexual assault experience. I was a victim of rape and I was going to claim that identity.
It took me a while to realize that staying a victim was only hurting me. I got pity from others instead of encouragement and awe. So I changed my mindset to SURVIVOR status. I was a survivor of sexual assault and domestic violence. This brought me a whole new community of support. Others banded with me in the hashtag movement of being a survivor. We survived something horrific.
As I've learned more about my identity in Christ, I've come to realize that my survivor status simply replaced my victim status. I was still wearing a sash like the Homecoming Queen. It identified me as a survivor of trauma and that's it.
This is the danger in identifying yourself as a survivor of something. You can only see the sash - what you call yourself and how you view yourself in that identity.
When you look in the mirror, what identity do you want to see? I challenge you to think about this and assess what you're saying about yourself. Are you limiting your potential by calling yourself a victim? A survivor?
If you're struggling with this, don't hesitate to reach out to me. I can help coach you through this process, especially if you've had this mindset for many years. It doesn't change overnight. But I'm confident that you can become more than the sash you've been wearing.