When a sabre tooth tiger or grizzly bear approaches us along a path, our instinct, our conditioning, is flight…we know we can’t fight these monsters, unless we happened to have armed ourselves with a big ol’ gun before our hike. Back then, we probably didn’t wander too far from the safety of our cave. It’s the fight or flight response that’s programmed into us as a result of running into so many tigers and bears over the years.

Many of us lived with sabre tooth tigers and grizzly bears; big ol’ guns were not an option and the animal lived in our cave.  We existed in a nearly constant state of fight or flight…our protection was our ability to adapt and shield ourselves as much as possible from the danger.

Living in a constant state of heightened awareness is exhausting and can become a habit.  It begins to feel normal.  And, after we escape the danger, our body, our defense system, remains ever vigilant.  We stay attuned to our environment and the energy we pick up from people around us.  Even after escape, we still feel like a hunted prey, a victim.

According to Wikipedia, the psychological profile of victimization includes

  • a pervasivesense of helplessness
  • passivity
  • loss of control
  • pessimism
  • negativethinking
  • strong feelingsof guilt
  • shame
  • self-blame and
  • depression

Do any of these traits resonate with you?  Victimization is a way of thinking that can lead to hopelessness and despair.

It’s not an emotionally or physically healthy place to choose.

Yes, I believe victimization is a choice.  Humans choose our response to stimuli in our lives. Those of us who have lived in domestic abuse were victims while in that dangerous environment.  Thankfully, we chose to escape.

Now it’s our choice to remain a victim or decide to be a survivor.

In-side change is required to shed the role of victim and embrace being a survivor.  In-side change is necessary to embrace a safe and healthy life.  If we don’t transform our thought patterns and challenge unhealthy, victimhood emotional responses that had become necessary to survival in abuse, in our former lives.  Then we remain constantly feeling like prey, like we are always in protection, defense mode. But, the sabre tooth tiger doesn’t live inside our home anymore.

It’s our choice to allow him to maintain residence in our minds, in our psyche, undermining our decision to shed the fear and become a survivor rather than victim.

Yes, your abuse was real.  Yes, you became a victim.  Yes, your fearful emotions are valid.  Yes, you have the choice to remain a victim or turn the table and figure out how to become a phoenix…rise from the ashes, strong and vital.

Dr. Wayne Dyer said “When we change the way we look at things, the things we look at change.”  That is one of the most powerful statements I’ve ever embraced.  WE (you and I) have the power, and the responsibility, to look at our previous lives, living in abuse, from the perspective of a survivor.

Yes, the experience of living in abuse, no matter the level or type, can become a positive foundation.

4,774,000 women in the U.S. experience physical violence by an intimate partner every year. (http://www.liveyourdream.org)

There are Millions of us out there.  Your story could make the difference is another woman’s life.  Hearing your experience may be the one example that inspires another woman not to return to her abuser.  As horrible as they are, whether emotional, financial or physical, our stories of abuse validate to other women that they are not alone, we are not unique, we are not weak.

WE (you and I) have the choice to serve as Lights, as beacons.  We have the choice to be a link in the chain of solution.

That being said, do not share your domestic abuse story in a way that may put you in danger.  As validated by the statistics, abusive men can be most dangerous after we leave. Investigate and discover a safe way to use your story of abuse to heal yourself and encourage others to stay out.

Read books, attend seminars and webinars, hire a coach or a counselor to help deal with the trauma you’re experienced.  When you’re ready, when you find the right path for you, become a Light on the darkness of domestic abuse.

#1in4domesticabuse is one way to make a statement.  Not so much that you lived in abuse, but that you support bringing domestic abuse out of the closet and into the spotlight.  I invite you to join the conversation, in whatever manner is right for you.

Abuse is real and no one has to live with it.  #1in4domesticabuse