I am a survivor, not a victim

Tanya M

Living with an attitude of gratitude
Staff member


Well-Known Member
Can I like the first one and not the second one? ;)

I've never liked the second saying because... I'm a bit Aspie, and I find the % split to be inaccurate. Sometimes, its 50/50, or 40/60, or 20/80, or 1/99...

Tanya M

Living with an attitude of gratitude
Staff member
@InsaneCdn , Thanks for sharing that with me. The 90/10 works for me yet I have never given any thought that it might not work for others and I appreciate you pointing this out.
I think what's important regardless of the "percentage ratio" is that we all strive to respond in a healthy way to that which life throws our way.


one day at a time
Thanks Tanya!

Here is another good one, for me, that goes to my own attitude about everything...


If it's going to be better, I have to make it better. That's what I finally realized a few years ago.


Well-Known Member
Stellar, Tanya, but your sayings always.

I have to admit I've felt like a victim on and off all of my life, but latelly (last few years perhaps) I have really tried hard to stay in survivor mode and am even taking a peer-to-peer class so I can help others who are just starting their journey and struggling with mental illness and/or substance abuse.

WE ARE STRONG, LADIES! WE CAN DO THIS! (even though it's very hard sometimes. We haven't fallen apart yet!)

Thanks again, Tanya!


Well-Known Member
I do not mean any offence and this is certainly not a comment aim to be personal, just more generally about 'fridge magnet'-slogans.

I always have hard time with these positive thinking type of slogans and currently even more so in big part because of pictures and stories we in Europe are currently bombard.

While I find them simplistic, bit naive and much less generally and categorically true than they are phrased, I personally find it easy to just ignore them, because I'm one of the lucky ones, who have had lots of options and chances to influence on my life. I also understand they can be helpful, if they give people in plight some hope or make it easier for them to believe that they have some power and control over the situation.

However it would be good to remember, that sometimes people do not have that power or control. Right now, all over the world there are millions and hundred of millions people who do not have that control or those choices available for them. And while with some of them it is easy to see, when someone's toddler's hand slips from their hand middle of Mediterranean or when they are standing inside tightly packed freezer truck with 70 other people and oxygen runs out and there is no chance to open the door from inside, at times those people, who have just as little power, control and few choices available to them are amongst us and look like everyone else, and you can not know their situation.

Sorry to be a spoil sport, but this feels a bit sensitive topic in current world situation.


one day at a time
Hi Suzir, and thanks for your point of view.

Regardless of the horrible things that happen...and as we all know...they happen every day in the world, and have happened to many of us right here on this forum...we always have a choice about how we respond.

I believe that is what these "slogans" are offering us...not a quick-fix of course, that would be naive and simplistic and frankly, impossible...but a direction, a beacon, a call...out of the maze and out of the confusion and out of the pain.

Most of us have to "stay in it" for a time, because we are all very human, but then...if we choose...and if we are ready...we can start climbing out of the hole we are in. It takes a lot of work, and we never get it perfectly, but we can be on a different path, no matter what happens to us in our lives, no matter how bad.

My sister died of an incurable disease at age 23, so I agree with you and I understand that there are many many things we have no control over...but again, I have a choice about how to respond.

The alternative...to stay in a depressed, negative, victim-like state...is always an option.

I don't know about you, but I choose otherwise, most days.

Hope Ache is better and you are as well.

Hugs today! Happy Labor Day!


Well-Known Member
I may be over sensitised to these right now with starting my day with morning coffee and newspaper with pictures of dead children and it getting worse from that.

Let's just say that lately I have met a person after person who have basically all recently lost loved ones, are scared, hungry, cold, lost, have lost everything they did own, have no idea about their future, and not knowing where their other loved ones are, if they are alive, if they will ever meet or hear about their parents, spouses, parents etc. again.

And I have even personally gone through the rooms and hallways where next batch of these people can be given a roof over their head and a mattress on floor to sleep on and I have removed fridge magnets and pictures with these themes among other possibly offending material, because I personally can't imagine that if I were in that situation, anyone, even a fridge magnet, telling me it is about attitude, would feel anything but complete mockery.


Well-Known Member
Suzir, I deeply am saddened by the plight of some people in the world, like you are. I wanted to adopt many kids, all who had no chance. It didn't happen, but I wished I had a million dollars to set up a place for indigent children in a nice, clean, nurturing and hopeful environment. I have sponsored children during my lifetime. I have always been very sensitive to the homeless, the deprived, the very, very desperate. I had to stop reading or watching the news and I have been off the news for six months now. I just get too upset.

However, I don't relate affirmations of empowerment (as I call them) to those who are so desperate that their children have no food and eat mud. To me, these affirmations are for the first world people who CAN control our plight, except if it's sickness or death. I would not think people so indigent that they live in a trash yard in the Philippines ('ve seen YouTube tapes of this) are being spoken to in these sayings. Their mottos, if they can even think of mottos, would be "let me live another day."

I think it is ok for us to have affirmations that empower those of us who are fortunate enough to be able to change our circumstances, even although part of the world can't. I see us as having different problems.

Hopefully one day all of us can decide "I am a survivor, not a victim."

The people in those countries have to learn to make good decisions too, such as not having so many kids, getting rid of overly zealous leaders, etc. and it will be a long time before things get better for them. But they almost live a world apart from us and I don't think we need to stop reading affirmations that are relevant to us because sadly some in the world are barely surviving.

This also goes along with my personal belief that the only person I can control is myself, the only family I have any influence over is my own, and I can't fix the world. I feel it is ok to both be aware that others suffer worse and try to make our own lives better and I know many, many people who use affirmations. The place I work at, which tries to help others live in positivity, has a calandar with affirmations on it for each month. Sometimes when I'm tired out at work, I read t he monthly affirmation and I feel better.

With all the millions on the earth, the only person I can make feel better is me.

So I see your point, Suzir, but I have a different point of view, although I understand.
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Well-Known Member
Your very welcome, RE. Trust me, I feel Suzir's pain for others. I am one of those fools apt to stick a $10 bill in the bucket of a homeless person or somebody pretending to be homeless (or I used to, now I am more apt to offer a sandwich or to buy them a blanket or to go to Goodwill and buy a jacket). I can not pass up a person in need. I get sick to my stomach when I hear about war and children being killed for no reason. As stated, I had to stop watching the news in order to keep my life in harmony. And that decision was directly tied into my realization at how small I am in this universe. I have no control over the badness in the world and I don't support it, but I also have no power and I can't stop it. I wish I could. I'd wave a magic wand and make us end wars forever and all get along.

As it is, even in most of my workplaces the few people working around me would have stupid rifts, although I would try to sit alone in the coffee break room and be left out of their spats.

I decided I can only do hat is available to me and that is to make myself a better person so that at least those around me can benefit and to make my own life peaceful because I have no control over the warring countries and children steeped in poverty. Adopting children was one way I addressed my concern for others. I also care about animals and do some help in rescuing. I can do no more than that.

So in my own world, which is all I have any say so about, affirmations can lift me up when I'm feeling down. And thinking about those people who are living in hello I feel guilt ever feeling down, but I do sometimes anyway. And to lift up my spirits, I enjoy affirmations and bringing myself to my highest level.

Since the topic was brought up about the desperate, I admit to always wishing that, when we had adopted abroad, an option would have been Ethiopia or Haiti, two countries th at seem like they will never get out of the dark. If only...if only I had been able to get one child out of there...but that was not available as an option at the time.

I was not born with a silver spoon in my mouth, but by the standards of the third world, I am extremely wealthy and I know this. Yet I can't dwell on it without making my own life sad and not helping anybody else.

As sorry as I am about this situation, the best I can do, or any of us can do, is to focus on ourselves and our own loved ones. If one believes in a higher power, as I do, I leave it up to him or her to take care of them because it is too big a job for me. So focusing on my own well being makes sense to me. Worrying about everybody in the world does not.

Hope this made sense. This is a subject that is very sensitive to me as well. But I won't punish myself because others suffer. I did try to do my little part, but I'm very limited as to what I can do.

Suzir, I do hear you, and I feel your very kind heart and strong social conscience.

Tanya M

Living with an attitude of gratitude
Staff member
The world has had horrific problems for thousands of years; The Israelites fleeing Pharaoh and Egypt, the Jews who were sent to the camps during World War II, The war and genocide in Darfur, The famine in Ethiopia, and on and on. I stay very current on what is going on in the world and the current plight of the Syrian refugee's. Our own current news today reported the body parts of a three year old being found in a lagoon.
The current and future conditions of this world are not lost on me and it is because I am a survivor that I am able to have empathy not sympathy for people. We are all born into circumstances beyond our control and we each have within us the power to overcome.
I did not ask to be sexually and physically abused by my bio-father, nor did I ask to be stricken with cancer and numerous other things that have happened to me in my life. I wish years ago that someone would have offered me a glimpse of a positive affirmation as it may have set me on a path of healing much sooner.
I think it is so important to be able to offer hope to those who are in the darkest of places. I want to invite that conversation, for someone to ask, how is it that you can be so positive in the midst of darkness, to be able to share with someone that yes, you can overcome the most horrific things in life, that you can be a survivor.
Light will always pierce darkness and I am trying to be a light in this world, to offer a glimmer of hope.


Well-Known Member
I agree with Tanya that at the end of everything all we have left is attitude. That comes as we face decay and death and it comes to some of us as we face down genocide or disaster. We can decide to fight or to succumb. I hope I fight.
However it would be good to remember, that sometimes people do not have that power or control.
The Syrian father who decided to share the picture of his dead son changed world opinion. He said he did it because it was all he had left to make meaningful the life of his son. The picture of his corpse. That one choice by a man who had no choices left (without home or homeland, having lost two children and his wife), polarized world opinion so that powerful governments had no choice but to listen to their people and to offer some refuge to the fleeing Syrian people.

That father chose to be a survivor.

I will not speak for Suzir, but I will speak to myself and for my best self. I think that speaking about victims and survivors is not only a personal thing or in the main about individual attitude. I think it is about power and consciousness of power and its effects. And the choice to take responsibility for abuse of power by ourselves or others.

I think that is what the slogans help us to do. To choose.

What the slogans do not do is help us to understand and act against the abuse side of the coin. There are forces in us and in others that are hurtful. And nobody is purely a victim or an abuser. Individually we can take responsibility to root out both the victim and the abuser within us. The vulnerability of each of us, is the vulnerability in each of us. Whether we attend to it or not.

Do we choose so as to not add to the snowball of pain that rolls down the hill? Or not?

We can take stands--even beyond our own individual sphere---by denying consent or complicity. Simply, by our choices. Like SWOT choosing to turn off TV. Just yes or no. Slogans help us see the simplicity of it.

But the limitation is that affirmations are that...affirmations. Can they help us say no, when we need to?

Tanya M

Living with an attitude of gratitude
Staff member

I am reminded of the book The Hiding Place by Corrie Ten Boom.

Her story touched me deeply and it fits in with so many of the horrible things that happen in our world.

While she was a devout Christian I understand that not everyone shares that belief. I think what is important to glean from this is believing in something, never giving up, being grateful for the smallest of things and forgiving those who have hurt us.

There is so much power and strength in sharing our own stories to offer hope to others.

When the Nazis invaded the Netherlands Corrie and her family members helped to hide Jewish families from the Nazis in a secret room within their house.

It was not long before the Nazis discovered their secret. Corrie and her sister Betsie were sent to a concentration camp where they endured the most horrific conditions.

Corrie managed to hide her bible and keep it with her and found great comfort in reading and sharing. They were in a barracks that was infested with fleas and Betsie could not imagine it being any worse. Corrie told Betsie to be thankful for the fleas. It was because of the fleas that their barracks were never inspected and Corrie was able to keep her bible hidden.

In the midst of losing everything and being forced to live in unspeakable conditions this young woman was still grateful and it was through her gratitude that she offered hope to those around her.

Corrie was finally released but not before her sister died. Corrie went on to write several books and also did teaching and speaking engagements. While teaching in Germany she was approached by a former guard at the concentration camp. He was knows as one of the cruelest. She forgave him.

She shared that in working with other victims of the Nazis, those who were able to forgive were the ones who were able to rebuild their lives and move on.

There is always hope...........