Not a survivor, nor a victim

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For those who have dealt with abuse of any sort (sexual, psychological, mental, physical, etc) much like myself, I take no pride in being a survivor, but nor am I a victim.

The most hated statement after I tell people my trauma, is “But it has made you stronger.” My God do I hate it. In certain ways, yes it has, but in the end, I don’t want to be strong. All I want is peace, and to be loved through every inch of this drained soul of mine while I work on regaining myself for the better, for repairing the wounds that were inflected on me in any shape or form. The only thing all of us can do is take life one day at a time, and realize we’re worthy. But as far as I’m concerned, there’s no pride in being a victim nor a survivor. We didn’t ask for this. 

Join the Conversation


  1. sam Volunteer

    Hi Jamie Marie,
    It’s common for people who have experienced abuse to try to find the silver lining, so they often say that their abuse has “made them stronger,” but constantly trying to find or create reasoning or justification behind your trauma can be exhausting and even damaging. It’s even more frustrating when people try to project that way of thinking onto you when that’s not how you feel at all. Sometimes really bad things just happen to us and it’s unfair and doesn’t make any sense. You don’t have to take pride in being a survivor or victim of anything if that doesn’t help you feel more at peace.

    I’m sorry that someone took away so much of your happiness. There is love out there for you and we are always here to provide support. I hope you continue to see how worthy you are!

  2. Jordan Volunteer

    Dear Jamie Marie,

    Hello again Jamie, it is good to hear from you again. I hope you are doing well <3 I agree with you, you never asked for this and this should have never, ever happened to you. I can only hope that as you continue to heal, that you do find peace not just within yourself, but understand that you are worthy and do deserve happiness. True happiness <3 No one should ever be denied that. Take pride in the fact that you have overcome a lot though, and that there is always more to overcome. We at AVFTI we always be here for you, should you need us. I'm thinking of you and sending hugs your way <3 Thank you again for coming onto our platform and sharing more of yourself with us.

    – Jordan

  3. eagle206 Volunteer

    Hi Jamie Marie,

    Thank you for coming back with this update. What you are saying makes a lot of sense. I feel like the phrasing “but it has made you stronger” suggests that there is a silver lining to the whole thing, which is a really hard way to look at such a horrible situation. You being strong has nothing to do with what happened to you, it’s just who you are as a person. It’s not a result of other people’s actions, it’s how you work through things. Taking things one day at a time is so important. Sending you lots of love.


  4. Lizzi

    Jamie Marie,
    I get it. Nobody wants to become a stronger person, a survivor, of something horrible that they went through. I’m not a fan of that term either, but I guess the way I see it is that in order to find peace in life after a trauma, it takes strength to work through it. I don’t know if that makes the statement any better and if not, that’s okay. You don’t have to claim yourself as a victim or a survivor if you don’t identify with either. You didn’t ask for this, and you didn’t deserve what happened to you. You are worthy, and I believe one day you will find peace. Keep fighting.

  5. Megan Volunteer

    Hey Jamie Marie,

    I can definitely understand what you mean by this. Like yes, maybe I am stronger, but I absolutely would have rather had it not happen and be not as strong, but more at peace and struggling less. I feel that way sometimes too. It can be hard having conversations like this, especially with people who can’t understand what you are going through. I do like the point you made about taking things one day at a time and realizing you’re worthy. I think that that’s very well put.

    As I’m sure you know by now, we’re always here to listen and support you,

  6. Ashley Day Captain

    The biggest takeaway from your post is that our traumatic experiences don’t need to deem who we are as individuals and I agree with that.

    Thank you for sharing your thoughts with us, Jamie Marie 🙂


  7. jcas120 Volunteer

    Hello Jamie,

    Thank you for taking the time to share with us today.

    What a powerful statement. I’ve always thought that ‘but it has made you stronger’ is just something people say when they aren’t sure what to say. I’m sorry that you are feeling this way right now, it can be difficult being around others who don’t fully understand what you went through. While they don’t fully understand and may say the wrong things, I’ve found that there are times when people do really want to be there for you but just don’t have the words. You have every right to feel the way that you do, it is understandable that these feelings can come up. You are very brave for taking the time to share with us today.

  8. candyappleb Day Captain

    Hi Jamie Marie,

    I’m sorry you’re struggling with these feelings right now. I understand how flippant and callous the phrase “but it made you stronger” can be. Your feelings and your healing process are entirely up to you. You’re under no obligation to feel stronger or pride in what happened to you. We’re here for you! Please feel free to share with us again.

    All the best,

  9. sfmbelle413 Day Captain

    Hey there Jamie Marie,

    I hear you there! The words survivor and victim both have so many connotations to them. You just are – you are Jamie Marie who is experiencing life. We each heal in our own way. Some resonate with the words survivor or victim, while others don’t. You don’t need to be defined by something if you don’t want to. You are right that you did not ask for this. But you are doing a great job finding that peace.

    Sending light,

  10. KatherineL Volunteer

    Hi Jamie Marie,

    People seem inclined to find a silver lining or optimistic perspective when trying to be supportive but abuse doesn’t happen to “make us stronger” or for some bigger reason. We can be strong without having been abused. We can call out how shitty being abused is without having to find a silver lining, because the reality is that there isn’t one for most people. The important thing to know is that you’re in control of how you think about your abuse, you’re in control of the labels and identities you accept, and abuse does not need to define you.


  11. Northlane1991 Volunteer

    i am so sorry you went through and i agree with you. I hope you find peace and you have someone in your life whom you trust and talk to anything.

  12. colton95 Volunteer

    I’m sorry for what you went through but I completely agree with you! I also hate it when I tell people about my traumatic experience and they tell me (most of the time lovingly) that I am a victim or a survivor. I don’t want to be labeled as either, and for a while I felt like I was the only one who felt like that. I am glad that there is someone else out there who thinks like me and who wants peace. I REALLY hope that you will find peace and that you have someone in your life whom you trust and talk to about anything.

  13. Erin Kaileen Volunteer

    Dear Jamie Marie,

    I completely understand where you are coming from, for some people hearing they are strong makes them feel good. The crime that has been done to you does not in any way define who you are because yes none of what has happened to you should have happened to you. The crime makes who did it, who they are.

    – erin

  14. mikaylaanne11 Volunteer

    Hey again Jamie Marie,

    I absolutely understand where you’re coming from. It’s hard to hear people tell you that your traumatic experiences have made you stronger when they have such a profound, lasting impact on a survivor. It isn’t something I would wish on anyone, and it’s hard to hear people try to build you up in a way that feels kind of underhanded. It feels like it stems from a good place, but it ends up coming off kind of abrasive.

    Know that you have a network full of sympathetic and empathetic people here. We see you for YOU and not just as a product of your trauma. I’m sending lots of warm vibes your way! We’re in this together!

  15. kelly Day Captain

    Hey, Jamie Marie. Thanks for sharing this, I relate to it a lot. It is day by day. There’s times when I feel pride, but also times that I don’t. Sometimes I don’t want to have to identify as a victim or a survivor, I just want to be me.

  16. shelemyahu

    I completely relate to you on this. I feel like My abuse is a footnote in a much more important story about someone else’s abuse. Collateral damage so to say. With some of the side effects being an unwanted attraction, my therapist has asked me if I had ever wanted to be an advocate or a voice for children. And I was like, No. I want to be normal, live a normal life, have normal attractions and just live my life. I don’t want any of this. That’s why I don’t like the word survivor. It puts almost a burden on the person who lived the trauma. I may be way off of what you’re trying to say, but that’s how I feel anyway.

  17. Jess Volunteer

    Your feelings are totally understandable and I agree with you. I think communicating that with others would be beneficial for you! It’s hard though, because you know people mean well with those statements, but that is not what you want or need. I love how you said, “All I want is peace.” You’re right, all of us are worthy and deserve peace, love, and strength. Keep fighting the best way you know how and keep moving forward. We are always here. <3

  18. MH Volunteer

    Hello Jamie Marie,
    Some people do not know how to respond once someone tells them of their trauma. When they do respond with that statement, perhaps you can explain to them how you feel about it. Keep moving forward 🙂

  19. music2799 Day Captain

    Hi Jamie,
    I understand why you hate that statement, and I personally don’t like it either. I also hate “it happened for a reason,” as you stated in the comments below. These statements almost justify what happened and suggest that we have to see it in a positive light. Your feelings about your trauma are valid, and you don’t have to change them to make other people comfortable. Your feelings are not wrong – they just are. I don’t think strength comes from trauma; I think it comes from our healing process and the steps we take every day. It makes sense that you want peace, and I hope you find peace. You are worthy, and you are important. Thank you for the update. We’re here whenever you need us.

  20. Breanna Grunthal Volunteer

    Hey Jamie Marie,

    Thanks for coming back. Absolutely, I totally understand what you’re feeling. Like yeah sure in some ways you’re stronger, but this didn’t have to be the way to make you strong. And you didn’t have a choice in it or what to be. I want peace for you too. We’re all just taking it one day at a time, and yeah, we are worthy. Be kind to yourself, friend.

    Sending you love and support,

  21. musicislove

    Hi Jamie Marie,

    I definitely agree with you, you never asked to be made stronger. Wanting peace is valid and understandable, everyone deserves peace. That’s what is difficult about going through trauma, peace becomes so hard to find afterwards. Thank you for sharing your thoughts here, we’re always here to listen, and yes, we are all worthy.


  22. Bluebell13 Volunteer

    Dear Jamie Marie,
    Absolutely!!! We are worthy and wonderful and enough and important and loved and loving.
    Sending you love and strength,

  23. Alyssa Day Captain

    Hi Jamie Marie,
    I like how you said you want to be at peace. That to me makes a lot more sense because I have also struggled with the word survivor. Like you said we didn’t ask for this or want this. Everything that we get put through makes it hard to find peace with ourselves and that makes sense that we don’t want to be victims or survivors. We want to be at peace so we don’t have to deal with the aftermath of everything. Thank you for this post. It makes things clearer for me and definitely others.

  24. Solongago Volunteer

    Yes, yes, yes, on that statement sucking! “Women are who they are because of the storms they’ve been through.” What? that makes it ok to abuse someone because you are making them stronger??? We should be happy because we have had this awful experience because it made us who we are??? We are who we are in spite of what we’ve been through.

    And some folks did not survive the abuse, or got lost in drugs and addiction and lost their lives to that, or could not find a way through their pain and lost their lives to suicide. What are they? Chopped liver? Is it supposed to make me feel better, feel stronger, because others have not survived? No.

    I wish being a victim wasn’t still seen as such a shameful thing. Being a survivor is more socially acceptable, but there is more to it than that. I think if being a survivor means you take back your life and try to make something of it, rather than just believing that you are helpless and damaged, waiting to be rescued, than that is something to be proud of — the moving from being a victim to becoming a survivor. Only it is individual, like reaching personal goals. We cannot expect anyone else to respond to abuse as each of us did because we are all so different, from birth on up. We are born with a unique group of talents, strengths, tools, personality, temperament, and they are shaped throughout out lives, by stuff outside of ourselves, good and bad.

    I think I’m rambling. Sorry, it’s late.

  25. meg Day Captain

    Hi Jamie Marie,

    Thank you so much for sharing this. This post and your comment resonated so deeply with me. I think it’s crucial what you said that we have to realize we’re worthy. Worthy of love and kindness. Remember that you should be kind to yourself too! It’s hard when people tell you such a horrible thing happened for a reason… Please know that isn’t true. It doesn’t define you. Be gentle with yourself as you move forward and heal. I think you’re incredible and strong. I believe that life’s purpose is exactly what you want it to be. No one else gets to claim that for you. Thank you again for your words and your heart.


  26. Jamie Marie Volunteer

    @vllybllchc94 Or another one: “It happened for a reason.”
    How lovely is it to think my entire life’s purpose is to be abused so I can find some meaning behind it…

  27. Erin O'Callaghan Day Captain

    I hate that phrase too, even if I do feel that way. We didn’t need to be abused to be strong. Imagine how much stronger we could have been without the abuse. Imagine what we could have been without the pain that was forced upon us. Thank you for coming back to share-we will do what we can to help you find peace.