How To Be a Survivor Rather Than a Victim
I am sitting here late at night watching addicted, trying to figure out where these parents might have gone wrong or where might they have prevented the issues their children face
Yes, sometimes there is absolutely nothing they could have done, other times I see that it is a broken home, molestation, abuse, death, etc. I think about my 2 small children and try everything I can to not let them ever become a statistic. I want them healthy, happy, and productive in life. I think about my own life.
I am the product of a broken home. I have divorced and remarried parents. My father has been remarried about 4 times. Not sure, I lost count. I know he has been engaged more than he has been married. Some I have not liked so much, the one he is with now, I adore. If they quit smoking, I will adore her even more. Ha. She is really great and I finally have someone that I feel like I can call my step-mom. Funny I can say that at 31.
My home was not so great growing up. I lived with my mom and step-father and most would say that I was in an abusive home. I was definitely not happy but never thought I was abused. Just in trouble a lot. Looking back, yea, it was abusive. But just like I tell everyone I meet, I would not take a day of it back for anything because it made me the woman I am today.
The reason I write this article is because I want to tell others how to be a SURVIVOR rather than a victim. One thing I see in common when looking at these "addicts," and please understand that I know they have a problem, my father is a recovered addict, is that they blame the world for their situation rather than themselves. My father wasn't there, I was abused, I had it all and it fell apart, I was used to being on top of the world and it didn't work out, I couldn't meet everyone's expectations. Oh my goodness. I want to just smack them in the face; or at least their parents, who let them talk to them like they are the ones ruining their lives. They could have used the Supernanny.
I lost my brother when he was 23. He had an alcohol problem and late one night in a drunken stupor decided to put an electrical cord around his neck and take his own life. He did not go through with the act. Instead, he passed out from the alcohol while the cord was around his neck. Because he was so drunk, he did not wake when it cut off his airway and he died. He was my baby brother and the only sibling I had. I miss him more than I can make anyone understand. We went through that abusive household together; side by side. When we were little, I used to talk him into getting on my back in the morning and take him into the kitchen for breakfast so my mom would not get mad at him for not waking up, which would inevitably start a fight. I miss my little brother. He had the most beautiful blue eyes you ever saw. I would tell him all the time that he could do anything. He thought that he wasn't as smart as I was or could do the things that I could. I told him, "Dan. We lived in the same house and went through the same things. You are just as smart as I am. I know that you can do everything that I have done if you will just decide to do it." He just never believed in himself and my parents and grandparents would bail him out of every situation he was ever in. He knew better than to ask me for money because he would get the third degree and then wouldn't get a dime. Though he would call me any time he was proud of something just to hear me say "I am so proud of you. Go for it because I know you can do it." Oh how I miss him. My son reminds me of him so much and I want to be sure that he doesn't end up the same way.
My father left when I was in about in the 6th grade. I remember him driving away the day he left and went 3 states away from us. I couldn't understand him choosing this other woman over us. Danny...well it tore him apart and I don't think he ever really understood it. My father and I still have a bit of a weird relationship. I adore him and always will though it is a very distant relationship. I don't see him much. It's just the way it is. I deal and I will just try to help my children to deal with it as best I can.
My step father came in to my life and all hell broke loose. He was nothing like my parents. He was military and all that came with it. He would dig through the trash to see what we had eaten which was always the wrong thing and would get in physical confrontations with us on a normal basis. I remember many nights hugging my Bible asking God to just make it all stop as the screaming was getting louder and louder from my brothers room. Soon a physical fight would begin and I would worry about my little brother. Though, again, I would not take a day back. It made me who I am.
Then I went into a horrible, abusive marriage; never physical, always emotional. Of course, he would never admit it, but it was really bad on me. I still have issues that I try to overcome every day. But, again, I would not take it back. It makes me a better wife to my husband now who treats me like a Queen. I appreciate him that much more and he appreciates who I am as well as the things I do. He loves me for who I am which would not be here if it were not for my past.
Now how can you be a survivor rather than a victim? If you cannot find a reason why you are going through what you are and cannot figure out anything that you can use this experience for, you can know this. Some day you will come across someone else who is going through something similar if not the exact same situation. You can give them advice, comfort, and hope. I don't know about you but that is all I need. It means the world.
Oh, how I see that this is the issue with so many. Either you are out of control, need control, or are losing control. I hate to say this but GET OVER IT. You never had it in the first place and you never will. Anyone who thinks that they are in control of their lives is a fool. The moment you think you have control over your life, talk to someone who is dealing with taking care of children, a home, and a business after losing their spouse. Life will not allow you control. There is no such thing. Control is an illusion that you should NEVER buy into. As a Christian, I know who is in control. If you are not a Christian, at least know this, you are not the one with control. Anyone, Christian or not, can use simple logic to know this. Learn to deal with the situations that you have been given in your life rather than trying to direct them yourself. Be measured by your reactions rather than your possessions.
Be a SURVIVOR!
Know that you can make a difference through your pain. Know that there is someone you can help. Know there is a baby out there who can use your love. Know that there is a father in your shoes. Know that there is another mother crying for her child just like you are. Know that there is another business owner, just like you, feeling out of control. Know that there is and have been other kids counting the days until they are old enough to escape their home. We have been there. You will make it and you CAN become an extraordinary person because of it. If you let the experience better you rather than hurt you. Be a survivor and a hero rather than a victim or casualty.
Parents, please stop bailing out your children. Know that the more that you do, the more you are hurting them. I know. I have children and it would kill me to not help them when they are crying on the phone begging for my help. But that is when you have to be the parent rather than their friend. Sorry, but that is the choice you made when you had them. It killed me to tell my brother no when he said he would live in his car because he didn't have money. I couldn't give it to him because I knew it would go to drugs or alcohol rather than to a place to live. My answer had to be no. It will never be enough and this will NEVER be the last time.
How am I a survivor? Because I chose to be.
We all choose to be the people we are. At some point in life, we chose our path. I chose to be a survivor. After I divorced my ex-husband, I found myself. I felt like Julia Roberts in Run Away Bride choosing different plates of eggs. I really had to figure out what I wanted to eat for dinner, what I wanted to do on a Saturday, what colors I wanted in my bedroom. I found that I enjoyed treating myself to fresh flowers every week. It was a little gift to myself and was nice. It is the most proud moment I have in my life. I love my children, but finding myself was my best accomplishment because I can help them find themselves through that experience.
Chose your life. Chose to make a difference, if anything, in your children's lives or your spouse. They can change the world and you can be that backbone if you like, just choose.
About the Author
Mindy is the Owner and CFO of Carter Services Plus http://www.carterservicesplus.com, a full service Accounting Firm based in Shreveport, La. She has over 15 years experience in accounts and frequently helps new small business owners start-up and manage their companies. Feel free to contact Mindy with your questions or comments and she will be happy to reply. You can reach her at the website noted in the article. Good luck in all your endeavors!