Victim or Survivor? Why Just One?

The other day I had an incredibly insensitive counselor, who was not my counselor or even knew a thing about me, speak in very harsh tones and tell me that I am stuck in being a victim. All she did know about me was what the addict had told her. LOL. You have to laugh out loud on that image of someone trapped by addiction even in recovery, speaking 100% of the truth. Not saying that all recovery addicts are not at a place of humility where they are speaking in honesty. Just saying after many visitations and family weeks in too many rehabs, I have not met too many newly recovering addicts that have reached that place of total enlightened honesty. The steel trap of lies and manipulations cage the person and those around him/her for quite some time until consistent hard work removes those gates. But this is off the subject and an entirely different topic that could take pages to get through after so many years of dealing with active addiction and recovery cycles.

So as I was saying, I was belittled by a very insensitive counselor, who did not know anything about me and my journey to that day. I was told that I was stuck in being the victim. A victim because I wanted to know if my family member was taking a drug test to show us that he was still clean and safe. He even signed paperwork to have the results given to us. So why am I a victim? Why would someone say this to a hurting person who they didn’t even know? My take is she that she is not in a good, peaceful place within herself and takes it out on those she can. Or she is so frustrated by all the lies and secrets within her outpatient group that she just cannot channel it anymore. I am not really sure in all honesty. Her behavior baffles me as much as that of my ex’s new local playboy persona. I am not paying her for my care so she doesn’t have to feed me what I pay her to feed me. (Sadly, I have found this as a common denominator of many expensive, high-end treatment programs…indulgent ego building care.) We are on the other side of the recovery process. We are often left out of the process. We are often treated insensitively, almost like we are a huge part of the problem to destruction and chaos left behind. I still don’t understand why we are treated this way and even less important in the recovery process. We are damaged. We are angry. We were sober through it all and had to deal with it all in real time. We are innocent victims of the demon of addiction. We didn’t ask to be abused by addiction. We just loved someone with a vicious demon. We tried to save someone from the demon. We got hurt by the demon in doing both of these things. So yes, we are innocent victims. We chose to love someone with a demon but that does not make us bad people who should be abused by the addict or others. If anything it makes us stronger, better people who deserve to be loved back. This is not how it works with addiction. Oh no. Addiction is a multi-headed demon that slowly eats at the person from inside out. We don’t see these changes at first. Addicts lie, keep secrets and manipulate to keep the demon out of sight. The demon becomes the addict’s best and only friend. There is no room for us. There is no way for our love and support to get in. The demon has built a triple thick wall to keep us from the person’s’ soul. We are fighting an impossible battle and dying in the process. The demon is killing everyone, the addict and the innocent bystanders. I may be a victim from being near the demon for too long, but never pity me or tell me I am stuck in it. We all grieve and heal in different ways and in different lengths of time.

So when someone says I am a victim, I want to say yes I am a victim. I am victim of abuse. Emotional abuse from addiction is very serious and very painful. My emotional abuse went on for so many years that I cannot even find the starting point anymore. I lived in a constant storm of doubt, confusion, sadness, anger, frustration, grief, loneliness and exhaustion from the constant bombardment of secrets, lies, manipulations, cheating, accusations, aggression and denial. The storm would calm when the addict would manipulate me with empty words of apologies, love and change. I would bounce between feeling horrible to feeling good. I felt like I was beaten up with a bat or run over by a car or free falling from a high rise with no bottom, but I had no physical markings to visually show the extreme pain that I was living in for years. The confusing part of it when outsiders looked into this picture was why I stayed. Why do people allow someone to kick them or punch them? Why do people allow someone to make them crazy on a roller coaster of emotional abuse? Because we love them and believe that there is someone good in there that needs our help. I believed that we were brought to each other by God. That we were to be broken together and embrace each other with such a loving force that we would put the pieces back together. Fairy tale stuff, huh? I thought it was possible. I believed in possibilities. I was an optimist. I liked being an optimist. There is nothing wrong with believing in possibilities at all. I am proud that I can see the darkness and not be scared. I am proud that I can love the darkness I see in others. I think that I am gifted in this way. So I stayed because I loved him deeply and believed in that love to fill the dark places in him. But when I turned the lights on in the darkness, it just cast a shadow of the demon that really lived there. He was not who I had believed him to be nor was the man I had loved. I learned a valuable lesson in living in this never ending storm…you are only victim if you choose to stay in the belief that your love can help someone who is really hiding his true self in that darkness and is consumed by the demon.

Am I a victim. Yes, I AM a victim of emotional abuse. BUT I am also a survivor. I am a survivor because I chose to get out of his dysfunctional idea of love and the emotional abuse from the many faces of the demon. I am not trying to do better anymore. I AM doing better now. I have reached out for help from many people along this winding path of recovery. An emotional and narcissistic abuse support group and counselor. Private counselor. Affair recovery support group. Spiritual guidance. Family and friends who support and love me when I finally got honest about the life that I was living. It all felt so amazing to own my story, face it, want to heal and find the love in my heart. It felt great to see myself as absolutely beautiful inside and out. Being a victim will slowly kill you and drain you of any and all light inside your soul. I didn’t want that to be my story. I wanted more. I wanted to love again. I wanted to know what it felt like to have someone truly love me, broken and beautiful. I am reclaiming my life and standing up and facing the darkness around me without fear. The addict may keep his darkness, but I know that I was not the person to help him on his journey. I may have kept him on earth till now because of my love and strength to confront him and make him see the his addiction from time to time. I feel good that I could do that for him. But now I have to save myself from his continuing emotional abuse that will always be aimed towards me. I will never know why he wants to hurt me over and over but I know I don’t have to figure it out or solve it anymore. I have to move on in order to heal. I have to forgive myself for allowing my abuse to continue and not standing up sooner. I have to see my strengths that I have gained and revel in the fact that I didn’t let the demon kill me too. I have to accept that this man will never love me or anyone because he can only love himself and his addiction. I have to keep the faith that God has greater plans for me and I will prevail after everything. I have to always remember that…


Breathe out the anger. Breathe in peace. Breathe out shame. Breathe in the gratitude. Breathe out the helplessness. Breathe in the strength.

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