We have all had negative experiences in our lives, what is important is how we allow it to affect what we do, or what we become.
I believe we have always have a choice: to become a victim or a victor.
A ‘victim’ is a person that has been mistreated or harmed. In being a victim we are coming from a place of feeling powerless, of having no control over the situation we are in.
A ‘victor’ is a person that has defeated the opponent and won the battle.
Many of us have suffered, but through determination have overcome the struggle, to become the victor.
When things go wrong it is easy to pass the blame to something that may have occurred in our life:
“I had an unhappy childhood.”
“I try but things just never work out for me.”
“I was never given the opportunities like others.”
“I have always been treated unjustly.”
Many times, I have heard these words given the as reasons why things are going wrong in the lives of victims.
Six years ago, I had an experience that tested my willingness to move past the victim mindset.
I was having dinner with my son and his wife at our local club. We had an enjoyable evening out and were about to leave to go home when suddenly there was a commotion in the restaurant.
Five men, with their faces covered, burst into the lounge area of the club to commit an armed robbery. They were carrying rifles and told everyone to get down onto the floor.
At the time, I was 75 years of age and a little slower at getting down to the floor than most of the younger people still inside the club. In his impatience, one of the perpetrators walked up to me and repeated, “Get down on the floor”.
Without warning, he hit me with the butt of his rifle, knocking me quickly to the floor, dislocating my shoulder. I fell onto my hands with my face pressed sideways on the floor.
He then told me to put my face down into the carpet. As I did, he hit me again with the butt of the rifle on the shoulder and side of my head, smashing my glasses.
The whole room was full of terrified people lying on the floor. I was in a terrible amount of pain.
After some time the robbers left with the money they had stolen. Everyone began getting up off the floor. Everyone was in shock. Soon, the police and ambulance arrived.
I was taken to the hospital. My injuries consisted of a dislocated, broken shoulder and a swollen face with two black eyes. The doctors operated on me that night, inserting metal implants into my shoulder to hold it together.
The physical pain from the injury was difficult but worse that that, the trauma from the incident left me with a feeling of trepidation.
At night I would relive the ordeal in my mind over and over again. I would have dreams where I would try to hide from the robbers in different places, hoping that they wouldn’t see me and I wouldn’t be hurt.
Through months of treatment and physiotherapy, I slowly started to recover physically. I then spent many months visiting a counselor to talk me through the ordeal.
Gradually, I started to feel better in myself. A part of my therapy was, in time, to return to the scene of the attack, which was a very confronting ordeal, but I managed to do it eventually.
We learned a few months later that the perpetrators were finally apprehended. As part of the sentencing, I was asked to attend court.
Seeing them standing there brought the whole traumatic experience flooding back. This is when I realised that being a victim gave them power over me.
I decided then, that I had suffered enough by their hands. They couldn’t hurt me anymore and I was no longer going to be a victim.
When we remain in the victim mindset, we give them power over us. When we choose to let go of the victim mindset we, within ourselves, become empowered.
I saw in that moment that I had a choice in what was happening to me, and I chose to no longer let them have power over me.
While it was a terrible experience, it is now in the past. I am no longer a victim.
I was asked recently by a friend how I felt towards the men. I said I felt sadness that they chose to live like that. I didn’t need revenge nor did I wish them harm. I hoped that they would get help so that no one else would suffer a similar ordeal.
We are all responsible for how we act, and how we react to events in our lives. We each choose for ourselves whether we want to remain a victim or victor in any situation.
I made my choice, now I look to the future and I am my own person.
When life hands you a difficult situation, ask yourself: will you be a victim or a victor?
I wish you well in the choices you make.