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How to Recover from Trauma: Tip #2 Accept You’re a Victim

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Bad Things Happen

Most of the time there's nothing we can do about it. When my entire neighborhood was lost in the 2017 Northern California Wildfires, no one saw it coming. I don't live in the middle of the forest. I'm in a residential neighborhood. That shit just doesn't happen!

I just so happened to be writing a book about characters that go through the 1906 earthquake and fires when everything I owned was lost to fire. It was a unique opportunity to not only instill my newly acquired wisdom into my novel, but learn from the lessons I had my taught my characters already.

"I hate that word. Victim." The smell of the word was pungent as it rose from her lips. It sounded so helpless and cruel.

Strength, Not Weakness

I want to re-frame the word victim. When we hear it we automatically think of powerlessness, like a gazelle that has been picked out of the herd by a hungry lion because of a weakness.

But the truth is that as soon as you own and accept your circumstances, you gain a certain power over it. You have more control over your narrative, or what happens to you next. Only then can you become a survivor.

"Accepting you are a victim of circumstance does not carry with it the admission of powerlessness, child. If anything, it brings a certain level of strength in the credence of such matters."


One of the hardest lessons to learn goes hand in hand with learning to say yes to those who want to help you. Accepting you are a victim is hard to do. It means admitting there is a whole heap of things you have no control over, and those things put you at a disadvantage. We never want to let the world around us know that we may be weak or unable to handle our shit.

But as soon as you admit to yourself that it's okay for you to let go of the pressure to feel like you need to be okay, especially when your entire world has gone to shit, the easier it will be to receive the help you need and go into survival mode.

"To be a survivor, you must first accept that you're a victim."

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