I often struggle with the label "Survivor" and wonder if any of you do too.
I realize that surviving sexual abuse is an accomplishment in itself. I've struggled with suicidal impulses many times and totally lost my personal will to live about 7 and a half years ago. Much of my will to live from then on stemmed from my unwillingness to retraumatize my mother who traumatized me severely and deeply herself. She has very clearly stated her interest in keeping me alive and has more recently supported this direction very strongly. So survival has a conflict in it for me as an objective and hence as an identity. Am I here for myself while I endure the severe and deeply incapacitating pain of Crohn's disease (the psychoemotional roots have been linked to a martyr like mother in youth (see: Gabor Mate's "When the Body Says No"))? or am I here for my own purposes?
Recently I managed to resolve the conflict while reading a passage from Mikhail Naimy's "The Book of Mirdad". In it, a seeker asks a sage (Mirdad) how to free himself of this earth. The sage's answer involved telling the seeker to "Love this Earth and all her offspring". This was the key he suggested to relief from the suffering many of us experience while on Earth. It got me to rearrange my life purpose to fit with this direction (by first of all loving my body, my feelings and myself as one of the many offspring of this Earth) rather than simply trying to please Mom by forcing myself to stay alive (at least until her death).
This direction distances me from the "Survivor" identity and places me more strongly identified with "Lover of Life", or "Seeker of my True Nature" or "Meditator". These identities hold a stronger sense of purpose and positive sense of self worth for me. I've survived, yes. I want to thrive. I take great pride in my new sense of purpose and want to celebrate it.
Do any of you struggle with the "Survivor" identity too?
Edited by gaatt (01/07/14 05:54 PM)