“When we are no longer able to change a situation, we are challenged to change ourselves.” Viktor Frankl
By Mickie Zada
If you are not familiar with Dr. Viktor Frankl, I suggest you do yourself a favor and introduce yourself to him. According to Google, Viktor Emil Frankl was an Austrian neurologist and psychiatrist as well as a Holocaust survivor. He lived from 1905–1997 and has influenced millions of people… including me!
My favorite quote by Dr. Frankl is “Between stimulus and response there is a space. In that space is our power to choose our response. In our response lies our growth and our freedom.”
Reading and considering both the quotes above, and thinking about them even for a few minutes, what do you learn?
What I learned, and took into my very Soul, is that I am responsible for my thoughts and attitude…which dictates my action and creates my reality.
Dr. Frankl was a holocaust survivor. Being a psychologist imprisoned by the Nazi’s, he studied his fellow prisoners. I read that his discovery is that those whose attitude was good and hopeful survived that horrendous ordeal better than those who took on victim mentalities.
In stimulus and response there is a space. When something happens, even as horrible and traumatic as being captured, controlled, tortured, humiliated in a concentration camp, we have a choice about how we respond. What a shocking Truth! Even victims have choices about thoughts and attitudes.
What about you and me, as survivors of abuse?
After reading and considering Dr. Frankl’s theories and the reality of his Life, I gained confidence that I could change my life. Even if you don’t read “Man’s Search for Meaning”, if you will take a few minutes to consider both the quotes at the beginning of this post, I think you will view your situation and your Responsibility in a new light.
I’ve said over and over: change is an in-side job! If we don’t change our responses to the things that effect our lives, we will remain victims. It’s a choice…don’t choose to remain in victimhood.
If you’re a survivor, which is how I describe myself (and I hope you do, too!), there still is responsibility in our thoughts and actions. Allowing our minds to continue consenting not to talk about our abusive past-life, not speaking and sharing our Truth, pretending “it” never happened…as long as those things are happening in our heads, we are still victims. I left abuse 14 years ago…just 6 months ago I realized I was not speaking my truth.
Why? Because I worried: what would my abuser say? Do I have the right to “out” him?
We spent years and years (decades for many of us) lying and protecting our abuser. Personally, truly accepting my reality and sharing my story is therapeutic. I am shocked to discover how much my story is like yours, and yours, and yours. It’s important that we (abuse survivors) know many others (thousands of others) are out there!
Yet, I thought I was unique. I could not image anyone else lived the life I chose, felt as lost and fearful as I did, thought there was no way out, like I did. Stayed as long as I did.
Guess what? 1 in 4 women know those emotions! 1 in 4!!
We can not change our abusers. We can not change the past. We CAN change ourselves.
“When we are no longer able to change a situation, we are challenged to change ourselves.”
Thank you, Dr. Frankl, for your input, ideas and proof that I am responsible for my own world, for my reality. I have a choice about how I respond, I have a choice to create my attitude. And you do, too!
You have escaped abuse, but are you a survivor or still a victim? The choice is yours.