From Echterling's lecture regarding the healing of trauma I noted some characteristics of victims, survivors, and thrivers.
- feel helpless
- feel confused
- feel distressed
- feel hopeless
- make contact--reconnect and receive support
- make meaning--tell their story, gather data, and create positives
- manage emotions--handle distress, give expression, arouse resolve
- take action--see possibilities, use resources, cope
- dwell in a sense of community
- dwell in a sense of meaning
- dwell in a sense of resolve
- dwell in a sense of power
Survivors are in a place of working to recreate a hopeful and purposeful future. Thrivers are living into that future on a regular basis. For the healing of trauma it is important to remember that within every victim there is a hidden survivor. Tuning into strengths will help a victim find their own way of becoming a survivor.
Echterling suggests that victims can reflect on several questions:
Getting through questions:
"How did you get yourself to do that?"
"What did you draw from inside yourself to make it through that?"
Making meaning questions:
"As you begin to make more sense of this, what have you learned so far?"
"What advice would you give somebody who was going through what you faced?"
Victims who go on to be survivors and thrivers need people who are able to listen, understand, and validate their story. Many people want to give advice instead of just listening. They want to try to help fix things or distract people away from their pain. You will be helped greatly on your journey through grief by finding people who will truly just listen as well as understand and validate. You may have to be forward and say what you need, "I just need someone to listen to me now, please don't try to fix things by providing answers."
You have the strength you need to survive and thrive. But it will take being gentle with yourself as you work through the pain to find the things that will be life-giving and nourishing for you.
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