Chrysalis Healing and Coaching

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Transforming Victim to Survivor

Posted on March 27, 2017 at 1:49 PM

You have the power to get out of the well one step at a time

The other day while doing some research I came across this fable which really spoke to my heart.

The Farmer’s Donkey

One day a farmer’s donkey fell down into a well. The animal cried piteously for hours as the
farmer tried to figure out a way to get him out. Finally he decided it was probably impossible and the animal was old and the well was dry anyway, so it just  wasn’t worth it to try and get the  donkey out. So the farmer asked his neighbors to come over and help him cover up the well. They all grabbed shovels and began to shovel dirt into the well.

At first when the donkey realized what was happening he cried horribly. Then, to everyone’s amazement he quieted down and let out some happy brays. A few shovels later, the farmer looked down the well to see what was happening and was astonished at what he saw. With every  shovel of dirt that hit his back, the donkey was shaking it off and taking  a step up.

As the farmer’s neighbors continued to shovel  dirt on top of the donkey, he continued  to shake it off and take a step up.  Pretty soon to every one’s amazement the donkey stepped over the edge of the well and trotted off.


The trick to getting out of the well is to shake it off and take a step up

Each one of our troubles is a stepping stone

What happens to you isn’t nearly as important as how you react to it.

Author Unknown

How do you react to adversity? Do you become a victim or are you a survivor shaking adversity off?

Perhaps you don’t even realize you are playing the victim role.  For years, I played the victim role without being aware of it. The first step is awareness. Once you are aware that you are playing the victim role then you can take further action transforming from  victim to  survivor.

Signs that you are playing the victim role

Blaming others for your pain

I used to blame everyone and everything else for my pain and suffering – “ it’s not my fault  if only I had been raised by better parents”  in the long term those feelings led to feeling powerless and helpless.

Failure to accept responsibility

You have the power to choose how you react to adversity you can’t control the cards that are dealt to you in life but you can control how you play them.  Take responsibility for yourself. You alone decide how you react to adversity.

Feeling helpless

Find the source of your learned helplessness - most likely experienced in childhood or early adulthood.

I was raised in a dysfunctional environment that fostered dependence rather than confidence. 

Take some time to reflect and write on the source of your learned helplessness.

Focusing on problems

 The more you focus on a problem you will attract more of it into your life. Rather than focus on the problem search for solutions than will best work for you. You may need therapy or a coach to guide you with your journey.

Lack of boundaries

Learn to create and maintain healthy boundaries.

A boundary is a clear communication that respects yourself and others based on your values, rules and limitations.  One boundary that I have set for myself is not spend time with people who bring me down. I surround myself with positive people.


Victims tend to undermine or sabotage their own happiness and success. Control is the root of self-sabotage in victims.  Victims believe when things are going well that disaster is just around the corner. I would never allow myself to be happy for long periods of time as unconsciously I was sure disaster was not far off. I did not feel worthy of happiness. Brene  Brown  calls it  “deep foreboding”  disaster is always lurking around the corner and most intense when things are going well. Disaster is coming and the victim wants to be in control so when that disaster strikes he is prepared. The victim undermines his own joy and success with self-destructive behaviour.

Give up your need for control and focus on gratitude daily and enjoy all your blessings.

Keep a gratitude journal to write in about all the things you are grateful for.

Get out of your head space and participate in random acts of kindness. Helping another person/community will help empower yourself. The realization of the positive impact on another can positively influence your own life.

Lack of Self-Confidence

Victims tend to struggle with low self confidence.  Not everyone is born self-confident. Self-confidence can be learned and improved upon. Always dress and act confident eventually your internal state will catch up and begin to match your external state. Set up small achievable goals to work towards, your self-confidence will increase with each attained goal.

Forgiveness and Compassion

Finally, forgiveness is about you not your perpetrator. Forgiveness does not mean that you excuse the wrong.  It’s about your response to the pain inflicted on you. Transform the pain to compassion and empathy for the other. Find your inner strength to get past your pain to find inner peace and freedom so you may move on with your life.  Once you forgive healing can truly take place.  Don’t forget to forgive and have compassion for yourself as well.








Categories: Change

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