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Stages of a Trauma Victim

Overcoming trauma is a lifelong journey that involves a constant battle within oneself as they try to process the tragedy of their lives. While the trauma itself is always unique to the individual, it often creates feelings of isolation and guilt. These feelings are part of the first stage in a series of identities that one will develop regarding their trauma, all moving towards a healthier outlook at the world around them. These phases are victim, survivor, and thriver. Each one includes a set of challenges and a set of goals. In reaching these goals, we can overcome even the most debilitating trauma.


The victim stage is often the first step in processing trauma and is also usually the most debilitating. With trauma still unprocessed, it feels like the world, or even one’s own life can be pointless or hopeless. The memory and reminders of the trauma constantly commandeer the thoughts and routines of each and every day. Isolation and trauma work to create an identity that ties the person to the trauma. Escape can feel incredibly difficult, if not impossible. This time can be completely debilitating, and without proper guidance and effective coping mechanisms, the victim stage can control the way that one perceives the world.


The survivor stage is still plagued by grief. Despite this persistent sadness, we can understand the trauma as something that happened in the past. It may still be challenging to cope with the fallout of the trauma, but that change in the perspective of time is a sign that healing has begun. This is a stage of the battle that constantly batters us down while simultaneously strengthening resilience. It is a tumultuous time that exists only as thoughts of past trauma and an unknown future collide.


Having set our trauma firmly in the past, the thriver can use this experience and resilience to define their own identity free from the trauma that once occupied every thought. Once we have left the trauma in the past, we become able to grasp the future. Our future becomes something to be molded and kneaded with hope. This hope is a hallmark trait of someone who has not only been at their very worst as a victim of trauma but has overcome it to regain their own identity.

Coping with trauma and the self-destructive actions that often come with it is a task that shouldn’t be taken alone, no matter how isolated you may feel. If you or someone you know needs assistance processing their own traumas, and coping with their particular co-occurring disorders, contact The Guest House today at 1-855-483-7800.