The Grip of a Label

The last post didn’t really establish how badly this Steubenville case has gotten to me.

I’m mad at myself for that, but I can’t seem to break free.

It isn’t really the case itself.  I’m not going to bore you with more talk about the media’s portrayal.

No, I have a more personal issue.

The victim’s mother stated, “This does not define who my daughter is. She will perservere, grow, and move on.”

But I worry.  I worry about the label of “victim”.  I worry whether that is truly ever able to fall away.  To be something of the past.

Because right now I only feel like a victim.  I feel like I’ve never shaken that label.  I’ve never relaxed the iron grip of it, the gnashing teeth and rancid breath.

I still feel powerless, lost, hopeless.  These feelings sometimes dwindle down a bit, but they never seem to truly fall away.  I can manage a strong front.  I can fake it like a pro.

But inside I still just feel like a scared girl who doesn’t want to walk down the street without at least some pepper spray, most likely my dog, and even possibly a gun (I never said I was a Democrat).

I don’t want to be that scared person.  I don’t want to be a victim.  But anytime I get into a personal situation that narrows itself down into that test of power, of control- I fumble.  I cave.  I fold into myself and allow myself to be the powerless.

I don’t understand it because I do not give up control at work to my clients.  I am not rude or mean, but I am in control.  I think the less I know a person, the more likely I am to remain in control and not allow that feeling of uncertainty to creep in.

But when someone starts digging into my skin, breaking beneath the surface…then I let the reins fall.

I hate that about myself.

The past couple days I’ve lapsed so bad back into my eating disorder because I need to know I have control, I need to know this body is mine to do with what I want.  I don’t know why I can’t get that feeling treating it healthily.  I wish so hard that I could.  I know I’m broken and I need help.

Why can’t I just reach out?

Why is the grip of this label so crippling?  Why do I think of myself as the victim or the villain of a story instead of the hero?

On one level, I’m so sure that I can just keep wading through my own muck without that extra push, that extra lift.


But on another level…..I know I can’t handle it.  I can’t keep going like this.  Not for much longer.

6 thoughts on “The Grip of a Label

  1. vwoopvwoop

    it saddens me to know you are struggling at the moment. i hope writing about it here helps slightly.

    i have noticed a genuine difference in the healing community between those who continue to call themselves victims and those who call themselves survivors. the difference seems to be that people who take to calling themselves survivors seem to be healing faster.

    i guess for anyone who has suffered through abuse, the fact is that we were victims of someone else. what i have been really relieved to discover is that though i *was* a victim, i do not have to continue to be a victim each new day. today i can say i survived abuse, i was a victim in the past, but today i am not going to be a victim to anyone’s mistreatment. it doesn’t always work, some days are better than others and it’s a long road to recovery however you approach things. but i do feel better when i don’t tell myself “i am a victim today,” subconsciously.

    when the depression hits, it’s not really a matter of semantics, it’s just suffering and the sensation of being a victim again. it’s awful, and you didn’t mention depression in your post but the triggering of you ED and the other symptoms seem inkeeping with what *i* call depression, so maybe we’re talking about the same thing with different words. don’t be hard on yourself, that is a difficult thing to experience no matter how many times you’ve felt it before, and it’s painful right now (but i do trust that it will lift, in time).

    i’m sorry you’ve been triggered and i’m sending loving thoughts and safe hugs your way if you want them. ❤

    1. Pen Post author

      Definitely depression. It is sort of funny that I didn’t mention that word though. I mostly just feel very empty lately and it’s hard to ascribe a value to that.

      I know that’s a big thing- the difference between victims and survivors and that transformation. I always feel like I missed it. I idealize butterflies as a symbol a lot in my life as both the symbol of the soul (Psyche in Greek culture/myth) and a symbol of transformation. But I idealize it with a sort of desperation born out of the lack of feeling it. I feel very stuck as a caterpillar.

      I love your thoughts so much and it makes me smile, even a little, every time you write me one of your thoughtful notes/comments. A hug from you always feels safe ❤ ❤ ❤

  2. kate1975

    I can relate. But what I do know is that others do move beyond it. That I am moving beyond it and that many others will too. You will.

    Good and healing thoughts to you.


    1. mintythings

      I don’t have personal experience with this, but Kate is right. Many people have gotten through this and you can too. One of the people I follow on Tumblr recently started dating again, after being single for a long while following an abusive relationship. She still struggles a lot sometimes, but lately she’s been filling my dash with posts about how nice it is not to feel so badly triggered by certain things anymore, and how kind and understanding her new guy friend is, and it’s so great to see that things are getting better for her. I don’t know whether it’ll help you at all to hear that about someone else, but I hope you feel better soon.

      1. Pen Post author

        That is nice to hear. I appreciate you sharing that. I’ll try and keep it in mind.
        Thank you for your thoughts 🙂

    2. Pen Post author

      That moving beyond concept always seems like a “down the road” sort of thing, and never “right now”, like I want it to be. I hope it gets here soon.
      Thank you for your thoughts ❤


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