To change from being a ‘victim to a survivor’ requires strength of mind, determination and focus. Changing a repeating pattern is a difficult task to tackle. It can be done but will only be done successfully with constant practice.
Why do you want to change?
Here are some examples to help you:
• You want to change and be a survivor in order to have a better life
• You want to change and be a survivor to lift your self-esteem
• You want to change and be a survivor to overcome fears
• You want to change and be a survivor to regain your confidence
• You want to change and be a survivor to let go of past hurts
• You want to change and be a survivor to ‘move on’ in your life
• You want to change and be a survivor to take responsibility for you
• You want to change and be a survivor to fulfill your dreams
• You want to change and be a survivor to be a better parent
• You want to change and be a survivor to set a good example for your children
• You want to change and be a survivor because you don’t want to rely on your partner/family/friends anymore
• You want to change and be a survivor to feel good about yourself
• You want to change and be a survivor to further develop yourself
• You want to change and be a survivor so that you can enjoy an equal, loving relationship with your partner
There are advantages to be gained from your past difficult experiences. Having worked through the strategy I am outlining in this book, successfully, you can make your difficult experiences work for you. When you are able to turn your negative experiences into positive action you will have accepted and confronted the emotional upsets, fear and pain you have gone through and have survived. In activating this process you will have the skill to support others to follow the same road to recovery.
From ‘victim’ to survivor’
On the road from victim to survivor it will be necessary to face your demons and overcome your issues. How do you know you have successfully completed the process?
• You will have a greater understanding of how your thoughts can influence your feelings and behavior
• You will not be afraid to discuss your fears
• You will have learned how to relax (meditation/writing in your journal/walking the dog, etc)
• You will have learned to trust your partner/family/friends
• You will know where to get support and how to give support yourself
• You will have learned self discipline
• You will know the difference between pertinent and impertinent in conversations with you partner/family/friends
• You will enjoy taking responsibility for you
• You will value you
• You will be able to communicate your thoughts and feelings with your partner
• You will enjoy being the new you and will have accepted the change that has taken place
The above are examples of some of the benefits that you will experience through the changing process. Your list will be different.
"We cannot live the afternoon of life according to the program of life's morning; for what in the morning was true will in evening become a lie."
-- C.G. Jung
Relationship Development
In order to have a fulfilling intimate relationship it is important that both people in the relationship are allowed to grow independently as well as together. Your personal growth is your own responsibility and cannot be foisted upon another. Growing as an individual should not have a negative impact on your intimate relationship with your partner. If one partner resents and stops the other from developing as an individual, the relationship will inevitably falter because the foundation of the relationship is not being nourished by having new experiences. In order for a relationship to have positive growth it requires freedom, respect, and love to enable it to flourish. A positive intimate relationship should forge new ground and not be stuck in time. There should be no restrictions in the relationship other than the boundaries that both partners have agreed to at the onset. As you care for yourself, so should you care for your partner. It is for this reason that it is important to love yourself first. That might be an unpopular concept, loving yourself first, however, I believe that your first commitment it to yourself. The passion with which you love yourself and are true to yourself will have a positive effect on your partner, family and friends. Loving yourself is a difficult thing to do. None of us are perfect. We all have imperfections. Loving yourself, warts and all, is to be self-aware and unafraid to acknowledge your imperfections. Loving yourself is making a non-verbal agreement with yourself to continue addressing these imperfections as best as you can. If you stay in awareness of your imperfections you will be able to communicate and interact with your partner and others being mindful and cautious at all times of your own limitations, baggage and hang ups. Learning not to react spontaneously during discussions with your partner will help you to understand your own misunderstanding of any issue raised. You all enter into relationships with expectations and baggage. You all think that you know what you need from your relationship and it is often the case that when you identify that you are not getting what you need from your relationship, that your relationship will start spinning downwards on the road to separation and divorce. In order to get what you ‘need and want’ from a relationship you have to be realistic and communicate to your partner the catalogue of ‘needs and wants’ you are expecting. Both partners should identify what it is that you expect from the other. Honest communication is vital so that you both completely understand the expectations of the other. Communicating to each other your expectations will give each partner the opportunity to face the ‘needs and wants’ of the other and will simplify the process of establishing aims and objectives for the partnership. Each of you choose who, what and how you will be each day. If you want to change your relationship, you must change yourself first. In order to change your thinking and behavior, you must first of all face the demons that you must release so that you can break the chains of your old negative, destructive patterns of thought. Remember, you are in control of you. No-one else controls you. If your partner is controlling you then you are giving him/her permission to do this. When you are successful at changing yourself your relationship will change as a result.
‘Is to promise to give a firm opinion that can be relied upon’. When you make a commitment to your partner what you are saying is that you are aiming for the best possible outcome for both of you. This commitment involves sharing, caring and growth both independently and together in your relationship. There exists the school of thought that states that all relationships have a beginning, a middle path of growth and an end of the journey. In order to fully live in the moment and experience passion in your relationship you must open your heart to your partner without feeling afraid of doing so. One of the aims of a commitment between two people should be for each of you to grow individually and grow together. Both of you should acknowledge and accept that each of you will change as you develop individually and this change will result in a change in your relationship. Being aware of constant change in each other, and in your relationship will act as a safety net for the both of you. Changing independently and together can be risky as you plough into the unknown but on the flip side of the coin is the positive risk of having a lasting, loving, growing relationship that is more fulfilling and passionate. All positive relationships grow through changing to meet both partners’ needs, wants and desires. Honest continued commitment is built though this changing process.
Don't smother each other. No one can grow in the shade. ~Leo Buscaglia
Ask yourself, ‘what do I need from my relationship?’
Here are some examples to help you in this process:
• I need to trust my partner
• I need to feel loved
• I need to be able to communicate with my partner
• I need to have faith that my partner will be loyal, faithful and committed
• I need to have an equal say in my relationship with my partner
• I need to respect my partner
• I need to know that my partner will stand by me whatever the circumstances
These are only some of the needs. Write your own needs down so that you can be clear about what it is you need from your par
Oh, the comfort - the inexpressible comfort of feeling safe with a person - having neither to weigh thoughts nor measure words, but pouring them all right out, just as they are, chaff and grain together; certain that a faithful hand will take and sift them, keep what is worth keeping, and then with the breath of kindness blow the rest away. ~Dinah Craik, A Life for a Life, 1859

Author's Bio: 

'Lynda Bevan lives in a picturesque village in South Wales, United Kingdom. She is 60 years
of age, married for the third time, with three (adult) children. During her teens and early twenties she pursued and enjoyed acting and taught at local Youth Centres.

Her 20 year career has involved working, in the area of mental health, with the two major care agencies in the UK, Social Services and the National Health Service.

After the birth of her third child, and with her second marriage ending, she became employed by Social Services and climbed through the ranks to senior management level with some speed.

During her career with Social Services she developed a passion for counselling and psychotherapy and worked extensively with mental health patients, within the organisation, setting up counselling projects in the Primary |Health-care Setting to tackle the issue of doctors who referred patients, inappropriately, to Psychiatric Hospitals for therapy for events that arise in normal everyday life, i.e. divorce, anxiety, depression, bereavement, stress, loss of role. It was during this time that she became involved in marital/relationship counselling and, coincidentally, was experiencing difficulties within her own relationship. The experience of working in this environment, and her own relationship issues, enabled Lynda to be innovative; creating methods of coping and developing strategies that enabled her and, consequently, patients to live within their difficult relationships. These strategies were devised and offered to patients who had clearly identified that they did not want to separate or proceed with the divorce process.

After taking early retirement from Social Services, she became employed by the National Health Service, as a Counsellor in the Primary Health-Care Setting. During this 10 year period in her career she began using the strategies, she had developed, with patients who were referred for relationship counselling and who did not want to end their partnership/marriage. This strategy (10 step guide) has been used extensively over a 10 year period with impressive results.

Lynda has lectured on the PGCE Course at Swansea Business Institute teaching counselling skills to post-graduate students. She has also run workshops on self-development and psychodrama at Swansea University.

Lynda is presently employed as a Manager of a charity that provides services and supports people who are HIV positive or who have AIDS. She is also the Resident Relationship Counsellor on Swansea Sound Radio.