It happened in a split second and I almost let it negatively change my life forever.  But I didn’t and I’m so grateful.

I loved him and I trusted him and then he hit me and choked me and sexually assaulted me and cheated on me.  I was devastated. My world was crashing down around me and I felt betrayed, powerless, worthless and humiliated.

I found a small bit of the feisty me and charged him.  In Ontario, the police file the charges and he was arrested and put in jail.  And then the insult upon injury happened – his girlfriend bailed him out of jail!

So it ended. I was unceremoniously thrust into the label of “victim”.  At the time it satisfied many of my needs. I could cry and whine.  I could drink excessively.  I could feel sorry for myself.  I could be self-destructive.  I could treat men like garbage.  I could be a righteous bitch. I could believe that it was okay because I WAS A VICTIM!

I had other negative labels that had been attached by “that guy” – loser, stupid, useless, ugly, fat, etc.  You catch my drift.

There I was stuck with labels and limiting beliefs that were certainly not the kind to live a vibrant and happy life.

I longed for the me that was free and confident and could do anything she set her mind too.  I wanted to find her again and love her and be her.  I wanted to fulfill my dreams.

Underneath all the labels I had acquired was “me” and I wanted her back.  I wanted to write new chapters for my life.  Chapters that were filled with happiness, brightness, joy, passion and life.

I wanted to reclaim my light spirit and I did.
I met a friend who dedicated her life to helping others and was very successful.  She told me that words have power and that by changing my words, I would begin to change my life and find the me I had lost.
That day I changed my biggest negative label Victim to Survivor. Immediately, it had a positive impact on my behaviour and it boosted my self-confidence and my will to achieve my goals and dreams.
I was coming back.  I was scared to let go but I knew that I couldn’t embrace new beginnings while I was hanging onto the past.
It was a journey and sometimes I felt I would never be able to live a life light of heart.  But I persevered.   I accepted the challenge and stepped into my life beyond the hurt.
I have successfully achieved many of my goals – learning to drive, graduating with honours from the University of Toronto, travelling and experiencing vibrant countries and falling in love again.
It is possible to get your life back after a traumatic setback.  Not only can you get it back, it will be bigger and bolder than it was before.

I can confidently declare myself a “Rebel Thriver” who’s loving life every minute of every day.

I let go of the past and embraced my bright future.
And you can too. Start by talking about yourself as a survivor. Celebrate every step you take forward and keep going when you have a setback.

It is possible to live and love your life after abuse and betrayal.

By Susan Ball