How to Move from an Atmosphere of Surviving to Thriving

Secure environments provide Survivors the opportunity to set boundaries, dream, and celebrate the changes occurring inside of them

Too often survivors have not experienced a secure environment. Growth has not been the goal of their lives, being safe has been the goal. As one of our survivors put it, “Surviving abuse was not about surviving the day that I was hurt; it was about surviving every day after.”

We believe that survivors of abuse can move out of daily survival mode and into an atmosphere that is defined by safety, boundaries, and discovery. In milestone three, we talk about the optimal environment for growth. It is an environment that enables survivors to celebrate and dream; it is safe and secure.

Creating this type of environment can be challenging. Survivors need to learn how to set boundaries, learn to dream, and learn to celebrate small changes which occur around them on a daily basis. In our online support groups, we talk about how to work toward these goals. The group is designed so that survivors have support and encouragement throughout the process.

This milestone is one of five milestones we have defined along the healing journey. We believe that setting milestones are important so that you don’t feel overwhelmed as you progress through the healing journey. Many survivors want to be healed instantly. A milestone acknowledges that we are working in a major area of healing, but that there is usually more than one area of our life which has been impacted by abuse.

Milestone 3 – Creating an Atmosphere to Grow

Milestone 3 has three chapters. Chapters are topics which are part of healing milestone. In our online support groups for survivors of abuse, we encourage you to focus on no more than one chapter per week. Many of our members have found that a single chapter, may take them much longer than one week. The journey is individual. One specific topic may be extra challenging for you, while another is very simple.

The chapters in milestone one are:

  • Chapter 7 – “Small Cracks” – Chapter seven reminds us that healing does not occur overnight. Because of this, it is important that we are intentional about celebrating change, big or small, and setting milestones, or short-term goals.
  • Chapter 8 – “Living Below the Concrete” – Many survivors focus all of their energy into surviving and don’t have any energy reserve to plan for the future; they just need to survive it. Chapter eight challenges survivors to evaluate their dreams and to look forward with hope into their future.
  • Chapter 9 – “Boundaries” – The act of abuse is an unhealthy boundary. In chapter 9, we will learn that boundaries are about respect: respect for others, respect for ourselves, and respect for the world. Setting healthy boundaries aids us as we heal.

Click here to read about Milestone four. Click here to join our online support groups which are designed to encourage survivors of abuse. Click here to order a copy of the book Abuse Is Not My Story by Victoria Elise Michael.


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