Victim Blaming or Post Trauma Growth?


Is it victim blaming/shaming to discuss post trauma growth?

Since changing my writing focus, I have been honored to connect with individuals in the abuse awareness and clarity space.

These individuals are all passionate about raising awareness and creating space for victims to heal and grow and for perpetrators to be held accountable.

victim blaming

In the last couple of weeks, there has been a lot of “you’re victim-blaming” movement on their platforms, (and some of the same has just started on my Facebook page) whenever they discuss post-trauma growth.

(Victim blaming is when victim of a crime or any wrongful act is held entirely or partially at fault for the harm that befell them.*)

I’ve engaged with some comments but I realize a more detailed post would be helpful in explaining why I don’t believe post trauma growth is victim-blaming.

Victim Blaming or Post Trauma Growth?

This update was first shared on Facebook, where most of the conversations have been taking place.

First, if you are new to Intentional Today and don’t know it already, I am mostly church-facing. I am fiercely pro-victim AND church-facing.

By that, I mean you’ll see me making observations and commentary on evangelical and conservative Christianity and encouraging/imploring reflection and exploration of how we can be more Jesus-centered and people-helping rather than people-harming.

If you are a victim and discussions around religion are an area of tenderness, my words might not fit this season. (We’ll talk about seasons below.)

I don’t block you or delete comments because we disagree. Looking at past posts, you’ll find comments where people see things differently, where we had a conversation, and we move on, and that’s okay.

However, it’s only a conversation if it’s an actual 2-way thing and there’s room for reflection and genuine edification in the convo.

I no longer engage in deep discussions with anyone who claims I’m doing something I am not. For example, if I’m not victim blaming, I will not accept that I am and will not be trying to “prove” anything.

That doesn’t mean I’m not learning or I’m not open to new ways of thinking or even educating on that. I’ll do my best to have clarifying dialogue. But there are limits.

My Journey with a Chronic Health Condition

Let me share my journey with a chronic health condition, what growth has looked like, and what we can learn about growth in general.

At some point and if flourishing is the goal, motion will be required: in my opinion, it is impossible to move forward without a level of introspection, exploring/rediscovering values, empowering systems, and giving those things a voice externally.

Five years ago, I became home-bound with a condition which, among other things, made parts of my body stiff as a rock. I was in pain 24/7, but any movement brought spasms and extra fire licking up my joints and body. For 2+ years, my life revolved around the bed, couch, and doctor appointments.

Muscles atrophied. Limbs shrunk. Pain multiplied. Brain fogged.

In my pain-filled life, in the course of our therapy, my kind, compassionate chiropractor broke it to me that applying some weight and movement to my body was not out of the question in the future since regaining mobility, health, and a pain-free life was my goal.

Right there and then, it felt like a a dream. An impossibility. However, right there and then, there were other immediate goals: like diet changes, figuring out how to interrupt pain loops, mind-work, myofascial release, etc

But to go back to life as I once knew it, I began to accept that muscles don’t grow back without some form of weight work on them – even as simple own body weight in the form of short gentle walks. Joints don’t heal without movement.

It is true that you don’t put weight or movement on a broken body. Some doctors said I should, and I did, and it was hell.

Therapeutic interventions, safety, and stability first. But to get limbs to their OPTIMAL shape, eventually, weight/movement would need to be added.

The space between where we are and where we want to be – the flourishing and thriving – is filled with introspection, inner and outer work.

post trauma growth

“Growing” was not the same as taking liability for the illness in my body or the double-injury from flawed medical interventions.

All my growth, from survival-mode, to where I am today (and I’m still on that healing path), was about what I had control over in terms of getting my broken body, mind, and soul to a safer, healthier place.

Lots of introspection, learning to honor my body and her limits, dietary changes, removing toxins, inspecting specific cultures and experiences which contributed to my distressed life, sinking into Belovedness are amongst some of the things I needed to explore.

None of it was about me being liable for what happened to me. It was about where I wanted to be and what it would take to get there AND thrive there. 

Victim Blaming? Why Seasons are a Thing

Sometimes we’re in a season of survival, taking one breath at a time, doing all we can to pull through. And that’s important, oh so important. Our bodies are actually created with survival mechanisms for that specific purpose. To see us survive seasons of high stress.

But survival is not all there is to our lives. There are other seasons.

If you are in survival or near survival state, there’s another season ahead. Knowing that another season exists, where something else will be required of us, is not blaming or shaming. It’s just another healthy piece of information to be used for that time.

We don’t have to act on it now (please don’t act on it if it’s not the season for it), and we don’t have to rush our nervous systems to process information it’s not ready for. We can have boundaries around that too.


If you’re interested in more information, coach and trainer Sarah McDugal is a survivor and warrior in this space, and I love how she breaks down truth and concepts.

  1. An update and encouragement on the different stages of healing and how not to get stuck in one stage.
  2. An update on post-traumatic growth/self assessment.

Seasons of Healing: Mapping Your Post-Trauma Journey

Discover which season of healing you are living through right now and what your mind and body need most in this particular season.  Seasons of Healing (aff) launches You on the Path to: reclaim your voice from the silence, pierce the fog of cognitive dissonance, live in radical commitment to truth, take back control of your choices. Access Now.

seasons of healing

*Source: Wikipedia