Not a Victim, No Longer a Volunteer

Have you ever had someone try to hold you down? Hold you back from your true potential? There have been a few times in my life when someone had given me advice sounding something like “Elysia, you might find that some of these people will try to hold you down or keep you in your place. Don’t let them. Just keep blossoming. Keep growing”.  Good words from well discerning friends.  Did I listen to them? Well I guess that depends.

I have heard the saying “There are no victims, only volunteers.” several times in my life. Discounting real victims of crimes and abuse, this is a true concept. I have never been held down unless I had let someone do so. In addition, once I became an adult I was only a victim when I volunteered to be one.

You see there were times that Hell no, I was not taking anyone’s bullshit. Then there were times that I might let someone else bully me until I realized there was nothing in it for myself. This would usually result in some kind of passive-aggressive behavior on my part. If you were on the receiving end of that, well I really do apologize. Because I can have a razor-sharp tongue when I let myself. I have made men and women cry with the words I have said. For this, I have no pride whatsoever.

In other cases, I might have found that being the victim could serve me quite well. In relationships, I might get nice rewards. When reminding the forlorn “victimizer” of what they had done, well I could win an argument or manipulate a situation to go my way. More so, if there were witnesses I might be able to use them for something at a later time. So as mentioned earlier, I volunteered for such victimization. Though I did not realize it at the time.

Fortunately for myself and my loved ones, something wild happened. I got clean & sober! I began to work with a sponsor and with other women in recovery. They taught me that I just had to keep my side of the street clean and not to worry about anyone else’s side. They taught me to take responsibility for my part in every situation.

As I grew in my recovery I developed the courage to walk away from a diseased, abusive marriage. This abuse went both ways. We BOTH participated in sick, emotional games and it was time to realize that it was not going to get better.  I learned to stay away from such relationships and how to set boundaries.

I learned that I, ME, MYSELF – would be the one who would teach others how to treat me. I continued this as I finished up raising my kids. It was uncomfortable and sometimes I thought they would hate me for good. That did not happen. What happened?  They began to respect me like they never had. Because I respected myself.


One of my greatest shortcomings was letting people treat me like some kind of second class citizen. I then passed that on to my children. My children, who I thought the world of. They now felt like second class citizens. My sponsor explained that I was the one who would have to change that.

I remember watching a movie called “Once Were Warriors” with my eldest son just six months before I left my marriage.  It was a devastatingly sad movie but worth it to watch to the very end when the abused wife stands up to her abuser. This scene caused my son and me to look at each other and without a word we just nodded.

Lately I have been lead to the act of sending my kids little messages via text or messenger reminding them that they are royalty. That they have every bit of validation to go out and get theirs. Because we are warriors. We are strong and will not be held down.

Did you know just how empowering some Disco songs were?  Such as the lyrics to Ain’t No Stoppin’ Us Now By McFadden & Whitehead:

“And if you’ve ever been held down before

I know you’ll refuse to be held down anymore!

Don’t you let nothing, nothing

Stand in your way!”

So I say to you this fine Tuesday Morning: You might find that some of these people will try to hold you down or keep you in your place. Don’t let them. Just keep blossoming. Keep growing! And stay blissful my friends – E

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