A simple five-letter word that gives you a gut punch just by thinking about it.
Perhaps you have experienced abuse yourself. Perhaps you know someone who has been abused. From innocent children to intimate partners in a marriage or partnership to the elderly in retirement homes, abuse is all around us. It comes in so many ugly forms. Physical, emotional, mental, sexual, financial – abuse is abuse, no matter what kind.
So I’m not writing about abuse and what it is. I’m writing about hope. The Thriver Zone is where hope – as well as healing and empowerment — can happen. It is also a place that can shield us against that gut-punch the word past abuse likes to give.
Entering the Thriver Zone allows women to move beyond the abuse — domestic violence, sexual assault, child abuse or sexual harassment – begin to live again their best life ever.
What is the Thriver Zone?
The Thriver Zone is where someone, once a victim of abuse, can live and move beyond just surviving it. She may have left an abusive relationship, come through the crisis of a sexual assault or, now an adult, is no longer a child being abused by parents or those in authority over her.
But being a survivor is just not enough! We have many inspiring examples of people who move beyond their struggles and transform their lives in amazing ways! In fact, we expect them to do more than survive. We want them to thrive!
Let’s say someone was in a shipwreck, an airplane crash or car accident.
We don’t expect the ship passengers to sit in their lifeboats the rest of their lives after they have survived the danger. Or to stay at the crash site of the airplane or their car. Once the worst is over and they aren’t in immediate danger anymore, they want to get back to land, to their lives, to their work even though, after that trauma, their future may still be very much unknown and unstable.
What we expect is when they get back to their homes, they will find the strength and courage to continue on with their lives. They’ll get back to their jobs, their hobbies and focus on themselves, their children and their needs. They might not know what their future looks like, but they can make it be anything they want. They are safe and secure.
This is what the Living in Thriver Zone is about – living your best life without fear of abuse and with a bright future ahead – and most importantly, living a life where you know that you can do more than survive.
Here’s what’s exciting. We move from victims to survivors to thrivers, we are RECLAIMING our lives. Now we can be happy, independent people who feel we are worthy of love. We might move on to healthy, happy relationships now that we have the tools we need to support a full, happy life. We have careers, families, interests and we are living our best life. Sure things aren’t always easy. In fact, things can be downright hard at times. But we are light years ahead of where we used to be.
I can’t tell you what an honor it is to be a small part of the journey of the women I have met in my work. Helping women thrive after abuse is my passion, my purpose and my mission.
What is a Thriver?
So I have a “working definition” of what a thriver is. Why is it a “working definition?” Because I don’t think we’ve made this big enough yet!
But here is what I have — so far!
“A thriver is a happy, self-confident and productive individual who believes that she has a prosperous life ahead of her. She is primed to follow her dreams, go back to school, find a new job, start her own business or write her story.
“She believes in herself and in her future so much that she will not return to an abusive relationship. She speaks knowledgeably and confidently about her experiences and is not stuck in her anger or need for revenge.
“Living well is her best revenge! She has found a network of women who understand and share her desire to move forward after abuse.”
How Women Find Me
Women usually find me and the work that I do in different ways. They may stumble upon my resources when they are searching online, or they are recommended to me by a friend or therapist.
No matter how women find me, I am here to welcome them with open arms and a promise to never give up on them as they journey into the Thriver Zone.
I think of my work as helping women to Enter the Thriver Zone, Stay in the Thriver Zone and Live in the Thriver Zone.
I get referrals from a lot of sources. Sometimes women come to me from domestic violence and sexual assault crisis intervention programs whose life-saving work helps women move from victim to survivor. But they seek something more.
Therapists also love and use my resources because the work I do is all about visioning for the future, finding the Happy Person Inside again and setting new goals. One of those goals can be to find a new, healthy relationship and not return to an abusive relationship.
And women refer their friends and family members to me too. Why? Because I empower women. I teach them how to know their own self-worth. I help women find their happy place and stay there. I help women feel connected by providing a community of other women to rally around them, support them when they get down. I give women the tools they need to build their own bright and beautiful futures they never thought possible for themselves.
These women do all the hard work – I just help give them the tools they need to get there.
Why is it important to give women these tools to help them? Let me explain about abusive relationships.
Why Do People Stay In Abusive Relationships?
Why would someone stay in an abusive relationship and why would someone want to act in an abusive way toward someone they love? If you have ever seen a bad relationship, you may have wondered why the couple is still together? There are so many reason why that may not always make sense to the outside world.
Let’s dig into this a little deeper.
After working with both victims of domestic violence and offenders over many years, here’s what I have learned. First, abusive relationships usually don’t start out abusive. Abusers know how to manipulate situations to get their way using coercion and control. The abuse usually doesn’t happen overnight. As the abuse is building up, the self-esteem of the victim is wearing down. A person can only stay strong for so long before they start to internalize the abuse.
Second, here are some reasons people stay in abusive relationships.
- Low self-esteem and fear for their physical safety if they leave.
- They feel they deserve to be treated poorly.
- They aren’t good enough and don’t deserve better.
- Trying to keep a family together, stay for financial reasons.
- Hoping the abuse stops if they become “good enough.”
- They actually love the person they are with – or think they love the person – and hope for a change.
- They have been abused their whole lives and may not know anything different.
A person can go from one abusive relationship to another when their self-esteem is so low, and abuse seems like something normal. And you may not know what a healthy relationship is supposed to look like.
Leaving Abuse Behind and Moving On.
This is where my work has helped so many women. Yes, I help women who have been abused and help them move forward with their lives but do you want to know what I am most proud of?
I believe that women who take that journey from victim to survivor to thriver and reclaim their lives are less likely to return to an abusive relationship or suffer the long-term consequences of that abuse. Moreover, once they are out and stay out, they can HELP others and teach them about thriving. Or they may lead them to my workshops and my Thriver Zone books and materials.
So I don’t work with abuse victims. I work with women who have overcome abuse and are thriving. This is what it means to be in the Thriver Zone. It’s more than surviving. I get to see them transform into completely different people now that they can see a very bright future ahead of them. They have done the hard work, and get to reap the rewards for the rest of their life. They get to LIVE in the Thriver Zone.