What are Survivor scenarios?
This is a term that I have developed to describe styles of being in the world that were created by individuals to aid in navigating through a difficult situation that become habitual.
They are habit reaction patterns that were developed to survive that situation but often result in actually interfering with an individual’s growth once they survived a difficult situation.
A survivor scenario is a filter, or way of seeing the world.
An equation of sorts that defines how to react under certain circumstances. It has triggers of words, internal feelings, and actions on the part of others.
It’s an equation of what certain words and actions mean, and how to react, that are directly applicable to a previous situation but not necessarily true about the current environment in a person’s life.
Survivor scenarios cover deep long-standing injuries and are an answer to an internal conflict at the root of which is an injury.
Think of injury in broad terms – don’t think only physical tangible also include spiritual, developmental, and emotional woundings. And an injury or wound can be a misinterpretation of events that has stuck in some way in a person’s psyche or unconscious.
Some survivor scenarios are in response to actual abuse and neglect or injury. Some are a result of a misinterpretation of an event. The importance of understanding the origination of the wound is useful but not required to change the behavior.
The most important action is to become mindful that there is a survivor scenario that needs to be put into its proper place. It is important to respond in the present moment, including questioning and mindfulness to see the whole picture and see the figure/ground of the current situation.
I have identified five survivor scenario groups or styles: protector, savior, survivor, victim/martyr, and persecutor.
These have varying degrees of positive aspects to the survivor scenario. Protecting, Surviving, and Saving seem like positive scenarios to develop – altruistic and strong. They are. They do not seem to be related to victimization in nature.
The reason they are victim or survivor scenarios, and not thriver scenarios, is that these are defined by the victim/other. In order to maintain the definition you need the victim in relationship.
In order to be a protector, survivor, or savior one needs someone or something that requires protecting, surviving and saved; so it is co-dependent in nature rather than thriving and mindful.
This doesn’t mean that taking the action of protection, surviving, or savior in a specific situation is a negative co-dependent action.
It is that action, as a definition of your person, self, and/or personality, that makes it a reactive victim/survivor scenario style of being in the world.
It is more clear how persecutors (many bullies) and victims or martyrs scenarios are more directly related to victimization.
Survivor versus thriving. Originally, I developed this work in response to how people developed as survivors.
Thriving is responding in the present moment with mindfulness, rather than reacting from your unconscious reaction habit patterns.
A thriver uses anger as a message that there is a problem or that some boundary has been crossed. Responding with neutrality and focus, not anger.
A thriver allows the energy to flow through while being in your center.
Learning about paradigms and shifting perspectives, returning to center, and moving from figure to ground to gather more information to respond fully and from your center, and seeing the whole picture; remaining in the present – the here and now – to make choices and take action, and to create connections and develop, fuller, clearer, more fulfilling relationships.
And in parenting to create stronger, more resilient children with better self-esteem.
As you think about how you define yourself you may find that you do consider yourself someone who would go into a fire to save someone or that protecting your child is of the utmost importance. These strong feelings are not survivor scenarios. These are actions you would take in a given, specific situation and identify that you have a strong picture of your character.
If you find that you are always having to survive a situation or that you find that you are always having to protect others in many different situations. And that is a primary way in which you see/define yourself. Then you may want to evaluate if you are functioning under the influence of a survivor scenario.
Your best antidote is to apply mindfulness, and present moment, responsive action in situations and allow them to develop.
You will still need those skills of surviving, saving, protecting to deal with specific situations that in a mindful way, need that kind of response.
You may find some of the time the situation may develop in a different way, and that you may not have to apply the scenario equation in order to resolve the situation.
See you tomorrow.