Perhaps some conclusions about the issue of victim-hood can apply to Lupus. In our society today, there is constant conversation about people who are victims. While addressing vast socioeconomic issues in contemporary public debate would be daunting, discussing the possibility and options to a victim mindset in chronic illness, such as Lupus, is a worthy effory.
Those of us with Lupus do not want to have it. The idea of being a victim of lupus seems like it might be a personal choice, not an inevitable consequence of Lupus. Being a victim of a physical flaw, injury or health problem could be based on the reaction to the situation, and not a foregone conclusion of it.
Getting hurt or having a disease, no, this is not a choice we can make. But, becoming a victim of the injury or illness, yes, this is definitely up to us. No one can make a person remain a victim. While we might be temporarily overwhelmed by a situation that we cannot prevent, we can still choose to reject the whole crippling idea of remaining in a state of victimhood! Is there another alternative? Yes!
How can a person prevent being a victim? First lets consider some personal non-lupus examples .
Born with a minor birth defect that caused a two-inch round hole in the skin of my little thigh, there was a large permanent scar above my knee. Growing up in the 1960’s, in the day of mini skirts, the scar presented an emotional challenge dealing with a visible large puffy red scar. As a baby, my mother took me to a plastic surgeon who repeatedly burned the inside of the hole with dry ice, and eventually layers of scar tissue developed and covered the muscles and inner tissues.
Although stories were told by my mother about how painful the treatment seemed, there is no conscious memory of it. However, blood curdling baby screams during the procedures shook my mother so much that she could not bear it and canceled the final appointment. Nonetheless, the dermatology treatments were a complete success.
The scar remains until today, but is not bothersome at all. There is no sense of self-conscious about it, even though was and still is quite noticeable. Fortunately, time has faded and diminished awareness of it, and it seems all but invisible. A Mother’s gently applied wisdom helped the visible mar from causing any sense of insecurity or unattractiveness.
I wore dresses, shorts, swim suits, and gymnastics leotards without much concern for the large scar on my thigh. As natural as it is for every young girl to be sensitive about their appearance and imperfections, and even insecure, this flaw did not make me feel insecure or damaged. I just saw it a part of imperfect “me.”
My playmates asked about it when the saw the large red egg-shaped bump on my lower thigh, but over the years, it eventually bothered me very little. Why? Because my mother taught me from very early childhood to accept this imperfection with grace and confidence. She taught me never to view myself as a victim.
She was an amazing life coach and teacher. She was an profound blessing to me and an incredible mother. I was not emotionally scarred, nor did I feel like a victim of this small disfigurement. Instead, it was a character strengthening physical flaw.
Perhaps, a faint subconscious memory from my infancy of the tissue-building burns even prepared me for coping with today’s gnawing persistent pain of lupus arthritis and neuropathy. Perhaps this early experience with a scar prepared me for facing life’s adventures with a non-victim attitude.
When the positives do not seem to exist, victors must create them, dig deep and find them, and push hard to make them add up. Pray to the God of heaven to help you look up to Him for saving faith, help and strength, instead of hanging your head in defeat.
Being a victim is passive, embracing victory says, “lupus is not everything, lupus is only one thing.” In the face of the pain or imperfection, victory shouts instead, “by God’s grace I will not be undone!”
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