I've experienced a buttload of pain in my early childhood and througout adolescence. I think I was fourteen when I decided I was going to start calling the shots and I turned into this sort of femme fatale, vixen-esque creature that began to manipulate men into doing my bidding. It worked quite well on a number of them.
A couple of years later, I met my match. The guy who with one look could quiet me down, make me shut my mouth and not
be pissed off about it, the guy who quieted all of the vindictive thoughts I had of revenge. I whole-heartedly believed this man saved my life. He was the first person who ever invested time and effort into me as a person, instead of seeing my free-spirited potential sprawled across dingy sheets.
I stopped being manipulative and just started being me. I was given the freedom to explore myself, life and everything it had to offer within this incredible safety net of his arms. It's amazing and I'll never be able to thank him enough.
And this is why I think of myself as a survivor, never a victim. It shaped who I am today and while it is not a pleasant experience, it is a reality and one that many, many people will experience in their lifetime. I've gone down some incredibly dark mental roads trying to justify the actions of these people and I think that too has helped me understand it all just a little bit better in the end. I am stronger in spite of it. I will not let my past dictate my future.