The Survivors Club isn’t a book that is specifically about child abuse survivors, but there are some interesting takeaways from the book that I think are very relative to abuse survivors. Due to that, I’m not going to do a normal “review” type of post, but just bring up a couple of points of interest.
Mr. Sherwood sets out in this book to try and determine why, in life threatening situations, some people survive and others don’t. In the process he shares some of the leading research into survival, and some intriguing theories as to what determines the likelihood that you will survive. He looks at everything from airplane crashes, to cancer patients to Holocaust survivors to try and figure out what determines who lives and dies. He concludes that, some percentage of the time, you are going to die and there’s very little you can do about it, but in most cases, there’s quite a bit you can do.
It’s fairly fascinating reading, but for our purposes here, I want to direct your attention to a couple of key points in the book. The first being that “you’re stronger than you know”, the third rule of survival. To my mind, surviving childhood abuse proves that you are strong, but most survivors don’t give themselves credit for that.
The second is the idea of resiliency and how adversity makes you even stronger. Sherwood goes into great detail to talk about how resiliency may be like any other muscle of the body, the more it get’s exercised, the more easy it is for you to bounce back from difficult events. As I was reading these sections, it occurred to me that abuse survivors have already dealt with so much adversity at a young age, that they have an amazing ability to be strong and overcome that. But, they don’t always realize it.
Lastly, Sherwood also spent a great deal of time looking into the idea of luck, or why some people seem to have good luck more than others. He talked to some of the leading psychological researches on the subject and came away convinced that attitude can determine how “lucky” you are. He talked to someone who studied whether people who had been “lucky” had a tendency to be more observant, perhaps they were more likely to notice an opportunity that helped explain their luck. He also talked to experts who had studied the likelihood of people who were unhappy with their lives to have more accidents than those who were happy, who theorized that people who were unhappy took more risks in everything from driving to being in the wrong place, etc. It reminded me of how often abuse survivors who have convinced themselves that bad things had always happened to them, and would continue to happen to them, tend to be correct, and how it might not be a matter of destiny, but a matter of developing a healthier attitude.
If nothing else, the book serves as a good guide to the importance of taking care of ourselves, physically and emotionally, to increase the likelihood that we’ll be able to survive whatever live throws at us!
You can find out more about the book at the website.