Healing From Complex Trauma & PTSD/CPTSD

A journey to healing from complex trauma.

Why The ‘Strong Warrior Survivor’ Identity, Can Be A Red Flag & Harmful ~ Lilly Hope Lucario


I am so aware of the thinking many people will choose, to deal with their lives. One of the issues I have seen throughout my entire life, is people with delusional beliefs about who they are. And how it’s always been to deceive themselves and others, they are better than they actually are. Many of these have been dishonest, manipulative, toxic people, with malicious intent. They live in delusional belief systems.

I’ve dealt with this – my entire life.

mask 1


I’ve also seen a lot of abuse survivors, choosing to have an ‘I am a strong warrior survivor’ persona/identity, to cope with their lives. They believe this makes them strong and it helps them cope. And I do get that.

But, to me, it flags as potentially dishonest. Because the reality for many survivors, is we struggle to cope. We struggle to deal with the reality of the trauma. We struggle to cope with all the symptoms, caused by complex trauma. And there should be NO shame in that. There should be no shame in being honest and saying “this is so hard and I’m not coping”. There is more courage in admitting this.

And, the bigger picture of this ‘strong warrior identity’ is…… other survivors are deemed to not be strong enough, if they don’t wear this persona/identity.  Yet, not wearing it, is often more honest. For those, like myself, who talk about the good, the bad and the ugly of trying to live life after complex trauma…….. I believe this is far more honest. It is more real. And being real and honest, are very important to me. I’ve seen enough fake and delusional masks/identities people wear. I want real.

I also see clearly the identity some survivors choose, can actually be harmful. It’s harmful to place those expectations on all survivors. And it also can hinder people’s healing, because in wearing that identity/persona, some are failing to face the truth, are failing to process the trauma and failing to grieve the trauma. And that is not healthy, or healing.

I don’t need the ‘strong warrior survivor’ persona/identity. I am me. I am real. I am honest. I don’t need to delude myself with some identity, to make me feel better. And I don’t demand other survivors do this either.

I allow survivors to be real about who they are, and how they are coping. And I know that matters to many, and they find comfort from that.

I don’t place any demands or expectations of survivors of complex trauma. I have the empathy not to. Because I also know for many, when they cannot live up to the ‘strong warrior survivor’ persona/identity, and can’t fake it either……. they feel shame for supposedly not coping as well as others. And feel shame for supposedly being ‘weak’. Which is not okay. So, whilst this identity, may not be worn with any malicious intent, there are harmful consequences that can occur.

I believe there is more courage and more honesty and integrity, in not wearing any outer persona/identity. I know complex trauma survivors need to not feel any more shame, especially when they are not coping well. We’ve been shamed enough. We don’t need any more, including from other survivors.

I know many complex trauma survivors, need gentle encouragement, acceptance, validation and to be allowed to be who they are…… with no need to pretend anything is better than it actually is.

I am dealing with all the trauma I have endured. I am processing it. I am grieving it. I am facing it all. And I need no identity to help me do that. I just need to be me. And I don’t need to pretend to be stronger than I actually feel.

And I let everyone else, be themselves. Whether that be doing well, or if struggling.

I know some people will demand their ‘strong warrior survivors’ persona/identity, is good and needed. And to those people, I say that is fine, for you personally. But, do not assume that makes you better, and do not assume that makes your stronger than other survivors. And do not shame others by comparing them to you. Because that is very narcissistic and lacking in empathy.

~ Lilly Hope Lucario

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Author: Healing From Complex Trauma & PTSD/CPTSD

I am a survivor of complex and multiple trauma and abuse, who at the age of 40, began my healing journey. I am using my journey to recovery and healing, to help others, to help survivors feel less alone, validated, encouraged and to enable others to understand themselves more. Complex trauma, particularly from severe, prolonged childhood abuse, is profoundly life changing. Complex trauma produces complex adults. The journey to recovery is a painful, often lonely, emotional daily challenge and it is my aim to encourage others in their daily battle. ~ Lilly Hope Lucario

5 thoughts on “Why The ‘Strong Warrior Survivor’ Identity, Can Be A Red Flag & Harmful ~ Lilly Hope Lucario

  1. This is a thought provoking post. I have my Professional Persona that protects me and my coworkers and the public and my friends from scary symptoms. It takes a lot of energy to maintain this partial, “appropriate” me. Thank you for writing this.

  2. Hello Lilly, I am new to your site/blog, and I must say-Congratulations! As a survivor you are truly being a blessing…you are to me, without hesitation. I am a survivor and am a Christian. My struggles have included spiritual ones as well. You have given me hope, that as horrific as the abuse has been, there is HOPE and we are not alone. With that being said, truth of character and transparency (with the appropriate people) is of great value. Thank you for being a blessing to so many of us.

  3. I too am a survivor of complex and multiple trauma and abuse. I write poetry and use art as ways of coping. I am 64 and began my journey into real healing when I was in my 40’s when I was diagnosed with a complex dissociative disorder–DID. There has been much healing yet there is so much more to go–on levels and stages. I am high functioning and yet still so vulnerable. I am not the warrior survivor but more like the butterfly right now fighting in the cocoon to become. It is said that the caterpillar’s cells literally “crash” and fight each other to form the butterfly and prepare it for it’s new stage in life. So, I continue in my “fight” for the butterfly I am yet to become. If there is opportunity, I would love to share some of my poetry with others.

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