My 67 year old cousin asked me this question one day at a pool party at his house in southern California. He is a very successful Lawyer who was a straight A student from age 12 when I remember him telling me he was going to be a lawyer. He is probably the only person I know from childhood who actually became what he said he would at age 12.
So, when he asked me this question he wasn't being mean because he really wanted to know how I stayed alive through all the problems of my life. My reply caught him off guard. I said quite frankly and honestly, "I never saw myself as a victim. I manipulated every situation to my complete advantage always." He looked away like he was shocked and then said, "Well. I guess that's the attitude of someone who just refuses to be victimized." And I said, "Yes."
My family surname is Swiss so a lot of perfection was always demanded of each of us. My cousin graduated high school in 1960 and then went through university and Law School on a scholarship. I didn't. When I was 2 I had whooping cough and when I was 10 I got childhood epilepsy which scared my parents, especially my father who forbade me to speak of it to anyone. "Oh. The shame of it!", would likely have been my father's true response. But, that isn't what they said to me. Instead they just stopped demanding me to get all A's like before. So my grades which were all A's and B's in grade school fell down to C's and D's during Junior High when I was having the most seizures. So then when they stopped I was in 9th grade near my Junior High Graduation. So, when I went through my first summer without seizures at age 15 I entered High School and the 10th grade with new hope of not dying before I was 20. The football coach asked me to be a lineman for the team as I was the 6 foot 3 inches tall. I declined as I wanted to buy a car and date girls instead of getting injured like our class president had who was a quarterback and now walked permanently with a cane from playing on the school team.
My grades were improving instead of the mostly C's and D's, except for Science Class that I always got an A in because I loved science (we watched all the astronauts like John Glen and Shepard go into space on TV in those classes and we turned water into hydrogen and oxygen just by running DC electricity through it).
So, I started to get better and better grades now the constant physical and psychological trauma of childhood epilepsy was behind me. However, psychologically the trauma has affected all my adult decisions now that I can look back upon my whole life now from my vantage point of age 62.
The problem with childhood epilepsy for me was "always expecting to die soon". This completely changed how I thought because I had already almost died from whooping cough at age 2 as well. So, even though one long term bought with death "whooping cough" I might have psychologically overcome, by age 15 I had already had around 6 years of thinking I was going to die already so the psychological damage had already been done.
One of the ways I had always dealt with this was to take extreme physical risks. It was my way of "cheating death". So, it was like if I could almost die but not I could feel the most alive. It is sort of like most people walk through life half dead. They never really experience life at all. So, most people like this sort of became a joke to me. So, I often took extreme risks to keep that aliveness going. I also found that when I pushed myself to the physical edge I was the smartest also. So, sometimes I would do extreme things just so I could be twice as smart as the next person just for a while so I could really figure out what was going on in my life and make quantum jumps in consciousness.
Whether this being twice as smart as everyone else was real or imaginary is debatable. But, this is what I have always believed so I was always outfoxing everyone in my life. In fact, I was so incredibly good at outfoxing everyone that sometimes I outfoxed myself and I found I had created myself financially well off but sort of in a world by myself. Having already been an only child, being alone wasn't very much fun unless I was somewhere beautiful in the wilderness or ocean or desert somewhere on earth.
So, my cousin was asking me actually, "How did you not kill yourself having been through what you have in life?" So when I said, "I never saw myself as a victim. I manipulated every situation to my advantage at every point." what I was really saying was, "In our family it was always 'Do or Die!" There wasn't ever really an option to kill yourself allowed. So, I just used that tenacity to move forward like life was a constant war or battle that I was either going to fight or to die trying. Even when I considered suicide when I felt really broken by events from ages 21 to 23 or 4 I realized I couldn't end my life because it wouldn't be fair to my parents.
The really good thing about my life is that I don't have an addictive personality so I never go addicted to any drug or alcohol. My addiction was never anything that I put in my mouth. My addiction that I used to stay alive in my early 20s was women. So, since I was always after high school very buff and 6 foot 4 1/2 inches tall and very handsome, I used this set of qualities to stay alive and not kill myself. So, whenever one girlfriend and I broke up I would quickly find another and then another. Then at age 25 when my then live in girlfriend got pregnant, we simply got married. After we had lived together a total of 4 years (married 3) we separated and I raised my son to adulthood alone and then later with my second and third wife. And along the way I had two more daughters, one each with my next two wives.
There are many other difficult situations that arose in my life but my cousin wanted to know how I could still be alive after everything that had happened in my life. I guess the real answer is just like the rest of my pioneer stock family, "I'm just too tough to die!"
Besides, though my cousin and I are both financially doing quite well, he's still working and I have been retired for 12 years. In a certain way, we both are happy! He found a career he loves and I never did except becoming enlightened, being a father, and writing and exploring the world both externally and internally. How did I Survive Being a Victim? I never gave up!
However, I was just thinking. How did I become Intuitive Fred? Looking back upon my life it was a constant meditation on death. Since my experience from childhood was that death was looking over my shoulder it pushed me into preparing for death as if it was going to be the next moment. In some ways this is a good thing. One of the ways that is used in India for thousands of years to cause quick enlightenment was and is to meditate on the rotting body of a human corpse. This puts into the subconscious mind the concept of the impermanence of a human body including their own. This can put a strong mind and heart in the proper place to become a saint. If you study the life of Saint Francis of Asisi, this happened to him as well. The trauma of being a knight for his village and the kill or be killed experience so traumatized him that he became a Saint that San Francisco was named after.