One of the more irritating questions that my counselor harped on “Why do you keep giving your power away?” It irritated me because I didn’t believe I had any power to give away in the first place. Punching him crossed my mind once or twice but he always kept plenty of floor space between his chair and the couch I sat on. It was like he knew my malevolent feelings and prepared in advance to keep a safe distance. He understood I had power but I was clueless how to use it. He watched me constantly. My slightest shift was analyzed. Counseling is tough, a bit like a live bug under a microscope. Side trip. Back to power. 10 years of counseling I still didn’t get it. Another couple of years functioning on my own and I have a theory, perhaps a small clue. My power is my ability to define myself and decide to act instead of react to other people. I choose how I will behave. Years of conditioning to jump when I was told to jump, I felt more of a puppet on a string yanked around by my abuser than a person. So I clipped my strings, for awhile I felt like a limp marionette. However, over time, testing my theory I am discovering I have power. I am learning to use it. I define myself as a kind and caring person. I am making choices that fit my definition of myself. The sad truth, my power was there all along. Through relentless conditioning I was convinced the only way to survive was to give my power away. What a rotten trick to play on a kid. I am not sure I did much better with my own kids but I am working on showing them that I respect them and their decisions. I am testing my theory about my power at school. I learned quickly if I am not careful I can get power hungry and try to push someone else around. Breath. Take a step back. I am not less powerful if someone chooses differently than I think they should. My power does not diminish if I meet up with another person that understands their power. My power does not diminish by other people’s behavior. My power is centered in my defining myself and choosing how I will behave. This is cool.