To me, this was the hardest to overcome but once I did, learning about my own power is a key element to my continued healing. As long as I believed I was helpless, I could not believe I could be responsible for my change. I needed to take back my power. I needed to believe I could make a difference in my life.
Accept responsibility for your life. Know that it is you who will get you where you want to go, no one else.
As a child, I had no say in what happened to me. I was not responsible for the abuse that happened to me. I did not attract it. I did not deserve it, no matter what my abusers said about me. I couldn’t fight back. I was little, my abusers were big. My few attempts involved brutal reminders that I was helpless. Emotionally I believed I was crippled, I felt I had no power, no control, and no hope of this changing. School was different. I started to feel success in school. I started discovering that if I wanted to change I could. Then I would go home and life was the same….I was helpless to change my circumstances. I tried and tried to make changes…but I did not understand the influences in my life that continued to reinforce my feelings of helplessness. My last resort was counseling.
The first time my therapist told me I had to take back my power, I was totally confused. What power? I didn’t have any power to take back. Or so I thought. Weeks and weeks of discussion about what power I have and how could I use it. I would start to say something like, “I have to do__________.” Or “I have no choice___________.” Any time I implied I was helpless my therapist disagreed with me then pointed out my options. I pointed out to him the ugly consequences. He would shrug. On more than one occasion I had intense desire to do him bodily harm. Couldn’t he see I was helpless? He would get frustrated with me, couldn’t I see how powerful I was? We started with little choices. I had to ask someone that wasn’t family for something with the expectation of getting it. DH and I were at a restaurant and I asked for more bread sticks. I went back to my next counseling session and reported gleefully that I asked for and got the bread sticks. My counselor was less than impressed. He pointed out that the restaurant gave everyone more bread sticks. I childishly pouted and pointed out that I did ask. This was one of those defining conversations that pointed out to my counselor how damaged I was and how much work needed to be done. Finding my power was not without consequences. I lost friends. People that always pushed me around didn’t want to be friends with me when I stopped letting them push me around. I lost my job. I started fighting back and they labeled me difficult and not a team player. I lost my crutch. I could no longer blame someone else for my failures. I lost my excuses. I was now responsible for my actions.
I am not or never was responsible for my abuse. I am responsible for choosing to heal. This is a significant difference. If someone throws me into a pile of poop, I did not ask for that to happen to me. I did not attract it. I am responsible if I choose to stay in that pile of poop. I chose to take back my power and change my life. There was nothing my abusers could do to stop me. Once I chose my power to be my guiding light, nothing in my past could stop me. My past still influences me. I still struggle. But as soon as I say “I have to_________”, I remind myself that I have power to choose. I start to look for my options. I step back for a moment and consider who is big enough in my life to make me do anything. No one. I choose to work with loved ones, coworkers and others to bring about positive results and build relationships, however, I choose it…no one can make me.
Religious perspective of the power we have. I believe this is true for both men and women. The first step to abuse a child is to prove to them they are powerless. Believing that I am powerful was one of the most difficult challenges I faced.