Taking back our power

By Joyce Alexander, RNP (retired)

Each one of us has more power than we generally perceive we do. Some people, in fact, do not recognize that they have any power over either what happens to them, or to how they react to what happens to them. Yet, we are totally powerful people; we have total power over what goes on inside us.

Recognizing that I am a powerful person with ultimate control over my emotions and actions is a heady feeling, and a scary feeling too. It is heady because it gives us a feeling that we can control ourselves, but it is scary because we also realize that there is no one else who can save us if we fail to exercise that power fully or competently.

When we were children, if we became frightened or sad, we could call on the god-like adults in our world to make us safe and to keep us safe. They could turn on the lights to scare away the monsters that might be lurking there when we could not reach the switch.

At some point in our lives, though, we must recognize that no one can do for us what we must do for ourselves, and that is to exercise our power to keep us as safe as possible from external events and internal tidal waves.

External events

Sometimes things happen externally that devastate our internal and external worlds: A trusted friend/family member/lover dies or betrays us, or a recession, depression, bankruptcy, or war intervenes in our carefully built and safe life that we could not have foreseen. This external event sweeps us away into an abyss of loss and despair. We see our own mortality, or that our life is half gone and we have not accomplished the “you should do x-es” that we had always thought we would do.

We let our sense of devastation externally and internally push us into an abyss of grief and pain. How do we take back our power when we feel so powerless, so naked and vulnerable? How will we ever feel safe again?

Recognizing that we are not in complete control of external events is a scary feeling, yet one that we must, as adults, face. Recognizing the truth that our plans for our future may not all be possible at this point in life is also necessary, and may sadden us.

Phases of life

Just as a child grows through various stages from birth to leaving home, adults too pass through various stages of adulthood. Erick Erickson described them as x, y, z. Unfortunately he did not describe them in great detail, but left his theories for others to expound upon.

I agree with Erickson that we go through various phases in adulthood as we move through the decades of the twenties, thirties, forties, etc. We are not the same person in each of these decades of our lives. We have different wants, needs, skills and knowledge as we move through life.

While it is easy to see that it would be an inappropriate thing for a 60-year-old woman to be sad that she could not marry, conceive a child and raise a family at that age, sometimes, we are saddened because we cannot have all the options at age 30 or 40 that we did at age 20.

Taking stock

When an external event precipitates a major change in our lives, or even an internal tidal wave of regrets or realizations of our lives makes us “sit up and take notice” of where we are on the life-time continuum, we pass through a stage where we may feel powerless over our emotions.

An encounter with a psychopath may be the precipitating external event in our lives, but it can be anything, or nothing in particular. A painful encounter, though, gives us the opportunity to take stock of where we are, where we wish to go, and who we are in the next phase of our adult lives. It is a time to truly recognize that we will not live forever, and that we are subject to the natural laws of this world, and yet, to rise above this and to find significant meaning in ourselves and in our lives.

We can use the external events to grow and refocus our lives, realizing that we do have power, complete power, over some things, and that we have no power over other things. We can live while we live, and find meaning and satisfaction in each of the stages of our lives.

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the reason I suggested that story to you is because you wrote

Hell, I don’t even believe in love. So many of these questions are bent towards people who seem to not be able to be alone. I have been alone for 20 years; I love being alone.

In the story, Hulga said she didn’t believe in anything and it was true, she intellectualized her life. Belief comes from what you can FEEL to be true, not what you know to be true.

For example, I read a true story about a man who had a head injury. When his mom visited him in the hospital he was convinced she was an imposter. The damage had occurred in the part of his brain the processes emotions so he could no longer feel the emotional connection he had with his mom. This convinced him that she wasn’t his mom at all, though she looked just like his mom. Even after it was explained and he understood the reasons for his false beliefs, he couldn’t shake them. He was never able to believe she was not an imposter. Feelings do more in our brains than just make us squishy.

The way I interpret it is that the two legs represent two ways of “knowing”: the intellect and the emotional, serial and parallel processing, left brain and right brain.

So in the case of Hulga and Manly, they both believed in nothing. This non-belief was manifest in their need to intellectualize life, since they couldn’t FEEL life. This intellectualism attracted them to each other.

Though it may seem like it was 2 intellectuals sharing their similarity, it was actually more like 2 one-legged persons thinking that perhaps together they can lean on each other and make one complete person. At least for Hulga. Manly had other plans. Rather than merge with Hulga and becoming complete, he’d prefer to see her lose the last vestige of belief and have none at all, just like him. That’s what spaths do, they want more people to join them in their hell of alienation from humanity, of believing in nothing.

Lots of myths use the limp as something that makes you keep tripping. It is usually about a character that was rejected by his parents. Oedipus was rejected by his father and had a swollen foot, Vulcan was thrown out of Olympus by his mother and had a crippled foot. Vulcan is the god of the forge and he is always making things (just like my spath likes to make things, he’s a welder.). Tezcatlipoca, is an Aztec god with one foot who likes to sabotage and seduce, he’s the god of smoke and mirrors and demands lots of human sacrifice.

As for Willow’s posts, I guess the one she posted here is the one that touches on this. She says, “I wonder if partners in a toxic dance are often drawn to each other by a subconscious pull of the same root pain, lying still unresolved in the Shadowland of their psyches. ”

I think we are drawn to people who have the same limp as we do. We unconsciously recognize each other. The problem is, some of those limpers don’t want to heal or help each other. Narcissism makes them believe that one leg is better than two, simply because they are the one legged ones, so the two-legged ones must be the freaks.


Thank you for this 🙂

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