Do you have power? What is it? How do you get it? What do you do with it?
Power: The ability to do or act in a particular way to direct or influence others’ behaviors.
I know in the mental health community, my experiences with power are not dissimilar to others. When I think of power, I am reminded how little power or control it seemed I’ve had over my life, particularly as a child. Growing up, Birth Mother was more of a “my way or the highway” type mom. To say she was controlling and unyielding in her power over me is a generous understatement. It is only now, decades later, that I am finding the nerve to take back my power and stand up to her. Recently she told me to be quiet, and I responded to her in a respectful tone to never tell me that again, and immediately she told me to be quiet, and the cycle continued until I left. As an adult, my mother has tried to take away my power of voice when it is inconvenient to her. So it is quite understandable that when being abused as a child, I didn’t say no. I didn’t try to stop it. I didn’t know I could stop it or use my voice to tell because I was taught I had no power. No power at all.
But over time, little by little, I DECIDED and COMMITTED to the belief that people will no longer take my power away from me. I firmly believe if you want to be powerful, if you want your voice to count, if you want to take recovery by the horns and let it lead you to a better life, you have to decide that you will take back your power. Power is not something that you can acquire by osmosis or wake up one day feeling it in your soul. In order to take back your power, you have to realize to begin with that you are capable of using your power and can take it back by taking small risks, by believing in yourself, and realizing you have power, and so do I.
HOW WILL YOUR STORY END?
So when the quote tells me, “This is NOT how my story will end,” I know I am entitled to create a different ending than what my abusers handed me, and I have within me whatever is needed to implement a different ending to my story.
My abusers created an ending for me, one filled with pain, desperation, helplessness, confusion, dissociation, and hopelessness. I don’t want to live like that anymore. So I’m taking my power back, the power that was stolen from me, and I’m screaming out loud, “This is NOT how my story will end.”
I’ve realized I have the power to fill my life with people I love and that love me. I have the power to fill my life with happiness and peace. I have the power to shed my shame and create a version of me that is compassionate and understanding, not just with others but also with myself. I have the power to eagerly wait and see what great things will happen next. I have the power to make the changes that seem impossible. Most importantly, I have the ultimate power which is to take back my life and recover.
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With my power back where it belongs, my ending can be anything I want it to be, but it will NOT be, now or ever again, written by my abusers. Their show is over.
I’d love to hear from you.
What is your experience with power?
What would you use your power for?
What is one thing you have the power to take back from your abuser(s)?