Seeking to reclaim herself after a tumultuous relationship, fraught with infidelity and heartache a reader, Jaki S., asked me: “How do I get my power back, when it feels like it has gone and it is not going to return in a hurry?”
Shattering Glass Castles
I think it’s the glass castles that are the hardest to let go of. The only way to get rid of them is to smash them. I call all of the dreams, plans, aspirations that I build up in my mind during a relationship – the glass castles. I have been cut so many times trying to build these edifices of unfulfilled longing. My constructing glass castles was one of the contributing factors to a few terminal failures in past relationships. I put so much pressure on the future of the relationship that existing in the “now” was virtually impossible.
I think this is a pitfall of many survivors who want to have a guarantee that everything will turn out alright, better than alright, dreamy. I wanted a glittering tripped out version of a relationship, with all the padded room security that only a loony bin can provide. I wanted to be saved from myself. I was really longing to leach someone else’s power into my own, because I had felt like my life force was taken. This happened long before I ever entered into the relationship in the first place.
Sexual assault and incest radically diminish the inner resources survivors have to draw from. I am no longer willing to live a life of deficit, either created from my abusers, unavailable partners or from degrading myself. If I wanted to rise out of these cycles of disempowerment, I had to be sick of it.
I have heard time and time again in recovery meetings that “pain creates willingness.” I’ve had to be in a whole lot of pain to finally become willing to knot up my lariat of determination and lasso my heart back into my chest.
Lassoing my heart
Tethering my most sensitive and wounded organ, my heart, back into my chest was not an endeavor I enjoyed, but I did it because it was more painful living without it than the cost of learning to reclaim it.
1. I realized I couldn’t heal on my own, and that I wasn’t healing in a relationship. This meant if I was serious about figuring out how to get my power back I needed help. The best way I have ever found to learn the steps to get something I lack, is to look to people who have it. People who have been where I am and journeyed along the path towards attaining what I longed for. I listened to them and how they did it, and then I seriously followed their lead.
2. I write a list of the things and activities that bring me joy. If I want to get my power back, it has to be uniquely mine, that means not following the hobbies of what makes someone else happy. I refer to my list when I know my mind is trying to break my heart connection. These activities are guarantees that I will be reconnected with my center and my power. A few things that give me a sense of real power and connection are dancing, creating art, prayer, singing, and taking a walk in the woods.
3. I choose to see things differently.(There are many tools for shifting perspective, which I will write about over time, right now I will address one in particular.) When I feel the fangs of worry and fear sucking the life out of me I turn those gnawing concerns into faith affirmations to alter my way of thinking and give myself relief.
Fears into Affirmations:
A. Take a piece of paper and fold it in half.
B. On the top half write down your worries and fears in clear and concise statements, numbering them as you go.
- I’m afraid people judge me.
- I feel ugly, and unlovable.
C. On the bottom half transform your worry and fear statements into affirmations. This is done by writing a positive statement that is the opposite of your worries and fears written on the top half of the paper.
- I am loved and accepted for who I am.
- I am beautiful and worthy of love.
D. Decide which half of the paper you want to keep. The positive or the negative?
E. Destroy the half of the paper, in whatever way feels best to you, with the statements you do not want to keep.
F. Repeat the affirmation statements when you wake up each day; throughout the day when that particular fear arises; and before bed each night.
How was this helpful to you?
What do you do when you feel your sense of personal power has been drained from you?
© Amanda Lee