It''s a phrase I hear a lot lately. Just read it in a post from PG and friends have said the same to me.
But what does it mean? And how do you do it? And what if I never had any power in the first place?
I get confused by what people tell me about fighting for me, and being my own best friend and what not. I have no idea what that means in practical terms, since I have no idea what to do for the best. It is not obvious. It is not obvious to me. And people give conflicting advice, and I don''t know who to listen to. And it''s all very well saying ''listen to yourself'' but what if I don''t know the answer? I''ve never been in a situation like this before. Never had to make decisions, never been in debt, never had to carry all the responsibility on my own, never had to appoint a lawyer, never had to negotiate with anyone, let alone my husband. Never had to worry about what we were going to live on.
I would say it''s the power to make decisions from little things like what to watch on tv to humongous things like where to live.
You probably can''t see it now, too many uncertainties, but the life you are building will be yours and yours only. That''s where power lies, power an immense solitude i think.
The point of this for me was realising that I''d given up my own power in my marriage. That what had become important to me was making him happy, feeling that the reason he was difficult and unsupportive sometimes was down to me not being good enough. That I had allowed myself to become defined by him and my self worth crushed by his emotional unavailability.
I''d allowed him to project blame on to me for his shortcomings and limitations. I absorbed that blame like a sponge. Whatever he''s said I needed to change in order for him to stop behaving badly I worked on with a pathetic zeal, only for him to move the goalposts and for that some thing that was now fixed to become something else not quite right.
That blame he projected on to me had become such a massive part of me that it took two years of therapy to sort it out. Because I had to go way back to understand why I had allowed myself to become a martyr and a scapegoat. A lifetime of trying to glean self worth from pleasing other people. I''d given my own self worth away. Everyone felt better after projecting their stuff at me no doubt and blaming me for their limitations and shortcomings. I was left at the end of my marriage wrung out, with feelings of despair. The people pleasing martyr that I had become had ended up with me being alone. I''d given away my power, my ability to say no, my ability to stand up for myself and to do what was right for me. My needs were sacrificed entirely, everything was about him. It was so bad, I didn''t even know who I was anymore. I''d lost touch with the girl I once was and everything was about my ex, his problems, his feelings. I''d learned somehow that my feelings didn''t count. My life had become a hopeless and soul destroying endeavour of trying to become good enough for him. Problem was no one ever was going to be good enough he was emotionally unavailable. You can''t connect with someone like that when everything is about them. I''d lost my power in the process of trying to make this work.
So regaining my power was about realising what I had sacrificed in my life and deciding I wasn''t going to be a scapegoat or martyr any longer. I cut contact
with my ex. I took control of the divorce and took care of my financial needs in that process. I decided I was worth taking care of in the same way I took care of others. I do not allow others to project blame towards me for their limitations, neither do I have adult relationships in my life that are not equal (ish) with regard to give and take. I stopped investing in relationships that hurt my feelings. When I regained my self respect, I found it easy to tell the difference between people who considered my needs and feelings equal to theirs and those who didn''t.
Standing in my own power included realising that obsessing over my ex was a utter waste of time and energy. What he did and how he behaved was for him. It was now my job to pick myself up and make the very best of life now without him in it by getting to know me again and learning to meet my own needs. That''s what standing in my own power meant to me. That I was just fine with me. Anything else is a bonus.
I ''ditto'' so much of what Shoegirl says, power lies in our own hands, not of those who have used, abused and manipulated us for their own gains, but it takes an huge amount of effort on our parts to face that head on.
Regaining some of my power, and I can assure you, I am still very much a work in progress, was standing up for myself, realising that I was no longer allowing myself to be a doormat for him or anyone else. Like Shoegirl and possibly how you are feeling now, I was as low as I could go, when you reach crises point you either fight or flight. You can deal with the aftermath head on or you can take to the hills trying to run away from your problems, which will inevitably catch up with you anyway.
This is your life eliza, nobody else''s, you are where you are, however devastating this may be, but you need to stop wasting time and energy on ''him'', you will never in a million get the answers you seek, so you need to grow a set of ba!!s, get a notepad and pen, prioritise and start doing. That way you are starting to take some power back and take control.
You have got the power eliza, you are a clever lady, use this to your advantage, he has ruined enough of your life, do not let him do this any longer, make lists, prioritise, seek help and assistance from organisations that can guide you, use your feelings to lift you from your despair, keep a diary so you can look back at where you have come from to eventually where you will end up. Break things down into manageable bite sized chunks so that you can cope, have a tick list, rally the troops (the kids) to assist you day to day. Be the Captain of your own ship, he has long since jumped overboard and you now have to navigate yourself through these muddy waters.
You''ve got the power in your hands to change eliza, you just need the confidence to stride out of your cocoon, your comfort zone and I know this is not easy, but you can do it.
The last three posts have blown me away, they have it spot on! (You ladies are amazing).
I can''t possibly add to it, so instead I offer you a little technique....
Taking back your power is simply just believing in yourself.
Try this little experiment....
Every time you walk down the street, do it with your held high, walk tall, feel your spine straightening, meet every strangers gaze directly and don''t look away. Smile at people randomly, the most difficult yet one of the most powerful things you can do.
It will take a bit of practice, I do it even if I just popped out for milk or cheese
After a while it comes naturally & you will be ready to graduate to ''the look''
''The look'' is something usually reserved for the Stbx or anyone who,is horrible to me.
Technique for ''the look''....
Keep your entire body held up straight in confidence, don''t move a muscle , the only thing you move is your eyes, you just look the person up and down from head to toe very slowly, then you walk off and say nothing.
It''s very powerful
Try it as an experiment in taking back your power.
Thanks everyone. I hear you. I still don''t know what I need to do - not obvious how to emerge from this negotiation with x which needs to be done, not obvious what best to say to kids re their dad etc etc.
One thing I am realising though is that my instincts were a lot better than I ever gave myself credit for. If I had listened to me instead of him, we would not be in this mess. But he didn''t like what my instincts were telling me or him, so he ran off with someone who massaged his ego and fleeced him, and now I am (literally) paying the price, cos there''s nowhere else for the money to come from. But that is just money.
PG I was laughing reading your post about your ''looks'' - I was remembering you in your dressing gown getting chatted up on the street. Either you are drop dead gorgeous even straight out of bed, or that is one powerful look!!!