Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Day 16: Power and Loss

Power can be dangerous.  I think we all know this, but it is easy to briefly forget.  The quickest way to be reminded is to have someone try to take it away from you.  When we say, in despair, that we feel "powerless," we aren't talking about a lack of sway over other people.  We're talking about not having control of our own lives.  Anyone who has ever had to deal with a debt collector knows that feeling.  That fear that certain people try to instill in you.  You become afraid to pick up the phone, afraid to look at the mail, afraid to answer the door.  You still do these things, you just feel a little sick every time you do.  And vast relief every time it's something more innocent or mundane.

AristotleWhat it lies in our power to do, it lies in our power not to do.
― Aristotle
Fear-based power is a horrible thing to face.  I still find it strange that anyone would get satisfaction out of making another person feel afraid of them, even if it isn't fear for their physical well-being.  Just because you aren't being savagely beaten doesn't mean that someone should be allowed to abuse you in any way.  And even on a small scale, using fear to control someone is abusive.  Especially when that someone trusts you.
Lauren Myracle
Abuse of power is wrong, no matter the context, no matter the history.
What is "power" anyway? Power is an ego trip. Power is a way to rise yourself up by lowering others, and I want nothing of it.
― Lauren MyracleBliss
I recently lost a friendship.  Let me start by saying that I have put up with a lot from friends and they have had to put up with a lot from me.  Persevering despite differences or bouts of bad behavior is part of what makes you realize how much you want someone in your life.  And when the tables are turned, you are eternally grateful to them for sticking around.  You may have to work through some things and, doesn't that nearly always suck, but in the end it's worth it and the friendship is stronger because of it.

There are many things I will forgive, move past, even ignore for people that I love.  But this friend tried to hold something over me.  A debt they felt was owed.  They thought that implying the threat of losing something that I needed would lead me to obey.  They thought they could lay down the law and have their way, regardless of whether it was fair or not, and with no interest in hearing what I had to say.  They thought they could silence me, keep me from telling them truths they did not want to hear, from being the same person I had always been.

It is odd, because in a way it did work.  Having someone try to put me in my place, breaking my trust so thoroughly, made me realize that they no longer had a place with me.  I have, many times, fallen prey to emotionally controlling people.  I am one of those people who gives second chances because of the ones I've gotten...and sometimes I don't realize that someone is manipulating me quite as quickly as I would like.  But this was so different from everything I've ever experienced.  So stunning to be commanded by another adult, as if I were an  irresponsible and mentally deficient child.  But as hurtful and demeaning as it was, it released me.  I finally gave myself permission to stop fighting for that friendship.  To understand that it is no longer my responsibility, nor my fault.  It is out of my hands, out of my control...and usually I would be freaking about that.  But instead I feel relieved.  Very sad for that loss, but still relieved.
Anaïs Nin...You are in charge of how you react to the people and events in your life. You can either give negativity power over your life or you can choose happiness instead. Take control and choose to focus on what is important in your life... ― Anaïs Nin
I expected to be angry, to be hateful, resentful.  There are brief moments of that, but they are fleeting.  Overall, I finally feel free to stop trying so hard and concentrate on myself instead of constantly worrying about someone else - someone who has made their own choices and doesn't want to hear what anyone else has to say about them.  While I don't regret pushing, I am now ready to let go.  
You only have power over people so long as you don't take everything away from them.  But when you've robbed a man of everything, he's no longer in your power - he's free again.  - Aleksander Solzhenitsyn 


  1. It is sad when you lose a friend, but much better to lose a friendship lacking in quality in the end. Good for you for taking the step to remove the negativity from your life!

    1. Thank you, Jennifer. I think one of the most important things that deciding let go did was remove my OWN negativity from the situation. Being able to look at it more calmly has made a huge difference in my own happiness.

      Speaking of being happy, I'm posting your blog URL here for everyone else to read: Thanks again!


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