Evelyn Ryan, Yourlifelifter
“If we live in fear of anything, we give it the power to overcome us.”
~ Michele O’Donnell, Healer, Minister, Author, and Counselor
I have been researching personal power and how it relates to personal success and happiness for decades. Sadly, this is what I discovered. That we have been misinformed about the relationship between abuse and an abuser’s need to control. This does not accurately describe the causes of power imbalance in abusive relationships and actually can hinder an abuse victim’s healing. Let’s break this down.
WHAT IS REAL PERSONAL POWER?
People with real power do not covertly or overtly aggressively go after others’ power because, simply, they do not have to. People with real power work for it. They use their free will to set goals and do the work including getting the education and building the relationships and the integrity of character to achieve them. When they hit a wall, they take further action to course correct or thought correct. They become proficient at creating value for themselves and others. They have what my cousin Alexandra calls “skin in the game.” They tap into themselves to generate the energy and use it freely and willingly to create value that benefits themselves and others that they know they deserve and are worthy of. They use their own energy to nourish their souls and fuel their spirit and self-esteem. They share their power with others, who voluntarily of their own free will, share theirs back.
Life and relationships, in particular, require a balance of work, commitment, and obligation. It is when this balance of give and take becomes “tipped” that things can become unhealthy fast. The more tipped the balance, the more unhealthy the situation can become. Think about this. Isn’t it always when someone is giving too much and putting in the extraordinary effort or someone is taking too much and not putting in the work (and especially over a long period of time) that things get crazy, stressful, exploitive, abusive, unpleasant, or just plain suck?
Because, we are not benefitting from the investment of our time, energy, pain, love, effort, education we are expending commensurate with the level of effort we are putting in. Our efforts and our value are never validated. What we believe to be true about ourselves is not validated and what we aspire to never happens so our personal truth and personal worth are never “proved.” We are stuck in a give and give and give (and “no take”) dooloop of unfulfillment and emotional exhaustion.
Read more here on the The Five Pillars of Personal Worth, Power, and Authenticity.
WHERE DO NARCISSISTS AND OTHER EMOTIONAL VAMPIRES FIT IN?
There are huge differences between real authentically powerful people who have integrity of character and people who are inherently weak and pretend to have power and integrity of character. The latter are what preeminent psychologist Dr. George K. Simon refers to in his best seller, Character Disturbance: The Phenomenon of Our Age as the character disturbed with covert aggressive personalities. These are the ones who want all the benefits of life without earning them because they believe they are entitled, because they believe in their disordered brains that the rules of life, law, love and personal honor and respect do not apply to them.
These are the energy thieves, the narcissists, psychopaths, abusers, con artists, criminals, and manipulators who aggressively and offensively go after others’ power because they cannot generate their own and because they do not want to work for it. These human parasites want all the benefits of life, marriage, friendship, a successful career without any of the hard work. Now, mind you, I am not claiming that they these folks do not have potential power or perhaps even redeeming personal traits or talents, skills and abilities. Of course they do. But they will use those talents, skills and abilities to serve themselves and to manipulate you and your children and not to better themselves. They abuse their power and use it to manipulate others’ power. In fact, their greatest aversion is working to better themselves. They will have no interaction with you unless they in some way benefit and you in some way are giving up your power to them. They have to win always. They are in constant combat. This is just how these predictable and annoying characters tick.
We cannot survive without emotional sustenance, folks, so these energy vampires, like the blood-sucking vampires, will shrivel and die if they do not steal attention, adulation, love, winning, coming out ahead, or whatever they need by creating illusions of normalcy by grooming you, telling you they love you, conning you, putting you on the defensive, and preying on your vulnerabilities. So they have no problem working for what they want and what will serve them and aggressively and covertly go after the power they want and need and target the most vulnerable and easy to manipulate and who do you think the best to feed off are. Other narcissists? Other character disturbed people? Others of their own kind are very very unpalatable but no one is immune to their attacks not even other narcissists. But the most tasty and yummy to feed their emotional gaps are none other than the survivors of abuse and, in particular, empaths, people with high emotional intelligence and compassion.
Yes, the evil of society, the emotional and energy vampires prey on the wounded, the ones who unknowingly give up their power to those who trigger their repressed legacy pain. These are the ones discussed in the Bible that “call evil good and good evil and put darkness for light and light for darkness.” They will cease at nothing in order to get not only what they need but what they want and believe they are entitled to take.
The wolves, by the way, are continuing to pose as sheep and are becoming more creative in their combat tactics. Narcissists are now even posing at healers and are starting healing Facebook Pages and websites in the guise of having compassion and wanting to help the exact people they victimized and traumatized and people are falling for it. So they have figured out a way to continue even to feed off the healing energy of their suffering victims that should be reserved for themselves and their survival.
BELIEVING ABUSERS NEED TO “CONTROL” US IS MISLEADING
Be wary folks. Reading that abusers “need to control others” is very very misleading. This, in my opinion, can significantly prevent healing and actually keep people in abusive
relationships by causing us to focus too much on the abusers and falsely leading us to think they can be healed and feeding our toxic shame by communicating the untruth that somehow we are the weak faulty ones and the abusers are the strong ones with some magical power over us. In fact, it is totally the opposite. Abusers are covertly or overtly aggressive but they are very very weak individuals with extremely low self-worth who cannot freely generate their own personal power.
Let’s examine this further.
We (not others) are the only ones who are able to use our free will to nurture our souls and our self-esteem and self-assurance that serve our personal needs and sustain our emotional health. This is the human design. This is authentic legitimate personal power. Abusers, on the other hand, are character disturbed and believe in their distorted minds that aggression and manipulation and taking from others (what they have worked for) is power. The last time I looked, that was called theft, exploitation, weakness, character disturbance, covert aggression, bribery, burglary, abuse, and evil.
So contrary to what we are taught, abusers don’t need to “control” you. More accurately, they use aggression to create an illusion of power that intimidates you and triggers your fears and makes you feel powerless so they can manipulate your power from you because they lack real ability and desire to generate the power needed to sustain themselves. This is why they move from victim to victim to victim. The level of aggression and their combat tools vary but abuse in any form is abuse be it physical, violent, emotional, invalidation, or neglect and criminal activity is criminal activity. This is why we have laws to protect us, right? Whatever the case, it is all aggressive offensive combat and they use love and grooming and other tactics to play on our vulnerabilities including our overly developed consciences and compassion and insecurities to trap us. They want all the benefits of what we can provide them without the work. They are weak powerless predictable parasites in human form. They are, simply, depraved and broken.
THE DIFFERENCES IN AGGRESSION, POWER, HARM AND CONTROL
Now, let’s look a bit more at abusers’ aggressive combat tactics and how they impact personal power and control. There is a huge difference between aggression, power, harm and control. Abusers use aggression to create an illusion of power. They use their covert aggressive skills to manipulate you to believe you have no power and they are the “All Powerful Oz” who, remember, was actually a great creator of smoke and mirrors that was discovered by Toto a very small scruffy dog. In between the abuse, abusers groom you. So the cycles of abuse and makeup sessions create peptide addictions in the brain. We end up mistaking the chemical trauma bonding for love. We were conditioned to believe we must suffer to be lovable and that we are defenseless and powerless to emotional pain. We are conditioned to believe that only the abusers can relieve the pain. As healer, minister, author, and counselor Michele O’Donnell states, “If we live in fear of anything, we give it the power to overcome us.”
This is not love, this is not power, and this is not the basis of emotionally healthy relationships. This is, however, the basis of power imbalanced abusive relationships and what causes us to unknowingly give up our power to abusers, become complicit in our own abuse, and perpetuate the cycle of intergenerational abuse.
Abuse, folks, is not about control. Abuse just like healing and recovery is not about the abusers. Abuse and healing are all about us, fixing our skewed beliefs and taking OUR power back. I explore these issues in much more detail in Take Your Power Back: Healing Lessons, Tips, and Tools for Abuse Survivors. You can read a sneak peek and review of the book and purchase a copy here.